Last Sunday during a lively high priest class, the principle of baptism was taught. Many of the principle of baptism began enhancing the conversation and although many great things were said, it was the topic of child baptism that surprisingly caught my attention the most.
One of the brethren began to read out of President Joseph Fielding Smith Church manual in which stated that children that are not of the age of accountability are immune from sin and do not need to be baptized. Ok, I knew that, but it was the next statement that really brought me into deeper thinking. “Children cannot sin because Satan cannot tempt them.” This of course is due to the fact that Christ atoned for them so that this purpose can be brought to pass.
But it was the words “children cannot be tempted”. I began to ponder on this because the notion does not apply the fact that a child can commit sin. Yes they can commit sin but it is not to say that they are doing so in knowledge. In other words, they are not sinning because there is no knowledge of temptation or even desire to sin. But they could sin in the sense of committing the action.Rather the idea came to me that even if a child of an age that is NOT of accountability was to, let’s say break some kind of commandment they would not be judge due to the fact that they did not have the knowledge of any Incitement from satan. That child would not need repentance either.
This topic also reminded me of a wonderful family that my companion and I taught as I labored in the Texas Fort Worth mission. As we visited their home we notice a dangerous pattern of contention between the father and mother. This contention had an awkward affect on their three young kids, the oldest being about 6 years of age. We notice that the six-year-old had some problems with speech but I was not due to a mental disability, rather it was just a matter of him not being taught properly. We then notice an unusual pattern of words which would not be pleasant to the spirit.
As my companions and I visited them more often we notice that the six-year-old would often throw a small rampage and shouts of what we realized were very, very inappropriate language. Let’s just say that if this young child was a sailor, his language would match that identity. We also notice that the choices of words mirror words of aggression and insults from one person to another, rather than actual individual curse words. The obvious notion of that these three young beautiful children were under the influence of their parents arguments were vivid.
My companion an I did the best we could actually do. We taught the gospel. President Packer taught the gospel of Jesus Christ changes behavior more that the study of behavior changes behavior. If there were ever a more perfect scenario for this quote to fit in the life of someone, it had to have been with this six-year-old child.
Right after the mother got baptized, she began to bring they kids to church, though at times they did not stay for all the hours because the kids did not want to leave the mother’s side. Eventually her husband started to come and he would take care of the kids. The kids then began going to primary and nursery. The six-year-old in particular, who had an attitudes when we showed up to the house was now receiving us with open arms an angelic speech. He even began to pray with us and join us in the lesson that we taught his father who had not yet gotten baptized.
After six long month of working with this wonderful family and just five days before the end of my mission, the father called me and he wished to be baptized. I had the pleasure of performing the ordinance, but greater was the amazement to see a family united in the gospel and witness the children following the righteousness example of their parents rather than the wrong ones.
You see, just because children are immune to temptation that does not mean they will not follow the bad example of the parents or anyone. Satan cannot temp them and they cannot sin for Christ spirit is in them, but Satan can tempt the parents, guardians, and anyone is the age of accountability to eventually destroy the happy state of these little ones. Kids minds are like sponges, they can absorb every bit of substance they see or are expose too. Although the child might not be at fault for an incorrect and unrighteous upbringing, the parents in the other hand are. You see, the parent is accountable, not the child.
As for me, nothing is more precious than to see and hear a child speaking with their father in heaven, using heavenly language and acting in the very same way our beloved savior would act: in humility, quick to forgive, pure, clean and righteous in every form, humble, loving and obedient.
I say, we should adore and appreciated the unique, yet familiar little ones and how precious they are. I believe that at times we just see them as cute and innocent forgetting the immense power they hold, think about it, since the begging of time, humans have sought for that same immunity from God’s judgment. We have sought out for forgiveness, we have sought for happiness, purity, a life free of worry. Wouldn’t you say that we in many ways are seeking to be like a child or a child in Christ for his spirit is in all of them. So was the Savior not right when he said that we must be like unto a child, pure clean, righteous, humble, ready to forgive, to love, to share, to learn? No wonder the Savior gave that analogy, for if we forget how to ACT, we simply need to observe a child.
We adults think we are too wise, too grown that we forget how to be humble, we don’t remember how we started the path in this Earth. We learn from Job in the Old Testament who went thought un-imaginable and severe circumstances in which satan was allowed to tempt him, kill his family and take everything he had, but after all these trials, and he ready to meet his death, he decided to make a peculiar act. Job went on and shave his head and became naked, signifying that as a babe he came and as child he will go to his grave. What a wonderful example of understanding the power of God and the power that children hold.
I guess in many ways, if my subject was put in a Sci-fi movie about a particular Breed of humans who could not be weakened by any of life’s temptations then idea might seem more interesting but the truth is that it is not a movie and we do live around these precious individual. Love them, care for them, lose your pride and LEARN from them. No wonder Christ spirit is in them because they are the very example of Him.