Friday, July 8, 2011

Mormonism and Abortion

Amazingly, given the enormous number of Mormons ready to talk about the Great Apostasy, not a single Mormon had anything to say in response to what I wrote last Friday about Mormonism and abortion, after two of my Catholic friends and I had dinner with two Mormon missionaries:
One area where most Mormons are excellent is morality. The two missionaries we spoke to had no problem denouncing abortion as murder, and saying that even in the tough cases (rape, incest, etc.), there are better options. In fact, they pointed to the numerous social services which the LDS Church provided.   I said, "I thought your church permitted abortion in some circumstances?" and they denied it.  At this point, I read from the official LDS website:
Church leaders have said that some exceptional circumstances may justify an abortion, such as when pregnancy is the result of incest or rape, when the life or health of the mother is judged by competent medical authority to be in serious jeopardy, or when the fetus is known by competent medical authority to have severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth. But even these circumstances do not automatically justify an abortion. Those who face such circumstances should consider abortion only after consulting with their local Church leaders and receiving a confirmation through earnest prayer. 
So in fact, while most Mormons are very pro-life, the LDS Church is much less so.  Cary then asked, "Wait, so is murder sometimes okay?"  The two missionaries were clearly unaware that their church taught this, and seemed troubled by it.  One of them speculated that the local church leaders wouldn't permit an abortion, despite what it said, but I don't think he even convinced himself.
The issue is pretty critical.  Here's the general LDS position on abortion, from one of the "Twelve Apostles," Russell Nelson:
This war called abortion is a war on the defenseless and the voiceless. It is a war on the unborn. This war is being waged globally. Ironically, civilized societies that have generally placed safeguards on human life have now passed laws that sanction this practice.

This matters greatly to us because the Lord has repeatedly declared this divine imperative: “Thou shalt not kill.” Then He added, “Nor do anything like unto it.” Even before the fulness of the gospel was restored, enlightened individuals understood the sanctity of human life. John Calvin, a sixteenth-century reformer, wrote, “If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, … it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fœtus in the womb before it has come to light.” 

Man-made rules have now legalized that which has been forbidden by God from the dawn of time! Human reasoning has twisted and transformed absolute truth into sound-bite slogans that promote a practice that is consummately wrong.
And yet, this same LDS Church says that abortion is sometimes okay, in cases of:
  1. Incest (even consensual);
  2. Rape;
  3. When the life of the mother is in serious danger;
  4. When the health of the mother is in serious danger;
  5. When the "fetus" is not going to survive beyond birth.
Is there any explanation for how abortion can be both a war against the defenseless and innocent, forbidden by God before all time, and yet simultaneously be okay?  It doesn't matter if the LDS Church says it's okay to take one unborn child's life or a million -- they're sanctioning the very abominable behavior which they excommunicate their members for sanctioning.

That the Mormon church takes a strong stance against the imagined moral evils of "hot drinks," but buckles in the face of the actual abomination, infanticide, is morally topsy-turvy, to say the least... particularly since they realize it's child-murder and that it's contrary to the Will of God.  As an outsider, it seems to me that Mormons are either (1) taking an official stance which they know is antithetical to God; or (2) think God both condemns and condones abortion.  But God doesn't contradict Himself - abortion is always and everywhere wrong, and the LDS know, or should know, that.

Even when it comes to killing those babies who are going to die soon anyway, exception #5, the LDS Church knows better:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in the sanctity of human life, and is therefore opposed to euthanasia. Euthanasia is defined as deliberately putting to death a person who is suffering from an incurable condition or disease. Such a deliberate act ends life immediately through, for example, so-called assisted suicide. Ending a life in such a manner is a violation of the commandments of God.
Finally, those who want to get an abortion are told to "consider abortion only after consulting with their local Church leaders and receiving a confirmation through earnest prayer. "  That last step proves the trickiest.

David Bates (Restless Pilgrim) picks up on this, and asks:
If two Mormons pray about a particular issue (e.g. an abortion) and both come to mutually exclusive conclusions, yet both feel in their heart that they're right, are they both right? If not, how is this resolved?
I don't know the answer to that, so I'll leave it open to anyone who wants to tackle it.  In fact, let's present it as a more specific hypothetical: Wendy, a Mormon woman, is raped, and conceives a child.  Her husband, Harold, is obviously upset about the rape.  Reminded of it every time he sees his pregnant wife, Harold decides he wants her to have an abortion.  Wendy has grown attached to her (healthy) child, and feels uneasy about purposely killing him, even if the church says it's okay.

In keeping with the church's teaching, they speak to their church leader and pray on it.  After much prayer, Harold still believes Wendy should have an abortion, while Wendy believes she shouldn't.  Presuming that they just don't see eye-to-eye on this, what should Harold and Wendy do, from a Mormon perspective?  Should Wendy defer to her husband, or save the life of her child? I'm curious about this because I think it's illuminating for LDS thoughts on spousal roles, abortion, and the use of prayer in decision-making.  Any takers?

39 comments:

  1. I had many of these same thoughts and questions when I first learned of the LDS view on abortion from a very knowledgeable Mormon friend. I'll pass the link along to him, and perhaps he will comment and give us all some insight.

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    1. http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/daily/sexuality/abortion.html

      This explains the LDS view in the best possible way.

      Read the entire article. Don't pick through it, read the entire thing. If you read the entire thing, you will see that the church never actually gives the "OK" for an abortion. The "exceptions" listed above, are only a list of times when church discipline is not enacted against the one getting the abortion. They are still, however, fully accountable before God and his judgement.

      Please read the article in the link provided. It will explain everything to your satisfaction.

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  2. I called the LDS hotline and this is the answer I was given - A woman who has an abortion is condemned to hell. She may do works in her ward and may consult with her bishop, but she has exiled herself to hell.. There is no redemption of her soul - none, whatsoever.

    So - what good is prayer if you decide the outcome and then are exiled to hell for having gone against God's desire for your life?

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    1. I don't believe you for a moment. Mormons don't believe in hell (in the traditional sense), and they don't believe that people can be "exiled" to hell, or that anyone is "beyond redemption." Certainly not for abortion.

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  3. Leslie, thanks!

    Chimakuni, good question -- I'm interested what Mormons have to say about that aspect, too. In fairness, I'm not sure if the auto-damnation applies to women who have abortions because they think God and their ward leader told them it was okay.

