Being “born again” is a central gospel concept. Much of the Christian world believes that you are “born again” merely by declaring Jesus as your Savior. Many suppose that it is something that happens in an instant.
Latter-day Saints see being “born again” differently. It is a process that begins at baptism. In fact, the very symbolism of baptism clearly teaches the idea. When we are immersed at baptism, symbolically the natural man is being laid into the grave, and then when we are brought again out of the water, we are born again. It is a process that began as we had faith in Christ, repented of our sins, and desired to take upon ourselves his name.
Just as when you are born to your physical parents, you take upon yourself your father’s name, so when you are born again at baptism, you begin the process of becoming one of the children of the covenant. As King Benjamin told his people, “And now because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters (Mosiah 5:7). We become spiritual children of Christ because we are made new and born again through his atonement.
We learn in Moses 6:59, “That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory.” Notice that physical birth involves blood, water, and spirit, and being born again uses the same three elements—blood, water and Spirit. In this case, Christ supplies the blood and water through his atoning sacrifice in Gethsemane and on the cross, and we are born again as the Spirit acts upon us and gradually changes our nature.
When we are baptized we are born again as the children of Christ, but our birth is not only accomplished with this ordinance. It is the beginning of a journey.
We need to come to the place so beautifully described by King Benjamin’s people:
And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually (Mosiah 5:2).
Born Again – Meridian Magazine