This past year, many of my friends decided to be re-baptized. Many of these friends had already experienced the Baptism by Fire and of the Holy Ghost and some had even had their Calling and Election made sure. Some had even met the Savior previous to their decision to be baptized again. I didn’t understand (initially) the purpose of being re-baptized – when they had already been spiritually reborn and had experienced such amazing things. I didn’t criticize, I just didn’t see the point. So I “put it on the shelf” for a bit, and pondered it, and paid attention to the scriptures I found on baptism. This is what I was led to:
“And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism–All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church.” (D&C 20:37)
“His church” being spoken of here, is the Church of the Firstborn – which is the spiritual church you can become a “member” of at some point after you’ve received a remission of your sins by God, have experienced Baptism by Fire, have received the Holy Ghost and have taken upon yourself “the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end”. I also found this:
“Thus passed away the thirty and second year also. And Nephi did cry unto the people in the commencement of the thirty and third year; and he did preach unto them repentance and remission of sins.
Now I would have you to remember also, that there were none who were brought unto repentance who were not baptized with water.
Therefore, there were ordained of Nephi, men unto this ministry, that all such as should come unto them should be baptized with water, and this as a witness and a testimony before God, and unto the people, that they had repented and received a remission of their sins.
And there were many in the commencement of this year that were baptized unto repentance; and thus the more part of the year did pass away.” (3 Nephi 7:23-26, emphasis added.)
I discovered in my studies, that baptism – as it is explained here, is meant to be an outward symbol of HAVING RECEIVED these greater things – as it says: “a witness and a testimony before God, and unto the people, that they had repented and received a remission of their sins”. Christ tells us we are supposed to be baptized; according to these scriptures, He is saying that we should openly declare by way of this symbol (baptism by water), that we have truly repented, and have received a remission of our sins from God. After further studies, I came across this as well:
“Yea, they did mourn for their departure, for they knew not whither they had fled. Now they would have gladly joined with them, for they themselves had entered into a covenant with God to serve him and keep his commandments.
And now since the coming of Ammon, king Limhi had also entered into a covenant with God, and also many of his people, to serve him and keep his commandments.
And it came to pass that king Limhi and many of his people were desirous to be baptized; but there was none in the land that had authority from God. And Ammon declined doing this thing, considering himself an unworthy servant.
Therefore they did not at that time form themselves into a church, waiting upon the Spirit of the Lord. Now they were desirous to become even as Alma and his brethren, who had fled into the wilderness.
They were desirous to be baptized as a witness and a testimony that they were willing to serve God with all their hearts; nevertheless they did prolong the time; and an account of their baptism shall be given hereafter.” (Mosiah 21:31-35 emphasis added.)
Notice that it was AFTER they entered into this covenant with God that they were desirous to be baptized – as a witness and a testimony of their willingness to serve God! Notice also, that they did NOT form an organized church nor were they baptized into or by any church. Their baptism was purely an outward symbol of an inward covenant with God – NOT having to do with membership in an earthly church.
I didn’t know all the personal reasons my friends were re-baptized, but I think some of them had to do with ensuring that it was done with the proper priesthood authority after discovering some discrepancies there. My thoughts, however, were led to the experiences I described in my account of receiving my Calling and Election – and knowing that I HAVE received a remission of my sins from God, as well as other experiences I’ve had since then. I began feeling compelled by the spirit to be re-baptized as a witness and testimony of these thingsI had received from God – just as we are taught to by the scriptures. So I asked my best friend – who I know has priesthood authority AND power from God, to do this for me.
My re-baptism experience was certainly an incredibly notable day in my life – in vast contrast to the baptism into the LDS church I experienced as an 8-year-old child. This experience happened October 5, 2013 – the day before I attended Denver Snuffer’s Centerville, UT lecture.
My friend and I drove up Millcreek Canyon near Salt Lake City, UT to find a spot that we felt good about and that would accommodate a baptism. We were excited and felt the spirit and knew this is what the Lord had led us to do – me being baptized again, and him performing the baptism. We kept driving further and further up the canyon, but only found shallow spots in the creek that would not provide for sufficient “immersion”. About five miles up the canyon, we found a spot where the water had pooled and had kind of flooded an area – but was still part of the “living waters” I felt I needed to be baptized in. We stopped there and I parked in front of the area so that we would have the most “privacy” possible. (I put privacy in quotes, because my vehicle only blocked the view for those coming up the canyon from seeing where we would be performing this ordinance; those coming down the canyon would have a full, generous view of everything we did.)
We talked in the car before we got out, and I felt like we needed to pray before we did this, so that was added to the agenda. We got out of the car and surveyed the area. The water was at least five feet deep at the center of the pond, and there was a large rock next to the area – “hidden” (from those coming up the canyon) next to my car that would be a perfect spot to kneel and pray. We knelt down and I immediately became nervous. Before this day, I had NEVER, EVER, EVER, prayed an “honest”, sincere prayer powered by the spirit, in front of anyone – except maybe my kids. Any prayer I’ve offered in church, at gatherings or activities, or when I was married, was pretty much “fluff”. I may chat relatively freely on forums and blogs about my experiences – and I HAVE opened up a lot about spiritual experiences since the Lord began awakening me spiritually. But to truly PRAY in front of someone is something that is so utterly personal to me, that I just have never done it. So as I said, I got nervous.
