CNN recently reported that like several other countries, the US fertility rate is below the level needed to replace its population. If this trend continues, the population of the US will decrease. China faces an “unstoppable” population decline and Japan is close behind.

What are the theological implication of these trends? Does LDS theology require a belief that there is a fixed number of spirits children created by God and his wife (wives), and the end of the world will not come until all have been given a chance to be born? If so, does the slowing of the birth rate prolong the life of the earth, or did an all knowing God foresee this trend, and the end of the earth is exactly when it is suppose to be per God’s plan?

For those as old as dirt (like me), you’ll remember the Saturdays Warrior play that made the rounds of Mormondom in the mid 1970’s. The 70’s was the height of the “population control” movement, perpetuated in no small part by a book called the The Population Bomb. Saturday’s Warrior showed people waiting in the pre-earth life (1) to be born into a specific family, and the family that these kids were assigned to on earth debating if they should have more kids. The implication was that these kids needed to be born into a given family, that they were together before this life, and that promises where made to be together on earth. The church has repudiated most of the “Saturday’s Warrior Theology” in the years since, but did not answer the underlying theme of pre-earth bodies waiting for an earthly body, and we on earth should not interfere with this plan.

What are your thoughts? Is there any way our theology can support an idea that does not include a fixed number of spirits waiting for bodies? Did God foresee the current fertility decline, and has already factored that into his timeline?

(1) I don’t use the word “pre-existence” as something cannot exist before it exists.