Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
Dialogue Foundation, P.O. Box 58423, Salt Lake City, Utah 84158-0423
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Chandler, Neal ; Chandler, Rebecca
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Bodies, Babies, and Birth Control Melissa Proctor When I grow up I want to be a mother and have a family, One little, two little, three little babies of my own. Of all the jobs for me I'll choose no other, I'll have family, Four little, five little, six little babies of my own. Janeen Brady1 For over a century little girls in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have grown up hearing messages like those taught in this song that was popular when I was in Primary: babies are wonderful, have as many babies as you can—at least six—and motherhood is the only work you should choose. Following the same theme, lessons with titles like "Motherhood, a Divine Calling," which stress childbearing as a woman's first duty, are taught to sixteen and seventeen year old girls in their Sunday classes.2 Until the late nineties Relief Society manuals included regular lessons on women's sacred responsibilities as mothers, often with a reminder that women are accountable to God for how well they fulfill this important calling. Such messages are ubiquitous in the programs, lessons and talks for women in the LDS church. In this paper I will explore official and unofficial messages that the LDS church has sent to girls and women about childbearing during the twentieth century and the effect those messages have had on women's reproductive choices. First, I will examine the theological framework of these messages, which appears in all commentary and which grounds the issue as a basic principle of LDS belief. Next, I will chronicle some of 1. Janeen Brady, "I Want to be a Mother," Beloved Songs (Salt Lake City: Brite Music Inc., 1987), 10-13. 2. Lesson 6, MIA Laurel Manual 2 (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1984).