Saturday, December 28, 2013
# 19: Babies!
Don't you like babies? Of course you do! Sure, they're a hassle. Sure, they cry a lot, poop a lot, wake you up from naps, and otherwise interrupt your life.
But they're soooooooo cute!
You know who else likes babies? Mormons! They like them so much that they have tons of them!
If you haven't noticed, the birth rate in the industrialized world is decreasing. It seems that the only people having lots of kids are Mormons, Catholics, and evangelical Christians. Why do Mormons have so many kids? Well, maybe because they think using birth control is sinful. Bruce R. McConkie and others like him surely thought that way. (Now the standard teaching of the LDS Church is that the decisions regarding the number and timing of children are left up to the couple and the Lord. In other words, birth control is okay for married couples to use sometimes, just not too much.)
Or maybe Mormons have so many kids because of the principles taught in "Saturday's Warrior." It used to be a more commonly taught that there were spirits waiting in the Pre-Mortal life for their tabernacles of clay. It used to be taught, or at least implied, that if good Mormon families didn't have enough kids, some of these choice spirits would be sent off to be born in some third-world country, or some godless Communist country.
Or maybe Mormons have so many kids because all the other Mormons are having so many kids. People tend to live like their friends and neighbors live.
Whatever the reason, Mormons really do have more kids than other people in the industrialized world. And this is a good thing. High birth rates are good for the economy, and good for the soul. High birth rates also reflect a larger cultural confidence. When people feel confident about their own culture, they would like to see it perpetuated, and so they have more children. For more on the subject of birth rates, read "America Alone" by Mark Steyn. Another book on this topic is "What to Expect When No One's Expecting" by Jonathan V. Last.
Maybe you've given up your traditional testimony, but you don't have to give up the Mormon lifestyle. You don't have to give up your dream of having a house full of kids.
Babies are a blessing. Each new life that comes into the world is a treasure.
The teaching found in Psalm 127: 3 - 5 is not outdated: "Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man, so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them."
If you stay LDS, you'll remain part of a community that celebrates the birth of every new child. We name them and bless them in church. We bring casseroles to mothers who have recently given birth. We buy minivans and station wagons to safely transport all those children from seminary to school and to Scouts. It's wonderful. It's beautiful.
So the next time you're frustrated by the white-washed church history taught in Sunday School, look around for the babies. Are they giggling? Are they crawling around the floor, tugging on the pant legs of strangers? Are they sleeping over their mother's shoulders? Aren't they just precious?