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Agency and children who die before the age of accountability


BBDD

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On 11/13/2020 at 6:11 AM, The Nehor said:

If the earth is to receive its paradisiacal glory and become as it was before the Fall I suspect fundamental changes to reality. The descriptions make this likely with their talk of an end to disease, illness, and even death. I suspect that those that dwell on Earth at the end of the Millenium will have the choice to again fall to our level when the devil is loosed one last time.

It's hard to imagine what the word "death" would even mean, or for that matter "disease" or "illness" when no one could die to give these very ideas any meaning.

Does that define a change in reality or belief?   I think it's kind of a chicken / egg thing.   

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3 hours ago, teddyaware said:

Here is an interesting quote from Joseph Fielding Smith’s Doctrines of Salvation 2:24

“The Lord will grant unto these children the privilege of all the sealing blessings which pertain to the exaltation. We were all mature spirits before we were born, and the bodies of little children will grow after the resurrection to the full stature of the spirit, and all the blessings will be theirs through their obediencethe same as if they had lived to maturity and received them on the earth. 

It is interesting.

For example, full exaltation requires marriage.  They died while children.  Christ himself taught that marriage cannot be solemnized post-resurrection.

That forces logic to say that either they will be deprived of full exaltation or that somehow between death and the final resurrection at the end of the earth's temporal existence they will have the opportunity to marry.  Which would also logically assume their spirits do not remain as children.

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3 hours ago, teddyaware said:

 

Dupl

Edited by JLHPROF
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The age of accountability at 8 yo is arbitrary. The actual age of accountability is as varied as there are people. We admit this when a person has a mental age of 6 even though they are 40 years old. I think to be fair there is a general age range for most folks when it comes to accountability. I've met some very smart ( and devious ) 6 year old 's .

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8 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

It is interesting.

For example, full exaltation requires marriage.  They died while children.  Christ himself taught that marriage cannot be solemnized post-resurrection.

That forces logic to say that either they will be deprived of full exaltation or that somehow between death and the final resurrection at the end of the earth's temporal existence they will have the opportunity to marry.  Which would also logically assume their spirits do not remain as children.

In the section of Doctrines of Salvation I pulled the quote from, Joseph Fielding Smith states that the spirits of all who enter mortality are are fully grown spirit adults. This means that when mortal children die a fully mature spirit adult exits the body and enters the spirit world.

If what Joseph Fielding smith says is true, one cannot help but wonder why the fully mature spirits that emerge from the bodies of deceased children appear to not be given the chance to decide for themselves, by utilizing their God given agency, whether or not they actually want to be saved. It almost appears that exaltation is forced upon them without having to exercise the faith and self discipline the other inheritors of celestial exaltation have to demonstrate while they are tried in the crucible of adversity. Even the Son of God, who is by far the most noble and great of all the spirit sons and daughters of God, had to be tried in the crucible of adversity, to an eternal degree, before he could enter into his exaltation.

This brings up an obvious question: how are those who die in infancy able to enjoy and appreciate their exaltation when, as it were, they’ve been given a ‘free ride’ and never had the opportunity taste the bitter that they might learn, through their own experience, how to prize the good? If the Son of God wasn’t exempted from the process, the same process of mortal probation of which we are told “there is no other way,” why, then, are little children denied that blessing, and why are they deprived of the great sense of satisfaction that can only be experienced when, after being fully tried and tested in the refiner’s fire, the Lord of the harvest declares unto them, “well done thou good and faithful servant!”

To me, the only answer to this conundrum is there has to be more to this than the oversimplified explanation we’ve been given thus far. I say this because it appears to me that the these instantaneously saved and exalted little children are deprived of the very experiences that make it possible for them to fully enjoy and appreciate the blessings of exaltation. There has to be more to this than what we have thus far been told...

11 And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient. (Moses 5)

 

Edited by teddyaware
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2 hours ago, teddyaware said:

In the section of Doctrines of Salvation I pulled the quote from, Joseph Fielding Smith states that the spirits of all who enter mortality are are fully grown spirit adults. This means that when mortal children die a fully mature spirit adult exits the body and enters the spirit world.

If what Joseph Fielding smith says is true, one cannot help but wonder why the fully mature spirits that emerge from the bodies of deceased children appear to not be given the chance to decide for themselves, by utilizing their God given agency, whether or not they actually want to be saved. It almost appears that exaltation is forced upon them without having to exercise the faith and self discipline the other inheritors of celestial exaltation have to demonstrate while they are tried in the crucible of adversity. Even the Son of God, who is by far the most noble and great of all the spirit sons and daughters of God, had to be tried in the crucible of adversity, to an eternal degree, before he could enter into his exaltation.

