Date: November 22, 2013 03:15PM
The Church Handbook of Instructions (2006 edition) says, about the wording of the baptism ordinance: "The baptism must be repeated if the words are not spoken exactly as given in Doctrine and Covenants 20:73," implying that if any other words are used the baptism is not valid.
The wording in D&C 20:73 is:
" Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."
So I ask a Mormon:
Me, to Mormon: Does this mean that if different words are used, even though they mean the same thing, the baptism would not be valid?
Mormon: That's correct.
Me: So, saying "I have been commissioned of Jesus Christ, and..." would not be valid?
Mormon: Correct. The wording must be precisely the same.
Me: If the baptizer were to say, instead, "Having authority given me of Jesus Christ..." it would not be valid?
Mormon: Aren't you listening? The words have to be exactly like D&C 20:73!
Me: Well, the words I just quoted are exactly the words that Jesus told the Nephites to use, in 3 Nephi 11:24-25. So those would not be an effective baptism?
Me: John the Baptist restored the true baptism in the Latter Days, when he visited Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, right?
Mormon: Yes, that is correct.
Me: So John the Baptist must have used the correct wording, so that the baptism would be valid?
Mormon: Of course.
Me: So, when he baptized the Savior, did he say, "Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ..." or did he say, "Having been commissioned of you..."
Mormon: Whatever he said, it was a valid baptism.
Me: So it really doesn't matter what the exact words are?
Mormon: You are just being argumentative.
Me: I'm searching for the truth. But then was Helam's baptism valid, in the Book of Mormon? Alma didn't use the correct words. He said: ""Helam, I baptize thee, having authority from the Almighty God, as a testimony that ye have entered into a covenant to serve him until you are dead as to the mortal body; and may the Spirit of the Lord be poured out upon you; and may he grant unto you eternal life, through the redemption of Christ, whom he has prepared from the foundation of the world." (Mosiah 18:11-14)
It sounds to me like Alma's baptism was not effective?
Mormon: You need to repent.