Mormon is a nickname for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. With the name of Jesus Christ in the center of their church’s name, it is clear they strive to emulate the teachings of the Savior. Despite having lived a perfect life, Jesus Christ insisted on being baptized. Initially, his cousin John declined, recognizing the Savior’s perfection, but when Jesus insisted, he baptized Jesus by immersion. This is the pattern followed by Mormons today.
Mormons do not baptize infants or small children because they believe those who do not have the ability to know right from wrong or to make choices are covered by the atonement of Jesus Christ. Baptism occurs at age eight, the age of accountability. If a child of this age has been taught right from wrong, he can make wise choices in most cases. The responsibility to teach him right and wrong belongs to the parents and God holds them accountable if they fail to do so.
Prior to baptism, children and older converts are taught basic principles of the faith. Children attend religion classes beginning at age eighteen months (in a nursery that includes brief lessons and songs) and also learn the gospel at home. Mormon families hold daily family prayer and scripture study as well as a weekly gospel-centered meeting called Family Home Evening. This meeting is just for family members and includes hymns, prayers, lessons, treats, and games.
Older people who wish to join the church meet with volunteer missionaries for a series of lessons that introduce them to the very basics of the gospel. While it is not possible to teach them everything, they do learn how to pray for wisdom (James 1:5) so they can find out for themselves whether or not the church is true. This way they need not take anyone’s word for it except for God’s. While attending Church, they receive a Gospel Principles manual that helps them understand basic doctrine in more depth and attend a special Sunday School class for beginners. Of course, they can also research LDS.org and Mormon.org to learn almost anything else they want to know.
Baptism cleanses us of our sins and helps to activate the full measure of the atonement. While the atonement gives everyone the ability to live forever, to receive further blessings, there are certain steps that must be taken, including having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. These are called the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. During baptism, a person makes a covenant with God. A covenant is a two-way promise between God and man, with God setting the terms. If we do our part, God is bound to do His. The covenants involve committing to take the Savior’s name on ourselves and to keep the commandments. With this in place, we can enjoy the full blessings of the Savior’s atoning sacrifice.
Each Sunday, when Mormons take the Sacrament (communion), they renew their baptism covenants.