Posts Tagged 'Baptism'

Joshua Chapter 3

The Israelites were commanded to prepare their things, because in three days time, they would be starting their movement into the promised land. The first city they were going to arrive at, would be Jericho. Joshua, as their leader, sent spies into the land, who returned to say that the people there had heard of the great and terrible things the Israelites had done, and feared them. God had told Moses and Joshua that this is how the nations would feel, and so with faith, the Israelites continued to prepare.

1 And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.
2 And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host;
3 And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it.
4 Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.
5 And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you.
6 And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.

Joshua and the people left the camp in Shittim and arrived at the shore of the Jordan River. They stayed there for three days. The instruction was given to the people, that when they saw the ark of the covenant and Levite priests go before them, they were to follow it. They were specifically instructed to have a distance between themselves and the ark, so that the Lord could lead them into this unknown land. The Lord was not going to send them into this land, without his guidance as to where they should go. He would lead them, much like he had led them before with the cloud that went before them in the wilderness. This reminds me of the story of the Book of Mormon, when the family of the prophet Lehi were guided to their promised land by the Liahona, which was a gift from God.

Joshua instructed the people to sanctify themselves because the Lord would do wonders for them. Finally, Joshua gave the command to the priests, to take the ark and go before the people, which they did. This command to be sanctified for the wonders of the Lord, was much like the commandment given to the Israelites at Mount Sinai, when they would witness the glory of the Lord on the mount. They had physically prepared themselves for the journey to come, and now they were being called to be spiritually prepared to receive the blessings of God. I imagine it is a lot like the call for us today, to become worthy to enter temples. The latter-day saint temples are dedicated houses of the Lord, in which the righteous can receive great blessings from the Lord. People must be sanctified to enter, because the spirit of the Lord dwells there.

7 And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.
8 And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan.

Joshua is given a promise that the Lord would show the Israelites that he was indeed the prophet of God, just as Moses had been. It is so important for us to have a testimony of the Lord’s prophet, so that we will not doubt that we are being guided by the words of God. I am grateful for the experiences that I have had in my life, which have strengthened my own testimony in the modern prophets, and help me to know that we have a living prophet on the earth today.

God told Joshua to tell the priests that bore the ark, to go into the first part of the water and stand still in it. This was to be an act of faith on the part of the priests. Moses, when he parted the Red Sea, had to first stretch out his hand as an act of faith in God. We can follow these examples in our own lives, by taking a step in the direction of the council we are given by the Lord and his servants. When we go forward in faith, rather than waiting for something to happen first, we can do great things, just as these worthy men of the priesthood would do.

9 And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the Lord your God.
10 And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.
11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan.
12 Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man.
13 And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap.

Joshua called the people forward and told them that the Lord would show them that he was there with them and would lead them to victory over the nations of the land. Then, he gave the instructions to the people that twelve men, one from each tribe, were to be chosen. He also told them that as the priests took the ark into the water, the Lord would cut the waters off and cause them to stand up in a heap. This would have been much like the waters of the Red Sea, when Moses parted them by the power of God.

14 And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people;
15 And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,)
16 That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.
17 And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.

The Jordan River, which is described here as being high water at the time of harvest, was stopped when the feet of the priests went into the brink. I think the additional description of the Jordan, was given so that we could know that the water was not some simple stream, but an overflowing river. Once the water stopped, the people of Israel crossed over on dry land. It is interesting to me to see that the waters mark the journey of the Israelites. The beginning of their journey through the wilderness, involved the parting of the Red Sea and the Israelites crossing the dry land. Then, their journey ends with the waters stopped in the Jordan, and the Israelites crossing the dry land again. Both times, the Lord, who is the living water, made the waters of the earth do His bidding. Both times proved to the people that the prophet was indeed a man of God, chosen to lead them forward. The water was the symbol of the next phase of their lives.

Baptism

Water is a very symbolic thing in the gospel. I can’t help but reflect on the most significant moment in my life that is relating to water, which was my baptism. In my own life, entering into the waters of baptism, marked the next phase of my existence. It is a time I can often reflect on, and remember the decision that was laid before me. Taking that faithful step into the water, has led me on a path of discipleship and great blessings. Additionally, the Lord caused that water to do His bidding, which was to cleanse me and give me new life. I am very grateful for that choice and the opportunities, lessons, and growth it has given to me.

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What is the Purpose of Our Lives?

As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

One of the greatest things about the gospel, is that it teaches us the answer to this burning question. What is the purpose of our lives? The answer can be given through the plan of God, which was presented to all of us in the pre-mortal existence, or the time when we lived with God before we were born on this earth. The purpose of His plan was to bless us with the greatest blessings possible. In Moses 1:39 we read, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” To give us these blessings, we had to be allowed the opportunity to come to earth, gain a body and experience mortal life with all its blessings and hardships. In Abraham 3:25, the Lord said, “And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;”. Also in Doctrine and Covenants 98:14 we read, “Therefore, be not afraid of your enemies, for I have decreed in my heart, saith the Lord, that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy.” This life is a time for us to prove ourselves obedient to the commands of God.

Part of the purpose of our lives is to keep the commandments, which we can find throughout the scriptures. One of the commandments is to believe in Christ, who is the Savior of us all. 1 John 3:23 reads, “And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.” Why is part of the purpose of life to have faith in Jesus Christ? Because he is our Savior and Redeemer. Through the power of His infinite atonement, the Savior made it possible for us to live with God again and to have immortality and eternal life. John 14:6 reads, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Without faith in Him, we cannot use the atonement in our lives, which means we cannot be made clean enough to live with God again through repentance. I think that coming unto the Father means also, to believe and come to know God as well. When we have faith in Christ and follow Him, we come to know God as well. In John 17:3 we read, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” The purpose of our eternal lives is to know God and Jesus Christ, and so it should therefore be part of our mortal purpose as well.

If we believe in Christ, the next step is to repent of our sins. This is part of the purpose of life. We will all make mistakes, because that is part of the human condition. Through repentance we change our will to be like that of God’s will, so that we can become more like him. We are here to learn how to be like our Father in Heaven, who is perfectly righteous. In Doctrine and Covenants 50:28 we read, “But no man is possessor of all things except he be purified and cleansed from all sin.” We are here to gain all things, which can only be done when we repent and apply the cleansing power of the atonement. The scriptures teach us time and time again about the importance of repentance in our lives. In Alma 12:24 we read, “And we see that death comes upon mankind, yea, the death which has been spoken of by Amulek, which is the temporal death; nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead.” We were given this time to repent and prepare.

Baptism

The next commandment and step in the purpose of our lives, is to be baptized. John 3:5 teaches us this commandment, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Baptism must be followed by faithful endurance. Doctrine and Covenants 18:22 says, “And as many as repent and are baptized in my name, which is Jesus Christ, and endure to the end, the same shall be saved.” In Proverbs 19:16 we read, “He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his own soul . . .”. If we are faithful to the commandments, we will be worthy of the blessings that God wants to give us. To endure, we must live as active and worthy members of God’s kingdom on earth. We need to be in the service of God. Doctrine and Covenants 115:5 reads, “Verily I say unto you all: Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations;”. It is our duty, to stand as a witness of God at all times, and to serve Him in all areas of our lives. Mosiah 2:17 teaches us about service. “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” Part of the purpose of our lives is to serve our fellow men.

We learn from the story of the creation, another part of our purpose here. In Genesis 1:28 we read, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” We are here to learn how to have a righteous dominion over the things that we are given. This means over the animals, the plants and other living things on the earth, as well as all other things that are given to us by God. This earth and the things on it, will be the inheritance of the righteous. In Doctrine and Covenants 63:20 we read, “Nevertheless, he that endureth in faith and doeth my will, the same shall overcome, and shall receive an inheritance upon the earth when the day of transfiguration shall come;”. I believe that after this life, if we are faithful, we will also be given the opportunity to rule over our own kingdoms, worlds, spiritual children, and other creations. In this life, we need to prove ourselves capable of taking care of these things and having dominion over them.

Another part of the reason and purpose for our lives is to gain experience. It is to learn about trials as well as peace and joy. In Doctrine and Covenants 29:39, it teaches us why. “And it must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves; for if they never should have bitter they could not know the sweet—”. We could not know for ourselves what is sweet, or what is joy, if we could not live through the things that are bitter, difficult, and trying. Through this experience we gain knowledge and wisdom, which when perfect, are traits of our Father in Heaven. In Doctrine and Covenants 130:18 we read, “Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.” We are here to gain the intelligence that we will take with us after this life.

