I have seen Q&A’s in your column dealing with stillborn children, and the family keeping their own records with names of the children. Does it apply to children who were determined to be lifeless early in the pregnancy, thus resulting in a medical procedure to remove the child, rather than carrying the child full-term?
We were, at one point, blessed to hear a heartbeat, but on the following visit, it was discovered that the baby no longer had a heartbeat. Do we fall into that blessed group of parents who may name that precious soul, and retain the hope for possibly parenting the baby after the resurrection?
In order for a stillborn child to be resurrected as an independent being, that child must have been endowed with a premortal spirit that would give it independent life. The time when the spirit enters the body has not been revealed by the Lord. However, in a statement by President Joseph F. Smith and his counselors we learn that the embryo is “quickened at a certain stage by the spirit whose tabernacle it is.” This concept was reported as follows by Elder Bruce R. McConkie,
That masterful document on the origin of man by the First Presidency of the Church (Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, and Anthon H. Lund) appears to bear out the concept that the eternal spirit enters the body prior to a normal birth, and therefore that stillborn children will be resurrected. It states: ‘The body of man enters upon its career as a tiny germ or embryo, which becomes an infant, quickened at a certain stage by the spirit whose tabernacle it is, and the child, after being born, develops into a man’ (Man: His Origin and Destiny, p. 354). This interpretation is in harmony with the general knowledge we have of the mercy and justice of that Infinite Being in whose divine economy nothing is ever lost. It would appear that we can look forward with hope and anticipation for the resurrection of stillborn children (Bruce R. McConkie Mormon Doctrine, p. 768).
President Joseph Fielding Smith has recorded the following:
There is no information given by revelation in regard to the status of stillborn children. However, I will express my personal opinion that we should have hope that these little ones will receive a resurrection and then belong to us. I cannot help feeling that this will be the case” (Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 2, p. 280).
The questions to which we have no answers in mortality will surely be revealed when we pass into the next phase of our existence. Of one thing, however, we can be sure: that God our Father is both a just and a merciful God, and we will learn that in His economy He has provided for the maximum happiness that His children are willing and able to endure. So it seems that as long as we do not violate the commandments, we may remain at peace with ourselves and our circumstances, difficult though they may be at the moment, having perfect faith that all will be accounted for in His eternal economy.