PAUL - If it is so important for us to say the exact same words every time in the baptismal prayer, why are the two baptismal prayers recorded in the D&C and Book of Mormon different? Which one should we really be using?
JOEL - Here are the two scriptures in question
Jesus personally told the Nephites to say the following prayer for baptism:
"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."(3 Nephi 11: 25)
And from the D&C:
"Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen." (D&C 20: 73)
First of all when it comes to deciding which of all of God's commands and directions to follow, normally the most recent form of directions are the ones to go with, hence we go with the way stated in the D&C.
But why does one say "Having authority given me of Jesus Christ" and "Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ"?
One possible explanation for this difference may be associated with the problem of translation. For example, it is not always possible to translate exact words into other languages; thus, the baptismal prayer is not exactly the same in all languages. Being commissioned and being given authority mean essentially the same thing.
But one possible key to understanding a difference lies in the time and audience to which the instructions were given. The disciples in the Book of Mormon received their authority directly from Jesus Christ while He was there; therefore, they rightfully could say "having authority given me of Jesus Christ." Of course all priesthood originally came from Jesus, the God of this earth. However, in this dispensation, priesthood bearers were given authority to baptize through John the Baptist, who obtained his authority by virtue of being a direct desendent of Aaron and was commissioned by Jesus Christ to come to earth and restore this authority. Therefore, in this dispensation, we can also say that priesthood holders are commissioned of Jesus Christ to baptize.
The importance of using the exact wording is simply a matter of keeping things uniform and orderly especially when it comes to the important saving ordinances of God. God's house is a house of order (D&C 132: 8)
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