By Karen Zerby (aka "Mamma Maria")
FD/MM/FM; ML#3798; September 2009
1. As part of the change journey and our task of looking at every aspect of Family life, we brought the topics of childbearing and contraceptives before the Lord for His updated counsel for today. In this Letter, I'll address these issues in a fairly straightforward and simple manner.
2. This is an update on the previous position put forth in "Go for the Gold" and Letters on the same topic both prior to and since "Go for the Gold." In recent years many questions have surfaced and misunderstandings have developed regarding prior counsel on the topics of childbearing and contraceptives. I won't go back to all the points of those Letters; instead, this Letter will present our current Family position on the matter for today. (As of this Letter, we're also officially eliminating the "Go for the Gold" terminology when referring to childbearing and contraceptives.)
3. This Letter is going to be brief, the essentials of the matter. Some further important counsel and encouragement from the Lord will be included in the supplementary Letter "Devotional: Childbearing and Contraceptives" that isn't fully represented here, so be sure to read and study that counsel as well.
4. The bottom line is that you have the gift of choice, and along with it, the responsibility to make personal decisions regarding bearing children and using or not using contraceptives. We are each accountable before the Lord to do what He shows us to do in our personal life and situation, according to our faith, and to take responsibility for our decisions. This principle very much applies to the important and life-altering matters of childbearing and contraceptives.
5. Here are the basic principles that we believe and stand by when it comes to childbearing and contraceptives:
6. We believe that children are a wonderful gift that God blesses and entrusts us with. "Children are a heritage of the Lord ..." (Psalm 127:3).
7. This is our basic belief regarding children. We believe that God loves children, He wants to bring new life into this world, and He likes to bless Family members with children. He wants us to celebrate life, and to love, care for, and enjoy the children that He blesses us with.
8. The Lord honors those of you who have borne children in the past and those who will bear children in the future. Children in the Family are valued and greatly loved, as all children deserve to be. Peter and I also honor and respect you, our Family parents, who have borne children.
9. We believe that God created and ordained the marriage union of man and woman and that marriage is the ideal relationship for the parenting of children and the forming of stable families.
10. As much as possible, we believe that children born to Family members should have a father and a mother—those who are ready for and committed to taking on the lifelong responsibility of parenthood. Choosing to parent a child is a serious responsibility; it's a life choice. Thus you must have faith to be able to love, care for, and raise your children, no matter what the future holds—whether you remain in the Family or not, whether you choose to live in a communal setting or not, no matter what path your life takes.
11. Choosing to become a parent is a matter of personal faith. You are making an important decision when you choose to have a child, and it should be an informed and prayerful decision. In deciding to have a child, you are committing to guard, protect, provide for, nurture, educate, love, and invest in that child for life.
12. That's a choice and commitment that you will need to make every time you consider having a baby. You should evaluate it, pray about it, think it through, and be sure you have the faith not just for the pregnancy itself, but for the additional responsibility that that child will bring into your life forever. Having a child—whether it's your first child or a sibling to any other children—is a lifetime decision; your children will always be your children.
13. Generally speaking, the laws of nature kick in if you have sexual intercourse. Although it doesn't happen every time and for every woman, you have a very good chance of getting pregnant if you have intercourse. That's how God made it. When you have sexual intercourse, you're giving God the opportunity to create new life. Thus, it shouldn't be surprising if pregnancy occurs if you're not using some form of contraceptive. The likely result is that you will have a baby.
14. Having a child is a life choice, a responsibility for life. If you're unmarried and you're going to have sexual intercourse, especially casually, and you're not prepared to be a parent, and you choose not to engage in other forms of sex that don't result in pregnancy, I recommend that you pray about using some form of protection. Otherwise you should be prepared and have the faith to take responsibility for the results.