Ultimately, our purpose is to have the happiness and joy that God promised was available to us. We are taught this principle very plainly in the book of 2 Nephi, chapter 2. In verse 25 we read, “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” We exist on this earth, as mortal men and women, to have eternal joy. We can have this joy by proving ourselves worthy and prepared through keeping the commandments, finding faith in Christ, repenting of our sins, coming to know God, being baptized and confirmed, enduring as we serve and stand as a witness, being a good steward of the things God has given us, and gaining intelligence through experiencing the trials and blessings of life.

I am so grateful for the knowledge of why I am here, which I have because of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It gives me a greater reason for living, to know what I am living for. I know that my life matters and has a purpose. I have felt joy in my life, through living these principles and experiencing life with faith and hope. I know that if I can do my best to live up to that purpose, I will receive blessings of joy beyond what I could ever imagine.

(To learn more about the purpose of our lives, go here: Plan of Happiness)

How Do We Know We Are Spiritually Born of God?

As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

The declaration begins “we are beloved spirit daughters of God”. As I reflect on that line, I wonder how I know that I am spiritually born of God. I think there are two ways to look answer this question. First, I believe that we are literal children of God. I believe that he is the Father of our spirits because he created us spiritually before we were physically created on this earth. In Acts 17:28 we read, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” To take that even further, God created our first father, Adam, both spiritually in heaven and physically on the earth. All of us our the descendants of Adam, who was created in all ways by the hand of God. In the Bible Dictionary it says, “Latter-day revelation confirms the biblical account of God as the literal father of the human family; as a being who is concerned for the welfare of mankind, and a Personage who hears and answers prayers.” I have a testimony of the truth in this latter-day revelation, and therefore I feel strongly that we must be children of God (See Bible Dictionary, God). Also in the Bible Dictionary we read, “Every person is literally a son or a daughter of God, having been born as a spirit to Heavenly Parents previous to being born to mortal parents on the earth (cf. Heb. 12:9). Thus each one of us is a dual being: an immortal spirit body, clothed with a body of flesh and bone. (See Bible Dictionary, Spirit)”

We are taught throughout the scriptures that mankind are children of God, born spiritually. The scriptures are written for all mankind, not just those who believe in them, and therefore they apply to all of us. In Malachi 2:10 we read, “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? . . .”. Ephesians 4:6 reads, “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Psalms 82:6 says, “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” In 1 Nephi 17:36 we read, “Behold, the Lord hath created the earth that it should be inhabited; and he hath created his children that they should possess it.” Doctrine and Covenants 84:83 reads, “For your Father, who is in heaven, knoweth that you have need of all these things.” Moses 3:5 reads, “And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. For I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth. And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them; and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air;”. And again in Moses 6:51 we read, “And he called upon our father Adam by his own voice, saying: I am God; I made the world, and men before they were in the flesh.”

Our modern prophets and apostles have also shared there own witness to the knowledge that we are all children of God. In The Family:A Proclamation to the World they write, “ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.” I believe we were part of the spiritual family of Heavenly Father, just as surely as we are a part of a physical family here.

Even the Savior himself, taught us that He was not alone in being a child of God. In the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew, we read the following in 5:48:

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Then later we can read the Lord’s Prayer in 6:9, where he teaches us the proper way to pray. “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” The Savior did not single Himself out in this. God is our Father in Heaven, because He is the Father of our spirits.

I have experienced sweet moments of confirmation in this fact. I know that I am a child of God and that He loves me, personally, as His daughter. I know this because the spirit, or the Holy Ghost, as born witness to me of these things. In Romans 8:16-17 we read the following:

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

One of my favorite songs as a child, which remains a favorite even now, is “I Am a Child of God”.

I am a child of God,
And he has sent me here,
Has given me an earthly home
With parents kind and dear.
(Chorus)

I am a child of God,
And so my needs are great;
Help me to understand his words
Before it grows to late.
(Chorus)

I am a child of God.
Rich blessings are in store;
If I but learn to do his will
I’ll live with hime once more.
(Chorus)

I am a child of God.
His promises are sure;
Celestial glory shall be mine
If I can but endure.
(Chorus)

Chorus:
Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,
Help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do
To live with him someday.

When I sing it with my daughters today, I feel the spirit testify to me that what it teaches is true. I know that I am a spiritual daughter of God.

The second answer to this question, has to do with the choices we make in this life. All of mankind are the literal sons and daughters of God, but the scriptures teach us of becoming children of God, or being born of God, in this life. In The Guide to the Scriptures under “Born Again, Born of God” we read the following:

“To have the Spirit of the Lord cause a mighty change in a person’s heart so that he has no more desire to do evil, but rather desires to seek the things of God.” – Whosoever is born of God does not continue in sin, JST, 1 Jn. 3:9

We are born of God when we seek after Him, have a change of heart, repent of our wrongs, and live according to His will for us. In the October 1999 session of General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, James E. Faust said the following:

To be a daughter of God means that you are the offspring of Deity, literal descendants of a Divine Father, inheriting godly attributes and potential. To be a daughter of God also means that you have been born again, changed from a “carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness.”

In Mosiah 27:25-26 we read the following:

25 And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters;
26 And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.

Our natural state is that which was brought about by the fall of Adam. We tend to think of our immediate wants and desires, which seem more often then not, to be selfish and lean towards immediate satisfaction. The natural man is not able to become like God or dwell in heaven with him. The nature of God is eternal righteousness and happiness. To be that kind of person, we have to be willing to work harder to make better choices and change our wills to be like His. We should want this because we have the ability to become like Him. Not only do we have that ability, but it is exactly what He wants for us.

President Gordon B. Hinckey said the following in the October 1991 session of conference (LDS):

I wish to affirm also at the outset . . ., that you are very precious, each of you, regardless of your circumstances. You occupy a high and sacred place in the eternal plan of God, our Father in Heaven. You are His daughters, precious to Him, loved by Him, and very important to Him. His grand design cannot succeed without you.

God’s work is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). His grand design is fulfilled when we choose to become born of him in this life, and receive the gifts of immortality and eternal life as our reward after this life. We cannot be born of God in this life, unless we follow his commandments and make and keep sacred covenants with him. When we are baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost we are spiritually born of God. In Alma 36:23-24 we read the following related verses:

23 But behold, my limbs did receive their strength again, and I stood upon my feet, and did manifest unto the people that I had been born of God.
24 Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

Baptism

I have been baptized and received the gift of the Spirit. I know that through this act I was and have since become a spiritual daughter of God in the sense that although I was spiritually born of him before this life, I naturally have been separated from him in this life. Through receiving His gift of the spirit in my life, I have the ability to return as part of his spiritual family after this life, if I will remain true and faithful to his commandments. I am so grateful for this knowledge and for the gospel in my life. I don’t know what kind of person I would have chosen to be without the influence of the gospel. I believe that knowing I am a daughter of God has given me the reason for living a good life and being a good person. I want to live worthy of the spirit, so that I can return to live with God again someday.

The Fourth Article of Faith

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

We believe that there are certain principles of the gospel, which need to be understood by any who want to follow Jesus Christ and live a righteous life. The first of these is faith in Jesus Christ. We are followers of Jesus Christ. We believe that his life should be a pattern for how we should live. We believe that the only way we can be saved is by following the path that he led for us. You cannot follow Him, if you do not believe in Him. Faith is a belief is something that is true which we cannot see. In Alma 32:21 we read, “And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.” Most people will not have the opportunity in this life to personally see the Savior. None of us have witnessed first-hand how He lived his life, or have heard Him speak. We were not there to see Him work miracles, or to watch Him as he suffered for each of us. We are not those who watched Him die, and then witnessed Him as a resurrected being. All we have is the testimony and witness of others, which we find in the scriptures, along with possibly a witness from the Spirit. From that, we are required to exercise our faith that he truly did live and that he made the ultimate sacrifice for us. We have to have faith that he was truly the Son of God and that through his obedience he has made it possible for us to return to live with God again. We believe that the only way to gain a firm testimony for ourselves is to exercise faith in Him. In Ether 12:6 we read, “. . . wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.” Faith is the reason that we have to make religion a part of our lives and it is the building block upon which living the gospel stands. Doctrine and Covenants 8:10 says, “Remember that without faith you can do nothing; therefore ask in faith.” I know that faith is the first step to coming unto Christ, and to receiving the greatest reward after this life. I believe in Jesus Christ. I know that he is the Son of God, the Eternal Father. I know that he paid for my sins and that he was resurrected and lives today. I know that by maintaining a strong faith in Him, I will be able to see Him again some day.