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  4. You said:

    "(2) think God both condemns and condones abortion. But God doesn't contradict Himself - abortion is always and everywhere wrong, and the LDS know, or should know, that."

    what you suggest is a false dilemma. God can condemn a practice, yet make allowances for exceptional circumstances. God condemns killing, and yet there are several instances in the Old Testament where God does in fact sanction killing in his name. The Bible is full of "exceptions" to God's commandments. To act like this kind of thing is unique to Mormonism is misleading.

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  5. If you're fishing for comments, I suppose I'll bite.

    The LDS Church's position on abortion is that it is a grave sin and is only acceptable in rare cases wherein it has been determined by competent medical counsel that the mother's life is in danger either physically or from the emotional damage resulting from a traumatic rape or act of incest. There is also allowance for the rare situation where modern medicine will not be able to keep the baby alive until birth.

    The LDS position is similar to the Catholic position on murder. The Chatechism of the Catholic Church, Article 5, allows for murder in rare cases, "Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one's own life than of another's."

    Also, contrary to a prior post, the LDS position is that abortion is a sin that can forgiven through genuine repentance. Those who commit the sin of abortion would not be condemned to hell if they repent.

    The position of the LDS church has been clearly stated in an address given recently by LDS Apostle Russell M. Nelson.

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  6. Neal and David,

    Both of you raise similar points. Neal, you claim that God forbids killing, but permits it in certain cases; David, you claim that the Church forbids murder, but permits it in certain cases.

    In actuality, each of you are half-right: both God and the Church forbid murder, but permit killing in certain cases. The two aren't the same. I know that the English word in the KJV of the Ten Commandments is "kill," but the Hebrew word means "murder," and that's what the KJV meant when it was written, 400 years ago. As Mary Catelli has explained: "That's 'You shall not murder.' The reason the KJV says 'kill' is because at the time, 'kill' meant 'murder.' This is why David 'slew' Goliath rather than killed him." So what they called slaying, we'd call killing; and what they'd call killing, we'd call murdering. So it's murder, not killing, which God prohibits. Otherwise, as you note, Neal, He's contradicting Himself all over the place, and God doesn't contradict Himself. Of course, if God orders the taking of a life, it's by definition not murder, since God is the Author of both life and death (otherwise, it would seemingly be murder for God to let any innocent person die).

    David, I'm a bit more surprised at your mistake, thinking that the Catholic Church is okay with murder in the case of self-defense. You refer to Article 5 of the section of the Catechism dealing with the Fifth Commandment, yet that part of the Catechism says quite literally the opposite of what you say it does. It says, "no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being" (CCC 2258). So murder is always and everywhere forbidden, regardless of circumstance, no exceptions. They then explain that "The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. 'The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one's own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not'" (CCC 2263).

    So your claim that the Catholic Church makes an exception to the prohibition against murder is twice expressly refuted in the very article you cite: (1) the right to self-defense isn't an exception, and (2) there are no exceptions. In truth, the Church and God are in perfect harmony: murder is always and everywhere forbidden, while killing is in some circumstances permissible.

    So I don't think that either of these work to discredit the Catholic view, or to explain how the Mormon view is acceptable. Even if God did sometimes contradict Himself, why would abortion be one of His "exceptions"? What possible moral rationale would justify intentionally killing a child simply because the child was the result of incest?

    Joe

    P.S. David, the link you provide is the exact same one that I quoted from in the original post.

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  7. Thank you David for elucidating the matter in a very Christlike, noninflammatory manner. May God bless you abundantly and keep you, and grant you salvation and high station in Heaven.

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  8. There is a similar debate as to the acceptability of embryonic stem-cell research. Back in 2005, I posted on my blog a review of an article from slate.com that was published back in 2001 when Bush was considering the matter. Sen. Gordon Smith, who, of course, did not speak for the LDS Church as a whole, made an argument from a Mormon theological understanding that one could support embryonic stem-cell research, contrary, of course, to Catholic position.

    http://alanphipps.blogspot.com/2005/05/reflecting-on-sen.html

    I was essentially told by LDS members that the question as to when life begins was open to discussion and debate until "the Prophet" receives a revelation concerning the matter.

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  9. even if this were true:
    "I was essentially told by LDS members that the question as to when life begins was open to discussion and debate until "the Prophet" receives a revelation concerning the matter."

    If there was some question why would the LDS church not air on the side of caution? Particularly with the understanding of what was at stake.

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  10. David and Neal,

    I'd also like to get either of your takes on the article and issues here:

    http://catholicdefense.blogspot.com/2011/07/total-apostasy-big-issue-dividing.html

    And why use a Catholic stance to justify your own? Would it not make more sense to justify yours and then show why you think the Catholic stance is wrong? Otherwise, your arguments seem to lead to relativism (well you see it wrong this way so i can see it wrong that way) than an explanation of one truth and one fallacy.

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  11. Joe said: "So what they called slaying, we'd call killing; and what they'd call killing, we'd call murdering."

    Look, I don't know Hebrew, so I'll just take your word for it: KJV "kill" = modern day "murder." But I'm not sure how this is supposed to help your case:

    Numbers 31:17
    17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.

    Exodus 1:16
    16 And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.

    Exodus 4:24
    24 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the Lord met him, and sought to kill him.

    I could no doubt find a few more, but I think you get the point.

    As for your argument that it is not "murder" if is commanded by God, well such an argument is terribly circular reasoning that really cut both ways. "It's not stealing if God says so," "Ohhh, well its not lying if God says so," Or even, "Well, its not abortion if God says so." This kind of semantic game could be played all day long. It gets us nowhere, and proves nothing.

    We don't even have to go that far though. Since you said it's not murder if God says it is okay, and then you say abortion is murder, then it logically follows that God can simply approve abortion under certain circumstances and then those abortions are not murder.

    Please don't get me wrong, I abhor abortion as much as the next guy. But I'm not gonna be the one to tell the father of 5 that his wife is going to die during delivery of number 6 and nothing can be done about it because abortion is illegal with no exceptions. Come on! The exceptions allowed by the LDS are hardly unreasonable, and they are not automatic. Members who are raped, or otherwise under unfavorable circumstances are to discuss the matter with their priesthood leaders, and abortion is only seen as an absolute last option.

