Wow, I loved General Conference this past weekend. I have been waiting for that talk by Elder Neil Andersen for a long time. He said that the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe in having children and families. It was a gentle reminder that LDS should not delay or limit having children. I think that was a subtle hint that even if you have 7, you keep going and have more. He also said not to judge others by the size of their families. His voice got really tender as he said that. I wondered if and his wife wanted to have more but couldn’t.
He did say that family size is a private decision between husband and wife AND the Lord. I think though, that far too often, couples leave the Lord out, or ignore what He is saying to them when He is calling them to have more after they’ve had 4 or 6 and feel done. I’ve always felt that a woman should have as many as she physically and mentally can, right up to menopause, as long as she is able to in a healthful way. Like the blogger said, who Elder Andersen quoted, “Children are what God gave you time for.” I’d like to paraphrase it and say, “Children are what God made your body for.” That’s not to say you have to have a baby every year. The scripture comes to my mind from the Book of Mormon, “Don’t run faster than you have strength.” Women’s bodies have seasons like trees do, or at least they can if we let them. Ecological breastfeeding and natural family planning are the way to have these seasons.
I’ve always loved what Joyce Kinmont wrote in her book Diet Decisions, that children are a blessing. When God wanted to bless the Lamanites because they were being righteous, how did He bless them? With material blessings of more land or gold or silver? No, He blessed them with an increase in seed. See Helaman 7. How many people see having more children as a blessing?
I’ve also believed that, like Joyce wrote in her book, that you should do things to increase your ability to have children, so you can physically and mentally cope with as many as God wants you to have. So you can receive all the blessings He wants to give you. We live in a world that tends to think that our health is something we have to settle for, when really, physical health can change dramatically based on what we eat, the supplements we take, and our exercise. Exercise, cod liver oil, wholesome, traditionally-prepared foods, and elimination of bad foods can all help tremendously to build your body. Reading about disciplining children, and then actually implementing it, and teaching them to work can help you mentally cope with more kids. So can marriage counseling and or reading books on increasing happiness in marriage, like Fascinating Womanhood. There are so many things we can do instead of just saying, “Sorry, I can’t handle any more. The kitchen is closed.” I want to have as many as God wants me to have, and that’s what I want for you as well. Only you with the guidance of the Spirit know how many that is.
Now I wonder if we will ever have an apostle promote NFP again like in the 60s. Have you ever read what the apostles said back then when the Pill first came out? They spoke against it, and other forms of artificial birth control. Read here from a First Presidency Statement from 1969:
We seriously regret that there should exist a sentiment or feeling among any members of the Church to curtail the birth of their children. We have been commanded to multiply and replenish the earth that we may have joy and rejoicing in our posterity.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. . . .However, we feel that men must be considerate of their wives who bear the greater responsibility not only of bearing children, but of caring for them through childhood. To this end the mother’s health and strength should be conserved and the husband’s consideration for his wife is his first duty, and self control a dominant factor in all their relationships.
And here’s a gem from Elder Ezra Taft Benson:
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. We know that every spirit assigned to this earth will come, whether through us or someone else. There are couples in the Church who think they are getting along just fine with their limited families who will someday suffer the pains of remorse when they meet the spirits that might have been part of their posterity. The first commandment given to man was to multiply and replenish the earth with children. The commandment has never been altered, modified, or canceled. The Lord did not say to multiply and replenish the earth if it is convenient, or if you are wealthy, or after you have gotten your schooling, or when there is peace on earth, or until you have four children.
It was also so grand to hear that another temple in Provo will be built, and one for Star Valley, WY, and ones in Paris, the Democratic Congo of Africa, and Colombia and another place I can’t remember. Wow!
