Is a Fetus a Person?

A comment made in one of Brandon’s posts posed the question, “is a fetus a person?” (I’ll make the assumption that a “person” is a human being with both spirit and body.) I believe so. Why? I think my belief spawns from the Bible. Take a look at Luke 1:41, 44:

41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.

So it seems that John the Baptist, while still a fetus in his mother’s womb, lept upon hearing Mary’s salution? I think perhaps he may have felt the spirit of the Savior coming near.

Now that begs the question, when does the spirit enter the body, making the fetus a person? That I don’t know. I used to think conception, but now I tend to lean toward some time around the end of the first trimester. What are some of your thoughts?

LDS Church Growth in America

The LDS Newsroom reported yesterday that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the second fastest growing church in America in 2005.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the second-fastest growing church in the United States, according to the 2006 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, published by the National Council of Churches.

The Church reached 12,560,869 members worldwide at the end of 2005, with 5,690,672 in the United States.

The countries with the highest membership are:

* United States — 5,691,000*
* Mexico — 1,044,000
* Brazil — 929,000
* Philippines — 553,000
* Chile — 539,000
* Peru — 416,000
* Argentina — 348,000
* Guatemala — 201,000
* Canada — 172,000
* Ecuador — 171,000

“The numbers don’t tell the real story,” a Church spokesman said. “The real measure of Latter-day Saints is the depth of their faith and how it changes people’s lives.”

*Figures rounded to the nearest thousand

Continue reading LDS Church Growth in America

Of God and Man

Lorenzo Snow once stated:

“As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be.”

I’ve heard this often growing up as a child. To a youthful boy this sounds wonderful. “God was once a man? I can become like God if I live worthy?” Going on a mission, you would think this sort of “doctrine” (although I don’t believe this is “official” church doctrine) would be something that people would jump on. I was suprised to later learn while on a mission that this is one one of the most controversial teachings in the Chruch.

While chatting with a friend on IM, he said:

One problem that I have with the LDS church (if you don’t mind) is that in the Bible, God reveals his name as “I Am” and it says that God is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the End… etc… which is what “I Am” represents… time has no bounds on God… got is Eternal… no begining, no end.

Mormons teach that God was once Man and that man can become gods too…. where does that “pattern” of thinking begin? Who is the first “god” then?

That “logic” lines up with the what happened in the Garden of Eden when the serpant (satan) told Eve that they would become “like god” if they ate the fruit… now the mormon church has a better one… you won’t become “like god” but you will become a god.

I suppose the fear is that if you claim you may one day become as God, God will smite you for even thinking you may become like him. Or it may be that we are becoming too prideful to ever think we may be as God and this pride is a sin. Or, at the very least, they may just think we are fools for thinking this and there is no real danger in believing it. I don’t know for sure, it’s probably all of the aformentioned reasons, but whatever the reason, the Christian community really frowns on this thinking.
Continue reading Of God and Man

Missionary Safety

My heart goes out to the sister missionaries who were attacked in Durban. Having served in South Africa I know how dangerous and scary it can be at times.

I was reading an article on this morning. I found the last paragraph interesting:

A Deseret Morning News analysis in January showed that LDS missionaries are comparatively safe. The church has more than 50,000 missionaries around the world at any one time. The analysis found 25 missionaries were killed in the past seven years, and most of them died in accidents. Three were murdered.

Looking at those numbers, I can’t imagine a safer situation to be in at that age. I wonder what the mortality rate for non missionaries of the same age group are. I know most are quietly entering college and starting careers, but what about those who are not so quietly entering college, or those that may be involved in gangs, or those energetic youth out surfing, swimming, boating, rock climbing, etc. etc.

Sweet Fruit, Bitter Fruit

After my previous musing, I thought I might share some more in depth thoughts on the subject…

…it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter. (2 Nephi 2:15)

So which was sweet and which was bitter. Surely our first thought must lead us to believe that the fruit of the tree of life was sweet, but not so (despite the opinions I’ve read on other blogs and sites). It was the forbidden fruit (the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil) that was sweet.

The fruit of the one which was “bitter” was the tree of life, and the forbidden fruit was the one which was “sweet to the taste” Harold B. Lee CR April 56 page 109.

Harold B. Lee also stated:

Now that is the way it ofttimes sounds, that the things that are forbidden are the things which are the most desirable, and the things that are right for us are sometimes pretty bitter pills for us to swallow, as we say. (Teachings of Harold B. Lee pg. 13-14)

It makes sense to me that the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was sweet to the taste. It is a desireable thing to have knowledge of good and evil. Recognizing the sweetness of the fruit of this tree may have meant that yes, they possibly did partake of the fruit of the tree of life. God say they could surely eat of any tree in the garden except for the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

… it must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves; for if they never should have bitter they could not know the sweet. (D&C 29:39)

So this begs the question, was the tree of life that Lehi partook of in his dream the same tree of life in the garden of eden? The surroundings sound much different and there was no cheribum and flaming sword guarding it. This one I don’t know. It may have been “just a parable.” It does represent the tree of life in the interpretation given by Nephi.

And just maybe the fruit of the tree of life is “most precious and most desirable above all other fruits” now, but was not at the time. Have any of us eaten fruit that tasted bitter, but would have been more sweet if we’d just given it a bit more time to ripen?