Why do all the Mormons I know have so many kids?

My sister-in-law and her husband just had their 4th child. Having their 4th has caused quite a stir for them, or more for the people around them. They keep getting asked, “Why on earth did you have another child?” and, “Why do all the Mormons I know have so many kids?”

My brother-in-law requested that I cover this topic so he can shorten his answer to, “Go check nextdoormormon.com, it’s all there!”

This is a very interesting subject and also a very personal one so I’ll start out with a disclaimer—not all Mormons have lots of children. Also, ‘lots of children’ is a relative term. What one person thinks is a lot of children another may think it’s nothing to get excited about. Since currently I only have one child I thought it would be interesting to do some digging to see what other ‘Mormons with lots of children’ have to say about it.

I asked multiple people about this subject there was a common thread among the answers and it relates to the Plan of Happiness that I covered last week.

Kara, mother of three living in Minnesota says this:

Mormons believe children are more valuable than gold. The Mormon perspective is one that extends beyond this life. We believe in a life after this one where worldly titles and treasures will be left behind and meaningless. However, our relationships are eternal; families can be together forever. A loving family is the crowing blessing of all existence.  Children are not seen as a burden, but an everlasting source of joy. And isn’t it natural to want more of something that brings you joy?

Karen, mother of 6 and grandmother of 8 said:

People often asked me why we had so many children.  I usually told them in just a few words about the plan of salvation.  How we believe that we lived in a spirit world and wanted to come to earth to gain a body.  Also, that we believe that after this life we can have the opportunity to live with our families forever.  Most people seemed interested in that explanation.  Of course, I would never have children if I didn’t think I could give them all the love they need and deserve. My children were the greatest blessing.  I adored them (and still do!).

So if Mormons believe in having children is a blessing, do we just keep having children without considering different family and living circumstances? Absolutely not.  How many children someone has is a very personal decision. And trust me, all things are considered: money, shelter, education, emotional stability, etc. But, the thing that is considered most heavily is what is right for our family in God’s eyes and the answer is not to always have more children.

My good friend and her husband were considering having their second child a few years ago and felt very strongly that that was not the right time. Over the next few years they went through different circumstances that would have made having a newborn possibly too much for their family. Heavenly Father knows what is best for our families. So, how do we decide when to have children and how many to have? Brianne, mother of three from Massachusetts explains quite eloquently:

As a couple we had carefully considered and prayed about the timing of having our first child.  We felt strongly, prompted by the Holy Ghost, that it was time to start our family.  So, as things got difficult or a bit tricky after he came into our home, I could always remember back to that answer to prayer and know in my heart I was doing the Lord’s bidding.  If ever I felt overwhelmed or daunted by the task, I could take heart in knowing I would be guided and lifted, as this was a decision based on faith. Faith in following the Lord’s commandment to “multiply and replenish the earth.”

The same pattern holds true even today.  As we moved forward in life and discussed the possibility of more children, step one was always prayer.  When the answer came to have another, we followed. We have been so blessed by each addition to our family. We now have three beautiful children.  It has not been perfect.  We are not in an ideal place financially, career-wise (my husband still in graduate school), or location wise (still in a tiny apartment) to be having three children.  But, we prayed, received answers and felt impressed to act – even if we were not sure how it would turn out.

In the end I’m not sure if our ideal “plan” is what the Lord has in store for us.  But I do know as we follow Him and do our best to rear these children in love and righteousness that we will be strengthened and blessed.  Just last night at dinner my three-year-old daughter turned to me and blurted out, “Mommy, you are the best mother in the whole wide world,” and she truly meant it.  Some things are just irreplaceable – including children.

Everyone has unique circumstances and abilities. Mormons place the highest priorities on family and also find their greatest joy from family. Having large families is not unique to Mormons but some Mormons chose to have large families. It may seem peculiar to some, but so do a lot things we do. If you still have questions about why Mormons tend to have large families, feel free to ask! If you haven’t noticed by now, I love to give my 2 cents.

11 thoughts on “Why do all the Mormons I know have so many kids?

  1. Melanie

    Lindsey – I come from a family of 8 children and I always chuckle when I’m asked this question. It spurs up all kinds of discussion topics like financial prudence, premarital sex, birth control and overpopulation. Mostly – I kinda like that there’s little doubt to whether Mormons enjoy sex. 🙂 But my favorite part about Mormon families is they’re all different – no set size or structure required. I like knowing that when I’m ready to start my own family, I won’t be expected to exercise the same degree of patience my mother had with a house full of kids. I like small numbers and I know God’s OK with that too.

  2. Simon

    The reason they have so many children is simple: They are a cult, and cults need followers and money to keep the cult going. Since no human being is stupid enough to fall for the idea that This guy Joseph Smith met Jesus “in the woods” and that adam and eve lived in Missouri; then they just have many children so that they can brainwash them since early age (children would believe anything due to their innocence).

    You don’t need a one page blog post to explain this non-sense… By the way watch the video on the link. it’s really funny. Although I am pretty sure that this mormon blogger will censor my comment, the same way all churches censor the truth.

