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Sillborn Children

by Elder Bruce R. McConkie

When the fetus is born dead, it is said to be a stillbirth. Such an occurrence gives rise to anxiety on the part of mothers, in particular, as to whether the stillborn baby had in fact become a living soul, whether the partially or nearly formed body had become the home of a pre-existent spirit, and whether such a body will be resurrected. These are matters 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 R. 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." (Man: His Origin and Destiny, p. 354.) 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 preparatory 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." "Stillborn children should not be reported nor recorded as births and deaths on the records of the Church," he said, "but it is suggested that parents record in their own family records a name of each such stillborn child." (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 2, pp. 280-281.)

[See also Will a Miscarried Child Be Resurrected?; When Does the Spirit Enter the Womb?; Salvation of the Dead; Basic Beliefs home page; Teachings About the Family home page; Teachings About Children home page.]

Mormon Doctrine, p. 768

Copyright 1966 by Bookcraft

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