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Paul, a preacher of righteousness and an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, taught the saving doctrine that by baptism in water comes regeneration from sin.
Pastors and prophets who ministered to the ancient fold of Christ on the American continent led the people in the same path, that of repentance and baptism by water, the only way by which remission of sins could then or can ever be secured. Read for yourselves in the Book of Mormon, which is verily the Scripture of the Western Continent:
"For the gate by which ye should enter, is repentance, and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire, and by the Holy Ghost." (2 Nephi 31:17).
"Shew 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." (Alma 7:15).
Hear the words of the Lord Jesus Christ through the prophet Mormon:
"Turn, all ye Gentiles from your wicked ways, and repent of your evil doings, of your lyings and deceivings, and of your whoredoms, and of your secret abominations, and your idolatries, and of your murders, and your priestcrafts, and your envyings, and your strifes, and from all your wickedness and abominations, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, that ye may receive a remission of your sins, and be filled with the Holy Ghost, that ye may be numbered with my people, who are of the house of Israel." (3 Nephi 30:2).
"The first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith, unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins." (Moroni 8:25).
To His commissioned servants in the current age, the bearers of the Holy Priesthood again restored to earth, the Lord has given commandment that they proclaim anew to the world the same unchangeable truth, that only through baptism is remission of sins promised. Thus we read:
"But thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior and remission of sins by baptism and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost." (Doctrine and Covenants 19:31). Such is the immutable law of God throughout the ages. There is no other way provided on earth or in heaven by which the merits of the Atonement of Jesus Christ may bring salvation to mankind.
ARE BABES TO BE DAMNED?
A Horrible Misconception
HAT baptism is essential to individual salvation is a tenet of most Christian churches. But baptism is enjoined as an indispensable requisite to remission of sins, and as the one and only gate of admission to the Church of Jesus Christ or the Kingdom of God. Faith in God and genuine repentance are prerequisites to effective baptism. In all consistency and justice, therefore, baptism can be required of those only who are capable of exercising faith and of rendering repentance.
The undeveloped mind of a babe is incapable of conceiving sin, of experiencing faith, or of comprehending repentance. Why then should babes be baptized?
We search in vain for scriptural authority or sanction of the practise of infant baptism. Christ took little chil
dren into His arms and blessed them, saying to those who would have kept the innocents from Him "Suffer little chil'dren, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 19:14).
But He did not baptize them; and, as an early writer has tersely remarked: "From the action of Christ's blessing infants, to infer they are to be baptized, proves nothing so much as that there is a want of better argument; for the conclusion would with more probability be derived thus: Christ blessed infants, and so dismissed them, but baptized them not; therefore infants are not to be baptized."
The unscriptural and repellent dogma of inherent degeneracy and the contaminating effect of original sin, by which every child is born vile in the sight and judgment of God, long cast its dark shadow over the minds of men. From this conception sprang the practise of infant baptism and the perverted doctrine of assured damnation for all babes who die unbaptized. Even the most radical of churches has modified its teaching on this subject, and today permits its members to believe that children who die without baptism pass to a state of partial happiness and content, though forever denied the beatific vision of God.
It is conceded, of course, that no dictum, dogma, or doctrine of men can determine the fate of souls, infant or adult, in the hereafter; nevertheless, theologic precepts have direct effect upon the thoughts and lives of mankind. It is cheering to know that practically all Christendom today repudiates the frightful heresy of the eternal condemnation of babes who die without baptism.
Hear now the word of "Mormonism" on the matter and note the time of its enunciation. In 1830 the Book of
Mormon was first published. Therein we read, in an epistle of the ancient prophet Mormon to his son Moroni:
"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. 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. 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. And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins. But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world. . . . 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. And he that saith, that little children need baptism, denieth the mercies of Christ, and setteth at nought the atonement of him and the power of his redemption." (Book of Mormon, Moroni 8:8-20).
So proclaims the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the world today. Faith in God, repentance of sin, baptism by water and of the Spirit, are required of every soul that comes to years of accountability and powers
of comprehension; but without faith and repentance, of which only understanding minds are capable, baptism is but a perversion of the Gospel ordinance.
The Scriptures relating to baptism in all ages and of all peoples are in harmony as to the conditions essential to the proper reception of the saving rite. In a revelation on Church government given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, in April, 1830, the Lord Jesus Christ thus defined the status of acceptable candidates for baptism:
"All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into His Church." (Doctrine & Covenants 20:37).
These conditions exclude all who have not reached the age and capacity of discretion and understanding; and by specific commandment the Lord has forbidden the Church to administer baptism to others:
"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." (Verse 71).
By revelation the Lord has designated eight years as the age at which children may be baptized into the Church. At an earlier age, however, children are to be brought to the elders of the Church, and be blessed by the laying on of hands in the name of Jesus Christ, after the pattern set by the Master in the course of His personal ministry.