Sunday, August 25, 2013

Why No Vasectomies

Some of you are aware that in the most recent handbook there was information about vasectomies and tubals.  Here's the quote:

21.4.15 Surgical Sterilization (Including Vasectomy)
The Church strongly discourages surgical sterilization as an elective form of birth control. Surgical sterilization should be considered only if (1) medical conditions seriously jeopardize life or health or (2) birth defects or serious trauma have rendered a person mentally incompetent and not responsible for his or her actions. Such conditions must be determined by competent medical judgment and in accordance with law. Even then, the persons responsible for this decision should consult with each other and with their bishop and should receive divine confirmation of their decision through prayer. 

Since the discovery of this little snippet of information, my family has been discussing it extensively.  Some members of the family still feel like it is okay to get a vasectomy if they are absolutely sure they are done having kids, and others (myself included) feel that this is a black/white issue now and will forgo surgical sterilization in the future.  My SIL asked her stake president about it and he said he felt like vasectomies are fine regardless of the handbook instruction.  So . . . what I'm about to say is doctrine according to me.

I've been thinking and thinking about the why behind no surgical sterilization.  Since birth control is fine, why not permanent birth control?  I think I found an answer that satisfies me in, no surprise, a Bednar talk.  His talk on chastity, to be more specific.

"The power of procreation is spiritually significant. Misuse of this power subverts the purposes of the Father’s plan and of our mortal existence. Our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son are creators and have entrusted each of us with a portion of Their creative power. Specific guidelines for the proper use of the ability to create life are vital elements in the Father’s plan. How we feel about and use that supernal power will determine in large measure our happiness in mortality and our destiny in eternity.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained:
“The power to create mortal life is the most exalted power God has given his children."
Getting surgically sterilized appears ungrateful in light of Elder Oaks comment.  Even if we aren't using the exalted power of procreation, we should be respecting the power given to us.  We wanted to have Timothy get a vasectomy for convenience sake, to make our lives easier.  It is essentially a selfish reason that doesn't take into consideration the magnitude of the gift given to us to be co-creators with God.  
Also, for all of our marriage I have been in charge of preventing pregnancy.  Since the pill does crazy stuff to my hormonal balance I have long resented Timothy for how little he had to worry about it.  I've come to believe that the pill isn't as easy of a solution as it first seems.  Not that I think you shouldn't use it--there isn't any inherent difference in the non-permanent forms of birth control, but for me, personally, I think it hasn't been very good for our marriage.  Since I refused to be on any form of the pill ever again, my resentment has gone.  We are working together and both of us have to deal with the effects of pregnancy prevention--not just me.  (As a side note--Timothy would have been willing to do this earlier, I tend to have a martyr complex at times and fail to address issues with my husband so absolutely no blame on him for my feelings.)  Maybe part of learning to bridle all our passions is learning to work together with gratitude on this issue rather than looking for an easy out?
And maybe, like my sister Kayli has mentioned, we just don't understand or fully appreciate our mortal bodies in general.  Elder Bednar talks about that in his chastity talk as well.   

"Satan relentlessly works to distort the most important elements of the Father’s plan. He does not have a body, and his eternal progress has been halted. Just as water flowing in a riverbed is stopped by a dam, so the adversary’s eternal progress is thwarted because he does not have a physical body. Because of his rebellion, Lucifer has denied himself all of the mortal blessings and experiences made possible through a body of flesh and bones. He cannot learn the lessons that only an embodied spirit can learn. He resents the reality of a literal and universal resurrection of all mankind. One of the potent scriptural meanings of the word damned is illustrated in his inability to continue developing and becoming like our Heavenly Father.
Because a physical body is so central to the Father’s plan of happiness and our spiritual development, Lucifer seeks to frustrate our progression by tempting us to use our bodies improperly. One of the ultimate ironies of eternity is that the adversary, who is miserable precisely because he has no physical body, entices us to share in his misery through the improper use of our bodies. The very tool he does not have is thus the primary target of his attempts to lure us to spiritual destruction."
Maybe you think I'm a loon and should just go with my SIL's stake president's view of the matter, but I'm pretty satisfied in my own mind that there is a reason for the counsel.  

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