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Abortion and Mormonism

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 authority and after receiving divine confirmation through prayer. Abortion must be considered one of the most revolting and sinful practices in this day, when we are witnessing the frightening evidence of permissiveness leading to sexual immorality. Members of the [Mormon] Church guilty of being parties to the sin of abortion must be subjected to the disciplinary action of the council of the Church as circumstances warrant. In dealing with this serious matter, it would be well to keep in mind the word of the Lord stated in the 59th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, verse 6, “Thou shalt not steal, neither commit adultery, nor kill, nor do anything like unto it…” (signed by the First Presidency of the Mormon Church, Harold B. Lee, N. Eldon Tanner and Marion G. Romney).

Harold B Lee MormonEach Mormon Prophet since President Harold B. Lee has taken a stand on abortion. This stand was reiterated in 1975 by President Spencer W. Kimball; also in 1983 in the General Handbook of Instructions for Church Leaders; in the Mormon Church magazine, Ensign of December 1984 where the General Authorities of the Church address this issue in great length; and late Prophet, President Hinckley discussed this issue in with Larry King on the Larry King Show in 1998.

Larry King asked the question: What is your position on abortion? President Hinckley answered by saying:

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there were more than 1,200,000 abortions performed in 1995 in the United States alone. What has happened to our regard for human life? How can women, and men, deny the great and precious gift of life, which is divine in its origin and nature?… Abortion is an ugly thing, a debasing thing, a thing which inevitably brings remorse and sorrow and regret.

“While we denounce it, we make allowance in such circumstances as when pregnancy is the result of incest or rape, when the life or health of the mother is judged by competent medical authority to be in serious jeopardy, or when the fetus is known by competent medical authority to have serious defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth.

“But such instances are rare, and there is only a negligible probability of their occurring. In these circumstances those who face the question are asked to consult with their local ecclesiastical leaders and to pray in great earnestness, receiving a confirmation through prayer before proceeding…”

Mormons believe that we don’t create life, God does. As mother and father participate in bringing a child into the world, that child is a gift from God. Human life is sacred and should be treated with reverence.

In Matthew 24:12 Christ says, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”  Abortion is a symptom of love growing cold. It is evidence of people drifting further and further away from the influence of God in their lives. Abortion thrives in a world of permissiveness and immorality and selfishness. Mormons believe that the influence of good can touch the lives of many. In the thirteen Article of Faith it reads: “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” Such choices can become contagious, giving others hope.

Ensign, LDS Church magazine, December 1984.

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