Motherhood always seemed non-negotiable for Bethany Denton. Her upbringing
in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
this. Mormons believe in what’s called a “premortal existence
,” a place up in heaven where the eternal souls eagerly wait their turn to be born on Earth so they can prove their faith to Heavenly Father, and then return to glory in the afterlife.
For Mormons, life on Earth is just a short test, an opportunity to practice free agency and serve God’s will
. That’s why leaders of the LDS Church like Elder Dallin H. Oaks
are concerned about falling birth rates among members of the church. They believe
that “one of the most serious abuses of children is to deny them birth.”
This belief in pre-life gives additional weight to God’s commandment to “be fruitful and multiply
.” It’s about more than maintaining the populations; it’s about giving other children of God a chance to live.
As an adult, Bethany lost her faith in the LDS Church. She stopped believing that her primary purpose in life was to be a mother, and for the first time, she started to seriously consider what her life would be without children.
Bethany Denton and Roberto Molina on their wedding day. Photo by Zephyr Wadkins
Bethany Denton as a child.
Roberto Molina as a child.
Bethany Denton and her little sister Shelby in 1994.
LDS Elder Neil L. Andersen on Childbearing
Saturday’s Warrior, a 1989 Mormon Musical about the Premortal Existence and childbearing.
Alexandra Paul’s TED Talk on Overpopulation. Music: The Black Spot
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