Innocent…But Guilty! (The Fate Of Unbaptized Children)



Perhaps you have never experienced this in your life but I have. Much like when I disturb my wife by snoring at night, she on occasion, wakes me up in the middle of the night with her involuntary hysterical laughter. It doesn’t make me mad, like my snoring does for her…I mean, how can you get mad at someone who is in hysterical laughter and can’t stop. After coming to my senses, I usually start laughing with her because, even though I am awakened from a deep sleep, laughing is fun and I can join in. I never get mad nor do I complain when she has these “laughter fits.” She is innocent of offending me,  but guilty of disturbing me.

Likewise there is a religious “conundrum” (A paradoxical, insoluble, or difficult problem; a dilemma) that exists that has troubled man for centuries. What of the innocent babes born into this world who die without baptism. They are “innocent”, but according to Christianity, are born in sin, or “guilty” of sin. The conundrum is that, like my hysterically laughing wife, they are “innocent…but guilty!” How can that be resolved? Well, as recently as 2007 there is some thought coming forth from Catholic and Protestant churches that might give hope that they might be seeing that preaching that little children end up in limbo, a state of happiness but cut off from God, or Hell doesn’t seem fair, or just. I quote from the USA Today.

“If there’s no limbo and we’re not going to revert to St. Augustine’s teaching that unbaptized infants go to hell, we’re left with only one option, namely, that everyone is born in the state of grace,” said the Rev. Richard McBrien, professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame.(4/22/2007)

While the religions that be, are still struggling with this issue, we have had the answer to this question since the beginning of the restoration.

“But behold, I say unto you, that little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten;Wherefore, they cannot sin, for power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me” (D&C 29:46-47)

The Lord has revealed that he starts to hold children accountable starting at the age of eight. While the Christian world holds that the fall of Adam passed death and sin on to each person born onto this earth, we believe that he passed on death, but “we believe that man will be punished for his own sins, not Adam’s transgression. (The Articles of Faith, #2)

Through modern revelation the question of where unbaptized children go after death is satisfactorily answered. There is no conundrum for us! It brings great peace and joy to those who have lost children to know that we have a Heavenly Father who is just and merciful. He will not condemn the “innocent” as “guilty”! He will not send innocent babes to hell or even limbo where they will be cut off from His presence forever! This is not doctrine of God, but of man!

I am grateful to belong to the restored church of Christ, where I can find answers to some of the most perplexing questions of our times. The prophet Joseph Smith was once “accused” of having conveniently answered all the questions that have plagued mankind since the beginning, to which I would reply, “That’s the point of the restoration!” I thank God, that He has spoken in this, the latter-days, and has given us knowledge and information, through living prophets, on “where we came from”, “why we are here”, and “where we are going!” To this I am forever grateful!

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