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Question

 

Gramps,

If mortality is so critical for all the testing and trials, why do so many who die before age 8 not need all the testing and proving of mortality?

Mark

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Answer

 

Mark,

There are a few thoughts that have been provided by Church leaders, and my central focus will be upon the words given by the prophet Joseph F. Smith. Joseph F. Smith lost nine children who were under the age of accountability,

“Although President Joseph F. Smith knew firsthand the anguish, loneliness, and love that attend the death of a child, his teachings on the salvation of little children were inspiring and reassuring. Between 1869 and 1898, he buried nine little children of his own.” (emphasis mine)

Joseph F. Smith is quoted to have said the following when his beloved Mercy Josephine passed through the veil,

“O God only knows how much I loved my girl, and she the light and the joy of my heart. The morning before she died, after being up with her all night, for I watched her every night, I said to her, ‘My little pet did not sleep all night.’ She shook her head and replied, ‘I’ll sleep today, papa.’ Oh! how those little words shot through my heart. I knew though I would not believe, it was another voice, that it meant the sleep of death and she did sleep. And, Oh! the light of my heart went out. The image of heaven graven in my soul was almost departed. … Thou wert a heavenly gift directly to my heart of hearts.”

Upon the death of his daughter Ruth, Joseph F. Smith received a revelation and here are his word,

“O my soul! I see my own sweet mother’s arms extended welcoming to her embrace the ransomed glorious spirit of my own sweet babe! O my God! For this glorious vision, I thank Thee! And there too are gathered to my Father’s mansion all my darling lovely ones; not in infantile helplessness, but in all the power and glory and majesty of sanctified spirits! Full of intelligence, of joy and grace, and truth.”

He had this to share also,

“But we know our children will not be compelled to remain as a child in stature always, for it was revealed from God, the fountain of truth, through Joseph Smith the prophet, in this dispensation, that in the resurrection of the dead the child that was buried in its infancy will come up in the form of the child that it was when it was laid down; then it will begin to develop. From the day of the resurrection, the body will develop until it reaches the full measure of the stature of its spirit, whether it be male or female. If the spirit possessed the intelligence of God and the aspirations of mortal souls, it could not be satisfied with anything less than this.”

In relation to his previous statement Joseph F. Smith said the following,

“It matters not whether these tabernacles mature in this world, or have to wait and mature in the world to come, according to the word of the Prophet Joseph Smith, the body will develop, either in time or in eternity, to the full stature of the spirit, and when the mother is deprived of the pleasure and joy of rearing her babe to manhood or to womanhood in this life, through the hand of death, that privilege will be renewed to her hereafter, and she will enjoy it to a fuller fruition than it would be possible for her to do here. When she does it there, it will be with the certain knowledge that the results will be without failure; whereas here, the results are unknown until after we have passed the test.”

He also quotes the following from Joseph Smith, ‘Joseph Smith taught the doctrine that the infant child that was laid away in death would come up in the resurrection as a child; and, pointing to the mother of a lifeless child, he said to her:

“You will have the joy, the pleasure, and satisfaction of nurturing this child, after its resurrection, until it reaches the full stature of its spirit.” There is restitution, there is growth, there is development, after the resurrection from death. I love this truth. It speaks volumes of happiness, of joy and gratitude to my soul. Thank the Lord he has revealed these principles to us.”

In connection with this Bruce R. McConkie provided the following regarding mortal birth,

“It is the process by which mature, sentient, intelligent beings pass from preexistence into a mortal sphere. It is the process by which we bring from premortality to mortality the traits and talents acquired and developed in our long years of spirit existence. It is the process by which a mortal body is created from the dust of the earth to house an eternal spirit offspring of the Father of us all. Mortality is fully upon us when we first breathe the breath of life.”

Bruce R. McConkie then shared the following statements,

“We may rest assured that all things are controlled and governed by Him whose spirit children we are. He knows the end from the beginning, and he provides for each of us the testings and trials which he knows we need. President Joseph Fielding Smith once told me that we must assume that the Lord knows and arranges beforehand who shall be taken in infancy and who shall remain on earth to undergo whatever tests are needed in their cases. This accords with Joseph Smith’s statement: “The Lord takes many away, even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth.” (Teachings, pp. 196–97.) It is implicit in the whole scheme of things that those of us who have arrived at the years of accountability need the tests and trials to which we are subject and that our problem is to overcome the world and attain that spotless and pure state which little children already possess.”

In light of all these quotes, particularly the last, we have more insight and at least one reason why so many children pass away before the age of accountability. I will quote once more the words of the prophet Joseph Smith,

“The Lord takes many away, even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth.” (Teachings, pp. 196–97.)

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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