Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Gentiles- 1 Nephi 13

As Nephi’s vision continues I believe it is important to remember that the emphasis of the information he receives is placed on what happens to his posterity.  Everything else he sees in that vision is in some way relating to how it affected them then, and in their future.  Remember, Nephi was promised way back in Chapter 2, that those of his seed would ultimately be blessed because of his obedience, similar to Abraham of old, with the promise that “inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper”

With that thought in mind, in Chapter 13 we are introduced to a new group of people and see the role they will play regarding the Nephites, or “remnant” of them. (Don’t forget we have already seen a scattering occur in both Jerusalem and the Americas in Chapter 11 and 12.)  

Look for who this new group of people are:

1 Nephi 13:1 And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me, saying: Look! And I looked and beheld many nations and kingdoms.

 2And the angel said unto me: What beholdest thou? And I said: I behold many nations and kingdoms.

 3And he said unto me: These are the nations and kingdoms of the Gentiles.

Who this “Gentile” group is, is easily defined by what Nephi is shown.  He sees right off that the “great and abominable church” is formed among the nations of the Gentiles, destroying the saints of God, and bringing them down into captivity. He also sees where the Gentiles come from.

1 Nephi 13: 10 And it came to pass that I looked and beheld many waters; and they divided the Gentiles from the seed of my brethren.

In my opinion it is pretty easy to see who these “Gentiles” are. They are the people from the European lands.
Ultimately these Gentiles are allowed to come to the America’s, or “promised land”, but it is interesting to see why.

1 Nephi 13: 11 And it came to pass that the angel said unto me: Behold the wrath of God is upon the seed of thy brethren.

12 And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.

 13 And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters.

 14 And it came to pass that I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise; and I beheld the wrath of God, that it was upon the seed of my brethren; and they were scattered before the Gentiles and were smitten.

Nephi is shown that because the “wrath of God” was upon his seed due to their disobedience, and the “Spirit of God wrought” upon not only one particular man, but on many other Gentiles as well, the Gentiles were led to the Americas and became a tool for scattering his seed.  This concept reinforces what he was taught by the Lord back in Chapter 2 regarding the “seed of his brethren”, and how they would become a tool in hand of the Lord to “stir” his posterity up in the ways of remembrance of the covenants they had entered into.

1 Nephi 2:23 For behold, in that day that they (the seed of thy brethren) shall rebel against me, I will curse them (the seed of thy brethren) even with a sore curse, and they (the seed of thy brethren) shall have no power over thy seed except they (thy seed) shall rebel against me also.

 24 And if it so be that they (thy seed) rebel against me, they (the seed of thy brethren) shall be a scourge unto thy seed, to stir them up in the ways of remembrance.

SO basically, Nephi is promised this land as his inheritance.  The Gentiles are brought here by the Lord because they are a tool He can use to help Nephi’s seed, or “remnant” of them, remember the covenants that they made with The Father. Don't be dismayed however because you may be a descendant of a Gentile.. there is great promise for you too, even though you are a tool.  You will see....

These simple definitions of the following terms, with regards to the Book of Mormon, are important to remember:

  • Remnant- Indigenous people on the American continent
  • Gentiles- Those who emigrated from the European nations
For a more in depth study of the “remnant” Denver Snuffer has discussed it beautifully in a series of Blog posts on his Blog starting with this post.  We will cover it here too.  I believe it is impossible to study  The Book of Mormon without understanding who we are individually and collectively and what role we are to play.

Just so you know… The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is considered the gentile church… more to come!

Oh yeah… knowing these terms now, who do you think the man is that is mentioned in verse 12?

Monday, June 20, 2011

There Are Only Two Churches- 1 Nephi 14

I had an interesting conversation with my number one son about the formation of the “great and abominable” church this weekend.  He boldly stated that it was “Christianity”.  I guess after taking into consideration the information provided by Stephen E. Robinson, from my last post, my belief that “he is one smart cookie” was reinforced. I, however, would add more to his definition by calling it “Historic Christianity”.

