Baptism & Rebaptism
A Sign of Repentance and a New Dispensation
John the Baptist, Peter, and the Savior Himself tied baptism to repentance (Matt 28:18-20; Mark 1:2-4; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:37-41). Repentance is the condition of changing whatever direction we face and turning to face the Lord. As with all the teachings that the Lord provides to man, baptism is a multi-layered teaching instrument used to accomplish His own wise purposes of which we may not understand a fullness but only see in part for a time (compare this statement with 1 Nephi 9:5 as well as 1 Cor. 13:12).
There is only “one faith” and it is in the “one Lord” whom we worship, and it requires “one baptism” to be included in the body of believers (Eph. 4:5). All who follow Christ are baptized.
As such, this process of repentance begins anew each time we hear the Voice of God calling us to repent (e.g., Doctrine & Covenants 1:11-16; Doctrine & Covenants 6:9). This is why He so frequently commands the servants that He calls to preach repentance, even when He sends His messengers to a generation of people who have already been previously baptized (e.g., Alma 5; Acts 19:1-7; Matthew 9:16; Doctrine & Covenants 22:1-4).
God desires that we progress by gaining more light and truth, little-by-little, until we arrive at the perfect day (Doctrine & Covenants 50:24) and are able, like Him, to obtain a fullness of understanding of all things. In addition to increasing in our comprehension of truth in general, which is an eternal effort, the Lord has His own will and desire that He intends to accomplish (Jacob 5:22). However, this requires a people on earth who can understand His will in order to accomplish it (see Doctrine & Covenants 38:27).
To that end, the Lord sends angels or servants among the people of earth to teach them of His will and the design that the Lord intends mankind to fulfill. The word angel, from the Greek ‘angelos’, means messenger. Therefore, anyone, whether mortal or immortal, sent by God as a messenger is by definition an angel. The instructions imparted by God’s messengers consist of what the Lord expects of the people in order to fulfill the conditions of repentance. The first fruits of repentance is baptism (Moroni 8:25). This is because whenever the Lord sends a dispensation of the Gospel upon the earth, it always includes an invitation to be baptized (e.g., John 3:22-23; Luke 3:21-22; Acts 10:47; 3 Nephi 28:18).
Therefore, baptism is the sign chosen by Christ (Mark 16:15-16; Matt. 28:19; 3 Nephi 28:18) for mankind to accept, in order that they may accept the conditions of repentance that He sends in each generation wherein one of His servants can be found ministering upon the earth. Whenever a servant sent by Christ comes ministering, repentance and baptism will necessarily be required (e.g., Acts 2:38; Mark 16:15-16; Matt. 28:19; 3 Nephi 28:18). The practice of rebaptism, therefore, will always be observed by a people who seek to be God’s.
Mormons were commonly re-baptized as an expression of rededication or cleansing, or even for health reasons until the early 1900s. Many people in the Book of Mormon were re-baptized.
Is your baptism sufficient as the Lord is preparing for His return?
Is there any merit for you to establish a record today to show that you have fully repented?