Selected Teachings on
Official Church Handbook and First Presidency Statements
Handbook 2: Administering the Church (2010)
It is the privilege of married couples who are able to bear children to provide mortal bodies for the spirit children of God, whom they are then responsible to nurture and rear. The decision as to how many children to have and when to have them is extremely intimate and private and should be left between the couple and the Lord. Church members should not judge one another in this matter.
Married couples should also understand that sexual relations within marriage are divinely approved not only for the purpose of procreation, but also as a way of expressing love and strengthening emotional and spiritual bonds between husband and wife. (Handbook 2: Administering the Church, 21.4.4)
Heber J. Grant (First Presidency Statement)
In the October, 1942 General Conference, J. Reuben Clark, Jr. read a message from the First Presidency to the general Church membership.
Amongst His earliest commands to Adam and Eve, the Lord said: "Multiply and replenish the earth." He has repeated that command in our day. He has again revealed in this, the last dispensation, the principle of the eternity of the marriage covenant. He has restored to earth the authority for entering into that covenant, and has declared that it is the only due and proper way of joining husband and wife, and the only means by which the sacred family relationship may be carried beyond the grave and through eternity. He has declared that this eternal relationship may be created only by the ordinances which are administered in the holy temples of the Lord, and therefore that His people should marry only in His temple in accordance with such ordinances.
The Lord has told us that it is the duty of every husband and wife to obey the command given to Adam to multiply and replenish the earth, so that the legions of choice spirits waiting for their tabernacles of flesh may come here and move forward under God's great design to become perfect souls, for without these fleshly tabernacles they cannot progress to their God-planned destiny. Thus, every husband and wife should become a father and mother in Israel to children born under the holy, eternal covenant.(Conference Report, October 1942)
David O. McKay—First Presidency Letter to Bishops and Stake Presidents Date April 14, 1969
We seriously regret that there should exist a sentiment or feeling among any members of the Church to curtail the birth of their children. We have been commanded to multiply and replenish the earth that we may have joy and rejoicing in our posterity.
Where husband and wife enjoy health and vigor and are free from impurities that would be entailed upon their posterity, it is contrary to the teachings of the Church artificially to curtail or prevent the birth of children. We believe that those who practice birth control will reap disappointment by and by.
However, we feel that men must be considerate of their wives who bear the greater responsibility not only of bearing children, but of caring for them through childhood. To this end the mother's health and strength should be conserved and the husband's consideration for his wife is his first duty, and self-control a dominant factor in all their relationships.
It is our further feeling that married couples should seek inspiration and wisdom from the Lord that they may exercise discretion in solving their marital problems, and that they may be permitted to rear their children in accordance with the teachings of the gospel. (Ensign, May 1971, 19; "Editorial: Population, Pollution, and You," Ensign, June 1971, 129)
Teachings From Presidents of the Church
Gordon B. Hinckley (President)
Mr. Wallace: "Why is it that Mormons apparently have so many children?"
Reply: "We don't dictate family size. That is left to the father and the mother, the husband and wife. And we expect them to make of this the most serious business of their lives, the rearing of the family. …" ("This Thing Was Not Done in a Corner," Ensign, Nov. 1996, 49)
Much has been said ... about birth control. I like to think of the positive side of the equation, of the meaning and sanctity of life, of the purpose of this estate in our eternal journey, of the need for the experience of mortal life under the great plan of God our Father, of the joy that is to be found only where there are children in the home, of the blessings that come of good posterity. When I think of these values and see them taught and observed, then I am willing to leave the question of numbers to the man and the woman and the Lord. (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, p. 35)
I am offended by the sophistry that the only lot of the Latter-day Saint woman is to be barefoot and pregnant. It's a clever phrase, but it's false. Of course we believe in children. The Lord has told us to multiply and replenish the earth that we might have joy in our posterity, and there is no greater joy than the joy that comes of happy children in good families. But he did not designate the number, nor has the Church. That is a sacred matter left to the couple and the Lord. The official statement of the Church includes this language: "Husbands must be considerate of their wives, who have the greater responsibility not only of bearing children but of caring for them through childhood, and should help them conserve their health and strength. Married couples should exercise self-control in all of their relationships. They should seek inspiration from the Lord in meeting their marital challenges and rearing their children according to the teachings of the gospel" (General Handbook of Instructions , p.77). (From Cornerstones of a Happy Home, (pamphlet) p. 6)
Ezra Taft Benson (President)
I have always loved the words of Solomon: "Children are an heritage of the Lord: and... happy is the man [and woman] that hath [their] quiver full of them" (Psalm 127:3-5). I know the special blessings of a large and happy family, for my dear parents had a quiver full of children. Being the oldest of eleven children, I saw the principles of unselfishness, mutual consideration, loyalty to each other, and a host of other virtues developed in a large and wonderful family with my noble mother as the queen of that home.
