My youngest son will be baptized very soon. We are preparing for the day by reading together about baptism and making certain that he understands the covenants he will make. We will need to find white pants and a white shirt and make a list of all the things to take to the church that day. We don’t want to forget the towel! Very soon he will have an interview with our bishop to discuss his preparation for baptism. He is excited!
Baptism for children in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints usually takes place following a child’s eighth birthday. This special event has been preceded by learning the gospel at home and during Primary classes on Sunday and marks a major step on the ladder of eternal progression.
In preparation for baptism, we learn the first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ. We can have faith that the sun will rise tomorrow morning, and we can have faith that our family will stand by us and always be true. These are things that we can almost certainly put our trust in. Far greater is the certainty that if we put our faith and trust in the Lord, Jesus Christ and follow in the path he has placed before us, our eternal home will be with our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
We are also taught the principle of repentance. It is necessary to recognize when a wrong choice has been made and to understand that the guilt that is felt from that choice can motivate us to make restitution and make better choices in the future. Repentance includes communicating with our Heavenly Father about our choices, and expressing our sorrow. When we can, we make restitution. We learn to change our hearts and promise to do all we can to avoid making poor choices in the future. He is our Father and loves us all. He desires to hear from us often, and to help us to stay on the right path.
As we are baptized in white clothing, we learn that immersion in the water is a symbol of death, burial and resurrection. Our old self, along with our bad habits and poor choices is buried in the water as we are fully immersed, and we rise from the water clean and pure, prepared to lead a life dedicated to following our Savior.
Baptism is an essential ordinance of the gospel and is like climbing onto the first rung of a ladder which will lead us to our Heavenly Father’s home.