Monday Morning Theological Poll: “Reproductive Wrongs?” Edition

Two polls this time. Answer both please.

Please justify your comments below. I promise I won’t turn you in to the bishop for anything you say.


  1. If both trends tend to contradict the explicit instructions in the Handbook, why is there more dissent with the first than the second? Also, why are both trending to go against the explicit instructions in the Handbook?

  2. Where’s the “it depends” option?

  3. So I voted “no” on of the items because I don’t think it is the Bishop’s stewardship. Though those involved do not need to consult with a Bishop, it could certainly be helpful.

  4. Grasshopper, what would you say it depends on?

  5. I voted no on both on the assumption that the person had already made the decision independently. If a person feels conflicted or needs guidance from the Lord that hasn’t come independently, then I think a visit with the bishop is entirely appropriate and should be encouraged.

    Also, it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission. Just sayin’.

  6. John C.,

    What handbook? Since when are most members expected to know what’s in the handbook?

    I guess my point is, if we’re not expected to know what’s in the handbook, why would we be expected to follow it? Until the handbook’s taught over the pulpit (and as long as I’m not in a leadership position) I’ll continue to ignore it when convenient.

  7. As a non-woman, I don’t have a whole lot of opinions on the abortion issue (because I figure in those instances it really isn’t a whole lot of my business), but I think it’s always a good idea to consult with your bishop on important matters like those. Even then, I’d leave the decision up to my wife on whether to consult or not.

    On the second, I think they should, because usually when the handbook says something is discouraged, it usually means that one ought to at the very least consult with one’s bishop before doing it. At least, as a man who may in my future life get a vasectomy, I would do it just for my own peace of mind.

  8. Tim,
    It is readily available nowadays and people know of its existence. Let’s posit that they are usually tempted to look.

  9. Actually, let’s go farther. I’m willing to bet that most US members are familiar with the handbook’s instructions. So, why is the poll like that? They do make up the majority of our readers…

  10. janellthegreatJanell says:

    I think all reproductive topics are outside the stewardship of the Bishop; such decisions are solely between a husband, wife, and the Lord. (Or, as in the case of the first poll, a woman and the Lord.) Couples or individuals may seek the will of the Lord by inquiring for the guidance of the Bishop, but such should not assumed to be a one-size-fits-all approach.

  11. I voted no on both- and it would depend on the bishop if I felt like I needed ecclesiastical guidance. A woman facing a pregnancy from a rape or incest has likely gone to the Lord herself, and pondered all possible repercussions, agony and pain from the choices foisted on her by the violence of another. To suppose a bishop might know her heart and soul as an abstract better than she does diminishes her humanity and her agency. I agree with Shawn that my (or my spouse’s) reproductive tract do not fall under the bishop’s stewardship.

  12. I would hope that for #1, if you were in a situation like that, the Bishop would know automatically, because you know, he cares about you. I don’t think such a thing requires an interview. I think it is good to have a support system so people can bring meals, etc. If the miscarriages I’ve been around are any indicator, these things are very emotionally and physically difficult. So I answered Yes to that one, but maybe I am taking liberties with the concept of “consult”, to simply mean “informed and given a chance to serve”.

    For #2, I think the concept here is contradictory to other statements regarding birth control, so it is confusing.

  13. I see more dissent in the 2nd poll. I never understood why that line about consulting with your bishop about vasectomies and tubal ligation are in there. In practice, I bet very few bring this issue to their bishops anyway due to ignorance of the statement in the handbook or for a desire for privacy about their privates. Since there is no sin and it effects only the couple, this can be left up to the individuals and the Lord without needing to bring in the church.

    As for the abortion poll, I would expect the bishop to be involved, but don’t think its absolutely necessary as the church has made it very clear that there may be circumstances when abortion is allowed without a person’s membership falling into jeopardy. For those reasons I voted no. That being said, I can see the other side of the argument as well. Bishops can reassure and may be required to be an active part of the healing process afterwards, so counseling with him is probably a good thing. Since abortion is one of the questions asked of baptismal candidates, clearly the church views this as a sin (in instances not defined by rape, incest, health of the mother) and chooses to be careful about the way it judges it. Since the church chooses to be careful about labeling it sin, it does make sense that the church’s judges be consulted to be sure one is justified.

