The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter
Until recently the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have publicly condemned artificial birth control. The earliest official public statement the church made on the subject was given in 1969, and it discouraged contraception by saying, âit is contrary to the teachings of the Church artificially to curtail or prevent the birth of children. We believe that those who practice birth control will reap disappointment by and by.â
However, more recent statements in the publicly available church handbook for local LDS Church leaders have discouraged such leaders from judging other members based on their private intimate relationships:
It is the privilege of married couples who are able to bear children to provide mortal bodies for the spirit children of God, whom they are then responsible to nurture and rear â¦. The decision about how many children to have and when to have them is extremely personal and private. It should be left between the couple and the Lord. Church members should not judge one another in this matter.
On its website, the church has stated:
The typical LDS approach is that this statement and the current handbook statement supersedes prior statements made by previous authorities.
Should We Take The Bible Literally Or Not
Depends on your point of view.
Do you believe in miracles? Literally?
Those who dont believe in miracles tend to interpret many Bible stories as fables and metaphors for life lessons rather than actual occurrences.
But if you do believe the Creator can still make supernatural things happen once in a while, then it wont be so hard to accept biblical events like the parting of a sea, city walls spontaneously tumbling down, or water turning into wine.
Of course, some parts of the Bible are more artistic and less literalfor example, the poetic book of Psalms, the witty parable stories told by Jesus, and much of the vivid picture-language used by prophets in the Old Testament. And still other biblical authors seem to take great pains to describe what really happened.
The bottom line? The Bible invites everyone to read it even if you have trouble buying some of the miracles. If an improbable event trips you up, try thinking about its deeper meaning.
Just keep an open mind as you Look Inside.
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Is Abortion An Acceptable Means Of Family Planning
Some family planning advocates believe that any form of birth control is legitimate and acceptable, including deliberate termination of a pregnancy in progress. Does the Bible support this?
While the Bible doesnt tell us to use one method of birth control and not another, the same cannot be said of abortion. There is ample evidence that abortion has been used as a form of birth control from ancient timesbut God certainly does not approve. A quick look at scriptural principles should give us Gods mind on the matter.
The Sixth Commandment forbids murder . The taking of a human lifewhether the individual is born yet or notis a sin and condemned by God.
Some question whether an unborn child is yet alive. What does the Bible say?
The Bible makes reference to the breath of life and says that life is in the blood . Within a few days of conception the embryo attaches to the uterine wall and begins receiving oxygen through the mothers blood supply. If cut off from the mothers blood supply and oxygen, the embryo would die within minutes.
Within a month of conception, the new baby already has a discernible circulatory system and within six weeks, an identifiable beating heart. About the time the average woman even becomes aware she is pregnant, the embryo has already exhibited all the qualifications of life outlined in the Biblethat baby is alive!
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The Wicked Acts Of Onan
One of the passages most frequently used to try to demonstrate Gods hatred of birth control and prove that it is sinful is found in Genesis 38. Unfortunately, it is also frequently misinterpreted.
In order to understand this story, we must look at its biblical context. In the books pertaining to the Hebrew Law, provision for women and children is described in full.12 Though women were not heirs in their own right,13 it was the duty of menof husbandsto provide for them, often by providing an heir.14
If a woman was widowed and also left without a son, she was to marry again within her husbands family in order to preserve her husbands family line.15 The man who served the widow in such a waywho preserved her place among the people and ensured her physical provisionwas called a kinsman-redeemer. The first son produced from the marriage of the widow and the kinsman-redeemer would carry on the name of the dead brother so that his name not be blotted out from Israel.16
Onans behavior was counted as sinful, and many have interpreted this to be because Onan was essentially using birth control. However, a closer inspection reveals that Onans action was sinful not because it was birth control in and of itself, but because it was selfish. Onans behavior was wicked because he was more concerned with himself than Tamars welfare. He loved himself more than Tamar.
Why Are There So Many Bad Feelings About The Bible
Good question. And while some have issues with what the Bible actually says, others have problems with the people who quote it.
Before we begin, please watch the video for a long-overdue apology.
Okay. So there are a lot of people out there who believe the Bible is judgmental, inconsistent, ignorant, and old-fashioned. Their issue is with the Bible itself. Some of those people have read the Bible. Some havent. And some dont even want to, since some obnoxious Bible-beater has turned them off. Their issue is with Bible people.
Lets deal with the Bible issue first.
