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. chris

    Not a woman, but I’ll provide the opinion of my wife and I.

    We have more children because the world needs more hope. And nothing brings hope into the world or into the heart of a mother and father than a child. And we’re both confident enough (borderline arrogant?) in our firm belief that what we have to offer our children will improve not only them, ourselves, but the world at large.

  2. This was a delightful post. When I was raising my 6 children; individuals would often ask if they were all mine. When I would say yes; they would be amazed! I get the same response whenever I share that I have 30 grandchildren. I treasure them all!
    Blessings to you!

  3. mormonwomen

    Men’s voices are definitely welcome here. Thank you for sharing your perspective!

    LeAnn, I think sometimes people aren’t even sure what to do about the reality that ‘they are all yours.’ Thanks for sharing your delight with your family.


  4. Well done — and some of us had to start our families just for the sake of #2!! 🙂

  5. Fred

    Does it not go back to the original tenets of your beliefs, as your church’s beliefs have changed through the years, that the larger amounts of children are due to the overwhelming desire of your fellow congregants to dominate the world?……

  6. Janelle


    Thanks for your comment. World domination is a lofty goal, but it is not one of the objectives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    From the official Church website: “All leaders and other Church members are to help accomplish the mission of the Church, which is to invite all people to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in Him”

  7. Roger

    Years ago when we were vacationing in Florida, my 16 year old daughter was poolside doing some homework. A woman asked her if all those kids (we have six) were her brothers and sisters. She said yes. The woman said–” you must be Catholics or Mormons to have that many”. My daughter with much more wisdom than her 16 years replied– “well we are Mormons but I think my parents really love kids”

  8. Heidi Ashworth

    First I would like to address Fred’s comments that our church’s beliefs have changed through the years. As Janelle said, there is no doctrine pertaining to the amount of children one should have but it is less common to have 8 or 9 kids (I come from a family of 8) simply due to economics. Simply being able to afford a brood of kids and a car with enough seatbelts for all of them is a challenge.

    I love my three children so much and they bring me tons of joy, so much more than a career or nice clothes or designer shoes ever brought me, and those relationships last so much longer than any of those other things. Parents can always count on that as being part of their identity–it can’t be taken away from them. However a job or a career could end at any time.

  9. Heidi Ashworth

    Sorry for the typo–I come from a family of 8. Also, I should have added that I would have had more kids if I didn’t have fertility issues.

  10. Alex

    What is so significant about having at least 5 children? Is there a specific doctrine that calls for parents to reach that number?

  11. Alex,

    Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for your question.

    I would be interested where you got that number or the notion that there is a specific minimum number of children Mormon families are “supposed” to have. In reality, there is no doctrine that prescribes any number. Note this from the original post: “There is absolutely no doctrine of our church that prescribes the number of children a couple should have. ”

    You can also see more about that fact in this index article on birth control: “The decision of how many children to have and when to have them is a private matter for the husband and wife….Decisions about birth control and the consequences of those decisions rest solely with each married couple.”

  12. Alex

    I live in a neighborhood that is heavily LDS, and 90% of the families have 5 children. Growing up, you could always tell a family was LDS because they had 5 children.

    In fact, in conversations with LDS mothers, you can ask them “are you going to have your 5” and they will respond with something like, “well, I’m really going to try…”

    So, I was just curious if it was just a goal or if it was doctrine.

  13. Alex, great to hear back from you. Sounds like it was a sort of joke (“are you going to have your five?”) in the local culture (I grew up in a primarily LDS location as well and never heard something like that). That said, the pattern of larger families there is a good example of how the doctrine can impact people’s choices. Interesting to see it that numerically consistent, however!

  14. barb

    my late husband used to joke that most Mormon families at that time, drove vans, had 5 kids, and wife played the piano. Pretty accurate. I for one, am glad that people are having as many children as they want, and that they are trying to teaching them to be productive citizens.

