Weekly Report 1/16/16
Elder & Sister Elkington
We had an inspiring zone conference this week and also met some new less-active members and a potential investigator. We continue to call on less-active members who have children age nine or over who have not been baptized. When we ask about the child being baptized, the parent often says they are waiting until the child is older, then the child can decide if they want to be baptized. The problem is that the child is receiving no instruction in gospel principles. Therefore, they will have no reason to decide to be baptized. Our concern led us to create the attached document entitled “Baptism” which we are starting to leave with these less-active parents. It is too early to see what impact it has.
We continue to meet with a family on the Shivwits Reservation that has 10 children and five adults in the house. We pick them up at the Reservation and take them to Church when they do not have a ride. The elders have taught the children how to pray and they anxiously volunteer to say prayers when the elders teach them. They do not want to miss out on their turn to pray. The mother of some of the children has been attending Church and the Gospel Principles Sunday School class we teach in the Heritage Park Branch. The one child from the family, a six year old girl, felt insecure going to Primary so she came to the Gospel Principles class with her mother. When I asked for a volunteer to offer an opening prayer, the adults had not had time to respond when this little girl’s hand shot up and she said, “I’ll pray.” And she did offer the prayer. It was a great example and lesson for the adults in the class. The class discussion after that was very inspiring and open. “…And a little child shall lead them.”
Sister Elkington continues to bake cakes and cookies which we take to those we visit. When we go to the Reservation, often a child we have not met will come up to the car and say, “Do you have cookies?”
These Native American children have become part of our family – we love them!
By Elder W Larry Elkington
When Should Children be Baptized?
What is the ideal time to be baptized? The Lord has stated that a child is not accountable until they are eight years old. The period from birth until age eight is a time of learning – learning the difference between right and wrong- learning the truths of the gospel. Then when they turn eight they have the privilege of being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost to guide them and protect them from evil influences. However, for that to happen, they need to understand the gospel. This puts responsibility upon the parents to see that they are taught about their Father in Heaven and about Jesus Christ and his teachings. In a revelation recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord states:, “Inasmuch as parents have children…that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.” (D&C 68:25) The Lord further explains the importance of baptism at age eight and the responsibility of parents in verses 27 and 28, “And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands. And they shall also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord.”
Responsibily of Parents and others. It can seem like an overwhelming responsibility to parents to teach their children the things the Lord specified. But parents are not alone. Primary teachers at Church also teach the things a child needs to know to be baptized. Missionaries are also available to assist in teaching the children. So, preparing children with the knowledge they need before baptism is a team effort. But, it is still the parent’s responsibility to ensure the teaching happens.
Why is baptism so important?
In the third chapter of John in the Bible, it tells of a man named Cornelius who came to Jesus and asked about the kingdom of God. “Jesus answered and said unto him, verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5) Being born of the water is baptism. Being born of the Spirit is receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Each of us enters into the kingdom of God by being baptized and receiving the Holy Ghost. Then it is our responsibility to help our children be prepared to do the same thing.
What about children over age eight who have not been baptized?
Children over age eight should be taught by the missionaries to ensure they
understand the gospel and can make an informed decision to be baptized.
Missionaries who can help people prepare to be baptized:
Elder Larry and Sister Bev Elkington, phone 801-425-3155.
Elder Isakson and Elder Stafford, phone 435-215-6864