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Infertility is a huge topic, as large in its own way as the topic of birth control. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to do it justice. I fully recognize that this can be an extremely sensitive issue for couples for many reasons. I absolutely do not judge any patients for making choices in dealing with infertility that I would not recommend professionally. I also fully celebrate the life of all children of God, regardless of how they were conceived. With this background in place, I wish simply to make three points.

Natural family planning part 1- Medical overview

NFP is not a single method. Rather, it is a group of different “methods for planning and preventing pregnancies by observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of the menstrual cycle, with the avoidance of intercourse during the fertile phase if pregnancy is to be avoided.” (World Health Organization, 1982)

Features of an ideal family planning method

Before posting on natural family planning (NFP) or any other family planning methods specifically, I think it is worthwhile to consider a more general question: What would you consider the features of an ideal method of family planning? I am talking here about features, not about any specific method. For reasons that may become apparent below, I prefer the broader term “family planning” to the terms “birth control” or “contraception.”

Are sex and procreation connected?

First, I’d like to thank Matt Evans for the invitation to be a guest contributor to T&S. On the too few occasions that I’ve taken the time to look through T&S, I’ve seen a lot of interesting and often edifying discussions. I hope I can contribute constructively. For my first contribution, I’d like to address the question: Is there a connection between having sex and having children?

The Sexual Generation of Jesus

In the May 7th issue of The Christian Post, there is an article entitled “What Religious Beliefs are Shaping American Christians Today?” I noticed the following in that article: “The journal features an article written by Cky Carrigan, national interfaith evangelism missionary with the North American Mission Board and visiting professor of missions at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. on the theology of Mormonism, one of the nation’s fastest-growing religious groups. Carrigan’s article focuses on the Christology of Mormonism, which includes the atonement and the belief that Jesus Christ was born as the result of sexual intercourse between Elohim and Mary.”

MHA in Vermont

I am planning on attending the MHA Conference in Killington, VT, May 26-29. For details, see here. I see that T&S blogger Kristine is presenting; is anyone else from the Bloggernacle going to be there?

Nauvoo Trivia

My family moved to Illinois in 1965 when I was seven years old. Every year for vacation we drove back to visit relatives in Utah, and every year on the way we spent a couple of days in Nauvoo and Carthage. I continue to live in Illinois, so I’ve been there at least a couple of dozen times now.

Celestial Polygamy

About 18 years ago, Eugene England published his essay, “On Fidelity, Polygamy, and Celestial Marriage,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 20/4 (Winter 1987): 138-54, which has since been reprinted in a couple of different venues. A copy is available at the University of Utah Dialogue archive, here. This article was an exercise in speculative theology, in which England took the position that the marriage relationship in the Celestial Kingdom will be monogamous, not polygynous.

Temple Marriage Policy

What would a guest blogging stint be without a little friendly ark steadying? To wit: I propose that the Church do away with its policy that requires a one-year wait between a civil marriage ceremony outside the temple and a temple sealing.

The ideal Mormon university

I want to thank you all for your very generous and interesting comments over the last two weeks during my time in the guest blogger’s chair. Everyone has been most congenial and welcoming. I hope to come back for the guest blogger’s reunion. For my last post, I’d like to

Rock Concerts at BYU

Has anyone ever attended a rock concert at BYU? You may have noticed that they dried up in the mid-1980s, and I am trying to figure out why. In the 1970s artists such as Elton John, America,

Town and Gown

I told Gordon that I’ve been doing some writing about the relationship between Provo and BYU, and if you don’t mind I’d like to enlist the assistance of T&S in helping me solve a few riddles. For those who have never lived in Provo, please pardon the indulgence.

What “Evidences” Really Matter in a Testimony?

A question: what “evidences” might actually matter in obtaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon or of the Restoration? Is the issue one that we (the Church, “on the average”) emphasize too much or not enough? Background: Latter-day Saints rightly emphasize the importance of revelation in gaining knowledge and faith about the things of God. This can exasperate some critics, who wish that we would collapse under the weight of their alleged “evidence” that the Church is false and abandon our testimonies. They may attribute our stubborn persistence in the faith as a sign of lemming-like ignorance and self-deception, thinking that our testimonies are little more than hypnotic delusions shrouded with warm fuzzy feelings. How foreign and frustrating the LDS testimony seems to be to some people, yet it so thoroughly biblical. Peter was a keen thinker, IMO, yet his testimony of the Savior was not based on a consensus of leading scholars, or on DNA studies showing that the DNA of Christ was of divine origin, or on an objective comparison of Christ’s actions with rabbi-approved interpretations of ancient prophecy. It wasn’t even based on the scientific improbability of the miracles Peter saw. When Christ praised Peter for having a testimony of the Savior, it’s source was clear to the Lord: “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 16:17). This rock of…

