"Choose you this day whom ye will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15

Sunday, December 2, 2012

What about infant death without baptism?

A couple of years ago, I was with my friend Molly, in a parking lot.  A guy came by that was a complete stranger, and saw that in the trunk of the car, there was a religious game.  Gathering that we were religious people, he proceeded to tell us of the heartbreak from which he was suffering.  He said that his child had died as a baby, before being baptized, and his pastor told him that the child was going to hell. This was causing him much pain and anguish.  We mentioned to him what we have learned from the scriptures about infant death and baptism.
In the Book of Mormon, Mormon is writing to his son, Moroni, because of the great arguments that were being had over whether infants should be baptized and if they were going to hell if they died before being baptized.  What he tells us is very helpful and comforting about how the Savior's atonement applies to small children. Mormon states:

"There have been disputations among you concerning the baptism of your little children.
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.

For immediately after I had learned these things of you I inquired of the Lord concerning the matter.  And the word of the Lord came to me by the power of the Holy Ghost, saying:

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..." 

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.  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.  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.  ....

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.  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.  ...

Then Moroni goes on to explain how repentance works for those who are old enough to be accountable and have been given the truth of the gospel:

...for repentance is unto them that are under condemnation and under the curse of a broken law.  And the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfulling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins; 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....

I didn't put all of the chapter in, but if you would like to study it more, it is found in The Book of Mormon, the book of Moroni, chapter 8.  You can read it or listen to it online here:  http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/moro/8.8?lang=eng

I am so grateful to have this knowledge to share with others to bring them comfort and hope.  I am so grateful for the atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ, and for the great love and mercy He has for us.  We are truly so blessed.

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