Are LDS ProLife ?

I recently had a discussion with Mormon Elders who came to the house to talk with my wife who is a member of the LDS church. She was not home so I invited the young men inside the house and we had a friendly conversation about our different faiths. I asked the gentlemen the LDS stand on abortion. They stated the LDS church is strongly ProLife and is against abortion. I presented the LDS book “Gospel Principles” (1992 verison) to them and had them read page 251.

In short, the LDS church approves abortions for pregnancy resulting from incest or rape, when the life or health of the women is in jeopardy in the opinion of competent medical authority or the fetus is known to have severe defects that will not allow the child to survive beyond birth.

These two young men were in shock! They had no reply. I informed them they were in grave error if from now on they taught the LDS church was ProLife.

If any Mormon would like to discuss this issue please join in.

I’m not LDS, but sure sounds like they are talking out of Both Sides of their mouths AGAIN.

There is NO GRAY AREA concerning abortion. Either you are PRO-LIFE or pro-death.

What is interesting the Mormon prophet Spencer W. Kimball stated, "Abortion, the taking of life, is one of the most grievous of sins. We have repeatedly affirmed the postion of the Church in unalterably opposing all abortions."
General Handbook of Instructions, 11-4.

Ezra Taft Benson another Mormon prophet stated, " The Lord does indeed teach his people in these days against such a “damnable practice” as abortion."
Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 189

The Mormon prophet Gordon B. Hinckley stated, " Life is a gift that is sacred under any circumstances."
Improvement Era, December 1970, 72.

It seems apostasy has occurred. The LDS Church is going against its own prophets and their god.

The joys of being human!

The quote from Spencer W. Kimball is taken from, "Teaching of Spencer W. Kimball’, 189.

The quote from Ezra Taft Benson is taken from, "Teaching of Ezra Taft Benson, 539, 61

Are LDS Prolife?

I am a LDS. I am solidly pro-life.

Were I a law maker, were I a voter, … I would always and without compromise vote pro-life when given the choice. I would make no exceptions for rape or incest. I would have stick double-effect standards. And I would not terminate alive but presumed non-viable fetuses if there was double-effect position. I would legislate absolute truths rather than compromise to make those who do not understand happy. I would not be like John Kerry.

I wrote the following about 1.5 years ago. I will share it with you as part of a glass house rebuttal. These writings were in response to the Catholic Answers tracts on this site. I believe the author of those tracks is INTENTIONALLY DECEPTIVE. I believe those who have quoted him are likely merely misinformed.

TOm (before):

I have much to say about this. Before researching this question I thought that a Catholic would be excommunicated if in anyway they intentionally prevented the growth of a fertilized egg. As I have researched this I know it is much more complex than this.

First it seems beyond disputation that the Catholic Church prior to 1869 used terms such as “fetus animates” and “fetus inanimates.” The absence of these terms in today’s Catholic church seems to represents a change in doctrine. I could go into the past much more (much more!!), but I originally only intended to claim the statements (concerning change in teaching) about the LDS church above are absolute lies rather than suggest they apply to the Catholic Church (which I now suggest reason would say they do).

Also, it seems that the Catholic Church will not necessary excommunicate for the termination of an Ectopic (or Tubal) pregnancy. It seems that interesting paradoxes develop. One may remove part of the tube with the fertilized egg, then suture together then ends and preserve the ability to give future life. The hollowing out surgically (removing the fertilized egg from the tube) or the chemical removal of the fertilized egg from the tube also preserving the ability to give future life is unrighteous in many Catholic Theologians opinion though.

The above two paragraphs are the result of some research I conducted on Catholic views on abortion. They are not to be construed as condemning or supporting the Catholic position on abortion. They are intended to suggest that:

  1. This is a complex issue.

  2. The Catholic Church doesn’t draw a zero width line on the issue (in fact some views are rather peculiar at least to me).

