Because of his Messiahship, Jesus can provide the power that leads to spiritual rebirth.
All who would enter the celestial kingdom must be born again.
As Joseph Smith said, to be born again one must first “see” the kingdom of God, or gain a testimony.
Once one “sees” the kingdom, he then can be born into the kingdom through obedience to the commandments.
Being born again is often a gradual process that is accomplished through the redemptive power of Jesus Christ.
New Testament Reading Assignment
Chapter 5, “Ye Must Be Born Again”
Alma 5:49. To whom is the challenge given to “repent and be born again”?
Mosiah 27:25. How does Alma describe being born again?
Mosiah 5:7. Who “begets” us in our spiritual rebirth?
3 Nephi 9:19, 20. What must we do to receive a spiritual life from the Savior?
Moses 6:52, 65-68. What requirements must we fulfill to be born again?
Mosiah 5:5-13. What must we be willing to do to be “spiritually begotten”?
Alma 5:7-48. What are the characteristics of one who is born again?
3 Nephi 9:20. Is the process of being born again always accomplished in a miraculous way?
Alma 36:10-24. How does Alma the Younger explain his experience?
Teachings, pp. 12, 264, 360. What must man do to see the kingdom of God?
Teachings, p. 328. What is the difference between “seeing” and “entering” the kingdom of God?
DS, 2:323-32. What are the common elements in the first and second birth?
Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 101. How does this new birth take place?
Harold B. Lee, “Born of the Spirit,” Address to Seminary and Institute personnel, 26 June 1962.
B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 6:383-84. The experience of Lorenzo Snow’s conversion.
Some Suggestions for Presentation
Sometimes students have the idea that baptism is the requirement for celestial glory. Besides being “born of the water,” what else does the Savior say we must do? What does it mean to be born of the Spirit? (You may wish to share the following definition with the class.)
“… birth into the kingdom of heaven takes place when mortal men are born again and become alive to the things of the Spirit and of righteousness. … [This] birth begins when men are baptized in water by a legal administrator; it is completed when they actually receive the companionship of the Holy Ghost, becoming new creatures by the cleansing power of that member of the Godhead.
“Mere compliance with the formality of the ordinance of baptism does not mean that a person has been born again. No one can be born again without baptism, but the immersion in water and the laying on of hands to confer the Holy Ghost do not of themselves guarantee that a person has been or will be born again. The new birth takes place only for those who actually enjoy the gift or companionship of the Holy Ghost, only for those who are fully converted, who have given themselves without restraint to the Lord.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 101. See the entire quote.)
The following illustration could be developed to compare physical birth with the spiritual birth:
Physical Birth (First Birth)
Spiritual Birth (Second Birth)
Birth occurs and a new mortal life is begun.
Through birth of the water and the Spirit a new life dedicated to Christ is begun.
The child is endowed with the heritage of his father.
Christ is the Father of the new birth, and the child is given His spiritual heritage.
The name of the father is given to the child.
The child of the new birth receives the name Christian.
The child has the potential to be like his father.
Through the new birth the person is at the beginning of progression toward being like his spiritual Father.
The teacher may add further ideas here.
The teacher might conclude by asking: The physical body receives nourishment from its parents, but where does the spirit receive its nourishment? Discussion could then be held relative to Jesus’ statement to the Samaritan woman that he was the “living water,” and his statement that he is the bread of life. How does this relate to the sacrament? (See 3 Nephi 12:3, 5.)
Chalkboard Illustration and Scripture Analysis
We can be born to three types of life:
Types of birth
Father-one who gives the power to be born
As a spirit child
As a physical entity
What are some observable changes in a young adult’s life that indicate he or she is going through this process? Alma 13:12. Changes in behavior such as grooming, movie standards, dance standards, desiring to go on a mission, and the like. Changes in attitudes toward family, Church, and so on.
The teacher might wish to have his students consider “Alma’s exam” in Alma 5. Here Alma asks some very introspective questions as to how one may know he had been “born again.”