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"Authority" & "ordinances": Baptism without repentance is not valid

Recently, someone asked me:

" [there] Aaronic or Melchizedek priesthood authority in any of the restoration groups? Are there any valid ordinances being performed?"

This is not an uncommon question! And it is the completely wrong question, at least for now. Luckily, the writer somehow already knew what the more important question was. He continued:

"It's probably more important for me to improve my efforts to align my will with God's will at all times than to know answers to questions such as the one I just asked...but that aligning is a slower process than I would like it to be."

Please read this very carefully:

1 And now I speak concerning baptism. Behold, elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it.
2 Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins.
3 And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end. (Moroni 6)

Qualifications for valid baptism:

- Do you know something about the name (character) of Jesus Christ? Are you familiar with his words and works?

- Do you act precisely as you sincerely imagine Jesus would, in every aspect of your life, all the time, without fail?

- Do you want to?

- Can you prove it?

How many people who have been baptized were baptized after fulfilling the qualifications as listed in the Book of Mormon?

How many people who have been baptized currently qualify for their baptism?

How many people who would like to be baptized have qualified?

Many efforts have been made to baptize as many as will submit to receiving the ordinance: Missionaries are sent out, websites are set up, events are held, and so on. Millions upon millions of people have been engaged in this work.

These people think they are doing as Jesus did, as his apostles did, and as John the Baptist did. Yet none of these people ever baptized anyone who did not first qualify, as set forth above (noting that John would have used God as the test of character, since Jesus had not yet come). Actually go read what John preached, what the apostles preached, and what Jesus preached, and consider how closely the message of these millions and millions has matched their claimed source.

How many efforts have been made to teach people what it means to repent, and persuade them to do so? How many are doing that work?

It is no wonder that so few have actually received the Holy Ghost.

Desire to repent, and actually repent, and then worry about getting baptized. 

Here is my reply to the email I received:

You’ve really cut right to the crux of the issue in your email. All of religion—not just the lds world—can be divided into two groups:

1 - the “we have everything already” group. 

2 - the “where do I find what I thought I had in the ways I thought one gets it” group. 

The answer is 3) none of the above, and few there be that find it. 

There is no other way than actually reconciling to all you presently believe to be God’s will in all things and all times. 

Unless one walks through that gate, not only will any claims of authority or promises of eternal reward be false (e.g. no baptism has ever been valid except coupled to complete repentance/sinlessness) the real thing will not even make sense if and when it is perceived. 

This is why John the Baptist’s ministry consisted of telling people what they already knew about being a good person, whatever their specific situation. Soldier, tax collector, etc. 

There are no shortcuts. The good news is that the time required is only determined by the how long the individual takes to make what is a single choice.