We then had another child four years later and a stillborn two years after the oldest two. We had more negative comments about our small family when we had just a few children. Two years later we had two babies two years apart in my late thirties. I then had comments about having too many babies so late in life. There were a few mocking comments about Joanna who appears to be perpetually preggers.
Finally we have adopted in my mid forties. Again negative comments about my advanced age and having a large family. It is funny we now have a larger family than those who started earlier and had their kids close together. I think that whether you have a large/small family; start your family early/late into your marriage it is no else’s business. We all do the best we can.
Luubelle-hang in there you are one of my favorite people.]]>
There are many reasons for declining birth rates. For one, we don’t need as many kids as they used to. The kids we have tend to actually survive past infancy and make it into adulthood. For a while, you might give birth to 9-10 kids, but maybe 4-5 would survive past a few years. We don’t need our kids to work the farms or bring in an income. We tend to place huge importance on quality of life, like education, medical, etc, which doesn’t come free. Women have attained more freedom than ever in this country (in some countries, women have been emancipated for far longer) and are exploring options available to them. Choices are great, by the way. If I want to have lots of kids because I choose that, fantastic. If I don’t, fantastic, too. I’m happy you’ve been blessed with lots of kids because you wanted them. If you’re great parents and you’re raising future healthy productive adults that will benefit society, then that truly is fantastic. The world needs more great parents. If you’re having lots of kids because you feel you have to and thos kids are not of your choosing, you are unhappy with those choices, you do not have a happy home, and your kids are suffering because of it, that’s horrible. For me, having a large family like you describe would send me suicidal. Growing up, my mom stayed home with her three kids. She hated it, was depressed all the time. I begged her to get out of the house and get a real job. Life unfulfilled. No picnic for us kids at home, or for my dad. When my youngest brother was finally in school full time, she went back to work. Depressive episodes dropped easily 65%. That meant happier family, happier marriage, happier mother. In the years that mom stayed home, she babysat for extra cash. I grew up with a jillion kids in the house. I hated it. I hated the kids. Up until I was about 26 years old, I didn’t even want kids. Crying children in church made me crazy. I have one now, adopting another one in the next month or two, and my life is what makes me happy and has lead to a happy home, functioning kids, happy (new) marriage. “Man are that they might have joy.” Go find yours and leave those of us who choose a different path in peace with our decisions.]]>
Would you let someone you don’t personally know manage your finances simply because they say they are divinely inspired?
How about watch your kids? or drive your car?]]>
“Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!”
At least one of those who noted this tide change, hailed it as a means by which to get people to limit family size (since urbanization leads, sooner or later, to high real estate prices, and hence higher living costs, which puts space at a premium, driving up the cost of living, and hence, to have or raise a family)!
That same person also relished the fact that urbanization leads to wives not getting along with husbands, or children obeying parents, and, in short, can contribute, somewhat or greatly, to the disintegration of the family.
Going back to what one poster has said, that one/some general authorities have advised members to have (only) the children they can afford — I would have to say two things in response to this—
Funny, but I find that in no way coupled with the Lord’s command (both in the scriptures, as well as in his ‘House’ (Temple), to “multiply and replenish the earth IF…” Of course, this does not mean that we face child bearing and child rearing without doing all we can before and after we bring children into the world to provide for them.
Secondly, I sure am glad that neither my parents, nor my wife’s parents, heeded this advice. If they had, neither I nor she would likely be here (I am the 6th of 8 children, and she is the 11th of 12). Nor, would I add, would many, if any, of our own nine children been brought and welcomed into this world.
I earnestly believe that when we are commanded to follow the Savior, I believe that applies greatly to “Suffer(ing) the little children (i.e., babies) to come unto (us)! And, would add, that certainly, indeed, (for) of such are of the kingdom of God! I know that I and my wife have been blessed as we have cheerfully, though never easily, welcomed young ones into this world and into our family and home!
Furthermore, I would suggest that “trusting in the arm of flesh” or “making flesh (our) arm” often means trusting in our own arm, purely our own efforts, solutions, abilities, wisdom, etc.
A week before Sister Beck gave her talk, I spoke on this timely topic in Sacrament Meeting. In researching the topic (of having children, and as many of them as the Lord will bless us with), I found that essentially no one in the Church, among the leadership of the Church, had truly addressed this issue since President Benson’s presidency, or as clearly and concisely as President Kimball did during his tenure as Church President.
Sister Beck’s clarion call, I find, to be most refreshing. I also believe it firmly to be divinely inspired!
Furthermore, I believe that the advice President Hinckley has given while Church president is not and should not be construed to be replacement doctrine. For while he has indeed admonished members to get as much education as they can, this has neither been given, to my understanding, to counter the command and indeed covenant for Church members to continue to multiply and replenish the earth.
However, essential silence on the subject for a generation may have induced members to follow the ways of the world. I know that in returning from my mission in the mid-1970′s, in my first term at school, there was at least one full day’s lecture given in every one of four different classes I had (and only one was in biology), as to why and that we should limit the number of children we should bring into this world.
The hymn, “Shall the Youth of Zion Falter?”, unfortunately, can be answered with a resounding, “YES!” That is, in 1982, the year our oldest daughter was born, there were about 124,000 children of record. And, that same year, Church membership grew to a little over 5 million. Last year, according to what was reported in General Conference last April, with a membership totalling over 13 million members, we couldn’t even muster an anemic 100,000 children of record!
To put it otherwise, if the rate of increase (and baby blessings) had been the same in 2006 as it was in 1982, there would have been over 310,000 children of record brought into the Church!
Certainly, the decision as to how many children to have, and when to have them, should be between a husband, his wife, and the Lord.
But, the results beg the question, ‘How much has the Lord been involved in that decision-making process among couples in the Church, in the past quarter century?’ Many things can and do dwindle. Sometimes, this appears that can include faith and works.
