First off - TWENTY YEARS BEING MORMON TODAY! Whoohoo!
You know, I served my mission in the deep south. And in the deep south there is one thing there is plenty of: religiousness.
Lots and lots of it.
And with all this....religiousness....comes a wonderful smorgasbord of opinions on who or what is right, how to know, and it seems the debates are endless.
There was a joke in the deep south that Louisiana has the best preachers and politicians that money can buy!
But alas, what to do with all these different opinions?
And...well....what are they?
One of the most hotly debated was whether there is a need for baptism.
Well, if you read the Book of Mormon and know it is true, you know that baptism is a requirement to be saved. Not only that you know exactly how it is to be done.
Not only that! You know exactly what is to be said!
NOT ONLY THAT! You know who has to do it.
Yes, yes, yes, the Book of Mormon settles a lot of things.
For those with the ability to recognize it as the word of God. I would say "for those who believe" which is true, but this isn't a matter of belief, this is a matter of Fact, this is more of God's word given to us in the last days. It is not "true IF you believe it" - it is true whether you believe it or not. It isn't the book on trial, it is us.
But without the book, what are we to do? Well, we have to turn to the Old Bible and see what it has to say.
One of the greatest stretches I heard was in Mark 16:16 (and immediately following it) where it says that if you believe and are baptized you'll be saved, but if you don't believe, you'll be damned.
Ah, but because it didn't say "if you don't believe AND aren't baptized you'll be damned" then you clearly don't have to be baptized.
Or so they say.
Well, since the Book of Mormon is true, clearly you have to be baptized and any interpretation otherwise is incorrect.
But another one. When Christ is speaking with Nicodemus he tells him that a man must be born again in order to enter heaven.
The religiously contentious will argue that when Christ says a man must be born of water and the spirit it is referring to being born in the flesh (water = amniotic sac) and the spirit (spirit put into you at birth).
But again, simply reading the scriptures alone would cure this mystery.
Christ told Nicodemus a man must be born AGAIN.
Not just born.
We know that even Nicodemus got it because he asked how could a man enter the womb a second time? A second time. Again. Being born again.
And....this is the kind of stuff that makes you realize these people must've thought Jesus was NUTS.
One last one. Baptism has to be done correctly. Otherwise why would Paul in Acts 19 have it done again? If it wasn't necessary he wouldn't have had it done again at all, let alone queried about it. And right after this Paul clarifies where the "just believe to be saved" part fits in with everything and he STILL baptized them again so.....well.....
But this still leaves us with - what to say - how to do it - who can do it.....so....knowing all the confusion, prior to the triumphal return of Christ to the Earth, God sent ANOTHER Testament of Jesus Christ with all the answers to these questions and more since SOMEBODY (and I'm not pointing any fingers or saying names) removed a bunch of stuff and changed a bunch of things around! Why? Well....we don't need to be petty and go there.
You need to be baptized to be saved. You have to believe to be saved. You have to keep the commandments to be saved. You have to be baptized properly by someone with authority to be saved. You have to become like Christ which you can only do if you know and understand who and what he is - to be saved.
And I know this is true.
Otherwise.....there's a whole lotta unnecessary writin' in the New Testament. And Old.