"I have lived to
see my father baptized into the true church of Jesus
Christ!" Joseph Smith exclaimed as his father came out of
the waters of baptism the day the Church was
organized, April 6, 1830.1
A year earlier,
May 15, 1829, while Joseph translated passages of the
Book of Mormon about the necessity of baptism, he and Oliver
Cowdery had asked the Lord who had authority to baptize in His name.
"The voice of the Redeemer spake peace to us," Oliver
later wrote, and a heavenly messenger, John the
Baptist, "came down clothed with glory."2 He conferred upon
the two men the Aaronic
Priesthood, which holds the priesthood keys "of the
gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for
the remission of sins."3
John the Baptist
directed the two men to baptize each other, and they
soon also baptized others converted to the restored gospel.
Through priesthood ordination they authorized others
to perform baptism by immersion. From that small
beginning, many millions of people worldwide have been
baptized members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
1. Lucy Mack Smith,
"The History of Lucy Smith," ca. 1845, Church Archives,
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt
Lake City, Utah.
2. Quoted in Joseph
Smith—History 1:71, footnote.
The permission granted to men on earth called or ordained to act for and in behalf of God the Father or Jesus Christ in doing God's work (The Guide to the Scriptures, "Authority," 23–24).
The Aaronic Priesthood deals with the temporal and outward ordinances of the law and the gospel. It holds the keys of the ministering of angels, of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism. The Aaronic Priesthood was restored to the earth in this dispensation on May 15, 1829. John the Baptist conferred it on Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery on the banks of the Susquehanna River, near Harmony, Pennsylvania (The Guide to the Scriptures, "Aaronic Priesthood," 7–8).
Keys are the rights of presidency, or the power given to man by God to direct, control, and govern God's priesthood on earth. Priesthood holders called to positions of presidency receive keys from those in authority over them. Priesthood holders use the priesthood only within the limits outlined by those who hold the keys. The President of the Church holds all priesthood keys (see D&C 107:65–67, 91–92; 132:7; The Guide to the Scriptures, "Keys of the Priesthood," 141).
baptism by immersion
An ordinance in which a person is immersed in water and brought up out of the water. It is necessary to become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Gospel Principles, 377).
The Authority to Baptize
Learn about the place where baptism was restored.
Learn how Joseph was an instrument in the hands of God.
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