  14. “I’m willing to bet that most US members are familiar with the handbook’s instructions.” I’d take that bet. I’m sure it’s different on the bloggernacle, and maybe even in wards with a high percentage of highly-educated members, but I’m pretty confident most active members still have no idea that they’re supposed to see the bishop before a vasectomy.

  15. “Should” is a very malleable word…

    “is obligated to”
    “is expected to”
    “is strongly advised to”
    “is encouraged to”
    “is probably a good idea to”

    I think the handbook is often intended to be flexible as well.

  16. Well, I was “yes” in the first, and “no” in the second.

    To me, there’s something about another life being involved that ups the ante for me. I don’t know why. I just hope there is always thoughtfulness before a life is terminated–no matter how awful the means of its conception. That’s all.

    As for surgical birth control, I just don’t see the big deal. I’m surprised the handbook is so down on it. I can see some of the issue with people who’ve not started a family yet–encouraging them to keep their options open. In the case of my wife and me, if we feel like we’re done having kids, I don’t see why anyone outside of the two of us need to be part of that decision.

  17. I’m with Tim (14). Most US members aren’t even aware of the existence of the Bloggernacle, let alone the contents of a book they don’t readily have access to…

  18. >if her health is threatened by her pregnancy

    Does that include mental health?

  19. #14 I had no idea, and I have pretty much no idea what is in the Handbook. I’ve been active my whole life and had a huge variety of callings. I also agree with #6–how am I supposed to somehow be accountable for something I don’t know…

  20. I had no idea that surgical birth control was frowned upon in the handbook until I saw an article in the salt lake tribune about it last year. Before then I figured it fell into the “don’t judge others on birth control” advice. The few people I mentioned it to at church had never heard that policy either.

  21. I agree that most members have no idea what’s in the handbook, and further, since we don’t teach it, I don’t think they are expected to know.

  22. I voted “yes” on the first one — NOT because I think a woman needs permission from her bishop (she doesn’t), but because she can benefit from pastoral counseling and reassurance. There have been so many falsehoods bandied about (chastity equals virginity so a victim of rape or incest is no longer chaste; abortion is murder is an unforgiveable sin under any circumstances; the fetus is innocent so the woman should have — and raise! — the child regardless of the manner of its conception), that I think counseling might comfort and reassure a woman that she has done nothing wrong, that she is doing nothing wrong, that God loves her, that the Church holds nothing against her, etc. Of course, this presupposes that the bishop isn’t perpetuating kneejerk conservative/evangelical/political views.

    The second one is a lot harder for me because I can’t rely on quite the same reasoning. I know the Church recommends pastoral counseling before sterilization — again, not for permission, but, I believe, to be sure the person really understands the gospel importance of procreation and the likely finality of the step — but I suppose most people aren’t as conflicted (whether or not they should be) as someone contemplating abortion.

  23. I voted yes on both, having made an assumption that the person wanted to seek a bishop’s counsel; that is, if folks feel like they should talk to their bishop, they should.

    I would view visiting with the bishop in each case as an opportunity to receive comfort, not rebuke.

    I would hope that if a woman in situation #1 does not speak to her bishop that she has a chance to speak to someone; it would be awful to consider that she is facing such an issue alone. A compassionate and wise bishop could help her to identify support resources should there be a need.

    In the case of #2, I agree that many would be unlikely to consider counseling with a bishop on such matters, espcially assuming they have already counseled with their spouse.

  24. John C,
    You and I talked about these questions a couple of weeks ago, and though I don’t recall exactly what I said, I think that it was along the lines of the following:

    We read these questions wrong–we read them as if they are asking if we should go to the bishop in order to obtain permission. If that is why we are going to the bishop, then no–we shouldn’t go. However, it seems somewhat different if we read the question in a non-permission context.

    Take the “bishop” out of the question, and replace it with “pastor” and put it in a different church. The question now becomes less about the authority structure of the church, and more about the question of whether or not visiting with a spiritual adviser is a good idea before undertaking any actions–reproductive, financial, social, or any other kind of action–that is likely to have a large impact on our spiritual, emotional, mental, financial, or physical well-being.