Can the Bible judge us at times? Yes. And thats not always fun. Sort of like a personal trainer pushing you to be your best self. But along with the judgment, theres a stronger message of love. The two actually go together. Is it old-fashioned? Well, its certainly old. But despite the fact that it was written by 40 or more people thousands of years ago, we still find great wisdom and fresh ideas in the Bible. But dont take our word for it. Look inside the Bible and see for yourself.
Now, to the Bible people issue.
We think theres a big difference between wielding the Bible as a sledgehammer and letting it lead us into an authentic interaction with God. Were aiming for the latter.
Whether your feelings about the Bible have been negative, positive, or apathetic, we invite you to get the whole picture by Looking Inside.
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Four: Consider The Season
Paul writes to his protege Timothy:
1 Timothy 5:8But those who wont care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers.
While the principle of be fruitful and multiply from Genesis 1 applies to all of us, this does not mean we must bear as many children as physically possible. Every couple should pray together and agree that they are capable of adequately supporting children physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. It is best to leave the decision of how many children to have and when to have them up to the guidance of God for your particular relationship, with full awareness of your present and future ability to care for any and all children you have.
Simply because you can have children doesnt necessarily mean you should. Consult the Lord for his will and trusted Christians for counsel in the matter and decide together as a couple.
The Historic Christian Teaching
Few realize that up until 1930, all Protestant denominations agreed with the Catholic Churchs teaching condemning contraception as sinful. At its 1930 Lambeth Conference, the Anglican church, swayed by growing social pressure, announced that contraception would be allowed in some circumstances. Soon the Anglican church completely caved in, allowing contraception across the board. Since then, all other Protestant denominations have followed suit. Today, the Catholic Church alone proclaims the historic Christian position on contraception.
Evidence that contraception is in conflict with Gods laws comes from a variety of sources that will be examined in this tract.
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Does Birth Control Express A Lack Of Faith In God
Without regulating the size of their family, many couples would end up having more children than they can reasonably support financially. In response, some argue that we should simply have faith that God will provide the funds. However, we don’t use the “God would provide” reasoning to justify going beyond our means in other areas of life. We wouldn’t consider it wise, for example, to pledge twice our annual income to missions organizations in faith that God will supply the extra funds. God expects us to make wise decisions according to what he has given us, and not presume upon him providing from out of the blue. Reasonable financial considerations are a relevant factor: “If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever” .
Did God Create Sex Only For Procreation
God created humans as male and female and considered His whole creation very good . He planned for husbands and wives to be joined together and to become one flesh through sexual relations .
Children are a natural result of sexual intercourse between a husband and wife and are called a gift from the Lord . But the Bible does not restrict sex in marriage to be only for making babies. In fact, the Bible encourages husbands and wives to give pleasure to their mates.
Our booklet points out: The idea that sex was dirty and evil was an idea that crept into Christianity from early Catholic teachers. Their compromise with the obvious reality that sexual activity was necessary to have children resulted in their teaching that sex should only be engaged in by married couples when they wanted to have children. Yet there is no such instruction in the Bible.
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Contradictions In The Bible
There are lots of seeming contradictions in the Bible. Does that make it unreliable?
This video from our friends at the Bible Project might help explain some confusing things in the Bible.
Maybe not when you consider where it came from. The Bible is a collection of writings from different authors, times, places, and cultures. Even different languages. Sometimes words change meanings over the centuries. Sometimes the same characters have several different names.
It also helps to consider the different audiences for these works. The history books of Kings and Chronicles cover some of the same material but for different nations. Matthew writes about Jesus for Jews, and Luke writes the same material for Greeks.
There may also be repetitions, rounding off, or different perspectives that explain some seeming contradictions. Its reasonable to think that Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount multiple times , and so the version in Luke could be just as accurate as the one in Matthew 57.
Because of these literary, cultural, and sociological influences, it helps to proceed with caution when applying modern journalistic standards to these ancient writings. Biblical authors sometimes use different historical methods that wouldnt pass muster todaybut were accepted practice for the day.
Why not Look Inside for yourself?
Three: Children Are A Gift From God
If a single or a couple becomes pregnant, that child should be viewed as a blessing from God, not as an inconvenience or burden. God is in control.
Proverbs 16:9 We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.
And children are a blessing from God.
Psalm 127:4-5Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warriors hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!
God has authority over new life . He cares about new life and is sovereign over its creation.
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How To Have Conversations With Other Christians About Birth Control
Its one thing to be given talking points to help refute secular arguments about birth control. Its another to navigate a conversation about contraception with other Christians. Where does one begin?
