It’s almost Simon’s birthday. It’s a big one – 8! He will join the Cub Scouts and gear up for pinewood derbies. But, infinitely more important, he will be the age of accountability, and have the opportunity to be baptized.
The church I belong to believes that babies and young children are innocent. They do not need baptism because they do not sin (Infant Baptism).
But behold, I say unto you, that little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten;
Wherefore, they cannot sin, for power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me; Doctrine and Covenants 29:46-47
Dave and I want Simon to understand this decision and have been trying to help him. One thing that stands out as we try to teach him is his purity and readiness to receive Christ and become a witness for Him. I can’t help but think of Jesus when he “called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3
So, here Simon, a little child, is becoming converted and taking the first step in entering the kingdom of heaven. He doesn’t doubt his place with Jesus. He innately knows he belongs with Him. “Of such is the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:14
Our special getting-ready date began here at the train station. We parked and ran but missed the first train. We bought our tickets and waited alone and happy that we decided on wearing warm coats.
Once we boarded the train, Simon really wanted to stand and hold the handle but couldn’t quite reach so instead he found a seat where he could sit by himself. He felt a little nervous as the train picked up speed then sat next to me and we designed a new bitmoji on my phone.
We met Dad downtown and walked through the parking garage under the street to the food court. Of all the choices there, he chose Johnny Rockets where Dave kept the tradition of making Simon laugh while pretending to steal his food.
Next stop was the book store. Simon eyed small pocket-sized scriptures and was sure he had found exactly what he needed. We talked about the miracle of having our own personal scriptures – even tiny ones, and that it’s because of special people like William Tyndale, Joseph Smith and Johannes Gutenberg. Though he really wanted a football scripture case, his big brother Ollie has one and he wanted to be different. He went with a camouflage case with a compass and chose some marking pencils to fit inside with his mini scriptures.
Many LDS temples have a corresponding visitors’ center where all people are welcome to ask questions and learn about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We thought that taking our little investigator there seemed like a good idea.
Simon looked at the miniature scale model of Jerusalem and tried to figure out where different parts of Jesus Christs life happened. Where was he born? Where was The Last Supper? Where was Gethsemane and the hill with the cross? He quietly took it all in.
Several times sweet young missionaries tried to talk to him. It almost killed him. Each time after this happened we encouraged Simon to look at them and to answer them kindly. He did get braver each time but started trying so hard to make eye contact and answer their long questions that gradually a “this is getting too much” smile would start to twitch from his mouth and he would bashfully start laughing because he just couldn’t stand it any longer.
We went to the basement where it was more quiet. There were life-size figures and scenes from the Bible and The Book of Mormon. We sat down on the floor together and Simon marked his new scriptures as he learned about Isaiah’s prophecies and then Mormon and Peter and others.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
Spending time in the scriptures brings the Spirit. I know Dave and I felt it and I think Simon did too. He really liked the parts about Helaman and his warriors. I sat back and watched him under the title and felt it is true still. Simon is a warrior. He also liked the part about Peter because they have the name Simon in common.
We finished at the Christus- the large statue of the Savior with stars and the universe as backdrop. The missionaries turned on a recording of the words of Jesus and we listened. Simon leaned over to me and whispered, “That’s the Golden Rule.”
“If ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work” Doctrine and covenants 4:3. Simon is ready now. Dave and I hope to do all we can to nurture him and his pure testimony. We know that if he can stay close to Christ, purity and goodness he will live with peace – we hope this for him and for all of our kids more than anything. The key for us will be to become more innocent and humble and childlike. The key for Simon will be to stay childlike in his pure unashamed testimony of Christ.