Does baptism wash away the sins of little children?

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 StumbleUpon 0 Email -- Filament.io 0 Flares ×

I attended a baptism last Saturday for an eight-year-old. One of the speakers made the comment that baptism will wash this child’s sins away.

In Moro. 8:8, Mormon told Moroni that the Lord said the following:

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

If little children are whole and not capable of committing sin, how can baptism wash away their sins?

9 thoughts on “Does baptism wash away the sins of little children?

  1. It doesn’t. The children’s lesson manuals for the under-8 set have frequent reminders about this. The speaker wasn’t thinking or was ignorant.

  2. Coffinberry beat me to it.

    On a related note-my children are all under 8 and often beg for the sacrament and I wouldn’t give it to them on account of their not being baptized. Meanwhile it seemed like everyone was looking at me like I’m the bad parent because I was seeing other parents give it to their children all the time to stop them from crying. So I got an attitude akin to “How dare they just give it to their kids to shut them up-we have the ordinance for a reason.”
    But then I got to discussing it with my brother and he and his wife showed me a quote by Brigham Young (yes my brother and I like what Brother Brigham has to say on many things) I’m pasting just a tiny portion,

    “Children who are capable of repentance should be baptized when they reach the proper age, according to the revelations. Up to that age they are entitled to the sacrament….”

    So because they are without sin it is their entitlement-I just found that interesting. And I will still not give it to my kids to stop them from crying-but I will give it to my 4 year old when he asks and be explaining WHY we take the sacrament and what it means. I just have to have it clear that it is something special and not a pacifier.

  3. Our children don’t take the Sacrament until they are around 3. We want them to have at least a basic understanding of the purpose of the Sacrament and that it isn’t just some free bread and water.

  4. Exactly what I am now thinking.

    I guess beforehand I was thinking I wouldn’t let them until they were 8 and baptized, thinking that they didn’t need it but also they shouldn’t because they weren’t yet baptized but according to Brigham it is their right because they are still at that innocent unblemished state.

  5. I think part of that is the perpetuated teaching that the Sacrament covenant is a renewal of baptismal covenants. IMO, it is a completely separate set of covenants.

  6. The idea that children change from totally-unaccountable-and-incapable-of-sin to an accountable-and-sinful person all in the blink of an eye at the moment they turn from 7 to 8 is a bit naive. The scriptures talk about accountability as a process in which children gradually become accountable (D&C 29:47). Thus, it seems fairly reasonable to conclude that the average eight year old has had experience with knowing what was right and choosing not to do it (sin).

    Did God choose eight years old because it safely catches all children before they are capable of sin? Or, did he choose eight years old because most eight year olds have learned enough about right and wrong to have some understanding of what they are committing to and what it means to sin/repent? I think the later.

    So, I think the speaker may well be less ignorant than Coffinberry.

  7. DC 68:27 And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands.

    While 8 may be some magic age where kids are changed from not accountable to accountable in the twinkling of an eye, it seems that while babies are clearly not accountable (or capable of committing sin), as children grow they become aware, start exercising agency, and eventually sin (even if God in some technical way might not hold them accountable until eight–I’ll leave that to Him and His lawyers). Their sins are remitted at baptism.

    A few kids are baptized exactly on their birthday, but most are not, so they’ve technically had at least a few hours, days, or weeks to accumulate some sins that need remitting. I personally believe that children become accountable for their actions at various ages, that they become aware of this in their own hearts, and have a desire for forgiveness for the incorrect actions (ie. by 8 they have sins that need remitting).

    Mormon seems to be referring to baptism of infants (the unaccountable). Baptism is for the accountable — something almost every eight year old has become. Not by turning eight, but by becoming aware of right and wrong.

  8. Kim said:
    I think part of that is the perpetuated teaching that the Sacrament covenant is a renewal of baptismal covenants. IMO, it is a completely separate set of covenants.

    What makes you think it isn’t a renewing of the baptismal covenants?
    D&C 27:2 says we take it to remind us of the blood that was shed by Christ for us and the prayer itself (D&C 20:77) that those who have taken on the name of The Son take the sacrament to have his spirit with them. Also in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism under sacrament it says:

    In Latter-day Saint usage, Sacrament designates that ordinance instituted by Jesus Christ as a means by which worthy Saints may renew their covenants with their Redeemer and with God the Father

    I think you’re preaching false doctrine by suggesting that partaking in the sacrament is not to renew baptismal covenants.

  9. What makes you think it isn’t a renewing of the baptismal covenants?

    Because the two have a different set of covenants. In baptism, we covenant to serve the Lord, do his will, and keep his commandments (Mosiah 5:5;18:10). In the sacrament, we covenant to take upon us Jesus’s name, keep his commandments, and always remember him.

    D&C 27:2 says we take it to remind us of the blood that was shed by Christ for us

    And to remind us of his body.

    the prayer itself (D&C 20:77) that those who have taken on the name of The Son take the sacrament to have his spirit with them

    Actually, it doesn’t say that at all. It does say those who partake of it do so to take upon them his name and (among other things) have his spirit with them

    Sacrament designates that ordinance instituted by Jesus Christ as a means by which worthy Saints may renew their covenants with their Redeemer and with God the Father

    Oh, I am not saying the sacrament isn’t a renewal of any covenant. After all, we say make the very same covenant each week. I am saying that it is not a renewal of the baptismal covenants.

    I think you’re preaching false doctrine

    Actually, the only thing I am preaching is my opinion, as I stated at the end of comment #5.

Leave a Reply