Young mothers and fathers, with all my heart I counsel you not to postpone having your children, being co-creators with our Father in Heaven. Do not use the reasoning of the world, such as, "We will wait until we can better afford having children, until we are more secure, until John has completed his education, until he has a better paying job, until we have a larger home, until we have obtained a few of the material conveniences," and on and on. This is the reasoning of the world and is not pleasing in the sight of God. Mothers who enjoy good health, have your children and have them early. And, husbands, always be considerate of your wives in the bearing of children.
Do not curtail the number of children for personal or selfish reasons. Material possessions, social convenience, and so-called professional advantages are nothing compared to a righteous posterity. In the eternal perspective, children—not possessions, not position, not prestige—are our greatest jewels. Brigham Young emphasized: "There are multitudes of pure and holy spirits waiting to take tabernacles, now what is our duty?—To prepare tabernacles for them; to take a course that will not tend to drive those spirits into the families of the wicked, where they will be trained in wickedness debauchery, and every species of crime. It is the duty of every righteous man and woman to prepare tabernacles for all the spirits they can" (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 197). Yes, blessed is the husband and wife who have a family of children. The deepest joys and blessings in life are associated with family, parenthood, and sacrifice. To have those sweet spirits come into the home is worth practically any sacrifice. (Address given at a Fireside for Parents, 22 February 1987 - Produced as a Pamphlet)
Statements Made as a Member of the Quorum of the Twelve
Guard against the temptations of seeking after material things; the constant craze to appear more youthful and worldly; the limiting of the size of your family when health of the mother or infant is not the concern; and personal selfishness which will deprive you of the joy of helping others. All these problems contribute to ingratitude, uncharitableness, and emotional instability. ("The Honored Place of Woman," Ensign, Nov. 1981, 107)
Let me warn the sisters in all seriousness that you who submit yourselves to an abortion or to an operation that precludes you from safely having additional healthy children are jeopardizing your exaltation and your future membership in the kingdom of God. (Conference Report, October 1970, p.21)
Spencer W. Kimball (President)
The first commandment recorded seems to have been "Multiply and replenish the earth."... I have told tens of thousands of young folks that when they marry they should not wait for children until they have finished their schooling and financial desires. Marriage is basically for the family, and when people have found their proper companions there should be no long delay. They should live together normally and let the children come.
There seems to be a growing feeling that marriage is for legal sex, for sex’s sake. Marriage is basically for the family; that is why we marry—not for the satisfaction of the sex, as the world around us would have us believe. When people have found their companions, there should be no long delay. Young wives should be occupied in bearing and rearing their children. I know of no scriptures where an authorization is given to young wives to withhold their families and to go to work to put their husbands through school. There are thousands of husbands who have worked their own way through school and have reared families at the same time. Though it is more difficult, young people can make their way through their educational programs. (“Marriage is Honorable,” Speeches of the Year, 1973, p.262–63)
Childbearing should not be delayed for convenience. After marriage young wives should be occupied in bearing and rearing children. I know of no scriptures or authorities which authorize young wives to delay their families or to go to work to put their husbands through college. Young married couples can make their way and reach their educational heights, if they are determined. (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.329)
In family life, men must and should be considerate of their wives, not only in the bearing of children, but in caring for them through childhood. The mother's health must be conserved, and the husband's consideration for his wife is his first duty, and self-control a dominant factor in all their relationships. (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.330)
Supreme happiness in marriage is governed considerably by a primary factor—that of the bearing and rearing of children. Too many young people set their minds, determining they will not marry or have children until they are more secure, until the military service period is over; until the college degree is secured; until the occupation is more well-defined; until the debts are paid; or until it is more convenient. They have forgotten that the first commandment is to "be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it." (Genesis 1:28.) And so brides continue their employment and husbands encourage it, and contraceptives are used to prevent conception. Relatives and friends and even mothers sometimes encourage birth control for their young newlyweds. But the excuses are many, mostly weak. The wife is not robust; the family budget will not feed extra mouths; or the expense of the doctor, hospital, and other incidentals is too great; it will disturb social life; it would prevent two salaries; and so abnormal living prevents the birth of children. The Church cannot approve nor condone the measures which so greatly limit the family.