Faith in Jesus Christ, is the principle which leads us to the second principle of repentance. Repentance is absolutely necessary for all people who are capable of sin, who hope to live with God again. Repentance is the process that we go through in order to become worthy and clean to enter into the presence of God. The Bible Dictionary says, “Since we are born into conditions of mortality, repentance comes to mean a turning of the heart and will to God, and a renunciation of sin to which we are naturally inclined.” We each are born with natural tendencies that we must learn to control. This life is truly about self-mastery. Repentance is there for when we make the mistakes that we will make. Because we are mortal, we have flaws and weaknesses. When we learn the gospel, we learn of those things that we must or must not do if we hope to gain eternal life. If we did not have repentance, we would never be worthy to have these blessings. We believe that the process of repentance requires recognizing that we have sinned and then having a change of heart. Sometimes this change of heart can come easily and without much effort on our part. At other times, a change of heart is a difficult and refining process. With this change of heart, we must put our own desires in line with the will of God. We know what He wants for us through the scriptures. True repentance requires making restitution where we can. In Numbers 5:7 we read, “Then they shall confess their sin which they have done: and he shall recompense his trespass with the principal thereof, and add unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto him against whom he hath trespassed.” It requires forgiving others and ourselves. We believe that to repent, we must return to the Lord, asking for forgiveness from God for our sins, and then follow it up with making and renewing our covenants with Him. I know the the repentance process is difficult. I don’t many people who thrill in change. Repentance is all about change. I know that it is so much easier to continue in doing the things that come naturally to us, but I have hope in the rewards of joy, peace and happiness, which will come through having that change of heart. I have experienced a great deal of this in my own life. So much so, that I am enjoying becoming more like that person that God knows that I can become. I am so grateful for the Savior’s atonement, which makes repentance possible. I don’t want his suffering to be in vain, so I want to do my best to repent for the things I do wrong.

Baptism

When we have repented, we become worthy to make and keep covenants with the Lord. The first ordinance of the gospel is baptism by water. We believe that we must be baptized, because it is a commandment from God. It is so necessary, that even Christ, who was pure and perfect, had to be baptized. In Matthew chapter 3 we read the following,

13 ¶Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

Different religions believe different things about baptism. We believe that baptism can only be performed for those who are capable of committing sin and repenting for that sin. This means that we do not baptize children under the age of eight. The Savior, although perfect, was capable of sinning because he was mortal and understood temptations and what was right and wrong, as well as knew how to repent, even though this was never necessary for Him. In Doctrine and Covenants 20:71 we read, “No one can be received into the church of Christ unless he has arrived unto the years of accountability before God, and is capable of repentance.” We believe that baptism is symbolic of burial and resurrection into new life. In Romans 6:4 we read, “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.” Therefore we believe that we must be fully immersed in the water. Another thing that we believe about baptism, is that it must be performed by one who is worthy and holds the priesthood and authority to act in the name of the Lord. We believe that any other type of baptism will not be recognized by God. The Bible Dictionary says, “Baptism in water has several purposes. It is for the remission of sins, for membership in the Church, and for entrance into the celestial kingdom; it is also the doorway to personal sanctification when followed by the reception of the Holy Ghost.” Through baptism, we not only enter into Christ’s church, but we receive a remission of our sins. When we repent, we become worthy of forgiveness from God. Through baptism, that forgiveness is received as our sins are washed away from us. Those sins are permanently erased from the heavenly record of our lives. They will not be held against us. Then with the help of the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and regular renewal of that covenant through partaking of the Sacrament, we can continue to be sanctified and forgiven of our sins.

Baptism by water is incomplete without the baptism of the spirit. In John 3:5 we read, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” We believe that the laying on of hands, or confirmation, for the Gift of the Holy Ghost, is a necessary ordinance for our salvation. This confirmation, like baptism, must be performed by those who hold the priesthood of God. Without this priesthood authority, it is not valid and the Gift of the Holy Ghost will not be received. In Acts 19 we read the following,

1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.
4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

The Bible Dictionary says, “Confirmation includes more than conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost. To confirm means to “make more sure.” The ordinance of confirmation completes the ceremonial process of becoming a member of the Church, and as such, it is complementary to water baptism.” I believe that without the Gift of the Holy Ghost, it would be next to impossible to live a life after our baptism, that is worthy to gain eternal life. The spirit is a constant guide and companion to those who receive it after baptism. I cannot imagine my life without the inspiration, comfort and teachings I receive on a regular basis.

I am grateful for the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. I know that life would be extremely difficult with the ability and opportunity to exercise faith in Christ. I am so glad that I have the hope in the atonement of Christ, and that through it I can repent and be worthy of great blessings both during and after this life. I am glad that I was raised in the gospel and that I was able to receive baptism and confirmation through the proper priesthood authority, so that I could take the steps necessary to return to live with God again.

The Third Article of Faith

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

We just had a lesson in our Sunday School class that talked about grace (the saving power of the Atonement and resurrection of Christ). There are other religions who believe that with the grace provided by the Savior, Jesus Christ, we are all saved no matter what. In the LDS faith, we believe that one cannot expect to receive exaltation by grace alone. We believe in the atonement. We believe that the Jesus Christ took upon himself every sin, transgression, sorrow, sadness, illness and infirmity that has ever come upon all mankind. We believe that He fully atoned for all of us, and that through him we can be saved.

In the kingdom of God, this earth included, there are laws that must exist for everything to work properly. Just as there are laws in nature which govern the world around us, there are laws of God, which are there to govern how we live our lives. Thankfully, we have been given a great gift from God, which we exercised even before we came to this earth. We have the gift of agency, which allows us each to choose for ourselves, how we will live. We choose our attitudes, our behaviors, and for the purpose of this article of faith, we choose if we will follow the commandments.

We believe that people, with the exception of Jesus Christ, will make mistakes and choose unwisely. A single sin will separate us from God. The scriptures teach us that we cannot return to live with God again, if we are found unclean. In 1 Nephi 10:21 we read, “Wherefore, if ye have sought to do wickedly in the days of your probation, then ye are found unclean before the judgment-seat of God; and no unclean thing can dwell with God; wherefore, ye must be cast off forever.” Our sins keep us spiritually separated from our Father in Heaven. As members of the LDS faith, we are seeking to return to live with Heavenly Father again through exaltation.

The Savior’s resurrection allows all mankind to be resurrected, no matter how they lived their lives. However, we believe that His atonement can only apply to those who take it upon themselves. This does not apply to the innocent. We believe that grace is fully applicable to those who are incapable of sinning, such as young children, because they are born innocent. For those of us who are fully capable of understanding what is right and wrong, we must take the necessary steps to receive His grace. In addition to knowing and following the laws of the gospel, we believe that we cannot have the saving grace of the atonement, without accepting Jesus Christ through the ordinance of baptism. In John 3:5 we read, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” We must be baptized and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost (the Spirit), in order to be saved. Without these ordinances, our souls will be halted in their progression. We will not be able to enter through the gate into the presence of God, if we have not made the covenants necessary.

Baptism

When we are baptized we rid ourselves of our sins, because we have repented before entering the waters of baptism. After baptism, the only way to continue to be worthy to be saved is through repentance. Repentance is a process which includes recognizing our sins, changing our ways or having a change of heart, making any restitutions necessary, and returning to the Savior by renewing our covenants of Baptism, through partaking of the Sacrament. By repenting of sins, we allow the atonement to work for us. We, in effect, trade our sins for the price which was already paid for them by the Savior.

We believe that His grace is sufficient. Meaning that He did enough for every sin for every person. The gift of grace is already waiting for each and every person who will ever have lived on this earth. We believe that all people have the same privileges when it comes to the atonement, and even if they do not have the opportunity to know the gospel in this life, we believe that the opportunity will come to them and they will be able to have His grace as well. In Doctrine and Covenants 138 we read the following about the Savior’s ministry to the spirit world after His death.

32 Thus was the gospel preached to those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets.
33 These were taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands,
34 And all other principles of the gospel that were necessary for them to know in order to qualify themselves that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

We believe that all people will have the same privileges when it comes to baptism. We, as members of the LDS church, have the privilege of performing baptisms for the dead (the vicarious baptism taught about above) through the proper priesthood authority. Those who die without ever having the opportunity to learn of the gospel and be baptized in this life, will have the opportunity to choose to accept the gospel and baptism.

