Receive the Little Children

We are all children of our Heavenly Father, and the love we give to our fellow brothers and sisters will always be returned to us by our Father and by our Savior.

One evening here in Nauvoo, my missionary friend, Elder Morgan, was performing on the Trail of Hope, which is a guided historical reenactment of the exodus from Nauvoo. Elder Morgan’s role on the Trail of Hope is to deliver a monologue extracted from an 1800s journal entry by Martin Peck, one of the original members of the Nauvoo Brass Band.

After Elder Morgan had recited his part to a group of about 20 visitors, their tour guide began to move the group forward to the next station. Elder Morgan turned back around and resumed his motionless pose against the fence, staring out at the Nauvoo temple in the distance, waiting for the next group to arrive.

Just then, someone popped up in front of Elder Morgan. Normally, when people give Elder Morgan a thanks or thumbs-up after his performance, he avoids breaking character and just continues staring straight ahead, but this time, he felt he should acknowledge who was in front of him. He looked down, and it was a little girl!

She looked up into his eyes, and after a pause, she said, simply, “Is it true?”

The wind of a thousand thoughts and testimonies ran through his mind, the leaves in the trees rustled with nostalgia, and the cosmic colors of the sunset shifted in place.

Then, without breaking her gaze, Elder Morgan replied,

“Yes.”

Then he resumed his gaze into the distance, and the girl ran off to catch up with her family.

Do you realize, with me, the spiritual sensitivity of this little girl? During my few short weeks here, I have been touched by the depth of so many children. Another young girl, for example, ran up to our fuzzy cow mascot (staffed by two sister missionaries inside), gave it a big hug, and whispered over and over, “I love you cow I love you cow I love you cow!”

The prophet Isaiah wrote that in the last days, “a little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:3), and the Savior counseled us to receive little children gently, lest we earn the worse alternative to “a millstone hanged about his neck” and being “drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).

In other scripture, Jesus blessed the little children and said to the people gathered, “Behold your little ones” (3 Nephi 17:23).

It was that counsel that reminded me to be patient this week when a mother and three young girls walked into our sound booth during a busy show because one of the girls was interested in what we were doing “behind the scenes”. Luckily, the announcer in the booth was experienced enough from having his own grandchildren to give the girls a big smile and then point around to all the equipment we were using.

Indeed, “children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3), and “children’s children are the crown of old men” (Proverbs 17:6).

May we, then, as disciples of the Savior, receive the little children in His name (Matthew 18:5), succor them, weep with them, rejoice with them, play with them, and express to them our love.

We are all children of our Heavenly Father, and the love we give to our fellow brothers and sisters will always be returned to us by our Father and by our Savior, of whom I testify!

Elder Torres

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