About the same time, another friend shared a definition he found from one of my favorite authors, Denver Snuffer, for the term “abomination”.  Snuffer explains that “iniquity” is general evil practice, but an “abomination” involves the religious justification of wrongdoing.  My friend’s response was merely, “Interesting!” I responded with a resounding...."Interesting!"

So what exactly  is a definition of Historic Christianity?

Perhaps one of the easiest, “in a nutshell”, explanations of “Historic Christianity” to be found is one given by Snuffer. Taken from his Blog, it is as follows:

Christianity became diverse quite early on.  Almost immediately after the closing of the New Testament, the diversity began to metastasize.

There were those who viewed Christ as a normal man, who had been "adopted" by the Father at the time of His baptism.  These were called "Adoptionists."

There were those who believed that Christ was just a normal man, but that He had a divine spirit inhabit Him temporarily from the time of His baptism until the time of His crucifixion, at which time the divine spirit left.  It was incomprehensible to them that God would suffer and die.  Therefore, they developed a theory in which He did not.

There were those who believed that Christ was a transcendent spirit, and never corporeal as other men were.  They believed that He manifested Himself as if he were a mortal, but never truly was mortal.  They did not believe it possible for God to become incarnate.

There were those who believed that Christ taught a secret Gospel to His insiders, and that the public teachings were misleading. It was the private "gnosis" that would save you.

There were those who believed that Christ was a separate and distinct being from God the Father, and that the result was that there were two gods and not one.

There were those who argued that if they were separate then it violated the idea of "monotheism" and therefore, God the Father, Christ and the Holy Ghost had to be one, single person.  However incomprehensible that may be, there was only one being, manifesting itself in three forms.

There were those who believed priesthood authority was immutable, and once conferred it could not be lost no matter what the conduct of the person ordained.  That is, authority was not dependent at all upon righteous behavior, and even a thoroughly wicked man, once ordained, held priesthood authority no matter what he did.

There were those who believed that priesthood authority was entirely dependent upon faithful living, and that a failure to live according to God's will terminated the authority of that man.  This movement was named after a North African priest named Arius who remained devoted during the persecutions and was blinded and crippled by those who were seeking to destroy the Christian faith.

Well, by 324 AD the whole thing had become riddled with controversies and sects.  Therefore, when King Constantine, who had battled his way into sole ownership of the Roman Emperor's seat, determined to adopt a state religion (he chose Christianity as that state religion) he presumed he was taking a harmonious, consistent faith.  Upon learning that there were strong internal Christian disputes, some of which led to violence between professors of the various beliefs, he decided that he needed to put down the disputations.
In a fit of practicality, King Constantine convened the great council at Nicea, and summoned all the Bishops of Christianity to a single gathering.  At the gathering he demanded they come to an agreement on what the Christian faith believed.  He could not tolerate disputes leading to violence in the newly adopted Roman state religion.

This council at Nicea was the first attempt at correlation.  The result had little to do with the truth.  It had to do with peace for the Roman state.  Constantine himself did not believe in the doctrine. He believed in the effectiveness of the faith as a basis for political power, domestic security and ease of ruling a diverse population scattered about on three continents.  When the results were achieved, he then exiled the handful of dissenters and 'voila, Historic Christianity began.  That Historic Christianity remained correlated and of a singular view until the split between Constantinople and Rome at about 1000 AD.  It became further uncorrelated in the 1500's with Martin Luther.

Once you start letting doctrinal disputes develop you wind up with a split empire, and internal loss of government. The original effort was imposed at the tip of a sword.  When there were dissenters, they were exiled, or eventually made "heretic." When the final step was taken, and the intellectual buttress supplied by Bishop Ambrose's arguments, it at last became possible for "heresy" or "heretics" to be snubbed out by murder.  The persecuted became the persecutors. They were justified by the change, having a correlated promise that the faith ratified the reasons that allowed you to persecute, torture and kill those who strayed from the "one true, Catholic faith."  After all, if you could reclaim them merely by torture of the body, how much better than allowing them to lapse into eternal torment by being consigned to hell.  An endless "Hell" also being an invention of the Historic Christian faith.  So it was really good to do that burning, racking, thumb-dislocating, flaying, stuff after all.  All in a day's work to convert the wayward soul back to Christ.

