Do Mormons believe that life begins at conception?

A former President and Prophet of the LDS Church, Joseph Fielding Smith, taught “The time of quickening is when the mother feels the life of her unborn infant.” In other words, the LDS Church has no official statement on when life begins, although obviously it is sometime between conception (including the moment of) and birth. If, as Mormons, we are to say “We don’t know when life begins” then we surely take the route of erring on the safe side and assuming that it might begin at conception. It is my belief that life does begin at conception and according to my experience that would appear to be the opinion of almost every Latter-day Saint.

The LDS Church’s official stance on abortion is as follows:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in the sanctity of human life. Therefore, the Church opposes elective abortion for personal or social convenience, and counsels its members not to submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for such abortions.

The Church allows for possible exceptions for its members when:

• Pregnancy results from rape or incest, or

• A competent physician determines that the life or health of the mother is in serious jeopardy, or

• A competent physician determines that the fetus has severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth.

The Church teaches its members that even these rare exceptions do not justify abortion automatically. Abortion is a most serious matter and should be considered only after the persons involved have consulted with their local church leaders and feel through personal prayer that their decision is correct.

The Church has not favored or opposed legislative proposals or public demonstrations concerning abortion.

Comments

  1. Pingback: What do Mormons believe about abortion? | Mormon DNA

  2. What does the LDS church teach on the purpose of needing a human body for our spirit?
    For instance, if a mother loses a baby at 16 weeks gestation, the body is formed. Will the
    Parents have the opportunity to raise this child in the next life/ 2nd coming?

    • Mary Isabella Horne and Leonora Cannon Taylor each lost a young child in death. Sister Horne recalled that the Prophet Joseph Smith gave the two sisters these words of comfort: “He told us that we should receive those children in the morning of the resurrection just as we laid them down, in purity and innocence, and we should nourish and care for them as their mothers. He said that children would be raised in the resurrection just as they were laid down, and that they would obtain all the intelligence necessary to occupy thrones, principalities and powers.”

      This is from “https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-joseph-smith/chapter-14?lang=eng”, referencing the source “Mary Isabella Horne, quoted in History of the Church, 4:556, footnote; from her statement given on Nov. 19, 1896, in Salt Lake City, Utah.”” as the source.

      Personally, I feel that Joseph Smith’s teachings apply to all children, whether they were lost before or after birth. However, every case I can find speaks of children who died young, but nothing of miscarriages (which weren’t well understood or studied at the time). There is likely more on that subject from modern revelation. I would look at the sources at the bottom of that first website, or even type “miscarriage” into the search bar on lds.org. If you can’t find an answer from another source, prayer and fasting are open channels for anyone to receive the answer to their questions.

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