Moroni 8:8-10. Sinless State of Children
The Book of Mormon teaches that little children are are without sin (Moroni 8:8-10), but children, like adults, suffer grief, sorrow and pain, which are all effects of sin. The Bible says that death is the wages of sin (Romans 6:23; cf. Romans 5:12-21; Ephesians 2:3; 1 Corinthians 15:56) and that, “the soul that sinneth it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:21), yet children die. How can we explain this?
There is a big difference between suffering the effects of mortality and being responsible and accountable for sin. Death and its effects entered the world as a result of Adam’s transgression, which brought all mankind under the effects of the fall, from which we could never escape without the atonement of Christ. Without this atonement, even little children could not be saved (Mosiah 3:16); however, the Book of Mormon explains that Christ overcame the effects of the fall and provided means for men to repent and come unto him. Because of the Savior’s sacrifice, little children are alive in Christ (Moroni 8:12; D&C 93:38), since they are not capable of making serious decisions for themselves. If little children are incapable of even knowing what sin is, it makes little sense for them to be baptized for the remission of sins.
“But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter of persons; for how many little children have died without baptism! . . . Little children cannot repent; wherefore, it is awful wickedness to deny the pure mercies of God unto them, for they are alive in him because of his mercy. And he that saith that little children need baptism denieth the mercies of Christ, and setteth at naught the atonement of him and the power of his redemption . . . For the power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such baptism availeth nothing” (Moroni 8:12, 19-20, 22).
Do little children sin? Certainly they are capable of doing bad things, but they are not accountable for such actions (D&C 29:47). The apostle Paul made it clear that “sin is not imputed when there is no law” (Romans 5:13; cf. Romans 7:7; Alma 42:17). Small children are not capable of fully understanding God’s laws.