The Pre-Existence.

Public forum to discuss questions about Mormon history and doctrine.
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Beefster
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Re: The Pre-Existence.

Post by Beefster » 13 Sep 2017, 22:04

I suspect the origins of more kids == more righteousness mostly comes from the 1800s and it's a mutation of general usefulness of large families and perhaps being seen as favored by God if lots of your kids survived. It isn't doctrinal.

Back in those days, they didn't have birth control; they had infant mortality. You kept as many kids as would survive. With a farm, having a large family means more ability to grow crops and raise animals. Since kids helped around the farm, they weren't a financial burden on parents, so there was really no reason not to have kids. You could argue that, in some cases, it was actually the selfish thing to do to have more kids.

Now things are different. Every child you have is a strain on you financially. Kids can't legally work anymore (at least not to the same degree), so they often become entitled and spoiled, making them more emotionally and financially straining than they would have been back in the day. Throw on teaching them to deal with the craziness that is this world- protecting them from pornography, drugs, casual sex, etc...- and you can see why we just don't have the capacity to raise quite as many children as we once could.

5 kids is a big family now. It was a modest family size 150 years ago- even on the small side if you include dead infants as part of the family.

I've seen a few 6+ child families who just did not have their heads screwed on straight. I've seen some of that size who handle things just fine. It depends a lot on the temperament of the children and the parents. My brother has 5 wild kids and I have no idea how he handles it. If I were in his situation, I would have stopped after the 3rd... Or maybe the 2nd. My other 3 siblings only have 2 kids each and they all are pretty sure they're done. But I guess that makes sense because they all deal with some degree of mood disorders.

As for me, we'll see what happens. I'd prefer 2-4 kids, but that's with no prior knowledge of my wife or the kids' temperaments.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Sometimes our journeys take us to unexpected places. That is a truly beautiful thing.

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Heber13
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Re: The Pre-Existence.

Post by Heber13 » 14 Sep 2017, 03:33

Love all the comments, reading them all helped me.

Dancing carrot brings up some great questions and points and beefster really brings it home. Well said. Love it.

I just want to focus on something Amy said that struck me:
AmyJ wrote:
12 Sep 2017, 11:59

For me, I see children in the same light as the parable of the talents. 1 of the men was given stewardship over 10, another only 5. I do not hear in the scripture any censure for those stewards who worked so hard to handle their responsibility. We hear a stern rebuke for the man with 1 talent who did nothing with it. Some of our families might be big with lots of kids and that might be their pathway. Other families are going to be smaller. I prefer to think that God will judge on what I did with my relationships within my family rather than the number of kids I had.
I think this is a great application of scripture and gospel message.

There is no "one way" ...there is valid differences and variation to how we all do this life thing.

But that doesn't mean there are no "wrong" ways either. There are selfish reasons that can be judged by God as "lesser" choices, mostly the ones out of fear instead of out of love and hope and effort.

I think we are limited in knowledge on the pre-existence. So it is all scriptural interpretation and guesswork.

But, if we apply gospel principles and view things through a healthy lens...we can come up with good things to teach ourselves and others about why faith in pre-existence is important to our journey now, today, this moment.

What is usually the universal problem with families and kids and such, is when other people's opinions and standards become stress to make it fit into uniquely different lives and families and situations with a overly simplistic idea that one size fits all.

That obviously leads to uneasiness and angst and stress...because it is not truth.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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SilentDawning
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Re: The Pre-Existence.

Post by SilentDawning » 14 Sep 2017, 16:21

LaLaLove wrote:
07 Sep 2009, 13:47
Is it used in a way to push us towards making babies at a fast and numerous rate? Is there a sub-consious message in the mix, of have children b/c they are waiting-a type of guilt trip. I've been a member for 5 years now. Many times I've heard we were spirit children in the pre-existence and that millions of spirits are still waiting to be born. Honestly it has made me think to myself "Well I need to do my part - I can't have them waiting". If any of you have come to the conclusion that there is some type of agenda, some type of psychological push to have many children, to ultimately increase membership, to be more pleasing unto God by bringing more children into his Church .. How do you still keep the Doctrine beautiful? Can you admit there might possibly be a sub-consious agenda, or even an open - out there for everyone to hear type of guilt induced teaching to have many children:IN THE CHURCH and still know it is/was a part of the plan of salvation?
I am agnostic about the effect in the eternities, but tend to believe the Proclamation of the Family which is silent on the number of kids we should have. If it was critical to salvation and blessings, i think it would say so explictly somewhere.

As far as it being a sub-agenda, definitely. All our doctrines point to rapid population growth. From the BOM scripture about "raising up seed" to plural marriage at one time, to the pressure young couples feel to have babies fast -- it all points to a church that wants growth for the sake of the institution. I see the justification of doing your part to give bodies to the pre-mortal spirits as simply another attempt at using doctrine to motivate people.

It's shameful really, when you consider that some families, like mine, would be shattered with the pressures of too many children. Some families have the capacity to have more children while maintaining order and peace in the home. Others do not.

One reason my family has survived is because I have not buckled under the pressure from my wife to have more children. I know that issues of housekeeping, and financial freedom could very well overwhelm our marriage and lead to a costly divorce. I know my emotional needs, and I am positive that more children would lead to unmet emotional needs on my part, which would harm the two children we already have.

