'Children are alive in Christ'

It was time for filing income taxes again and Fred Wehrhahn was at the home of some non-member friends, George and Sandra Schneider, gathering information in order to assist in preparing their tax forms. Fred, a member of the West Allis 1st Ward, Milwaukee Wisconsin Stake, had been their accountant for several years and they had developed a warm friendship.

"How many dependents do you have?" Fred asked. In response, Sandra brought in their latest addition, a beautiful three-month-old baby named Kimberly. George and Sandra indicated that their families had been pressuring them to have her baptized. They had not been very active in their faith and had been debating over what to do about her baptism. Their church taught that little children inherited the sin of Adam, and if not baptized would be forever damned, should they die in this condition.Taking courage Fred asked, "Why do you need to have her baptized as an infant? There is no need for that. Don't you remember what happened when the people brought their little children to Jesus?" Sandra said, "No." Fred continued: "His disciples wanted to send them away so not to disturb Jesus. Jesus overheard the conversation, corrected them, and asked them to bring their little children unto Him. He taught that we must all become as little children in order to enter the kingdom of God."

The conversation continued. "What did Jesus do with the little children?" George asked. "He didn't baptize them, He blessed them," Fred replied. "Is that in the Bible?" asked Sandra. Turning to Mark 10:13-15 Fred read: "And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them."

Sandra and George listened intently and wanted to know more. They asked what a blessing was and how it was performed in his Church. Later, Sandra explained that at that point it all began to fall into place. Sandra began to feel something.

Fred was ecstatic! He went on to explain about the Prophet Joseph Smith. He was so enthusiastically engaged in the conversation that he missed his next appointment and had to call the next day to apologize.

Fred invited the Schneiders to his home for a family home evening, and to his surprise they accepted.

When Fred returned home he felt like he was walking on clouds and was overjoyed that he had found someone who was interested in learning about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The hour was late and his wife Kathleen was already asleep. He roused her out of her slumber. He just had to tell someone about his experience. He said, "I invited them to come to a family home evening. Will that be all right?" "Of course," she replied.

The Schneiders attended family home evenings with the Wehrhahns several times and were greatly impressed by the obvious love and closeness of their family. With the consent of the Schneiders, arrangements were soon made for the missionaries to go to their home. Fred and Kathleen were with them at the first meeting to introduce them to the missionaries and help them feel comfortable. The Schneiders received all the lessons with gladness, and soon arrangements were made for their baptism. Fred was asked to participate in the baptisms and Kimberly, their daughter, soon received her blessing under the hands of the priesthood.

Our second Article of Faith states, "We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression." Moses, the great lawgiver, stated: " . . . the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world." (Moses 6:54.) In great clarity Mormon taught: "And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance to fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins. But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world. . . ." (Moroni 8:11-12).

The Spirit of the Lord bears witness of this great truth and we are blessed by knowing, understanding and applying it to our lives.

Charles C. Monk is a former bishop, stake president, and regional representative of the Church. He is currently the Public Affairs Director in the Milwaukee Wisconsin Stake and an ordinance worker in the Chicago Illinois Temple.

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