Moroni, Chapter 8

The concern of parents for children

“An epistle of my father Mormon, written to me, Moroni; and it was written unto me soon after my calling to the ministry. And on this wise did he write unto me, saying (v. 1):  My beloved son, Moroni, I rejoice exceedingly that your Lord Jesus Christ hath been mindful of you, and hath called you to his ministry, and to his holy work (v. 2).  I am mindful of you always in my prayers, continually praying unto God the Father in the name of his Holy Child, Jesus, that he, through his infinite goodness and grace, will keep you through the endurance of faith on his name to the end (v. 3).”  It is obvious that Mormon loved his son, Moroni.  Mormon reminds his son that Jesus Christ was also mindful of him.  Mormon prayed for his son always and I am sure that the spirit testified to him that the Lord was continually blessing Moroni.  It gives me great strength to know that my parents pray for me.  I am often overcome with the spirit the most, when I pray for my family members.  Mormon wanted the Lord to help Moroni endure and then to save him with His grace.  I pray most often that my family members will have softened hearts and be open to the guidance of the spirit.  I am glad that I can pray for family.  If not for anything else, it increases my love for each individual by great amounts.

Baptism

Little children and baptism

When we are baptized, we make a commitment to the Lord.  We must not enter into this sacred covenant lightly.  Children are not expected to be baptized until they can understand the meaning and magnitude of making a covenant with Father in Heaven.  In childhood, we are innocent and pure, and have no reason for baptism yet.  Mormon explained this to Moroni, so that Moroni could stop any arguing over this among the people (v. 4).  “For, if I have learned the truth, there have been disputations among you concerning the baptism of your little children (v. 5).”  This is still a question that arises today, because there are religions who believe that little children must be baptized.

“And now, my son, I desire that ye should labor diligently, that this gross error should be removed from among you; for, for this intent I have written this epistle (v. 6).  For immediately after I had learned these things of you I inquired of the Lord concerning the matter. . .(v. 7)”.  It is important that the church does not argue about gospel principals, so Mormon put the matter to prayer to find the answer.

“. . . And the word of the Lord came to me by the power of the Holy Ghost, saying (v. 7):  Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them; and the law of circumcision is done away in me (v. 8 ).”  The Lord came to save the sinner, but little children cannot commit sin and are not cursed by the fall of Adam.

“And after this manner did the Holy Ghost manifest the word of God unto me; wherefore, my beloved son, I know that it is solemn mockery before God, that ye should baptize little children (v. 9).  Behold I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach—repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children (v. 10).”  It is the parents of these little children, who need to be concerned about repentance and baptism.

“And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins (v. 11).”  We are baptized for a remission of sins.  If children have no sins, than baptism has no place with them.

“But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter to persons; for how many little children have died without baptism (v. 12)!  Wherefore, if little children could not be saved without baptism, these must have gone to an endless hell (v. 13).”  Since baptism is required to allow us to return to God in Heaven, then it would be entirely unfair for all the children who die before the opportunity to be baptized.

“Behold I say unto you, that he that supposeth that little children need baptism is in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; for he hath neither faith, hope, nor charity; wherefore, should he be cut off while in the thought, he must go down to hell (v. 14).  For awful is the wickedness to suppose that God saveth one child because of baptism, and the other must perish because he hath no baptism (v. 15).  Wo be unto them that shall pervert the ways of the Lord after this manner, for they shall perish except they repent. Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear (v. 16).”  Those who believe that small children must be baptized in order to be saved, are following after false doctrine.  I don’t know how I would feel if I believe that way and if my innocent baby died just after birth and was unable to be baptized.  All faith and hope for the soul of my child would be lost and that is such a sad way to believe.  I am glad that this is not true.

“And I am filled with charity, which is everlasting love; wherefore, all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation (v. 17).  For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity (v. 18 ).  Little children cannot repent; wherefore, it is awful wickedness to deny the pure mercies of God unto them, for they are all alive in him because of his mercy (v. 19).”  A small child could not understand how to truly repent and if they were able to sin but died before they understood repentance, they would be lost after this life.