  15. Tracy

    A few months late to the thread, but to add my 2 cents…these days people in general don’t seem to consider a family big until you hit 5 kids. That seems odd since I remember hearing “2.5 kids” was the norm growing up–wouldn’t that mean anyone with 3+ kids has a “big” family? As for me, we never planned to have more than 4, but 5 came along and we now can’t see how we lived without him although for me, 5 is a lot of strain on the mind, spirit, and pocketbook. I don’t know how I do it to be honest.

  16. kiki

    this may sound rude of me, but i think that having many children in not what people should think about these days. the earth’s population now has reached 7 billion and in the year 2025 it is believed that it will reach the amazing number of 8 billion. i’m sorry to say that this means we might actually need another planed like earth to be able to sustain ourselves. people will no longer work for money but for food. having many children is not the answer. stop thinking about what might happen in another life after you die and start thinking about what is happening now on earth, and what will happen to the next generations because at this rate the future does not seem bright to anyone.

  17. Nicole


    I can see your point of view on the earth being populated. But, overall…our Heavenly Father (God) is NOT an idiot…but brilliant! 🙂 If a lovely lady has a child…that child is here for a reason and NEVER a mistake! When people start trying to take things into their own hands and mess with Mother Nature…it DOES NOT work. Look at China….they only favor having males…now they have serious issues (1 girl per 50 boys). That is not natural and I can’t imagine being a man there and looking for a wife. what a joke. Also, every time I turn on the news…an earthquake killed 1500 people,…a tsunami killed 15,000….a war killed 50,000…soo..many woman are not even able to concieve and have the their own children…..the list goes on. God can flood the earth if he wanted to RIGHT now…he knows how to keep things in balance…and someone having 5 kids instead of 2 really isn’t a substancial solution. Trust God. 🙂 Thank you!

  18. Flex

    You are dreaming I’d you think any parent in a restaurant is envious of someone with 4 children. I smile and say “how lovely” or “Wonderful” when I meet a large family. I’m being polite, not wishing I could change places.

  19. Sara

    Janelle, why don’t you get off your high horse about ALL YOUR CHILDREN! I have three kids but I would never have the self-righteous attitude you just displayed. If you know anything about the Bible you would know that arrogance and prdie are not traits God wants in people.

  20. Sara,

    If you knew Janelle, you might engage this post a little differently. I read her as sharing the joy and gratitude she feels at being a mother, and the importance placed on having children in our doctrine.

    Please try engaging her post with a different lens on. You might see something else besides pride or self-righteousness.


  21. Janelle

    Sara, I wrote this post several months ago and after reading your comment I decided to to edit out my personal experiences.

    I’m sorry the two experiences I shared didn’t translate well over the Internet. When that impeccably dressed woman who saw me looking disheveled and encumbered by my children at a local restaurant took the time to look me in the eye and sincerely tell me, “I’d trade you places in a minute,” she made me feel like a queen. The experience really made me count my blessings, especially the four little blessings that call me mom.

    Again I didn’t wish to offend I just wanted to offer a personal experience as a segue to explaining the doctrines of the LDS faith that may influence a couple’s personal choice on family size.

  22. Vanessa

    I’m not Mormon but I personally love Mormon people. They are well respected, raise great kids and make large families a little brighter every day. We have a family with 5 kids and we’re so very happy to say that. I don’t think I find arrogance in my happiness. Kids are a blessing whether you have 1 or 20. Parent’s wouldn’t have the amount they have if they didn’t have their own personal reason.

    To the poster worried about resources. We grow our own food, recycle, only own one vehicle and have no credit cards. We home-school so no teachers are overwhelmed and we live more green than some people I know with less kids. That being said… we can all make adjustments to benefit our planet, economy and community, but I think robbing our fellow humans from the promise of potential isn’t for us.

  23. Vanessa, thanks for taking the time to comment and share your thoughts and personal experience and choices.

    I hope others will understand that we share the perspective that “kids are a blessing, whether you have 1 or 20.”

    We also know that you can’t necessarily measure a couple’s love for or desire for children simply by the number they have.

