The Baptism of the Twelve Nephite Disciples

Daniel H. Ludlow

The question has sometimes been raised by readers of the Book of Mormon as to why the Nephite disciples had to be rebaptized when it was quite evident that they had already received the ordinance of baptism. The record indicates that the twelve disciples desired most that "the Holy Ghost should be given unto them." (3 Nephi 19:9.) They prayed to the Father for this blessing; then Nephi "went down into the water and was baptized. And he came up out of the water and began to baptize. And he baptized all those whom Jesus had chosen. And . . . when they were all baptized and had come up out of the water, the Holy Ghost did fall upon them, and they were filled with the Holy Ghost and with fire." (3 Nephi 19:11-13.)

Concerning the baptism of the Nephites at this particular time, President Joseph Fielding Smith has written: "When Christ appeared to the Nephites on this continent, he commanded them to be baptized, although they had been baptized previously for the remission of their sins. . . . The Savior commanded Nephi and the people to be baptized again, because he had organized anew the Church under the gospel. Before that it had been organized under the law. For the same reason Joseph Smith and those who had been baptized prior to April 6, 1830, were again baptized on the day of the organization of the Church." (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:336.)

A Companion To Your Study of The Book of Mormon