Precious Assurance of God’s Fairness: Baptism for the Dead

A number of years ago I participated in a science and religion mail list with a group of scientists who were also Christians. It was there where I came to appreciate the faith of scientists of other religions who are able reconcile their faith (esp. Genesis) with modern science. I think everyone in the group accepted the finding that the earth is old, and so forth, often in ways that were remarkably compatible with what James Talmage taught in his landmark sermon, “The Earth and Man.” BTW, that speech is especially important because, as Michael Ash points out, it appears to be “the only exposition of a Quorum member to have been reviewed and approved by at least some, if not all, of the First Presidency, and then published officially by the Church” (“The Mormon Myth of Evil Evolution,” Dialogue, Vol. 35, 2003, pp. 19-59). A poignant moment came when a fellow scientist in the group lamented about the “fact” that most of the world was, based on his mainstream theological views, simply doomed for hell because they never had a chance to hear about Christ. Here is his post: It is a stunning, and somewhat depressing, fact that if our understanding of demographics and history are correct, the vast majority of human beings who are living or who have lived are not Christian. Furthermore, among those who are living, a majority will die not being a Christian. This implies…

Too Serious About the Word of Wisdom?

When I was six years old, my best friend’s mother got out some ice cream for me. When I put a spoon in my mouth, I noticed a strange flavor. I looked at the box to see what the flavor was: COFFEE! Panicking, I put my hand over my mouth and immediately ran home to spit it out in a toilet. The poor woman called my mom to see what was wrong. I’m not sure what she said, but thinking about that experience reminds me of just how overboard good Latter-day Saints sometimes go when it comes to the recommendation-turned-commandment known as the Word of Wisdom. One of the few correct things that most people know about Mormons is that they generally don’t smoke, drink, etc. And that’s one of the few things that some of our members seem to really understand as well. The Word of Wisdom is an inspired and marvelous thing, certainly, but I worry about how much more attention it seems to get in the minds of our youth than, say, avoiding pornography. Wouldn’t it be great if the thing about Mormons that really made us stand out from the mainstream world was our aversion to pornography, even more than our aversion to coffee?

Mental Health in the Church: Suggestions for Leaders

Before my time as guest blogger expires (thanks, Kaimi, for the opportunity!), there’s a serious issue that I’d like to raise, especially for you who are or who will be leaders in the Church. The issue is mental illness. Very few of us have had any training in recognizing and dealing with mental illness, but there is a great need. I would especially urge bishoprics, Relief Society presidents, and other leaders to learn about mental illness and look for its symptoms. Stake leaders, it may be helpful to provide more training abvout mental from competent sources for your leaders so they can better deal with the many forms of mental illness that afflict some of our members. I think my biggest surprises when I was a bishop came from experiences with those who suffered from various forms of mental illness. Some had kept their suffering hidden for years without ever getting help, but how much help was needed all that time. The most serious problems involved those who had been abused as children. I could spend hours writing about what a hell sexual abuse creates for its victims, and how it can inflict such terrible and lasting harm on the human mind. For example, I am absolutely convinced of the reality of multiple personality disorder (an amazing way for the mind to protect itself in the worst of times). Dealing with it in depth as a frightened and inexperienced bishop…

“Our Mothers (and Grandmothers) Knew It”: The Testimony of Talitha Cumi Garlick

A controversial event in Church history occurred when Brigham Young and Sidney Rigdon both presented their arguments to the Church regarding who should lead after the death of Joseph Smith. Many members of the Church have heard that when Brigham Young rose to speak, he seemed to sound like and even look like Joseph Smith, indicating to many witnesses that the mantle of the Prophet had fallen on Brother Brigham. I had long wondered if this story was simply wishful thinking. But when I later found the brief autobiography of my ancestor, Talitha Cumi Garlick (after two marriages, it was Talitha Cumi Garlick Avery Cheney – I’m from the Cheney line) and read her testimony of that event, the story became more credible, closer to home.