  3. While I intent to totally rebut the above accusation that the evidence sited suggests that LDS views on abortion have changes, the fact is that Catholic views even with over 1500 more years to develop than LDS doctrine has had, still change.

TOm:

The Catholic Answers Tract selectively quotes from the Church Handbook of Instruction and The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball to create conflict were none exist. This is a despicable tactic.

I will return to discuss Chastity, Agency, revelation on the origin of HUMAN life, my position, and the position of the CoJCoLDS.

Charity, TOm

I don’t remember the exact figures and perhaps I’m stereotyping or reading too much into this here, but I believe the state of Utah voted nearly 70% to re-elect President Bush.

Since many of those who re-elected Bush cited moral issues as a major reason and Utah is the most Mormon state, it sounds encouraging and hopeful, despite our differences on other important truths.

If not completely pro-life, it appears to at least be a step or two in the right direction compared to our secular culture. That’s my impression anyway, from my sloppy analysis.

Flip-Flop, Flip-Flop, Flip-Flop – that’s Mormonism.

God(s) change(s) his/her/their mind(s) as often as is necessary to allow Mormons to believe whatever is expedient.

JMJ Jay

The Mormon leadership approves abortion as stated above in “The Gospel Principles.” "The Gospel Principles"was written to help the Mormon to build knowledge and testimony of their gospel and to answer questions about their gospel.

The leadership ( the brethren) allows abortions to occur under LDS Church blessings. For the Mormon read “The Gospel Principles” (verison 1992 and later) and it will instruct you in how to have a Church approved abortion. I respect and support any Mormon who does not support their (LDS) Church stand on abortion. It sounds like you are one of them.

Mormon men and women who face the above circumstances may have an abortion only after consulting each other and their bishop or branch president and receiving divine confirmation through prayer. General Handbook of Instruction 30943, 11-4.

The problem with LDS leadership support of abortions is an “inner witness” from the Holy Spirit is called into play. The Mormon Holy Spirit then may guide the couple and the Mormon leadership to kill the unborn child.

These abortions would include late-term and partial-birth abortions.

Something to think about: a Mormon may not be allowed to enter their Temple because of drinking a cup of tea but may enter after having an abortion.

Again, the Catholic Church’s position on abortion has clearly developed/changed.

Again to those who misrepresent what Pres. Kimble said, like done in the Catholic Answers track, have created a change were none exited. Here is the complete Kimble quote.

The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.188-189:

“””Abortion

Abortion is a serious sin. There is such a close relationship between the taking of a life and the taking of an embryonic child, between murder and abortion, that we would hope that mortal men would not presume to take the frightening responsibility. … Abortion is a calamity, and if the gospel came into play in the lives of men and women, an abortion would be rare indeed, if at all. If men and women are living the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the cure for all ills, there would be no illegitimate conceptions, and this would erase from the abortion docket the great majority of the abortions. However, weak, selfish women now require abortions, even in many cases where there is not the illegitimate conception. Abortion calls for Church discipline. Much is being said in the press and in the pulpit concerning abortion. This Church of Jesus Christ opposes abortion and counsels all members not to submit to nor participate in any abortion, in any way, for convenience or to hide sins. Abortion must be considered one of the most revolting and sinful practices in this day, when we are witnessing a frightening evidence of permissiveness leading to sexual immorality. We take the solemn view that any tampering with the fountains of life is serious, morally, mentally, psychologically, physically. Members of the Church guilty of being parties to the sin of abortion must be subjected to the disciplinary action of the councils of the Church, as circumstances warrant. We remember the reiteration of the Ten Commandments given by the Lord in our own time, when he said, “Thou shalt not steal; neither commit adultery, nor kill, nor do anything like unto it.” (D&C 59:6.) We see some similarities. Abortion is permissible only in exceptional situations. Abortion, the taking of life, is one of the most grievous of sins. We have repeatedly affirmed the position of the Church in unalterably opposing all abortions, except in … rare instances … and when competent medical counsel indicates that a mother’s health would otherwise be seriously jeopardized. Those encouraging abortion share guilt. It is almost inconceivable that an abortion would ever be committed to save face or embarrassment, to save trouble or inconvenience, or to escape responsibility. How could one submit to such an operation or be party in any way by financing or encouraging? Certainly the women who yield to this ugly sin, … and those who assist them, should remember that retribution is sure. Easy abortion is related to licentiousness. When abortions are permitted and encouraged even as a means of population limitation, it is the voice of the underworld encouraging sex without license or controls.”””