    1. David

      I agree. It’s also interesting that apparently the Morman church gives no consideration to the larger, global result of this quest for gold in the form of more and more children. Is there a plan to someday stop having as many children as one can possibly produce? It appears to me that there is no consideration given to the issues of overcrowding, depletion of all natural resources, growing shortages of clean water, etc. So, in the end, Mother Earth may eject the entire species but all those millions of Mormans will be safe in the loving embrace of God. Maybe that’s the plan, huh.

    2. LGLewis

      Mormonism is a huge business. Most Mormons have no clue to all the profits their church benefits from Stocks from numerous ventures that violate Mormon Law. Their women are brainwashed to be cattle and slaves like most of the world religions. It is not uncommon for a Mormon wife to be pressured to having 8 or 9 children. I studied the Mormon religion. What a load of crap.

    3. Jonathan

      This accusation that Mormonism is a cult does not factor in several things. First, if they were focused on brainwashing kids wouldn’t it be easier to just baptize babies like the Catholic Church? Second why would they devote such a large amount of their efforts on missionary work? Lastly, they do not realize that the majority of less active or inactive members are those brought up in the church, some of the strongest LDS members are converts.

      1. Jessica

        You don’t need baptism for brainwashing. Also, the “missionary work”? Don’t you mean going around trying to convert people in other countries? Classic cult. Thanks for proving it.

  3. Whisper

    I too believe that the Mormon church exhibit cultish tendencies. I recently move to Utah with my husband and I have been bugged endlessly to by people trying to convert me. We were living in an apt complex and initially parents and kids were very friendly after they realized were not in the church and had no intentions of joining they made their kids stop playing with mine. I have only have 1child not by lack of trying but I have been ridiculed on many occasions.
    The reality that places like ut is only for Mormons is ridiculous since the church does not have money to buy all property etc. the church a huge influence on everything here including jobs. Some people I have spoken to deem the church the hidden hand. Some people have joined the church to enjoy some of these perks.
    Also there is culture of dishonesty here particularly if you are doing business with Mormons. They feel no remorse to swindle you a extra buck because they tide . They will do anything to avoid paying taxes etc. . They smile a lot with you but you better watch your back. I am not bitter but I do not understand this kind of behavior especially from folks who believe in God.

    1. abalyn

      I’m sorry that you have felt so mistreated by Mormons! In the end, we are all just human, and we make as many mistakes as the next person. I love my non-Mormon friends and am so grateful for them in my life. I wish I could tell your apartment mates to not be so ridiculous.

    2. Eric Mortenson

      I grew up in Utah and am sorry to hear that you have felt excluded. I have met Mormons in Utah that are not comfortable letting their children play with others not of their faith and it is sad–although those behaviors are the exception not the rule, and exclusion is not consistent with church teachings, which is to Love others, love your enemies, etc. Unfortunately, I think many people similarly feel excluded when they are minorities in cultures that are relatively homogenous. I’ve felt this way as a westerner living on the east coast, seen black who won’t let their kids play with white kides, seen my Muslim friend treated this way living in a community that is largely evangelical, and I imagine liberals in Texas and republicans in D.C. also feel like they don’t really fit in.

      I don’t know of Mormons that evade taxes, but can tell you that church policy clearly prohibits this, as you can see in their official handbook: http://www.lds.org/handbook/handbook-2-administering-the-church/selected-church-policies?lang=eng

      Income Taxes

      Church members are obligated by the twelfth article of faith to obey the tax laws of the nation where they reside (see also D&C 134:5). Members who disapprove of tax laws may try to have them changed by legislation or constitutional amendment. Members who have well-founded legal objections may challenge tax laws in the courts.

      Church members who refuse to file a tax return, pay required income taxes, or comply with a final judgment in a tax case are in direct conflict with the law and with the teachings of the Church. Such members may be ineligible for a temple recommend and should not be called to positions of principal responsibility in the Church. Members who are convicted of willfully violating tax laws are subject to Church discipline to the extent warranted by the circumstances.

  4. Bethany

    While we are not Mormons, I personally was around a lot of Mormons growing up and while misguided on the foundations/tenants of Christianity in the undermining of Jesus as the Messiah (fully God/fully Man) as taught as a foundational Truth in Christianity, as well as following “Berean” mentality (ie, not ‘blind’ faith – but faith tested against the inherent, infallible Word of God, as inspired by the Holy Spirit, Himself fully God), the LDS’ adherence to the traditional family unit as a means for healthy development is noteworthy, despite the reality that this is a form of godliness while denying its power (2 Timothy 3:5). In these days where ‘pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, [while not aiding to] the poor and needy’ (Ezekiel 16:49) prevails, we should be quick to note that our undermining of the family is cornerstone to Jesus’ proclamation that ‘it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you’ (Matthew 11:24). These are not my words – they are the words of God. Offense at that is offense at God. Keep up the fight for the family, and look to the only source of eternal life, Jesus Christ, dear Mormon sisters and brothers! Until He returns… Bethany

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