The core principles of the gospel are faith, repentance, baptism, and receiving the Holy Spirit.
Faith is the first principle of the gospel. When you have faith, you believe in something that you can’t see but you know is there. Much like you know the sun will come up every morning, you can also know God is real.
Faith is built as we test God’s promises and see the blessings. For example, God has promised that He will answer if we pray. We have to pray first before we see the blessings. The Book of Mormon compares faith to a seed. We have to plant faith in our hearts and it will begin to grow. If we are patient and continue to nourish the seed, our faith will grow strong like a tree (see Alma 32:27–42).
The Bible teaches us that God is loving and He forgives His children as often as they ask. As we repent and change, God forgives us of our mistakes. In turn, we must follow Jesus’s example and forgive others.
Repentance isn’t just saying you’re sorry. It starts with a real desire to change. You need to confess your sins to God and to anyone you’ve wronged, make amends if possible, and try never to repeat the sin. Of course, you won’t always be perfect, but if you are sincere about your efforts, the grace of Jesus Christ will help you become clean again.
Baptism is a covenant—or a promise—that you make with God. When you get baptized, you promise to serve Him and follow His commandments to the best of your abilities. Jesus taught, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). This means that baptism, or being “born of water,” is a requirement to get into heaven.
The Promises of Baptism
“Bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light” (Mosiah 18:8).
“Mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of
comfort” (Mosiah 18:9).
“. . . that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you” (Mosiah 18:10).
“Stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be
in” (Mosiah 18:9).
“Ye will serve him and keep his commandments” (Mosiah 18:10).
“. . . that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life” (Mosiah 18:9).
Baptisms in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are performed by immersion, meaning a person is immersed all the way under water and brought back up. The Bible tells us that “when [Jesus] was baptized, [He] went up straightway out of the water” (Matthew 3:16). Baptism by immersion is beautifully symbolic, not only of the washing away of sins, but of death, burial, and resurrection. Baptism signifies the end of your old way of life and birth to a life committed to following the example of Jesus.