This brings up an obvious question: how are those who die in infancy able to enjoy and appreciate their exaltation when, as it were, they’ve been given a ‘free ride’ and never had the opportunity taste the bitter that they might learn, through their own experience, how to prize the good? If the Son of God wasn’t exempted from the process, the same process of mortal probation of which we are told “there is no other way,” why, then, are little children denied that blessing, and why are they deprived of the great sense of satisfaction that can only be experienced when, after being fully tried and tested in the refiner’s fire, the Lord of the harvest declares unto them, “well done thou good and faithful servant!”

To me, the only answer to this conundrum is there has to be more to this than the oversimplified explanation we’ve been given thus far. I say this because it appears to me that the these instantaneously saved and exalted little children are deprived of the very experiences that make it possible for them to fully enjoy and appreciate the blessings of exaltation. There has to be more to this than what we have thus far been told...

11 And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient. (Moses 5)

 

I think the basis for D&C 137 is that, given the Atonement of Christ, we are all automatically saved in the celestial kingdom; we are all heirs. However, D&C 88:32 shows that we "return again to [our] own place, to enjoy that which [we] are willing to receive…" All, even little children.

The post-mortal spirits of little children are no different They are willing to receive something according to the desires of the hearts, or their agency. The Lord "will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts." Those who seemingly worked little due to temporal disadvantages beyond their control still possess spiritual agency. They will have some perfecting to do in Christ before they progress to the point of realizing the full measure of salvation (obtaining the inheritance).

God had yet to see if His pre-mortal spirit children would be obedient (Abraham 3:25), yet can also foresee many things about us, perhaps based on what we demonstrated from the moment we began to follow "the first." This choice, a spiritual birth in a sense, may well have been the dawn of the second "estate," prior to our conception in the womb (v. 26-28). It is often observed that the second estate includes the post-mortal spirit world, so why not the post-war-in-heaven premortal estate? If that is the case, then the meaning of "all things whatsoever... God shall command them" may differ between those who are proven before conception and/or the age of accountability and those proven after birth and the age of accountability. This would render the "age of accountability" more a policy for the temporal, mortal world than a fixed eternal law, and truly a God of miracles given all the people who are miraculously spared and rescued death before the age of accountability.

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On 11/13/2020 at 5:30 AM, BBDD said:

Wanted to bring up some thoughts and questions I've had about agency and predestination, in the hope that maybe some of you would have some insightful thoughts about this.

How do you reconcile our belief in agency with the belief that children who die before the age of eight are automatically saved?

Being saved without the ability to make our own choices was Lucifer's plan which everyone who was born rejected. Does God know his children well enough from pre-earth life that he knows some don't need to be tested at all knowing they would choose to follow him no matter what? How could they have been tested prior to receiving a body? Nevertheless being automatically saved sounds counter to the the principle of agency to me.

This would also mean that God would have predestined (or at least has complete control over) who will die as a child and who doesn't, as only those that God is 100% certain about could die before the age of accountability. 

How does this work with the agency of others? If someone decides to drop a bomb, or murder a child surely we don't believe it's God's will but the concious choice (sin) of the perpetrator. Otherwise why would it be a sin if God wants it to happen?Can God prevent all killings of "non-chosen" children without all events and therefore all people's actions being predestined?

A few other interesting quotes. President Joseph Fielding Smith said:

"Satan will be loosed to gather Its forces after the millennium. The people who will be tempted, will be people living on this earth, and they will have every opportunity to accept the gospel or reject it. Satan will have nothing to do whatever with little children, or grown people who have received their resurrection. (Doctrines of Salvation 2:56-57.)

In a Sermon given by Joseph Smith, Jr., March 20, 1842, referring to a young child that had just died he said:

"The Lord takes many away even in infancy that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world--they were too lovely and too pure to live on earth. (The Words of Joseph Smith, pp. 106-109)

Perhaps they are too lovely and pure to need to be tested.

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2 hours ago, JAHS said:

A few other interesting quotes. President Joseph Fielding Smith said:

"Satan will be loosed to gather Its forces after the millennium. The people who will be tempted, will be people living on this earth, and they will have every opportunity to accept the gospel or reject it. Satan will have nothing to do whatever with little children, or grown people who have received their resurrection. (Doctrines of Salvation 2:56-57.)

In a Sermon given by Joseph Smith, Jr., March 20, 1842, referring to a young child that had just died he said:

"The Lord takes many away even in infancy that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world--they were too lovely and too pure to live on earth. (The Words of Joseph Smith, pp. 106-109)

Perhaps they are too lovely and pure to need to be tested.

The only problem is that throughout human history there have been a great many “little monsters” who died at 6 or 7 years of age who were already clearly demonstrating that, in all likelihood, they would grow up to be typically sinful human beings who would live typically sinful human lives.

