Mormons are generally known for adhering to high moral standards. In general non-Mormons tend to think of these standards as rules requiring either great discipline or great servility; Mormons tend to think of them as sound and true principles and are fond of quoting Joseph Smith who, when asked how he governed so many people, responded, “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves”.
Procreation is a sacred power relating to godhood in eternity. It is a blessing, joy, privilege, and obligation for heterosexual couples to have children. Following these principles, the LDS Church teaches that elective abortion for the purpose of birth control is contrary to God’s commandments. Abortion is only allowed in cases of rape or incest, the health of the mother is in serious jeopardy as determined by a physician, or when severe defects mean that the baby will not survive beyond birth. Other forms of contraception are totally a matter for a married couple to decide and take responsibility. The Church strongly discourages vasectomies as a form of birth control. Individual agency is important in family planning, couples must decide for themselves, bearing in mind the physical and mental health of the father and mother and their ability to provide for the child. The Church discourages IVF using eggs or sperm from anyone except the husband and wife involved, however, it leaves final responsibility for the decision to each couple. Surrogacy is strongly discouraged by the Church.
Euthanasia is not permitted by the Church; this violates the commandments of God; performing such an operation is viewed as assisting suicide. However, when dying becomes inevitable it should be seen as a blessing and there should not be an attempt to extend life beyond its natural course by using unreasonable means.
Extramarital sexual relations and homosexual activity are condemned by the LDS Church as contrary to the purposes of human sexuality and successful family life. Church teaching is that sexual activity outside marriage, including homosexual behaviour, may be forgiven through sincere repentance, and that those experiencing same-sex attraction should take the same vows of chastity as other non-married persons. The Church does emphasize that same-sex attraction in itself is not sinful. It teaches that pornography is demeaning to the human spirit and also contrary to God’s desires for humanity.