I just posted this last week, but in researching the LDS Church’s stance on abortion hadn’t found anything definitive about whether Mormons believe life begins at conception or at some other time. Coincidentally enough, the new edition of the LDS Church magazine, the Ensign, just arrived and what do you know, there’s a big article on abortion in it by Elder Russel M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
While Elder Nelson doesn’t make what I would call an “official church declaration” about when life begins, he comes about as close to it as you can to it, in my opinion, when he says:
Nearly all legislation pertaining to abortion considers the duration of gestation. The human mind has presumed to determine when “meaningful life” begins. In the course of my studies as a medical doctor, I learned that a new life begins when two special cells unite to become one cell, bringing together 23 chromosomes from the father and 23 from the mother. These chromosomes contain thousands of genes. In a marvelous process involving a combination of genetic coding by which all the basic human characteristics of the unborn person are established, a new DNA complex is formed. A continuum of growth results in a new human being. Approximately 22 days after the two cells have united, a little heart begins to beat. At 26 days the circulation of blood begins.10 To legislate when a developing life is considered “meaningful” is presumptive and quite arbitrary, in my opinion.
Hopefully this will end any doubt as to what Mormons believe about abortion and when life begins.