How do you suppose that the Lord would look upon a man and a woman whose marriage seems to be largely for the purpose of living together and sex gratification without the responsibilities of marriage? How do you think that the Lord looks upon those who use the contraceptives because in their selfish life it is not the convenient moment to bear children? How do you feel the Lord looks upon those who would trade flesh-and-blood children for pianos or television or furniture or an automobile, and is this not actually the case when people will buy these luxuries and yet cannot afford to have their children? Are there not numerous people who first buy the luxury article and then find they cannot pay the doctor or a hospital bill incident to childbirth? How do you think the Lord feels about women who forego the pleasures and glories of motherhood that they might retain their figures, that their social life might not be affected, that they might avoid the deprivations, pains, and agonies of childbearing and birthing? How do you think the Lord feels as he views healthy parents who could have children but who deliberately close the doors by operation or by contraceptives, close the doors upon spirits eager to enter into mortal bodies? (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.329)
We marry for eternity. We are serious about this. We become parents and bring wanted children into the world and rear and train them to righteousness. We are aghast at the reports of young people going to surgery to limit their families and the reputed number of parents who encourage this vasectomy. Remember that the coming of the Lord approaches, and some difficult-to-answer questions will be asked by a divine Judge who will be hard to satisfy with silly explanations and rationalizations. He will judge justly, you may be sure. Why do we take our destiny in our own hands? (“God Will Not Be Mocked,” Ensign, Nov. 1974)
As we look about us, we see many forces at work bent on the destruction of the family, both in America and abroad. Family ties are being destroyed by an ever-increasing divorce rate, by increased infidelity of spouses, by the abominable sin of abortion, which bids well to become a national scandal and is a very grave sin. Another erosion of the family is unwarranted and selfish birth control. ("We Need a Listening Ear," Ensign, Nov. 1979, p. 5)
And that's the way the Lord organized it. This wasn't an experiment. He knew what he was doing. Those things that endanger a happy marriage are infidelity, slothfulness, selfishness, abortion, unwarranted birth control, leaving the home to others, and sin in all of its many manifestations. ("The Blessings and Responsibilities of Womanhood," Ensign, Mar. 1976, p. 71)
Harold B. Lee (President)
Statements Made as a Member of the Quorum of the Twelve
If I were to name the first thing that impresses me always in these fine Latter-day Saint homes, I would say it was a love for and a desire for children. These are homes where the having of children was not delayed because of some social or educational or financial objective, and where the size of the families has not been limited by the practice of birth control. (Conference Report, October 1948, p.53)
Those who refuse as husbands and wives to have children are proving themselves already too small for the infinitude of God's creative powers.
(The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, 283)
Joseph Fielding Smith (President)
Statements Made as a Member of the Quorum of the Twelve
The obligations which married couples take upon themselves should conform in every particular to the commandments given by the Lord.
In the beginning, the Lord said when he gave Eve to Adam, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it."...
The covenant given to Adam to multiply was renewed after the flood with Noah and his children after him. The Lord said to Noah: "And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein. And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying. And, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you."
This covenant is still binding, although mankind has departed from the way of eternal life and has rejected the covenant of marriage which the Lord revealed.
The abuse of this holy covenant has been the primary cause for the downfall of nations. When the sacred vows of marriage are broken and the real purpose of marriage abused, as we find it so prevalent in the world today, then destruction is inevitable.
No nation can endure for any length of time, if the marriage covenants are abused and treated with contempt. The anger of the Almighty was kindled against ancient nations for their immorality. There is nothing that should be held in greater sacredness than this covenant by which the spirits of men are clothed with mortal tabernacles.
