Missionaries Need to Believe the Doctrine of Baptism

Contributed By By R. Scott Lloyd, Church News staff writer

  • 27 January 2014

Elder Don R. Clarke of the Seventy addresses the 2014 Seminar for New MTC Presidents and Visitors’ Center Directors on January 15.  Photo by R. Scott Lloyd.

Article Highlights

  • Elder Clarke gave the three purposes of baptism: remission of sins, establishing a person’s membership in the Church, and fulfilling a requirement for one to enter the celestial kingdom.
  • Baptism is one of the rare instances when all three members of the Godhead are invoked in connection with the performance of an ordinance.
  • The happiest missionaries are the ones who care more about the people they teach than themselves.

“I propose that we should never start teaching about baptism until we have the end in mind. What’s the end? Eternal life.” —Elder Don R. Clarke of the Seventy

Missionaries believe in the doctrine of baptism. “The question is whether we believe in the doctrine of baptizing,” said Elder Don R. Clarke of the Seventy as he addressed a January 15 session of the 2014 Seminar for New MTC Presidents and Visitors’ Center Directors.

“Today, we’re going to do three things,” said Elder Clarke, Assistant Executive Director of the Missionary Department. “We’re going to review the doctrine of baptism, we’re going to understand how it applies to the plan of happiness, and we’re going to talk about how to get the desire to baptize into the hearts of our missionaries.”

Referring to 3 Nephi 11, Elder Clarke noted that during the first visit of the resurrected Christ to the Nephites, the word He used 12 times—more than any other—was “baptism.”

“He repeatedly talked about baptism,” Elder Clarke said. “I hope and pray we will be like Him, that in our first meeting with our missionaries, they will know that we believe in the doctrine of Christ, that we believe in baptism and baptizing.”

Reviewing the words that are given in connection with the performance of a baptism, Elder Clarke noted that baptism is performed in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost—one of the rare instances when all three members of the Godhead are invoked in connection with the performance of an ordinance.

“It tells you the divine importance that all three members of the Godhead must feel about this ordinance,” he remarked.

Elder Clarke gave the three purposes of baptism: remission of sins, establishing a person’s membership in the Church, and fulfilling a requirement for one to enter the celestial kingdom.

“I propose that we should never start teaching about baptism until we have the end in mind,” he said. “What’s the end? Eternal life.”

He posed the question of what can be done to instill in the hearts of missionaries the desire to baptize.

He said he has seen thousands of missionaries and knows that the missionary who is happy is the one who cares more about those he teaches than he does about himself.

He assigned the couples to pray that night and ask God what they can do to instill within the hearts of the missionaries in their charge the desire to baptize.

He testified: “As I have studied this topic, I know that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost want us to baptize. I know that no one can take advantage of the Atonement of Jesus Christ unless they are baptized.”