Baptism is the first ordinance of the gospel. It puts you on the path that leads to eternal life. By being baptized, you show that you believe in Jesus Christ and have faith in Him. When you are baptized you make a covenant to take upon you the name of Jesus Christ, to always remember Him, and to obey His commandments.
You must be baptized before you can be confirmed a member of the Church and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. You also must be baptized before you can enter the celestial kingdom and live again with Heavenly Father and Jesus.
Heavenly Father promises that when you are baptized and confirmed, the Holy Ghost will be with you as long as you live worthy of His promptings. The Holy Ghost testifies of Jesus Christ and bears witness when you are taught the truth. The Holy Ghost can help guide you and your family in following Jesus Christ and making good choices.
On page 10, find your way through the maze that leads to eternal life. When you come to a scripture reference, look up the scripture and read it. If it talks about something that leads to eternal life, stay on that path. If it talks about something that would not lead to eternal life, take the other path.
May Theme: Baptism and confirmation are ordinances that bless my family.
(Note: All songs are from Children’s Songbook unless otherwise noted; GAK = Gospel Art Picture Kit.)
Baptism is the first ordinance of the gospel. To help the children memorize John 3:5, write the words of the scripture on large paper strips and place them randomly on the board. Have the children read the verse in their scriptures and then close their scriptures. Invite several children to put the words in order on the board. Read the scripture out loud together. Remove one of the wordstrips and repeat the scripture again. Continue removing wordstrips until they are all gone.
Show GAK 601 (Baptism) and GAK 602 (The Gift of the Holy Ghost). Explain that to be “born of water and of the Spirit” means to be baptized and to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Write the following questions on the board without the scripture references: Why must I be baptized? (Acts 2:38—for a remission of sins; D&C 49:14—to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; John 3:5—to enter the kingdom of God; 2 Nephi 31:10–11—to follow Jesus and show obedience); When am I old enough to be baptized? (D&C 68:27—eight years old); Who can baptize me? (D&C 20:73—someone with the proper authority); How am I baptized? (D&C 20:74—by immersion); What does baptism symbolize? (Romans 6:3–5—death and resurrection). Tell the children they can find the answers to these questions in the scriptures. Divide into groups and give each group one or two scripture references. Have each group look up the scripture, read it together, and then decide which question it answers. Invite each group to share their questions and answers with the rest of the Primary.
For younger children: Use the song “Baptism” (pp. 100–101) and Primary 3 picture 3-13 to help teach principles about baptism.
Jesus Christ was baptized. Ask a priesthood holder approved by the bishop or branch president to portray John the Baptist. Ask him to tell about the life of John the Baptist and what he was foreordained to do. Display GAK 208 (John the Baptist Baptizing Jesus) and tell the story of Jesus’s baptism found in Matthew 3:13–17. Sing the first two verses of “Baptism” (pp. 100–101).
Before Primary, write the following words or phrases on pieces of paper and put them in a container: John the Baptist, River Jordan, immersion, this is my beloved Son, descended like a dove, obedient. Have the children pass the container while the pianist plays “Baptism.” Stop the music and have the child holding the container choose a paper, read the word or phrase, and tell how it relates to Jesus’s baptism. Continue as time allows. Explain that when we are baptized we are following Jesus and obeying Heavenly Father’s commandment to be baptized. Sing the third verse of “Baptism.” Bear testimony of the need to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized.
I will be baptized and confirmed. Draw a large circle on the board and divide it in half. In one half put a picture of someone being baptized, and in the other half put a picture of someone being confirmed (see Primary 3 pictures 3-13 and 3-14). Help the children understand that baptism and confirmation are linked, and that we need both. Repeat John 3:5 together.
Teach the children that when we are baptized we make a covenant with Heavenly Father. On the board, write the elements of the baptismal covenant (take upon us the name of Christ, remember Him, serve Him, be obedient). Explain what we promise to do and what Heavenly Father promises to do if we keep our covenant (be forgiven, have the Spirit with us, return to live with Heavenly Father). Sing “I Like My Birthdays” (p. 104). Show how My Gospel Standards can help the children keep their baptismal covenant by playing the following matching game. Display a poster of My Gospel Standards (GAK 618), or list them on the chalkboard. Number each one. On 26 pieces of paper write the numbers 1 through 13 twice—one number per paper. Place them facedown on the floor in random order. Have a child toss a beanbag on a paper. Turn the paper over. Have another child toss a beanbag on another paper. If the numbers match, remove those papers and have the children read the gospel standard out loud and tell how it helps them keep their baptismal covenant. Help the children by referring to the elements of the baptismal covenant written on the board. If the numbers don’t match, turn both papers back over and give others a turn. Continue as time allows.
My family is blessed as we follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Show GAK 302 (The Liahona) and tell the story of the Liahona (see 1 Nephi 16:9–10, 16, 28–29; Alma 37:38–40). Emphasize that the spindles inside the Liahona pointed the way that Lehi and his family should go and that they worked only when the family was faithful and obedient. Explain that the Liahona is like the Holy Ghost. When we are faithful and obedient, the Holy Ghost can guide us.
On pieces of paper, write things the children could do that would invite the Holy Ghost to guide them, and things that might cause the Holy Ghost not to be with them. Put the papers in a container. Have the children form a large circle, or two if the Primary is large. Toss a beanbag to a child. Have him or her choose a paper and read it out loud. If it tells something that would invite the Holy Ghost, the child then tosses the beanbag to another child. If the paper tells something that would cause the Holy Ghost to withdraw, ask the child to say what to change to invite the Holy Ghost. Then have the child toss the beanbag to someone else. Sing “The Still Small Voice” (pp. 106–7). Share a personal experience of when you have been guided by the Holy Ghost.
Song presentation: “Baptism” (pp. 100–101). Make wordstrips for the following words: Who, When, Why, How, Where. To begin teaching the song, display GAK 208 (John the Baptist Baptizing Jesus) on the board. Next to the picture put the Who wordstrip. Ask the children to listen for who Jesus came to, and then sing the first phrase. Get their responses and have them sing the first phrase. Put the When wordstrip by the picture. Ask the children to listen for when Jesus came to John the Baptist, and then sing the second phrase. Get responses and have the children sing the phrase. Put the Why wordstrip next to the picture and ask the children to listen for why Jesus came to John the Baptist. Sing “and was baptized.” Get responses and have the children sing the phrase. Put the How wordstrip by the picture. Ask the children to listen for how Jesus was baptized. Sing “by immersion.” Get responses and have the children sing the phrase. Put the Where wordstrip by the picture and ask the children to listen for where Jesus was baptized. Sing “in the River Jordan’s flow.” Get responses and have the children sing the phrase. Sing the whole first verse. Follow the same pattern with the second and third verses.
Friend references: “Questions and Answers about Baptism,” Aug. 2008, 24–25; “Members of the Savior’s Church,” Jan. 2003, 42–43; “Logan’s Baptism,” July 2005, 28–29; “I Can Repent and Be Baptized,” July 2005, 16–17; “Keeping Our Baptismal Covenant,” Oct. 2006, 24–25; “Our Father’s Voice,” Apr. 2000, 32–34; “Fear in the Night,” May 2000, 2–4; “Watermelon Blessing,” Sept. 2003, 40–43; “Trained by the Spirit,” Aug. 2007, 4–5; “A Miraculous Escape from Danger,” June 2007, 10–13.