4. "Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord"
John the Baptist
"John the Baptist," Loui Novak, Encyclopedia of Mormonism
Loui Novak’s entry on John the Baptist gives a great overview of John from the miracle of Elisabeth’s conception to his ministry, being beheaded, and his postmortal ministry to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.
Jesus Is Baptized
Chart 8-10: "Baptism of Jesus in the Four Gospels," Charting the New Testament
All of the four Gospels and the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew give an account of the baptism of Jesus. Most of the details are consistent among these accounts concerning where and how Jesus was baptized. This chart points out the differences concerning specifics about the spirit of God descending like a dove and the words spoken from heaven.
"Dove, Sign of," Robert L. Marrott, Encyclopedia of Mormonism
Robert Marrott’s item on the sign of the dove adds to the New Testament accounts the Joseph Smith Translation and Joseph Smith’s teachings.
"Understanding Christian Baptism through the Book of Mormon," Noel B. Reynolds, BYU Studies, Vol. 51, no. 2
Why baptism? What does baptism really mean? In his BYU Studies article, Noel Reynolds shows how the Book of Mormon adds to what the New Testament teaches. Baptism is a sign of a covenant between a person and God and shows that we repent of sin. It is important to recognize that people being baptized do not wash away their own sins through baptism but seek to have their sins forgiven and desire to enter into a covenant with God. Jesus had no need to be forgiven of sin, but he still had to enter the covenant and thus was baptized.
"Baptism," Carl S. Hawkins, Encyclopedia of Mormonism
Carl Hawkins’s entry on baptism focuses on the need for baptism, the several aspects of the covenant that the person and God are entering into, and the rich symbolism of the ordinance. He explains why the LDS Church does not accept baptisms performed by other churches and how baptism for the dead can save those who died without this ordinance.