When Church members understand their baptismal covenant, their baptism will change their lives and will establish their total allegiance to the kingdom of God because they have made a covenant with God to follow the example of His Son Jesus Christ and obey His commandments, Elder Robert D. Hales said Saturday morning.
"At that point we have chosen to be of His kingdom and not of the world," said Elder Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve. "When temptations come our way, if we will listen, the Holy Ghost will remind us that we have promised to remember our Savior and keep His commandments."
Speaking during his first general conference since recovering from three major surgeries, Elder Hales said his experiences during the past two years which prevented him from speaking in the past two general conferences have made him stronger in spirit and given him courage to testify more boldly the feelings of his heart.
"I wish to speak on the ordinances of baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost, which take us out of this world and into the kingdom of God," he said.
A person's mortal existence is necessary to fulfill the plan of salvation, he continued. One must, therefore, live in this world, but one must also resist the worldly influences that are ever present.
"I concluded that when we are baptized by immersion by one with the proper priesthood authority and choose to follow our Savior, we then are in His kingdom and of His kingdom. Being of the kingdom of God requires that we heed the Savior's admonition."
Elder Hales said at baptism Church members make a covenant with their Heavenly Father that they are willing to come into His kingdom and keep His commandments from that time forward, even though they still live in the world.
"Entering into the kingdom of God is so important that Jesus was baptized to show us the straitness of the path and the narrowness of the gate by which we should enter," he said. (2 Nephi 31:7.)
Elder Hales told members of the worldwide congregation that they need to do a better job teaching their children and grandchildren to understand what it means to enter the kingdom of God.
"When we are baptized, we take upon ourselves the sacred name of Jesus Christ," he explained. "Taking upon us His name is one of the most significant experiences we have in life. Yet sometimes we pass through that experience without having a full understanding.
"How many of our children how may of us really understand that when we were baptized, we took upon us not only the name of Christ but also the law of obedience? Each week in sacrament meeting we promise to remember the atoning sacrifice of our Savior as we renew our baptismal covenant."
Elder Hales told Church members that by choosing to be in His kingdom, they separate not isolate themselves from the world.
"I urge all parents to prepare your children and missionaries to prepare your converts for the sacred baptismal ordinance. Teach of its significance so that their baptism will be impressed upon their spiritual memory for the rest of their lives."