The recent Supreme Court of Canada decision to strike down a ban on euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide is now in the forefront of public discussion. Canadian members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, along with members of other faith-based organizations, have an opportunity to make their voices heard on this critical issue.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in the sanctity of human life, and is therefore opposed to euthanasia. Euthanasia is defined as deliberately putting to death a person who is suffering from an incurable condition or disease. Such a deliberate act ends life immediately through, for example, so-called assisted suicide. Ending a life in such a manner is a violation of the commandments of God.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not believe that allowing a person to die from natural causes by removing a patient from artificial means of life support, as in the case of a long-term illness, falls within the definition of euthanasia. When dying from such an illness or an accident becomes inevitable, it should be seen as a blessing and a purposeful part of eternal existence. Members of the Church should not feel obligated to extend mortal life by means that are unreasonable. These judgments are best made by family members after receiving wise and competent medical advice and seeking divine guidance through fasting and prayer (see “Euthanasia and Prolonging Life”).
The First Presidency of the Church has endorsed an ecumenical and interfaith Declaration Against Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, initiated by the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops and Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, as consistent with the beliefs of the Church in regards to the sanctity of human life. Elder Alain L. Allard, Area Seventy responsible for Canada Public Affairs for the Church, added the Church as signatory to the Declaration.
Members of the Church in Canada and others may show their support by individually signing the petition found through the following links: