Manipulation of Children is a form of abuse which is not tolerated in the Church. The Savior said that it would be better to have never been born than to offend one of these little ones. We do however as leaders need to be taught how children can assist in building up the
upon the Earth. Kingdom of God
One of my favorite talks in the recent general conference was given by the first counselor in the Primary General Presidency, Sister Jean Stevens whom I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting. The talk was entitled “Become as a Little Child” and can be found at the below link:
I would kindly ask that you open/read it alongside this post to ensure I am not misrepresenting in any way the words she spoke.
Sister Stevens asked this important question; what qualities do children possess and what examples do they demonstrate that can help us in our own spiritual development?
These precious children come to us with believing hearts. They are full of faith and receptive to feelings of the Spirit. These are qualities that many in these the latter-days are losing as Satan gains a grasp on the world.
Sister Stevens goes on to ask this poignant question; Have some of life’s experiences taken from you the believing heart and childlike faith you once had?
I know that many readers of this blog used to believe when they were children and even kept that faith right into adulthood. Then, through sin and weakness they drifted away from the faith of their youth into their current state of misery.
To those who have thus strayed the advice was given to look around at the children in your life. Do you have sufficient humility of heart to learn and a willingness to follow the example of children? If so their divine attributes can hold the key to unlocking your spiritual growth.
This general conference talk is completely in harmony with 1 Corinthians 13:11 where we read “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
This scripture has reference to things that children believe in that are not true such as the tooth fairy or Santa Claus. As we grow up we put away such childish things, but we do not under any circumstances give up our faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Church and current or past Church leaders.
I will now quote from the talk as Sister Stevens shows us how children can be used to get parents to pay tithing to the church in order that they may receive blessings. My comments are in brackets:
“Some years ago a member of the Seventy was on assignment in
Hong Kong. He visited a very humble ward that was struggling in many ways, unable to provide for its own needs (it is very important for wards to not only be able to cover the costs of operation, but also to be able to send funds back to Salt Lake to enable the Church to run in the efficient manner the Lord intends). As the bishop described their situation, the General Authority felt the impression (leaders regularly feel such impressions whilst on the Lords errand) to have the members pay their tithing.
The bishop, knowing their dire circumstances (but lacking in faith), was concerned about how he could carry out that counsel. He thought about it and decided he would approach some of the most faith-filled members of his ward and ask them to pay their tithing (this would allow them the blessing of holding a temple recommend assuming they also kept the other necessary requirements such as abstaining from drinking coffee etc). The next Sunday he went to the Primary. He taught the children about the Lord’s law of tithing and asked if they would be willing to pay tithing on the money they earned. The children said they would. And they did (it brings tears to my eyes to think of these children having the faith to pay ten percent of their incomes to the church).
The bishop later went to the adults in the ward and shared with them that for the past six months their faithful children had been paying tithing. He asked them if they would be willing to follow the example of these children and do the same (this is an excellent example by an inspired Bishop. If children can have the faith to pay tithing on their incomes there is absolutely no reason why parents can't do likewise). The people (like me) were so touched by the sacrifices the children were willing to make that they did what was necessary to pay their tithing (some no doubt were unable to pay their debts, but at least they were being honest with the Lord and helping their ward to not become a burden on the Church in any way) and the windows of heaven were opened (and what were the blessings received when the windows of heaven were opened you might ask. Read on). With the example of these faithful children, the ward grew in obedience and in testimony (isn't that wonderful?).”
As a stake president I plead with all leaders; if you are having problems with your members, if they are not being obedient to your counsel you can likewise reach them through their children. For example if a parent is drinking green tea and is unable therefore to enter the temple, you can meet with their child and ask the child if he or she is willing to never partake of this forbidden substance. My promise to you is that children will almost always, when invited by an authority figure, agree to keep such commandments. Then when you meet with the offending parents you can explain the faith of their children and their hearts will be touched.
Precious children come to us with believing hearts and are full of faith. In General Conference we were taught how to effectively use these children and their simple faith to bring adults unto obedience to the laws of heaven. Stay tuned for more of my analysis on the inspiring words of General Conference.