  24. britt83

    You 5+ kids people are all crazy! If you…believe in loving children so much then WHY DON’T YOU ADOPT!!!!??? There are millions of orphans in the U.S. and all over the world whom would love a place in you’re humble, “sacred” lives. All this talk is about just wanting kids so much is just brainwashed junk concealing the Truth.

  25. Alex

    Couple of quick questions.

    Firstly, how would it be viewed if a woman were to make the decision not to get married at all but still wished to remain a member of the church? Or, even more relevantly to this post, what would happen if a married woman wished to not to have children with her husband at all?

    My second question is concerning fertility treatment. Obviously the church condems abortion as most faiths do but does the church rule against IVF treatment also? It is often said that abortion is against God’s will as only He can chose a life to be. What of the interference of His decision for life to NOT be?

  26. Janelle


    I recently read an article in LDSliving magazine where Julie B. Beck, the President of our worldwide womens’ group, said that a full 50% of LDS women over 18 are single. That statistic does not indicate how many of them want or choose to be single but it does tell me that there are some women facing the questions you posed above.

    I am going to give you my opinions, which are not to be construed as official church doctrine, as answers to your questions.

    1. How would it be viewed if a woman were to make the decision to not get married at all? There are many LDS women are single by choice, some are single because they have yet to find a suitor who suits them. Others may be a widow or a divorcee who does not want to marry again. There are a myriad of reasons a woman would choose not to marry but I think the point here is women have the absolute choice whether or not they want to marry. A young woman may feel influenced by cultural expectations based on our doctrines to marry because we believe that marriages and families can be forever, but all women are welcome at our services, activities and in the community regardless of marital status.

    2. What would happen if a married woman chose not to have children with her husband? Again I want to reiterate that there is no doctrine of our faith that prescribes the number of children a couple should have. Hopefully a couple would discuss children before marriage and each partner would respect the views of the other. But I do think the reality is that a husband or wife in the LDS faith who found out their spouse did not want children would be sorely disappointed. On in the link I gave above about birth control it states, “Children are one of the greatest blessings in life, and their birth into loving and nurturing families is central to God’s purposes for humanity. When husband and wife are physically able, they have the privilege and responsibility to bring children into the world and to nurture them.”

    3. What about In Vitro Fertilization? I do not know if there is a specific church doctrine or link I could provide you on this topic. When I asked my husband he said, “There’s not an official church doctrine on getting a triple bypass either.” He’s kind of a smart Alec so take that with a grain of salt. But I do know many couples who have used this method to grow their family and they see it as a miracle and great blessing. I personally do not think that God is excluded from the circle of life that is created through the use of IVF and the resultant children who are cherished. If I find anything concrete on this subject I’ll be sure to comment again and link.

    I would however like to point you to a talk given by one of our Apostles, Neil A. Andersen, entitled Children:

    I guess you’ll need to cut and paste that into your browser because I couldn’t get the hyperlink to work.

    Thanks for asking such great questions!

  27. On a lighter note and just because I thought it was funny. My daughter was in her Young Women class a few months ago and felt somewhat envious that her teacher ate a granola bar on fast Sunday. Her teacher, who was pregnant at the time explained that pregnant and breast feeding women aren’t required to fast due to the health of the woman and child. My daughter replied, “You don’t have to fast if you’re pregnant or breast feeding? No wonder Mormons have so many kids!”

    My own experience…I have 5. Not because that was the magic number we thought we should have but because we were wanting 7 but due to complications had to stop with that number. My husband came from a large family, I was the oldest of 4. We wanted a big family simply because we love kids so much. They always have someone to play with, support them, stand up for them, talk to, share their talents and skills with, and with the girls- share clothes with. Some of them think we’re too old to understand but there’s always a brother or sister there that can “relate”. We’re far from perfect but I wouldn’t change a thing.

