The Covenant Made at Baptism
Baptism is a
holy ordinance preparatory
to the reception of the Holy Ghost; it is the channel and key by which
the Holy Ghost will be administered. (Teachings
of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.148)
But I further
believe in the gift of the
Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. Evidence by Peter's preaching on
the day of Pentecost, Acts 2:38. You might as
well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the
remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is
but half a baptism, and is
good for nothing without the other half--that is, the baptism of the
Holy Ghost. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 314.)
Teachings From the
Concerning the Baptismal Covenant
2 Nephi 31
5 And now, if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfil all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water!
6 And now, I would ask of you, my beloved brethren, wherein the Lamb of God did fulfil all righteousness in being baptized by water?
7 Know ye not that he was holy? But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments.
8 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;
9 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--
15 Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you, which doth bind you down to destruction, yea, come and go forth, and show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witness it unto him this day by going into the waters of baptism.
Dallin H. Oaks
Joseph Fielding Smith
Every person baptized into this Church has made a covenant with the Lord to keep his commandments. We are to serve the Lord with all the heart, and all the mind, and all the strength that we have, and that too in the name of Jesus Christ. Everything that we do should be done in the name of Jesus Christ.
In the waters of baptism, we covenanted that we would keep these commandments; that we would serve the Lord; that we would keep this first and greatest of all commandments, and love the Lord our God; that we would keep the next great commandment, we would love our neighbor as ourselves; and with all the might that we have, with all the strength, with all our hearts, we would prove to him that we would "live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God"; that we would be obedient and humble, diligent in his service, willing to obey, to hearken to the counsels of those who preside over us and do all things with an eye single to the glory of God.
We should not forget these things, for this commandment is binding upon us as members of the Church.
Ezra Taft Benson
As important as agreements are between individuals, more important are the agreements an individual makes with God. As members of the true Church of Jesus Christ, you made agreements with Him at baptism. That is why you are called the children of the covenant. As a part of that covenant, you agreed "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" (Mosiah 18:9).
Bruce R. McConkie
A covenant is a contract in which two or more parties promise and agree to do certain things. Gospel covenants are made between God and men. Baptism is the covenant in which men promise to keep the commandments of God and He promises to give them eternal life. There are many ways in which men's promises might be recounted. Alma, at the waters of Mormon, summarized them by having each repentant soul swear in substance and thought content:
(a) to forsake the world, to repent of all his or her sins, to join the true church, "to come into the fold of God."
(b) to become a saint, to be numbered with the true believers, to take upon me the name of Christ and become one of his family, "and to be called [one of] his people."
(c) to love and serve his fellowmen, to esteem others as himself, and to bear the burdens of his brethren in the church `that they may be light."
(d) to visit the fatherless and the widows in their afflictions, to care for the sick, the helpless, and the bereaved, and "to mourn with those that mourn."
(e) to proclaim peace, to spread solace, and to "comfort those that stand in need of comfort."
(f) to preach the gospel, to raise the warning voice, to call sinners to repentance, and to stand as a witness of Christ "at all times and in all things, and in all places ... even until death."
(g) to serve the Lord "and keep his commandments" - a promise that is itself infinite and endless, and is so worded as to embrace conformity to every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.
On his part, as Alma expresses it, the Lord promises that those who love and serve him shall receive such great blessings as these:
(a) He covenants to baptize them with fire and with the Holy Ghost, to give them the companionship of his Holy Spirit, to "pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon" them.
(b) He covenants that his saints shall be redeemed -- redeemed from death, hell, the devil, and endless torment; redeemed temporally and spiritually; redeemed from their spiritual fall so that, having been raised in immortality, they will return to his presence and be inheritors of eternal glory.
(c) He covenants that they shall "be numbered with those of the first resurrection," that they shall come forth in the resurrection of the just, that they shall rise from death with a celestial body, which can stand the glory of the celestial kingdom.
(d) He covenants
that they shall have
eternal life which is to inherit, receive, and possess the fulness of
the glory of the celestial world. It is to be like God.
(Mosiah 18:8-10.) [A New Witness for the Articles of Faith,
Spencer W. Kimball
To be baptized is to enter into a covenant of commission. But to fail to be baptized when one is convinced the work is divine is a sin of omission, and penalties will be assessed for failure to meet this requirement. Tens of thousands of people having heard the gospel have failed to be baptized, giving trivial excuses. This is a most serious sin. The Lord told Nicodemus that he and others would not even see the kingdom of God if they rejected the required baptism.
The covenants we
make with God involve
promises to do, not merely to refrain from doing, to work righteousness
as well as to avoid evil. The children of
Israel made such covenants through Moses, saying, "All that the Lord
hath spoken we will do" (Exodus 19:8, italics added), though hardly was
turned until they had broken their promise through wrongdoing. In the
baptismal waters we give a similar undertaking and we repledge it in
the ordinance of the
sacrament. Not to honor these pledges, to refuse to serve or to accept
responsibility and do less than one's best at it, is a sin of omission.
(The Miracle of
Baptism, A Call to
Boyd K. Packer
Temple Covenants Are
Unfolding of the Baptismal Covenant
Harold B. Lee
Spencer W. Kimball
If a person, not a member of the Church, is in the congregation, we do not forbid him partaking of it, but would properly advise that the sacrament is for the renewing of covenants. And, since he has not made the true covenant of baptism or temple covenant, he is exempt. However, his partaking of the sacrament if he is clean and worthy and devout would not bring upon him any condemnation as it would for those who have made solemn covenants and then have ignored or defied them. (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.226)
God's Part of the
George Q. Cannon
Only One Round of Gospel Ladder
George Q. Cannon
Baptism is . . . only one of the rounds in the Gospel ladder which reaches from the depth of the degradation into which poor humanity has fallen to the Celestial Kingdom of God. But the poor prisoner who wishes to escape from his dungeon must take step after step up the ladder until he reaches the top and can breathe once more the free air of heaven, or he will not be benefited; the ladder is his means for attaining the desired end--liberty. The Gospel is our means of gaining our important end--salvation. But we must obey every principle, or we cannot be saved; we must take every step up the ladder, or we cannot get into the Celestial Kingdom. The moment we set bounds to our faith and works, that moment our salvation ceases. . . .
No individual is
justified in neglecting
a present duty in order to be better able, as he thinks, to perform a
future one. No man can be depended on to do his duty
in another sphere or position in life if he does not do so in the one
he at present occupies. We must keep our path clear as we go. Let the
pages of our lives be
free from blot or stain every day, or else the record of our folly and
neglect of duty may stare us in the face some day when we shall
bitterly regret having given
way to such weaknesses. (Gospel Truth, p. 135)