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Monday, July 28, 2008

Talk - Baptism (for converts)

This is a talk I have used when I have been asked to speak at convert baptisms. It is way more detailed than the simple talk I use for youth baptisms.

PREMORTAL REALM - Before we were born, we lived as spirit children with our Heavenly Father. God loved and treasured each of His sons and daughters and we were taught many things in His presence. We were very happy living with our Heavenly Father, but we knew that in order for us to continue to progress, we needed to have more experiences.

HEAVENLY FATHER’S PLAN - Heavenly Father presented a plan to us. This plan involved receiving a physical body and coming to this world to gain earthly experience. Each of us in this room, each person on this earth and everyone who ever has lived or will live on this earth accepted Heavenly Father’s plan. We knew that we would be able to learn and grow through experiences here on earth, and that we would be able to progress toward perfection.

AGENCY - God will not force us to be perfect. Before we were born we had our agency (the ability to make our own choices) and we have that ability now. He has given us agency and the chance to grow and learn from our mistakes and trials. Not one of us will make it through this life without making mistakes. But in His wisdom and infinite love, He has given us a way to become clean.

RETURN TO HIM - Heavenly Father wants us to come back and live with Him after our earth life is through. He has given us the ability to obtain eternal life. He has given us the opportunity to be together as families throughout eternity. He has so many blessings that He wants to give to us. He also has given us the tools and guidance we need to be worthy to return to live with him someday.

PRINCIPLES & ORDINANCES - Today, just as in the days of Jesus, there are certain principles and ordinances of the gospel which the Lord said we must learn and obey. A principle is a belief or teaching. An ordinance is a rite or ceremony. The first two principles of the gospel are faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and repentance. Baptism is the first ordinance of the gospel. One of the instructions the Lord gave to his apostles was, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28: 19-20. The second ordinance of the gospel is receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, which Brother Johns will talk about.

COVENANT - Today is an exciting day. You are about to participate in your very first ordinance of the gospel and make your first covenant with Heavenly Father. You have shown that you have growing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and that you have a repentant heart. I know this because I see your desire and willingness to be baptized and I see peace and purity when I look at you. You will be baptized in a few minutes and then tomorrow you will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. I feel sure that Heavenly Father is very pleased with you and your decisions.

As I mentioned you are about to make your first covenant. A covenant is like a two-way promise. When you are baptized, you promise Heavenly Father that you are willing to remember and follow Jesus and that you will keep His commandments.

In turn, our Heavenly Father promises that he will forgive you of your mistakes and weaknesses when you repent. He also promises that you can have the gift of the Holy Ghost with you and that you can obtain eternal life someday. It seems to me that we are getting the good end of this deal.

Why should we be baptized?
There are many reasons to be baptized. Here are five important ones.

1) We must be baptized for the remission of our sins. If we repent, and are baptized, our sins are forgiven through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We need to be baptized to become clean again.

2) We must be baptized to become members of the Church of Jesus Christ.

3) We must be baptized before we can receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

4) We must be baptized to show obedience.
Jesus was baptized while he lived on the earth. He was pure and had never sinned, but he needed to be baptized to show us the way and to show us the importance of this ordinance. He said that his baptism was necessary “to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:13-15).

5) We must be baptized to enter the Celestial Kingdom.
All of Heavenly Father’s children need to be baptized. Being baptized is the only way there is for us to return and live with Heavenly Father after we are finished with our turn on earth. Being baptized and going under the water washes you clean. And only people who are clean from all their sins can live with Heavenly Father. Jesus said: “Whoso believeth in me, and is baptized… shall inherit the kingdom of God.” Baptism is the gateway through which we enter the celestial kingdom. There is no other way.

How should we be baptized?

Baptism by immersion (or going completely under water) by one having the proper authority is the only true and acceptable way of being baptized. When we are immersed in water and come out again, it is symbolic of death and resurrection. Our sinful life ends when we are baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. After these ordinances we start a new life.

SACRAMENT – As human beings we are forgetful. It is easy to forget the covenants we make. Heavenly Father has provided a reminder for us to help us keep our covenants. We have the opportunity to take the sacrament each week at church. When we take the sacrament, we renew our baptismal covenants every week. When the sacrament is blessed and passed, it is a good opportunity to sit and think about the promises we have made to our Heavenly Father and the promises he has made to us. I tend to think about mistakes I have made that week and things I need to improve in my life. But most importantly I remember that Jesus died and was resurrected that we might live again some day. And that he suffered in Gethesmane to atone for our sins so that we could live with Him and with our family someday if we repent of our sins, keep His commandments and live worthily.

YOU’RE CLEAN - You are so lucky! After you are baptized and received the gift of the Holy Ghost you will be absolutely, positively, perfectly clean.  All the mistakes you have made in your whole life so far will be washed away. You have a wonderful life ahead of you.

ENDURE TO THE END - The journey is just beginning though. After you have been baptized (baptism by water) and have been confirmed (which is referred to as baptism of fire), you will still be faced with challenges, trials and temptations throughout your life. But you have the tools to overcome these things. Heavenly Father has given us commandments to keep us safe, scriptures to help us navigate through life’s tough roads, the ability to talk to Heavenly Father through prayer and to have our prayers answered. He has given us a living prophet on the earth to lead and guide us during these challenging times. He has given us Temples where we can make more covenants and be sealed together as families. You will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost which will be a blessing and protection unto you. I bear my testimony that these things are true.

