Jackie

Would I get shunned if I don't want to have kids in the LDS church?

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I am investigating the LDS church and just begun reading The Book of Mormon. I'm female and in my mid 20's.

I did go to one Sunday church meeting and discovered a lot of emphasis on women and having a family with children.

I personally don't want any kids in my lifetime. I've always held that position for a very long time. Even though I have a boyfriend for 4 years already. He respects my choice.

Would I get shunned or not be a worthy member if I do get baptized in the future and not want a family with children?

Thank you. This is my main concern.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Jackie said:

I am investigating the LDS church and just begun reading The Book of Mormon. I'm female and in my mid 20's.

I did go to one Sunday church meeting and discovered a lot of emphasis on women and having a family with children.

I personally don't want any kids in my lifetime. I've always held that position for a very long time. Even though I have a boyfriend for 4 years already. He respects my choice.

Would I get shunned or not be a worthy member if I do get baptized in the future and not want a family with children?

Thank you. This is my main concern.

Will you get actually shunned? Not by the Church. Is there an occasional member or two that might shun for one reason or another, perhaps, but they are the distant exception not the rule. Family is a key part of the Gospel plan, so you will continue to hear about it repeatedly. People will most likely occasionally say things to you that might sting a little, but that is mostly out of ignorance, example: "So what classes are your kids in?" To a person without kids, it might sting a little, but to the person asking it, it is just small talk without intended malice. @MormonGator , a rock solid member, might have a thought or two on this subject. 

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1 hour ago, Jackie said:

I did go to one Sunday church meeting and discovered a lot of emphasis on women and having a family with children.

I personally don't want any kids in my lifetime. I've always held that position for a very long time. Even though I have a boyfriend for 4 years already. He respects my choice.

Would I get shunned or not be a worthy member if I do get baptized in the future and not want a family with children?

Thank you. This is my main concern.

Yes, there is a huge emphasis on families in the LDS church- they are an essential part of the Plan of Salvation.  Families include your (generic you) bond with your spouse, your parents, your siblings, your children, your nieces & nephews, your cousins, and everyone else.  As a women, an integral part of your identity already is that of a daughter, sister, and mother.  

Being a mother is more than having children.  Not everyone can have children, and some people should not have children.  Being a mother is such much more than giving birth (and doesn't even have to include that part).  Being a mother is being able to nurture each other, to teach, and to make people feel loved.  Do you have a friend whom you've helped on her way- teaching how she's important, loved, and helping her stand on her feet?  In doing so, you already displayed the motherly aspects your identity.  Us ladies just can't help it ;)

Back to having children though- no you will not be shunned for not having kids.  Yes you can be a member 500% in good standing without kids.  

Will somebody somewhere be stupid and ask something like "how old are your kids?" not realizing that?  Oh yeah, I'd put money one somebody somewhere being stupid.  Are some people silly and don't realize that being a mother is more than giving birth?  Oh yeah, totally.  But that's just being people being... less than bright, like people are sometimes.  We then forgive them and move on.

 

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32 minutes ago, NeedleinA said:

. @MormonGator , a rock solid member, might have a thought or two on this subject. 

I do not have kids but I've been happily married for many years. Sorry @NeedleinA but you and I might differ on this. You know I got nothing but love for you. 

Will you get shunned? No. Will people look at you funny? Yes. The blunt truth is that many religious people of all stripes don't understand the mindset of not wanting children. Usually it's the older generation that'll view you as deficient in some way but is changing. 

No one will point and laugh and you won't get mocked but it will lead to some uncomfortable moments here or there. It's not an LDS thing, it's a religious thing. I have members of my own family (devoutly catholic) that are simply can't handle/grasp it either. 

Edited by MormonGator

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3 hours ago, Jackie said:

I am investigating the LDS church and just begun reading The Book of Mormon. I'm female and in my mid 20's.

I did go to one Sunday church meeting and discovered a lot of emphasis on women and having a family with children.

I personally don't want any kids in my lifetime. I've always held that position for a very long time. Even though I have a boyfriend for 4 years already. He respects my choice.

Would I get shunned or not be a worthy member if I do get baptized in the future and not want a family with children?

Thank you. This is my main concern.

 

 

 

 

Nothing you would do would cause us to shun you. We do not believe in shunning. Even if you murdered someone we would still invite you to parties and encourage you to attend church. We will never shun you not ever. Members are encouraged to have children as you have noticed from the lessons. Feel free to abstain. Free agency. 

