When Did Baptisms Begin?
Articles of Faith, p. 123 “The Establishment of Baptism dates from the time of the earliest history of the race. When the Lord manifested Himself to Adam after the expulsion from the Garden of Eden, He promised the patriarch of the race: “If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son…ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost…”
Matthew 3:1-2, 6; “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
Holman Bible Dictionary says this on baptism —
“At some point close to the time of Jesus, Judaism began a heavy emphasis on ritual washings to cleanse from impurity. This goes back to priestly baths prior to offering sacrifices (Lev. 16:4, 24). Probably shortly prior to the time of Jesus or contemporary with Him, Jews began baptizing Gentile converts, though circumcision still remained the primary entrance rite into Judaism.”
Baptism is for the believer to publicly show they have clothed themselves with Christ. It is an outward confession of an inward commitment to Christ, and a great picture of our future resurrection! You have died to sin, and reborn to a new life in Christ when coming up out of the water. PTL!
Baptism wasn’t a widespread practice until the time John the Baptist began his ministry. While there was a societal practice going on shortly before this time, the purpose as we see from Holman’s Bible Dictionary, was based on ritual washings to cleanse from impurity. Up to this point, few if any had heard of Jesus. The first mention of the Lord presenting Himself to the public at large is when we read about His baptism by John the Baptist.
For the sake of the argument in response to Mr. Talmage’s writings, let’s go ahead and say Mormon teachings of baptism actually mean washings instituted in the book of Leviticus. That’s roughly a 2,300 year discrepancy. Why is God telling Adam to repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus?
The idea God told Adam to do this is a lie with no foundation outside of Joseph Smith. Because he’s been proven a false prophet, we must disregard any idea baptism was instituted at the time of Adam.
With Love in Christ;
As a side note – we originally posted this article in 2013. With the advent of numerous new temples, and topics from this last General Conference, we wanted to remind our LDS friends about the true meaning of baptism!