A Child’s Faith

“A Child’s Faith,” Friend, Aug. 1987, inside front cover

A Child’s Faith

(Adapted from a fireside talk given May 8, 1983, in the BYU Marriott Center.)

Children have implicit faith—in the principles of the gospel and in parents, leaders, and people in general. Children don’t know all the answers, but they have faith that Mom and Dad are right and would never lead them astray.

I remember a story about when President David O. McKay, ninth president of the Church, was a young lad. He received a new pocketknife on his eighth birthday, and he got on his horse and rode out into the valley, made a fire, ate his lunch, then got ready to return home.

As he began riding home, he realized that he had forgotten his new pocketknife. He quickly turned around and raced back to the spot where he had eaten his lunch and searched in vain for his knife. His father had taught him to pray when confronted with a problem, so because of his faith in his father, David got on his knees and began to talk simply and earnestly to the Lord. In the midst of his prayer, he saw a vision—a picture as clear as any TV picture—of his knife under a clump of weeds. He got up on his feet, looked around, walked directly to the scene he had just witnessed in his mind, and found his knife exactly as it had been revealed to him!

What a powerful lesson on faith in one’s father and faith in the Lord this young President-to-be learned that day. This kind of faith leads to spirituality. Because of this faith children are humble and teachable, and they gain truth and happiness. Over the years I have learned some things from children that have helped me to realize why the Savior said: “And again I say unto you, ye must … become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God” (3 Ne. 11:38).

Illustrated by Robert T. Barrett