Author note: This is SATIRE. I’m not advocating for these policies. Think of them as an empathy exercise for pro-life people.
General Conference Uncorrelated: “The Sacred Gift of Life,” by Elder R. U. Loving, September 2022:
I am grateful to have the privilege to address you, my beloved brothers in the priesthood. The topic I wish to discuss tonight is one that is near and dear to my heart. I speak of the sacrifices my beloved wife has made to bring spirits into this mortal world. Our Heavenly Father, in his eternal wisdom, chose women to partner with him in giving life to the spirits waiting in the pre-existence. This divine task requires a sacrifice. A sacrifice of time, of bodily comfort, of pain and suffering, and even at times, the ultimate sacrifice of life. Women walk through the valley of the shadow of death to fulfill God’s role.
My dear brothers, can we do any less? Men and women are equal before God – equal in his love, equal in importance, and in this dispensation in the fullness of times, we are now equal in our capacity to bring life through the miraculous gift of our own mortal bodies. No man who refuses to sacrifice his blood and body the way his wife has sacrificed her blood and body is worthy of his wife’s companionship in the Celestial Kingdom of God.
I speak of the sacred privilege of becoming a living organ donor. Our livers, our kidneys, and even the very marrow of our bones can bring the gift of life to one who would die without your selfless love. We love and honor the amazing men of this Church. With intelligence and wisdom, you bear the burdens of saving the lives of those who cannot save themselves. Indeed, the Word of Wisdom was divinely inspired to ensure that your liver is healthy and that your kidneys are undamaged. You bless more than your own life by your faithful obedience to all of our Heavenly Father’s commandments. Your example of living organ donation strengthens faith and ministers to those in need. You love. You serve. You sacrifice.
As Elder Christian so wisely said, “What is happening to our appreciation of the sanctity of human life? Refusing to be a living organ donor is an evil, stark and real and repugnant, which is sweeping over the earth. I plead with the men of this Church to shun it, to stand above it, to stay away from those situations which might make you want to avoid organ donation for your own selfish convenience and leave others to die. There may be some few circumstances under which living organ donation may be avoided, but they are extremely limited. Brethren, this is the way we can join our wives in their sacred duty to bring life. You are organ donors to the sons and daughters of God, whose lives are sacred. Saving their lives is a divinely given responsibility which cannot be lightly brushed aside. Your willing donation makes you the equal of the mother of your children, and a worthy eternal companion for her. No man who refuses to donate an organ is fit to be the father of children or to rule in the kingdom of God.”
The human body was created by a wise Heavenly Father to allow organ donation. Why else would your liver regenerate after a life-saving portion of it is transplanted into the recipient’s body? Why would Heavenly Father give us two kidneys, knowing we only need one, if he didn’t intend for us to donate our second kidney? Bone marrow donors are back to full health within only three weeks – surely one of the miracles of the bodies our God designed. Brethren, living organ donation is nowhere near as taxing as pregnancy and childbirth, but this is the closest we can come to joining daughters of God in their sacred opportunity to give life, and so we willingly take the opportunity to donate organs as often as we can. Though I caution you not to donate a kidney more than once! [pause for gentle laughter]
We commend our faithful Aaronic Priesthood holders who commence donating blood as soon as the law allows. Imagine my joy when my grandson chose to spend his seventeenth birthday donating blood for the first time! He’s been taught by his faithful and loving parents that his body can give the gift of life to someone else. Of course, his beloved father has set a good example for him by donating a portion of his liver and then twice donating bone marrow.
Now, we know that some small number of you may have already caused the death of someone in need of an organ transplant by choosing not to donate an organ. To you I would say that the supernal gifts of repentance and forgiveness reach even to your situation, and you may receive the divine gift of a second chance to donate an organ. Come, be forgiven, and commit to give the gift of life to someone who will die without your selfless love.
You can—you must—make a difference. You are vital to the Lord’s team—one team with one purpose. Through your diversity, build strength in unity. Bind yourselves together in all holiness. Seek to dedicate your body to the service of the Lord, and in so doing, bring light, life and love to a family that may have otherwise grieved a terrible loss.
In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Proposed Utah Code Annotated:
- A Volunteer Donor is an individual:
- Between the ages of 16 and 48;
- Who has ejaculated semen into a vagina within the past nine months; and
- Who has voted in favor of restricting abortion access.
- The state shall require a Volunteer Donor to donate a kidney, liver or bone marrow to an Organ Donor Recipient on the Organ Transplant List if a medical professional certifies that the Organ Donor Recipient may die within 40 weeks without an organ transplant.
- A Volunteer Donor may be excused from donating a kidney, liver or bone marrow if two medical professionals who practice transplant medicine concur, in writing, in the Volunteer Donor’s medical record, that the Volunteer Donor faces a risk of death during the transplant surgery that is higher than the maternal mortality rate for uninsured women of color in Utah.
- A Volunteer Donor who evades this responsibility is guilty of a second degree felony.
Have you ever donated blood or bone marrow or anything else?
If any pro-life men read this post, are you willing to donate anything from your body?
Before you comment that women are only pregnant because they consented to sex, please note that the only men being asked by the Church to donate an organ in this scenario are ones who have fathered children. The only men required to donate an organ by the statute are ones who voted to restrict abortion rights (the members of the Utah Legislature). Does that make a difference for you? Why or why not?
Do pro-lifers who believe that the health of the fetus is more important than the health of the mother also believe that the government should require parents to donate organs to save their own children even if it means they lose their own life?
I really appreciate your thought experiments, Janey. I like the different framings you offer.
Having given birth (several times) and donated an organ (once), I agree with you that donating an organ is the easier action. But it’s a good comparison, because donating does have financial, physical, and mental costs. Not as much as pregnancy and childbirth, but it is a sacrifice you offer to share life with another (full, already here) human being.
This. Is. Amazing.
Brilliant. Thank you for this thought experiment.
My reaction is there’s more to think about in this contribution than I anticipate from a weekend of General Conference.
Thank you! That was thoughtful, brave, clear and impactful.
Consider writing a parallel piece from a non-denominational / conservative orthodox religious perspective.
What can we do to make this go viral?
Hashtaging good news outlets?