BETA

Baptism was Savior's primary emphasis

"The apex of the Book of Mormon is revealed in the personal appearance of Jesus Christ to the more righteous part of Lehi's descendants, who had witnessed the sweet and the bitter in the years preceding this grand event," wrote S. Brent Farley.

An instructor at the LDS Institute of Religion at Utah State University and a contributing author to Studies in Scripture, Vol. 8 - Alma 30 to Moroni, Farley wrote of the Savior's appearance to the Nephites gathered around the temple in the land of Bountiful. Farley noted that in this appearance, the Savior's primary emphasis was upon baptism."In just 22 verses containing the opening remarks of the Savior, the word baptism (or one of its forms) occurs 19 times. (3 Ne. 11:22-12:2.)

"Without valid baptism by one having authority from the Lord, we could not return to dwell with the Father and the Son in heaven," wrote Farley. "Baptism is, in the literal and eternal sense, a unifying ordinance between God and His people.

"Hence, the principle of unity as exemplified in the Godhead was connected with the instructions regarding baptism: `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.' (3 Ne. 11:27.) Given the new church organization (no longer under the law of Moses), all were to be baptized as an entrance into the Lord's newly formed church."

Speaking to His Nephite disciples, the Savior proclaimed:

"No unclean thing can enter into his Heavenly Father'sT kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end. Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name." (3 Ne. 27:19-20.)

In his October 1980 general conference address, President Marion G. Romney said, "This is the repentance which would lead men to a solution to all their problems, individual and collective. This is the repentance to which Jesus Christ, our Lord, calls us."

In speaking of the nature of repentance, President Romney quoted D&C 58:43, which states: "By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins - behold, he will confess them and forsake them."