|Is it necessary to be baptized in the name of Jesus?
The ordinance of baptism is a symbol of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus himself was baptized before he began his ministry. “And Jesus answering said unto him [John the Baptist], Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.” (Matthew 3:15, KJV)
In the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, a book written on the American continent, a prophet named Nephi explains the Savior’s words six hundred years before his birth:
“And now, if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfil all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water! And now, I would ask of you, my beloved brethren, wherein the Lamb of God did fulfil all righteousness in being baptized by water? Know ye not that he was holy? But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments. … And again, it showeth unto the children of men the straitness of the path, and the narrowness of the gate, by which they should enter, he having set the example before them.” (2 Nephi 31:5-7,9; emphasis added)
In the book of Acts, when the apostles Peter and John are brought before the Jewish council to account for their actions regarding the healing of the man lame from birth (see Acts 3:1-9, KJV), Peter explains, “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:10-12, KJV, emphasis added)
And why are we baptized in the name of Jesus Christ? A Book of Mormon prophet named Alma says that “if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?” (Mosiah 18:10; added emphasis)
The Book of Mormon records the account of the Savior’s visit to the people on the American continent after His resurrection. During this visit, He teaches them the same things that He taught his followers in the Holy Land. At one point during His visit, the disciples asked the Savior what name they should call the church, “for there are disputations among the people concerning this matter.” (3 Nephi 27:3)
Christ asks why they should murmur about such a question. “Have they not read the scriptures, which say ye must take upon you the name of Christ, which is my name? For by this name shall ye be called at the last day; And whoso taketh upon him my name, and endureth to the end, the same shall be saved at the last day.” (3 Nephi 27:5-6; emphasis added)
When the last day comes, He will call His followers by His name. If we have taken upon us His name through baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, received the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands by those in authority, and endured to the end and been obedient to His word, keeping His commandments, then shall we be saved.
It’s my desire to be one of those that answers His call at the last day. I want Him to say to me “Well done, thou good and faithful servant… enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” (Matthew 25: 21) I know of the power and strength of the Spirit when I see a person baptized, having felt the same at my own when I was baptized at eight years old.
Why are we called “Christians” if we are not baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and take his name upon us? “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:27)