The Mormons and Liberal/Progressive Scientific Thought: Maybe not so different after all

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

It never ceases to amaze me how adoption sneaks up and smacks me upside the head when I least expect it.

There I was, merrily minding my own business while I was doing some research for something else and I came across this gem of a quote from John Holdren, President Obama’s current adviser for Science and Technology. It is from a textbook he co-authored with Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich titled Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment.

“Responsible parenthood ought to be encouraged and illegitimate  childbearing could be strongly discouraged. One way to carry out this disapproval might be to insist that all illegitimate babies be put up for adoption – especially those born to minors, who generally are not capable of caring properly for a child alone. If a single mother really wished to keep her baby, she might be obliged to go through adoption proceedings and demonstrate her ability to support and care for it.   Adoption proceedings probably should remain more difficult for single people than for married couples, in recognition of the relative difficulty of raising children alone. It would even be possible to require pregnant single women to marry or have abortions, perhaps as an alternative to placement for adoption.” (John Holdren, “The Human Predicament: Finding a Way Out”, Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment,  pg. 786. Emphasis mine).

So according to one of the top advisers to President Obama, in Holdren’s progressive society women who get pregnant but are unmarried have three options:

  1. Adoption
  2. Marriage
  3. If marriage does not happen and adoption is not chosen, then a required (i.e. forced) abortion

Except for that last one, it sounds an awful lot like what the LDS church tells a woman who finds herself pregnant and unmarried.

I also find the notion that if someone really wants to keep their baby, then they would have to go through with adoption to prove their are a good parent particularly specious.   Kind of reminds me of the whole “If I loved my child any less, I would still have him with me” and “adoption is about love” nonsense that many folks in the “Christian” right spew. (I use the word “Christian” parenthetically because I don’t think there is anything Christian about the practice of separating an infant from his or her mother simply because she may not have attained a socially acceptable socio-economic status in her life).

But back to the matter at hand – I sat here this morning, dumbfounded to have discovered such elegant harmony between two entities that are typically portrayed as being diametrically opposed on many issues. I am left wondering where is the compassion for the mother, for the baby at the center of all of this from either side? Where is the voice for family preservation? Once again, you would think that a died-in the wool progressive like John Holdren would be all for human rights and family preservation, just as one would assume that a church which places such profound emphasis on the family would be all about keeping families together.

So now, instead of researching the things I really need to be researching to prepare for comps, I am sitting here, perplexed, stupefied, and stumped over how to reconcile this.  I can feel the smoke starting to pour out of my ears as these so-seemingly different ideologies collide somewhere between my frontal cortex and thalamus.

I think I need some Tyelnol.  A lot of it.


Your pointy-headed, over thinking mother

8 thoughts on “The Mormons and Liberal/Progressive Scientific Thought: Maybe not so different after all

  1. and this is the problem we as mothers face in fighting the “system” It’s disgusting isn’t it? When one of our President’s men condones this sort of thinking it makes one wonder what the President thinks no?

    I think I need a Percocett for this one- Tylenol is not going to cut it~

    • It’s…(stuttering, sputtering, struggling for words)…overwhelming. This type of thinking is systemic. Endemic.

      In some small way, I don’t feel as crazy…I really am not making it up. The pressure to relinquish a child really is that intense from so many different directions. It’s not just me.

  2. No it is not just you-you are not crazy- you are just as normal as the rest of us who had our children stolen from us via the agencies and religion.

    The intensity we feel is because so many women choose to parent! The source is drying up here in the states- so we get the crap like what has gone in Haiti, Gutamala, China, Korea-name a country I bet it’s corrupt, at least until it gets stepped on, and that includes this one!

    Can I just yark now?

  3. why don’t they just come out and say the truth. That if you mother a child out of wedlock you should give it to a rich couple so that the rest of us don’t have to pay your welfare. I mean really…adoptions cost so much money we ALL know that only people with jobs and money get the babies. Is this really about what is best for the child or is this about taking the burden off society to pay for the raising of a child to a single mother?
    If you are poor, single, pregnant…wouldn’t you be terrified to talk to anyone about keeping your baby? Your doctors, bishops, and now even your politicians are all going to advocate for adoption. Where can you turn?

    • Exactly Shannan! Terrified. Terrifying. That is a perfect description of what it feels like to try to single parent in the LDS culture.

      In the LDS culture, there is even less refuge for a single mother than there is in the “world.” Trust me, I know. I have been both “kinds” of a single mother – one who got pregnant before she was married (and relinquished like a good little Mormon girl) and then again four years later as a divorced single mother, when my (then seminary teacher) ex-husband left me, our 5-month old son, and temple marriage for an 18-year old girl.

      “Is this really about what is best for the child or is this about taking the burden off society to pay for the raising of a child to a single mother?”

      I think you know in your heart the answer to this question, even though it isn’t the answer that most people can accept or even want to face. Thank you for being willing to ask the question – I don’t know many others in the LDS adoption community who are that courageous.


  4. Social engineering from both sides; both liberals and conservatives believe they have the right to determine who is/is not qualifed to be a family. They may couch it in different terms with different benchmarks (conservatives using “morality” liberals using “social outcomes”), but in the end they both share the same characteristic – an elitist power structure dictating the “right” way to be a family. Funny how NATURE and BIOLOGY are conveniently ignorned.

    • Ooo – brilliant observation maybe:

      “in the end they both share the same characteristic – an elitist power structure dictating the “right” way to be a family”

      I might need to go ponder that for a while. That concept deserves an entire chapter in a book right there in and of itself.


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