We also believe that there are greater covenants to be made with God, and that through those covenants we can receive exaltation and greater glory in heaven. The key to all of us being saved through the atonement of Jesus Christ is obedience. The laws must be obeyed and when we make mistakes, which we all will, justice of the law must be satisfied. We can either take the sins for ourselves and miss out on being saved, or allow the atonement to work for us and through the repentance process we will be saved. I am so thankful for the covenants which I made at my own baptism. I am even more grateful for the opportunity to repent so that I can be made clean again. I know that all this is made possible through the sacrifice that my Savior, Jesus Christ, made for me.

Joseph Smith-History (Part 5)

This is a continuation of the previous post (Joseph Smith-History Part 4).

So far in this history, Joseph had the first vision and visits from angels including angel Moroni. Joseph was given the gold plates to translate them into what we know now as The Book of Mormon. Martin Harris, who had been his scribe for the first part of the translation, had lost pages of the translation and had been released from his duty as scribe. This record continues:

66 On the 5th day of April, 1829, Oliver Cowdery came to my house, until which time I had never seen him. He stated to me that having been teaching school in the neighborhood where my father resided, and my father being one of those who sent to the school, he went to board for a season at his house, and while there the family related to him the circumstances of my having received the plates, and accordingly he had come to make inquiries of me.
67 Two days after the arrival of Mr. Cowdery (being the 7th of April) I commenced to translate the Book of Mormon, and he began to write for me.

Joseph was once again able to translate the Book of Mormon, with the help of Oliver Cowdery. I just love the account of how Oliver came to be there, because in my study I have learned that he was fully led by the inspiration of the spirit and he came right when Joseph was in need of his help. In Doctrine and Covenants 6, we learn that Oliver had received an answer to the desires of his heart, and this answer led him to assist the prophet. I am sure that this experience of working with the prophet, to assist in translating a sacred record by the power of God, was unforgettable and life-changing. All righteous leaders need the support of faithful members in order to do the work of the Lord. This reminds me that we each have a value in the gospel and we all can have the chance to be instruments in the Lord’s hands, if we are doing what is right and follow the inspiration of the spirit.

Baptism

68 We still continued the work of translation, when, in the ensuing month (May, 1829), we on a certain day went into the woods to pray and inquire of the Lord respecting baptism for the remission of sins, that we found mentioned in the translation of the plates. While we were thus employed, praying and calling upon the Lord, a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light, and having laid his hands upon us, he ordained us, saying:
69 Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.
70 He said this Aaronic Priesthood had not the power of laying on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, but that this should be conferred on us hereafter; and he commanded us to go and be baptized, and gave us directions that I should baptize Oliver Cowdery, and that afterwards he should baptize me.

While translating the gold plates, Joseph and Oliver had questions about the gospel. There are many teachings in the scriptures of the ordinances that we must partake of in order to partake of Eternal Life. The prophets have taught many times of the basic principles of the gospel and Joseph and Oliver knew that they did not have these things, but should. More importantly, the Savior himself, taught these principles when he visited the people in the Americas. One of the questions they had from reading the teachings of Jesus, was related to baptism for the remission of sins, so they decided to take their question to the Lord. In response, they were visited by an angel who conferred upon them the Aaronic priesthood and the power to baptize in the name of Christ. This was the next step in the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The priesthood power, which had not been on the earth since the time of the apostles, was restored to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. This priesthood power and authority to baptize people in the name of Christ, continues to be on the earth today.

71 Accordingly we went and were baptized. I baptized him first, and afterwards he baptized me—after which I laid my hands upon his head and ordained him to the Aaronic Priesthood, and afterwards he laid his hands on me and ordained me to the same Priesthood—for so we were commanded.*
72 The messenger who visited us on this occasion and conferred this Priesthood upon us, said that his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament, and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the Priesthood of Melchizedek, which Priesthood, he said, would in due time be conferred on us, and that I should be called the first Elder of the Church, and he (Oliver Cowdery) the second. It was on the fifteenth day of May, 1829, that we were ordained under the hand of this messenger, and baptized.

Now that they had the priesthood, Joseph and Oliver were able to baptize and ordain one another. The ordinance of baptism, through this proper priesthood authority, is the gateway for our acceptance into the presence of our Heavenly Father. We cannot enter without it. I am so grateful for my own baptism and for the blessings that have filled my life because of it.

The angel revealed that he was John the Baptist and that Peter, James, and John would bring them the Melchizedek Priesthood in due time. Joseph and Oliver did not act outside of the priesthood authority they had been given, and eventually they had the Melchizedek Priesthood conferred upon them as well. Before this happened though, they did receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the power of God.

73 Immediately on our coming up out of the water after we had been baptized, we experienced great and glorious blessings from our Heavenly Father. No sooner had I baptized Oliver Cowdery, than the Holy Ghost fell upon him, and he stood up and prophesied many things which should shortly come to pass. And again, so soon as I had been baptized by him, I also had the spirit of prophecy, when, standing up, I prophesied concerning the rise of this Church, and many other things connected with the Church, and this generation of the children of men. We were filled with the Holy Ghost, and rejoiced in the God of our salvation.

Neither of these men had been able to prophesy before this experience. Joseph was able to witness and testify of the things that he had been taught and seen, but it was not until he had been baptized and was worthy to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, that he was able to prophesy of things to come. I am sure that this was an amazing experience and gave them a greater strength and courage to go on in the face of the ongoing persecution and adversity.

74 Our minds being now enlightened, we began to have the scriptures laid open to our understandings, and the true meaning and intention of their more mysterious passages revealed unto us in a manner which we never could attain to previously, nor ever before had thought of. In the meantime we were forced to keep secret the circumstances of having received the Priesthood and our having been baptized, owing to a spirit of persecution which had already manifested itself in the neighborhood.
75 We had been threatened with being mobbed, from time to time, and this, too, by professors of religion. And their intentions of mobbing us were only counteracted by the influence of my wife’s father’s family (under Divine providence), who had become very friendly to me, and who were opposed to mobs, and were willing that I should be allowed to continue the work of translation without interruption; and therefore offered and promised us protection from all unlawful proceedings, as far as in them lay.

Now that they had the precious gift of the Holy Ghost, they were able to receive great understanding of the scriptures as they worked to translate them. I am touched by the softening of the hearts of the Hale family. They had previously been against Emma marrying Joseph, so much so that it seems that Joseph feared for her safety and removed her from them. However, by the hand of God, the work of translation was continued, because her family had been changed. It is another example to me, that hearts can be changed for the better, even when it seems things will never be different.

* Oliver Cowdery describes these events thus: “These were days never to be forgotten—to sit under the sound of a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven, awakened the utmost gratitude of this bosom! Day after day I continued, uninterrupted, to write from his mouth, as he translated with the Urim and Thummim, or, as the Nephites would have said, ‘Interpreters,’ the history or record called ‘The Book of Mormon.’
“To notice, in even few words, the interesting account given by Mormon and his faithful son, Moroni, of a people once beloved and favored of heaven, would supersede my present design; I shall therefore defer this to a future period, and, as I said in the introduction, pass more directly to some few incidents immediately connected with the rise of this Church, which may be entertaining to some thousands who have stepped forward, amid the frowns of bigots and the calumny of hypocrites, and embraced the Gospel of Christ.
“No men, in their sober senses, could translate and write the directions given to the Nephites from the mouth of the Savior, of the precise manner in which men should build up His Church, and especially when corruption had spread an uncertainty over all forms and systems practiced among men, without desiring a privilege of showing the willingness of the heart by being buried in the liquid grave, to answer a ‘good conscience by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.’
“After writing the account given of the Savior’s ministry to the remnant of the seed of Jacob, upon this continent, it was easy to be seen, as the prophet said it would be, that darkness covered the earth and gross darkness the minds of the people. On reflecting further it was as easy to be seen that amid the great strife and noise concerning religion, none had authority from God to administer the ordinances of the Gospel. For the question might be asked, have men authority to administer in the name of Christ, who deny revelations, when His testimony is no less than the spirit of prophecy, and His religion based, built, and sustained by immediate revelations, in all ages of the world when He has had a people on earth? If these facts were buried, and carefully concealed by men whose craft would have been in danger if once permitted to shine in the faces of men, they were no longer to us; and we only waited for the commandment to be given ‘Arise and be baptized.’

