When the Bible talks about being “born again,” what does this mean? How did the first Christians understand this concept?
Latter-day Saints have unknowingly had the same interpretation as those early writers who came after the Apostles. These authors may have had a more clear picture of the apostles’ interpretation of Scripture than a modern reader does.
To be sure, baptism must be accompanied by faith in Christ and repentance of sins, or it is of no worth. But, to argue that baptism is unnecessary, or only a formality, does not seem to be in keeping with either scriptural or early Patristic testimony.
A witness of the Spirit pushes those who are truly born again to repent, change their lives, and obey the Lord’s commandments insofar as they are able to do so: e.g., be baptized. This witness by the Holy Ghost of the truth of the restored gospel has been shared by millions of people of all nations, ethnic backgrounds, cultures and tongues, and is the primary reason that thousands choose to join the Church even in the face of defamatory material published against it.