When a man and a woman are married and they agree, or covenant, to limit their offspring to two or three, and practice devices to accomplish this purpose, they are guilty of iniquity which eventually must be punished. Unfortunately this evil doctrine is being taught as a virtue by many people who consider themselves cultured and highly educated. It has even crept in among members of the Church and has been advocated in some of the classes within the Church.
It should be understood definitely that this kind of doctrine is not only not advocated by the authorities of the Church, but also is condemned by them as wickedness in the sight of the Lord.
President Joseph F. Smith has said in relation to this question: "Those who have taken upon themselves the responsibility of wedded life should see to it that they do not abuse the course of nature; that they do not destroy the principle of life within them, nor violate any of the commandments of God. The command which he gave in the beginning to multiply and replenish the earth is still in force upon the children of men. Possibly no greater sin could be committed by the people who have embraced this gospel than to prevent or to destroy life in the manner indicated. We are born into the world that we may have life, and we live that we may have a fulness of joy, and if we will obtain a fulness of joy, we must obey the law of our creation and the law by which we may obtain the consummation of our righteous hopes and desires—eternal life." (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.2, p.86)
Instructing the mothers of the Church, President Joseph F. Smith said in June, 1917: "I regret, I think it is a crying evil, that there should exist a sentiment or a feeling among any members of the Church to curtail the birth of their children. I think that is a crime wherever it occurs, where husband and wife are in possession of health and vigor and are free from impurities that would be entailed upon their posterity. I believe that where people undertake to curtail or prevent the birth of their children that they are going to reap disappointment by and by. I have no hesitancy in saying that I believe that is one of the greatest crimes of the world today, this evil practice."
When young people marry and refuse to fulfill this commandment given in the beginning of the world—and just as much in force today—they rob themselves of the greatest eternal blessing. If the love of the world and the wicked practices of the world mean more to a man and a woman than to keep the commandment of the Lord in this respect, then they shut themselves off from the eternal blessing of increase. Those who wilfully and maliciously design to break this important commandment shall be damned. They cannot have the Spirit of the Lord.
Small families is the rule today. Husbands and wives refuse to take upon themselves the responsibilities of family life. Many of them do not care to be bothered with children. Yet this commandment given to Adam has never been abrogated or set aside.
If we refuse to live by the covenants we make, especially in the house of the Lord, then we cannot receive the blessings of those covenants in eternity. If the responsibilities of parenthood are wilfully avoided here, then how can the Lord bestow upon the guilty the blessings of eternal increase? It cannot be, and they shall be denied such blessings. (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:88-89)
David O. McKay (President)
Any effort or desire on the part of a married couple to shirk the responsibility of parenthood reflects a condition of mind antagonistic to the best interests of the home, the state, and the nation. No doubt there are some worldly people who honestly limit the number of children and the family to two or three because of insufficient means to clothe and educate a large family as the parents would desire to do, but in nearly all such cases, the two or three children are no better provided for than two or three times that number would be. Such parents may be sincere, even if misguided; but in most cases the desire not to have children has its birth in vanity, passion, and selfishness. Such feelings are the seeds sown in early married life that produce a harvest of discord, suspicion, estrangement, and divorce. All such efforts, too, often tend to put the marriage relationship on a level with the panderer and the courtesan. They befoul the pure fountains of life with the slime of indulgence and sensuality. Such misguided couples are ever seeking but never finding the reality for which the heart is yearning.
Depriving themselves of the comfort and happiness of the companionship of children, the barrenness of their lives drives the young couple to seek the hollow fads and fascinating excitements of "society," many of which pursuits are as antagonistic to the real purpose of life as the influence of evil can make them.
As I write these lines, I have in mind a young girl who has substituted for the reality of home and family, the froth of weekend parties and midnight carousals, including the most degrading but fashionable habit of cigarette smoking. She began her married life in honor and is the mother of two beautiful children; but she was caught in the whirlpool of pleasure and passion, and though flaunting daily the latest fashions, is sinking from respectability to degradation. "O what a falling off were here!" I cannot look upon such actions of young husbands and wives without a feeling of pity mingled with contempt. There is comfort only in the thought that in our communities such cases are exceptional.
Love realizes his sweetest happiness and his most divine consummation in the home where the coming of children is not restricted, where they are made most welcome, and where the duties of parenthood are accepted as a co-partnership with the eternal Creator.