TOm:

If one reads these two documents in their entirety one will find that the first in history (President Kimball) was intentionally or grossly incompetently misquoted to create an issue of inconsistency where there was none. In two place President Kimble talks of “exceptional circumstances” and “rare instance.” In the “rare instances” he specifically mentions term 2 in the handbook.

I am not aware of the complete 1988 Gospel Principles teaching, but Kimble predates this by 6 years.

The LDS position is seemingly more consistent than the changing Catholic position.

continued…

Now, as I said in my first post, I am pro-life without rape/incest equivocation. The Catholic Church is pro-live with ectopic pregnancy equivocations that seem quite peculiar.

The CoJCoLDS has a rape/incest equivocation within its doctrine that I will address here because it is not some “fatal flaw.” I will also suggest that Abortions and support for Abortions among LDS is in all likelihood much closer to zero than is it among Catholics. I believe the CoJCoLDS changes lives more effectively than does the Catholic Church, and I hardly think congratulations are in order for the Catholic who tries to convince LDS that they err when they do not accept abortion as ok. How can you call this a witness for truth?

TOm (before):

I am not qualified to explain the LDS position on abortion, but I might offer this thought. Two prized possessions for a faithful LDS are their virtue and their agency. The inappropriate use of sexual powers is the surrender of ones virtue. It is my experience that this line is clearer and perhaps harsher in the LDS church than in the Catholic Church. A couple who participates in pre-marital sex may be legally married, but will not participate in the Sacrament of Marriage generally for one year after the sin. Agency is surrendered when one becomes addicted to things of the world: drugs, alcohol, gambling…; or food, money, …

In the case of rape or incest ones agency has been assaulted likely through no fault of their own. As stated in this document (the Catholic Answers tract) the CoJCoLDS does not define when the spirit enters the body. The Lord guides the church and sets the standards, but careful consideration of the above information might be of some value. The restoration of agency is not to be bought by murder, but the Lord’s will will not be frustrated. The guidance of the Lord is sought and his ways are greater than the ways of man. It is not impossible that certain un-spiritually prepared rape victims may die spiritually and potentially damn their unborn child too. Since the potential life is not absolutely life according to LDS theology, God could guide in this respect.

Practically, I have never ever heard of such a thing as an approved abortion. I have discussed such things with LDS social services too. I would suggest that the percentage of LDS who approve of, have, participate in, … abortion is likely lower than the percentage within the Catholic Church.

The only difference is that the Pope has infallibly declared that life begins at conception. The Prophet has received no revelation on when fully human life absolutely begins. The truly depraved are Catholics such as John Kerry who stated that he is completely Catholic in his views, but he will not prevent murder preformed by those who do not know as he knows. LDS are strongly pro-life individually. The CoJCoLDS is pro-life, but has a rape/incest equivocation that I do not embrace, but is consistent with the revealed truth we possess.

Charity, TOm

JRR:

These abortions would include late-term and partial-birth abortions.

TOm:

Please back this up with data or information. Or admit that you walk in the well establish anti-Mormon path of unsubstantiated (at best) and blatantly false (at worst) tradition.

From my discussions with LDS Social Services, I can suggest that you are absolutely wrong. From my participation on this thread and the witness of you and your predecessor I might suggest other things, but I will not.

I hope you one day will either recognize the strength and beauty of the Catholic Church and cease to bare the witness you do of my religion out of some perceived need to defend the Catholic Church or you will align yourself with a structure that does not require (in your mind) the attacking of others to seem true.

