My study of the scriptures has had a profound effect on my life. As I have studied, I have grown closer to God and found answers to real challenges in my life. This blog is a scripture journal that records insights I have discovered in the past and continue to gain as I search, ponder, and pray.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Matthew 5 and 3 Nephi 11-12 Hugging Like a Child

Cuddling with Grandma
When my daughter was about 2-3 years old, I reprimanded her for something. As expected, immediately she started to cry. Unexpectedly, she didn't run to her room or become defiant, which is what I do when reprimanded. Rather, she turned toward me, threw her arms around my legs and hugged me, her discipliner, while she cried.

Jesus told us that we "must repent, and be baptized in my name and become as a little child or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God" (3 Nephi 11:38 italics added).

The context in which he said this was when he was declaring his doctrine to the disciples. He had just barely told them that his doctrine was the doctrine the father gave to him (see verses 31-32). How closely his doctrine in this chapter parallels the doctrine that Nephi outlined in 2 Nephi 31 and Christ outlined later in 3 Nephi 28. There is a big difference, though. In 3 Nephi 11, Jesus says we need to become as a little child. If we don't become a little child, we can't enter the Kingdom of God!

What exactly does it mean to become a little child?

Full of Love
King Benjamin has the answer. Little children believe that salvation comes through Christ. They are submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit. They are blameless before God (Mosiah 3:18-21). King Benjamin further stated that when we enter the covenant with Christ, "ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons and his daughters" (Mosiah 5:7).

The doctrine of becoming a little child preceded the Covenant making discourse delivered at the Temple in Bountiful, the Sermon at the Temple. Through keeping the covenants we make by being baptized and receiving the Holy Ghost, we become little children. The Sermon at the Temple and the Sermon on the Mount are instructions for helping us become a little child--one who is blameless before God and able to enter his presence.

To become a little child, we need to follow my daughter's example. Turn to the Savior--no matter what happens! By always turning to him in every circumstance, we will stay faithful to the covenant and endure to the end. Then, "thus saith the Father: ye shall have eternal life" (2 Nephi 31:20).


  1. All I can say is Amen. I agree with everything you said.

  2. Two of the classic statements on this topic are from Matthew 19:14 "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me" and Matthew 18:14 "Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish." In 1 Nephi 1:14 Lehi combines these concepts in a subtle but intriguing way to show that the Lord's promise to little children applies to all his children of any age: "because thou art merciful, thou wilt not 'suffer those who come unto thee' (Matt 19) 'that they shall perish!' (Matt 18)"

  3. Thanks for your post! Although I am not Mormon I feel that it has really spoken to me. I connect with Brett's use of Matthew 18:14 more as I'm not familiar with books such as Nephi (I'm assuming this book is particular to the Scriptures that Mormons use?) however, the principle is the same. Turn to God. So many times in the past week or so I have had that same message delivered to me in so many ways. It is something I have been struggling with lately... the fact that I have felt abandoned and alone. More and more I am realising that God has not abandoned ME, but rather that I have not turned to Him. Thanks again for bringing that message, slowly but surely I think it is starting to sink in!!

  4. When I am struggling with my children, I try to remember that they are the example to ME, and I need to watch and learn from them. It helps on the bad days.

  5. I recently read 3 Nephi 11 and now I am trying to understand 3 Nephi 11:40 where Jesus says that to add any doctrine beside vs 38 is to build one's house on sand, destined for hell. How does the Mormon Church reply to that in light of all the additional doctrine that has have added to Jesus' words here?