As a new member, people who don’t understand your new religion may ask if you’ve been born again. For some, that means no more than saying you’ve accepted Christ as your Savior, which you most certainly have. It’s one of the questions you’re asked when you are interviewed for baptism. However, there is more to being born again than making a statement.
President David O. McKay, said, “No man can sincerely resolve to apply in his daily life the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth without sensing a change in his own nature. The phrase ‘born again’ has a deeper significance than many people attach to it. This changed feeling may be indescribable, but it is real.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1962, p. 7.)
How can you be truly born again, from an LDS perspective? This is a process that takes time. It’s not a single moment’s action, but a lifetime of hard work and faith-growing. David R. Bednar, a general authority, compared the process to that of making pickles. He says that when his mother made pickles, the process could not be hurried and steps couldn’t be skipped. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 states: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” To become a completely new person, with all old things passed away suggests an intense and sometimes challenging, lifelong process.
Elder Bednar offers these steps to becoming born again:
The process begins with immersing and saturating.
A mere sampling of the gospel simply won’t do. It won’t work to go to church on Sunday and forget all about your religion until the next Sunday. It won’t work to go through the motions without any real commitment or change of heart. You must begin with the first principles and ordinances of the gospel: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by immersion (again an all-the-way process, not a mere sprinkling) and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Elder Bednar explains:
“And after we come out of the waters of baptism, our souls need to be continuously immersed in and saturated with the truth and the light of the Savior’s gospel. Sporadic and shallow dipping in the doctrine of Christ and partial participation in His restored Church cannot produce the spiritual transformation that enables us to walk in a newness of life. Rather, fidelity to covenants, constancy of commitment, and offering our whole soul unto God are required if we are to receive the blessings of eternity.”
Only when the gospel is so completely a part of our lives, only when the Savior is so important to us that we can feel His presence with us every moment, are we really immersed in the gospel. Make the commitment and start building a life with the Savior in the center, not on the fringes.
The waters of baptism purify us so we start out our new journey free of whatever sins we committed in the past. Now that we have been given a fresh start, we can use the Holy Ghost to guide us and to help us avoid future sin. This is a daily process, and one that takes our full concentration and commitment. How hard we work at this depends on how great our faith and commitment to the Lord are. Our actions are one way we show Heavenly Father and the Savior how much we love them and want to return to them. Elder Bednar explains:
“The Holy Spirit of Promise is the ratifying power of the Holy Ghost. When sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, an ordinance, vow, or covenant is binding on earth and in heaven. (See D&C 132:7.) Receiving this “stamp of approval” from the Holy Ghost is the result of faithfulness, integrity, and steadfastness in honoring gospel covenants “in [the] process of time” (Moses 7:21). However, this sealing can be forfeited through unrighteousness and transgression.”
When we complete the first principles and ordinances of the gospel, and covenant to devote our lives to the service of God, we are on the path to being born again. Our life of service is our gift to the Father who gave us everything. Being born again is a lifelong gift, one that is offered through work, sacrifice, faith, and ultimately, joy.
To read the complete talk, visit LDS.org:
Ye Must be Born Again by David A. Bednar, Ensign, May 2007, 19–22
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.