  28. Gwen

    As a new convert, I had wondered about how many children women should have. I am well past all that, but my concern would be that a woman not have so many that her health is compromised too early in life. Mom needs to be healthy at least until her youngest is married, I think. I’d guess not more than 5 or 6 at the most. Sure we want the spirit children to have bodies but I think it is also important for our own children to have a healthy mom. 🙂

  29. Gwen, health of the mother is something that is definitely important to consider, and is something leaders have talked about through the years. Here’s a part of what it says about making decisions about family planning at “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.”

    That said, there are many women who have had more than 5 or 6 and still been able to maintain their health. 🙂

    I know on the flip side from personal experience that in seeking personal revelation, God can also give guidance to have fewer than 5 or 6 — my health has not been good and we have felt it would be unwise for us to have any more.

    It’s a wonderful thing to know that God knows our individual situations and can help us make these eternally-important decisions.

  30. brenda

    I’m an LDS woman who was adopted, I know many adopted LDS people so we are not just having our own children while ignoring the parentless children of the world. We have one family in our ward that has 6 adopted children, several are special needs children in fact. LDS families are encouraged to be self-sufficient, growing gardens, repairing our clothes to avoid buying new, mother staying at home to raise the children unless absolutely necessary for her to work to help her husband, to avoid debt by living with our means. When we do so then we won’t be putting ourselves in debt by buying the latest and greatest, dressing in fine clothes, large beautiful houses lacking family members to fill it,ect. I also believe that our Heavenly Father has provided a world large enough for all of His children, that He does not make mistakes and that we are to obey His words and commandments. My husband and I have 6 delightful children, I am a stay at home mother, I home school them all, most of our food is homemade, we rarely buy anything brand new and most of what we own is given to us by those who have no more use for them. We don’t have credit cards, we rarely go out to eat, we sometimes go on vacations but are a happy family. We are not proud people but we take pride in what we do and how we do it. We are well taken care of and blessed by our Heavenly Father because we work hard to be faithful and do what we are commanded to do.

  31. Samantha

    I live in a heavy LDS community in Idaho and don’t like the sanctimonious attitude I get from my communitiy. (I am obviously not LDS). I treat them with neighborly politeness but do not wish to engage any further. I’ve had some LDS parent tell me that I will never get to their celestial heaven because I’m not “good” enough since I have not converted to mormonism (I am Catholic). Last time I checked the mormons aren’t deciding who goes to heaven but God is, unless they have taken over his role and I am not aware. Also, I have two children who I love dearly and have been asked on several occasions by LDS women why I didn’t have more. I’m thinking to myself that it’s really none of your business and because of medical issues and per the advice of my OB/GYN doctor, if I had more I would probably be dead (what a great mom I would be, huh?). Then there’s the problem I have that most mormons only do business with other mormons. It reminds me of the verse: Matthew 21:12: And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves. Wonder how God feels about this? I have also been told by non-LDS moms of younger children that many LDS children will not play with their children (this came from several different moms at one of the local elementary schools) – Mine are older and in HS so this doesn’t happen as much at that level. I just don’t understand most of this mentality. I am in the mindset and I have raised our childen the same way – that we should learn to live with one another regardless of religious differences, color, race etc. But the actions/behavior/sanctimonious mentality here in ID is concerning. What happens when these kids get in the real world outside their LDS bubble?

    There are many roads to heaven and let’s let God decide who is “good enough”.

  32. loving mom

    After reading the post I am over joyed that all of the replies given by the LDS members are polite and pleasent despite the anger and judgement that others choose to display god is the only one who can judge. Finding happiness in our religion is a blessing and from my experiance as a mother of 4 me and my husband are always judged because we wanted a big family .We do feel that all of our children are here for a reason and are true blessings just the same as all of you are someones blessing and gift.We are often asked are you rich or crazy god has always provided us with all that we need and we walk by our faith not by sight and the results are always the same .My family has found peace,stregnth,comfort and much happiness threw him.Alot of you seem a little hostile and defensive because people have choosen to belive but resaults speak alot louder then words and the lds women on the show alot of what the world needs ,understanding love and Faith.In this current world of craziness i am glad to fellowship with families and people who dont judge us because we want a big family and choose to follow the teachings of christ

