4. 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.
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ
Elder Kevin W. Pearson of the Seventy said on the topic of faith, “This requires more than merely recognizing faith as a gospel principle. To have faith is to have confidence in something or someone. True faith must be centered in Jesus Christ. Faith is a principle of action and of power. It requires us to do, not merely to believe.”
Overcoming doubts, fears, and disbelief will help us strengthen our faith in the Savior. We can do this by “acting” on our beliefs. Live the commandments and teachings of the Savior in your daily life and you will feel his love for you. This love will build your faith in him. Remember, faith without works is dead.
The atonement is there for us so we can use it. If we are not partaking of the atonement often, then the Lord’s pain and suffering would have been in vain. Do not take that for granted. Taking the sacrament each Sabbath allows us to be forgiven of our small sins of the prior week. They are wiped clean and we can start new for the next week. While partaking in this sacred ordinance we must remember to have a deep humility and reverence for our Savior and what he has done for us. We must make a conscious effort to forsake our sins and become a better person.
For more serious sins, we must confess them to our bishop or steak president so that we can receive the counsel we need to truly repent of them. Repentance is a necessary part of the plan. It helps us recognize our wrongs and correct them. By doing so we become more like the Savior and closer to our Father in Heaven.
We believe that by the age of 8 a person has the knowledge of distinguishing right from wrong and can now be held accountable for their sins. The Savior was baptized by immersion, meaning he was completely immersed from head to toe in water, in the Jordan River.
President James E. Faust said, “Baptism symbolizes death, burial, and resurrection, and can only be done by immersion. It also follows the pattern set by the Savior, who was baptized in the river Jordan, where there was much water. 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. The full benefit of forgiveness of sin through the Savior’s Atonement begins with repentance and baptism and then expands upon receiving the Holy Ghost.”
Gift of the Holy Ghost
In a recent General Conference an apostle had an addressed an issue in which some parents do not allow for their children to be baptized at the age of eight because they want them to make that decision when they are an adult. He made a very good point when he stated that by doing this your children are deprived of the precious gift of the Holy Ghost that will be a necessary companion to them in difficult times and trials in their youth. This companionship of the Spirit will build their testimony over time and help them have the strong testimony they will need to face adulthood. If a child does not have this, how can he/she be expected to have a testimony at all?
My cute young nephew who is eight years old has been able to use the gift of the Holy Ghost to not only bless himself but his family as well. Last week a situation arose in which a neighbor had lied to their family and was about to put them all in a jeopardizing situation. Kyler (my nephew) had the truth impressed on his mind by the power of the Holy Ghost and he warned his mom. Knowing he had no way of knowing this truth or verifying it, she recognized it as a prompting from the Spirit and she trusted it. The next day the truth was exposed and eight year old Kyler had been right. His worthiness of the companionship of the Holy Ghost saved his family from a spiritually dangerous situation.
Note in this article of faith it mentions “Laying on of hands”. By proper authority of the Melchizedek priesthood, hands must be laid upon the head of the receiver to obtain the gift of the Holy Ghost. We recognize this authority and these sacred priesthood keys in all ordnances in the church. The sacrament, baptism, and gift of the Holy Ghost all require the proper priesthood keys.
I know that through these ordinances we can become more than what we would ever be without them. They are for our benefit, growth, knowledge and allow of Father in Heaven to bless us, protect us and use as an instrument in His hands. I have felt the power of the Holy Ghost bless me many times in my life and know that I am where I am today because of this companionship. This I say in the name of Jesus Christ – amen.