Truly, a people (overall) can be judged by their “fruits”. And, recently I discovered, that the ancestor from whom most of us claim either descendancy or at least blessing in the Church, Joseph’s son, Ephraim, means “fruitful”.
Of course, our “fruits” included not only our actions and how we treat those who are already in the world, but must, I believe, include our faithfulness (and/or lack thereof), in helping to bring the “fruit of the womb” into the world.
When studying for my Sacrament meeting talk, I was led by a quote by President Kimball to Psalm 127. It reads—
“EXCEPT the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it…” —Psalms 127:1
After reading that first verse, I found the following at the end of this very short psalm—
“3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” —Psalms 127:3 – 5
A prophecy first given by the Old Testament prophet Micah (the same prophet who foretold that Bethlehem would be the birthplace of the Savior), points to an issue that has been a matter of great debate at least since the year (2005) that President Hinckley admonished us to read and finish reading The Book of Mormon. The Savior essentially repeats this prophecy three times, as recorded in 3rd Nephi. The prophet Mormon, after telling of the utter demise of his own people, the Nephites, turns, at the end of Mormon 5, to us “gentiles” and alludes to that very same prophecy the Savior emphasized.
Here is the third declaration of that prophecy, as found in 3 Nephi 21:12-13—
“12 And my people who are a remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, yea, in the midst of them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he go through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.
13 Their hand shall be lifted up upon their adversaries, and all their enemies shall be cut off.” —3 Nephi 21
In chapter 20 of 3 Nephi, the resurrected Christ identifies this “remnant of Jacob” as the remnant of Nephites and Lamanites he is then speaking to (or, rather, their descendants).
We have an estimated 12 million aliens, many, if not most of them, from Mexico, Central and South America. Many of these have the blood of Lehi in their veins, even with the supposed mitrochondrial DNA evidence to the contrary not withstanding.
Verses 14 and 15 in 3 Nephi 21 refer to an event which came to my understanding in December of 2005 when I was finishing reading the Book of Mormon per President Hinckley’s admonition. And, I see in the fulfillment of those latter verses how easily the previous two verses could and may very well be fulfilled.
Since 1974 (and Roe v Wade), there have been about 50 million abortions in this country. Without even that, however, how many children have been prevented (by the pill, or other means) who could have come into the world if only we (especially we in the Church) had invited and not discouraged them from coming?
Now, we are awash in aliens to our language and culture, who have to be brought (or allowed) to come in to plant and harvest our crops, and to fulfill so many jobs (the current low unemployment rate in this nation will, without help, lead sooner or later to major macro-economic problems)!
An article in USA Today that came out within the past two weeks, pointed to the fact that about 70% of those in their twenties in this nation (US) are not married. This does NOT mean that many are not co-habiting. The bastardization (a problem of parents and not of children) lead to the experiences of those like that of one poster in this thread gave. Like the refrain in “Officer Krupke” from the musical “West Side Story”, we hear, “They didn’t wanna have me, But somehow I was had.” “Ain’t it the truth!” (unfortunately)!
There is a “birth dearth” growing worldwide. And members of the Church, regardless of our generally larger families in the US, our fertility rate in this nation is about the same as is average among all people, overall, worldwide! And, great economic and social upheaval and turmoil await most of the world for the downward direction the number of births are going.
What we need, is less murmuring, and much repenting.
Consider that when Jesus’ own disciples prevented children from coming to him, he was “much displeased.” I do not doubt that, overall, in this regard, he is “much displeased” with us!]]>
(I do hope that my followup comment wasn’t interpreted by anyone to mean that I don’t think being LDS can contribute to happiness. I do. I can’t imagine life without the gospel. But I know that being LDS is not a guarantee against struggle. Happiness is partly about our own attitudes about life, too. And there are plenty of people without the gospel who are able to face life with optimism and faith in their own right. I celebrate that, in and out of the Church.
Even your clarification is included in the counsel, so to me it should go without saying. Ii think sometimes the inclination is to take one talk and assume that is the definitive statement on a topic, rather than do some searching and pondering and assessing the talk in context. It’s impossible for a speaker to cover all the bases in one talk, so to me, it’s essential that we be intimately familiar with all else that has (especially recently) been said on a topic.
That said, I totally understand what you mean about equating righteousness with the number of children, and here’s one reason why. To be honest, I have struggled with that, as someone with three children (who has wanted more but cannot at this time have more), I sometimes feel that my life doesn’t externally reflect my feelings about the commandment to multiply and replenish. I want people to SEE how I FEEL. But I know one of the lessons I need to learn is 1) not to care about what others think, but only about what God thinks and 2) not to look to external measurements of my worth. I am coming to really hold onto the fact that what matters is my heart and desires, not the number of heads in my house alone. It’s not a competition with anyone else — each of our journeys is personal and invididual. The key is making sure we are in line with God’s will. We start with the counsel to figure out what the rule is and then figure out how to specifically implement the rule in our own lives.
The Lord can help us make those decisions. And I want to add that sometimes He will trump our decisions, and that shouldn’t be dismissed as a mistake. I know both sides of the coin from personal experience. I have two surprise babies that, if they hadn’t come when they did, I might not have them, because now because of my health we can’t have another. And we have felt guided toward that decision. I keep hoping it will change, but I know that God cares about my health as well as the commandment to multiply and replenish. It’s not multiply and replenish at all costs. But because we have the ability to control these decisions to some degree (birth control), we also have accountability (another point True to the Faith points out).]]>
n/b–both research and my own anecdotal experiences and those of friends seem to bear out that being a child in a large family is an excellent and enjoyable experience for the older kids, and much less so for the younger ones. I just think that is interesting, but off-topic, sorry.]]>