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Shunned, no. In a church with a focus on families, though, people will wonder. The tactless will ask. Not to dissuade you at all from joining; much the opposite. Just telling it straight.

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4 hours ago, Jackie said:

I am investigating the LDS church and just begun reading The Book of Mormon. I'm female and in my mid 20's.

I did go to one Sunday church meeting and discovered a lot of emphasis on women and having a family with children.

I personally don't want any kids in my lifetime. I've always held that position for a very long time. Even though I have a boyfriend for 4 years already. He respects my choice.

Would I get shunned or not be a worthy member if I do get baptized in the future and not want a family with children?

Thank you. This is my main concern.

 

 

 

 

you shouldn't be.. however as the family is pretty important in the church there will probably be a few that would unfortunately. What's more likely is you'll get a lot of encouragement to have kids ... possibly ad nauseum. I'm unaware of any worthiness requirements that require children. Most however should be pretty welcoming no matter your view.

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2 hours ago, MormonGator said:

I do not have kids but I've been happily married for many years. Sorry @NeedleinA but you and I might differ on this. You know I got nothing but love for you. 

Will you get shunned? No. Will people look at you funny? Yes. The blunt truth is that many religious people of all stripes don't understand the mindset of not wanting children. Usually it's the older generation that'll view you as deficient in some way but is changing. 

No one will point and laugh and you won't get mocked but it will lead to some uncomfortable moments here or there. It's not an LDS thing, it's a religious thing. I have members of my own family (devoutly catholic) that are simply can't handle/grasp it either. 

I don't think we disagree on any point. 

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4 minutes ago, NeedleinA said:

I don't think we disagree on any point. 

I don't agree with that at all. 

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7 minutes ago, NeedleinA said:

Can't win tonight can I?

Totally playing bro. Glad we agree. :)

Edited by MormonGator

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6 hours ago, Jackie said:

I am investigating the LDS church and just begun reading The Book of Mormon. I'm female and in my mid 20's.

I did go to one Sunday church meeting and discovered a lot of emphasis on women and having a family with children.

I personally don't want any kids in my lifetime. I've always held that position for a very long time. Even though I have a boyfriend for 4 years already. He respects my choice.

Would I get shunned or not be a worthy member if I do get baptized in the future and not want a family with children?

Thank you. This is my main concern.

Shunned, no all are welcomed into the Church regardless of whether they do or don't have kids, married or unmarried.  There isn't a whole lot that is requisite to be a member of the Church, faith in God & Jesus Christ, testimony of the Book of Mormon & Joseph Smith, and a commitment to keep the basic worthiness - i.e. believe in the Law of Chastity, Word of Wisdom etc.

So while I say you won't be shunned, you will find an extreme/heavy influence on families and the proper roles of men/women-father/mother. The weight of the influence will depend a lot on the composition of the ward you in.  If you are part of a younger ward, with lots of young families you will have more emphasis on children, and raising them properly. If you are in an older ward-not so much.

Having said that, I personally find it very disheartening and sad to see so many people who don't want to have kids. You never know what you missing until it is completely taken away from you. Quite frankly, modern society is extremely sick and so many people are influenced by modern society to believe in not having kids. I have several kids, who I love very dearly, and it is very easy to say well I don't want any more kids or we shouldn't have kids right now . . . until that choice is ripped away in an instant and it is no longer a choice. 

It is quite sad what has happened to the culture in the US, the actual re-population rate in the US right now is below replacement rate . .. i.e. as a culture and people we are in a very real sense killing off our own culture and heritage---it is 1.97 and you need 2.1 just to maintain a stable population. So the people who are actually well adjusted, have good jobs who could support raising (and raising in a proper manner) more children don't. The people who are not well adjusted, i.e. they are on welfare, are not stable, don't have stable families etc. have 4,5,6 kids. Well where does that lead when I get old . . .you get a larger and larger percentage of the population who has not been trained right b/c their parents didn't teach them properly.

Raising a righteous generation of children is an act of love, it's an act of love for one's own neighbor . . .b/c when I'm 70+ I'm going to have to rely on the younger generation to help out and if there are more entitled brats running around rather than humble, God-fearing men/women I and a whole lot of other people are going to be in a world of hurt.

People have the freedom to make their own choices in life, but having lived and experienced my fair share of this world, I can say with absolute confidence that raising children to be adults is the best way to have the maximum amount of happiness and joy in this life (it is also the best way to have the maximum amount of pain too!). It is an individual choice, but once we are married-it is God's first commandment to us. 

