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Question

 

Gramps,

My soon-to-be ex wife and I had a disagreement once (1 of many) where she believes that there are some people born evil. I was shocked and disgusted by the notion that some people are borm evil.

I truly believe that yes, we all have our character which is individual and unique to each one of us. Some spirits are more vallaint than others when fighting the forces of evil, but to think that there are some who are born evil is just wrong and goes against what we learn. Is she right?

Anonymous

 

Answer

 

Dear Anonymous,

First, I’m very sorry to hear of your impending divorce.  Regardless of the details, it’s always sad when a marriage ends this way, and always a trial for those impacted.  I pray that you will find strength in the gospel and rely on the Lord in the days ahead.

Now, as to your question, no, she is not right.  I cannot think of a single scripture which implies that any person is born evil.  The closest I can find or think of is in Isaiah 48, and I discussed those verses in this article, which may be of interest to you.  Suffice it to say that these verses to not teach that anyone is born evil, only that one can, unfortunately, be born into a culture where wickedness prevails.

On the other hand, there are numerous scriptures which teach that children are innocent, alive in Christ, and examples of how we adults should strive to be.  Moroni 8 discusses the innocence of children at length.  In verse 4, Mormon states that the practice of baptizing little children “grieveth [him] exceedingly”.  In verse 6, he calls the practice “this gross error”, and in verse 9, he describes it as “solemn mockery before God”.  In verse 8, he recounts the Lord’s response to his inquiry on the matter:

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.

These are clear and powerful words against the very idea of “born evil”.  In verse 10, Mormon instructs his son, Moroni, to “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.”

If all that isn’t enough, let’s look at the start of verse 11: “And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism.”  Now, repentance is for sinners, the wicked, those who do evil.  If it were possible for a child to be born evil, would the Lord have said they need no repentance, nor baptism?  Would he have said that they are “alive in Christ” (v12)?  Would he have taught “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 18:3)?  Would he have said, “for of such is the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:16)?

Finally, this verse in the Doctrine & Covenants addresses directly the question of our spirits:

 Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God.  D&C 93:38

“Innocent” certainly sounds a far cry from “evil”.  I hope this clarifies the matter.  In addition to Moroni 8, I recommend studying the following verses and asking God for a testimony of this truth, and how understanding it can help you to find more joy in living the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 18:3

Matthew 18:10

Matthew 19:14

Mark 10:14

Luke 18:15

Mosiah 3:16

Mosiah 15:25

D&C 20:71

D&C 29:46-48

D&C 74:7

D&C 93:38

D&C 137:10

Moses 6:54

 

Gramps

 

 

 

 

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