Charity, TOm

Presidents Spencer W. Kimball, Erza Taft Benson, and Gordon B Hinckley have stated in the examplies I gave above that abortion is a grave sin. Please reread what I wrote.

If the LDS Holy Spirit enlightens the Mormon couple and their bishop to have an abortion in the late term of pregnancy then late-term and partial-birth abortions will occur.

The Mormon Church places itself in a position that is untenable. The LDS prophets teach abortion take the life of an innocent human child. Yet the leadership allows for the exceptions as stated above.

President David O. Mckay, stated " no definite statement has been made by the Lord one way or another regarding the crime of abortion."
Sacred Truths of the Doctrine and Covenants, vol. 1, 290

“Gospel Principles” published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, copyright 1997. page 251

Breaking the Law of Chastity is Extremely Serious

The prophet Alma grieved because one of this sons had broken the law of chastity. Alma said to his son Corianton, “Know ye not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea , most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the HolyGhost?” (Alma 39:5) Unchastity is next to murder in seriousness.

If a child is conceived by those who break the law of chastity, they may be tempted to commit another abominable sin:abortion. There is seldom any excuse for abortion. "The only exceptions are when-
"1. Pregnancy has resulted from incest or rape;
"2. The life or health of the women is in jeopardy in the opinion of competent medical authority; or
"3. The fetus is known, by competent medical authority, to have severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth.

“Even in these cases the couple should consider an abortion only after consulting with each other and their bishop [or branch president] and receiving divine confirmation through prayer” (General Handbook of Instructions 30943]. p 11-4).

The LDS Church states the "Gospel Principles was written both as a personal study guide and as a teacher’s manual. Therefore, you can use this manual in many wasys. It can help you-

Build your knowledge and testimony of the gospel.
Answer questions about the gospel.
Study scriptures by topics.
Prepare talks.
Prepare lessons for family home evening.
Prepare lessons for Church meetings.

You can see the LDS Gospel Principles is a serious book teaching the LDS his faith. You can also see what it teaches concerning abortion. You make the judgement if the LDS Church is PRO-LiIFE.

Tom, just to be clear on the current LDS official abortion policy, I looked on www.lds.org in the FAQ section and copied this:
Question:
What is the Church’s position on abortion?

Answer:
In 1973, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following statement regarding abortion, which is still applicable today:
"The Church opposes abortion and counsels its members not to submit to or perform an abortion except in the rare cases where, in the opinion of competent medical counsel, the life or good health of the mother is seriously endangered or where the pregnancy was caused by rape and produces serious emotional trauma in the mother. Even then it should be done only after counseling with the local presiding priesthood authority and after receiving divine confirmation through prayer."
I agree that most Mormons are as opposed to abortion as most Catholics are. But here is the troubling part–most Mormons don’t know the official teaching of the LDS church as stated above. They are totally unaware of the above exceptions. My wife is a life-long active Mormon, and has never heard this. So I think it’s great that you are so opposed to abortion. Your absolutely right there. Unfortunately, this is not the position of your church. Yes, the LDS church officially opposes abortion in most cases, and that’s wonderful, but the allowed exceptions fall short of the ideal. You yourself are more in line with the Catholic Church on this issue then you are with the LDS.

[quote=JRR]Presidents Spencer W. Kimball, Erza Taft Benson, and Gordon B Hinckley have stated in the examplies I gave above that abortion is a grave sin. Please reread what I wrote.

If the LDS Holy Spirit enlightens the Mormon couple and their bishop to have an abortion in the late term of pregnancy then late-term and partial-birth abortions will occur.

The Mormon Church places itself in a position that is untenable. The LDS prophets teach abortion take the life of an innocent human child. Yet the leadership allows for the exceptions as stated above.

President David O. Mckay, stated " no definite statement has been made by the Lord one way or another regarding the crime of abortion."
Sacred Truths of the Doctrine and Covenants, vol. 1, 290
[/quote]

John Kerry embraced an untenable position.