    The Catholic and LDS Churches have worked hand in hand in trying to push pro-life causes, why are you trying to enemies out of friends?

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  12. Neal,

    (1) One of the major reasons it's important to talk to you all about it is precisely because we're allies. 90% of the time, we see eye to eye on abortion. We arrive at the same conclusions (abortion is wrong) for largely the same reason (life begins at conception, and abortion is murder).

    So I can speak to you in a way I can't to someone who's openly pro-choice; simultaneously, when I see the LDS Church embracing the murder of infants, even some of the time, I shudder. It's more than the loss of a valuable political ally. It's the loss of a lot of souls.

    (2) None of the passages you cited use the same Hebrew word that the Ten Commandments use. So while they're all being translated "kill," there are at least three different Hebrew words with different meanings. It turns out that the KJV is actually much more inconsistent than I realized. Not only does it translate three different Hebrew words to the same English word (kill), it does the same thing in reverse. It translates the Hebrew word "harag" as "slay" 100 times, but as "kill" 24 times, and "murder" once. Nevertheless, the Hebrew word used in the Ten Commandments is "ratsach," which has the clear connotation of "murder," regardless of how it's translated.

    Because of how dicey the grammar is, just use common sense instead. Is there any point in Scripture where God commands murder? If not, then there's no inconsistency. On that note, I'm actually a bit confused at your angle here: are you trying to prove that God does contradict Himself by issuing "exceptions" to His moral code? That's a losing wager (2 Timothy 2:13), but also an odd one for a religious man to be chasing.

    (3) To address the meat of your comment, I should double-check something: we both agree that the unborn child is a child, right? That when a child is born three months early, the major thing separating him from another child who goes the full nine months is geography, right? Neither is of greater or lesser intrinsic worth during those three months, just based upon which one happened to exit the womb first?

    Because if that's so, your proposal seems frighteningly barbaric. You're defending abortion as a "last option" for women "who are raped, or otherwise under unfavorable circumstances." If I told you I thought it was okay for Casey Anthony to murder her daughter Caylee if it turned out that Casey had been raped, or was otherwise under unfavorable circumstances, how much credibility would I have if I said that I abhor toddler murder as much as the next guy?

    I hope you understand why I need to present this in stark terms, and I'm genuinely not meaning to be uncharitable. But while we've largely used the euphemisms of "abortion," and you dwell on the unfortunate position many women are in, what you're actually advocating is that the death and dismemberment of an infant is sometimes a morally permissible idea. In charity, I can't be silent on that point.

    In Christ,

    Joe.

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  13. Joe,

    Yes, I agree that the unborn child is in fact a child. People who try to claim otherwise are, in my view, playing semantic games. However, I feel you are doing the exact same thing here with the “kill” vs. “murder,” or the various Hebrew words so translated. The bottom line is God commands us not to take the life of another human being, yet under certain circumstances he allows (and even commands) the taking of human life. Just calling it by a different name simply because God “approves” does not change that fact. You may justify such however you wish, just as I have as a God-believing person. However, to not allow that same kind of justification for the LDS position on abortion is a double-standard. As I already pointed out, by your logic it’s not “murder” if God says it is okay. If that is the case, then if God says abortion is okay under certain circumstances then, by your definition, abortion, under those circumstances, would not be murder.

    No, I am not arguing that God is contradicting, or can contradict himself. Rather, I’m arguing (at stated above) that by insisting that the LDS position on abortion is a “contradiction” you are setting up a double standard, where what might be seen as a “contradiction” in the Bible, or in your own belief is allowed to be justified by some means, while what appears to be a “contradiction” in the belief or practice of others is not also allowed to be justified by the exact same means.

    I did not come to argue the morality of abortion, even under the most strenuous of circumstances. My intent was simply point to out what I view as an unfair double standard and that there can be more than just the either-or fallacy (false dilemma) set up above (“either” God approves abortion, “or” he does not). I will say this however: if you are comfortable justifying God’s commanding of genocide in the Old Testament (as I am), then it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to see how there can be moral justification for abortion as well.

    Lastly, for clarification purposes, I am not saying that I would personally approve abortion under any circumstances. I can’t honestly say how I would respond if my wife or daughter were in one of those situations. It is no doubt a difficult decision to make, one in which I don’t think any of us have the right to judge others on how they decide to handle it. In my view it is not fair to castrate those who recognize the difficulty and sensitivity of such situations by allowing – not necessarily approving – abortion as an option in those sensitive circumstances. I tend to think I would insist on delivery in the cases rape, incest, or even child health problems. When it comes the life of the mother, I have a harder time. Would I really just let my wife die in the delivery when there is a possibility of saving her life? I don’t know how to answer that – I pray that such a decision never has to be made (by me, or anyone else, though I realize the sad reality is it has to be made all-time by others).

    Of course, I say all this in the comfort of my kitchen table on my laptop enjoying my Fruit Loops, having no idea what kind of anguish it might cause individuals and families who bear the burden of carrying a child conceived through rape, etc. You might feel comfortable judging under such circumstances, but I do not. Just remember the judgments we make here effect the way will be judged at the bar of God (Matt. 7:2).

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  14. Uh Oh. It looks like we have delved into territory where greater minds have already tread so I thought I would brush up on a little Aquinas.

    http://www.newadvent.org/summa/3064.htm

    From what I can tell Aquinas defines murder as the taking of an innocent life without proper authority.


    So abortion would be wrong for 1. its an innocent life that even though its the product of rape or incest is not guilty of that sin. 2. Although the baby might risk the life of the mother, this is unintentional, so does not fall under self defense. 3. There is no authority which can order the killing of the child except for God and since he found the child worthy of life in whatever situation an abortion would be an direct violation of his creative will.

    With that in mind. As much as I might sympathize with the horrible heartbreaking situations that some women might find themselves with child, we must see that an innocent life must be protected at all costs. If we find one reason to kill the innocent or even worse to say that God wills the death of an innocent that he created, then we cease to live as christians and all our souls are in jeopardy.

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  15. It wasn't me publishing that Aquinas under a psuedonym Joe ;).