The Gospel is about families, it is about having families, about raising them properly, about serving them, teaching them, etc.  I can say in my 30s that my single biggest regret in my life is and will be forever that I didn't have more kids.

So will people shun you, absolutely not. Is it possible that you feel shunned (and there is a big difference between the two)? Yes it is possible. Similar to a couple that cannot have children might feel shunned, guilt, displeasure, pain, sorrow, etc. when the Relief Society lesson turns to a topic about children and stories are brought up about kids.  Or you might feel shunned when 95% of the women your age in Church are running around scrambling after their kids, or taking the screaming baby out of sacrament, going to the mothers room, etc. Or when the women your age organize a kids get-together day and the kids run around at the park while they talk.

But no one will actively shun you, if they do they have some things in their own life to fix.  A lot of whether or not you feel shunned will depend on the reasons you come to Church, if you come to church 1st to commune with God and to be nurtured by His good word through others then you shouldn't have a problem.

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I didn't date or get married until my mid-20's.  I experienced 90% no problems at all. The other 10% came mostly from family members who thought they had a say in my life.  Aunts and uncles wanting nieces and nephews, that sort of thing.  My grandma did hand-wringing and wondered about my soul - but for more reasons than just me not dating.  It was often awkward with friends, LDS and otherwise, as they were all dating and getting married - I was often a third wheel in teens and early 20's.  But you can't be a third wheel and shunned at the same time - we hung out all the time.

In my ward, there are various unmarried folks.  A bunch of guys (mostly divorced) share a house endearingly named "the batchelor pad" - we have men's activities there every other month or so.  One lady is older, unmarried, lives with elderly parents - she doesn't seem to have any problem fitting in - she's often at the activities, involved in people's hobbies and social circles as much as she seems to want to be.  

You will encounter jerks in our church.  We all encounter them.  There are also some misunderstandings, the appearance of unrighteous judgment, someone gossips here and there, stuff like that.  We are not perfect.  But our church believes God loves and knows us all individually, and we are all worthy of His love.

I think you'll be ok. 

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8 hours ago, NeuroTypical said:

I didn't date or get married until my mid-20's.  I experienced 90% no problems at all. The other 10% came mostly from family members who thought they had a say in my life.  

Basically the same here. The issue with me is that I did date through those years and like you, 90% of my relatives didn't care but 10% (and sadly, one really close to me) of my relatives did have strong opinions about how to run my life. I finally said to one "You don't make choices to me and you don't know more about being me than I do." That settled it. 

 

 

8 hours ago, NeuroTypical said:

 

You will encounter jerks in our church.  

Oh! You've met @mirkwood too huh? 

(Just playing Mirk. You know I've got nothing but respect for you). I'm just not over the Cheap Trick thing yet)

Edited by MormonGator

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The LDS Church does not have a policy of shunning as such of other religious groups. So, no, you will not be actively shunned because we just don't do it. We have no rule saying you must have 10 children.

Will you run into tactless or even outright rude and overly zealous people? Possibly. Really depends on your surrounding culture.

My advice is to go in aware that we do have a focus on families. Don't be defensive and don't be paranoid, and things will probably work out well enough.

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On 9/4/2016 at 1:44 PM, Jackie said:

Would I get shunned or not be a worthy member if I do get baptized in the future and not want a family with children?

You might want to PM @NightSG about this.  He has some choice words to say about the topic of how single people are treated..

Think about the family you grew up in.  I'm sure you had your fights with your siblings (if you had any) and your parents.  But they're still your family.  We just sigh at some antics and move on.  This is what mature people do.  So, keep this in mind as you read the following:

From the married people's perspective, no, we don't shun single people or married people with no kids.  But we do tend to be rather stupid in this regard.  Too many people look at a young married couple and "innocently" ask "when are you going to have kids?"  That's no one's business but your own.  That is between you and God when to have kids and how many (including zero).  

But many people are stupid and ask the stupid questions that really bother the single person.  There are many more examples that I could give that exemplify this stupidity. But I believe this level of stupidity is found in any faith or non-faith.  It's just a question of what topic it manifests itself in.  So, wherever you go, you can expect imperfect people doing imperfect things.  But overall, we hope the community of people we associate ourselves with are a place where we can feel at home.

 

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3 hours ago, Carborendum said:

But I believe this level of stupidity is found in any faith or non-faith.