    Is having an abortion–for whatever reason under the sun–likely to affect you in a significant way that could, ultimately affect your spirituality? If the answer to that question is “Yes” then the answer to me is clear: talk with your bishop first. Again, not for permission, because he has no authority to grant or deny permission; but for counsel and perspective.

    If the answer to that question is “No,” then the alternate course of action is fine.

  25. No on both, unless she wants to/feels inclined to do so or feels she would benefit from it. I have a particularly hard time with going to someone when a medically necessary abortion for the sake of the mother being seen as necessary. I can not think of any more terrible and private choice to have to make.

  26. The Other Brother Jones says:

    I agree with #15 and #16
    In the abortion case, whatever the details are, it is a tough situation for the mother. She will be dealing with heartache, guilt, embarassment, possibly some public shunning. She will need some counselling and hopefully from more that just the bishop. This would immediately go beyond what most bishops have experience with. so I voted ‘yes’ they SHOULD go talk to the bishop for all the reason suggested here. But there is not a requirement that would influence worthiness. In this situation, likely the bishop will become aware of the situation and go looking for this poor mother to offer help. And in the secret handbook, thereis also cousel to rely on prayer also.

    In the second case, I think the counsel against vasectomies goes along with counsel not to limit the size of their families. But when your family islarge enough, and when you pray and feel that you have filled your obligation to the Lord, then I have no problem with it. I had six kids, then I got myself fixed. No bishop involved.

    By 2 bits

  27. I admit I may be wrong about the ubiquity of the easily available handbook; most American Mormons may not know about the surgical instructions. But most American Mormons aren’t taking the polls; Bloggernacle folk are. That’s significant for interpreting these polls.

  28. Scott,
    I think a significant factor is that most of the folks voting can easily imagine themselves using surgery to limit their family and feeling justified in so doing. Fewer of the folks voting can easily imagine themselves getting an abortion, even for a right reason. But it is really easy to imagine someone else getting an abortion for the wrong reason, which is why there is more ambivalence there. When abortions happen to other people, it is easy to assume that intervention is necessary.

    Which doesn’t alter your reading (which is more generous and possibly more accurate than mine), but I do think it’s something that the poll is indicative of.

  29. I voted no on 2 but yes on 1. But it was a qualified yes. I should think you would want to consult with the bishop had you been raped, for counsel and advice, as previously mentioned, not permission. I think if you were having a medically necessary abortion, to save the life of the mother, you don’t need to consult with the bishop at all, just with your doctor and your spouse. This decision would frequently be made very quickly, and so there is no need to bring in outside people. After the fact, if the woman for some reason felt bad about it, that would be the time to consult with her bishop to get reassurance.

  30. The idea of talking to the bishop about things I wouldn’t talk to the RSP or my visiting teachers about… ‘No’ to both questions.

    Should we also confer with the local authorities when it comes to conceiving? (“Bishop, My husband and I are thinking of becoming pregnant this weekend. What do you think?”)

  31. “Should we also confer with the local authorities when it comes to conceiving?”

    My bishop has 8 kids so, yeah, he might have some good advice.

  32. It never even occurred to me to talk to the bishop before getting my vasectomy. My wife and I were agreed on the procedure, and as far as I’m concerned the bishop’s not a part of that relationship and didn’t get a say…

    If you’re the type that can’t blow your nose without running it by the bishop first, then you deserve to have to abide by whatever “counsel” he gives you. I can imagine lots of bishops saying not to do it; it’s no skin off their nose, and saying “no” is the easier answer to give. If you’re not prepared to be bound by a negative response, you shouldn’t even bother him in the first place.

  33. Kevin,
    That’s why I’ve stopped going to temple recommend interviews.

  34. The second item came up for discussion back when Handbook 2 was first released online because for decades it was there for leaders to use IF PEOPLE CONSULTED them. But it was not intended that members know and be responsible for all that is there. There still seem to be some disconnects like this.

