I wanted to continue the discussion on Heavenly Mother, thus this thread.
The existence of Heavenly Mother is an accepted doctrine of the LDS Church -- (see for example:
Some LDS men have a difficult time understanding the "pull" Heavenly Mother has for many LDS women (and some men). Perhaps the only way they can begin to understand would be to imagine what it would be like for them, to suddenly be prohibited from praying to, worshipping, communing with or talking about Heavenly Father.....How would that feel?
In fact, it's been noted that it is very strange to say that Heavenly Mother exists as a Goddess, yet LDS are not permitted to pray, sing hymns to, talk or do much at all, with or about Her.
In fact, It's been noted that there are reasons why it may be NECESSARY for people to re-claim the second half of their Divine Parentage --
See: Why Speak of God as Female:
However, it's often noted that LDS don't know much about Her. The explanation frequently offered -- that God deliberately withholds
informaton on Heavenly Mother in order to protect her -- is NOT doctrine
It's NEVER taught anywhere as a principle of the Gospel or an explanation; it's merely a POSSIBLE explantion that has been offered by various people, including some general Authorities, as speculation
, NOT doctrine.
In fact, this explanation -- while perhaps a sweet, romantic, sentimental notion -- is (imo) contrary
to several accepted doctrines and principles of the Gospel.
1. First, we are not talking about some frail, senstive, shrinking violet Maiden here, we're talking about a Divine, Exalted, Glorified, All-Powerful Goddess, whose glory is such that were someone exposed to it without being "Transfigured" to be able to bear it, they would be instantaneously burnt to a crisp.
needs "protection" from a few nasty words????
We all remember the very well known tendency for most merely mortal, human, flawed mothers to literally move heaven and earth, when called upon or needed by their children. Now if a merely mortal, flawed mother would go to such lengths to answer the needs of her children, --
How much sense does it make to suggest that an Exalted, Divine, Glorified, All-Powerful Goddess Mother is going to sit back and NOT answer the cries of her human children, who so need Her in so many ways and for so many reasons, right now at this point of our history --
Out of fear of offense over a few nasty words?
2. Secondly, Is it the kind of thing a Father would do -- would any truly loving, respectful father and husband deliberately withhold information and forbid a child from communing with their mother -- for *any* reason? Would any reasonable, loving father or husband DO that to his children, or to his Wife?
If any merely mortal human husband displayed such behavior, we would (very rightly!) call it presumptuous, abusive and dictatorial.
3. Thirdly, Do you know of a single earthly, fallible, flawed, human mother who would stand for such a setup -- Who would actually permit herself to be shut out of her children's lives, on the "excuse" that they might disrespect her? -- especially if many of those children were yearning, even praying for contact with Her --
Does it then make sense that a GLORIFIED, EXALTED, perfected, all-powerful, Divine Heavenly Mother, who is EQUAL in power, might, glory, wisdom and strength with Heavenly FAther (see D&C 132) , would stand
for such a setup???
4. Fourthly, What kind of respect would God -- or any of us -- have for a Mother who would PERMIT herself to be a stranger to her own children, -- children who were yearning for and needing Her -- out of fear of a bit of insult???
B. -- Apart from romantic sentimentality, does this idea make sense or hold water in any other way??? --
In terms of the TRUE values of Eternity:
- The value and need for good parenting;
- The value of love,
- The importance and value we place on courage and persistence in the face of opposition and challenge,
- the importance and value of doing the Right no matter what the cost....
- the value and importance of the Family Unit and unity?
- The value and importance of Guidance and INspiration from righteous examples;
Put all that together and i think it's fairly obvious -- The notion that God is somehow withholding information on Heavenly Mother from us, is bogus.
II. Furthermore, in fact, it is simply NOT TRUE that we have no information on Her --
- Joseph Smith had several visions of Her, some of which were simultaneously shared by others and reported on;
- One reason why the Gnostic Gospels were considered heretical, was their inclusion of considerable material on the Goddess;
- Both Jews and early Christians worshipped the Divine Female by a variety of names.....She was worshipped alongside Yahweh in Solomon's Temple, for over half of its existence.
