I recently attended two baptisms on the same day for two of my nephews. As I watched these two boys stand next to their fathers surrounded by water I thought of their first baptism when their place was next to their mother once again surrounded by water. A friend of mine pointed out that we likely left our Heavenly Mother’s care to enter earth life and be brought toward our Heavenly Father’s care just as symbolized through birth and baptism and other ordinances.
“inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the aspirit, which I have made, and so became of bdust a living soul, even so ye must be cborn again into the kingdom of heaven, of dwater, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and eenjoy the fwords of geternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal hglory” (Moses 6:59).
When my oldest daughter was baptized we spent quite a few family home evenings talking about it. We even planned a “Baptism Week” in which each night for a week before the baptism we had special baptism lessons. We are now in the process of preparing another daughter for baptism. As we make plans for her baptism I have started to ponder our preparations for mortal birth. We prepare for baptism so it makes sense that we must have prepared for birth into this world. In that birth was the crowning event and purpose of preparation in premortal life I am assuming that much of what we were preparing toward was to hearken to our Mother just as in this life we hearken to ordinances that bring us toward the Father.
“Even before they were born, they, with many others, received their first alessons in the world of spirits and were bprepared to come forth in the due ctime of the Lord to labor in his dvineyard for the salvation of the souls of men” (D&C 138:56).
In order to be found worthy of baptism we make covenants. We promise to take upon us the the name of Jesus Christ, keep the commandments and serve the Lord (True to the Faith, 23-24). So it begs the question, what covenants did we make before mortal birth? It makes sense that they were likely similar in nature. “Those who followed Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ were permitted to come to the earth to experience mortality and progress toward eternal life” (True to the Faith, 116) So we had to actively choose God’s Plan and covenant to accept Christ as our Savior (Moses 4: 2; Abraham 3:27). Before my oldest daughter was baptized we asked her to pray to know if this Church is true and about her decision to be baptized. It was important to us that she consciously choose baptism for herself.
We receive blessings from being baptized. We are promised the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, a remission of our sins, and to be born again (True to the Faith, 24-25). So what blessings did we receive upon our first baptism, or birth? We received a body, the light of Christ, and a new life. Quite similar to baptism. And in the temple when we really ponder the covenants there, it all comes down once again to further consecrating ourselves to Christ.
Before the saints left Nauvoo they spent day and night in the temple making covenants. Covenants that they knew would sustain them on their difficult journey. My thought is that we made covenants before birth to sustain on our difficult journey through life. “Covenants sustain us in good times or in difficult times” (Barbara Thompson, Ensign, Nov. 2011). They are intended to give us purpose and see us through our journey preparing us for further light and knowledge. Felice also wrote about “sacred contracts” or in other words the more specific missions we were given in life. We are given some information about them in our patriarchal blessings but often there are parts of our mission that we learn as we go. We likely covenanted to take on our specific missions and life circumstances. I believe I covenanted to bring my children here. (The post, “Here Am I” is a beautiful explanation of that.)
If you would like to read more about the symbolism of birth and baptism you can read Heather’s essay, “The Two Veils” in our book or these additional posts “Born Again,” “Giving Light,” and “If Birth Were a Temple.”
*This post is my own thoughts and opinions and do not necessarily represent those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.