I’ve been a Mormon all my life, so believe me when I tell you that I’ve heard more than once from my friends that every Mormon they meet seems to have 5 kids.

Of course not all Mormons have 5 kids.  In fact, Mormon families have an average of 3.4 kids according to a recent survey (I feel sorry for the kid who is only 4/10 of a person… poor child… haha).   However, there are certainly many Mormon families who have large families with 5 kids or more.

So Why Do Many Mormons Have 5 Kids or Large Families?

To us, the family means everything!  We believe that our most important calling in life–the purpose of life itself–is to live how Jesus Christ taught us to live, and to teach our children the same.

We also believe God’s commandment to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force today.  Having children is an important purpose in life.

Mormon families wake up each morning and read the scriptures together for 15 minutes or so, then we all kneel down as a family and pray to God to give us strength, faith, and wisdom to become better people that day.  We pray for each other in our personal prayers.  On Monday nights we hold a little short church service in our homes with our families that we call family night (my kids think of it more as treat night since we always have a dessert afterward).  On Sunday we go and attend church seated together.

Family is everything to a Mormon.  In fact, we believe that our family units will stay together even when we’re in heaven.  We believe that marriage is an eternal promise to God.

Living with a focus on our families as we do, it’s no surprise that adding children to the family is a natural consequence.  It’s what we really care about.

Do Mormons HAVE to Have that Many Kids?

I hope not, because I only have 3 kids 🙂  My neighbor is a Mormon too and they only have 2 kids.  My nephew and his wife don’t have any kids.  The church does not teach members to all have giant families or to have 5 kids.

However, Mormons are taught the same thing that Adam and Eve were taught in the Bible–that one of our responsibilities as married adults is to multiply and replenish the earth.  The First Presidency of the Church said:

“The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.”The Family: A Proclamation to the World

In essence, the church teaches that we are to multiply and replenish the earth, and also to exercise reason and judgment in determining the number of children we would like to have in our families.  This is really a very personal matter between the married couple and God, and the church does not preach how many children a Mormon family should have.  It merely teaches the general principles and leaves the decisions up to the families.

I personally have never felt pressured in any way to have a large family as a Mormon.  This is really just something my wife and I talk and pray about and decide what is best for us, and what God wants us to do in our family.  What’s right for one family is not right for all.

Can Mormons Use Birth Control?

Yes, we are taught that sexual intimacy in marriage is for the creation of children and also for the strengthening of the marital bond.

The church’s policy on birth control says, “The decision of how many children to have and when to have them is a private matter for the husband and wife….Sexual relations within marriage are not only for the purpose of procreation, but also a means of expressing love and strengthening emotional and spiritual ties between husband and wife.Husband and wife are encouraged to pray and counsel together as they plan their families. Issues to consider include the physical and mental health of the mother and father and their capacity to provide the basic necessities of life for their children.”  Source.

Mormons do not participate in any way in abortions because we believe that it is God who places our spirits in our bodies, and the destruction of the innocent unborn children prevents that spirit from living life on the earth.

Conclusion

If you’d like to learn more about how Mormons view the importance of families, I’d really encourage you to read the words of some of our prophets and apostles in The Family: A proclamation to the world.  It lays out God’s foundation for families and how to have a happy family.

9 Comments

  1. Interesting data at the beginning. But regarding the parts about what your church teaches/doesn’t teach about birth control and having large families, here are two quotes from your former prophet Ezra Taft Benson that seem to contradict:

    “The world teaches birth control. Tragically, many of our sisters subscribe to its pills and practices when they could easily provide earthly tabernacles for more of our Father’s children. We know that every spirit assigned to this earth will come, whether through us or someone else. There are couples in the Church who think they are getting along just fine with their limited families but who will someday suffer the pains of remorse when they meet the spirits that might have been part of their posterity.”

    – Prophet Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, April 1969, p. 12

    “True to form, many of the people who desire to frustrate God’s purposes of giving mortal tabernacles to His spirit children through worldwide birth control are the very same people who support the kinds of government that perpetuate famine. They advocate an evil to cure the results of the wickedness they support.”

    – Prophet Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 539

    1. I don’t think either of those quotes contradict the church’s official policy today. The commandment to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. There is no doubt of that. At the same time, the determination of when to have children and how many children to have, are choices to be made between a couple and the Lord.

      I appreciate the quotes you’ve shared. They reinforce the Lord’s commandment to multiply and replenish the earth. There is also another side to that which is also brought out in other quotes.

      Thank you for your message.

      1. As a sociologist who studies population level health, I see the devastating effects that the human population has on the planet. I personally believe there are too many people on the planet and the rate of growth is not sustainable. I’m genuinely curious… at what point do you think the Earth will be ‘replenished’ enough? As I see it, the Earth is overflowing with humans and reproducing less seems like the most reasonable approach.

        1. @Kyl – Thank you for your comment. I understand your concern. I believe the Lord has created this earth to be a suitable place for God’s children to be born into as he has commanded us clearly in the Bible to multiply and replenish the earth. Damage to the earth’s resources by careless people and organizations should be dealt with.

  2. Hi, I just wanted to mention that your comment about abortion is overgeneralizing, inaccurate and perpetuates stigmatization of a decision that many women and couples make. Mormon women have abortions. Also, there are Mormon health care providers who do perform abortions and advocate for its legality and accessibility. I think it is important to remember that family planning is complex and making overarching statements about an entire group of people who belong to the same religion is problematic. Just like all Mormons don’t have 5 kids… all Mormons don’t disagree with abortion.

      1. I know this may come across as mincing words, but I still think it’s a but inaccurate to say Mormons don’t participate in abortions in any way. According to our leaders, there are sometimes situations that necessitate abortions, many times, such as devastating medical diagnoses, when the baby is much desired by the parents. Abortion may also be appropriate in the case of rape, incest, etc. All of this has been outlined by the first presidency, so I think it’s important to be very clear and not cast guilt on those who have such sad circumstances. But I know that was not your intention!

  3. My question is having seven children a goal number for members of the church ? I’ve met several members with seven children. When they’ve told me they have seven children, they say it in a way that appears they have met a goal. I know why members of TCOJCOLDS
    have large famillies. I would like to know what is special to them about the number seven. Thank yoh.

    1. I don’t think there’s anything special about 7 children. If that’s a goal, I failed 🙂 I have three children.

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