LDS Men and Women are not commanded to be parents?
In the comments of my last post, TMD claims that there is no pressure on active LDS couples to have children.
I respectfully disagree.
I have some quotes from current LDS leaders (not mentioning non faith promoting polygamist quotes from the nineteenth century).
Both quotes are taken from an interview with Mike Wallace.
“Parents have no greater responsibility in this world than the bringing up of their children in the right way, and they will have no greater satisfaction as the years pass than to see those children grow in integrity and honesty and make something of their lives. â€¦â€
â€œWe donâ€™t dictate family size. That is left to the father and the mother, the husband and wife. And we expect them to make of this the most serious business of their lives, the rearing of the family. â€¦â€
(Please note, he doesn’t say up to the husband and wife first, he mentions father and mother first).
Here is another quote from Spencer W. Kimball:
“Young women should plan and prepare for marriage and the bearing and rearing of children. It is your divine right and the avenue to the greatest and most supreme happiness.”
Spencer W. Kimball, â€œPrivileges and Responsibilities of Sisters,â€ New Era, Jan
From Apostle James Faust, Oct. 2005 Thousand threads of Love
“The Lord has directed, â€œBring up your children in light and truth.â€ To me, there is no more important human effort. Being a father or a mother is not only a great challenge; it is a divine calling. It is an effort requiring consecration. President David O. McKay
So, if those quotes from prophets and apostles can’t be seen as implying that LDS leaders take parenting very seriously (and the call to be a parent very seriously), there are other cultural references.
Take the 70s musical “Saturday’s Warrior” the naysayers in “Zero Population” don’t understand why the family keeps having children – waiting for the last child who looks down on her family from the pre-existence.
Not that the recent pbs documentary “The Mormons” should be the last word, but it was clear to me in the family segment that families are seen as a cornerstone of the contemporary LDS faith. No families were portrayed as a couple with no children. The last segments spoke about families “being righteous” to be together in the hereafter. Because the endowments would be done so that a family can be together eternally.
I could go on but will wait for responses.
But in addition, I submit this question for all current or former mormons.
Do you really know active LDS child-bearing age couples who do not have kids and are not public about their infertility?
And by active, I mean temple going or at least non coffee drinking, no alcohol drinking, little to no gambling active. Sacrament meeting 51 weeks out of the year active.
I’m not talking about couples who have been temple married for six months. I’m not talking about couples who had been previously married with children from prior marriages and have decided not to have kids with their current partner.
I’m talking about couples that are in their mid thirties and who have been married for over five years.
I don’t remember a single couple like that. I’m sure they exist. I just think they are the exception rather than the rule.
I can’t imagine, in my parents’ ward, the husband making it to high priest without kids. I don’t remember a single woman ever getting up to bear her testimony that God had revealed to her that she needed to focus on her career instead of children. Or a man stating that he was comfortable not being a father. That having children was just “not right for them”.
Because I do remember people openly discussing their infertility woes during testimony meeting. I do remember that if there were couples who were not able to conceive, somehow the word got out. Maybe they told their visiting teacher or home teacher who told someone else. It’s sad, really, because that decision should be personal. I’m not sure I feel everyone is capable of being a parent or should be a parent.
While it may be true that there are many members who don’t feel like their decision to remain LDS and childless is in conflict, I think the majority of LDS felt like they were called to be parents. There is pressure (and even official pressure) to be a parent, or to try and be a parent.