Oliver’s writing is very poetic and can seem a bit difficult to understand, but what I get from this is that Oliver wanted to share his testimony of his experience. He truly sat and wrote as the prophet of the Lord acted as an instrument of God and translated the gold plates with the help of the Urim and Thummim. He testifies that no person could have written the words of the Savior about his gospel and not have the desire to be baptized. He says that mankind had been in darkness, but they did not need to be any longer. He and Joseph were anxiously waiting for the commandment to be baptized.

“This was not long desired before it was realized. The Lord, who is rich in mercy, and ever willing to answer the consistent prayer of the humble, after we had called upon Him in a fervent manner, aside from the abodes of men, condescended to manifest to us His will. On a sudden, as from the midst of eternity, the voice of the Redeemer spake peace to us, while the veil was parted and the angel of God came down clothed with glory, and delivered the anxiously looked for message, and the keys of the Gospel of repentance. What joy! what wonder! what amazement! While the world was racked and distracted—while millions were groping as the blind for the wall, and while all men were resting upon uncertainty, as a general mass, our eyes beheld, our ears heard, as in the ‘blaze of day’; yes, more—above the glitter of the May sunbeam, which then shed its brilliancy over the face of nature! Then his voice, though mild, pierced to the center, and his words, ‘I am thy fellow-servant,’ dispelled every fear. We listened, we gazed, we admired! ’Twas the voice of an angel from glory, ’twas a message from the Most High! And as we heard we rejoiced, while His love enkindled upon our souls, and we were wrapped in the vision of the Almighty! Where was room for doubt? Nowhere; uncertainty had fled, doubt had sunk no more to rise, while fiction and deception had fled forever!

Oliver and Joseph did not have to wait long to be told to be baptized. He testifies that the Lord answers the prayers of the humble, and that they in fact had their own prayer answered. He testifies of the experience of witnessing the glory of John the Baptist and hearing his soul-piercing voice and knowing, without any doubts, that he was a messenger from God.

“But, dear brother, think, further think for a moment, what joy filled our hearts, and with what surprise we must have bowed, (for who would not have bowed the knee for such a blessing?) when we received under his hand the Holy Priesthood as he said, ‘Upon you my fellow-servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer this Priesthood and this authority, which shall remain upon earth, that the Sons of Levi may yet offer an offering unto the Lord in righteousness!’
“I shall not attempt to paint to you the feelings of this heart, nor the majestic beauty and glory which surrounded us on this occasion; but you will believe me when I say, that earth, nor men, with the eloquence of time, cannot begin to clothe language in as interesting and sublime a manner as this holy personage. No; nor has this earth power to give the joy, to bestow the peace, or comprehend the wisdom which was contained in each sentence as they were delivered by the power of the Holy Spirit! Man may deceive his fellow-men, deception may follow deception, and the children of the wicked one may have power to seduce the foolish and untaught, till naught but fiction feeds the many, and the fruit of falsehood carries in its current the giddy to the grave; but one touch with the finger of his love, yes, one ray of glory from the upper world, or one word from the mouth of the Savior, from the bosom of eternity, strikes it all into insignificance, and blots it forever from the mind. The assurance that we were in the presence of an angel, the certainty that we heard the voice of Jesus, and the truth unsullied as it flowed from a pure personage, dictated by the will of God, is to me past description, and I shall ever look upon this expression of the Savior’s goodness with wonder and thanksgiving while I am permitted to tarry; and in those mansions where perfection dwells and sin never comes, I hope to adore in that day which shall never cease.”—Messenger and Advocate, vol. 1 (October 1834), pp. 14–16.

Oliver and Joseph bowed to the glory of John the Baptist who called himself their fellow servant. It must have been amazing to realize that they were in the same service to God, as an angel from heaven. Oliver testifies that John the Baptist conferred the Priesthood of Aaron upon them. Oliver says that no trial, tribulation, deception, or wicked influence could stand in the mind, when one ray of glory from God has been received in the mind. He could not adequately describe the glorious experience that he had at that time.

I am grateful for the testimony of Oliver Cowdery. Again, the Lord has said ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses’ and this is another example of that. We could have just had the testimony of Joseph to believe, but here we have two witnesses of the same experience and now this will stand as a witness against those who say that it could not be true. I believe that the priesthood was truly restored to these great men. I believe that it remains on the earth today and that worthy men of the true gospel and church of Jesus Christ, can hold and use that priesthood. I have been greatly blessed by the priesthood in my life and I do not ever want to be without its influence. I am grateful to be married to a worthy man who honors his priesthood and brings its blessings into my home.

More on the Teachings of Paul

I know that we are all sinners. We cannot be with God if we are unpure because of sin. If we do not repent or become justified (made righteous in the sight of God) through the redemption of Jesus Christ, we will remain in our sins at the last day. We are justified through our faith. Or rather we are forgiven of our sins when we act in faith and repent. The atonement has made this possible to all mankind.

I know that simply going through the motions of partaking of the sacrament does not bring us a renewal of our covenants that we made at baptism. It is the faith we act in repentance of the things we have done wrong, which allow our partaking of the sacrament to work as a renewal of those covenants. We will not grow in our testimony or in knowledge if we live the law without faith in Christ and His gospel.

I know that there is no value to sin when their is no law. The commandments clarify what is sin. Once we know the commandments we are held accountable for any sins against that commandment. If we do not have a commandment for something, we cannot sin against it. Therefore, there is no judgement held against us for that things and we have no need to be justified for it.

Baptism

I know that baptism, after the pattern of the Savior, is like putting the natural man within us to rest and rising again as a new person who has made a covenant and promise to live a righteous life. We are able to start fresh and focus our lives on God’s will for us.

I know that I am a child of God and I have the ability to progress to become more like Him. I know that if I am doing the things that are right, that my trials and adversity will be for my benefit and learning. If, however, I am knowingly committing sin, my trials will not have the benefit until I have changed my ways. If we are righteous, we will continue to turn to Christ and feel his love and support through any difficult times that come our way.

I know that missionary work is so important to the salvation of all the children of God. Without missionary work, those who are accepting are not able to hear the gospel. Without hearing the gospel, they cannot choose if they will believe it or not. Without believing it, they cannot fully repent of the things they do wrong or make a change of heart. Without repentance they cannot be baptized. Without baptism they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God. I am so grateful for missionaries and for the opportunity that I have to share my own testimony with you out there in the world and do my own little piece of the Lord’s missionary work.

Here are some of the things I know I need to work on being, in order to become like Jesus Christ and return to live with Him and our Father in Heaven some day (according to a scripture chain for the qualities of a Saint):

  • Be worthy and dedicated to your callings
  • Be submissive, lowly and meek – humble, quiet and gentle
  • Be patient and enduring well through difficulties and trials
  • Be restrained in our emotions to others – temper your emotions
  • Be loving and charitable
  • Be unified in the Spirit
  • Be peaceful
  • Be refined, courteous, and polite
  • Be faithful
  • Be honest in your feelings and love others
  • Be disgusted by evil and cling to those things that are good
  • Be kind and affectionate
  • Be respectful of others
  • Be a good worker, diligent, active, productive, and involved
  • Be passionate in spiritual things
  • Be hopeful
  • Be patient through adversity – be a thriver
  • Be prayerful and fast
  • Be generous and giving, especially to those in need, and even to those who are our enemies
  • Be hospitable and welcoming
  • Be forgiving of those who do you wrong, pray for them, bless them, and do not try to get back at them
  • Be happy for others when things go well for them
  • Be there for those who are suffering
  • Be thoughtful of those who have less
  • Be smart, knowledgable, and wise
  • Be real, genuine, and modest in your knowledge
  • Be honest in all things at all times
  • Be righteous and overcome evil with good
  • Be open to the promptings of the spirit and follow them
  • Be a partaker of the atonement, through repentance and a change of heart
  • Be better than what comes naturally
  • Be dedicated to the work of the Lord and willing to submit yourself to His will – consecrate and sanctify yourself
  • Be virtuous, clean and pure
  • Be a member of God’s church and attend your meetings
  • Be organized and prepared
  • Be a teacher of all that is good, especially the gospel – testify to others and preach repentance when appropriate
  • Be like God
  • Moses (Chapter 6)

    In this chapter, we continue to learn of the history and beginning of the time on earth. There is a combination of righteousness and wickedness among the people. Adam is still living at this point, and his posterity continues to increase.