In all this, however, the mother's health should be guarded. In the realm of wifehood, the woman should reign supreme.
Man, not woman, is the chief cause of this evil of race suicide now sweeping like a blight through the civilized nations.
Marriage is ordained of God that children might be so trained that they may eventually be worthy of Christ's presence; and that home is happiest in which they are welcomed, as God and nature intended they should be. (Gospel Ideals, p.469)
Marriage is for the purpose of rearing families, having children. That is fundamental, and I am sorry to note a tendency even among our own people to limit the number of children in the family. I was very much interested in the following from one who has not the ideals that we have:
"Man has concocted many theories and notions about marriage—among them the theory that each couple has the right to decide whether to have children. Regardless of theories, the chief purpose of sex and marriage is children. This is a law of human nature, which cannot be defied with impunity. A couple entering marriage without planning to have children soon is courting disaster from the beginning."
(Steppingstones to an Abundant Life, p.379)
Joseph F. Smith (President)
I regret, I think it is a crying evil, that there should exist a sentiment or a feeling among any members of the Church to curtail the birth of their children. I think that is a crime wherever it occurs, where husband and wife are in possession of health and vigor and are free from impurities that would be entailed upon their posterity. I believe that where people undertake to curtail or prevent the birth of their children that they are going to reap disappointment by and by. I have no hesitancy in saying that I believe this is one of the greatest crimes of the world today, this evil practice. (Gospel Doctrine, p.278-79)
Those who have taken upon themselves the responsibility of wedded life should see to it that they do not abuse the course of nature; that they do not destroy the principle of life within them, nor violate any of the commandments of God. The command which he gave in the beginning to multiply and replenish the earth is still in force upon the children of men. Possibly no greater sin could be committed by the people who have embraced this gospel than to prevent or to destroy life in the manner indicated. We are born into the world that we may have life, and we live that we may have a fulness of joy, and if we will obtain a fulness of joy, we must obey the law of our creation and the law by which we may obtain the consummation of our righteous hopes and desires—eternal life. (quoted in Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.2, p.86)
Brigham Young (President)
There are multitudes of pure and holy spirits waiting to take tabernacles, now what is our duty?—To prepare tabernacles for them; to take a course that will not tend to drive those spirits into the families of the wicked, where they will be trained in wickedness, debauchery, and every species of crime. It is the duty of every righteous man and woman to prepare tabernacles for all the spirits they can. (Discourses of Brigham Young, p.197)
This is the reason why the doctrine of plurality of wives was revealed, that the noble spirits which are waiting for tabernacles might be brought forth. (Discourses of Brigham Young, p.197)
Teachings from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Boyd K. Packer (Quorum of the Twelve)
“Children are an heritage of the Lord: and … happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them” (Psalm 127:3, 5).
The creation of life is a great responsibility for a married couple. It is the challenge of mortality to be a worthy and responsible parent. Neither man nor woman can bear children alone. It was meant that children have two parents—both a father and a mother. No other pattern or process can replace this one.
Long ago a woman tearfully told me that as a college student she had made a serious mistake with her boyfriend. He had arranged for an abortion. In due time they graduated and were married and had several other children. She told me how tormented she now was to look at her family, her beautiful children, and see in her mind the place, empty now, where that one child was missing.
If this couple understands and applies the Atonement, they will know that those experiences and the pain connected with them can be erased. No pain will last forever. It is not easy, but life was never meant to be either easy or fair. Repentance and the lasting hope that forgiveness brings will always be worth the effort.
Another young couple tearfully told me they had just come from a doctor where they were told they would be unable to have children of their own. They were brokenhearted with the news. They were surprised when I told them that they were actually quite fortunate. They wondered why I would say such a thing. I told them their state was infinitely better than that of other couples who were capable of being parents but who rejected and selfishly avoided that responsibility.
