The age of accountability established by the Lord

In a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord specified conditions for baptism:

"All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church." (D&C 20:37.)"These conditions," wrote Elder James E. Talmage in The Articles of Faith, "exclude all who have not arrived at the age of discretion and accountability; and by direct commandment the Lord has forbidden the Church to receive any who have not attained to such age. (See D&C 20:71.)

"By revelation the Lord had designated eight years as the age at which children may be properly baptized into the Church; and parents are required to prepare their children for the ordinances of the Church by teaching them the doctrines of faith, repentance, baptism, and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. Failure in this requirement is accounted by the Lord as a sin resting upon the heads of the parents. (See D&C 68:25-27.)"

Elder Talmage emphasized, "The Latter-day Saints are opposed to the practice of infant baptism, which indeed they believe to be a sacrilege. No one having faith in the word of God can look upon the child as culpably wicked; such an innocent being needs no initiation into the fold, for he has never strayed therefrom; he needs no remission of sins for he has committed no sin; and should he die before he has become contaminated by the sins of earth he will be received without baptism into the paradise of God."

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