The LDS church does not.

You claim to have quoted Spencer W. Kimble, but I have shown were your quote is a partial quote that neglects to note the full impact of his words.

I submit to you that the full impact of the LDS position over the last 30-40 years does not produce conflict from one prophet to another. However, prophets can and do disagree and since they have no charisma of infallibility and since only the canonized words of prophets are binding doctrine for LDS this is not a problem even were it to occur.

Your assertion that the CoJCoLDS holds an untenable position is quite false.

There has been no definitive statement on when the life that is a fetus becomes a fully human life with a preexistent spirit. I submit that it is quite unlikely that you will find a LDS general authority who has ever made a statement to contradict this. I submit to you that within our canonized scripture there is not any such statement, and this would be the most important test.

Abortion can and does take the life of a human child, but without the knowledge of when the preexistent spirit enters the fetus, we can acknowledge that abortion may occur and only violate less serious commandments than murder. If the abortion occurs before the spirit is joined to the body, LDS would not call this murder. We do not have a revelation that says that the spirit joins the body at conception.

Does this make sense to you?

BTW, your continued attempt to link this with late term and/or partial birth abortion is merely you trying to demonize the CoJCoLDS. Are you really that threatened? I submit to you that I have spoken with a lady from LDS Social Services. Late term and/or partial birth abortions are astronomically unlikely. If you can demonstrate a reason for your polemic, then please do so. Otherwise I again hope you will see within your belief structure enough beauty and strength that you do not need to paint my belief structure with the ugliest brush you can find.

Charity, TOm

[quote=TOmNossor]Abortion can and does take the life of a human child, but without the knowledge of when the preexistent spirit enters the fetus, we can acknowledge that abortion may occur and only violate less serious commandments than murder. If the abortion occurs before the spirit is joined to the body, LDS would not call this murder. We do not have a revelation that says that the spirit joins the body at conception.

Does this make sense to you?

Charity, TOm
[/quote]

No this does not make sense. This is the same argument pro-choice folks make. Since the LDS church hasn’t received revelation regarding when the spirit joins the body, the only tenable position is the most conservative one–assume it’s at conception. If one is unsure when the spirit enters the body, taking this position ensures that one never errors on the wrong side of the issue.

[quote=Chris-WA]Tom, just to be clear on the current LDS official abortion policy, I looked on www.lds.org in the FAQ section and copied this:Question:

What is the Church’s position on abortion?

Answer:
In 1973, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following statement regarding abortion, which is still applicable today:
“The Church opposes abortion and counsels its members not to submit to or perform an abortion except in the rare cases where, in the opinion of competent medical counsel, the life or good health of the mother is seriously endangered or where the pregnancy was caused by rape and produces serious emotional trauma in the mother. Even then it should be done only after counseling with the local presiding priesthood authority and after receiving divine confirmation through prayer.”

I agree that most Mormons are as opposed to abortion as most Catholics are. But here is the troubling part–most Mormons don’t know the official teaching of the LDS church as stated above. They are totally unaware of the above exceptions. My wife is a life-long active Mormon, and has never heard this. So I think it’s great that you are so opposed to abortion. Your absolutely right there. Unfortunately, this is not the position of your church. Yes, the LDS church officially opposes abortion in most cases, and that’s wonderful, but the allowed exceptions fall short of the ideal. You yourself are more in line with the Catholic Church on this issue then you are with the LDS.
[/quote]

I was about to respond to JRR second post, but this seems like a better place.

Few LDS are aware of the POSSIBLE exception to the no abortion position associated with rape/incest. This is true. Of course few LDS will ever have a need to know this.

The existence of this equivocation on a straight pro-life position is most definitely in the eyes of a Catholic not ideal. This equivocation is not something that I want to be part of the laws of this country, and am a little uncomfortable with it being in the hands of a woman, and her priesthood leaders. I believe the benefit of the doubt goes to the POTENCIAL life growing in the woman’s body.

