A child is able to vocalize every language when they are born. They are capable of making any sound. It isn’t until they are taught to speak one language that their capacity to naturally vocalize all other languages is lost.
It is our traditions that place strictures on our faith. The bounds and conditions of our belief are taught to us through language, and our social structure. Just as a child is open to all possibility of language, so must we, if we are to become as little children, become so that we are open to all belief. Our language and understanding must become a blank slate.
Becoming as a little child requires casting off traditions of unbelief, or, as I have learned in the past, false belief. It’s not so much what I don’t believe that holds me back from receiving greater light and truth, it’s my false belief structure – those things that I believe that are incorrect or false – that keep me from the higher truth.
Becoming as a little child is to return to the Lord and go through a process of rebirth. This rebirth is the process of allowing our false beliefs, unbelief, and our false traditions to die. It is to have them be stripped from us, sacrificed, and completely reshaped so that the Lord can teach us all things. We must become unencumbered by our false traditions.
This is a hard thing. How do we know what in our tradition is false and what is true? A good starting point is to ask the question, what are the fruits of my tradition? And be really, really honest with that question.
Does my experience match the experience of the scriptures? Do I experience daily revelation? Do I have dreams and visions? Am I experiencing healings? Am I experiencing mighty changes of the heart? Am I experiencing the gifts of the spirit? Am I desperate to hear more of the word of the Lord? Is the Lord opening up to me and teaching me things I never supposed? Am I praying with power? Do I have angels attend to me?
If we are not experiencing the great miracles of the scriptures it is most likely due to our unbelief. We learn this in Ether chapter 4.
unto me, O ye Gentiles, and I will show unto you the greater things, the knowledge which is hid up because of unbelief.
Come unto me, O ye house of Israel, and it shall be madeunto you how great things the Father hath laid up for you, from the foundation of the world; and it hath not come unto you, because of unbelief.
Behold, when ye shall rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind, then shall the great and marvelous things which have beenup from the foundation of the world from you—yea, when ye shall upon the Father in my name, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then shall ye know that the Father hath remembered the covenant which he made unto your fathers, O house of Israel (Ether 4: 13-15).
It is our unbelief that causes the Lord to withhold marvelous things from us. It is our unbelief that keeps us in a state of wickedness.
Becoming as a child is the process of having that unbelief removed. We must repent of everything in our tradition that causes the Lord to withhold his blessings and manifestations. We must speak a new language. And we must be open. We must use the discernment and wisdom of age so that we are not taken with every wind of doctrine, but we must also be completely open and unresistant to everything the Lord has to teach us.
Seven years ago, Lisa and I were driving a moving truck from Arizona to Utah. I remember telling her that I felt that I knew pretty much everything there is to know about the gospel. I remember telling her that I felt that I probably knew just about all there was to know that was necessary, and that with the exception of some mysteries unrelated to salvation, it was just a matter of keeping the commandments from here on out.
How foolish I was. Prideful, foolish, and embarrassingly naive. I am grateful that the Lord has kindly shown me how that I know absolutely nothing. Little did I know that he was preparing us to receive great changes in our life. He was about to teach us that we had barely begun the process of coming unto him, and most of what I thought I knew about the gospel was actually serving as a roadblock to receive more.
I can honestly say that the more I learn the gospel, the less dogmatic I am and the more I truly realize that I know so very, very little.
I can bear witness that the Lord wants us to receive great knowledge on this earth. It is the express purpose of his priesthood to receive knowledge. It is only through spiritual knowledge that darkness will be overcome. It is the only way we will receive salvation.
We must consider ourselves fools before God or he cannot open up to us. We must become as our little children – full of faith and possibility. And only by becoming as a child everyday, continually being open to being taught and retaught, and corrected, and expanded do we ever start to approach the great potential we have in this mortality.