I have been thinking a lot about General Conference and temples and the prophet. I think every time conference rolls around we all wonder, “What is the prophet going to say this time? Is he going to tell us it’s time to move to Missouri because Armageddon is coming? Is he going to tell us that it’s time to build fall-out shelters?” I don’t know about you, but sometimes I want some HUGE call to repentance or some call to Missouri. I tend to want something dramatic and earth-shaking. Something new and big and thrilling.
I realized that Pres. Monson’s talk last April was a HUGE call to repentance. He asked those of us who live close to a temple to sacrifice more to do temple work. I was reading his talk a week or so ago and realized I hadn’t done what he said to do. I have increased my temple work, definitely, in the last six months, but I hadn’t done another thing he asked, which was to put a picture of a temple on the wall in the children’s bedrooms. So I dug out my file of temple pictures that I’ve collected over the years and let them each pick one to tape on their wall, foregoing the perfectionist urge to frame each picture and just get the pictures up so we can not delay any more in following the prophet.
The more I thought about Pres. Monson’s talk on increasing temple work last April, I realized he was asking us to do something earth-shaking and thrilling. If everyone of us went to the temple at least once a month, or if you are already going once a month, once a week, that would excite the spirits of the spirit world so much they would shake the earth for us, for good!
I have a friend, a member of this network, who told the story of a friend. Her friend’s husband got addicted to porn. It got so bad and he was unrepentant so she felt the Spirit tell her to divorce him. This woman had a big family to support. She immediately started going to the temple every week with her youth. She also opened her home to let the sister missionaries stay in her basement apartment. Whenever this friend needed something materially, she would pray. One time she really wanted a bench for the porch of the apartment where the sister missionaries could rest. She prayed and the next day the bench showed up on her porch! She attributed this to her weekly temple work. I like to to think that the spirits of the people they helped brought the bench to her porch.
In the early days of the kingdom of God on earth, the children of the Lord were asked to sacrifice the first of the fields and the first of the flocks. That was their very best. Most of us don’t live on our own fields and flocks, so we don’t have that to give to the Lord to show our devotion. What can we give? We can sacrifice the very best of our “field and flock” which would be our time. Giving up Facebook time and other Internet time, TV time, or other recreation time will give us time to increase our temple work.
Since the beginning of the year, I have been going to the temple a lot more. My baby turned 18 months last winter and became more willing to separate. We are still nursing, but he’s no longer nursing on demand and eats a lot more solids. My husband and I have been almost every month, and sometimes twice a month. I even went and did a few initiatory sessions on my own, for names I found by my very self. That was a first for me, a milestone. My three oldest children, the youth in our home, have gone a lot, too, to do baptisms, almost once a week. They started a trend in the ward for youth to go as a group, just as an independent activity of a group of friends, not sponsored by the Mutual. I am so impressed by their leadership. I always thought, growing up, that I could only go if my YW group or the Mutual were going. It never even occurred to me to round up a group of friends to go on my own. We have reaped the blessings of increased temple attendance! i feel the happiest I have felt in a long time. Our family is happier. I feel the Spirit more in our home.
My terrific big brother and his wonderful wife have a really cool web site all about family history work. It’s http://sudweeksfamily.com. Go there and click on “class handouts” and you can read all about all the marvelous blessings that can be yours from doing temple work.
I don’t like leaving a little baby to go to the temple. I know that there’s a season to separate from my nursing baby. When I have a tiny baby who is solely surviving on my milk, I can support temple work by submitting names from my own computer, even while I nurse at the keyboard.
If you want the blessings of doing temple work for you own kindred dead, and don’t know where to start, get your ward family history consultant to help you. Maybe the program directed at youth doing family history work announced today by Elder Bednar would help you too at https://lds.org/youth/family-history?lang=eng I am so excited for Elder Bednar’s talk and his invitation for techno-savvy youth to stop wasting time on the Internet and dedicate that time to save the eternal souls of their kindred dead.
I loved the increased emphasis in this most recent Conference on the Book of Mormon and the Savior’s redeeming role. What are your thoughts about General Conference? Please share in the comments box below.