Do God's moral demands speak to a five-year-old ... as well as to a prophet?

It's said that morality is something we must learn. But experience often proves to us how innate a sense of right and wrong is.

When I was in the first grade I had an experience that remains sharply outlined in thought. As background, I should mention that our home had broken up when I was sixteen months old because my mother had become seriously ill. A strong loyalty, however, held immediate relatives together, so aunts and uncles took my brother and me into their homes at various times over a period of about five years. These were difficult days financially; there was seldom any money left over for extras.

On this particular day the little girl who sat in front of me at school was absent, and I saw a penny in clear view just inside her desk. When no one was looking, I took the penny and bought some cookies during recess—something I had longed to do all year.

Just a short while later, however, I found I could not eat those cookies. Instinctively I knew I had done something wrong, and I felt in my heart I could never do anything like that again. No human voice had given warning. Yet a clear message, though inaudible, had come to a five-year-old—and an unmistakable lesson was learned!

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February 22, 1988

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