From The Encyclopedia of Mormonism
Author: Barlow, Brent A.
Latter-day Saints have an exceptionally positive view of procreation. After God commanded Adam and Eve to "multiply and replenish the earth" (Gen. 1:28), he pronounced all of his creation, including the power of procreation, "very good" (Gen. 1:31). President Joseph F. Smith noted, "The lawful association of the sexes is ordained of God, not only as the sole means of race perpetuation, but for the development of the higher faculties and nobler traits of human nature, which the love-inspired companionship of man and woman alone can insure" (IE 20:739).
Mankind existed in a premortal life as spirit children of God (see First Estate). This earth was created to provide physical life and experience in a second estate. The divine plan of procreation provides physical bodies for premortal spirits. Thus, "children are an heritage of the Lord" (Ps. 127:3). To beget and bear children is central to God's plan for the development of his children on earth. The powers of procreation therefore are of divine origin. An early LDS apostle, Parley P. Pratt, noted that the desires and feelings associated with procreation are not evil, but are ordained of God for sacred purposes: The fact is, God made man, male and female; he planted in their bosoms those affections which are calculated to promote their happiness and union. That by that union they might fulfill the first and great commandment "To multiply and replenish the earth, and subdue it." From this union of affection, springs all the other relationships, social joys and affections diffused through every branch of human existence. And were it not for this, earth would be a desert wild, an uncultivated wilderness [pp. 52-54].
Procreation is a divine partnership with God, and Church leaders counsel husbands and wives to seek his inspiration as they use their agency to bring children into the world even in difficult situations and circumstances (see Birth Control). The responsibilities of procreation include providing for the child's temporal well-being (1 Tim. 5:8), as "children have claim upon their parents for their maintenance until they are of age" (D&C 83:4). By seeking spiritual guidance and by following other divine laws, such as tithing and making fast offerings, parents are blessed of the Lord to provide the daily necessities for their children (cf. Mal. 3:3-10).
The abuse of the divine privilege and power of procreation in licentious indulgence has serious consequences. First is the loss of the Spirit to direct one's life (cf. Ex. 20:14; Prov. 6:32; D&C 42:22-24;63:14-16). In addition, when the creative powers are prostituted, they become a detriment to one's emotional, physical, social, and spiritual well-being (see Abortion; Abuse, Spouse and Child; Adultery; Chastity, Law of).
Using the power of procreation does not alienate one from God. Rather, properly used, it enables mortals to become cocreators with him in the divine Plan of Salvation, which stretches across the eternities and includes the opportunity for the faithful to participate in family life and eternal increase (see Eternal Lives, Eternal Increase).
Barlow, Brent A. "They Twain Shall Be One: Thoughts on Intimacy in Marriage." Ensign 16 (Sept. 1986):49-53.
Packer, Boyd K. "Why Stay Morally Clean." Ensign 2 (July 1972):111-13.
Pratt, Parley P. The Writings of Parley P. Pratt, ed. Parker P. Robison. Salt Lake City, 1952.
BRENT A. BARLOW