(See, for example, any of the following resources on the Divine Feminine
- "When God Was A Woman" by Merlin Stone
- "The ONce and Future Goddess" by Elinor Gadon
- "The Hebrew Goddess" by Raphael Patai
- "The Goddess in the Gospels" by Margaret Starbird
- "The Gnostic Gospels" by Elaine Pagels;
- "Sophia: Goddess of Wisdom, Bride of God" CMatthews;
- "In Her Name" by Elisabeth Schussler-Fiorenza.
- "The Politics of Women's Spirituality" by Charlene Spretnak, ed
- "Beyond God the Father" by Mary Daly, and several others.
- "Religion and Sexism" by Rosemary Reuther, and others.
- "Changing of the Gods" byNaomi Goldenberg
- "Women and Authority" edited by Maxine Hanks.
- "Strangers in Paradox" by by Paul &Margaret Toscano
- "God the Mother and Other Essays" by Janice Allred
- "Early Mormonism and the Magic World View" by D. Michael Quinn
ONLINE LDS RESOURCES: - Websites:
- " God the Mother in Mormonism" by Amber Satterwhite
- "Shekinah the Presence of Diety" - discusses the Mormon Heavenly Mother
- "The Common Origin of the Ancient Hebrew/Pagan Religion and the Demise of the Hebrew Goddess" by Fred C. Collier
* * *
I think it highly likely that at least some of that information would be useful in at least a beginning, elementary understanding of Her.
III. The next question, of course, is WHY --
WHY would Church leaders withhold information on Heavenly Mother, and FORBID us to so much as MENTION Her, let alone actually discuss, let alone worship or pray to Her, and attribute that to Heavenly FAther?
(See, for example, what happened to Lynne Whitesides when she merely gave an address MENTIONING Heavenly Mother -- http://www.lds-mormon.com/controve.shtml
Many say it's because we're commanded to worship "The Father in the Name of the Son" -- true enough; but according to Scripture, a divine couple become "One"; is that "one" actually so seperate that one half of it wants and deserves worship, while the other half does not? Would God really punish us for wanting to commune with, receive inspiration or guidance from our Mother?
Others say the problem could be that worship devoted to the Divine Feminine could turn perverse. This seems to be a legitimate possibility and problem, since there is historical evidence to support it. However, i think as with the potential for abuse of other principles (polygamy comes to mind) precautions could be set in place to avoid such eventualities.
But by far, the major issue becomes fairly obvious with a bit of thought:
A Female Divinity justifies, validates and affirms female Spiritual power and authority
. And in a church where women's spiritual power and authority have been gradually but surely and systematically diminished, and then withdrawn over the years, until women have been discouraged from so much as exercising the Gifts of the Spirit (see the Letter from Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith to Belle Spafford, Marriane C Sharpe and Gertrude R Garff, 29 July 1946, in Clark, _Messages of the First Prsidency_ 4:314; also Derr, Cannon, Beecher, _Women of Covenant_ 220-221.) --
The idea of a Divine Feminine Who AFFIRMS such power and authority would present the leaders with huge, uncomfortable problems.
LDS leaders cannot possibly acknowlege Heavenly Mother, because She opens up too many issues that a thoroughly Patriarchal, paternalistic church that has grown MORE sexist in recent years, cannot comfortably address.
Here's how one woman [NOT Gaia!] addressed the issues that some LDS men invariably raise on this issue:
"Who is anyone to tell you or me , who or how we should worship in the depths of our hearts
and souls? Do you think it *pleases* our Heavenly Father or Mother when we, Her daughters,
are told to "stay away from" Her???
How do you think your earthly father would feel if your brother told you to "stay away from"
your earthly Mother, and blamed it on Him?
Sisters, just because some man has ecclesiastical authority does NOT necessarily mean he is
always right and to be listened to at all costs...."
As for myself, I quote Joseph Smith:
(Articles of Faith:11.)
"I claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of my own conscience, and allow all the same privilege -- let them worship how, where, or what they may."