Ask a Mormon Woman: Why Do Mormons Have So Many Kids?

May 13, 2011 by

So why do Mormons, on average, choose to have larger families?

Because we want them!

Also because key points of our doctrine focus on family life.

1. We believe that we lived as spirit children of our Heavenly Father before we came to earth. We also believe that all of God’s children need to obtain a body to progress.

2. We believe that the commandment God gave to Adam and Eve to multiply and replenish the earth is still in effect.

3. Because of Jesus Christ’s Atonement, and through ordinances performed in temples, family relationships can continue beyond the grave. Children can be a source of joy and happiness not only in this life but in the life to come.

The most succinct document explaining our Church’s doctrines on children is The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Here are some quotes from that document that highlight what Mormons believe about children and family.

“All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.”

“In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.”

“We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force.”

“We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.”

“Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.”

“Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“…fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.”

The choice to bear and rear children is a sacred and personal one. There is absolutely no doctrine of our church that prescribes the number of children a couple should have. Agency, or the ability to choose (and the accountability for our choices) is a critical tenet of our faith. There are many LDS couples as well as single individuals who desperately long for children and family. Others consider personal circumstances like the health of the mother or financial restrictions that may influence family planning decisions.

Individual circumstances and choices vary but as we strive to be disciples of Jesus Christ we seek to follow His example of loving little children.

Mark 10:14 – Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: For such is the kingdom of God.


“It is our solemn duty, our precious privilege—even our sacred opportunity—to welcome to our homes and to our hearts the children who grace our lives.” Thomas S. Monson, “Precious Children, a Gift from God,” Ensign, June 2000, 2

You might also be interested in the following: article on birth control
Ask a Mormon Woman: What are Mormon views on pregnancy, childbirth, and medical intervention?

**Please note: The answers in “Ask a Mormon Woman” reflect the thoughts, perspectives, and experiences of individuals. Although here at Mormon Women: Who We Are, we strive to have our content consistent with the Church’s doctrine and teachings, we do not speak officially for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For official information about or from the Church, please visit or

Have a question you would like to ask? Send an email to us at gmail, with username ‘mormonwoman’


  1. Anny

    Can’t believe how many delusional people are on this website. Over population is real. Real living people are dying everyday because we don’t have enough clean water, food or resources..where is god? In addition, most of you can’t even afford these kids and the intelligent people who think about tomorrow have to pay for it. Stop having children and think about the future and quality of our planet.

    -A non Mormon who believes in reality.

  2. Anny,

    We know your perspective is shared by some. We simply disagree that the suffering people experience (which is real) is caused by people having children or is evidence that there is no God.

    I don’t know if it helps any, but we as Mormons seek to use our time, money, human resources to help those who need clean water, food, and more. We don’t believe the answer is to stop having children, but to teach our children to look for those in need and help them.

    Housekeeping note: As for your comment about how most can’t afford their children…that’s simply not your call or your business. Commentary like that violates our comment policies. Future such commentary will be edited or deleted.

  3. yeah

    yeah, I just saw an old high school friend announcing the pregnancy of her 6th child on facebook. her husband is a teacher and she works in the home as a full-time mother to five. I googled this question, because I was so curious why she would choose such a lifestyle. I know she was from a very large family, also. Now I see that it is her religion that shapes her life in so many ways, even down to having a big family and being broke.

  4. beawesomeb

    Yes I am a Mormon-

    American birth rates are at an all time low right now. As for Clean water and food- the world has enough -it’s getting it to the people, that is the problem. There will always be enough room and resources for the people God sends to earth. He will help someone come up with new methods of doing things that will accommodate more people if need be. we are the ones who prevent our own progress. We throw away so much food.

    Has anyone else noticed the huge spike in multiple births lately? My personal opinion is that this is because less people are willing to have children and so those that are willing to have some kids- *Bam* multiple births. That’s the only way God can get enough spirits down here.

    As for not being able to pay for children. It is the poor countries who have lots of kids and those kids seem to be well adjusted and happy. It’s the rich kids that have all the problems. So perhaps poor kids turn out better and are better able to deal with the world then the families who can afford kids and don’t have them. Who’s to say what a kid cost? history has always shown all levels of poverty to still have and provide for children. But I believe that God will not send children without a way to provide for them.

    oh on birth control- it is between the couple and God as well. some couples prefer none- some use all sorts of methods for various reasons. Unless it is an abortion method such as morning after pill -which is taking a life- (and then there are exceptions to the rule)(ex: incest, rape, health of mother, etc.) abortion is said to be like murder.