I find it quite interesting that as  members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter –day Saints we are continually accused as not being “Christian”.  The accusations lie in the fact that we do not conform to the liturgy of Historic Christianity which was formed by such documents as the Nicene Creed. We do however claim to be a restoration of Primitive Christianity, denouncing the “philosophies of men mingled with scripture”, while laying claim to following the original teachings of Jesus Christ, as found in the scriptures.

With this in mind view the information  the angel told Nephi during his dream:

1 Nephi 14:10 And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.

I know, this teaching is far from being “politically correct” but correct it is none the less. 

Notice how Joseph Smith was taught this same concept:  

Joseph Smith History 1:18 My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.

 19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

 20 He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time.

So, by in large,  if we as Latter-day Saints, or more commonly known as "Mormons", are accused of being different, or not part of main stream Historic Christianity, in my opinion, that would be a good thing.  The distinction has already been made. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Great and Abominable Church -1 Nephi 13

As the vision given to Nephi of the destruction, or scattering, of his posterity closes, another one is open to his view.  In 1 Nephi, Chapter 13, Nephi begins to be shown, by the angel, many nations and kingdoms.  It is in this chapter that Nephi learns of the role that the Gentiles play in regards to his posterity, and how the Lord uses them for a wise purpose in fulfilling the covenants that were made with him because of his obedience. 

It is important to remember that Nephi is part of the House of Israel, and as such is entitled to the blessings of the covenants made with his fathers, the Abrahamic Covenant. 

Something to ponder… when are the Gentiles allowed those same blessings?  Who are the Gentiles according to the Book of Mormon?

Right at first Nephi sees among the Gentiles the formation of a great church.

Look for who is the founder of that church:
1 Nephi 13:5 And the angel said unto me: Behold the formation of a church which is most abominable above all other churches, which slayeth the saints of God, yea, and tortureth them and bindeth them down, and yoketh them with a yoke of iron, and bringeth them down into captivity.
 6 And it came to pass that I beheld this great and abominable church; and I saw the devil that he was the founder of it.

Now notice the desires that are attached to this “church”:
1 Nephi 13: 8 And the angel spake unto me, saying: Behold the gold, and the silver, and the silks, and the scarlets, and the fine-twined linen, and the precious clothing, and the harlots, are the desires of this great and abominable church.
 9 And also for the praise of the world do they destroy the saints of God, and bring them down into captivity.

Although this institution is first introduced here, it is also discussed in 1 Nephi Chapter 14 as well.  Because it is referred to as “most abominable above all other churches”, it appears to be one institution, given in a historical context.  Later in chapter 14 when we are given the explanation that there are really only two churches, “one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil”; the great and abominable church becomes more of a type, or symbol, rather than an actual institution.  

A good explanation of this concept is found in an article written, in the January 1988 Ensign, by Stephen E. Robinson, titled “Warring against the Saints of God.”

From the article:
Once we understand that the term great and abominable church has two uses, the one open (inclusive and archetypical), the other closed (exclusive and historical), the rest becomes easier.

Apocalyptic literature is dualistic. Since it deals with types, everything boils down to opposing principles: love and hate, good and evil, light and dark. There are no gray areas in apocalyptic writing. In this sense, there are only two categories in the realm of religion: religion that will save and religion that won’t. The former is the church of the Lamb, and the latter, no matter how well intentioned, is a counterfeit.

In the historical sense, though, only one entity can be the great and abominable church. Well-intentioned churches would thus not qualify as the mother of abominations described in 1 Nephi 13. They do not slay the saints of God nor seek to control civil governments nor pursue wealth, luxury, and sexual immorality.

In either the apocalyptic sense or the historical sense, individual orientation to the Church of the Lamb or to the great and abominable church is not by membership but by loyalty. Just as there Latter-day Saints who belong to the great and abominable church because of their loyalty to Satan and his life-style, so there are members of other churches who belong to the Lamb because of their loyalty to him and his life-style. Membership is based more on who has your heart than on who has your records.

