NT 6: Agency and Accountability, A Plea to Take Action Against 24-week-to-Birth Abortion Laws

I have previously written about Latter-day Saint perspectives on abortion here. I tried to expose the hidden (and evil) messages running through the 2017 Teen Vogue article about what to get a friend post-abortion which I found not just horrifying but actually destructive for individuals and society at large.

This new law signed in New York allowing abortion from 24 weeks up to birth reaches a whole new level of evil.

Just the other day I thought, “I know we’re living in the end of times but is the world really bad enough yet for the calamities and destruction foretold by prophets to finally fall?” After this law passed in New York? Yes, yes it is. Sins against children rank up there with murder and denying the Holy Ghost. Jesus said,

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18:4-6, NT; emphasis added)

Whether it’s abuse in any form, neglect, or outright murder (and that’s just what this abortion law is), the perpetrators of such sins against children would be better off “drowned in the depth of the sea.”

Pro-choice proponents want to argue that a woman’s right to make choices about her body trumps the right of an unborn child. But if we’re going to talk about choice (or agency as we call it in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), we also have to talk about responsibility (aka accountability).

Choices aren’t made in a vacuum. Their consequences ripple across the lives of individuals, families, communities, society, and the world. And we are accountable to God for every choice we make. Society at large has been trying for years to divorce choice from responsibility. Society ignores unseen spiritual consequences though they are just as real and eternally repercussive as any of the obvious consequences of choice we see around us.

This is in part why God has established laws (also known as commandments) governing choice from the beginning of the world. All choices have eternal repercussions and some of those repercussions are so disastrous to eternity that God says, “I will never take away an individual’s agency, but there are some choices no one should ever make.” God’s laws protect us, His children, from making the sorts of choices that prevent us from achieving our eternal destiny (see True to the Faith, “Eternal Life” and “Salvation”).

Earthly laws, those set in place by mankind and their governments, have frequently fallen in line with God’s laws. Societies that have followed God’s laws have enjoyed peace, prosperity, harmony, and happiness. The scriptures indicate, however, that when a society moves away from God’s laws or even enacts laws that run contrary to God’s commandments, calamity and destruction will fall upon the world (see below).

I finally feel sickened and outraged enough about our society enacting a law that condones the murder of babies that I’m going to take action. While I believe that women and girls who are the victims of rape or incest, or whose lives are at risk from continuing a pregnancy should have access to abortion, I believe that even then the choice to abort a pregnancy should be made prayerfully and with the utmost care and consideration. The 24-week-to-birth abortion law exceeds any sort of reasonable “right” to choice. There are some choices so heinous that no one should make them––aborting a baby so close to birth is one of those choices.

If you want to take action too, consider volunteering with a local pro-life organization. You can find a list of local affiliates of the National Right to Life here. These organizations provide educational programs; they collect baby supplies such as diapers, wipes, formula, etc. to donate to at-risk mothers; some have traveling ultrasound machines to provide free ultrasounds for mothers considering an abortion. These organizations function most effectively when they have a large pool of volunteers.

Things have progressed too far in our society at large to remain silent on the issue of abortion any longer.

Further reading:

“The Family: A Proclamation to the World”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints public statement on abortion

True to the Faith, “Abortion”

A selection of prophecies regarding the destruction of societies that turn away from God; many of these prophecies concern the state of the world prior to Christ’s Second Coming: 1 Nephi 14:5-7BoM; Isaiah 24:5OT; Matthew 24NT; D&C 112:23-24.

Gordon B. Hinckley (15th Church President), “Save the Children,” General Conference (October 1994).

Quentin L. Cook (current Apostle), “A Banquet of Consequences: The Cumulative Result of All Choices,” BYU Speeches (7 February 2017).

See my article “An Eternal Identity” for a discussion of how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints views human potential and eternal destiny.

See my Book of Mormon post “Day 49: Precious Souls and Redemption” for a little more information about Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints beliefs regarding eternity and salvation.

Day 52: Taught to Keep the Commandments of God

Alma 53:17-21

By way of follow up, my husband and I began a Family Home Evening lesson series on the commandments. I had mentioned in a previous post that I felt the need to do this. So far it’s going well! We kicked off the series with a lesson activity discussing life and the many choices we get to make on a daily basis. I presented our family with a plate of bite size pieces of several varieties of chocolate. Scattered amongst the chocolate pieces were toothpick flags, each representing a choice. I wrote a scenario on one side of the flag and once someone had read the scenario and provided a response, s/he flipped the flag to read a commandment-oriented statement. One flag read, “It’s Sunday and a friend invites you to go to the movies.” The reverse side paraphrased the commandments to keep the Sabbath Day holy. My kids really enjoyed the hands-on experience (and now they want chocolate every Family Home Evening). We have continued with “love the Lord thy God” and “love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:37-39, NT). I struggle a little with making the lessons completely kid-friendly, but I really want to follow through on this prompting.

In case I was feeling a little discouraged, the perfect motivation popped up in my Book of Mormon reading. I’m in the midst of the war chapters of Alma and 2000 young men (sons of the people of Ammon) have joined the Nephite army to help “fight for liberty” and “to protect the land” (Alma 53:17). Despite being young, inexperienced, and untrained as soldiers, “they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity…. [T]hey were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted…. [T]hey were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God…” (Alma 53:20-21, emphasis added). This is what I want for my children! If I persevere, continue teaching them the commandments, and provide them with opportunities to grow their faith and personal testimonies, then they, too, will become valiant, courageous, strong, true, trustworthy, honest.

Day 27: The Ten Commandments

Mosiah 12-13

It is little wonder to me that Abinadi, when questioned by the priests of Noah, began to teach them the Ten Commandments. It was a sharp rebuke for the priests who claimed to represent God, but did not keep His commandments. The Ten Commandments provide the foundation for laws across the world and they are fundamental to maintaining peace throughout the world. The Book of Mormon teaches that when a nation begins to transgress God’s commandments, it will eventually fall (e.g. Omni 1, BoM).

Thoughts of how I can be a better mother and what I should do to create more spiritual direction for our family have been weighing on my mind. The other day as I was praying, the Spirit suggested that we teach our kids the Ten Commandments.

We talk a lot in our home and at church about “keeping the commandments.” As adults we know what that means but our kids don’t. They’re at the beginning of their mortal experience. To say repeatedly, “keep the commandments,” becomes nebulous unless you actually identify what they are. Kids need repetition to know what the commandments are, learn them by heart (Mosiah 13:11), understand what they mean, and actually live them. By way of reminder for us all, the Ten Commandments are:

  • Thou shalt have no other God before me (Mosiah 12:35)
  • Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image; Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them (Mosiah 13:12-13)
  • Thou shalt no take the name of the Lord thy God in vain (Mosiah 13:15)
  • Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy (Mosiah 13:16
  • Honor thy father and thy mother (Mosiah 13:20)
  • Thou shalt not kill (Mosiah 13:21)
  • Thou shalt not commit adultery (Mosiah 13:22)
  • Thou shalt not steal (Mosiah 13:22)
  • Thou shalt not bear false witness (Mosiah 13:23)
  • Thou shalt not covet (Mosiah 13:24)

(I have quoted from the Book of Mormon but you can also review the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, Old Testament )

Now my challenge is to come up with age-appropriate lessons for each commandment. If you have any ideas, feel free to comment here or use my contact form. Thanks in advance!