Heavenly Mother’s Day: I Dreamed I Wrote Five Poems

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When Martin Pulido and Caroline Kline announced the A Mother Here Art and Poetry Contest, I wished that I was an artist or a poet. I wanted to add my heart stirrings to the collective swell. Instead I sent the call for entries as close and as far as I could, inviting some of the best and dearest creatives I knew to contribute. In response, one mentioned that she looked forward to my poem. Her assumption that I too would be making an offering gave me pause, and then it gave me the courage to try.

The first stanza came while I walked to a friend’s house. I tapped it into my phone’s note function, and typed it up when I returned home. I thought that I was finished. I had my single poem–my single try to say how much Heavenly Mother meant to me. But that night I had one of those rare dreams you remember upon waking. I had written five Heavenly Mother poems, and I was reading them over a pulpit.

I couldn’t remember the words, but wrote four more stanzas in morning’s light.

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Heavenly Mother’s Day: Are You My Mother? (eBook of LDS quotes and artwork about Heavenly Mother)

Guest post by Evelynne

Evelynne is a mother to three sweet children, a wife to an adorable and adoring husband, a graphic designer and a communications consultant. She is also a Gospel Doctrine Sunday School teacher. With what time is left over she likes to pretend she is a master yogi. She also loves making beautiful things and making things beautiful.

This e-book was created as a part of Evelynne’s ‘Audience, Viewpoint & Commentary’ class at the Billy Blue Design College in Australia. The below post is the introduction to the book

 

This is the story of a little girl’s journey…

My parents joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the year8 before I was born. By the time I came along my mother’s cigarettes were long gone, my father had given up on perfecting his home brew and my two older sisters firmly believed that popcorn came from apricot trees.

I will be forever grateful for being raised in the LDS church. The things I have learned from the gospel have absolutely formed the foundation for life as I know it today. But looking back, I can’t help but see a gaping hole that I wish I could go back and fill.

I recently discovered a far-reaching study published in the journal BYU Studies last year which located more than six hundred references to Heavenly Mother in the writings and speeches of LDS Church leaders1, however as concluded by an internet survey, most Mormons believe that discourse about Heavenly Mother is forbidden or inappropriate.2 I personally have clear memories of asking questions about my Heavenly Mother and being brushed off with statements in line with this thinking.

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Sacred Music: Eliza R Snow and A Mother There

Eliza and MotherThis image is one that will be in the upcoming EXPONENT II COLORING BOOK (look for it later this year).

It is Eliza Roxcy Snow writing her famous hymn: “O My Father”.  Eliza had many roles and callings in the early church including 2nd President of the Relief Society, sister to the Prophet Lorenzo Snow, plural wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith and she was called the Prophetess of the Church by some.  She was also known throughout the region as a poet.

“In Nauvoo, she gained distinction as a Mormon poet [through her] featured [work] in local newspapers … and was called “Zion’s Poetess”.  She wrote 10 of the hymns in our current hymn book including some of my favorites:

  • How Great the Wisdom and the Love
  • In Our Lovely Deseret (sung with great fervor by the Elders on my mission)
  • The Time is Far Spent (another beloved song from mission days)
  • Truth Reflects Upon Our Senses

And, of course, the hymn she is perhaps most known for: O My Father.  This is a beautiful hymn written in 1845, a year after Joseph’s death, directed to our heavenly parents.  This direction is precicely what makes it so well known – it names both our Father and our Mother in Heaven.

Today on Mother’s Day, I pay tribute to both of these women who represent different kinds of mothers.

1. Heavenly Mother created our spirits and gave us life in a heavenly sense. In an earthly reflection of this creation, our mother’s here give life to our physical bodies. I honor the mother of my spirit and the mother of my body.  My earthly mother is good and kind and caring.  She gave me my body and has stayed near me on life’s journey to guide me and love me. This gift has come at a personal sacrifice to her.  Earthly mothers everywhere give of their body, blood, and heart to bring us into the world. A beautiful calling.

2. Eliza Snow did not bare children, but she has been a women of great influence and mentored many.  She used her spiritual gifts well and did great things for the Kingdom of God. This emulation of womanhood can also be called Mother. I honor Eliza, this pioneer Mother who went before me.  I also honor the many women who mentored me and loved me now. I consider them mothers to my spiritual journey.