30 comments:

Hail'in perheen matriarkka said...

This is a really great talk -- I am very happy to have found it and if it is Ok with you, I'd like to use it in my home ward here Arkansas. Thank you for posting it.

Pam said...

I would love for you to use the talk in your ward. Thanks for reading my blog.

2KT Faupula girls said...

Thanks for sharing, I hope you don't mind me using it for a baptism I was just asked to give tomorrow! I love you website, this is my first time running into it.

lilchaparita07 said...

WOW this was helpful! I've never seen this before. Thanks so much for helping me get my thoughts organized. I will be giving you credit today when I speak at the baptism, thanks again.

Becky said...

thanks for posting such great ideas!!

Anonymous said...

Pam, thank you so much for posting this amazing talk! I am going to use parts of it in my talk on baptism tonight in my ward in York, England. Being a recent convert myself, I did have troubles putting my thoughts into right words, and your talk helped me so much! God bless!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this! I have a lesson to teach this week and now the missionaries called today asking me to talk at a baptism - so I am very relieved to have found this and will use it to build my talk. Now to complete my lesson! Great blog!

Anonymous said...

Pam,
Thank you for sharing your organizational skills! I too, have been asked to speak at a baptism and you have helped me organize my thoughts. Thank you so very much for sharing! Technology can be wonderful! Have a great day.

Anonymous said...

Pam! this talk is amazing. My friend Mary;s Baptism is on Sunday and I was having a writers block. Thank You so much for this. Thank you again! you are wonderful!

Hollye said...

Thank you THank you!!! You must have known I needed a hand with the talks at my Son's baptism tomorrow...YOUR AWESOME!!!

Allen said...

Pam,

Thank you for all the great resources on your site. My wife recently gave a talk on baptism for a new convert and she asked that I read through it. She used this post for inspiration, so thank you. I noticed however, the "You're Clean" section isn't entirely correct. I understand the context of what you (and many others I presume) are saying here, but the truth is a remission of sins and complete sanctification doesn't come until after receiving the gift of the holy ghost.

To my surprise, a few friends following the recent baptism misunderstood this concept, which is why I thought it important to mention something here.

Source: "The Gift of the Holy Ghost: What Every Member Should Know" - Boyd K. Packer, 2003

Pam said...

Thanks for your clarification. I have edited the talk accordingly...

Pam said...

Allen, I would love a copy of your wife's talk for my blog if she's willing to share it.

I also put a blog post about the link you sent to me. It was a great talk.

Alex Farris said...

Pam,

Just got the call from the missionaries asking me to give this talk. Yours is an awesome resource!

Many thanks from Alabama

Michelle Tweedy said...

Thank you so much for your post. I will be using it as a jumping off point for a talk at my niece's baptism this Saturday.

Anonymous said...

This is a great talk, if you dont mind I will use parts of it for a baptism i have tomorrow in spanish

thank you

Anonymous said...

Thank you soo much! i always have trouble explaining Baptism and this is just so perfect! Im going to use it tonight at my cousins baptism, im so grateful!

Sepulvedas said...

Thank you so much for making this available to everyone!

Mireya Sepulveda

Ally Leavitt said...

If you don't mind I would like to use this talk for my brothers baptism. Thanks :)

Pam said...

Sure thing! I am happy to share it. :) Congratulations on your brother's baptism!

Evolution said...

Thank you for sharing the beautifully succinct talk on baptism. My daughter in law is being baptized tomorrow and I will be using portions of your well thought pit talk.

Debra said...

Pam,

Thank you for posting this awesome Talk on baptism!
I am thankful to you for having this talent!
I hope you don't mind if use it, it's perfect !

Thank you!

Debra

Debra said...

Thank you for sharing your talk! If you don't mind I would like to use it for a friends baptism! You have the gift of being able to write beautifully!

Thank you!

Pam said...

Debra - I am glad you like the talk :) Please feel free to use it - that is why I shared it on my blog. Hope the baptism goes well and that your friend has a wonderful experience.

mce said...

Thank you for posting this talk. we used many of the points in a Baptism talk for an adult convert.
mce

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this, my good friend has made the decision to get baptized and she's getting baptized on her birthday... And we're 17, && if I may... Maybe borrow your talk && use it at her baptism? If that's okay? && also thank you so much for sharing and posting it... I maybe 17 but I felt the spirit reading it && just made me remember my baptism... But thank you && much mahalo for sharing this !! Appreciate it !!

Anonymous said...

Gabby

Pam thank you for posting this great Talk I am having to give a talk at a baptism and I found your talk I am going to use it at the baptism if that's okay I am also a convert to the church and something in your talk I didn't even know don't thank you for posting this

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing! I'd love to use this talk as an outline at a baptism I've been asked to speak at. It's very well thought out and easy to understand!

Angela Wheat said...

Thank you so much for doing this, if you don't mind I would love to use a part of this with my baptismal talk that I have been asked to do please?

Pam said...

Angela, Feel free to use anything you'd like from this talk or from anything on my blog. Good luck with your talk!