Consider Mosiah 18:8-10 for a moment. Why would, in our quest to become like God, the first step we undertake be these covenants?
Consider the covenant we make at the second gate, even eternal marriage. To be a God, we are not alone. We are joined together with others. God is not a single, but Abraham explains there are Gods. We know this because of the concept of the Godhead. We also know it because God said he created man in his own image, male and female.
The celestial kingdom is an environment where selected individuals are chosen to join a society who can get along in such as way as to be completely in harmony with one another.
Our baptismal covenants begin that process.
[Addition April 4, 2013]
I’ve been studying this passage of scripture the last week:
51 And he called upon our father Adam by his own voice, saying: I am God; I made the world, and men before they were in the flesh.
52 And he also said unto him: If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men, ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, asking all things in his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you.
53 And our father Adam spake unto the Lord, and said: Why is it that men must repent and be baptized in water? And the Lord said unto Adam: Behold I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the Garden of Eden.
54 Hence came the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world.
55 And the Lord spake unto Adam, saying: Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin, even so when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good.
56 And it is given unto them to know good from evil; wherefore they are agents unto themselves, and I have given unto you another law and commandment.
57 Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time.
58 Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children, saying:
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;
60 For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified;
61 Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.
62 And now, behold, I say unto you: This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time.
63 And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me.
Particularly verse 53 caught my eye: it seemed very disjointed, as if God hadn’t really answered Adam’s statement. Yet upon reflection, it is much clearer.
- God explains the plan of salvation (verse 62) beginning with men’s existence before this earth life (vs. 51)
- He then outlines the steps pretty much in line with the 4th Article of Faith. (vs. 52)
- Adam wonders why baptism is needed. (vs. 53)
- The Lord begins by saying it is NOT because of the transgression in the Garden of Eden. There is then a parenthetical insertion about the implications of this point (vs. 54). Children are whole. Then the Lord goes on to answer the question directly.
- Even if children are whole, they will sin at some point. This is necessary that they know good and evil; it is part of having agency; it is the plan. (vs. 55 and 56)
- Thus another commandment is needed; and that commandment, (“another law and commandment”) is baptism. (vs. 56)
- Baptism makes us clean from sin, for no unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God. (vs. 57)
- He then gives a recap of the points (vs. 58 – 59).
- The water is keeping the commandment to be baptized, which allows the Holy Ghost to come upon us, which allows us to be sanctified by the blood of Christ. (vs. 60)
A very good summary of the plan of salvation, by God himself.