My son was baptized last Sunday in the ‘nearly’ warm water in the font at our chapel. Talks about baptism and the Holy Ghost were given by his Primary teachers from last year (his older sister!) and this year. We enjoyed some beautiful music by our Primary pianist and the Spirit was truly present during the baptism and the confirmation. It was a beautiful day!
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As the date draws closer for my son’s baptism, we are thinking more and more about making promises and how important they are. When we are baptized we promise to obey God’s commandments and serve him. Often we serve him by serving others. We promise to bear one another’s burdens that they might be light. We also promise to stand as witnesses of God at all time, in all things, and in all places. We read about this in the scriptures, particularly in the 18th chapter of the book of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon.
Baptism is a covenant. A covenant can be thought of as a 2-way promise between the person being baptized and Heavenly Father. As we make promises, He makes promises to us such as accepting us a members of His church and kingdom on earth, forgiving our sins when we repent, and giving us the Gift of the Holy Ghost. And someday we will be able to live with Him again. We will receive these blessings when we keep the promises we make as part of the covenant of baptism.
My son is getting ready to take that first step on the ladder! It is one of the most exciting and important times in a persons life! These promises have eternal significance!
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.