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  16. Neal,

    Thanks for continuing this discussion, and your charitable tone. I know we still don't see eye to eye, but I think it's been helpful trying to see the Truth through each other's perspective. A few comments/questions:

    (1) I agree with you that the hardest situation of all of the exceptions we've talked about is where the life of the mother is threatened, particularly if she has other young kids. Here, an abortion may seem like the least selfish option, since she'd be giving up one child in order to care for the rest. And quite frankly, we share some amount of common ground. Abortion is still forbidden, since you can't intentionally take an innocent human life, even if your motives are good, but there are certain procedures which are permissible. While sometimes termed "indirect abortion," they're more accurately not abortion. For example, women with cancer may go through chemotherapy, even though it threatens the life of their child, because they're not purposely harming their kids. They're trying to kill their cancer, not their baby.

    Two other common cases are surgeries to deal with uterine cancer, or where there is an "ectopic pregnancy"; in both cases, steps can be taken to save the mother's life, even if these steps result in the child's death, as long as the child's death (a) isn't intended, and (b) is sought to be avoided. The pro-life group Human Life International does a good job of explaining the morals guiding these situations.

    (2) It should be noted that these cases aren't abortion from a moral perspective. Think about it this way: you're driving, and your car goes out of control, and you're headed towards a group of kids crossing the street. You have the ability to turn the steering wheel to avoid the group, but in doing so, you endanger the life of some kid walking on the sidewalk. In that case, swerving would be morally licit, to save the lives of the group of kids. Your actions wouldn't be murder, because you're not trying to kill the kid on the sidewalk. Obviously, if you can maneuver the car in such a way as to save both groups, you will.

    So it is in the cases I'm talking about above. It's not abortion, because she's not trying to kill her baby. She's trying to remove her Fallopian tubes or remove cancer from her uterus to not die. If this can be done while preserving the baby's life, she will. These are a narrow category of cases, but they certainly exist. So I think in at least some of the cases you imagine as justifiable "exceptions" to the ban on abortion, we're not really dealing with exceptions at all, but a different set of actions entirely.

    (continued)

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  17. (3) I don’t think I'm playing semantic games. I think you and I both understand the difference between simple “killing,” and “murder.” That is, when a soldier kills another soldier on the battlefield, this is something qualitatively different from when a soldier kills a prisoner in a concentration camp. Even before God tells us murder is wrong, we already know it is, and by the light of natural law, even atheists can recognize that those two things are different. International law reflects this reality, because every nation knows it to be true. So, no need to get hung up on particular Hebrew verbage.

    So, then, the question becomes a simple and straightforward one: is killing a child because he's the product of rape murder, or is it something else? In answering this, it shouldn't particularly matter (as far as I can tell) whether the child is born or unborn.

    (4) I'm relieved to hear that you don't think you'd approve abortion personally, but I'm still at a loss as to what moral argument favors abortion in cases of rape, incest, or the child's health: why is it even an option?

    (5) I'm curious as to your take on the Harold-Wendy hypo above.

    In Christ,

    Joe

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  18. Neal and Joe:

    Father Merrin has responded to both of your positions with simplicity, and without the need for lengthy and often tortuous letters.

    If someone is coming after me with a 45 auto threatening to take my life I would be clearly justified, in God's eyes, if I have to kill him to defend my family and myself. No need to argue here about the words "murder" and "killing."

    Secondly I know of no unborn child who can come after me with a 45 auto, so if I kill that child, an innocent person, I am guilty in God's eyes of murder.

    Father Merrin said it better but I thought it worth commenting on in any case.

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  19. Hello. I'm Leslie's "very knowledgeable Mormon friend". (Thanks for the compliment Leslie.) I'd like to say hello to everyone on the blog, and give a big hug to all of my Catholic brothers and sisters out there. I was a missionary in Spain back in the day, and some of my best friends to this day are Catholic priests in Spain with whom I stay in contact. Some of the best discussions on doctrine that I've had to date were with my brethren there in Spain, so I once again want to give some love to my dear Catholic friends. :) Also, I want to make it clear that I hold no hostility to anyone or any church. I'm going to say some things that you may or may not take offense to, but that's not out of disrespect. I've found, however, that being blunt about our beliefs and yours is the best way to get to the root of the issue rather than trying to dance around each others' feelings. Hopefully we can all be thick skinned enough to take it as discussion and not contentious argument. Once again : <3 my Catholic friends. (Especially Leslie.)
    First, I want to correct something. I haven't read through all of the comments because I'm short on time, but I did read chimakuni's... and I quote.
    chimakuni said...


    "I called the LDS hotline and this is the answer I was given - A woman who has an abortion is condemned to hell. She may do works in her ward and may consult with her bishop, but she has exiled herself to hell.. There is no redemption of her soul - none, whatsoever. "

    I'll say this nicely, yet bluntly. Chimakuni is a liar. And Chimakuni knows it. 1.) This is not our belief. 2.) Mormons don't say "condemned to hell" because we don't believe in Hell. (New blog topic!) 3.) No one "exiles themself" in the Mormon church (that is, however, a Catholic belief. i.e. at the moment you commit abortion, you believe yourself to be excommunicated without any church action. [source : Bishop of Huesca Spain, in talks with him 12 years ago.] Mormons don't have any such doctrine about self excommunication.) 4.) We do not believe that there are any sins (save sin against the Holy Ghost) for which there would be no repentance or redemption.
    Chimakuni... whoever you are... I invite you to repent and admit that you didn't actually call the LDS hotline. That instead, you took some of your own beliefs, told a lie and mixed it with some things that you've read. Come clean. Not a single Mormon anywhere in the world... much less the church hotline, would have ever said what you just attributed to our church. In fact, I feel that what you've said is an attempt to slander/libel our church with known falsehoods. Can't we talk about what each other really believes meaningfully and avoid making things up? Fact is always so much more interesting than fiction anyway... don't you think?

    Now, with that out of the way, let's get to the topic at hand. Abortion. It doesn't surprise me at all that two 19-year-old missionaries had no clue about the exceptions to the general abortion guidelines of "no abortion". In fact, abortion isn't something we spend much time preaching about in church. Instead, in Sunday School, we'll usually have a lesson on chastity and morality and abortion is mentioned in the context of "don't do it." However, when a member of the church finds themselves in a situation such as "I will die if I continue this pregnancy. What should I do?" and goes to consult their bishop, they often find out that there are situations when the church putatively allows it. I'd imagine that at age 19 and supposedly still ignorant of issue of sex, pregnancy and so on, that they wouldn't be familiar with this. I, however, have presided over congregations and counseled members on this issue.