  33. Rachael

    I am not a member of the church, nor am I a member of any church. I do want to say that through my life I have met many people of faith, and can truly say that the only religious group I have encountered where I have always been treated with love and kindness and respect is from the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints. I have nothing bad to say about any of them. I think the point here is that having children is their personal choice, and as far as I have ever seen they do an excellent job of it, and take care of and responsibility for them. In my opinion, the issue with overpopulation isn’t a result of Mormons, it’s a result of people having sex outside of the family unit capable of caring for them. I have a lot of respect for people of faith who practice, through their personal choice, what they “preach”. Thank you for your lovingness and desire to be more “christlike”. I admire you all.

  34. Samantha,

    Sorry for the delay in responding. I’m sorry to hear that you have had a negative experience with LDS parents. This is something that sometimes happen, but it’s not what *should* be happening. I know that may feel like little comfort given the fact that this has been your experience, but perhaps it can help to know that this is not what our Church encourages. Sometimes even within the Church, negative experiences can happen. We won’t claim that Mormons are perfect, but I hope you’ll take a little time to get to know what our beliefs and doctrines are and not judge our faith completely by negative experiences you may have had in your area.

    Rachael, thank you for your kind thoughts. I’m glad to hear that your experience has been a little more positive. We have a lot of respect for good people, whether from our church or another or from no church at all, who can have a positive effect in their spheres of influence. Thank you for taking the time to leave a positive comment here.

  35. Hi, I became Mormon when I was 17yrs old. I just love being a Mormon. I always understood that it was important(if it was possible) to have children and the number was between the Lord and ourselves as parents… using wisdom is our responsibility also. I have 6 children. Four was our initial number but I changed my mind later on… truely after I thought we were finished… hence the 71/2 yr gap between the first four and the last two. Not been easy – but it has been mostly a wonderful and memorable journey. I have found mormon woman to be generally very kind, fun loving, talented and intellectual women. I have seen some very brave Mormon woman who are inspiring, who work tirelessly to make the world a better place. I also know that sometimes there are some woman … and at my lowest point of my life… I could add myself to this, that we do not see how we are behaving. I have never advised my children to be indifferent or unkind but they just have at times… just because of the human in us = I have never deliberately been unkind or exclusive…but just because of my pain at times I have withdrawn or just chosen to speak to a friend about it and not a whole stack of others…. or shy and not gone and said hello…. I believe our teachings to be true and correct… but me… I am not perfect and as much as I strive to be better each day… I cannot uplift or inspire or fix my childrens or friends lives always… I’d love to be able to…I do just try… and fall and get up again and work at doing better again next time… I think people are all wonderful and unique and this world would not be as colourful or as much diversity without the differences. Rachael thank you for sharing your experiences and Samantha I am deeply sorry for your experiences! I hope that in the future that will not be the only experience of Mormon women you have but I am so please you wrote… how nice you seem. Brenda what a marvel you are…. I do not have that type of energy… We do our best financially… I stayed home with my children till my last two were 13 and 15…. I only work 10mins from home and my two are home for 1 hour on their own… otherwise I would not have taken the job…husband going to UNI and my two youngest in a small private school.. me working helped paying the bills….
    I love it all…. be happy ladies… being alive and a mormon in this day and age is terrific… I love where I work and the group that work alongside of me… they are interesting and good people.. thanks…and take care ladies. xxx

  36. I would like to add… I have 6 children. I and my mum and dad and sister and brother are the only ones here in Australia…. The rest are all in Holland. I just wanted children and closeness with my husbands family and the children with their cousins… It would be a lonely world without the whole kit and caboodle. We as God’s children are encourage to have children yes. I have never heard a leader say that we had to have large families and I am aware that not all of our prophets and leaders have large families. Not all of our leaders are married. I think that being a Mormon is about “Following Christ” serving and doing the best we can. It is about coming to know Christ personally and living in such away that we can return to live with Heavenly Father again. Having children is important and part of God’s plan. It is not part of Gods plan that his precious children are abused or left or anything else. It is a difficult thing to adopt in Australia with the waiting list being years and years and years and to foster children has lots of difficulties attached… with parents whether they are addicts etc… have full rights and access to the children and can be taken from the fostering parents at any time… as the parents rights are considered above that of the children. I truley feel for the children trapped in very unacceptable lives… with people who do not have their best interests at heart.. and that is all another story with adoption/fostering not something that is the answer as britt83 would suggest. I am sorry I don’t agree that we are brainwashed to have a child or children. In general I think Mormon women are incredibly intuitive and Savvi and are women who try to do the right things for themselves and their families and others around them. I agree that it may not always be the case … but we do not know their life story and why they are the way they are??? Therefore none of us can be a judge in the matter only the ones to forgive or just to let it go!!! To let it go would be for our sake…

  37. Kip

    Hello Nicole,

    The gender imbalance in China is nowhere remotely near 1 girl to 50 boys as you purport . It is in fact roughly 1 girl to every 1.25 boys.

    Source: Academy of Social Sciences:

    I appreciate your candor with replies, and respectfully disagree with you. Almost all of earth’s problems can be linked to overpopulation by homo sapiens (environmental pollution, extinction of other species, global famine, climate change, war & genocide, poverty, etc.)

    I’m interested to hear any rebuttals that are cogent and reasoned, rather than those which fundamentally depend on a belief in God. Thank you.

  38. Kip,

    Admin here — while I’m fine with discussion hee, if you are looking for responses that don’t include a belief in God, this probably isn’t the best site for you to engage on. Our belief in God affects every facet of our lives, including, for most Mormons, our choice to have children (sometimes many children).

    That said, it’s good to have discussions that have references, etc. when stats are part of a comment, so thanks for the link.

    But back to your comment for a minute. Do you read the Economist? There have been many articles in the past months that discuss the challenges (social, political) many countries that don’t have replacement birth rates are facing. (Don’t have time to hunt them down, sorry.) There’s also more nuance to secular discussion than just declaring that it’s population growth that is to blame for all of our problems. (Here’s an example: There are articles elsewhere that talk about the potential impact to nations and regions when population falls. I have also been interested in discussions/articles/presentations/etc about ‘demographic winter’ (take a Google walk to see what I mean, if you haven’t heard of the topic, although I imagine you have) although some of those may be more religiously-focused than you are interested in. I’m all for discussions about how to care for the earth, but am not at all convinced that the solution is to tell religious people who believe in the value of family to stop having kids.

    You remind me that I still need to follow up on my first post on environmentalism and the broader view many of us take on what it means to care for the earth…. But that will include some belief in God, too. 😉


    (and if you are subscribing to comments, sorry for the edits in my comment…have too many thoughts in my head and realized after posting the link that it wasn’t the flavor of article I was originally looking for. If I can I’ll try to find some of the other articles that have been out there.)

  39. cathy

    I was told by a friend of mine who is a Mormon that it is the husband who decides how many children the wife will have in a Mormon family. Is this true? Also in the post above you state there are articles written about countries that have problems because they don’t have replacement birth rates, correct me if I’m wrong but, doesn’t “replacement” birth rates refer to having two children one to replace each adult?

  40. cathy, thanks for your questions.

    -“I was told by a friend of mine who is a Mormon that it is the husband who decides how many children the wife will have in a Mormon family. Is this true?”

    No. Decisions are made by the couple, together, with God’s help and guidance. (Read more about the Church’s positions on family planning/birth control here.

    – “The replacement fertility rate is roughly 2.1 births per woman for most industrialized countries (2.075 in the UK for example), but ranges from 2.5 to 3.3 in developing countries because of higher mortality rates.[4] Taken globally, the total fertility rate at replacement is 2.33 children per woman.” (pulled from Wikipedia).

