Sunday, June 05, 2005

Easy Ticket to Heaven

My friend Rachel sent me a link to a question and answer from Answers to Gospel Questions. The question posed is, "Is One More Fortunate Who Dies in Infancy?" The basis for this question is the understanding that those who die as little children, according to the revelations, will be saved in the Celestial Kingdom. Joseph Fielding Smith answers with several paragraphs. His first statement in response to the questions is, "Is it not a little presumptive on our part to question the wisdom of our Eternal Father?" He goes on to point out that there are a lot of things that we don't understand. Just because we don't understand doesn't make it unfair.

This is a good answer, but not totally complete for me. I believe (and I claim no originality of thought here) that a good deal of our test must have occurred in the pre-mortal world. Abraham saw, even in that day, that there were gradations of spirits. How could there be "noble and great" absent the ability to choose? It would be hard to believe that the only choice we were permitted to make in the pre-mortal realm was whether to choose the devil's plan or God's. More likely we were making choices all the time, just as we do here. Some made better choices than others. The culmination of our choices there molded our characters and led us to choose one of the two options vying for our attention. All those who came to this earth as mortals passed the test of their first estate.

Given an environment of pre-mortal choosing (and repenting), it doesn't seem like little children who die before the age of accountability get off easy. We just don't remember the part of the test where they were with us. Joseph Smith once said (forgive me for paraphrasing from memory) that we learn more rapidly in this life than we can as spirits. If this is true, then those little children may be at a long term disadvantage in terms of their progression, to those who merit the Celestial Kindgom in mortality. By disadvantage, I only mean that they will not have learned as much or progessed as far. They will, like all of us, have a very long way to go after they are resurrected before they are perfected.

As a little child I sometimes longed, in an innocent way, to die so that I might more easily make my way to heaven. I no longer see as a child. I'm grateful for my life and hope I stick around for a good long while to enjoy and learn and weep with my family.


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