In RT’s recent post, he asks us to consider the relative value of truth as obtained from Church authority vs. everyone else in the world (combined). Here, I would like us to consider the threadjack that has recently sort of developed in that thread. The threadjack regards birth control and how it has been preached in the twentieth century.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, birth control was apparently the modern equivalent of abortion (in fact, were these things distinguished back then, oh historians?). In any case, it was considered an act that put one’s soul in jeopardy with God. Today, not so much. The General Handbook of Instructions counsels the husbands and wives make their own decisions regarding this, in consultation with the Lord. It also notes that sex is meant to bring husband and wife closer to together, not just to produce bodies for incoming spirit children.
However, it is clear that the Brethren aren’t too thrilled with the lowering birth rate amongst the Mormons. We continue to receive counsel to not put off childbearing for schooling, career, etc. President Packer recently suggested that the drop in missionary numbers has more to do with the drop in bodies than the raising of the bar. Clearly this is a concern for the Brethren (at least in the West; I have no reason to assume that our birth rates do anything but mirror local conditions). So, while birth control is clearly no longer a gross, celestial-glory-risking sin, the Brethren also clearly are concerned with it as a trend.
How do you think the Brethren should counsel when they see a trend that they believe leads to bad places, but that is not currently considered a sin? This question is not meant to counsel the Brethren, but rather to engage in a thought experiment to see what you think you would do in their place. How would you counsel the Saints regarding things that aren’t good, but aren’t bad, either?