The organization of the Church on April 6, 1830, made it possible for priesthood ordinances to be administered to Heavenly Father’s children throughout the world in the latter days. Previous to this long-awaited day, the Lord began revealing to the Prophet Joseph Smith the requirements and manner of baptism, what is expected of members of His Church, and the details of administering the sacrament.
What would you say to a nonmember friend who asked, “What do I have to do to be baptized into your church?”
Read Doctrine and Covenants 20:37, and look for the requirements the Lord gave for those who desire to become members of the Church. You might want to mark each requirement you discover in the passage.
It might be helpful for you to know that to show forth a broken heart and a contrite spirit means to be humble and receptive to the will of God. It also means to feel deep sorrow for sin and a sincere desire to repent.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained: “In ancient times when people wanted to worship the Lord and seek His blessings, they often brought a gift. For example, when they went to the temple, they brought a sacrifice to place on the altar. After His Atonement and Resurrection, the Savior said He would no longer accept burnt offerings of animals. The gift or sacrifice He will accept now is ‘a broken heart and a contrite spirit.’ [3 Nephi 9:20.] As you seek the blessing of conversion, you can offer the Lord the gift of your broken, or repentant, heart and your contrite, or obedient, spirit. In reality, it is the gift of yourself—what you are and what you are becoming” (“When Thou Art Converted,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2004, 12).
Why do you think these traits are required before a person gets baptized?
From what you learn in Doctrine and Covenants 20:37, complete the following principle: When we are baptized we witness or demonstrate that .
Ponder how you are doing in living according to your baptismal covenants.
What would you say to your nonmember friend if he or she asked this additional question: “How are people baptized in your church?”
Read Doctrine and Covenants 20:72–74, and mark the manner of baptism described by the Lord. From these verses we learn that baptism must be done by immersion and must be performed by one holding proper authority (see also 3 Nephi 11:21–27).
How would you answer if your friend asked a third question: “What is required of people after they have been baptized and become members of your church?”
Read Doctrine and Covenants 20:68–69, and identify expectations the Lord has for each of us after we have been baptized. You may want to mark these expectations in your scriptures.
In Doctrine and Covenants 20:68 the Lord tells us that new members are to be taught by elders after baptism and before confirmation. In our day, the practice of teaching missionary lessons to investigators before baptism allows people to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost soon after their baptism.
From Doctrine and Covenants 20:69 we learn how we can manifest or show our worthiness after we are baptized. Using the Lord’s direction to us in that verse, complete the following principle: After baptism, we show the Lord our worthiness through .
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
Why is it important that you remain worthy after you are baptized?
What do you think it means to manifest or show “a godly walk and conversation”?
Read the section of For the Strength of Youth entitled “Language” (, 20–21), and identify ways a young person might manifest “a godly walk and conversation.” Write in your scripture study journal about experiences when you have seen others do those things. How do you think their actions and attitudes affected the people around them?
Ponder how you will manifest “a godly walk and conversation” in the coming days.
Have you ever had a friend who was not a member of the Church attend sacrament meeting with you? If so, how did you explain the ordinance of the sacrament? If you haven’t had this opportunity, what would you say to a friend to help him or her understand the sacrament?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 20:75, and identify what the Lord directed all Church members to do often.
In a later revelation the Lord explained, “It mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory—remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins” (D&C 27:2). Today we use water for the sacrament, “in remembrance of the blood of [Jesus Christ], which was shed for [us]” (D&C 20:79), instead of wine.
Why do you think we are directed to partake of the sacrament together often? Elder Melvin J. Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke about one particular blessing that comes from partaking of the sacrament weekly:
“We want every Latter-day Saint to come to the sacrament table because it is the place for self-investigation, for self-inspection, where we may learn to rectify our course and to make right our own lives, bringing ourselves into harmony with the teachings of the Church and with our brethren and sisters. …
“… The one thing that would make for the safety of every man and woman would be to appear at the sacrament table every Sabbath day. We would not get very far away in one week—not so far away that, by the process of self-investigation, we could not rectify the wrongs we may have done. … The road to the sacrament table is the path of safety for Latter-day Saints” (in Bryant S. Hinckley, Sermons and Missionary Services of Melvin Joseph Ballard , 150–51).
Ponder why partaking of the sacrament weekly would be a protection to you.
To learn why the sacrament is a path of safety for you, write the following two headings in your scripture study journal:
When we partake of the sacrament, we witness that:
When we are faithful to the promises we make during the sacrament, the Lord promises that:
Read Doctrine and Covenants 20:77–79, looking for what we witness or promise as we partake of the sacrament. Write what you find under the “When we partake of the sacrament …” heading in your journal. Then read the verses again, looking for what the Lord promises. Write what you find under the “When we are faithful …” heading in your journal.
Review the requirements of baptism you identified in Doctrine and Covenants 20:37. What similarities do you see in the covenant made at baptism and the promises made during the sacrament?
When you partake of the sacrament, you renew the covenant you made when you were baptized and confirmed.
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
Read the following statement about keeping and renewing our baptismal covenant: “You receive great blessings when you keep the baptismal covenant. As you renew it, the Lord renews the promised remission of your sins. Cleansed from sin, you are able to ‘always have his Spirit to be with [you]’ (D&C 20:77). The Spirit’s constant companionship is one of the greatest gifts you can receive in mortality. The Spirit will guide you in the paths of righteousness and peace, leading you to eternal life with your Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference , 148).
In your scripture study journal, answer the following question: How can understanding the blessing of having the companionship of the Holy Ghost encourage us to honor our baptismal covenant?
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that we may enjoy the blessing of the ministering of angels as we renew our baptismal covenants by worthily partaking of the sacrament:
“Vital steps pertaining to the remission of sins are performed through the saving ordinance of baptism and the renewing ordinance of the sacrament. …
“… These ordinances of the Aaronic Priesthood are also vital to the ministering of angels. …
“… Angelic messages can be delivered by a voice or merely by thoughts or feelings communicated to the mind. …
“… Most angelic communications are felt or heard rather than seen. …
“In general, the blessings of the spiritual companionship and communication are only available to those who are clean. … Through the Aaronic Priesthood ordinances of baptism and the sacrament, we are cleansed of our sins and promised that if we keep our covenants we will always have His Spirit to be with us. I believe that promise not only refers to the Holy Ghost but also to the ministering of angels, for ‘angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ’ (2 Nephi 32:3). So it is that those who hold the Aaronic Priesthood open the door for all Church members who worthily partake of the sacrament to enjoy the companionship of the Spirit of the Lord and the ministering of angels” (“The Aaronic Priesthood and the Sacrament,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 38–39).
Ponder how you will prepare yourself to partake of the sacrament this week.
Doctrine and Covenants 20:81–84 contains the Lord’s instruction that elders in the early Church were to record the names of people who had joined the Church. They were told to bring these lists to Church conferences so they could be kept in a book. The names of those who had fallen away from the Church were removed. In addition, Church members moving from one location to another were to take a certificate of their membership with them to give to their new priesthood leader. In our day, Church leaders continue to keep accurate membership records, and the methods of doing so are more efficient.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 20:37, 68–84 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: