I was horrified this week to find out that a member of the bishopric in one of my wards has had a vasectomy. When I met with him and his wife they admitted to having done this without consulting church leaders. They said they had felt good about the decision as they prayed about it.
Wanting to get to the root of the problem I asked them where the idea came from. They felt that with 1 year old twins and 3 other children at home they couldn't afford and didn't have the space for more. Frankly I am disappointed at their lack of faith. As prophesied Satan is deceiving the very elect.
The handbook of instructions is clear on this subject. In the section entitled Surgical Sterilization (Including Vasectomy) it states the following:
"The Church strongly discourages surgical sterilization as an elective form of birth control."
I don't see how someone can claim to feel good about doing something that the Church strongly discourages.
The handbook goes on to clarify that surgical sterilization should be considered only if medical conditions jeopardize life or if someone is mentally incompetent and not responsible for his or her actions.
I asked them if they had any medical conditions and they confirmed to me that they have kept the word of wisdom all their lives and have therefore been blessed with good health. I then asked them if they considered themselves mentally unstable in any way which they do not.
The handbook goes on to state that "persons responsible for this decision should consult with each other and with their Bishop". Because they failed in this regard I felt I should temporarily withhold their temple recommends while they go through the repentance process. The brother will not sit on the stand as a bishopric member during this time but I will not release him if he sincerely repents. It breaks my heart. Church leaders have to make such difficult decisions sometimes.