Each person, as he enters the waters of baptism, takes upon himself a covenant. “And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism—All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church.” (D&C 20:37.)
Now, baptism into the Church is not enough to save us. It is for the remission of sins, that is true; but there is another baptism that is even more essential, and that is the baptism of the Spirit, or the bestowal of the gift of the Holy Ghost.
After we are baptized, we are confirmed. What is that confirmation for? To make us companions with the Holy Ghost; to give us the privilege of the guidance of the third member of the Godhead—companionship, that our minds might be enlightened, that we might be quickened by the Holy Spirit to seek for knowledge and understanding concerning all that pertains to our exaltation.
But to those who are wayward and indifferent and who do not seem to realize the value of their membership in the Church, an added word of warning from the same revelation may be in order:
“And we know that justification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true;
“And we know also, that sanctification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true, to all those who love and serve God with all their mights, minds, and strength.
“But there is a possibility that man may fall from grace and depart from the living God;
“Therefore let the church take heed and pray always, lest they fall into temptation;
“Yea, and even let those who are sanctified take heed also.” (D&C 20:30–34.)
Baptism and confirmation into the Church do not necessarily insure our exaltation in the kingdom of God. They do, provided we are true and faithful to every covenant and obligation required of us in the commandments of our Eternal Father. It is he who endures to the end who will be saved.
However, it is my judgment that there are many members of this Church who have been baptized for the remission of their sins, and who have had hands laid upon their heads for the gift of the Holy Ghost, but who have never received that gift—that is, the manifestations of it. Why? Because they have never put themselves in order to receive these manifestations. They have never humbled themselves. They have never taken the steps that would prepare them for the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Therefore, they go through life without that knowledge; they are lacking in understanding. When those who are cunning and crafty in their deceit come to them criticizing the authorities of the Church and the doctrines of the Church, these weak members do not have understanding enough, information enough, and enough of the guidance of the Spirit of the Lord to resist false doctrines and teachings. They listen and think that perhaps they have made a mistake, and the first thing you know they find their way out of the Church, because they do not have understanding.
The gospel is simple. There is nothing difficult about it. There are mysteries, no doubt. We do not need to bother about the mysteries, but we should concern ourselves with the simple things pertaining to our salvation and exaltation.
“But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils.” (D&C 46:7.) So the Lord has given us a warning.
“Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given;
“For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts.
“And again, verily I say unto you, I would that ye should always remember, and always retain in your minds what those gifts are, that are given unto the church.” (D&C 46:8–10.)
Now, the Lord will give us gifts. He will quicken our minds. He will give us knowledge that will clear up all difficulties and put us in harmony with the commandments that he has given us; he will give us a knowledge that will be so deeply rooted in our souls that it can never be rooted out, if we will just seek for the light and the truth and the understanding that are promised to us and that we can receive if we will only be true and faithful to every covenant and obligation pertaining to the gospel of Jesus Christ.