As a Little Child

At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ And Jesus 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 18:1-3

We’re told often that we should become as little children. Usually this means to sit down, be quiet, and take whatever comes our way. Anyone who uses those qualities to describe children hasn’t spent much time around them.

I’ve spent most of my adult life teaching primary. I’ve probably spent more time in primary than in Relief Society. Those kids keep me on my toes. The quality that I have most observed from children is that they ask hard questions and aren’t afraid to keep asking for more information if they’re not satisfied with the initial answer. If we want to become as little children, we should do likewise.

One of the most common questions frustrated adults hear from a toddler is “Why?”. Children are little philosophers. And they’re not satisfied with “Because I said so.” They want reasons. And then when they hear the reason, they want a reason for the reason, and a reason for that reason. Just as children ask questions, we should, too. After all, the church started because a teenage boy had a question.

Whenever the children in my class ask me a question I don’t know the answer to, I give them the respect of telling them that I don’t know. Then I help them figure out how to find the answer. Sometimes we look it up in the scriptures to see. Sometimes I ask them what they think. Sometimes I suggest that they ask their parents. And sometimes I look the answer up during the week and come back with it next week. But what I don’t do is tell them to stop asking questions.

Questions can sometimes be uncomfortable, especially if they hit at the heart of some of our assumptions. But if we want to become as a little child, we need to keep asking them. Such is the kingdom of heaven.

In no specific order, some questions that I would like an answer to:

  1. We’re taught at church that the blessings that come from the sealing to a spouse are so important that a sealing isn’t dissolved upon divorce without going through a major process. What are those blessings? And if they’re so important that we keep people who aren’t married anymore and who don’t like each other bound to one another, why can’t we also grant those blessings to the never-married?
  2. Why can’t the sacrament be blessed by telephone or over a Zoom call? If we can offer baptism to the deceased, why can’t we offer the sacrament to single women in a pandemic?
  3. There are things we look back on in history in horror, wondering how people could have behaved in such an ignorant and/or counterproductive way. What are we doing today that people will look back on in a century with the same horror? What can we do to identify and correct that behavior now?
  4. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Trudy

Trudy is a lawyer living in the southwestern US. She has two cats who allow her to live in their house in exchange for a steady supply of food and treats.

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10 Responses

  1. Teresa Hart says:

    I too have all these questions, and I’d like some real answers. As a senior single sister I’d like to bless and be blessed. I do but shush don’t tell the authorities on me!

  2. Caroline says:

    Love this, Trudy. I always disliked this idea that we are supposed to be like little kids, but I’m much more ok with it given your reframing here. I also love your questions. Here’s one of my own: what do you envision/hope for in terms of sealing blessings being extended to never-marrieds? Are you thinking of single moms getting sealed to kids? Or spousal sealings between people that aren’t married in this life? I think all your questions are great.

  3. I can tell you have been around little children! Yes, they are inquisitive. Why shouldn’t we all be?

  4. Abby Hansen says:

    Your questions are the best, all of them! I especially loved pointing out the fact that we can baptize people who are not there because they are literally dead, but not bless Sacrament over Zoom for a woman who is sitting there, very alive.

  5. Immer says:

    Absolutely! Children ask all the questions. Yet, as an adult in the church I’ve been told that’s it’s okay to ask questions, but to stay away from some questions. Children can be fearless in their questions. They can be fearless in who they show love to. Of course they can be fearless in calling people fat in public too so……..

  6. Klee says:

    Excellent questions I would truly appreciate answers to. No realistic expectation of receiving them.

  7. Carol Ann says:

    I love how you turned that on its head–we don’t (or SHOULDN’T) tell kids to stop asking questions. I love recognizing that fearless inquisitiveness and perspective. Your questions are important–thank you for raising them. I’ve appreciated thinking about questions as “guiding questions” for a season (or longer) for me–not easy yes/no answer kinds of questions, but questions that can be answered in multiple ways and take that extra engagement. Proud of you for raising your questions, and that we can explore answers and possibilities together (and try to agitate for institutional changes!).

  1. May 6, 2021

    […] Jesus urged his followers to “become as little children,” reasons Exponent II blogger Trudy Rushforth, grown-ups should model them and not shy away from asking “hard […]

  2. May 6, 2021

    […] Jesus urged his followers to “become as little children,” reasons Exponent II blogger Trudy Rushforth, grown-ups should model them and not shy away from asking “hard […]

  3. May 7, 2021

    […] Jesus urged his followers to “become as little children,” reasons Exponent II blogger Trudy Rushforth, grown-ups should model them and not shy away from asking “hard […]

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