    1 And Adam hearkened unto the voice of God, and called upon his sons to repent.
    2 And Adam knew his wife again, and she bare a son, and he called his name Seth. And Adam glorified the name of God; for he said: God hath appointed me another seed, instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.
    3 And God revealed himself unto Seth, and he rebelled not, but offered an acceptable sacrifice, like unto his brother Abel. And to him also was born a son, and he called his name Enos.
    4 And then began these men to call upon the name of the Lord, and the Lord blessed them;
    5 And a book of remembrance was kept, in the which was recorded, in the language of Adam, for it was given unto as many as called upon God to write by the spirit of inspiration;
    6 And by them their children were taught to read and write, having a language which was pure and undefiled.
    7 Now this same Priesthood, which was in the beginning, shall be in the end of the world also.
    8 Now this prophecy Adam spake, as he was moved upon by the Holy Ghost, and a genealogy was kept of the children of God. And this was the book of the generations of Adam, saying: In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;
    9 In the image of his own body, male and female, created he them, and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created and became living souls in the land upon the footstool of God.
    10 And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his own image, and called his name Seth.
    11 And the days of Adam, after he had begotten Seth, were eight hundred years, and he begat many sons and daughters;
    12 And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died.
    13 Seth lived one hundred and five years, and begat Enos, and prophesied in all his days, and taught his son Enos in the ways of God; wherefore Enos prophesied also.
    14 And Seth lived, after he begat Enos, eight hundred and seven years, and begat many sons and daughters.
    15 And the children of men were numerous upon all the face of the land. And in those days Satan had great dominion among men, and raged in their hearts; and from thenceforth came wars and bloodshed; and a man’s hand was against his own brother, in administering death, because of secret works, seeking for power.
    16 All the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years, and he died.
    17 And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan. And Enos and the residue of the people of God came out from the land, which was called Shulon, and dwelt in a land of promise, which he called after his own son, whom he had named Cainan.
    18 And Enos lived, after he begat Cainan, eight hundred and fifteen years, and begat many sons and daughters. And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years, and he died.
    19 And Cainan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalaleel; and Cainan lived after he begat Mahalaleel eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters. And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years, and he died.
    20 And Mahalaleel lived sixty-five years, and begat Jared; and Mahalaleel lived, after he begat Jared, eight hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters. And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred and ninety-five years, and he died.
    21 And Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and begat Enoch; and Jared lived, after he begat Enoch, eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. And Jared taught Enoch in all the ways of God.
    22 And this is the genealogy of the sons of Adam, who was the son of God, with whom God, himself, conversed.

    The commandment to write a book of remembrance was given to Adam in the beginning. God’s commandments are eternal and unless we are given a new commandment which changes one, it is still a commandment for us today. Therefore, we have a commandment to keep a record of our own people. I know that we learn a lot from the records of the past, which can keep us on the right path in life. These records are so important. I cannot imagine what my life would be like, if Lehi had not recognized the importance of these records. Because of that recognition, we have the Book of Mormon today, which is where the majority of my testimony comes from. Our own records can be used to teach and lift our own posterity and more.

    In the time of Adam and his children, the priesthood was already established on the earth. The priesthood is eternal and is the same priesthood which worthy men may hold today. The line of the priesthood follows a patriarchal line, which I think is the reason we have the genealogy of the posterity of Adam listed here. The righteous priesthood holders who followed Adam included his son Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared and Enoch. I’m not exactly sure how many held the priesthood, or if perhaps these were the sons who held the higher priesthood or specifically held all the keys of the priesthood (like the prophet does today), but I understand that these were the righteous priesthood leaders in the early years of this earth.

    At the same time that the righteous generations were growing, so were the wicked generations. With the wickedness among men, came wars, death, and secret combinations, which I am sure tormented all those who were living. The righteous people, moved away from the wickedness, to the land of promise, also known as the land of Cainan.

    23 And they were preachers of righteousness, and spake and prophesied, and called upon all men, everywhere, to repent; and faith was taught unto the children of men.
    24 And it came to pass that all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years, and he died.
    25 And Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begat Methuselah.

    All of these righteous priesthood leaders, preached repentance to the people. These verses are another testimony to me of what the first principles of the gospel are. Faith and repentance must be taught in order for men to be saved. We cannot build upon our foundation, unless we first have faith in Jesus Christ and are willing to repent of those things we do, which are unrighteous and wrong.

    26 And it came to pass that Enoch journeyed in the land, among the people; and as he journeyed, the Spirit of God descended out of heaven, and abode upon him.
    27 And he heard a voice from heaven, saying: Enoch, my son, prophesy unto this people, and say unto them—Repent, for thus saith the Lord: I am angry with this people, and my fierce anger is kindled against them; for their hearts have waxed hard, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes cannot see afar off;
    28 And for these many generations, ever since the day that I created them, have they gone astray, and have denied me, and have sought their own counsels in the dark; and in their own abominations have they devised murder, and have not kept the commandments, which I gave unto their father, Adam.
    29 Wherefore, they have foresworn themselves, and, by their oaths, they have brought upon themselves death; and a hell I have prepared for them, if they repent not;
    30 And this is a decree, which I have sent forth in the beginning of the world, from my own mouth, from the foundation thereof, and by the mouths of my servants, thy fathers, have I decreed it, even as it shall be sent forth in the world, unto the ends thereof.
    31 And when Enoch had heard these words, he bowed himself to the earth, before the Lord, and spake before the Lord, saying: Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?
    32 And the Lord said unto Enoch: Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good.
    33 Say unto this people: Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you.
    34 Behold my Spirit is upon you, wherefore all thy words will I justify; and the mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course; and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me.
    35 And the Lord spake unto Enoch, and said unto him: Anoint thine eyes with clay, and wash them, and thou shalt see. And he did so.
    36 And he beheld the spirits that God had created; and he beheld also things which were not visible to the natural eye; and from thenceforth came the saying abroad in the land: A seer hath the Lord raised up unto his people.

    Enoch was called to serve and preach to the people. The Lord told him that if the people did not repent, then they would experience death and hell. This death is a spiritual death, or a separation from God both during and after this life. The hell that God has prepared, is the spiritual prison that causes souls to be halted in the progression and live in eternal torment for their choices in this life.

    Enoch was a righteous man, and a prophet of God. He was humble. I find it interesting, just how often the prophets of God have asked why they would be called to do such great things when they do not think they are gifted enough to do it. Then they act in faith, and do such marvelous things through the power of God. Enoch was blessed at this time, for his righteousness, by being allowed to see things that cannot be seen by our natural eyes. We just had a lesson in church about the seemingly simple things that we are asked to do to show our faith in God, and to receive great blessings. Enoch was told to put clay on his eyes and wash them, which he obediently did. Then he was blessed to see wonders that we cannot possibly perceive with our own earthly vision.

    37 And it came to pass that Enoch went forth in the land, among the people, standing upon the hills and the high places, and cried with a loud voice, testifying against their works; and all men were offended because of him.
    38 And they came forth to hear him, upon the high places, saying unto the tent-keepers: Tarry ye here and keep the tents, while we go yonder to behold the seer, for he prophesieth, and there is a strange thing in the land; a wild man hath come among us.
    39 And it came to pass when they heard him, no man laid hands on him; for fear came on all them that heard him; for he walked with God.
    40 And there came a man unto him, whose name was Mahijah, and said unto him: Tell us plainly who thou art, and from whence thou comest?
    41 And he said unto them: I came out from the land of Cainan, the land of my fathers, a land of righteousness unto this day. And my father taught me in all the ways of God.
    42 And it came to pass, as I journeyed from the land of Cainan, by the sea east, I beheld a vision; and lo, the heavens I saw, and the Lord spake with me, and gave me commandment; wherefore, for this cause, to keep the commandment, I speak forth these words.
    43 And Enoch continued his speech, saying: The Lord which spake with me, the same is the God of heaven, and he is my God, and your God, and ye are my brethren, and why counsel ye yourselves, and deny the God of heaven?
    44 The heavens he made; the earth is his footstool; and the foundation thereof is his. Behold, he laid it, an host of men hath he brought in upon the face thereof.
    45 And death hath come upon our fathers; nevertheless we know them, and cannot deny, and even the first of all we know, even Adam.
    46 For a book of remembrance we have written among us, according to the pattern given by the finger of God; and it is given in our own language.
    47 And as Enoch spake forth the words of God, the people trembled, and could not stand in his presence.