It is, but it's significantly magnified in one where people tend to measure your faith by the number of kids, grandkids and callings you manage to juggle.

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7 minutes ago, NightSG said:

It is, but it's significantly magnified in one where people tend to measure your faith by the number of kids, grandkids and callings you manage to juggle.

 @NightSG is absolutely right about this. Thankfully this way of thinking he is describing is getting pushed out the door, where it belongs. 

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You may not want your own kids but in the LDS ward, you end up being involved in other people's kids... a lot.  That's just the way it is in the church.  We are taught gospel principles not just for ourselves but also to raise our posterity in righteousness, so a lot of the activities in church happen with kids involved.

A few years ago, we had a couple in our ward who opted not to have kids.  No medical condition or anything.  They just don't want any.  They have a whole bunch of pets - 7 big dogs, a couple horses, cats, a goat, a donkey, and a whole slew of chickens, ducks, and geese.  The wife ended up as the Young Women President of our ward (president over 12-18 year old girls) and her husband ended up in the Young Men Presidency (12-18 year old boys).  The kids loved them because they have no patience with teen-age manipulations and sob stories.  Hah hah.

Edited by anatess2

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56 minutes ago, NightSG said:

It is, but it's significantly magnified in one where people tend to measure your faith by the number of kids, grandkids and callings you manage to juggle.

I'll repeat: 

"The stupidity" is just a question of what topic it manifests itself in.  The level of stupidity is the same.  The only question is what is your hot button topic vis-a-vis the topic important to those whom you associate with.

In our faith, children and family may be the subject where it manifests itself.  In other faiths, another topic is where it will manifest itself.  Whatever the topic, people are still stupid no matter where you go.

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44 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

 Whatever the topic, people are still stupid no matter where you go.

Stupid is way too harsh a term. As people we need to remember that all of us act in ways that other people don't understand and might not agree with. And sometimes, they just have off days. 

If I judged your intelligence by your mistakes, I could make you out to be "stupid" as well. 

 

Edited by MormonGator

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It's stupid to ask a new couple "When are you going to have kids"?

 

Count me as stupid then. Most couples have children, it's an assumed function of marriage. It's part of why marriage exists. If a couple doesn't want kids they will just have to get used answering "We don't plan on having any". Why is that a big deal? Perhaps I should just become a social hermit and not ask any questions about your life for fear of asking more doltish questions.


I don't think there's anything wrong with the assumption that a marriage will produce children if biologically capable. Perhaps I am just an insensitive dolt, there's probably even a grain of truth to that. I think it is an innocent question. Own your decisions, if you don't want children, own it. Why would the assumption that you would or should want to have children make you feel bad? 

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5 minutes ago, jerome1232 said:

It's stupid to ask a new couple "When are you going to have kids"?

Count me as stupid then. Most couples have children, it's an assumed function of marriage. It's part of why marriage exists. If a couple doesn't want kids they will just have to get used answering "We don't plan on having any". Why is that a big deal? Perhaps I should just become a social hermit and not ask any questions about your life for fear of asking more doltish questions.

I don't think there's anything wrong with the assumption that a marriage will produce children if biologically capable. Perhaps I am just an insensitive dolt, there's probably even a grain of truth to that. I think it is an innocent question. Own your decisions, if you don't want children, own it. Why would the assumption that you would or should want to have children make you feel bad? 

I think the concern is more for those who want children but can't have them (for whatever reason).  The question could be painful after the umpteen billionth time of having to explain that you can't have your heart's desire in mortality.

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2 hours ago, NightSG said:

It is, but it's significantly magnified in one where people tend to measure your faith by the number of kids, grandkids and callings you manage to juggle.

If you're painting every Mormon with a wide brush and saying all or even most measure faith this way, then you're no better.

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54 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

Stupid is way too harsh a term. As people we need to remember that all of us act in ways that other people don't understand and might not agree with. And sometimes, they just have off days. 

If I judged your intelligence by your mistakes, I could make you out to be "stupid" as well. 

I apologize if this sounded like it was meant to be harsh.  I meant it to be playful.  

My point was that everyone does things that are stupid (insert your substitute word here).  Myself included.  But I think we all need to be more forgiving of others (and ourselves) who just do things becuase they just don't know better.  They don't realize it hurts.  It's just stuff people do.  And whenever someone experiences something negative, they can choose to be "offended" or we can make allowance for people when they just don't stop to think about it much.

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