    The notion of having to talk to one’s bishop regarding birth control flies against everything that has been taught over the pulpit and in Ensign articles in the last three decades.

    I had not yet served in a position where I had access to a handbook when we sought sterilization (in our late 30s, after 5 kids), but my husband had. So I asked him why we had not consulted the bishop, and he said that since we were sure, and had prayed and were not doing this on a whim or prematurely, there was no need to consult the bishop.

    Indeed, the confirmation that it was the correct step to take was one of the sweetest spiritual experiences of my life, so I resent having that memory soiled by the implication that I was rebellious in not seeking counsel.

    “Take the “bishop” out of the question, and replace it with “pastor” and put it in a different church. The question now becomes less about the authority structure of the church, and more about the question of whether or not visiting with a spiritual adviser is a good idea before undertaking any actions–reproductive, financial, social, or any other kind of action–that is likely to have a large impact on our spiritual, emotional, mental, financial, or physical well-being.”

    Well, sure, but other churches do not preach the importance of personal revelation. And other churches have a paid ministry, so that the bishop is not missing his own child’s band concert or baseball game in order to counsel people on stuff they should decide for themselves. For our church, no it’s not a good idea. It tends to encourage us to be dependent on another individual, when we should be seeking inspiration for ourself.

  35. Naismith,
    I’m sorry you got caught in my rhetorical what-not. I certainly am not trying to imply that anyone is being rebellious; I’m much more interested in why it is a no-brainer to not talk to the bishop about surgical sterilization, but less of one in the case of abortion under the above cited circumstances.

  36. Newly Housewife said what I was thinking. Same with Kevin. It never occurred to me to consult with anyone else about what my wife and I agreed was right for our family. I wouldn’t discuss that or any other forms of birth control with my bishop. I highly doubt he would want to talk to me about that stuff anyway.

  37. Re: #1.

    Because the handbook needs some serious updating.

  38. ” I’m willing to bet that most US members are familiar with the handbook’s instructions.”

    I am willing to bet this assumption is wrong.

  39. John C., as a woman there is only one position on the ward level where I might be “granted access” to CHI1. Why would you assume that I (as a lifetime American member) would know what it says?

  40. @ Bro. Matsby “I wouldn’t discuss that or any other forms of birth control with my bishop. I highly doubt he would want to talk to me about that stuff anyway.”

    I feel the same way, all though I definitely see Ardis’ point that an individual may want pastoral comfort and counseling about the decision that THEY have come to, no one else should be making the decision for them.

    If I were a Bishop (Heaven Forbid) and some one come to me with questions about a vasectomy or birth control I would be very tempted to shove my fingers in my ears and start screaming “na na na na na I can’t hear you!”

  41. ErinAnn,
    Because it is easily accessed on the internet (on the church website). It has been available for well over a year at this time. Online discussion has referenced it frequently. I admit that non-internet denizens might not know about this (which is too bad), but most internet mormons do. Heck, I’ve got Book 2 (where the relevant passages are found) on my ipod. You could download it to your smartphone right now.

  42. I voted yes on the first poll because spiritual advice from the Bishop would be appropriate for the women in cases of health, rape or incest. Abortion remains the choice of the woman. On the second poll, I voted no because those issues are between a husband and wife.

  43. I had different reasons for voting no on both. For the first, I don’t think the woman should consult the bishop about getting an abortion, but I DO think the woman should consult with the bishop on the matter impacting the pregnancy – it seems to clearly be a matter of significant importance such that abortion is a consideration. If she has made a decision about it already, then to me it’s a “could” instead of a “should” consultation.

    On the second, really, that seems like a matter for the family, not for the bishop. My dad (not a member) got a vasectomy because his second wife had a condition such that pregnancy would probably kill her. That doesn’t seem like a situation in which a bishop would need to be consulted. Do I need to consult the bishop any time I want to use a contraceptive? I could imagine those phone calls the bishop doesn’t want to get. ;)

    On the other hand, I don’t put as much emphasis in the commandment to be fruitful and all. (He says, having waited 15 years to have children.)

  44. No and no.

    Until the handbook is preached over the pulpit, it’s irrelevant except as pertains to the smooth running of a bureaucracy by a volunteer staff.

