excerpt from “Precious Children, a Gift from God,” Ensign, Jun 2000, by President Thomas S. Monson
If only all children had loving parents, safe homes, and caring friends, what a wonderful world would be theirs. Unfortunately, all children are not so bounteously blessed. Some children witness their fathers savagely beating their mothers, while others are on the receiving end of such abuse. What cowardice, what depravity, what shame!
Local hospitals everywhere receive these little ones, bruised and battered, accompanied by bald-faced lies that the child “ran into the door” or “fell down the stairs.” Liars, bullies who abuse children, they will one day reap the whirlwind of their foul deeds. The quiet, the hurt, the offended child victim of abuse, and at times incest, must receive help.
A district judge, in a letter to me, declared: “Sexual abuse of children is one of the most depraved, destructive, and demoralizing crimes in civilized society. There is an alarming increase of reported physical, psychological, and sexual abuse of children. Our courts are becoming inundated with this repulsive behavior.”
The Church does not condone such heinous and vile conduct. Rather, we condemn in the harshest of terms such treatment of God’s precious children. Let the child be rescued, nurtured, loved, and healed. Let the offender be brought to justice, to accountability, for his or her actions and receive professional treatment to curtail such wicked and devilish conduct. When you and I know of such conduct and fail to take action to eradicate it, we become part of the problem. We share part of the guilt. We experience part of the punishment.
I trust I have not spoken too harshly, but I love these little ones and know that the Lord loves them too. No more touching account of this love can be found than the experience of Jesus blessing the children as described in 3 Nephi. It tells of Jesus healing the sick, teaching the people, and praying to Heavenly Father for them. But then let me quote the precious words:
“[Jesus] took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.
“And when he had done this he wept again;
“And he spake unto the multitude, and said unto them: Behold your little ones.
“And as they looked to behold they cast their eyes towards heaven, and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; … and the angels did minister unto them.” 11
You may ask, Do such things occur even today? Let me share with you the beautiful account of a grandmother and a grandfather who were serving a mission years ago and the manner in which their little grandson was blessed. The missionary grandfather wrote:
“My wife, Deanna, and I are now serving a mission in Jackson, Ohio. One of our big concerns as we accepted a mission call was our family. We would not be there when they had problems.
“Just before we went on our mission, our grandson, R. J., who was two and a half years old, had to have surgery to correct a crossed eye. His mother asked me to go with them because R. J. and I are real buddies. The operation went well, but R. J. did cry before and after the surgery because none of the family could go into the operating room, and he was afraid.
“About six months later, while we were still on our mission, R. J. needed the other eye corrected. His mother phoned and expressed her desire for me to be there to go with them for the second operation. Of course, distance and the mission prevented me from being with him. Deanna and I fasted and prayed for the Lord to comfort our grandson during his operation.
“We called shortly after the surgery was over and found that R. J. had remembered the previous experience and did not want to leave his parents. But as soon as he entered the operating room, he quieted down. He lay down on the operating table, took off his glasses for them, and went through the operation with a calm spirit. We were very thankful; our prayers had been answered.
“A couple of days later, we called our daughter and asked about R. J. He was doing fine, and she related this incident to us: In the afternoon after the operation, R. J. awakened and told his mother that Grandpa was there during the operation. He said, ‘Grandpa was there and made it all right.’ You see, the Lord made the anesthesiologist appear to that little boy as though he were his grandpa, but his grandpa and grandma were on a mission 1,800 miles away.”
Grandpa may not have been by your bedside, R. J., but you were in his prayers and in his thoughts. You were cradled in the hand of the Lord and blessed by the Father of us all.
My dear brothers and sisters, may the laughter of children gladden our hearts. May the faith of children soothe our souls. May the love of children prompt our deeds. “Children are an heritage of the Lord.” 12 May our Heavenly Father ever bless these sweet souls, these special friends of the Master.
Cornnut is an art lover and an advocate for child abuse prevention.
She loves being a wife and a mother. Check out her personal blog, Picture of Experience .