I had the good fortune of attending the Stake baptism service today to watch a lovely little girl and nine other kids enter the waters of baptism. It is always a sweet thing.
After a talk on baptism, those children went up to the stand, with their little brothers and sisters in tow. They sang the song "When I am Baptized".
I like to look for rainbows, whenever there is rain
and ponder on the beauty of the earth made clean again.
I want my life to be as clean as earth right after rain.
I want to be the best I can, and live with God again.
--So far, so good...then...
I know when I am baptized my wrongs are washed away.
--Wait. Hold on just a second. These are kids who are barely eight or younger. They don't have sins to wash away. That is not why they are there to get baptized at all!
When a child is baptized at eight, the purpose is not to wash away sin. It is for that child to enter into the covenant with God so that the child can repent of future sins.
It bothers me. It really bothers Mormon:
"Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came unto the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin;..." (Moroni 3:8) In fact, Mormon wrote his son Moroni an entire epistle about this issue which can be found in Moroni chapter 3.
So why do we hear 3-7 year old singing in Primary about having their sins washed away? Good question. You might be thinking "Relax MMM, not a big deal." Perhaps, but I do know that whenever I interviewed a child about being baptized, I would always ask the same question: "Why do you want to be baptized?" About half the time a child would respond "To have my sins washed away." (t would have been fun to have kept a buzzer on my desk and shouted "Wrong answer!")
Then, I would have a wonderful conversation with a pure and innocent child about the importance of the baptismal covenants and what it means for their future regarding sin and repentance. Some children had this concept down cold before they came in, to others, it was all new.
So, what about the song? Should we still sing it in Primary? Absolutely. It is a sweet song. But, I'd skip the second verse, and save it for converts to the church - because to them, the washing away of sin is one of the greatest miracles of the atonement.