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  20. Before we dig into that, I'd like to rewind a bit and talk about what we think in regards to illicit abortions. I tend to refer to these as ex post facto birth control. The "Oh no. I got drunk, had sex and now I'm pregnant. I'll go abort it." When a Mormon does something along those lines, and then has an abortion against church teachings what happens next is called a disciplinary council. The person(s) involved meet with their bishop and his two counselors. Their job is to find out the entire extent of the sin and make a determination. Now, sometimes that determination is to refer it up to the next level of church hierarchy. (A bishop is over one congregation... like your parish priests sort of. A Stake President is over multiple congregations. Much like Catholic Bishops.) If the sin is found to be very serious, and may affect someone's membership in the church, it is promoted to the Stake level. The Stake President and his two counselors plus twelve brethren meet with the individual, discuss the sin, and then pray and make a determination. Options for discipline involve (and this is for whatever sin... not just abortion) no action, disfellowshipping the member, excommunication, and sometimes referring them to authorities in cases which involve serious violations of the law. (Think pedophiles, or child molesters. New blog post topic for you!)

    Now, the most serious possible punishment in our church is excommunication. What does excommunication mean to a Mormon? It means, simply, you're not a member of the church and it's as if you'd never been baptized. Excommunicated members have the opportunity to repent of their sins and to be rebaptized into the church. This isn't a simple process, but it's the ultimate goal when someone is excommunicated. Think about that for a second. When we excommunicate someone, the ultimate goal is for them to repent of their serious sins, and then be rebaptized at some later date. Sometimes this takes years, or even decades. I know a man in Spain who stole donation money from the church and he was in a position of authority. He was excommunicated and 8 years later was still trying to be rebaptized. I relate all of this so that our discussion of abortion and punishment vs. non-punishment will have a meaningful context. Obviously Mormons and Catholics differ on many doctrines and excommunication is one of them. I have no interest in debating the merits of one vs the other, and that's not the point of my upcoming comment. I'm simply framing our discussion of abortion.

    Now, on to the point of your blog post. You say it's duplicitous to allow abortions in some cases, but deny them in others. You obviously hold to your church's doctrine that any abortion for any reason ever is against God's will. Fine. I am more than happy to accept that you feel that way and accept that you live your life that way. I see no sin in that and think it's just fine. Your argument, however, is that when we make exclusions... certain situations in which we allow it... that it's tantamount to murder. I'll take issue with that, and here's why.

    As you so aptly pointed out, the Church Handbook of Instruction states that abortion in cases of rape, incest, danger to the mother's health, etc are only to be performed after thorough prayer and consultation with the member's leaders. (In this case, it would be the member's bishop.) Here's where we differ from Catholics. Mormons believe FIRMLY in personal revelation from God. We believe that God can and does speak directly to us and answers our prayers. That we can commune with God and know His will by Him telling us. We don't believe that revelation is restricted to our clergy.

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  21. I would contend that whatever God commands is morally just. That if God appeared to you... stood in front of you and said "You need to have an abortion", then that abortion would not be "wrong" or a sin in any way. In fact, it would be sinful to disobey Him.

    While I know you're not all Mormon (obviously), I'll take one example from the Book of Mormon, and if you'll hear me out, it will be instructive on our view of life, death, murder, etc. I'll give some background so it's not completely foreign to you all. The first prophet's writings in the Book of Mormon are those of Lehi. A prophet in Jerusalem 600 BC, he and his family fled the impending destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of Babylon after being warned by the Lord. Lehi, however, sent his sons back to Jerusalem, at the Lord's behest, to gather scriptures; the books of the Old Testament to that point... the writings of the prophets. The Lord instructed him to do this so that they could raise all of their posterity in accordance with the laws of God. One of Lehi's sons was named Nephi, and Nephi is generally the hero of the first few books. As Nephi and his brothers arrive to Jerusalem, they visit the man (Laban) who the Lord had told Lehi to send them to. They ask for the sacred writings. He throws them out and tries to have them slain. After several failed attempts, the older brothers are ready to give up and return to their father. Nephi encourages them to have faith in the Lord and he goes in alone to Jerusalem by night. The rest goes like this... (1 Nephi 4:5-10 http://lds.org/scriptures/bofm/1-ne/4?lang=eng)

    "5 And it was by night; and I caused that they should hide themselves without the walls. And after they had hid themselves, I, Nephi, crept into the city and went forth towards the house of Laban.

    6 And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.

    7 Nevertheless I went forth, and as I came near unto the house of Laban I beheld a man, and he had fallen to the earth before me, for he was drunken with wine.

    8 And when I came to him I found that it was Laban.
    ...
    10 And it came to pass that I was constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban; but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I shed the blood of man. And I shrunk and would that I might not slay him."

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  22. Now, at this point Nephi's reaction is similar to what any of ours would be. We don't like to kill. We don't want to kill. We don't want to take a life. In general, we're good people, and that doesn't count as "good". But then the Lord gives His reason... (1 Nephy 4:13-18)

    "13 Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief.

    14 And now, when I, Nephi, had heard these words, I remembered the words of the Lord which he spake unto me in the wilderness, saying that: Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my commandments, they shall prosper in the land of promise.

    15 Yea, and I also thought that they could not keep the commandments of the Lord according to the law of Moses, save they should have the law.

    16 And I also knew that the law was engraven upon the plates of brass.

    17 And again, I knew that the Lord had delivered Laban into my hands for this cause—that I might obtain the records according to his commandments.

    18 Therefore I did obey the voice of the Spirit, and took Laban by the hair of the head, and I smote off his head with his own sword."

    A brutal account. But Nephi followed the commandments of the Lord. So was it murder? A modern court of justice would say "yes". However, the Lord giveth and taketh away in all things... including life. If He tells you or I to take a life, it's obviously His perrogative as He is God, and dare we disobey?

