I was born into a family which already belonged to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which church is frequently misnamed the Mormon Church). My mother had also been born into the Church, and my father had been baptized along with his family when he was 14 years old. In “Mormon Church,” there is no infant baptism. Children are not baptized until the age of 8. This is considered in Mormon doctrine to be the “age of accountability” or the age at which children should be capable of choosing right from wrong for themselves. Infants and young children are considered to be pure and innocent. If they die before baptism, they are saved through the atonement of Jesus Christ.
Thus, I was not baptized until I was eight years old. I have wonderful parents with strong faith. They had raised me and taught me the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Not only did they teach me from the scriptures, but they also taught me by example. They lived the gospel of Jesus Christ. As my eighth birthday approached, I looked forward to my baptism. I recognized it was an important step in my salvation. Though I did not then have as full of a comprehension of what baptism means as I do now, I recognized it was a big decision. I also felt it was a conscious decision which I made personally.
I have been blessed from a young age with a strong witness from the Spirit that Jesus is the Christ. I have never doubted it. I have had so many personal spiritual experiences that confirmed this truth to me that there was never a time in my life where I didn’t know it to be true. I have turned to God in prayer many times for clarification or witness on certain principles of the gospel, but I have always had a strong core testimony.
When I entered the waters of baptism, I don’t remember if I understood the symbolism of baptism by immersion. As my father recited the baptismal prayer through his priesthood authority and gently submerged me under the water and brought me back up, I don’t remember if I understood that this was in symbolism of Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. I do remember being very conscious of the symbolism of being washed clean. I also remember being acutely aware of the fact that I was washed spiritually clean. I remember thinking, “I can’t make any mistakes, or I won’t be perfect anymore.”
I have since come to understand more fully the purpose of the covenants I made at baptism, to always remember my Savior and to take His name upon me. Each week, when I partake of the Sacrament (what Latter-day Saints, “Mormons,” call the Eucharist or communion) I can renew those same covenants that I made at baptism. God knows that I am not perfect and that I will make mistakes. That is why He provided a Savior for me, that through His atoning sacrifice, I can repent and be forgiven of my sins as I try to improve and become more Christlike.
I am grateful that I have been (and continue to be) taught step by step about God’s plan for me. He is a loving God who knows all of His children. He wants me to return to Him, and He has laid out a very specific path for His children to return to Him. This path is the way the Savior showed us: “There is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ” (Helaman 5:9).
I am grateful to know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and that through the covenants I have made with Him, which began at baptism, I can be cleansed and healed through the power of His atonement. I know that one day I will again see the face of God, and I hope that I will have obeyed His commandments and applied the atonement in my life to be worthy to remain with Him.
The above testimony is by Doris White.