    I’ve had bishops I wouldn’t ask for food, much less reproductive advice or counseling. And I find it odd no one’s said, “Well, it depends on the bishop.” Meh.

    Kevin Barney:

    If you’re the type that can’t blow your nose without running it by the bishop first, then you deserve to have to abide by whatever “counsel” he gives you.


  45. Molly Bennion says:

    No on both for many reasons stated and for one more on #1. Having worked with victims of rape, some faced with pregnancy, I know it can take some time before a victim can bring herself to counsel comfortably with any man. Some can’t tell male family members whom they know love them, let alone bishops they don’t know well. I think it is helpful for victims to receive love and understanding from a bishop or stake president. Women can withdraw from a male dominated institution and even feel estranged from male deity after this horror. Reestablishing trust is a healthy part of recovery, but the victim must be in total control of where and who and when.

  46. StillConfused says:

    O holy he^^. Why would anyone talk with the bishop about their reproductive issues and decisions. That is just gross!! Unless your bishop is an ob/gyn or urologist… in which case, hey free medical advice. Seriously, are there people who have so little ability to govern themselves that they seek ecclesiastical advice on reproduction?

  47. I voted no because I believe it’s none of his business unless you want to make it his business.

  48. I believe that she should consult with her bishop for the abortion, but only because the decision to have an abortion is so traumatic. If he tells her not to do it, she should tell him to go jump in a lake. As for surgical sterilization, that’s none of his business.

  49. My wife and I have talked about question two (six kids, youngest is nine, age carries high risk factors, etc.), and not once have we thought of consulting with our Bishop (a family doctor, btw) about it. If we do it, I doubt we’ll mention it to him after the fact – just because it wouldn’t cross our minds.

    Question one? I know too many Bishops who would counsel automatically not to have the abortion, regardless of the circumstances and despite the Church’s official position. Therefore, I said no – even as I know many women could beneift from caring, throughful counsel.

  50. *thoughtful*

  51. If he tells her not to do it, she should tell him to go jump in a lake.

    If one answer is already totally off the table, then…why bother?

  52. Before making a decision that important, I would make every effort to gain every perspective and insight I could gather. Ultimately, the Lord would direct that decision.

  53. I ask this rhetorical question as a former Bishop: Why should I care what the Handbook says? Access to it is expressly denied to the general membership of the church and it’s non-canon. I appreciate knowing what it says and I take some measure of comfort in knowing, for example, that it does not condemn my drinking Diet Coke. But it is preposterous to suggest that any member of the Church, regardless of how familiar they may be with the Handbook, should feel anything other than a procedural or bureaucratic duty to care what it says about anything.

  54. No and No.

    As to the first I have had a family member involved in such a situation (health of mother threatened). My older daughter had a no problem first pregnancy. Her second pregnancy had to be ended when her body decided to start throwing blood clots, the first one having traveled from her left lower extremity through her heart into her left arm and having been detected because she had no pulse in the left arm. Yes, she and her husband did consult with their bishop but that’s because her husband was in the bishopric. But they also prayed about it, discussed it with the high risk OB-GYN who shared with them how lucky she had been for that clot not to have stopped in the heart or gone to the brain like another of his patients who was in a coma. When her specialists thought they had her blood under control so she could have a child and she became pregnant with the third, same exact result except it was after they could hear the heartbeat. That was an agony no woman or caring spouse should be put through….

    Quite frankly, the hardest part for them since then has been other members who have told my daughter to her face she has committed an unforgivable sin and ended the friendship. But that’s another thread.

    As for the second my wife and I found my having a vasectomy was appropriate because of our family situation and we prayed, received no confusion of thoughts or that what we had proposed was wrong in any sense of the word. So we exercised our agency…. Isn’t that we came here?