Believing as I do in the communication from God with women and their priesthood leaders, I can live with the position of my church for the reasons I have outlined in post #10. Experiencing communication from God in the way I have, I personally could not encourage such a thing unless God choose to communicate with me more clearly than he ever has. I have never spoken with God with such clarity that I would know it was His will that I sacrifice my son “Isaac.” With my strong desire to give an unborn fetus the benefit of the doubt, it would take about that for me to KNOW it was God’s will (note do not confuse this with me suggesting that God would be communicating to me to take a human life. If I were ever to receive a communication encouraging abortion from God it would mean in my mind that the spirit was not yoked to the body yet and the life of the mother was in real danger).

I am solidly Catholic in my beliefs on abortion with the exception of the fact that I find the extreme forcing of double effect in cases like an ectopic pregnancy to be unnecessarily legalistic. If you are going to terminate a pregnancy to save the life of the mother, you should do so in the safest way.

Charity, TOm

[quote=TOmNossor]Few LDS are aware of the POSSIBLE exception to the no abortion position associated with rape/incest. This is true. Of course few LDS will ever have a need to know this.
[/quote]

No Tom, they all need to know this. They need to know this because this is the official teaching of their church. They need to know this so they can make a fully informed decision as to whether to continue membership in the church. In fact, on such an important issue as abortion, there is no excuse for them not knowing it. I’m willing to bet that many Mormons would be shocked to discover this teaching. I’ll bet you were shocked the first time you read it.

[quote=Chris-WA]No this does not make sense. This is the same argument pro-choice folks make. Since the LDS church hasn’t received revelation regarding when the spirit joins the body, the only tenable position is the most conservative one–assume it’s at conception. If one is unsure when the spirit enters the body, taking this position ensures that one never errors on the wrong side of the issue.
[/quote]

First, I am pro-life like a Catholic because of the “most conservative” assumption.

One can however have a rational position as follows.
There are similarities to the pro-choice argument, but the key to recognizing what is happening is the more emphasized focus on three things within the CoJCoLDS.

The first is the emphasis on chastity. Procreative powers are only to be used within marriage. These powers are so sacred all aspects of these powers and the desires that flow linked to them have sacred consequences.

[/font]http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/daily/sexuality/Holland_SSS.htm

The second is the emphasis on multiplying and replenishing the earth. LDS teach that this commandment is in full effect. Within the bonds of marriage LDS are to raise children. We are not to prevent birth within marriages. Catholics may choose to do “natural family planning,” but properly understood there are only specific times when rhythm or LAM should be used. Proper understanding LDS may choose “family planning” only during the same sorts of specific times. (things like no ability to financially support another child, mother’s health).

The third is the emphasis on the exercise of agency. This is what produces that difference between rape/incest and other situations. Through our exercise of agency we receive consequences in alignment with the laws of the universe. To frustrate these consequences by violating the second emphasis is wholly inappropriate. Thus abortion as a result of a pregnancy resulting from consenting choices can be condemned. To know when the fetus becomes fully human is not necessary. To prevent the multiplying and replenishing the earth after choosing to exercise ones procreative powers is to violate God’s laws.

As I highlighted in post #10 it is possible that the pregnancy that results from rape could result in greater evil in the eyes of God than the termination of that pregnancy before the spirit was yoked to the fetus.

Charity, TOm

[/font]

No Tom, they all need to know this. They need to know this because this is the official teaching of their church. They need to know this so they can make a fully informed decision as to whether to continue membership in the church. In fact, on such an important issue as abortion, there is no excuse for them not knowing it. I’m willing to bet that many Mormons would be shocked to discover this teaching. I’ll bet you were shocked the first time you read it.
I can see your point. It is true that our teaching (current, consistent, but not unalterable) on abortion is part of the CoJCoLDS and it is fair to evaluate this component of our beliefs when one is choosing to join, not join, or leave the church.

I will also acknowledge that I was fairly shocked when I learned this.

Charity, TOm

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