    {editor’s note — please remember that comments reflect the personal thoughts of the commenter and don’t necessarily reflect the positions of the Church or of the More Good Foundation}

  5. Annie

    Bawesomeb, for the record the morning after pill does not take a life… It prevents an embryo from being able to implant on the lining of the uterus. If it has already implanted the pill does nothing. I am very anti abortion (personal opinion) but I dont think the morning after pill qualifies to be in the same category as abortion. It works similarly to other methods of birth control but is very last minute of course.
    As for not having enough food and water… I can’t remember where it is but I heard it in relief society one day something to the affect that if we do all that we can God will make up the rest…. I wish I could remember where it was… Hmmm

  6. Dawn Pierce

    Maybe the LDS folks have misintrepreted the “We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force.” Perhaps this means that, as God’s children, the multiply and replenish statement commands us to creating more diciples and believers and not procreation.

  7. Dawn, everyone has the opportunity to study out and pray about the teachings of those we declare to be living prophets. I can see why you might interpret that phrase this way (and I do think there can be different meanings to that phrase…for example, you might enjoy this talk by Julie B. Beck, who is a former worldwide leader of millions of women in our women’s organization: I actually have been thinking a lot about the word ‘multiply’ and what that can mean.

    But make no mistake about it. The interpretation about procreation being a key part of marriage is central to our doctrine. To us, it is not a mistake or misinterpretation.

  8. rae

    Do YOU want them or does the church want more members?
    Sorry if this comes out rude i dont mean to be

  9. Kristin

    Wow! I am offended by several of the comments on here and I am not a Mormon. Mormon couples choose to have large families because they value family. How big or small their family is, is truly not our concern. If you asked your grandparents or great grandparents about their families, I can assure you the majority were from VERY large families and that is of ANY religion or no religion at all. People used to have very large families. It was not out of the ordinary for someone to have 8 kids. Now, people are so appalled by it and have the audacity to make a comment about how they afford them. They take care of their kids. You will notice she never even got ugly with you after responding to your rude comments. That is because her mom raised her to treat others and she would like to be treated, a simple value your mothers failed to instill in you who made those comments. Shame on you! No matter what religion or none at all, you should have a shred of decency and kindness toward another person. To criticize women of a certain religion because they choose to have large families is religious persecution and makes you a Bigot!

  10. Lola

    For those talking about poverty, water, etc, I was born and live in a third world country, certainly belonging to a poor or rich family has nothing to do with your values, neither becoming from a large or small family. But For what I can experience in my country, most of the poor people are having children in a uncontrolled manner, these children become criminals early in their lives, but for those who are a large, poor, mormon family it’s another story, in some way they deal to have many children, teach them values and provide their needs, even though most of poor mormon families actually have a different perspective and decide to plan for their lives and have less children, if all families would be mormon in my country, this would be such a different place. A child can imply expenses, but the first and most important things they need, God gave them for free: love and breastmilk, I think God wants to send us a message with that, even if a child is born in the middle of nowhere, the mother will have milk for them. And what about unplanned pregnancies? Even if we decide to have no kids, God can make it happen. But I want to make clear for all non-mormons out there: we are not taught to have many children, we have no obligation to have them, we can decide, use contraceptive methods and have the children we can have, but I am the one who thinks that I will have as many children as my economy lets me, that means if I can provide for only one children, I will have only one, if I can provide for seven, I will have seven, and that is where free agency comes along with RESPONSIBILITY.

  11. barbara

    for more people to hate on anyone not mormon.

  12. Barbara,
    It sounds like you have had some bad experiences with members of our church. I’m sorry to hear that. I don’t know if it helps to know that we are explicitly taught not to ‘hate on’ anyone.

  13. Shileez

    Ummm, wouldn’t having so many kids cause global warming? Which would lead to pollution, and starvation, then everywhere would be over populated, and food would be less, and then the world would die. I wish everyone would just have one or two kids, not 5-8. You don’t need to bring kids down from God. I think they would like to stay there, if Heaven is such a good place

  14. Shileez

    I don’t have any offense about Mormans, btw, if u choose to believe in a magical powerful immortal being, you go do that.