“And he that saith that little children need baptism denieth the mercies of Christ, and setteth at naught the atonement of him and the power of his redemption (v. 20).  Wo unto such, for they are in danger of death, hell, and an endless torment. I speak it boldly; God hath commanded me. Listen unto them and give heed, or they stand against you at the judgment-seat of Christ (v. 21).  For behold that all little children are alive in Christ, and also all they that are without the law. For the power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such baptism availeth nothing (v. 22)—But it is mockery before God, denying the mercies of Christ, and the power of his Holy Spirit, and putting trust in dead works (v. 23).”  This also applies to those who have grown up unable to understand the meaning of repentance.  Those who are handicapped by either internal or external forces, and are not able to be taught how the law of repentance works, cannot be held accountable.

“Behold, my son, this thing ought not to be; for repentance is unto them that are under condemnation and under the curse of a broken law (v. 24).  And the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins (v. 25); And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God (v. 26).”  The rest of mankind, need baptism because we are held accountable to the law.  We need to have a remission of our sins and we need repentance to make us clean and pure, so that we can return to God again some day.

In D&C 68:25-28 we read of the modern-day revelation about baptism, “And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents (v. 25).  For this shall be a law unto the inhabitants of Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized (v. 26).  And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands (v. 27).  And they shall also ateach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord (v. 28 ).”  A child becomes accountable at the age of eight, but if they have not been taught, their parents will be accountable for their sins.  It is the job of parents, to teach children about repentance and baptism.

The atonement covers those who repent for their sins, as well as all those who are without sin because of age or understanding.  It is important to teach little children what is the difference between right and wrong.  It is important that we teach children how to act and what is appropriate to think and say.  It is also important that parents remember that these little ones are without sin.  They may make mistakes, but they are not held accountable for these mistakes.  We need to remember that they have a certain level of understanding and our discipline needs to reflect that.  If we choose to treat children like they are evil for what they do, then we will be held accountable for our sin against them.  These little ones will be held accountable when they are old enough to understand and be baptized.  Hopefully, at that point, we will have taught them well enough to understand the importance of repentance and the blessings of the atonement.

“Behold, my son, I will write unto you again if I go not out soon against the Lamanites. Behold, the pride of this nation, or the people of the Nephites, hath proven their destruction except they should repent (v. 27).  Pray for them, my son, that repentance may come unto them. But behold, I fear lest the Spirit hath ceased striving with them; and in this part of the land they are also seeking to put down all power and authority which cometh from God; and they are denying the Holy Ghost (v. 28 ).  And after rejecting so great a knowledge, my son, they must perish soon, unto the fulfilling of the prophecies which were spoken by the prophets, as well as the words of our Savior himself (v. 29).  Farewell, my son, until I shall write unto you, or shall meet you again. Amen (v. 30).”  The Nephites were not enjoying the blessings that come from living righteously and having the spirit with them.  They were choosing not to repent for their sins and denying the Holy Ghost, which is one of the worst sins we can commit.  Therefore, they were ripe for destruction.  The blessings that come from having the spirit as a constant companion and a guide are greater than we can even imagine.  After understanding gospel principals, denying the Holy Ghost is a denial of God after a knowledge of Him.

As I find myself listening more to the Holy Ghost, I notice that I am more than willing to give up the unrighteous things of the world.  I find that I am not ashamed to be a member of the gospel, but rather I feel really good being “churchy” and religious.  I am happy to avoid situations where temptations may arise.  I do not feel like the commandments and rules of the gospel are holding me back, but rather that they free me from feeling like I need to do those things to fit in or be normal.  I am happier as I live the gospel standards and I am so grateful for the influence of the Holy Ghost in my life.  I am also more willing to admit my faults and try to find ways to be a better person.  I am glad that I have the opportunity to be more like the Savior.

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I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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