05 June 2007

Lost Babies will be Resurrected

There is a book called Gone Too Soon, by Sherri Devashrayee Wittwer, sold at Deseret Book. I would like to share a few excerpts from it.

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"Perhaps the most interesting statement regarding stillborn children is from Bruce R. McConkie in Mormon Doctrine. Elder McConkie states that the issues regarding these babies are

not clearly answered in the revelation so far available for the guidance of the saints in this dispensation. No doubt such things were plainly set forth in those past dispensations when more of the doctrines of salvation were known and taught than have been revealed so far to us.

That masterful document on the origin of man by the First Presidency of the Church (Joseph F. Smith, John Winder, and Anthon H. Lund) appears to bear out the concept that the eternal spirit enters the body prior to a normal birth, and therefore that stillborn children will be resurrected. It states: 'The body of man enters upon its career as a tiny germ or embryo, which becomes an infant, quickened at a certain stage by the spirit whose tabernacle it is, and the child, after being born, develops into a man.'... This interpretation is in harmony with the general knowledge we have of the mercy and justice of that Infinite Being in whose divine economy nothing is ever lost. It would appear that we can look forward with hope and anticipation for the resurrection of stillborn children.

President Brigham Young taught that 'when the mother feels life come to her infant, it is the spirit entering the body prepartory to the immortal existence'; and President Joseph Fielding Smith gave it as his opinion 'that these little ones will receive a resurrection and then belong to us.'

"These statements can be particularly comforting to couples who have lost a baby, even in early pregnancy. Because of medical technology, we know the unborn baby moves and kicks very early in pregnancy [5-6 weeks], long before the woman can feel it. Brigham Young indicated that the baby's movements were a manifestation that the spirit had entered the baby's body. If this is so, then it would appear that even the tiniest of babies would be eligible for the resurrection."

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"As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we look with awe and wonder at the faith of the young Joseph Smith as his fervent prayer was answered and he spoke to God the Father and Jesus Christ. While visions and visitations may not be Heavenly Father's typical response to our prayers, we are told that we can receive answers, even personal revelations, if we ask. The well-known scripture which inspired Joseph Smith to pray counsels, 'If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering' (James 1:5-6).

"After we have come to an understanding of our Heavenly Father and his plan for us, and have learned to develop pure faith and trust in God while keeping his commandments, we may seek answers from him regarding the losses we face - answers that perhaps only the Spirit can reveal. While the scriptures may not deal explicitly with our lost infants and the meaning of their lives, we are assured that whatever we ask in faith will be given. We are counseled to 'hearken unto [him], and open your ears that ye may hear, and your hearts that ye may understand, and your minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to your view' (Mosiah 2:9). The Lord further promises that 'whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good, in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you' (Moroni 7:26)."

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"To lose a baby is surely one of the cruelest events in nature. The bond between parent and child, even yet unborn, can be one of the most profound and intimate bonds ever experienced. Losing a baby can produce a devastation so deep and so complete that many wonder if rebounding from such an experience is even possible. But the Lord had told us to 'Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days' (D&C 24:8).

"Patience is not an easy thing to have during a crisis; but if we can concentrate on the love of God, allow ourselves to depend on his strength, and dedicate our lives to him, perhaps we can overcome the pain and say with the prophet Ammon, 'Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of God, for in his strength I can do all things' (Alma 26:12).

"By studying the scriptures and the writings of prophets and other Church leaders, a convincing arguement can be made that our lost babies will be resurrected."

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