    I have had the experience of being in a position of leadership in the church. It was difficult at times, because I was prompted to say things that could have been considered as calling others to repentance. Sometimes those things can be hard to hear. Those who may not be in the right place in their lives, sometimes choose to take offense to those things, instead of realizing that we all have areas of our lives that we need to work on and trying to work on those things themselves. I am sure that there were many who found the words of Enoch to be difficult to hear. Nevertheless, the people came to hear his speak and he told them why he came to preach to them. Then he bore testimony of God, which was so powerful that the people could not stand near him.

    48 And he said unto them: Because that Adam fell, we are; and by his fall came death; and we are made partakers of misery and woe.
    49 Behold Satan hath come among the children of men, and tempteth them to worship him; and men have become carnal, sensual, and devilish, and are shut out from the presence of God.
    50 But God hath made known unto our fathers that all men must repent.
    51 And he called upon our father Adam by his own voice, saying: I am God; I made the world, and men before they were in the flesh.
    52 And he also said unto him: If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men, ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, asking all things in his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you.
    53 And our father Adam spake unto the Lord, and said: Why is it that men must repent and be baptized in water? And the Lord said unto Adam: Behold I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the Garden of Eden.
    54 Hence came the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world.
    55 And the Lord spake unto Adam, saying: Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin, even so when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good.
    56 And it is given unto them to know good from evil; wherefore they are agents unto themselves, and I have given unto you another law and commandment.
    57 Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time.
    58 Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children, saying:
    59 That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;
    60 For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified;
    61 Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.
    62 And now, behold, I say unto you: This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time.
    63 And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me.

    Those who Enoch preached to, had access to the teachings of Adam through the writings that had been passed down through their generations. However, Satan had placed his temptations and distractions in the hearts and minds of men. These things had replaced the teachings of Adam, so Enoch was called to remind them of the truth. Part of these truths was the basic teaching of the plan of salvation. He taught the people that God created the world and that we all are subject to the fall through Adam’s transgression. He taught them that the fall is overcome through faith in Jesus Christ and baptism by water and the spirit. He taught them that we are born in this mortal life to experience the bitterness so that we know the good in life. He reminded them that we have been given agency, so that we can choose for ourselves to keep the laws and commandments, or not. With this agency, we must repent or we cannot be redeemed by the blood of Christ. He reminded them that if they are baptized, after repentance, they can have the spirit with them, which will teach them and testify of all things.

    I love that we have a record in these verses, which tells us that Adam was forgiven by God for his original transgression. This is proof that we are not responsible for this. We are, however, responsible for our own sins. The Savior’s atonement is the only way that we can be forgiven of our own transgressions and sins. We can only partake of His atonement through proper repentance.

    64 And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water.
    65 And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man.
    66 And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever;
    67 And thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity.
    68 Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons. Amen.

    Baptism

    Enoch taught the people that Adam was baptized by water and the spirit. At that time, Adam then received the priesthood. Adam was our first example of faith and obedience to the commandments to be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost. Through these ordinances, we can all become sons [and daughters] of God. I am so grateful that I was raised in the church and have had the gospel in my life. I am glad that the scriptures have helped me to gain a testimony of my Savior, Jesus Christ. I believe that He was the creator of this world and that through Him, we have the opportunity and privilege to live with God again someday. It is so amazing that we have the stories of such great prophets and teachers as Adam and Enoch, which teach us simple gospel truths that we can learn and grow from.

    Baptism

    (View the entire lesson here: Baptism)

    Baptism

    The Commandment to Be Baptized

    Why must we be baptized?

    “We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost (Articles of Faith 1:4).” Baptism is an ordinance we must make in order to be accepted back into the presence of God. All people will be resurrected and judged for their works, but only those who obey the commandment to be baptized will be able to gain exaltation into the celestial kingdom. In John 3 we read, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (v. 3). . . Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (v. 5).” Baptism makes of clean of all sin and therefore worthy to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, which will not stay where there is sin.

    We Must Be Baptized for the Remission of Our Sins

    Like it says in the fourth article of faith (see above), baptism is for the remission of sins. Being baptized cleans us spiritually, just as the water we are immersed in cleans us physically. This ordinance removes our sins from us and allows us complete forgiveness for the wrongs we have done prior to being baptized.

    We Must Be Baptized to Become Members of the Church of Jesus Christ

    When we are baptized we are formally accepted into Christ’s church. We make a commitment to do all that we can to move His work forward. We take upon ourselves His name and covenant to represent Him in all that we do. We cannot do the work of the Lord, without turning our hearts and desires over to the Lord and deciding to do His will. Our desires and the works we do in this life, will be the proof provided at the judgment day.

    We Must Be Baptized before We Can Receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost

    Just as I said above, being baptized by water prepares us for the baptism of the spirit. The Gift of the Holy Ghost is so precious. It will be the one thing that will always guide us to do what is right and to stay on the strait and narrow path that returns to our Father in Heaven. We should all have a desire to have this amazing gift.

    We Must Be Baptized to Show Obedience

    This life is an opportunity for all of God’s children to prove ourselves worthy of His blessings of eternal life and exaltation. The key to proving ourselves is obedience. We have been given the commandment to be baptized. We must be obedient to all of the commandments, if we desire to return to live with God again. In Matthew 3 we read, “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him (v. 13). But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me (v. 14)? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him (v 15).” If the purpose of baptism was strictly for remission of sins, then the Savior himself would not have needed it. It is however a commanded ordinance, and all men must be obedient to receive the blessings of eternal life.

    We Must Be Baptized to Enter the Celestial Kingdom

    If we wish to enter the Celestial kingdom, then we must be “born of water and of the Spirit” (see John 3:3, 5 above). I know that we all have this desire somewhere within us because we all chose to follow the Savior and come down to the earth to be tested. We all were excited to prove ourselves worthy and I am sure that before coming to this earth, every person who has ever lived or will ever live, felt that returning to live with God was their goal. Only those who have been baptized, can be worthy of the glory of the Celestial kingdom.

    The Correct Mode of Baptism

    How should we be baptized?

    As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe that the proper way to be baptized is by immersion and only after we have repented of our sins. The Lord revealed to the early saints the manner in which we should be baptized. In D&C 20 we read, “Baptism is to be administered in the following manner unto all those who repent (v. 72)—The person who is called of God and has authority from Jesus Christ to baptize, shall go down into the water with the person who has presented himself or herself for baptism, and shall say, calling him or her by name: Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen (v. 73). Then shall he immerse him or her in the water, and come forth again out of the water (v. 74).” In Matthew 3:16 we read that Jesus was baptized he came out of the water. We follow his example when we are brought out of the water as well. It is important to note also, that this can only be performed by one who has authority from God (see D&C 20:73 above). Anything else is not recognized by God as baptism, and is done in vain.

    In the Book of Mormon, the Savior himself taught the precise way that baptism should be performed. In 3 Nephi 11 we read, “And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying (v. 24): Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen (v. 25). And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water (v. 26). And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one (v. 27).”

    Why is authority to perform a baptism important?

    The authority from God is required for all things that are done in the name of the Lord. In order to make the covenants of baptism two parties must be present; the person who is being baptized and committing to keep the commandments of God, and one who is authorized to stand in place of the Lord (because God is not physically there) to commit to give the promised blessings. Otherwise, there is no covenant and therefore there are no blessings that can be given by God.

    In what ways is baptism by immersion like the burial and Resurrection of the Savior?

    In Romans 6 we read, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound (v. 1)? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein (v. 2)? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death (v. 3)? 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 (v. 4). For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection (v. 5): Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin (v. 6).” When we are baptized with water, we are fully buried by it. When the Savior died, he was buried in the tomb. Then he was resurrected and came forth out of the tomb to live again. When we are baptized, we are brought out of the water, ready to live again. Writing this also makes me realize that the person who is in effect acting in place of the Lord, lifts us out of the water, just as the Lord is the only person who can lift us from the grave unto resurrection. This realization, in addition to the knowledge that only the Lord can free us from the sin that keeps us bound, makes the ordinance of baptism even more sacred to me.

    Baptism at the Age of Accountability

    Who should be baptized? What might you say to a friend who believes that infants need to be baptized?

