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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Multiply & Replenish the Earth

"THE FIRST COMMANDMENT that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife."

Months ago we planned a visit to the great Pacific Northwest of the United States. I grew up in Washington state and my parents and younger sister still live there. My wife's little sister and older brother live near where I grew up so it was a great opportunity to be able to see a lot of our family in one trip.

We purchased the the plane tickets, decided it was a surprise for my mom, somehow kept the secret for almost six months, and then last Tuesday flew from our home in Virginia across this great country to Portland, Oregon.

The last eight days have been fantastic! We spent a few with my parents, two sisters, and my nephew. Then we came down to Portland to spend several days with my wife's siblings and their families.

What a privilege it has been the last eight days to spend time with our families. Cami and I have remarked to each other a few times that we are grateful that both sets of our parents chose to have larger families (Cami's family has seven children and mine has five).

Right now I only have one nephew on my side of  the family but on Cami's we have five nephews and two nieces with three more little ones due to arrive in the coming months. Added to our four boys Cami's parents have nine grandsons, two granddaughters, and again the three on the way. That's a total of fourteen grandchildren!! And the crazy part is that the last three of their children haven't even married yet and all of us older kids are still having children. Cami and I are going to have at least one more.

There is an excellent chance that there could end up being upwards of thirty grandchildren on Cami's side. Wow.

And let me tell you, just being around eight of them the last couple of days has been crazy. The energy and excitement of having all of the cousins together has led to exceptional levels of insanity here. All of the adults are emotionally and physically exhausted. The cousins are exhausted as well but super happy.

The question that the six of us (the adults) have been asking each other is "how did we end up with so many?" The other thing we're asking ourselves is "can we handle any more?"

When Cami and I take the four kids out in public, especially when it is just one of us with all of them, we get lots of looks and some stares. Then there's the occasional question: are they all yours? Sometimes in response we quip that we only one is ours and the rest we took out of shopping carts as we went around the store. Other times we just smile and say "yep." Probably the most common comment we hear is "looks like you've got your hands full." Ya think?

Emphatically I declare that I love my children, all four of them, and am proud to be their father and grateful that they are my sons. In many ways I wish that we had the energy and the money to have a dozen more. My sons fill my life with a joy and goodness that I could not experience in any other way. And they challenge me and help me learn and grow in ways that I didn't know were possible and didn't know I needed to.

I firmly believe that the blessings Cami and I receive from being parents is because we chose to follow the first commandment: multiply and replenish the Earth.

There is no such thing as overpopulation, at least of the Earth itself. God created an earth that is capable of supporting his children and inspires men and women to understand how to make it produce all of the food and resources that are needed to support the children He sends here.

God is a loving Heavenly Father who stacks the odds in His children's favor to help them be successful in mortality and be able to return to live with Him. The biggest and most powerful way He does that is by sending children to families, composed of a father and mother who love each other and have consecrated that love through marriage.

It is only in and through marriage that children should be brought into this world.

I want to be clear, however, that there are those that cannot have children for one reason or another but if they could they would welcome children into their homes. God knows the intentions of our hearts and will reward and bless us accordingly.

In the same vein I acknowledge that the choice to have children, and how many to have, is a deeply personal decision and is and should be between the husband, wife, and God alone. No one else has a right to dictate to a couple how many children to have or when to have them. Cami and I feel that we should have a larger family, about five children. We have friends and family who feel that they should have more and others who feel they should have less. The decision is entirely theirs.

There are others whose advent into this world was not blessed by a whole family unit where either a father or mother was missing. Both they and their parents are offered the opportunity, through Jesus Christ, to be made whole.

Children are an heritage of the Lord. There is nothing more important in our lives than our families, nurturing our marriages, and raising our children.

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  1. It was a very personal decision for my husband and I to only have two. He actually wanted more, but I knew I was at my capacity. It was through seeking the Lord that we could arrive at the decision we did. I also appreciate immensely God's grace, for while we had our children within marriage, we have many friends who did not. It has been amazing to see how God has worked in their lives.

  2. OH how I wanted a full house. Infertility and a house fire left us with two--9 years apart.I find great joy that my daughter has 4 10 and under. No cousins yet, but on my son-in-law's side they have 11, 10 and under. I sent his mother a sign--Nana's house: where cousins meet to become best friends. I'm so thankful they do have cousins. Sounds like a delightful -- if exhausting -- trip. ~Pamela

  3. When our first child smiled up at my hubby, Robert said, "Lets have at least six of these." After three, we decided perhaps three was enough, but later on we took young people into our home to live with us. They stayed 5 years each and you can put a lot of love and the love of God in someone who lives in your home. Thank you for sharing your lovely post with us here at “Tell Me a Story.” At:

  4. You have a lovely family, I am sure.
    We have 3 boys and a friend has 5 girls.
    I was once told I have too many kids.
    The person who told me this has one child and 2 houses. Go figure..

    1. Michelle, that's hilarious! And, unfortunately, not that uncommon. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. It constantly amazes me how some people consider three or four children a large family. I suppose it is to THEM but not to me. I know people who have 8 children and 10 children, and so that is a large family to me.

    I wanted a large family but God had other plans for us. We were blessed to finally be able to get pregnant and we have two boys, for which I am very thankful. As you said, children are a gift and a heritage from the Lord! Thanks for linking up to Making Your Home Sing Monday!

  6. I love my daughter, but after having gone through a divorce and losing primary custody to an unfaithful ex-wife simply because she was a stay at home mom, there is no way I'd have another child. In fact, I made sure of it about 10 years ago with a vasectomy.

    Until the divorce/custody system is fixed and marital fidelity is a primary indicator of parental fitness, I.E. if you cheat on your spouse, you are likely an unfit parent, I can't advise folks to have children.

    Divorce on demand, not to mention the stats about 80% of all divorces are sought by women makes the prospect of having a child very risky, even for men in the church today.


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