Parents are often taken aback by the replies their children make to questions from grown-ups. One evening, when my wife and I were away, our children’s babysitter, intrigued by the prayer she heard them saying, asked them this question: “But what is the difference between your religion and mine?” The reply from our eight-year-old daughter was immediate: “It’s almost the same, except that we study a lot more than you do!” Far from wanting to offend her babysitter, my little daughter just wanted to underline in her own way the importance that Latter-day Saints attach to the search for knowledge.
Joseph Smith declared, “It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance” (D&C 131:6). He added, “The principle of knowledge is the principle of salvation … ; and every one that does not obtain knowledge sufficient to be saved will be condemned” (History of the Church, 5:387). This knowledge is founded on understanding the nature of God and Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation that They have prepared to allow us to return to Their presence. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).
The principle of knowledge has often been misinterpreted by men. “The glory of God is intelligence” (D&C 93:36). It surpasses all we can ever understand with our intellectual capacities. People who try to find God sometimes think that they have to look for Him in intellectually complicated concepts.
However, our Heavenly Father is always available to us. He adapts to our level of understanding. “If He comes to a little child, He will adapt himself to the language and capacity of a little child” (Joseph Smith, in History of the Church, 3:392).
God would indeed be unjust if the gospel were only accessible to an intellectual elite. In His goodness, He has ensured that the truths regarding God are understandable to all His children, whatever their level of education or intellectual faculty.
In reality, the fact that a principle can be understood even by a child is proof of its power. President John Taylor said, “It is true intelligence for a man to take a subject that is mysterious and great in itself and to unfold and simplify it so that a child can understand it” (“Discourse,” Deseret News, Sept. 30, 1857, 238). Far from diminishing its impact, purity and simplicity of expression allow the Holy Spirit to witness with greater certainty to the hearts of men.
Excerpt from Elder Gérald J. Caussé’s October 2008 General Conference Address, Even a Child Can Understand. Elder Gérald J. Caussé is a Member Of The First Quorum of the Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. View Elder Gérald J. Caussé’s full address here.