Why do we have to be completely under the water when we are baptized?

You may have attended a baptism where the person being baptized had to have the ordinance performed twice because he or she was not completely immersed in the water the first time. Because baptism is a saving ordinance, it is essential that it be performed exactly and correctly.

Baptism is a symbolic act. It “symbolizes death, burial, and resurrection, and can only be done by immersion” (Bible Dictionary, “Baptism”). Going under the water represents the death and burial of Jesus Christ, but it also represents the death of our natural selves (see Romans 6:3–6). Being brought up again from the water is symbolic of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and represents being reborn as His covenant disciples. The two witnesses who stand beside the baptismal font watch to ensure that the person being baptized is completely immersed, symbolic of being completely born again.

When we are baptized, we follow the pattern set by the Savior, who was baptized by immersion in the river Jordan (see Matthew 3:13–17). Heavenly Father desires for each of His children to be cleansed of their sins so that they may live with Him again. To be baptized by immersion, as Christ was, is an essential part of His divine plan.

The Holy Ghost is supposed to be our constant companion, but I don’t know that I feel the Spirit constantly. Is something wrong with me?

If you are worthy but do not feel the Spirit at all times, it may mean that you are still learning to recognize and act on the Comforter’s guidance. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained, “Even as we strive to be faithful and obedient, there simply are times when the direction, assurance, and peace of the Spirit are not readily recognizable in our lives” (“That We May Always Have His Spirit to Be with Us,” Liahona and Ensign, May 2006, 29).

If you do not know if the Holy Ghost is with you, take a moment to be still and listen. You may feel the Spirit’s influence as a quiet, peaceful reassurance. Try recognizing the still, small voice when you are doing things that invite the Spirit, such as praying, studying the scriptures, or attending sacrament meeting. As you act on promptings and practice listening to the Spirit, your ability to discern those quiet, subtle feelings will improve.

You must live worthily for the Spirit to be with you (see Mosiah 2:36). If you do not feel the influence of the Spirit in your life, this may be a warning sign that you need to repent and reevaluate your priorities. You can invite the Spirit into your life with sincere repentance, prayer, scripture study, and other uplifting activities.

Is the Church against all video games or just violent ones?

There are many video games that are clean, challenging, and fun, and some multiplayer games can be an enjoyable social activity. The Church is not against video games, but youth are urged to be smart in their selection of games and the amount of time they spend with them. We have been commanded to use our time wisely (see D&C 60:13). Just because something is clean and fun does not mean it is worth doing.

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained: “One of the ways Satan … weakens your spiritual strength is by encouraging you to spend large blocks of your time doing things that matter very little. I speak of such things as sitting for hours on end watching television or videos, playing video games night in and night out, [or] surfing the Internet” (“Be Strong in the Lord,” Ensign, July 2004, 13).

It is all right to spend some of your time playing video games that adhere to the media standards found in For the Strength of Youth. But be willing to set down the controllers or turn off the computer and move on to something else. Don’t let video games keep you from worthwhile activities like exercising, studying the gospel, doing schoolwork, or spending time with your family.

Photo illustrations by John Luke and Matthew Reier