Edited by teddyaware
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3 minutes ago, teddyaware said:

The only problem is that throughout human history there have been a great many “little monsters” who died at 6 or 7 years of age who were already clearly demonstrating that, in all likelihood, they would grow up to be typically sinful human beings who would live typically sinful human lives.

Like someone said earlier the age of 8 is more like a guideline instead of a rule. God will know what do do with them.

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1 hour ago, teddyaware said:

The only problem is that throughout human history there have been a great many “little monsters” who died at 6 or 7 years of age who were already clearly demonstrating that, in all likelihood, they would grow up to be typically sinful human beings who would live typically sinful human lives.

Everyone will grow up to be sinful if they live long enough.  Well, at least everyone who is not as perfectly good as our Savior, Jesus Christ.  And yet everyone who doesn't live as a mortal for more than 8 years will still be totally sin free.

I don't see any problem with being sin free, and one way or another, we all can be.

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1 hour ago, JAHS said:

Like someone said earlier the age of 8 is more like a guideline instead of a rule. God will know what do do with them.

Um, God already knows.  God knows and is already prepared for every contingency.

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1 hour ago, Ahab said:

Everyone will grow up to be sinful if they live long enough.  Well, at least everyone who is not as perfectly good as our Savior, Jesus Christ.  And yet everyone who doesn't live as a mortal for more than 8 years will still be totally sin free.

I don't see any problem with being sin free, and one way or another, we all can be.

Joseph Fielding Smith says God allows some children to die in their infancy because they are too to “pure and and lovely” to live in this wicked world. Are those children who are sneaky, dishonest, petulant and disrespectful also numbered among those who are considered to be too “pure and lovely” to live in this world as long as they happen to die before they turn 8, and that it’s by virtue of their purity and loveliness that they are deemed worthy of the fullness of celestial glory without having to suffer through the trials of an earthly probation? 

Edited by teddyaware
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30 minutes ago, teddyaware said:

Joseph Fielding Smith says God allows some children to die in their infancy because they are too to “pure and and lovely” to live in this wicked world. Are those children who are sneaky, dishonest, petulant and disrespectful also numbered among those who are considered to be too “pure and lovely” to live in this world as long as they happen to die before they turn 8, and that it’s by virtue of their purity and loveliness that they are deemed worthy of the fullness of celestial glory without having to suffer through the trials of an earthly probation? 

That sounds to me like a question a devil would ask.  We can all be accused of some sin or sins and even many silly sins, I suppose.

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On 11/22/2020 at 6:25 AM, The Nehor said:

That the alternative of not coming was much worse. Even the Telestial sphere is good by comparison.

We would not have been able to qualify even for telestial glory had the Atonement not been made:

Quote

 

Jacob 2

7 Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite batonement—save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more.

8 O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more.

9 And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself; yea, to that being who beguiled our first parents, who transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light, and stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Ahab said:

That sounds to me like a question a devil would ask.  We can all be accused of some sin or sins and even many silly sins, I suppose.

It’s a perfectly logical question that a fair minded person who understands the importance of being tested in the crucible of adversity while in mortality would ask.

Why are most people, including the most noble and great among the Father’s spirit children, required to spend a lifetime slogging through enormous difficulties and continual trials and tribulations before they are able to inherit celestial glory, while other fallen mortals, who show every indication they will grow up to be typically sinful fallen mortals, inherit the fulness of celestial glory without even having to make an effort as long as they die before their 8th birthday? It sounds more like magic than the plan of salvation that insists there is no other way to grow spiritually other than by tasting the bitter in order to learn how to prize the good.

The only way it can work and still be fair is if God has some way of making sure the only children who die before the age of accountability are those who would have lived a life worthy of celestial glory had they been permitted to tarry. And if that’s how it works I’m OK with it because it at least seems fair.

Edited by teddyaware
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12 minutes ago, teddyaware said:

The only way it can work and still be fair is if God has some way of making sure the only children who die before the age of accountability are those who would have lived a life worthy of celestial glory had they been permitted to tarry. And if that’s how it works I’m OK with it because it at least seems fair.

I invite you to review my post earlier in this thread as it posits an alternative explanation.

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4 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

We would not have been able to qualify even for telestial glory had the Atonement not been made:

 

If we had not come to a fallen world the atonement would not have been necessary.

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57 minutes ago, let’s roll said:

I invite you to review my post earlier in this thread as it posits an alternative explanation.

If you’re correct, all God would have to do is engineer some way to make sure all such ultra worthy individuals die before they arrive at the age of accountability, and do so without trampling on their agency. [OK angel of death, it’s time to make sure little Colton Jones dies when he’s hit by a drunk driver]

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55 minutes ago, teddyaware said:

If you’re correct, all God would have to do is engineer some way to make sure all such ultra worthy individuals die before they arrive at the age of accountability, and do so without trampling on their agency. [OK angel of death, it’s time to make sure little Colton Jones dies when he’s hit by a drunk driver]

All things are present to God.

