Do Mennonites believe in birth control? (What do Mennonites believe about contraceptives?)

As a devoted Christian, I have spent a lot of time learning about the beliefs of various religions regarding fertility. During my theology studies, I took a special interest in the Mennonites’ views on fertility issues, like birth control. While doing my research, I decided to go to Pennsylvania and interact with members of this religion to get first-hand information. A few days ago, one of my students asked me if Mennonites use contraceptives. Since I had lived among them, I had the answer at hand. So, do Mennonites believe in birth control?

Some Mennonites believe in birth control, but more conservative ones do not. The prevalent view is that birth control goes against God’s wish for procreation (Genesis 9:7) and allows the indulging of fleshly desires outside marriage.

Join me as I look at Mennonites’ views on birth control. I will also discuss the alternatives to birth control that they use, if there are any, and whether or not they use condoms. Read on to find answers to these questions and more.

Mennonites’ views on birth control

Mennonite Church USA is listed among the churches that support the use of contraceptives. However, different Mennonite groups have varying views on birth control. More conservative groups perceive birth control as a way of trying to play God by deciding when a child is born. Others with progressive views leave the decision to individual conscience. They view the idea as a process that is to be influenced by one’s family’s needs, circumstances, and convictions. Despite differences in beliefs, most do not endorse modern birth control methods like taking pills and using implants. They opt for traditional methods that they consider safe.

During the pre-industrialization period, Mennonite women turned to midwives when they did not want to conceive. The midwives acted as doctors who advised them if it was healthy for them to bear children under certain conditions. Such can also be considered a form of birth control. Mennonites’ opposition to birth control is focused on modern methods and not the idea itself.

Do Mennonites use condoms?

Do Mennonites believe in birth control? 
Do Mennonites use condoms? Image source: Pixabay

As we have already established, there are progressive Mennonites and conservative or traditional ones. The use of condoms among Mennonites narrows down to individual beliefs; some use them while others do not. Those who do, see it as a way to have safe sexual relations and practice family planning that does not involve intrauterine devices and hormonal methods. Others opt for abstinence or natural family planning. They believe the availability of condoms promotes promiscuity.

There is no rule or generalized belief against using condoms among Mennonites. Apart from being a contraception method, they also protect against sexually transmitted diseases. So, it all goes back to one’s conscience.

What type of birth control do Mennonites use?

Conservative Mennonites who choose to practice birth control only do so through abstinence and natural family planning. They do not get involved in sexual intercourse throughout the period when they don’t want to have children. If they do, they track the woman’s menstrual cycle to determine her non-fertile period. However, traditionally, Mennonites do not use any form of birth control. They believe that children are a gift from God and should be accepted in his time.

Others are not against modern contraception. Such individuals are liberal and sometimes do not identify with any Mennonite group. They accept using condoms, pills, contraceptive patches, and other non-traditional methods.

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