When I was eleven years old, my dad was a stake missionary, and he would take me with him on his assignments. It was happy times for me. I loved being a missionary with my dad.
We visited a family, a single mom and her kids. Her name was Sister Martinez. She was black. She had a son named David, who was eleven years old, like I was. David was kind of shy, but I immediately liked him and wanted to be his friend.
I was eleven years old, so I was getting ready for priesthood ordination, and the first thing I thought of in relation to David was how important it was for him to get ready to be ordained too. And when I brought that up with my dad, that was when he had to explain to me: David will not get ready to be ordained. He can't be ordained. Because he's black.
There's no reasonable way a father can explain to his son why something like that is the way it is. I was eleven years old, and somehow I still hadn't learned to dislike someone or think they were less than me because their skin was a different color.
Dad couldn't explain it, and he didn't really even try. I was left to try to figure this one out for myself. A tall order for an eleven-year-old, even one getting ready to be ordained a deacon.
That one took me a few years, and a lot more maturity.
Mormon parents now get to explain to their children:
Why that little baby can't be blessed.
Why that eight-year-old child can't be baptized. (Doesn't matter how much she loves the Gospel.)
Why that eleven-year-old boy can't be ordained.
Why that nineteen-year-old young woman can't go on a mission.
I'm sure a lot of people are thinking they won't have to deal with this, because those children aren't going to be seen around church any more. But that's not the way the human heart works. By the logic of 1974 Mormonism, 11-year-old John never should have looked into the beautiful face of 11-year-old David, and wonder why the one should be ordained a deacon and the other not.
We are all interconnected, and the edicts of Handbooks don't change that.
And children do think about these things.