The author further warns against assigning a specific denomination to “the great and abominable church". He suggests that some have speculated it to be Judiasm, or Catholicism, which he regards both as historically incorrect.

Robinson explains:
Actually, no single known historical church, denomination, or set of believers meets all the requirements for the great and abominable church: it must have formed among the Gentiles; it must have edited and controlled the distribution of the scriptures; it must have slain the Saints of God, including the Apostles and prophets; it must be in league with civil governments and use their police power to enforce its religious views; it must have dominion over all the earth; it must pursue great wealth and sexual immorality; and it must last until close to the end of the world. No single denomination or system of beliefs fits the entire description. Rather, the role of Babylon has been played by many different agencies, ideologies, and churches in many different times. It should be clear that the great and abominable church that Nephi described in chapter 13 is not the same historical entity that crucified the Savior or that martyred Joseph and Hyrum.

It would be an error to blame some modern denomination for the activities of an ancient great and abominable church. The other error is to go too far the other way, dehistoricizing the abominable church altogether. The term then becomes merely a vague symbol for all the disassociated evil in the world. We cannot, in the face of the scriptural evidence, accept this view. For if we do, we shall not be able to recognize the categories and know who is playing the role of Babylon in our own times or in times to come. Thus, we must, on the one hand, avoid the temptation to identify the role of the great and abominable church so completely with one particular entity that we do not recognize the part when it is played by some other entity. At the same time, we must remember that the role will be played by some entity or coalition, and we must be able to tell by their characteristic fruits which is Zion and which is Babylon.

Robinson goes on in the article to explain that he would like to term the great and abominable church as “Hellenized Christianity”.  Make sure to read the article here and see if you agree.

More importantly for me, this great and abominable church should still be seen as a tool in the Lord’s hands, as was Babylon a tool in scattering the House of Israel,  to bring to pass his wise purpose.  It is the scourging agent that is used to provoke humility and continued reliance on Him, stirring those in need to the remembrance of their covenants made with Him.  It provides the opposition required to exercise agency which is needed for progression.

Seen in that context it is something that we know will not prevail.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Scattering of Nephi's People- 1 Nephi 12

When the vision Lehi had was also revealed to Nephi, by his own request from the Lord, he was shown everything from the “beginning to the end” and specifically what his part in this grand scheme was to be, or what he was elected to do.  In other words, he was shown that “his calling and election” was to “keep the record”.  This is very important for us to understand so that we can also see that this “calling” was faithfully fulfilled, making his calling and election sure.  

The vision itself was recorded over the course of four chapters beginning with Chapter 11 in the first book of Nephi.  In Chapter 11 we are shown the “Condescension of God” by viewing the life of the Savior, Jesus Christ.  We are taught of His ministry among the inhabitants of the “Old World” or Israel, and how they would reject Him, and by so doing, become a lost and scattered people.   I can only imagine the pain that this vision would cause Nephi, as he saw the future destruction of his ancestors, brought about because of their pride and worldly aspirations, as they fought against the Lamb and His twelve apostles.  I believe it was necessary to show Nephi the dismal state that they would be in so that he would recognize the importance of the work he was given to do, to make sure the record  he was called to keep actually would be kept. 

In chapter 12 Nephi is shown further destruction, only this time it was concerning his direct line, or “seed”, which would inhabit the “land of promise”, or the America’s.  His vision includes the rapid rise of his people, in both number and greatness, as well as the growth of the “seed of his brethren” too.  He sees conflict and contention between the two groups in the form of wars and great “slaughters with the sword”, culminating in a great “mist of darkness” with natural disasters occurring in the land.  This view, however, was only a precursor to the event that was most central for his posterity, that of the coming of the resurrected Christ to the America’s. 

Nephi is also given a view of the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ during the time of the Savior’s visit to his posterity, and the calling of the twelve disciples who would lead that Church. Subtly, we are also reminded by the angels words the order of Christ’s kingdom and of the fact that Nephi is part of the remnant of the house of Israel.