    My point is this : If we include in our Church Handbook of Instruction (Book 2) that abortion is a "No No", but leave wiggle room in very specific circumstances for God to tell us through revelation after much prayer and fasting and consultation with church leadership that we should perform an abortion, I sisimply see that as allowing God to decide when God gives and takes away life. Now, you may say "He could simply miraculously end the pregnancy" and you'd be correct. He could. But in general, He allows us to carry out the miracles after He has revealed His will to us. He generally makes us His hands here on Earth. If He were to wave His hand and make the pregnancy go away, or if He told us to terminate it... is it any different? I'd posit that no, it's not.

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  23. Also, the wisdom in deferring to the Lord on such matters is obvious. He's the omniscient one. Not me. He knows all that has happened and that will, and he understands the consequences in ways that we can't imagine. So, in situations like this, if I were placed in the shoes of your imaginary Harold, I would defer to the Lord. I'd fast, and I'd pray and I would ask god what His will is. If He says "keep the baby", I would keep the baby. If he said "perform the abortion", I'd have the abortion done. If he said "You decide", I'd err on the side of caution and not have the abortion.

    But let's mix it up a little. Say it's my 9 year old daughter that was raped. (Heaven forbid, and I struggle just to type that.) And she winds up pregnant. Say we consider abortion due to the small size of her body and her potentially dying from difficulties of labor. We consult the Lord and He says "Don't abort it." Then we tough it out. Say His answer is "Abort it." Then I obviously would. And let's say His answer is "You decide." Well, in this case, I'd opt for abortion, and I'd trust the Lord to give that spirit a temple elsewhere. You may call that murder, but a 9 year old healthy person, to me... ranks higher than a fetus. That's the scientist in me. And I don't find scripture or revelation that changes my opinion on that.

    Now, at the bottom of your post you bring up a completely different issue. How do we deconflict in a marriage. Frankly, that's just too big a can of worms to open completely. I'd argue that it is individual to each marriage, and the church doesn't teach us that a man can dominate his wife. Instead... (D&C 121:41 http://lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/121?lang=eng)

    " 41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;"

    And that's how I handle my marriage as well. It's often said... not just among Mormons, that in every marriage there are three people. Husband, Wife, and God. And that it takes all three to make the marriage work as it should. I believe that firmly. And were we (my wife and myself) to disagree on such a profound issue as abortion, we'd go to the Lord until we agreed, or we'd take no action. That's how I personally would handle it. You may get myriad answers on that from Mormon husbands, but that's my answer for my wife and me.

    That's all I have for tonight. It's late. I get up super-early for work. I appreciate the opportunity to chime in on this. I hope we're all still friends, and I hope that chimakuni repents and tells the truth. :) Good night all.

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  24. I second everything Jared said. I'd also add that the consequences of abortion are vastly different from a Catholic perspective to a Mormon one.

    In a Catholic worldview, a newborn baby inherits original sin and requires baptism for any hope of its salvation. An aborted soul is necessarily barred from heaven.

    Mormons believe that "children are alive in Christ" (Book of Mormon Moroni 8:12) and that the Atonement applies to them unconditionally until they arrive at the age of accountability. Thus, an aborted baby will not be condemned for the sin of the parents, and, in fact, will be welcomed into heaven.

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  25. There is a fundamental misunderstanding from the Mormon end on where Catholics are coming from. In the Catholic view: sin is sin. Period.

    God cannot grant "exceptions" to what is sinful. But by the Mormon logic, without realizing it's ramifications, God could tell you (by divine revelation or otherwise) to break any one of the 10 Commandments (e.g. "go worship an idol") under some "exception". Yet this simply cannot be.

    Please, Mormons, do you believe God could ever tell you to worship Satan or an Idol? If "NO", then why couldn't there be an exception?

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  26. @Nick,

    I'd like to speak to what you just said about God making exceptions.

    We're all familiar with Exodus 20, and I quote it... (http://lds.org/scriptures/ot/ex/20?lang=eng)

    "13 Thou shalt not kill."

    Pretty self explanatory. The Lord forbids us from killing. Yet in 1st Samuel 15, the Lord orders mass killing. And I quote again... (http://lds.org/scriptures/ot/1-sam/15?lang=eng)

    " 2 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.

    3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."

    Now, granted, the Lord had a beef with the Amalekites. They were wicked. They had tried to undermine His effort to bring the Israelites out of bondage. But were their suckling infants guilty? Had they committed any sin worthy of destruction?

    The point isn't to question God's actions. The point is that God tells us "Thou shalt not kill" and then tells us sometimes "Go wipe out this people." What's the distinction? When is it "ok" to kill? Saul sort of did as the Lord instructed him. He killed everyone except king Agag and a few of the choicest sheep. Well, in not killing every last person and creature, he incurred the wrath of the Lord. (1st Samuel 15:10-11)

    " 10¶Then came the word of the Lord unto Samuel, saying,

    11 It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the Lord all night."

    In this case, the sin was that Saul DIDN'T kill as the Lord had instructed him to. Again, my point is this. The Lord God can command us to do as He wills. What He commands, we are obligated to do. If we do it, it is righteousness. If we don't, we are sinful. In Saul's case, he was commanded to obliterate a people, and he didn't do it with exactness, and he was judged by God for it.

    If you take the stance that there are zero exceptions, EVER, then there is no justified killing due to Exodus 20:13, and the Lord is a contradictory being that can't be understood.

    If, however, you take Exodus 20:13 as the rule, and the Lord's override as the exception, then the gospel, Bible and all of His works are consistent.

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  27. Well i must say, viewing Mormonism (a religion I’ve had an academic interest in as of late) from the country i live in (where it is almost completely non-existent), the posts here (particularly the comments) have proved to be quite interesting. Its seems that in Mormonism one is required to adopt a sort of “negotiable” view of God (or Heavenly Father), this is shown in the teaching on abortion, and also in their concept of “continuous revelation” which in certain areas, namely polygamy and the issue of blacks and the priesthood, resembles the Jehovah Witness concept of “new light”.

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  28. Jared,

    How do you address what Joe clearly pointed out before that where you are using "kill" in its current meaning that the Hebrew word used in the commandments is actually our current word murder.... see Joe's response here:

    "(1) One of the major reasons it's important to talk to you all about it is precisely because we're allies. 90% of the time, we see eye to eye on abortion. We arrive at the same conclusions (abortion is wrong) for largely the same reason (life begins at conception, and abortion is murder).

