“We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.”
—The Family: A Proclamation to the World
Years ago I was in Salt Lake City for a conference of members of our church. Picketing outside the conference center were opponents of our faith who proclaimed, among other things, that we ought to shun abortion. This puzzled me, because we openly teach that abortion is, simply put, wrong.
As a physician, I can’t help but use the opportunity of this post to clarify the term abortion. Medically, an abortion is essentially any termination of a pregnancy before the fetus can survive outside the womb. This includes spontaneous abortions, commonly known as miscarriages. Of course Mormons do not consider a spontaneous abortion to be morally wrong. The type of abortion we are concerned with in this discussion is an elective abortion, or one that is performed to kill and remove a fetus that has not yet died on its own.
As I think back on the group protesting our stance on abortion, perhaps they protested the fact that we do not have an absolute prohibition on elective abortion. There are instances in which a member can perform an elective abortion and remain in good standing in the church, such as forced rape or when a physician determines the life of the mother is at risk or the baby will not survive beyond birth. Even in these circumstances, it is a weighty decision that parents should not take lightly.
We believe that life is sacred. Abortion is the willful ending of a very new life, and God will hold all accountable who choose to destroy life in this manner.
Q. Do Mormons have to have 7 children to go to heaven?
No, you can get into heaven with as few as zero children and as many as 100+. As Mormons become familiar with God’s plan of happiness, we begin to see the pivotal importance of family, and so many families become larger than usual as a natural outgrowth of these beliefs. We just love children!
The requirements for admittance into heaven begin with placing your faith in Jesus Christ (who suffered the punishment for your sins).
Next comes repentance, baptism by immersion and by proper authority, reception of the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end with a penitent heart. See these articles for more:
Salvation in a Nutshell
How Many Children Should Mormons Have?
What if a Married Couple Doesn’t Want Children?
What Does Baptism Entail?
One of the most amazing blessings that came to me when I was a missionary for the LDS Church was feeling an intense amount of love for perfect strangers. When I had been in one place only 3 weeks, I remember having this epiphony: “God knows everyone! He knows their problems, He helps them in their lives. Everyone is interesting. Everyone has a story and a path.” I think in my 21 year old selfish brain, I had really only considered that I and my family and friends were important to God, because that was all that I knew. I couldn’t fathom that He would know everyone in the entire world. It was enough that He took care of several dozen people in my little universe.
But as I committed to doing His work for a year and a half, meeting with people who were strangers to me, but beloved to Him, it became so clear to me that He really does know everyone. And He doesn’t just know you. He loves you. I was humbled to feel that love on many occasions, it was perfect and gentle and caring. I know that it came from God because these were people that I didn’t know–I had nothing in common with them, no ideas of becoming life-long friends–they were literally strangers. But the love that I felt for them was powerful and it made me want to hold them tightly and take away all their problems. Like a parent. Like a loving, all-powerful heavenly parent.
If you are curious to know if God knows you too, invite the LDS missionaries over for a sincere talk. Be open to them and they will be open to you. Ask them to pray with you about this question and you will know, from the source, that He does know you. You will see the love reflected in their eyes that God has for you, and you may feel the same sort of compassion and love for them. It all comes from the same source. And then you’ve got to realize that if God loves these two little 19 year old boys from southern Idaho who haven’t seen much of anything in the world yet, He loves you too.
Related Articles and Links:
The Sons and Daughters of God
What Do Mormons Believe? – God the Father
Does God still speak to us today?
mormon.org – God’s Plan of Happiness
How Do You Pray?
Is Jesus the only son of God?
The Plan of Salvation
Where Do Babies Come From?
Scriptural Evidence of a Pre-Existence
“Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.” – The Family: A Proclamation to the World
“Since ‘no other success can compensate for failure [in the home]’ ( J. E. McCulloch, Home: The Savior of Civilization (1924), 42), we must place high priority on our families. We build deep and loving family relationships by doing simple things together, like family dinner and family home evening and by just having fun together. In family relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e, time. Taking time for each other is the key for harmony at home. We talk with, rather than about, each other. We learn from each other, and we appreciate our differences as well as our commonalities. We establish a divine bond with each other as we approach God together through family prayer, gospel study, and Sunday worship.” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Of Things That Matter Most,” Ensign, Nov. 2010
Related Articles and Links:
The Family: A Proclamation to the World
Mormon.org – Families
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – Happiness in Family Life
Happy Father’s Day!
Today in church, the young children went up to the front and sang some songs about fathers that they have been practicing for the last couple of weeks. It was fun to hear and see them sing. I also watched with great interest as my oldest son, who is 3 years old, sang along.
I haven’t been a dad very long and I’m still learning a lot. Some things I’ve learned so far are just little things, like how to get marker out of the carpet or how to make the tastiest Mac and Cheese, but some of the things I’ve learned are on more of a deeper level. Maybe fatherhood and ageing has given me a different perspective.
As I watch my two toddlers, I often think about our Heavenly Father watching over us. I think of the love that He has for us. When my son works on a puzzle, gets stuck and asks for help, I’m willing to help him out with it. I also think about God being eager to help us if we come to him with our problems. The scripture in Matthew 7:9-11 fits well:
“Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask of him?”
My wife shared with me an experience she had when she took our son to get his immunization shots. Our son has always been really trusting. Even when he’d cry as a baby, he’d just call out and then wait for us to take care of him. He just wasn’t a big crier. Well, as the shots were administered, a look of pain and shock overcame his face. He looked up with an expression of “how could you let this happened to me?” My wife admitted she started crying too. She felt so bad for him and wanted to somehow tell him that the shots were to help him. It would only hurt for a little while. Later, she realized that Heavenly Father must feel the same way when we go through our trials in life. They may be painful or seem really hard at the time, but they really help us learn and become stronger people.
What are some insights that you have gained that demonstrate our relation, as children, to our Heavenly Father?