    All people who have the desire to be baptized and who understand and are willing to repent of their sins, should be baptized. There are some religions who perform baptisms of infants and children who do not understand fully what is right and wrong. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we do not believe that this is God’s will for little children. In Moroni 8, Mormon teaches us regarding this ordinance. “Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them; and the law of circumcision is done away in me (v. 8 ). And after this manner did the Holy Ghost manifest the word of God unto me; wherefore, my beloved son, I know that it is solemn mockery before God, that ye should baptize little children (v. 9). Behold I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach—repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children (v. 10). And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins (v. 11). But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter to persons; for how many little children have died without baptism (v. 12)! Wherefore, if little children could not be saved without baptism, these must have gone to an endless hell (v. 13). Behold I say unto you, that he that supposeth that little children need baptism is in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; for he hath neither faith, hope, nor charity; wherefore, should he be cut off while in the thought, he must go down to hell (v. 14). For awful is the wickedness to suppose that God saveth one child because of baptism, and the other must perish because he hath no baptism (v. 15). . . . Little children cannot repent; wherefore, it is awful wickedness to deny the pure mercies of God unto them, for they are all alive in him because of his mercy (v. 19). . . . For behold that all little children are alive in Christ, and also all they that are without the law. For the power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such baptism availeth nothing (v. 22)—But it is mockery before God, denying the mercies of Christ, and the power of his Holy Spirit, and putting trust in dead works (v. 23).”

    Any person, who is not capable of understanding fully about sin, is not capable of sinning and therefore needs no baptism. They are fully covered by the atonement of Christ and His mercy will save them. At the age of 8, all people with full use of their minds, are commanded to repent and be baptized. To anyone who says that children must be baptized, I would ask them when, in the Savior’s ministry, did he ever teach us that children were sinners. He did not. What he did teach can be found in Matthew 19:14 which says, “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

    We Make Covenants When We Are Baptized

    In Mosiah 18 we read, “And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light (v. 8 ); Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life (v. 9)—Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you (v. 10)?”

    What do you think it means to bear one another’s burdens? to stand as a witness of God at all times and in all places?

    When others are burdened, it is our responsibility as followers of Christ, to do all that we can to help them. When we serve those who are weighed down with trials, we begin to take some of that load off of their shoulders and these things become easier for that person to bear. Whatever service we can give is a fulfillment of the covenants we make, whether it is to be a listening ear, to give advice, or to physically help someone who cannot do what is needed on their own. When we do these things we are often times an answer to others prayers. We need to be in tune with the spirit so that we can be an instrument in the Lord’s hands.

    It is also part of our covenant that we will take the name of Jesus Christ upon us and therefore we must stand as a witness at all times and in all places. This means that we must do more than make Sunday a day of worship. We must live as the Savior would have lived, every day of our lives. We need to remember to reflect the Savior’s life whether we are at church, in or homes, at work, or out in the world. We need to be an example to our children, our families, our peers, and so on. This also means that when we are moved upon by the spirit, we need to share our testimonies of God and His gospel.

    Baptism Gives Us a New Beginning

    How was your baptism a new beginning?

    Baptism was the time when my choice to do what I believe to be right, became a sacred choice to me. I remember feeling clean and ready to commit myself to being good. Being baptized gives us a fresh start with the slate of our lives wiped clean. I love seeing converts of the church right after they are baptized, because you can see a new fire in them. Baptism brings a new excitement and joy in the hope of eternal life.

    I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have had to know of the gospel and to make the covenants of baptism with my Father in Heaven. I am grateful to my parents for raising me in the church, so that I did not have to wait to have the blessing of the Holy Ghost. I am so happy to be a member of Christ’s church and to continue to strive daily to do what is right and to be a witness to others.

    D&C Section 76 (Part 4)

    This is a continuation of a previous post (D&C Section 76 Part 3).

    This section was recieved by the prophet, Joseph Smith, and Sidney Rigdon, in a vision. It is regarding some of the truths that were taken from the translation of the Bible. It is a revelation that teaches us about the nature of heaven and the exaltation of men. These truths came after they had been pondering over the translations they had done. There were others who witnessed them receiving this vision and have testified to the glory that was with them when it was received. In this vision, we have learned about the fall of Lucifer and the state of sons of Perdition (see previous posts).

    What Is the Resurrection of the Just?

    “And again we bear record—for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony of the gospel of Christ concerning them who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just (v. 50)—They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given (v. 51)—That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power; (v. 52)”.

    In the resurrection, there are two parts. The first resurrection will be for those who are just, and the second will be for the unjust. The resurrection of the just will be for all those who lived righteously according to the knowledge they had in this life. This includes those who made all the covenants they could in this life and have earned a place in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom, as well as those who did not know the true and full gospel, but who lived a good life, did their best to do what they knew to be right, and will inherit the terrestrial kingdom. Specifically in these verses, the resurrection of the just will include those who have been baptized by immersion.

    What Does It Mean to Be Sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise?

    “And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true (v. 53).” The Saints were given a promise that would be able to have the holy spirit with them. All men are able to feel the influence of the holy spirit. The spirit is what testifies of the truth of the gospel and brings people to baptism. We are promised that when we are baptized we will be given the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands. The Holy Spirit of Promise is the gift of the Holy Ghost we receive at that time. The Holy Spirit of Promise seals the eternal covenants we make with our Father in Heaven when we are righteous and worthy of it. The resurrection of the just will include those who are worthy and have received the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    What Is the Church of the Firstborn?

    “They are they who are the church of the Firstborn (v. 54).” The Firstborn is the Lord, Jesus Christ. The Church of the Firstborn, are those who are committed to keeping His commandments and living his gospel. The resurrection of the just, will include those who follow the commandments.

    This section goes on to say that those who are part of the resurrection of the just will have been promised all that the Father has, and will be priests and kings full of his glory (v. 55-56). They will be those that have the Melchizedek priesthood (v. 57). They will be those who are literal sons of God, belonging to Christ and blessed with the power to overcome all things (v. 58-60). Those who are resurrected with the just and are these things mentioned above, will glorify God and live with God and Jesus Christ forever (v. 61-62). They will be resurrected in the first resurrection, when the Savior comes to the earth to reign (v. 63-64). They will be the choice souls who will come to Zion with the angels and will be a part of the church of the Lord (v. 65-67). The will have been made perfect through the atonement of Jesus Christ (v. 69). Those who are resurrected as part of the resurrection of the just, will include those who have earned the glory of the celestial kingdom, which is the greatest glory of God (v. 70).

    Do Those Who Receive the Gospel in the Spirit World Inherit the Terrestrial Kingdom?

    “And again, we saw the terrestrial world, and behold and lo, these are they who are of the terrestrial, whose glory differs from that of the church of the Firstborn who have received the fulness of the Father, even as that of the moon differs from the sun in the firmament (v. 71). Behold, these are they who died without law (v.72); And also they who are the spirits of men kept in prison, whom the Son visited, and preached the gospel unto them, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh (v. 73); Who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it (v. 74).” The spirits who received the gospel while in the spirit world, will be part of the Terrestrial Kingdom. These spirits will have heard the gospel in mortality, but did not accept it and make the sacred covenants that are necessary to be worthy of a celestial glory. In D&C 137:7 we read, “Thus came the voice of the Lord unto me, saying: All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God”. Those who did not know of the gospel in mortality, but who the Lord knows would have received it, will be taught the gospel in the spirit world and when the accept it along with the sacred covenants that are completed in proxy by those who are living, they will be given the glory of the celestial kingdom. All of those who accept the gospel in the spirit world, will be part of the resurrection of the Just.

    “These are they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men (v. 75). These are they who receive of his glory, but not of his fulness (v. 76). These are they who receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fulness of the Father (v. 77). Wherefore, they are bodies terrestrial, and not bodies celestial, and differ in glory as the moon differs from the sun (v. 78 ).” Those who reject the gospel in this life, but lived good lives still, will receive the glory of the terrestrial kingdom.

    What Does It Mean to Be Valiant in the Testimony of the Savior?

    “These are they who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus; wherefore, they obtain not the crown over the kingdom of our God (v. 79). And now this is the end of the vision which we saw of the terrestrial, that the Lord commanded us to write while we were yet in the Spirit (v. 80).” One who is valiant, is brave. To be valiant in the testimony of the Savior, is to be courageous and brave in sharing this testimony. It is to not be ashamed of the Gospel and to stand up for what you believe, even when everything around you is fighting against it. To be valiant in this, is to choose to follow the commandments and stand firm in faith. To be valiant in the testimony of the Savior, is to live the life of a true disciple of Christ and act as He would have acted. Those who falter in the strength of the testimony in Jesus Christ and follow the world in life, but choose to follow Christ in death, will be part of the terrestrial kingdom.

    (This section is to be continued.)


    About My Scripture Study Buddy

    I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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