1 Nephi 12:9And he said unto me: Thou rememberest the twelve apostles of the Lamb? Behold they are they who shall judge the twelve tribes of Israel; wherefore, the twelve ministers of thy seed shall be judged of them; for ye are of the house of Israel.

This reminder is ever present in the pages of The Book of Mormon so that we will be aware of the promises given to “the remnant” and the mission they will fulfill.  

Also contained in the verses of Chapter 12 are the definitions of some of the symbols that Lehi told his family about concerning the vision he saw. 

Mist of darkness:
1 Nephi 12:17And the mists of darkness are the temptations of the devil, which blindeth the eyes, and hardeneth the hearts of the children of men, and leadeth them away into broad roads, that they perish and are lost. 

Fountain of filthy water, or river of filthy water:
1 Nephi 12:16And the angel spake unto me, saying: Behold the fountain of filthy water which thy father saw; yea, even the river of which he spake; and the depths thereof are the depths of hell.

Large and spacious building:
1 Nephi 12:18And the large and spacious building, which thy father saw, is vain imaginations and the pride of the children of men. And a great and a terrible gulf divideth them; yea, even the word of the justice of the Eternal God, and the Messiah who is the Lamb of God, of whom the Holy Ghost beareth record, from the beginning of the world until this time, and from this time henceforth and forever.

Finally Nephi sees the years following the appearance of the Savior, starting with four generations of love and peace, and the unfortunate evolutionary process of their downfall, resulting in a “dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people.”

In both Chapter 11, where Nephi sees his ancestry scattered, and Chapter 12, where he sees his posterity scattered as well, he is given a view of the awful state of his people and their need to be “gathered” and taught correct principles.   

Again, I believe it was important for him to be shown this dismal predicament, for him to understand the great importance of his calling he will be given to “keep the record”. His record would ultimately “show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever—And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations—“(as found in the title page of The Book of Mormon itself).

The Book of Mormon will be the great gathering tool needed to fulfill the promise of God to Adam.  It is part of the great plan of happiness, and Nephi has a very important role to play in that plan.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Condescension of God- 1 Nephi 11

When Nephi asked the Lord to “behold the things which his father saw” he was given a panoramic view of the condescension of God.   
This is what he saw:
  1. A virgin.
  2. The Virgin carried away in the Spirit.
  3. The Virgin bearing a child in her arms.
  4. An Angel testifying that the child is the Son of the Eternal Father.
  5. The Son of God going forth among the people, and many worshiping Him.
  6. The Prophet who should prepare the way for the Redeemer of the World.
  7. The Lamb of God baptized by that prophet.
  8. The Heavens open after His baptism; the Holy Ghost come out of heaven and abide on Him in the form of a dove.
  9. The Lamb of God going forth ministering to the people in power and great glory.
  10. This group of people casting Him out from among them.
  11. Twelve others start to follow Him.
  12. The Heavens open once again and angels descend upon the people and minister unto them.
  13. The Lamb of God healing the sick and casting out unclean spirits.
  14. The Lamb of God being taken by the people and judged of the world.
  15. He was then lifted up upon the cross, and slain for the sins of the world.
  16. After his death, multitudes of the earth fighting against the apostles of the Lamb.
  17. The house of Israel gathered together to fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
  18. Destruction of all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, that fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
All of the above information was important for Nephi to be shown because it had not happened yet.  He was viewing it in the perspective of a future event that would take place; a future event that would be central to the salvation of not only his posterity but the whole human family. It was information given to help his people understand who Jesus Christ is and how he would Atone for the world.  It provided a way for his posterity to recognize Him when he did come the first time.

For us, the perspective is different.  We look backward to the events that took place in the past.  We see this information as a fulfillment of divine prophecy.  We view it as another testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ and his life and ministry.  It is given for us to recognize that He did come and Atone for us.

Both perspectives are given to enhance our faith.  Nephi had faith that it would happen, and we have faith that it did happen.  That faith, when nourished, moves us to action.  It gives us the power to apply whatever necessary means in our life to press forward with hope of an Eternal place with our Father.  It sustains us through trials, and motivates us to change when change is needed.  It allows us to repent and come closer to our Father, thorough the merits of Jesus Christ, and our own efforts.  

