1 AND now it came to pass that there were a great multitude gathered together, of the people of Nephi, round about the temple which was in the land Bountiful; and they were marveling and wondering one with another, and were showing one to another the great and marvelous change which had taken place.
2 And they were also conversing about this Jesus Christ, of whom the sign had been given concerning his death.
3 And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.
4 And it came to pass that again they heard the voice, and they understood it not.
5 And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came.
6 And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them:
7 Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him.
(Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 11:1 - 7)
How awesome it must’ve been to have experienced that moment. After three days of darkness and misery they heard the voice of the Father, declaring His Holy Son. It was done. The Savior had atoned for the sins of all mankind that would repent and turn back to Him. He had done all that He had been asked to do and was now glorified by His Father.
I particularly like how the voice of Heavenly Father is described. It was not loud, nor intimidating. It was a calm voice, a pleased voice; and despite how subtle it was, it did enter into every fiber of their being. It pierced them to their very soul. There are only a small handful of times where the voice of the Father is heard, and this is one of them.
8 And it came to pass, as they understood they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them; and the eyes of the whole multitude were turned upon him, and they durst not open their mouths, even one to another, and wist not what it meant, for they thought it was an angel that had appeared unto them.
9 And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people, saying:
10 Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.
11 And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.
12 And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words the whole multitude fell to the earth; for they remembered that it had been prophesied among them that Christ should show himself unto them after his ascension into heaven.
(Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 11:8 - 12)
The Savior and Redeemer of the world descends from heaven, and declares who He is to the people near the temple in Bountiful. He is the light and the life of the world. He is the light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness understands it not, see D&C 6:21. Life, both temporal and spiritual comes because of Him. Because He was willing to suffer and bleed for me, and everyone else.
He loved His Father enough that He did His Father’s will. That is the test for me. Will I subjugate my will for His?
13 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto them saying:
14 Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.
15 And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come.
16 And when they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves, they did cry out with one accord, saying:
17 Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him.
(Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 11:13 - 17)
Jesus reveals Himself to the multitude, and they are allowed to feel the prints of the nails in His hands and feet. They know of a surety, that He is the risen Lord. He fulfilled the prophecies that spoke of his life, death, and resurrection.
In 2 Corinthians 13:1 it states, in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. In this instance we have multitudes of people that witness of the divinity of Jesus Christ.
18 And it came to pass that he spake unto Nephi (for Nephi was among the multitude) and he commanded him that he should come forth.
19 And Nephi arose and went forth, and bowed himself before the Lord and did kiss his feet.
20 And the Lord commanded him that he should arise. And he arose and stood before him.
21 And the Lord said unto him: I give unto you power that ye shall baptize this people when I am again ascended into heaven.
22 And again the Lord called others, and said unto them likewise; and he gave unto them power to baptize. And he said unto them: On this wise shall ye baptize; and there shall be no disputations among you.
23 Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them—Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them.
24 And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying:
25 Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
26 And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water.
(Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 11:18 - 26)
Just as He did in Jerusalem, the Lord calls men and gives them authority to act in His name, i.e. the priesthood. The Lord discusses the requirements and method of baptizing people into His church. There are several significant things we learn about baptism in these few verses. We learn that a person needs to repent of his/her sins before being baptized. We learn that a person needs to desire to be baptized. Additionally, baptism is performed by immersion, i.e. the person being baptized goes all the way under the water, just as Jesus did, when He was baptized in the river Jordan, see Matthew 3:14-17.
Both of those points clear up the confusion surrounding whether or not a newborn child needs to be baptized. A person needs to desire to be baptized, have the ability to distinguish between right and wrong, and therefore repent, of things that are wrong. I am grateful for the clarity that the Book of Mormon brings to teachings in the Bible.