  55. Sam: how would the other members know about it?
    I’m sorry they were so cruel and judgmental.

  56. WaMo: Because they knew of the pregnancies (what expecting mother doesn’t want to share that news?) and kept asking my daughter how she was doing….. Don’t get me wrong. There were many who shared the pain of her loss but there were a few who decided they could judge….
    It was bad enough that my daughter and her husband were dealing with the emotional rip tides of such a loss but when individuals whom they thought to be their “best friends” turned out otherwise…
    They’ve moved on, however, and are working on adopting….
    I’m just happy the first pregnancy went well so that I can beam when I hear “Grandpa!”
    Thanks for your thoughts, WaMo

  57. I concur with Alan (#16). The key word is consult. No reason to on the second. On the former, I still have my complete agency but a consultation and blessing with a loving bishop would give me an added measure of peace.

  58. In my opinion, a victim of rape or incest should be able to get an abortion without consulting anyone since that pregnancy was one that happened against her will. As far as sterilization goes, if a couple feels it’s best, especially if the doctor advises against further pregnancies for the mother’s health, then they should be able to get the procedure done as it’s between them and the Lord. To me, a loving God would accept one’s decision for a vasectomy if it meant that the mother would be able to care for the children she already has. In my opinion, a vasectomy is the easier option as while it does cause pain, it’s not major abdominal surgery like tubal ligation is.

  59. People should consult with their bishop if they want to. They should never do so out of a sense of obligation. The bishop is not a doctrinal authority or someone from whom members of the church need to go to seek approval for their actions. The bishop is not an intermediary with God. He should be in a position to help people to make their own decisions in consultation with God. But the very nature of the Handbook is to act as a guide to assist the bishop and keep him from straying from the policies and procedures of the Church – not as a guide to tell the members what to do.

  60. I find it interesting that everyone assumes the sterilization person in married and done having children because their family is complete. What about a 25 year single person who thinks he/she doesn’t want kids or shouldn’t have kids?
    I think for me there is a far greater chance of erring with a vasectomy too early decision than an abortion because of rape decision.

  61. @jks Many (most?) doctors won’t even perform a vasectomy on a 25-year-old who’s not married and has no children. And they certainly won’t sterilize a young woman who’s ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN she will NEVER want children. That discussion’s kind of moot from a medical establishment perspective.

  62. “What about a 25 year single person who thinks he/she doesn’t want kids or shouldn’t have kids?”

    Why do their age and marital status matter when the question is “should they consult with their bishop?”

  63. Sam: One of the reasons I would not consult the bishop about such things is that although conversations with a bishop are supposed to be confidential, they often are not. I thought that might be the case in this situation, which is why I asked.

  64. @jks My best friend knew at he didn’t want kids at age 25, and he had trouble finding a doctor who would do it. Finally, he walked into a doctor’s office with $300 in cash and had his vasectomy. This was back in 1992 and he has not regretted this decision one bit.

    Now, in my case I waited until I was 35 before I got snipped with no kids. No problem getting the doctor to do it. I did not consult with my bishop at the time and he didn’t know about it until my (now ex) wife mentioned it inassing to the RS president. He called me into his office after sac mtg and said he was very concerned that I wasn’t taking the commandment to multiply and replenish e earth seriously, and that perhaps it might not be appropriate for me to hold a TR. Fortunately my cell phone rang with an emergency call from work so I stepped out and didn’t come back to his office. I never heard another word about it again.

  65. “In my opinion, a vasectomy is the easier option as while it does cause pain, it’s not major abdominal surgery like tubal ligation is.”

    Yes and no. If a couple is making that decision around the time of the last birth, which is how a lot of folks do, then the tubal may be easier; for a c-section, it is a matter of minutes. Even for a vaginal birth, it may be a simple procedure if an epidural is already in place, since the tubes are up in position for easy access.

    But another consideration is what the different people might do should they be widowed. If I became widowed, I had little interest in re-marrying and absolutely none in getting pregnant again. But if my husband were to be widowed, he would likely re-marry, and perhaps have kids if the new wife wanted to. That made it more of my concern than his.

  66. #63. Fully understood, WaMo.
    We had a situation one time where the bishop sent an e-mail to everyone in leadership capacity about a particular sister and his concern for her spiritual health not being good. Problem was, he went to her as well. You can imagine how well that went over….

  67. That should read, “he sent it to her as well”….

  68. The first one demands support and a listening ear. I really think the relief society president might be a better option…or really her mother or husband if she had one. If she needed the support from a bishop to prevent guilt…hopefully she knows if the bishop would provide that.

    The second one. very few people know about the handbook position on this. It’s really a lose lose. I don’t know people that go get surgery as a casual joy ride. I assume people would think carefully before making such a decision. I can’t imagine who would go see the bishop before getting broken. surely to be so ultra conscientious they would have already prayed and thought alot about it. So then they are sharing their intimate life with an outsider and he can what..listen and agree or much worse not listen and disagree. lose lose.

    the one in a million who would approach a surgery such as that casually wouldn’t go to a bishop even if they knew what the handbook said.

  69. #46 I thought the same thing.

  70. I think all reproductive topics are outside the stewardship of the Bishop; such decisions are solely between a husband, wife, and the Lord.

    I feel sterilization should be that way. Yet, my wife & I met with 2 different Bishops about this subject. One Bishop said him & his wife “stopped” having children (implying that one of them had a procedure for sterilization), even though they felt there may have been other children out there. The second Bishop we mentioned these concerns to referred us to D&C 10:4 :

    “Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength and means provided to enable you to translate; but be diligent unto the end.”

    Yes, we were not translating anything, but the idea still applied. Neither Bishop pulled out the Handbook & read it to use. My wife had diabetes issue when pregnant, and our 3 sons have forms of autism, it turned out. I had a vasectomy, but I also feel I’m condemned no matter what I did, I get so many second guessers after me a Church. And, I also think most who get sterilized don’t do it on a whim, like mentioned in #68.

    The abortion issue gets tricky because abortion can be grounds for Church discipline. But, rape victims often don’t want to tell the whole world what they went through, again & again. And, again, there’s too much overdone second guessing in the Church.

    #54-Sam: When both of my sister were in Hospitals delivering their first children, another woman giving birth died. The hazards of birth get played down sometimes. Yes, it’s better than before a century ago, but it’s still risky.

  71. 41 – Thanks, JohnC. I was referring to CHI1 — like I said in comment 39. I’m fully aware #2 is online, but it does look like a lot of this stuff is in CHI2.

  72. Antonio Parr says:

    Scott B’s comment (No. 24) is outstanding. Well said.

  73. The hazards of birth get played down sometimes.

    True. There is no better way to get fast-tracked through the ER than to be 8 days postpartum with a fever of 104F after having nearly bled out in the delivery room. Ask me how I know. (This is more common than anybody really thinks. Infections with high postpartum fevers kill a lot of women, even today.)

    No more children. No use bringing another child into the world only to have no mother. It would have been the height of irresponsibility and really stupid, stupid use of one’s stewardship. Didn’t need outside opinions to point that out.

  74. Moriah: I’ve had at least 2 ancestors die from childbirth in my distant family tree. Previous placenta, hemorrhaging, infections, etc., they all took their toll.

  75. Steve Evans says:

    Moriah, HOW DO YOU KNOW?

  76. Steve, well, my third cousin, once removed’s boyfriend’s previous girlfriend’s mother told me a story about her granddaughter’s mother-in-law’s aunt’s best friend’s foreign penpal (back in the day) who that happened to.

    And I KNOW this to be true because she would totally never lie to me.

  77. Steve Evans says:

    Good enough for me.

  78. Members are explicitly instructed to invite counsel from their bishop or stake president before getting any elective abortion. That is an obvious yes.

    The surgical sterilization is an obvious yes if you actually think that’s a good thing to do. Some people will know the answer ahead of time, which is, “Don’t do it” (unless there are health reasons), and in that context it is of course not necessary to discuss the matter with your bishop since you already know you won’t be sterilizing yourself surgically.

  79. I agree with Jeff. It is never a good idea to sterilize yourself surgically.

  80. In the unlikely and traumatizing event that I get raped, I ain’t stopping by no bishop’s house. I’m going straight to ER, getting an emergency contraceptive pill, and testifying to police. Then and only then might I unburden myself to anyone else, although I’d probably go to my mother, grandmother, or second counselor’s wife for support, and definitely would see a professional therapist.