Large Family


Excerpts from the July 1916, Relief Society Magazine, ‘Birth Control’: 1

Apostle Rudgar Clawson

“In my opinion the practice of restricting the number of children in the family, as advocated by many people, is sinful. It is contrary to the first great commandment given to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, when the Lord said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth,”

Woman is so constituted that, ordinarily, she is capable of bearing, during the years of her greatest strength and physical vigor, from eight to ten children, and in exceptional cases a larger number than that. “


Apostle George F. Richards

“The efforts on the part of Eastern magazine writers to edu cate the people of the United States, particularly parents, to the doctrine that they should limit the number of their offspring to three or four children, and how this can be accomplished, is both pernicious and an abomination in the sight of the Lord;”

“My wife has borne to me fifteen children. Anything short of this would have been less than her duty and privilege.”

“As to the danger and hardship of child-bearing to the mothers, I have to say that from my observations. I conclude that the answering of nature’s laws which are God’s laws is far less injurious and dangerous than the efforts made to defeat these laws.”


Apostle David O. McKay

“Any effort or desire on the part of a married couple to shirk the responsibility of parenthood reflects a condition of mind antagonistic to the best interests of the home, the state, and the nation. No doubt there are some worldly people who honestly limit the number of children and the family to two or three because of insufficient means to clothe and educate a large family as the parents would desire to do, but in nearly all such cases, the two or three children are no better provided for than two or three times that number would be. Such parents may be sincere, even if misguided; but in most cases the desire not to have children has its birth in vanity, passion, and selfishness. Such feelings are the seeds sown in early married life that produce a harvest of discord, suspicion, estrangement, and divorce. All such efforts, too, often tend to put the marriage relationship on a level with the panderer and the courtesan. They befoul the pure fountains of life with the slime of indulgence and sensuality. Such misguided couples are ever seeking but never finding the reality for which the heart is yearning.”


Apostle O. F. Whitney

“The only legitimate “birth control” is that which springs naturally from the observance of divine laws, and the use of the procreative powers, not for pleasure primarily, but for race perpetuation and improvement. During certain periods—those of gestation and lactation—the wife and mother should be comparatively free to give her strength to her offspring ; and if this involves some self-denial on the part of the husband and father, so much the better for all concerned. “Birth control,” under God’s law, is a problem that solves itself.”


Apostle Joseph F. Smith Jr.

“The first great commandment given both to man and beast by the Creator was to “be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth ;” and I have not learned that this commandment was ever repealed. Those who attempt to pervert the ways of the Lord, and to prevent their offspring from coming into the world in obedience to this great command, are guilty of one of the most heinous crimes in the category. There is no promise of eternal salvation and exaltation for such as they, for by their acts they prove their unworthiness for exaltation and unfitness for a kingdom where the crowning glory is the continuation of the family union and eternal increase which have been promised to all those who obey the law of the Lord. It is just as much murder to destroy life before as it is after birth, although man-made laws may not so consider it ; but there is One who does take notice and his justice and judgment is sure.”