  15. Dharma

    In the early stages of the LDS church’s life 100+ years ago, in order to grow and sustain the faith, the church encouraged both polygamy and for each church member to have a large family in order to grow and sustain the faith. Having a large # of children also meant more tithing money down the line when the children themselves grew up and started working and could thus give back more and enrich the establishment… It is for this reason alone that Mormons don’t indulge in certain luxuries such as drinking Tea or Coffee etc. either as that would mean less money left for the church’s coffers.

    However, now that the Mormon church has acquired more followers than the great Jewish religion has Jews all over the world, it is now important for the Church to revise this belief of having too many children and think of Mother Earth. Each additional mouth to feed in this overpopulated Earth of 7+ Billion people means one square mile of ocean life destroyed, 14 sq miles of forest land cleared and the destruction of habitat for no less than 15 sub-species on earth to sustain that one extra person… Surely God wouldn’t support that!

    And whatever the US constitution says about people having the right to practice their faith and propagate any religion of their choice yaada yaada, it is ESSENTIAL for all humans to realize that we are residents on a space ship, a self sustaining, water containing, oxygen rich and limited land area providing satellite, the ONLY ONE in the entire Universe that can sustain and nurture life — called Planet Earth — and that we ALL share with all the endangered species whether a macaw, or a shark or a tiger that is going extinct all over due to humans overbreeding. Plus as someone whose great grandparents and grand parents themselves had no less than 7 children, I can clearly state how if NOT controlled, overbreeding can hurt a country — look at India and China. Or worse, look at how the middle eastern countries are all falling apart with war prevalent all over — this is because way back in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s when the Gulf countries discovered that they were floating on oil and thus sinking in $, they threw their Bedouin way of existence in harmony with the desert and instead of stopping at 2 kids, went on to have an average of 7 children per family. How can a land that does not have water and is non-conducive to vegetation and that barely supported 3 per family, now sustain 7? No wonder that as time went on it manifested in the form of familial and clan tensions leading to the current day wars that caused the destruction of their existential lifestyle… If the world does not contain its population now, we will have chaos in the future…

    With this I urge all Mormons to change their beliefs and stop at 2 children. Several of you don’t believe in polygamy anymore, right? So similarly suggest rethinking this belief of having too many children, for the same of mother Earth… Please don’t say that it is your choice and others have no right to comment. That is NOT true because we all share this Earth and it is every human’s responsibility to ensure that our ocean’s are not polluted and the forests are not destroyed and the various species don’t go extinct. It is important we leave a great world out there for future generations, NOT an over-bred lineage… Please think and consider.

  16. I decided to approve this comment so as to let people recognize the kind of thought processes that are sometimes used to try to explain (or explain away) our history, our beliefs, and our lifestyle.

    My invitation is to seek understanding about Mormons from Mormons, especially from studying the teachings of the leaders of the Church and personal exploration of scriptural truth, including from the Book of Mormon. You can’t understand, for example, our celebration of marriage, family, and having children unless you understand our doctrine of the eternal nature of the family and the whole purpose of the earth and its creation. Saving the earth for the sake of saving it is not our end goal, even as caring for the earth matters.

    1 Nephi 17:36
    36 Behold, the Lord hath created the earth that it should be inhabited….

    I am reminded of something one of our leaders, Russell M. Nelson once said:

    “[O]ur religion is known by the fruit of its branches. Recently I met with government officials from a land far from here who were deeply impressed with the Church and its efforts throughout the world. They liked our teachings about the family and wanted copies of our proclamation to the world and guidebooks for family home evening. They wanted to know more about our welfare program and humanitarian help. We complied as we could and then shifted attention from what we do to why we do it. I explained with an analogy to a tree. “You are attracted by various fruits of our faith,” I said. “They are plentiful and powerful. But you cannot savor this fruit unless you know the tree that produces it. And you cannot understand the tree unless you comprehend its roots. With our religion, you cannot have the fruits without the roots.” This they understood.”

    On the flip side of admiration that then-Elder Nelson talks about, critics of the Church or of Mormons also tend to think that they can understand our faith by trying to understand its branches. But you can’t understand our faith and choices (paying tithing, getting married, having families) without understand the roots of our doctrinal teachings and how it is that we come to know the truth of those things.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *