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What Do Religions Say About Birth Control and Family Planning?

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Updated January 30, 2014

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Mormonism
What Do Religions Say About Birth Control and Family Planning?

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Birth control is not specifically prohibited by the Church of Latter-day Saints. The Church believes that the decision whether or not to use contraception is one that should be shared by husband, wife, and God. Spouses are encouraged to help one another as equals. Raising children is a sacred task that draws couples nearer to God. According to the LDS Church, children are one of the greatest blessings in life, and their birth into loving and nurturing families is central to God's purposes for humanity. When husband and wife are physically able, they have the privilege and responsibility to bring children into the world and nurture them. The church does not provide specific directions as far as the number and spacing of children, including contraceptive use in family planning.

While many statements exist condemning contraception, there is no public statement from any apostle positively recommending its use. All Church leaders preach the same message: The use of birth control by LDS is contrary to the will of God, so the contraceptive use is not specifically encouraged. The text in the LDS General Handbook leaves it up to the married couple to choose. After careful thought and prayer, if a couple has decided that they should not have children at this time, birth control is acceptable (not just abstinence), since the Church recognizes that sexual relations have an important place in expressing and demonstrating the bond of love.

Research shows that the large family size among Mormons is not due to their reluctance to use contraception; in fact, Mormons are just as likely to use modern birth control methods as the rest of the nation. The difference may be that contraceptives are either not used until after child rearing has occurred or are used less often, so that Mormons can reach their desired larger-size family.

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