Recently my wife Lisa was volunteering in our daughters first-grade class when the school held a lock-down drill. Schools hold these drills so teachers and students can practice what they would do in the case of a criminal act or intruder in the school. Lisa told me about the drill; how they turn off the lights and corral all the children into a corner where they sit on the floor in silence. While she knew it was only a drill, Lisa described how she became emotional watching all these little ones huddled in the corner, looking around in silence. It hurt to watch their innocence crashing against what we sadly call "real life," a moment to grieve that we live in a world where we have to be prepared for such a horrible possibility.
I was touched by her description and felt a portion of that hurt as I pictured my irrepressible daughter huddled in that corner with no real idea why.
The next morning I was eating a big bowl of Cheerios in front of the computer, when I ran into a new Church video about pornography directed specifically to children. I watched, quickly impressed by the approach, and soon completely won over by the spirits of these little children. Suddenly I found myself, mouthful of Cheerios and all, much like Lisa: feeling so sad to live in a society where such an effort must be made to keep children free from the dirty shackles of pornography.
Moses 7 records a vision of the latter-days had by the prophet Enoch:
I suppose it is right to weep with God from time to time. I'm watching my kids play in the backyard right now, and the thought of their innocence melting away is almost crushing, like it was for Enoch, who after seeing his own descendents destroyed in the flood, had "bitterness of soul" and said, "I will refuse to be comforted." Yet the Lord responded, "Lift up your heart, and be glad."
How? How could we possibly be glad?
And then Enoch sees in vision the life and Atonement of Jesus Christ. How grateful I am for the Atonement, that allows us to regain the innocence, without the ignorance, of childhood.
If you'd like to dig deeper into God's sadness for sin and his love for little children, here some great chapters to start in:
And a Jeffrey R. Holland General Conference talk for good measure.