    I suspect you are wondering how this relates to Mormons and our higher-than-average birth rate? Doctrinally speaking, we don’t use the replacement fertility rate as the goal. We believe the earth was created for the purpose of providing a place for God’s children to come, receive bodies, and experience the trials of mortality as part of a learning experience for spiritual growth and testing. We believe the decision about how many children to have is a personal decision to be made prayerfully. (Again, that article linked above explains more about our beliefs that we are encouraged to consider as we make such decisions.)

    I hope this helps. Please feel free to ask other questions if you have them, or if I misunderstood your question.

  41. Katie

    I am Mormon and have three children (12, 10, and 8 years old). We stopped at three because it felt like just the right amount for us. While it is common for Mormon families to be large, there are many smaller families like mine. I have never received any judgment from any member I have known. I just want to reiterate what has been said that Mormons decide on their own how many children to have. The church encourages members to take their finances, physical health, and mental health into consideration.

  42. For those who believe the earth is in danger of overpopulation I suggest the website and
    I married at age 30 so I feel I missed out on ten years of child bearing, we have five children and I wish I could have had five more. Having children relates to one of the purposes of life, to gain a physical body, so we do our best to provide physical bodies for our spirit brothers and sisters waiting their turn in mortality. As for adoption, if the process were easier and less psychologically invasive I would readily do it, but I found the mountains for forms, the endless classes and dredging up of my own childhood to be overwhelming and wrong. A personal interview with our successful adult children should have sufficed to prove that we are capable parents and worthy to adopt. I refuse to go through the humiliation of the adoption process, and the horrendous cost. Having my own babies was much easier and cheaper.

  43. Rozann,

    What a blessing that you have been able to have many children.

    It’s wonderful that adoption is an option for those who don’t have such a blessing in their lives, though. Yes, it’s a sacrifice and a lot of work, but so is the process of having biological children. We each do what we can and feel inspired to do. I’ve sure appreciated the stories from couples who have felt God’s hand in the adoption of their children. I hope you’ll take a minute to read some of them.

  44. Laura

    Rozann, I’m sure you meant no offense, but adopted children are their parents’ “own” children. My 3 children are adopted and they are “my own” just as much as if I had been able to give birth to them. You’re right that adoption isn’t for the faint of heart, but I also don’t think it should be an easy process. I’m asking someone to give me their child, so I think I can fill out some paperwork and answer a social worker’s questions! Yes, the process does feel invasive at times, but it’s so worth it. As for the cost, there is an adoption tax credit and families who adopt through the foster care system face very little financial burden. Again, it’s not for everyone, but for us it was worth the struggle!

  45. Servanne Illien


  46. Servanne,

    This post isn’t about focusing on numbers — it’s simply about responding to a common question that we get at our site. Mormons, on average, do tend to have more children than many families. But we aren’t in a competition with others on numbers, and numbers within the Church vary.

    Just wanted to make that clear.

  47. Servanne Illien

    Families are not about the number of kids we have but about the quality of the relationship in the marital bond, fidelity and the the way we treat and love our children ….. not about numbers

  48. Servanne Illien

    I agree with Kiki on the overpopulation thing …

    Plus children are not always a blessing ….. i come from a family of 6 and my dad abandonned us when my little sister was born … I know what it did to us and how hard it was for my mom.

    That said, when there is true love in a couple, fidelity and commitment (followed by deeds) to stay together, to love each other, to care for each other and be faithful, to treat each other well, yes children are a blessing ….. really are …. but i prefer quality family where the number of children is decided according to how many we want and how well we can provide for them … than the crazy obligation of having all that can be born no matter if we can provide for them and/or love and care for them equally…. so noone feel left out or beleive that he/she was born out of a moral or religious obligation when it should be about really wanting to have them and committing to provide them and love them the way children should


  1. Mormon Life, Religious Commitment, and Life Satisfaction | Mormon Women - About LDS Life and Belief - [...] are encouraged to leave their regular lives for a time and at their own expense to serve missions. We…

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