I am grateful for the perspective that Nephi shared with me, the latter-day reader of his record.  I love him for the faith he had, and that he expressed continually.  But most of all, I love Nephi because he knew how important his record would be for me. 

He knows this because he was shown it in this vision….as it continues....

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Baptism of Jesus- 1 Nephi 11

I picture the vision the Lord showed to Nephi as literally a Technicolor view of the importance of the Atonement, and the central part it plays in the salvation of literally all mankind, and how we must apply it in our lives.  

First Nephi was shown how Christ came to earth, as the Son of the Eternal Father, through the process of the virgin birth.  (Sidebar: It is interesting to note that the term “virgin” was also a term used to describe the wife of a prophet.) The birth however is just the beginning of what Nephi is shown regarding Christ.  The vision continues to reveal the life that the Savior would lead in an effort to help him, and us, better understand the role Christ played in the redemption of the world.

The next event in the life of Christ that Nephi is taught about through this glorious vision was the important step Christ would take to show us the way to gain entrance into the kingdom of His Father.  This step was that of baptism, and most importantly the correct process of entering into a covenant  with the Father by way of baptism.   He was shown that Christ was baptized by immersion, by one who had authority to do so.  He was also shown that the baptism was incomplete without the ratifying effect of the Holy Ghost. 

Both Lehi and Nephi were very specific in recording that the baptism of Christ was an event which was testified of by many of the prophets of old, and that one having authority would perform the task,  for me, Isaiah is one that comes to mind.  Isaiah recorded the exact wording used by John the Baptist as he preached about the coming of the Savior.

Isaiah 40: 3¶The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

I also find it interesting that Lehi was very specific in noticing that the prophet John would be the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy because of the exactness in the wording he used.

1 Nephi 10: 7 And he spake also concerning a prophet who should come before the Messiah, to prepare the way of the Lord—
 8 Yea, even he should go forth and cry in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight; for there standeth one among you whom ye know not; and he is mightier than I, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. And much spake my father concerning this thing.

In the record of John in the New Testament this exact scene is played out one more time as the priests and Levites pressed John to know who he actually was.

John1: 23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
 24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.
 25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?
 26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;
 27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.

The Joseph Smith Translation of this verse even adds more clarity to John’s words.

John 1: 27 John answered them, saying; I baptize with water, but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;
 28 He it is of whom I bear record. He is that prophet, even Elias, who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose, or whose place I am not able to fill; for he shall baptize, not only with water, but with fire, and with the Holy Ghost.
 29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and said; Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world!
 30 And John bare record of him unto the people, saying, This is he of whom I said; After me cometh a man who is preferred before me; for he was before me, and I knew him, and that he should be made manifest to Israel; therefore am I come baptizing with water.

Finally Nephi bears record of this event in his own words.

1 Nephi 11: 26 And the angel said unto me again: Look and behold the condescension of God!
 27 And I looked and beheld the Redeemer of the world, of whom my father had spoken; and I also beheld the prophet who should prepare the way before him. And the Lamb of God went forth and was baptized of him; and after he was baptized, I beheld the heavens open, and the Holy Ghost come down out of heaven and abide upon him in the form of a dove.

What a great blessing it is that we are given these testimonies of the baptism of Jesus Christ. We are taught the manner in which we should be baptized, after the example set by our Savior, including the need of the proper authority required to administer the ordinance.  In a time when the ordinance of baptism is under question in every way, these visions shared with us from Nephi  and Lehi solidify the process so clearly, and fulfills the law of witnesses in testifying of the necessity of it.

Later Mormon will add his testimony as well.

Mormon 7:10 And ye will also know that ye are a remnant of the seed of Jacob; therefore ye are numbered among the people of the first covenant; and if it so be that ye believe in Christ, and are baptized, first with water, then with fire and with the Holy Ghost, following the example of our Savior, according to that which he hath commanded us, it shall be well with you in the day of judgment. Amen.

Christ condescended to be baptized because of obedience to the commands of His Father, how on earth is it possible that we can progress without doing the same?