Nonviolence – a Prerequisite for Baptism
“The Christian teaching seems to make life impossible only when people mistake the indication of an ideal for the laying down of a rule. Only then do the principles presented by Christ’s teaching appear to make life impossible. In reality, those principles alone make true life possible and without them it cannot exist. ‘Too much should not be demanded,’ people usually say when discussing the requirements of the Christian teaching. ‘It is an impossible demand that we should not take any care for the future, as is said in the Gospel – though one should not be too careful about it. It won’t do to give away everything to the poor, but one should give a certain definite part’ – and so on”.
“But to speak like that is the same as to tell a man who is swimming a rapid river and directing his course against the current, that it is impossible to cross the river directing one’s course against the stream, but that to cross it one must swim in the direction of the spot one wishes to reach. In order to reach the place to which he wishes to go, it is necessary for him to direct his course towards a point far higher up. To lower the demands of the ideal, means not only to diminish the possibility of perfection but to make an end of the ideal itself. Only this ideal of complete, infinite perfection acts on men and moves them to action. Moderate perfection has no power to influence men’s souls”. - Leo Tolstoy (The Kingdom of God is Within You, 1893)
Nonviolence must be a prerequisite for baptism. Before entering the waters of baptism and making a covenant to always remember him and to always take upon oneself the name of Christ, one should have experienced or at least one should be longing for a mighty change of heart. It is in the heart that this mighty change from violence to nonviolence takes place – it is an attitude, a feeling, it is in the new way you look at the world. You start cultivating peace in your life, a culture of peace, and you seek to bring peace in the lives of those around you. You see Christ in everyone and in everything. Can you in all honesty kill or harm your brother or sister, if the mighty change of heart wrought in you make you able to see the reflection of the Savior’s face in the face of those you are set to harm? Lay down your sword and shield. Lay down your heavy burden. Put on your long white robe. Walk with the Prince of Peace – down by the riverside. And enter into the waters of baptism.
Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you, which doth bind you down to destruction, yea, come and go forth, and show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witness it to him this day by going into the waters of baptism. (Alma 7:15)
And these are they who have published peace, who have brought good tidings of good, who have published salvation; and said unto Zion: Thy God reigneth! And O how beautiful upon the mountains were their feet! And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that are still publishing peace! And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who shall hereafter publish peace, yea, from this time henceforth and forever! And behold, I say unto you, this is not all. For O how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that is the founder of peace, yea, even the Lord, who has redeemed his people; yea, him who has granted salvation unto his people; (Mosiah 15:14-18)