    So I can speak to you in a way I can't to someone who's openly pro-choice; simultaneously, when I see the LDS Church embracing the murder of infants, even some of the time, I shudder. It's more than the loss of a valuable political ally. It's the loss of a lot of souls.

    (2) None of the passages you cited use the same Hebrew word that the Ten Commandments use. So while they're all being translated "kill," there are at least three different Hebrew words with different meanings. It turns out that the KJV is actually much more inconsistent than I realized. Not only does it translate three different Hebrew words to the same English word (kill), it does the same thing in reverse. It translates the Hebrew word "harag" as "slay" 100 times, but as "kill" 24 times, and "murder" once. Nevertheless, the Hebrew word used in the Ten Commandments is "ratsach," which has the clear connotation of "murder," regardless of how it's translated.

    Because of how dicey the grammar is, just use common sense instead. Is there any point in Scripture where God commands murder? If not, then there's no inconsistency. On that note, I'm actually a bit confused at your angle here: are you trying to prove that God does contradict Himself by issuing "exceptions" to His moral code? That's a losing wager (2 Timothy 2:13), but also an odd one for a religious man to be chasing.

    ....."

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  29. @Red Sox fan... why the Red Sox? (Ooops. Wrong topic.) ;)


    I did notice the discussion above about the translation of kill vs murder. I think it's irrelevant to the point I made in the post just above B.C.'s and I'll explain why in a second.

    But to answer you... no... I was not trying to say that God contradicts himself. In fact, I was arguing just the opposite. I'll make my point again, or clarify it.

    With respect to Saul and the Amalekites... if God had not commanded him to destroy them, would it have constituted "murder". (I'm specifically getting to the point you brought up about kill vs. murder.) i.e. if a king took his armies out to a land where people reside and swept through their villages and killed their women and innocent children, would that constitute murder? I would say 100% yes! I would assert that that is the exact definition of murder. The difference, in the case of Saul, was the God commanded him to do it. How can we commit murder on the Lord's errand?

    From Joe's comment above, we have : "So your claim that the Catholic Church makes an exception to the prohibition against murder is twice expressly refuted in the very article you cite: (1) the right to self-defense isn't an exception, and (2) there are no exceptions. In truth, the Church and God are in perfect harmony: murder is always and everywhere forbidden, while killing is in some circumstances permissible."

    I agree. There are no exceptions to murder. But the question is, "Is it murder if God told you to do it?" That's the point I'm driving at. With Saul, it wasn't murder to kill the innocent suckling infants, because God commanded him to do it.

    Let's define killing vs. murder maybe more broadly. Killing in self defense Joe says is ok, and so does Catholicism and most of society. What about killing in the name of the Lord? Apparently the Bible thinks it's ok. (Saul.) But we could say murder would be "unsanctioned killing" or killing when God has prohibited it.

    Getting back to the original topic of abortion, if God tells me I can abort a baby, is it murder? It's "sanctioned" by Him... so is it murder?

    Where we differ is that we Mormons believe that God can communicate with us directly. B.C pointed out that we do believe in continuous revelation. That God speaks... not spake. That prophets are on the Earth today and that we can receive revelation through prophets as well as personally. Catholicism and Mormonism differ on that point, and to me it all comes back to that. Since Catholics believe in a closed cannon and that God can't step into an issue today, then you're bound by making hard and fast rules that must be followed because that's all you have to go by. We as Mormons have the rules, and then we have the guidance of modern day revelation to help us understand the rules and apply them to each and every unique situation which arises. Situations unfathomable in Judea of 2000 BC. But we take the rules and principles laid out in holy writ throughout the ages, ask the Lord how best to apply them in the modern world, and through revelation and through prophets we receive guidance on the how/where/what in that regard.

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  30. Jared,

    I appreciate your candor here, it's very helpful. To reiterate the earlier two points: (1) God forbids murder, not killing; and (2) God never sanctions murder.

    You gave two counter-examples against # 2. One was of “the Ban,” from 1 Samuel 15, in which every man, woman, child, and even animal was wiped out in a village. The other was the killing of Laban in the Mormon book of 1 Nephi.

    I don’t think that either of these were murder, and it’s not because God commanded them. It’s because both actions were well within what then-modern warfare called for. Remember that the Old Testament takes place in an age before prisons and international tribunals. Your choices weren’t “kill or capture,” but “kill or be killed.” So the moral calculus was necessarily different. So in the example you give from 1 Nephi, involved the killing of Laban while sleeping, it was that, or let him wake up and kill Nephi. (Obviously, I don’t accept this book as canonical, inspired, or historical, but the example of killing sleeping enemies is also found in places like Judges 4:21, where Jael killed Sisera).

    Likewise, under the rules of warfare of the day, the Ban was a way of preventing a constant cycle of revenge, as the children of a slain man sought to avenge his honor. Its effect was, ironically, intended to limit the amount of bloodshed and lead to lasting peace. Granted, if done today, it would be murder, but that’s precisely because it’s outside the bounds of modern acceptable warfare.

    In technical terms, we would say that the Jus in bello has evolved over time. Msgr. Charles Pope wrote on the subject: “In an early and brutal time God commanded tough solutions. Once his Law established deeper roots in a brutal world God could insist that indiscriminate killing was no longer to be permitted. Later books and surely the New Testament would never support such a ‘solution’ as the Ban.” I agree with this assessment.

    In fact, the Jus in bello continues to evolve, as things recently thought acceptable (like chemical warfare) are now considered barbaric, and beneath what a civilized country will do. There may yet come a day when the very idea of killing enlisted soldiers in battle strikes us as abhorrent; after all, they had no say in the policies which drove their countries into war. But for now, killing soldiers in battle is unquestionably an acceptable part of warfare, and so it isn’t considered murder.

    Additionally, in both examples, the warfare is done to punish the wicked. The mission in 1 Samuel 15 was to “Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out” (1 Sam 15:18). In 1 Nephi, the killing of Laban is justified because “the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes” (1 Nephi 4:13).

    (continued)

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  31. So I don’t see these situations as particularly analogous to abortion. We’re not killing babies as part of some broader war, or to punish them because they’re particularly wicked babies.

