In my previous post, Feelings of Guilt, Part 1: The Foundation of Faith I shared the account of Joseph Smith and how this is the foundation of our Faith. In my second blog post in this series, Feelings of Guilt, Part 2: Repentance I talked about how we must rely on the Atonement in order to feel sorrow enough to repent so we can be cleansed from sin. In this third part, I would like to talk about the action that we now take in order to be cleansed from sin. This first action that we take is by being baptized.
Baptism is an ordinance. In fact, it is a saving ordinance. If you go to Mormon.org, you will find the following: "Baptism in water is an ordinance essential to our salvation. By being baptized, we show God that we are willing to be obedient to His commandments. Jesus set the example for us by being baptized, even though He was without sin (see Mosiah 18:8-10). The Savior revealed the proper method of baptism to the Prophet Joseph Smith, making clear that the ordinance must be performed by one having priesthood authority and that it be done by immersion (see Doctrine and Covenants 20:72-74)."
We know that authority to baptize is very important to our Heavenly Father. Again, on Mormon.org, it has the following: "Throughout time, God has given His servants, the prophets, the authority to act in His name. This authority is called the priesthood. Jesus Christ gave the priesthood to His original Twelve Apostles by ordination (see John 15:16), and they directed the work of His Church after Jesus ascended to heaven. But after the Apostles were killed, the priesthood gradually disappeared from the earth."
"In 1829 Joseph Smith received the priesthood authority to organize Christ’s Church from Heavenly Messengers who had held this authority anciently including the prophet John the Baptist and apostles Peter, James, and John. In 1830 the same Church of Jesus Christ that existed centuries ago was organized and restored to the earth."
I can testify that I know that the priesthood was restored to the Prophet, Joseph Smith. I know that the authority to baptize is found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elder Holland, a modern day apostle, put it perfectly when he said, "I bear witness of that gospel and that Church, with a particular witness of restored priesthood keys which unlock the power and efficacy of saving ordinances. I am more certain that those keys have been restored and that those ordinances are once again available through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints than I am certain I stand before you at this pulpit and you sit before me in this conference." I know that the authority was restored! We are so blessed to have it on the earth today.
Christ himself showed us by example the need to be baptized. What may be most significant, is the fact that he went to John the Baptist. Why did he go to John the Baptist? Because he had the authority to do so. Christ knew who had the authority to baptize. If Christ knew who had the authority to baptize then, he would know now. You can ask him in prayer about the need for authority.
When we are baptized, we make covenants or promises with God. Some of the promises that you make is to take upon yourself the name of Jesus Christ, keep His commandments, and serve Him to the end. In return, he promises that his spirit will always be with us, he will forgive our sins, and give eternal life.
In the Gospel Principles book, in chapter 20, it talks about baptism. I loved the following: "There is only one correct mode of baptism. Jesus revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that a person having the proper priesthood authority to baptize “shall go down into the water with the person who has presented himself or herself for baptism. … Then shall he immerse him or her in the water, and come forth again out of the water” (D&C 20:73–74). The Apostle Paul taught that being immersed in water and coming out again is symbolic of death, burial, and resurrection. After baptism we start a new life. Paul said:
'Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
'Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
'For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection' (Romans 6:3–5).
"Baptism by immersion by a person having the proper authority is the only acceptable way of being baptized."
My favorite way to look at baptism is as a fresh start. Just like I said in the beginning of my post, we all have feelings of guilt and shame. We have been given the way to feel cleansed from these sins. Why would we not want to have a fresh start?
I know that baptism by proper authority is essential for salvation. More than that, I know that it can save us from feelings of guilt and shame. I know that we can rely on our savior and his atonement and feel free from sin. If you have these feelings in your life, go to the missionaries. Go to your bishop. They can help you. Christ has already suffered for you. Rely on him, and I promise you, you will feel free from your sins.