Exhibit grace. As Christians, we are all trying to follow the same Lord. Thus, we should strive for the kind of unity that Jesus promoted during his time on earth. Remember that other Christians may have had deeply personal encounters with birth control, which may be accompanied by shame or regret.
Find common ground. Odds are you will agree on the inherent value of children, the sanctity of marriage, the beauty of family, and the providence of God. This is important when discussing something that could easily turn into a contentious debate.
Listen well, and know the facts. Your Christian peers may hear birth control, and each think of something slightly different. The term encompasses various methods, some considered more natural than others . Furthermore, some methods take action after conception, while others seek to prevent an egg from becoming fertilized in the first place. Make sure you hear out your conversation partners completelyotherwise, the dialogue may not be as fruitful or well-informed. With a topic like this, it can be easy for strong emotions to rise to the surface. A great way to keep the conversation balanced is to understand how various birth control methods work and how they relate to conception. Does a certain method end a conception or prevent it?
Pope Paul Vi And Humanae Vitae
On July, 25, 1968, the Vatican released an encyclical by Pope Paul VI entitled Humanae Vitae , which included an outline of the Catholic view on birth control. The Catholic Church officially believes that birth control is a violation of natural law, and that sexual intercourse is for the purpose of procreation. Any pleasure derived from sexual intercourse is a by-product of procreation and is intended to strengthen the loving bond between husband and wife it is further believed that these bonds create the ideal environment for raising children.
Although Pope Paul VI in the Humanae Vitae encyclical condemns birth control, there is no objection to natural family planning. For married couples, natural family planning calls for engaging in intercourse with the womans reproductive cycle in mind. Put more simply dont have sex on days when the woman is ovulating.
However, it is interesting to note that surveys on birth control use in the U.S. have found that 77% of married women use a form of contraceptive, versus 42% of non-married women. In addition, 89% of Catholic women use a contraceptive, while 90% of Protestant women use one. Even though the Protestant denominations are more lenient on birth control use, rates of contraceptive use are relatively the same between Catholic women and Protestant women.
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Christian Views On Birth Control
Prior to the 20th century, three major branches of ChristianityCatholicism, Orthodoxy and Protestantismincluding leading Protestant reformers and John Calvin generally held a critical perspective of birth control . Among Christian denominations today, however, there is a large variety of views regarding birth control that range from the acceptance of birth control to only allowing natural family planning to teaching Quiverfull doctrine, which disallows contraception and holds that Christians should have large families.
What Is The Bible
The Bible is a book that some laugh at, some swear on, and some leave on a shelf to gather dust. It could mean nothing, or it could mean everything.
Its a collection of writings revered by Jews and Christians. But you dont have to be of any particular religion to read it. Anyone and everyone is welcome to look inside.
Open it up , and you find two parts: The Old Testament and the New Testament. What are those? Well, the Old Testament is essentially the same as the Jewish Scriptures. It focuses especially on the nation of Israelits laws, history, and worship. And its full of stories and poetry about the relationship between God and humanity. Many of the Sunday School stories you may have heard ofAdam and Eve, Noahs Ark, David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lions Den, etc.come from the Old Testament.
The New Testament tells the story of Jesus Christ and his followers. It also includes a number of letters written by early Christian leaders that offer instruction, encouragement, and challenges to live life differently.
Incidentally, the word Bible comes from the Greek word for book, and from a root word for the reed used in making an early form of paper. Thats the short answer.
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How Do I Read The Bible
In this video, Dieula offers some advice.
Different people read it different ways. And thats totally fine. Want to find the best way for you?
Some people dig into a single verse and try to think of a million things it might mean. Others read it just like they would read any other book, cover to cover. Others read it out loud, by themselves or with a group, which often helps them understand the words and meanings better. But, honestly, if you just want to read the Bible, then read it. Hunker down in a comfy chair and read a whole chapter or two. Try to wrap your head around the big story.
Some tips: Find a translation of the Bible that speaks to you. There are dozens of versions available now, and most of them are faithful to the original languages. Some sound like Shakespeare. Some sound like everyday conversation. Try a few out and see what grabs you.
You dont have to read the whole Bible from beginning to end. There are a few parts that some readers find tough going, and those could derail your best intentions. Try skipping around to find the stories that interest you. We suggest Genesis, Exodus, Ruth, 1 Samuel, Daniel, Jonah, or one of the four books about Jesuss lifeMatthew, Mark, Luke, or John.
After youve read a few stories, try reading a complete letter from the New Testamentlike maybe the four chapters of Philippians or the five chapters of James. Read a Psalm out loud. Or go through Song of Songs with your significant other.