The Age of Accountability: Why Am I Baptized When I Am Eight Years Old?


And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands (D&C 68:27).

Not long after Moroni was called to be a prophet, disagreements arose in the church about whether little children should be baptized. Moroni wrote a letter to his father, Mormon, asking for advice.

Mormon prayed to Heavenly Father and received an answer: “Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin” (Moro. 8:8).

Mormon wrote back to Moroni, telling him, “It is solemn mockery before God, that ye should baptize little children.

“Behold I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach—repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin. …

“And … little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance … unto the remission of sins.

“But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world.” (Moro. 8:9–12.)

In our own time, the Lord revealed to Joseph Smith that children should be baptized at the age of eight. (See Doctrine and Covenants 68:25, 27 [D&C 68:25, 27]). Each year thousands of righteous children reach the age of accountability and are baptized into the Lord’s church. Seven-year-old Mikela Hart of Flower Mound, Texas, is looking forward to her baptism. She reads the scriptures every night and plans to finish the Book of Mormon before being baptized.

Color the flannel-board figures, then mount them on heavy paper. Cut them out and use them to retell the story “The Age of Accountability.”

flannel-board figures(click to view larger)

Mormon writing a letter; Moroni reading the letter; Modern girl reading the Book of Mormon; Children with Christ. (Illustrated by Beth Whittaker.)

[illustration] Painting by Jerry Thompson