Thank God for my friend and his trust and leadership – he offered to pray first. He spoke words that truly reached God. The spirit was so strong as we knelt there side-by-side, next to that rock. He prayed for many things, but some of those I remember were very significant. One thing he did was to spontaneously thank God for this “altar” that had been provided for our use. We hadn’t called it an altar before that point, but we both realized that’s exactly what it was. He also asked that Christ would commission him to perform this baptism.
In the middle of his prayer as we knelt at our “altar”, a car pulled up next to my vehicle – on the other side where we could see their feet underneath my SUV as they got out and walked around. They were talking and laughing, and my friend quickly asked God: “Please afford us the privacy we desire”, and stopped his prayer for a few moments as we waited. Very suddenly, one girl said: “Let’s go somewhere else!” Then before they came around my vehicle and saw us, they got back into their car, and drove away. My friend resumed his prayer, and with gratitude to God, said: “Thank you!”. It was an awesome affirmation that what we were doing there WAS endorsed by the Lord – and the spirit witnessed to us both that he WAS commissioned by Christ to perform this ordinance for me.
Something significant went through my mind as we prayed. Even though we had “privacy” from those going up the canyon (unless they looked in their rear view mirror and noticed us kneeling at our “altar”), we had literally NO privacy from those driving down the canyon. There must have been 20 cars that drove past us as we knelt there and prayed, and I heard at least a couple of honks and a few voices as cars slowed in curiosity. The thought came to me and resonated in my heart: “You want privacy? Then you are not truly testifying. THIS is your first opportunity to openly declare the things that you KNOW, and the things that you HAVE RECEIVED – unabashedly, to the world, and without shame!” So as I knelt there, I knew that was what I was to do; declare these things and testify of Christ – regardless of what others thought of me, and without fear! It made me laugh a few times after that – about what people must think of this apparent craziness I was doing openly, in the name of Christ!
It came my turn to pray, and for the first time, I prayed and ALMOST completely opened myself up to the Lord – there in front of my friend. This was a BIG deal for me. I sincerely cried through my prayer and thanked God for so many things – the list was long. My wonderful friend was definitely one of those things I’m most thankful for – and that he was willing to do this for me, and have such faith and love. I asked God to accept my end of this covenant He had led me to enter into with Him, and I asked Him to teach me what it is I’m supposed to do from here in order to fulfill this covenant. I asked Him also, to guide me as I testify to others of my experiences and to teach me how to properly share those things He has blessed me with – so that others too, can receive those things from Him.
After lots of crying and feeling the spirit – mixed with traffic and rubber-necking passers-by, we got up and walked over to the water. There was snow on the ground, and black-ice on the roads — it was NOT a warm day. Both of us fully clothed, we waded into this pool of ice-water and walked out far enough that it came up to about my chest. My body was instantly wracked with pain from the cold.
My friend raised his arm to the square and declared the baptismal prayer, and dunked me under the water…. and held me there…………………. It seemed like forever! (It was probably a couple of seconds.) I could have sworn that my organs began shutting down as my entire body locked up! He later apologized for holding me under so long, and said he wanted to “make sure”. (I think it was actually payback for some of those “tiffs” we’ve had.)
My thoughts were again infiltrated by the spirit. I was reminded of the baptism experience I had when I was 8 years old. The water was so warm in that church font that it was almost hot – just the way I like it! (It was also clean and bug-free – significant for a “germaphobe” like myself.) There was a dressing room with clean, dry clothing waiting for me, a hair-dryer, and all the comforts that made my 8-year-old baptism experience seem like I was a princess being catered to on my “special day”.
I thought about how painful the ice water was to my body during this new baptism experience; not just because it would have been cold to anyone, but because I have a chronic illness that sometimes makes even the slightest touch – even my clothing against my skin, utterly painful on a bad day. So the cold – to me, is practically akin to a torturous death. This may sound like an exaggeration, but the cold truly is horrible and very painful for me. As the spirit spoke to me, I was told that THIS was the way it should be; it was supposed to be a painful, meaningful, and memorable sacrifice to do this thing that God had asked me to do – not a luxury bath. I could have done this in somebody’s hot-tub, but my friend and I were led to THIS pool of living waters, up THIS canyon, on THIS cold day. I was supposed to be baptized in this freezing ice water that would shock my body and remind me that I was doing these things for the Lord. It was a labor of love. The things we TRULY testify of, do not come easy and are not a luxury.
My friend and I walked out of the water – shivering and frozen to the bone. Thank God for little things – like the fact I have to do my laundry at my parent’s house, and that I just happened to have a laundry basket full of fresh towels in the back of my vehicle! I also had a small blanket handy that we used to keep warm as we drove back to my apartment. The spirit was just awesome! On our way down the canyon, we reflected on the experience. We talked about some of the things that Denver Snuffer had discussed about covenants, piercing the veil, etc. My friend joked about the irony of my being baptized in Millcreek Canyon – and Denver Snuffer’s publishing company being Millcreek Press. I noticed that I had cut myself on a rosebush, and joked that there was my “cut” sealing this covenant.
I’m so grateful for this experience that God led me to have. This is why I was baptized again – as a testimony and a witness to others of the things I’ve received from God. I truly consider this my “real” baptism and pray that my testimony will lead others to seek and received God’s greatest gifts and blessings available to us.