I told them, “At least you want children, and that desire will weigh heavily in your favor in your earthly lives and beyond because it will provide spiritual and emotional stability. Ultimately, you will be much better off because you wanted children and could not have them, as compared to those who could but would not have children.” (Ensign, May 2012)
M. Russell Ballard (Quorum of the Twelve)
Far too many people view marriage as a "couples relationship," designed to fulfill the emotional needs of adults rather than an institution for rearing children. Children are considered a choice rather than a blessing. (Campus Education Week, 19 August 2003)
We hear young people say that they will postpone marriage or having children until they can afford them. Let me tell you as a father of seven children, you will never be able to afford them! So just trust in the Lord as Sister Ballard and I did. Somehow it works, with His help. Others want to wait "until I graduate," "until we can buy a home," or "until I'm settled in my career." I am reminded of a statement sometimes cited by President Boyd K. Packer: "There are many who struggle and climb and finally reach the top of the ladder only to find that it is leaning against the wrong wall" ("That All May Be Edified" [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982], 275). Now is the time to carefully evaluate which walls you are approaching with your ladders. (Brigham Young University, 3 March 2002)
Dallin H. Oaks (Quorum of the Twelve)
How many children should a couple have? All they can care for! Of course, to care for children means more than simply giving them life. Children must be loved, nurtured, taught, fed, clothed, housed, and well started in their capacities to be good parents themselves. Exercising faith in God's promises to bless them when they are keeping his commandments, many LDS parents have large families. Others seek but are not blessed with children or with the number of children they desire. In a matter as intimate as this, we should not judge one another. ("The Great Plan of Happiness," Ensign, Nov. 1993, p. 75)
Neil L. Andersen (Quorum of the Twelve)
In our day prophets and apostles have declared, “The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2010, 129).
This commandment has not been forgotten or set aside in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We express deep gratitude for the enormous faith shown by husbands and wives (especially our wives) in their willingness to have children. When to have a child and how many children to have are private decisions to be made between a husband and wife and the Lord. These are sacred decisions—decisions that should be made with sincere prayer and acted on with great faith....
Many voices in the world today marginalize the importance of having children or suggest delaying or limiting children in a family. My daughters recently referred me to a blog written by a Christian mother (not of our faith) with five children. She commented: “[Growing] up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood.… Children rank way below college. Below world travel for sure. Below the ability to go out at night at your leisure. Below honing your body at the gym. Below any job you may have or hope to get.” She then adds: “Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for” (Rachel Jankovic, “Motherhood Is a Calling (and Where Your Children Rank),” July 14, 2011, desiringgod.org).
In “the best of times [and] … the worst of times,” the true Saints of God, acting in faith, have never forgotten, dismissed, or neglected “God’s commandment … to multiply and replenish the earth” (Ensign, Nov. 2010, 129). We go forward in faith—realizing the decision of how many children to have and when to have them is between a husband and wife and the Lord. We should not judge one another on this matter.
The bearing of children is a sensitive subject that can be very painful for righteous women who do not have the opportunity to marry and have a family. To you noble women, our Heavenly Father knows your prayers and desires. How grateful we are for your remarkable influence, including reaching out with loving arms to children who need your faith and strength.
The bearing of children can also be a heartbreaking subject for righteous couples who marry and find that they are unable to have the children they so anxiously anticipated or for a husband and wife who plan on having a large family but are blessed with a smaller family.
We cannot always explain the difficulties of our mortality. Sometimes life seems very unfair—especially when our greatest desire is to do exactly what the Lord has commanded. As the Lord’s servant, I assure you that this promise is certain: “Faithful members whose circumstances do not allow them to receive the blessings of eternal marriage and parenthood in this life will receive all promised blessings in the eternities, [as] they keep the covenants they have made with God.” (Handbook 2: Administering the Church (2010), 1.3.3). ("Children," Ensign, Nov. 2011)
N. Eldon Tanner (Quorum of the Twelve)
The whole purpose of the creation of the earth was to provide a dwelling place where the spirit children of God might come and be clothed in mortal bodies and, by keeping their second estate, prepare themselves for salvation and exaltation. The whole purpose of the mission of Jesus Christ was to make possible the immortality and eternal life of man. The whole purpose of mothers and fathers should be to live worthy of this blessing and to assist God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ in their work. No greater honor could be given to [men and] women than to assist in this divine plan, and I wish to say without equivocation that a woman will find greater satisfaction and joy and make a greater contribution to mankind by being a wise and worthy mother raising good children than she could make in any other vocation. (Conference Report, Oct. 1973, 126, or "No Greater Honor: The Woman's Role,"in Ensign (Jan. 1974), pp. 8, 10)