"Daddy, can I quit now?" Tales from "BEFORE" the Crib
Recently I was browsing through The Eternal Marriage Student Manual (for Religion234 and 235 if you're curious), and there is a chapter entitled "Birth Control." It has such great quotes as, "Birth Control is wickedness" by Joseph Fielding Smith (on page 15 if anyone wants to read that zinger). It also has the story of an anonymous President of the Church's daughter, who was in her mid-40s and after suffering a miscarraige on her 9th child was visited by her father (the Prophet) in the hospital. She asked him, "Daddy can I quit now?" His response: "Don't ask me. If you two can face Heavenly Father with a good conscience and say you have done your best then you may quit."
Elder ( later President) Benson said, " The world teaches Birth Control. Tragically, many of our sisters subscribe to its pills and practices, when they could easily provide earthly tabernacles for more of our Father's children."
The First Presidency in 1969 wrote to Church leaders saying" Where husband and wife enjoy health and vigor and are free from impurities that would be entailed upon their posterity, it is contrary to the teachings of the Church artificially to curtail or prevent the birth of Children."
Interestingly, President Smith's quotation was written about the same time that the Supreme Court decision of Griswold v. Connecticut loosened state controls on contraceptives like birth control pills (the Connecticut statute surely was intended to curb birth control); and Elder Benson's and the First Presidency's statements were a few years later, when the controversy over contraceptives was still pretty big.
Recently, President Hinckley said, "I am offended by the sophistry that the onl lot of the Latter-day Saint woman is to be barefoot and pregnant. It is a clever phrase but false.... He did not designate the number nor has the Church. This is a sacred matter left up to the couple and the Lord."
He then quotes the Church Handbook of instructions which says the same thing.
My questions are: Has the Church changed its stance on this? Does the Church create these 'policies' based on reactions to current events or perceived attacks on the family, ie. the controversy surrounding Birth Control at the time the statements were made???
Were women encouraged to stay home and produce child after child as a means to keep them from becoming involved in the Feminist movements in the 70s?
It seems odd that the Church would be so extremist in its policies, doesn't it? You must absolutely have many many children or it is contrary to the teachings of the Church..
What happened to bring the Church more to the middle? President Hinckley's quote sounds much different from the other three ( One of these things is not like the other...).
And, why, if the Church has changed its policy, would they keep these old quotes from the Prophets in a brand new edition of the book. Why is it necessary?
Why should we need to be told how many to have? Even if its not doctrine, it sure sounds like its a "custom" or part of the "culture" of Mormondom to have as many as possible.....
For example, A High Councilman came and spoke at Church the other day, he said before he and his wife were married, they set a goal to have 10, yes TEN children. He was so proud to announce that they had BEATEN that goal by 40% ( or 4 more children) so they are the proud parents of 14 children. Not that there is anything wrong with that- but is it really necessary to gloat at the pulpit?