Q: I have not met with any missionaries yet, but after researching the LDS faith then praying about it, I learned it was the truth. It was such a moving spiritual experience, and I wept with joy when it was confirmed to be to be the truth. I was overcome with peace and joy. I purchased a copy of the BOM and have started to read it and listen to it (on my iPod). I know I wish to be baptized. I understand that I need to meet with the missionaries and attend church. I just wondered, that as I already know the truth, and wish to be baptized, how quickly this would happen. And thank you for your very helpful website.
A: This is absolutely wonderful! I am so happy to hear that you have experienced that unexplainable joy that a person feels when Heavenly Father answers the sincere prayer to know if The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the truth. And how wonderful to hear that you wish to be baptized, because you know the truth.
You are correct, you do need to meet with the missionaries and attend church. Also they will teach you a handful of lessons about the fundamental teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They will also ask you to do a few things: commit to live the Word of Wisdom, commit to pay tithing, commit to only having sexual relations with your spouse to whom you are lawfully married (live the law of chastity), and also attend church.
To answer your question specifically, as you already have received an answer to your prayers and desire to be baptized, together you will schedule a day for your baptism as soon as you are ready and meet the requirements in the previous paragraph. It could be in four or five days (enough time to teach you the lessons), or it could be in a few weeks. The missionaries will help you to make this decision.
Prior to your baptism you will have an interview with one of the missionaries who will ask you some specific questions about your decision to be baptized and your acceptance of Jesus Christ as your savior and your desire to be one of his disciples. In addition, you will be asked if you are living the commandments you have been asked to live. You may also be asked to meet with the bishop or branch president of your local congregation before your baptism.
After this interview process, your baptism will occur. Oftentimes, baptisms are held at a local church where there is a small pool (font) specifically for baptisms. If you are in an area where there isn’t a font available, the baptism might be held at a local pool, in the ocean, or in a river. The specific location isn’t terribly important, just as long as there is water deep enough for you to be completely immersed in the water. You and the man who will be baptizing you will be dressed in white. It is important to note that the man baptizing you will have God’s approval to perform this important ordinance for you and since he has God’s approval to do this, God recognizes your baptism as being legitimate. After being welcomed, there will be a song, prayer, and then a talk given on baptism. Your baptism will then occur. After which, there is a talk about the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Then one of two things will happen, either everyone will go home and you will be confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the next Sunday, or this will occur directly after you are baptized. This proceeds as follows: a handful of men who have God’s approval to do so, will put their hands on your head and confirm you a member of The Christ of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and bestow upon you the gift of the Holy Ghost. They will stand around you as you sit on a chair. One of the men will act as voice for the rest of the group. I won’t repeat here the first part of this ordinance, as it should be held sacred, but the second part is a blessing that is specifically tailored for your needs and comes by revelation from God to the man acting as voice.
After receiving these two ordinances, baptism and being confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, your feet are planted solidly in the strait and narrow way that Christ spoke of that leads to eternal life. There will be many people along your way to help you, but most importantly, you will have the gift of the Holy Ghost, who will be your constant companion as long as you are keeping Christ’s commandments the best that you can and relying upon Him in all that you do. The Holy Ghost has many roles, but he will provide you with comfort, he will teach you, he testifies of Christ and truth, he warns you of danger, and much more.
I am so excited for you, please let us know when you are baptized. Please let us know if you have any other questions. May the Lord bless you!
Here are some links to other articles about baptism:
What is a baptismal service like?