I think it is false and perhaps even damaging to put forth the idea that more children = more righteous or that a small family = selfish. God put us on this Earth to be wise stewards and to create goodness. Would it be wise or good for a family to invite more children into a marriage that's already on the brink? Would it be wise to have a baby when the mother is emotionally tapped out after having "just" 2 kids? What if the family already has a child with special needs? In fact, in many circumstances, I feel like having a large family can actually be an act of selfishness and for self-fulfillment rather than making a wise choice for what is actually right and good for the marriage and the existing children in the family. Shaming small Mormon families does nothing to help them flourish. This article leaves me feeling empty and shamed rather than uplifted.
While I love seeing large families, and admittedly, have felt just a twinge of jealousy, I'm grateful for the three daughters and five grandchildren we've been blessed with. I'm sure Brother and Sister Eyre would be among those sympathetic to the 9 miscarriages and years of infertility my daughters have all experienced. Despite extensive genetic testing, reasons remain unclear. It's painful to see three righteous families willing to add to their families, but having such difficulties while trying to do it. I've learned that our desires matter more than numbers, I know the Eyres would agree with this.
To Paulette, your remarks are sobering and, I believe, one of the plagues of the last days.
Bob. Do it! We had that same situation 38 years ago. ...just out of college, 4 kids already. Loved our life....and then those pesky promptings to have another child. We put our faith in the Lord and followed the promptings - fearing God more than man. We were blessed. There followed one of the happiest, most prosperous years of our marriage. That child has been a blessing - as were the 3 that came after her!! Follow the Spirit. It's the only way.
I appreciate the authors’ very clear statements about not judging couples for how many children they have since it is s very personal decision between each spouse and God. However, I feel that despite these clear statements the article seems to be collectively judging LDS families as a whole for not having more children. The authors did not seem to consider the following points.
Historically, families included large amounts of children because of unreliability and/or lack of availability of birth control and because survival rates of children were lower than they are today.
I am not sure what the authors mean by “the family planning rationale of the world.” It takes approximately a full year for a woman’s body to recover from one childbirth. Women should not run their bodies (which we believe to be temples) ragged to meet historical numbers of children.
Society is only recently really beginning to understand the concept of marital rape and that a spouse should have the right to decline sex.
Furthermore, we are counseled to only have as many children as we are physically, emotionally, and mentally able to handle. As Elder Holland has taught, sex is more than just a means to create children; it is also meant to be a bond between spouses. Family planning methods allow spouses to bond while ensuring that they do not have more children than they can physically, emotionally, and mentally handle.
Parenting is also much more hands on and involved today than parenting in days of yore. This is exhausting and is definitely a reason that people may have meant for reason 3 given in the article. In my unscientific polling (seems to be similar to the unscientific polling used in the article), friends who have come from large families who have chosen to have smaller numbers of children cite meaningful interactions between parents and children as one of the many reasons to have fewer children. This is not to judge parents who have large numbers of children as uninvolved parents.
Hang on it's wonderful. Father of twelve, grandfather of soon to be thirty nine and great- grandfather of nineteen and still sane. Just love them. ❤️
When Adam and Eve left the garden there were only two of them, today there are 7+ billion people on earth. Today is different, some want to do more with their lives than to stay at home, breeding babies, making biscuits and watching "All my children". Personally, I would get a cat. Even in the church, members are having kids less often. not every one needs to be parent, or should be.
I really enjoyed and agree in principle with the article. I know we are supposed to bring another soul to our home. I am lumped in with those who fall under the three 'less significant' reasons not to have a kid. I am a business owner, in the red currently, with no health insurance. I know we are meant to have another child but have no idea how to pay for the little guy get here.
This is a wonderful article and has many very valid points. I have observed many of the same things. One point that was not made that I think is extremely significant is the eternal perspective: That bearing and rearing children is not only an essential part of the Lord's plan for us on this earth, it is preparation for the life we seek in eternity, and the relationships that we are building here are eternal relationships intended to bring us joy forever. I believe that those who have the light and truth of the Restored gospel of Jesus Christ and opt for an animal instead of a child will end up with eternal regret and sorrow for the joys they could have had.
Sometimes we do not get what we most want in this life--some long for children and are not blessed with them. I am one who would have loved to have more than I had, but the Lord who knows best, and whose hand is over us all, did not send us more. Every person's and every couple's situation is a little different, and like the authors, this is not intended to be judgmental of others choices, HOWEVER, it should be a concern that this is the prevailing attitude in the world, and that it is absorbed and embraced by so many in the church. I adamantly agree that OUR trends should be in the opposite direction because we know what we know, we know who we are, and we know our eternal purpose.
Thanks for a great article.
Good information - based on the ideal - thank you.
In reality we have condoned - made legal - abortion that takes the lives of over one-half million babies in our country each year - not counting high rate of abortion in other countries. Divorce has increasingly created so many unhappy experiences for so many who have been children in the dismantling - even destruction - of the home and family - who vow to never marry or have children who might go through the tremendous suffering and loss that they experienced in the divorce process with parents - friends or family members. Divorce often alters the economics of the home and family members in ways - through alimony and child support.that discourages adding children to an already burdened system. Mother Teresa also observed an additional concern that affects our families, and sometimes limits the size of families - as follows - "I think the world today is upside down. Everybody seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for greater development and greater riches and so on. There is much suffering because there is so very little love in homes and in family life. We have no time for our children - we have no time for each other - there is no time to enjoy each other. In the home begins the disruption of the peace of the world."
I love this inspired article! Thank you.
Thank you for this. My husband of 24 years and I wrestled with these questions--when and how many children to have right from the get-go of our marriage. Now that we are just barely past the child bearing years, we are SO grateful that we listened carefully to God's prophets on this subject, and that we were prayerful about it. We were blessed with 11 children. I have no regrets about the choices we made to have them. If I had any counsel for young married couples, it would be for them to take this issue very carefully and sincerely to Heavenly Father, to take nothing for granted--their fertility OR the number of children they think they want/should have. I think it is wise to make this an ongoing matter of prayer; at different times in our life the answer was to wait a little and take a break (particularly after our sixth was born during our ninth year of marriage.) Then, when I was adamant that I wanted to be done, I had a very direct answer (when finally humbled myself enough to pray about it) to "Trust Me." Our 11th child, a spunky, beautiful two year old daughter is the blessing that came from our listening to the answer to that prayer.
Excellent article! It's a topic I've been thinking about as my youngest of 8 children is getting married in a few months. She thinks I did enough "replenishing" for all of them and thinks 1 or 2 children is enough if any at all. It's sad. I have grandchildren, so it's not like I'm deprived. However, I know what they will miss out on.
I am going to speak very carefully. I have been the director of and humane investigator for a humane society that operates a busy open-admission public animal shelter. I have served in that capacity for 26 years and served on the board for years before that. Because we turn away no animal, we receive hundreds with significant medical or behavioral issues. We also perform euthanasia for beloved pets who cannot afford necessary treatment.
I have been a vegetarian for over 40 years. I don’t wear leather, silk, or wool. I make careful choices about using cruelty-free products.
Since the shelter I direct euthanizes animals, I have been publicly eviscerated. People demand I be charged with cruelty. Death threats have been received . Colleagues who also direct open-admission shelters and I realize we have targets on our backs.
When I first began employment, I knew I would see horrible things, and I have. As a member of the Church, I knew cruelty to animals would accelerate in the last days. What I never anticipated was that one of Satan’s tools would be to elevate animals to positions higher than humans.
Now, movements and philosophies espouse preserving animal lives at all cost, all the while wishing painful deaths for the humans who help animals at shelters.
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