Accountability, Age of
Children should be taught to understand the Doctrine of Christ and may be baptized when eight years old (see T&C 55:5; Genesis 7:30; 1 Peter 1:14). In Moroni 8 (a letter from Mormon to his son, Moroni), Mormon quotes the Savior as having said, in relation to infant baptism, the following : I came into the world not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. The whole need no physician, but they that are sick. Wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin. Wherefore, the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them. And the law of circumcision is done away in me (Moroni 8:2). Little children are exempt from these requirements, as they are fulfilled in every respect by Christ’s atonement. Therefore, they needn’t be baptized, needn’t be confirmed, needn’t have circumcision, and they needn’t comply with any of the requirements for salvation because Christ atoned for all sin arising from the Fall of Adam. Little children are not sick, and therefore, do not need a physician. Christ removed all accountability for any law in the atonement for all infants, through the age of eight, who are not accountable before Him.1 The Lord has given instructions in two other modern revelations : But behold, I say unto you that little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through my Only Begotten. Wherefore, they cannot sin, for power is not given to Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me. For it is given unto them, even as I will, according to my own pleasure, that great things may be required at the hand of their fathers. And again, I say unto you, who, having knowledge, have not I commanded to repent? And he that has no understanding, it remains in me to do according as it is written. And now behold, I declare no more unto you at this time. Amen (T&C 9:14). And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, 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 spirit by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the head of the parents. For this shall be a law unto the inhabitants of Zion, 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 also shall teach their children to pray and to walk uprightly before the Lord (T&C 55:5).
1 “Answer to Moroni 8:8,” Dec. 14, 2011, blog post.