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May I ask a question here? I understand that baptism is not all that's required for salvation, but do you hold that it's a necessary element for salvation, or do you believe as the Protestants do that it's merely symbolic, a good thing to do but not really a part of the salvation process? I'm a Catholic convert from Protestantism, so I've heard the reasoning from both those angles, but I've never known how Mormons see baptism.

Joel,

I think the orthodox Mormon position is that baptism and confirmation (bestowing the gift of the Holy Ghost) are more than merely symbolic. The performance of vicarious baptism and confirmation in LDS temples establishes, I think, the necessity of these two ordinances as strictly formal requirements.

One could argue, for example following Paul in Romans 2:25-29, that ordinances are merely symbolic. But I don't recall hearing or reading that position in any "official" LDS address or publication. That's not how LDS doctrine approaches ordinances.

A good resource to get more information on this topic is the All About Mormons site (on my sidebar under Mormonism), which has a bunch of articles from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism. Scroll down the sidebar on the left, then click Articles of Faith, then click the links under Baptism and Remission of Sins under the 4th Article of Faith, and you'll get about the best summarized statements I know of about what exactly the LDS position is on your issue.

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