    Instead, you seem to be arguing for what Kierkegaard termed “the teleological suspension of the ethical,” that God can command you to do evil things, and this makes them not evil. As you put it, “Is it murder if God told you to do it?” Kierkegaard offers the example of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac (in Fear and Trembling). But the point is precisely that God wouldn’t actually require human sacrifice because He doesn’t actually command evil. Simply saying, “it’s not evil if God commands it” isn’t what I mean. I mean that if it’s evil, God won’t (and even can’t) command it. Kierkegaard is wrong, Aquinas is right: God, who is Good Incarnate, cannot do or will that which is Evil. It can’t be done.

    Since we know murder is wrong, God cannot order you to murder. For example, if you feel in prayer like God may want you to start shooting up a local Dairy Queen, that spirit’s not of God. We can say this objectively, without needing to be in your head or heart. Somewhat contrary to how you’ve described it, Catholics actually think that God can still reveal His Will for individuals through prayer and discernment: we think that there are no new doctrines, but that doesn’t mean He’s stopped speaking to us. But we think He doesn’t contradict Himself, so any message you may be discerning contrary to His revealed Will is a message you’re not discerning correctly (or is a message from someone other than God).

    On a related note, you don’t claim that God commands abortion, just that He permits it (right?). If that’s the case, there would be no teleological suspension of the ethical anyway. This isn’t God commanding you to do something you know to be wrong, and you obeying out of faith. Rather, you’re saying that God says it’s okay for you to do immoral things.

    You’re also not really talking about revelation from a Voice from Heaven, or an angel, or a known prophet, but the quiet movement of God in the stillness of your heart in prayer. And it is possible to muck up the message of that quiet movement. So you’re not really saying (as far I can tell) that God directly spoke to an individual and said, “Get thee to Planned Parenthood.” Rather, the individual prayed, thought “I’m going to go to Planned Parenthood,” and felt like God approved, or at least permitted the action. Is that a fair assessment of what you’re saying?

    So I think that unlike killing members of a wicked enemy people in combat, abortion isn’t an acceptable part of warfare (regardless of the time period we’re talking about), and that God would never permit it, as a result.

    Two quick final questions:
    (1) Just to make sure I understand you correctly, your argument applies just as well to killing a baby after birth, or gunning down a schoolhouse full of kids, right? That as long as the person believes God is telling them to do it, that’s okay?

    (2) What to do in the Harold-Wendy hypo above, where the couple disagrees?

    In Christ,

    Joe.


    P.S. The Msgr. Charles Pope article I quoted from is available here: http://blog.adw.org/2010/01/did-god-command-genocide/

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  32. Jared: Just realized that I missed one of your comments, in which you answered the Harold-Wendy hypo. Mea culpa!

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  33. I am a little disturbed by some of the comments I'm reading. The idea that God is the author of life, that he grants life and he takes it away, but ultimately his ways are fickle, that sometimes he creates only to ask us to kill it before its ever sinned is contrary to established Christian thought. If this is true then we are not Christians but pagans who must be an oracle for tempermental idols whose judgments shift with the wind.

    If the question is did God order people to murder in the Old Testament? I suggest everyone read the works of Augustine and Aquinas in order to see what greater minds found on the subject.

    But as for the New Covenant of Christ there is no question that God no longer orders the death of sinners. In Acts 5 it is God who kills Ananias and Sapphira whose sin Peter had revealed. This is why we are not ordered to stone adulterers, or practicing homosexuals, or witches. Instead we are required to love and to allow the judgment of God to unfold in his Providence.

    It is this Providence of God that we must trust in and if his Providence brought good out of evil by bringing life out of rape or incest then it is the height of hubris to say it is not good.

    If God saw fit to bring forth life in whatever situation then in abortion we are saying our judgments are HIGHER than God's. That God made a mistake. That God is in the wrong. That we know better and if we were God that we would do things differently and we are going to anyway.

    The law of Christians is that we must treat the least amoung us as we would treat Christ. And in the preborn we find the innocent, speechless Christ who does not raise his hands in defense. Will we crucify him again?

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  34. Hello Jared,

    TWO points I think solidify the Catholic interpretation and approach to sin/morality here:

    (1) The danger and absurdity in saying God can command sin under "exceptions" is that God could then technically command us to break any of the 10 Commandments, including Idolatry, Adultery, Theft, etc, as "needed" by a situation.


    (2) The only proof you've offered for "exceptions" is a few examples where God commands Israelites to finish off an opposing nation. But if these were not situations of murder (which Catholics say they are not) then this not only harmonizes with #1, it obviously doesn't help establish an "exception".

    The key to interpreting your prooftexts is this: our western minds have a hard time understanding collective punishment since our societies are so individualized. Yet in the ancient world, and even many nations today, society is closely knit such that the shame of one brings shame on all. This is particularly true of a king or father of a household falls into sin, it brings shame and guilt upon all. This is not to say everyone is equally guilty, only that one person's poor actions can lead to the suffering of many. Take the example of Adam and Eve and how suffering and death were introduced by them, or when the many sins of Israel caused the whole nation (including kids and innocent folks) to go into exhile and slaughter, or when a father spends the rent money on gambling and causes the whole family to get kicked out, etc, etc.

    Thus, when certain leaders of opposing groups sinned, it was perfectly in the realm of justice (and not murder at all) for God to include the destruction of the whole city along with the king. This is further realized by the fact the family and lineage were highly prized, so to take out those would be a sign of severe punishment for that king or leader.

    Once the passages are read in this light, there is no hint or suggestion of an "exception", nor any danger of getting tangled up with #1.

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  35. This has been awesome fun; good civil discussion. I will stick with Fr. Damien Merrin comments quoting Aquinas on the matter.

    Jared - THANK YOU for joining the discussion!


    Joe & Nick and anyone else I am forgetting - (boss is coming) bravo!

    God Bless all of you and Peace be with You!

    Eric Pinola

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  36. all of you people make me sick, especially joe. oh, did your interpretation of Kierkegaard prove to you that abortion is never ok/?? That is just amazing, Joe. You are so well versed in philosophy. What a surprise that your interpretations of philosophical arguments sum to your beleifs being correct and other peoples beliefs being incorrect. ground breaking- you should really go for a Phd in philosophy. you are disgusting in every way imaginable.

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    Replies
    1. Do you care to interact with the article at all and attempt to prove your position?

      Delete