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On 11/22/2020 at 7:49 PM, The Nehor said:

If you remember that those under the age of eight are not tempted by evil you realize there is still PLENTY of room for malice and mischief even without the devil present. Then again it is possible that the fundamental change to a terrestrial environment including the bodies of those who endure the day will mitigate the natural body and brain’s inclination towards evil.

Having helped raise several children from infancy to adulthood, I can tell you that you are absolutely correct that there is plenty of room for malice and mischief even without the devil present.

But I'm not sure your bolded statement above is correct. I am also not sure that Satan is prevented from tempting those who have not yet reached the age of accountability. The term "age of accountability" is noteworthy in this connection. Before a child reaches that age, he or she can certainly break commandments. But he or she is not held accountable for those transgressions. Thought precedes the act. But is it temptation? And if tempted, was it Satan doing the tempting, or nobody at all?

Edited by Stargazer
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4 hours ago, Stargazer said:

Having helped raise several children from infancy to adulthood, I can tell you that you are absolutely correct that there is plenty of room for malice and mischief even without the devil present.

But I'm not sure your bolded statement above is correct. I am also not sure that Satan is prevented from tempting those who have not yet reached the age of accountability. The term "age of accountability" is noteworthy in this connection. Before a child reaches that age, he or she can certainly break commandments. But he or she is not held accountable for those transgressions. Thought precedes the act. But is it temptation? And if tempted, was it Satan doing the tempting, or nobody at all?

Kind of like how Adam and Eve transgressed but didn't sin.

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39 minutes ago, JAHS said:

Kind of like how Adam and Eve transgressed but didn't sin.

Ah, no. They were accountable, so they sinned in partaking of the fruit. 

The problem sometimes is that words have different meanings but similar connotations. For example, a sin is always a transgression, but a transgression isn't necessarily a sin. Sinning requires accountability. Adam and Eve had accountability: they knew that partaking of the fruit was against the law they had been taught, but did it anyway. Thus they were required to repent in order to be forgiven.

On the other hand, even a transgression requires justice -- but Christ's atonement covers all transgressions by those not accountable. And that includes those who are otherwise accountable but who do not know that an act is a transgression.  

Edited by Stargazer
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On 11/24/2020 at 10:48 PM, strappinglad said:

The age of accountability at 8 yo is arbitrary. The actual age of accountability is as varied as there are people. We admit this when a person has a mental age of 6 even though they are 40 years old. I think to be fair there is a general age range for most folks when it comes to accountability. I've met some very smart ( and devious ) 6 year old 's .

No matter how smart and devious a six-year-old they still have the decision making skills of a child. You can put a choice before a six-year-old and their actions would likely be completely different than if you waited 20 years and put that same choice before them as a fully grown adult. Their brains will be different and their experience level and understanding of long term consequences will be different. I personally think eight years old being the age of accountability is absolutely absurd. Eight-year-olds are nowhere even close to mature brain wise. We might as well allow them to choose their life partner at age 8 and then hold them accountable if they change their minds ten years later. 

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27 minutes ago, Stargazer said:

Ah, no. They were accountable, so they sinned in partaking of the fruit. 

The problem sometimes is that words have different meanings but similar connotations. For example, a sin is always a transgression, but a transgression isn't necessarily a sin. Sinning requires accountability. Adam and Eve had accountability: they knew that partaking of the fruit was against the law they had been taught, but did it anyway. Thus they were required to repent in order to be forgiven.

On the other hand, even a transgression requires justice -- but Christ's atonement covers all transgressions by those not accountable. And that includes those who are otherwise accountable but who do not know that an act is a transgression.  

This is interesting because repentance would require remorse of conscience, something Adam and Eve did not have. Instead, they initially exhibited fear and shame at Satan's urging. They also submitted to the Lord's correction, much as Eve submitted to Satan's twisting and as Adam acquiesced to Eve's plea. They certainly felt the pains of a lost paradise, but obeyed thereafter anyway. They also obtained joy in the hope of their redemption, something far better than either the fallen world or paradise.

They repented in a way that would inspire them to offer sacrifices without not knowing why, obeying not out of remorse but out of not wanting anything worse. Like a child might obey after a spanking (not advocating that!). It was knowledge, or finding out why they sacrificed, that brought them joy. They really did not know why they were to keep the first commandments before the Fall, so could not have they joy of keeping them.

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40 minutes ago, katherine the great said:

You can put a choice before a six-year-old and their actions would likely be completely different than if you waited 20 years and put that same choice before them as a fully grown adult.

That's is true for a 30 yo and a 50 yo in many cases. Now we get to the definition of ' accountable ' . 

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