Also bothersome is that her desire for more children used to come forward whenever other women in her age group got pregnant, which struck me as a flimsy reason to have more children.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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SamBee
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Re: The Pre-Existence.

Post by SamBee » 15 Sep 2017, 02:03

Curt Sunshine wrote:
07 Sep 2009, 14:47
"Having more children = Higher degree of Heaven".
Sorry, but I have to laugh at that one - especially since there are a number of apostles with three or fewer children, and Shari Dew isn't married and has no children.

Sometimes, really stupid things get translated by some members into "doctrine".

(This might have been popularized by "Saturday's Warrior" - where one of the songs was called "Zero Population" and the central family was very large. It's too bad some people took something in a theatrical work of fiction and thought it was truth.)
Sheri Dew is single?! There was me thinking she was a perfect little Mormon wifie, who had nursed a large brood of children! Very surprised.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

AmyJ
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Re: The Pre-Existence.

Post by AmyJ » 15 Sep 2017, 05:14

SilentDawning wrote:
14 Sep 2017, 16:21
It's shameful really, when you consider that some families, like mine, would be shattered with the pressures of too many children. Some families have the capacity to have more children while maintaining order and peace in the home. Others do not.
I have come to see that my family is in a similar boat. It seems that #2 for us was the stretching point and brought to light a lot of weaknesses and issues that we are in the process of strengthening.
SilentDawning wrote:
14 Sep 2017, 16:21
One reason my family has survived is because I have not buckled under the pressure from my wife to have more children. I know that issues of housekeeping, and financial freedom could very well overwhelm our marriage and lead to a costly divorce. I know my emotional needs, and I am positive that more children would lead to unmet emotional needs on my part, which would harm the two children we already have.
My husband has also stood firm for the reasons you cited above. Intellectually I understand where he is coming from, and on some levels emotionally. In this area, I am willing to let him preside valuing his perspective as an outside preserver. I also reserve the right to bring up any promptings I receive in that direction and ask him to receive the same prompting. Since I am already considered "elderly" in child-bearing years, we are likely to stop at 2 children.

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LookingHard
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Re: The Pre-Existence.

Post by LookingHard » 15 Sep 2017, 10:30

We have had just the right amount of kids. My last is about to leave and I love him to death, but glad that part of child rearing is over. I am getting to old to keep up with having young kids.

The family I came from had too many kids. This was back in the "it is a commandment not to use birth control" coming from SLC. My dad worked way too hard, seldom took and never enjoyed vacations due to the pressure, and my mom had a bit of a nervous breakdown when I was in my pre-teens. I understand now why she did. I would have sooner if I were in her shoes.

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SilentDawning
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Re: The Pre-Existence.

Post by SilentDawning » 15 Sep 2017, 10:43

AmyJ wrote:
15 Sep 2017, 05:14
SilentDawning wrote:
14 Sep 2017, 16:21
It's shameful really, when you consider that some families, like mine, would be shattered with the pressures of too many children. Some families have the capacity to have more children while maintaining order and peace in the home. Others do not.
I have come to see that my family is in a similar boat. It seems that #2 for us was the stretching point and brought to light a lot of weaknesses and issues that we are in the process of strengthening.
SilentDawning wrote:
14 Sep 2017, 16:21
One reason my family has survived is because I have not buckled under the pressure from my wife to have more children. I know that issues of housekeeping, and financial freedom could very well overwhelm our marriage and lead to a costly divorce. I know my emotional needs, and I am positive that more children would lead to unmet emotional needs on my part, which would harm the two children we already have.
My husband has also stood firm for the reasons you cited above. Intellectually I understand where he is coming from, and on some levels emotionally. In this area, I am willing to let him preside valuing his perspective as an outside preserver. I also reserve the right to bring up any promptings I receive in that direction and ask him to receive the same prompting. Since I am already considered "elderly" in child-bearing years, we are likely to stop at 2 children.
I don't buy into my role as "president" of the family though. We make decisions together. However, I do find that if one of us wants something, and the other doesn't, it's the status quo that prevails. My wife wants to move out of our state. I love it here. I have a job here, golden handcuffs if I leave my job, and many other interests that make it sensible to stay here. Until those variables change, we will likely stay.

On the other hand, we have animals that I guess I agreed to have in the house to keep my wife happy. I regret those decisions (pee and poop all over the place, smells, damaged property, extra work, always watching my back to make sure they don't run out the door and terrorize neighbors, complaints from neighbors). But until they die off, I won't be able to remove them without backlash as they represent "the status quo".

So, the issue of who presides isn't really the issue -- it's how easy it is to get out of the status quo....
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

Roy
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Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: The Pre-Existence.

Post by Roy » 17 Sep 2017, 15:41

Curt Sunshine wrote:
07 Sep 2009, 14:47
Sometimes, really stupid things get translated by some members into "doctrine".
Every once in a while a subject will come along that was clearly taught a doctrine by some early leaders of the church and persists in our culture and to some degree in our policies but is no longer emphasized at church and has weak or no scriptural support.

As a StayLDSer it can be helpful to know that the core doctrine of our church is contained in the standard works. Anything beyond that is not binding upon the membership. Even after a StayLDSer has made peace with that concept, he/she must still learn to deal/tolerate/negotiate with church members that define doctrine with a much more broad brush.

The tradition that the most senior apostle becomes the next church president certainly is not doctrinal - but that doesn't stop it from happening.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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