Monday, September 29, 2014

Overlooked Doctrine of Christ

If you were to ask 30 very religious and active members of the Church what the "Doctrine of Christ" was or included they would likely say things like baptism, and the Holy Ghost.  Which is true. I would venture to say few of them would include "Become as a little Child" as being "Doctrine of Christ".  Verse 40 below will explain why this matters so much.

3 Nephi 11:37-40 

37 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.  38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.  40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.

Jesus taught: Become "as a little child".  Not a "baby".  Not a "child".  Or a "young child".  In Greek the words little child is "mikros mikroteros" and means small in size. What age do you suppose this could be?

I've looked through the Scriptures for some ideas.  They speak of "sucking" child, and "weaned" child.  Moroni was very clear in his directives to not baptize little children which could be associated to infant baptism.  Other scriptures say "A little child shall lead them".  We could perhaps take that to mean "little children" can at least walk.  3 Nephi 17:12 says So they brought their little children and set them down upon the ground round about him, and Jesus stood in the midst; and the multitude gave way till they had all been brought unto him. We could take that to mean the little children could walk, but perhaps not walk unassisted to the intended destination without "being brought".  Alma says: Now this is not all; little children do have words given unto them many times, which confound the wise and the learned.  So little children would maybe be those who can at least talk a little.  D&C 29:47 seems to give a broader range for "little children".  The phrase could also has various meanings that are not age related. But that's a different post.  

For this post I would say nursery age is a pretty good description.  18 mths to 3 yrs. For some kids the "little child" aspect may extend longer.  I have a 18 month old daughter.  She's a particularly happy little thing.  Almost everyone notices and enjoys it. She can sometimes be a monster and whine, or put on a drama-crying show over having to put on PJ's.  However her native state is cheerful and happy.  It's been a gift to observe.  It has also placed me in nursery at Church a lot more.

Children most generally release negative feelings more quickly than adults. As a parent acknowledging and validating children's worries, concerns, fears, anger or sadness oftentimes allows a child to move on and return to their natural joyful state of happiness.  Little children tend to return to happiness more quickly than adults. I've been surprised to watch that these parenting skills of acknowledging and validating children's worries, concerns, fears, anger, and sadness etc.... work pretty dang well on adults too.

Our life's circumstances force us into adulthood and all its responsibilities. It's easy to forget to be like those little ones who so easily let things go. Who find it easier to forgive than not. Easier to be happy than be burdened. Easier to trust, than doubt. The scriptures confirm that we are indeed to become as little children. This most undoubtedly includes their natural ability to be humble, let go of things, forgive, and be believing.

I wonder if way back in early childhood most of us, too, had a native happy and cheerful state of being? I look at my own life and the things I carry. I let them go for a moment tonight as I saw my daughter do so in her context, and I too remembered that it's simple and possible. Why do I hold on to things? There are10,000 reasons but none of them are any good.  

It's easy to overlook becoming "as a little child".  I get tempted to not let things go.  Tempted to not be believing as a child.  I think adults are tempted to forgo becoming as little children.  Christ's official doctrine reminds us.  

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