Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
The fourth Article of Faith states that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) "believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost."
The Church of Jesus Christ practices baptism by immersion in water. Baptism is symbolic of burial and rebirth as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Like many Christians, Latter-day Saints believe that a person who repents and is baptized has all prior sins remitted.
Baptism is never performed before the eighth birthday. The age of eight was given in latter-day revelation as the age when children become accountable for their sins, that is, they are able to discern between right and wrong. If a person is unable to discern between right and wrong (ie. those with severe mental retardation, etc.) they are deemed unaccountable for their sins and do not require baptism, regardless of their age; they are viewed as fully saved through the Atonement of Christ. The Book of Mormon and modern revelation specifically forbids the practice of infant baptism. (See Doctrine and Covenants 68:27 and Moroni 8:4-23.) Baptism is recognized only when performed by one holding the proper authority, contained in the office of a Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood or a higher office.