Today,  I love both “the mother who bore me and the many mothers who bare with me.”

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Heavenly Mother’s Day: Jehovah Speaks Of His Mother In Heaven

 

The Book of Jesus, Chapter 1

Jehovah Speaks of His Mother in Heaven

 

We are all drowned in the Aegean. Vanessa Poutou1. In the beginning I was The Word, creation,

spoken by Mother. I was in Her, and of Her,

and through Her.

 

2. In the beginning, I was Man and Her light

shone on a place in me I couldn’t name:

the Woman place, void and without form;

quiet, lonely, violent.

 

3. She drew me in, held me there while I shook.

She drew me out again, turned my face toward hers,

held memory in her hands. She turned my face

toward light, toward darkness, whispered what

I must see, what I would learn on my knees,

in the garden, before my pain shook olives from the tree.

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Heavenly Mother’s Day: Desire and Sex in Relationship to Heavenly Mother Theology

There is no set doctrine about the Heavenly Mother that is a taught within the church. Because of this, andhera because evidence suggests that the concept of a Heavenly Mother originated with Joseph Smith, Jr., Since the start of the church, Mormon women have sought a divine role model to who they can relate to on a personal level. As complicated as the emotion of desire is, the desire for a Mother in Heaven is real. This desire is one of a very small groups of unifying factors that are shared by Mormon women across political lines: Conservative groups such as Mormon Women Stand discuss and celebrate the Heavenly Mother (seemingly ignorant of the fact that this has cost some women their church membership), as much as many of those who are in kinship with the progressive Ordain Women organization also seek Her. .

 

Based on the posts in this Heavenly Mother’s Day collection, and previous writings at the Exponent and otherwise that reference the Heavenly Mother, it seems to me that the foundation of this seeking is because women (and men) desire a sense of empathy from a God who can understand and relate on a mortal level. Many Mormon women seek a Divine Mother who has felt the joy and frustration of childbirth, infertility, dating, lonliness and divorce. We seek a Mother who can heal us when our breasts swollen with the milk for a stillborn child, as much as we seek Her to heal us from the loss of our breasts and reproductive organs due to cancer or other mortal abnormalities. But most of all, the seeking for our Mother God for both men and women is founded in the theology that teaches of a divine eternal family, that is led by divine parents.

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Heavenly Mother’s Day: God the Mother Revisited

Guest Post by Janice Allred

 

I first began thinking seriously about God the Mother around 1987. My sister, Margaret Toscano, was already doing work in this area, and reading her work and godtalking with her helped me to realize how important this topic is. I had always been interested in philosophical questions, which led me into theology. My first theological essay, which dealt with forgiveness, was published in 1978 in Sunstone. Several years before this I had already started developing an understanding of the Godhead that differs from the current Mormon teachings. It is based on the Book of Mormon teaching that Jesus Christ is the Eternal Father; there are not two (or three) separate male members of the Godhead. When I started thinking seriously about God the Mother, I realized that she had a place in this interpretation of the Godhead.  My first essay on God the Mother, “Toward a Mormon Theology of God the Mother,” was based on this reinterpretation of the Godhead. In this paper I proposed that the Godhead consists of two persons, the Eternal Father, who as the Son redeems us, and the Eternal Mother, who is the Holy Spirit. Since writing this paper, I have continued to develop this understanding of the Godhead. I now see God the Mother and God the Father as both fully involved in Creation, Redemption, and the work of the Holy Spirit.

 

A viable interpretation of a fundamental concept sheds new light on difficult questions, opens up new areas to explore, and reveals embedded structures. I have been working on the theology of God the Mother for almost thirty years and I have found abundant material in the scriptures that supports and expands my understanding. Although I have refined and expanded the ideas in “Toward a Mormon Theology of God the Mother, I still believe and continue to build on the ideas presented in it.

My work on the theology of God the Mother was originally motivated by my belief in equality and justice and my desire to incorporate these ideals into my understanding of the Godhead. My emotional connection to her and my longing to know her personally came many years later. Here I share two pieces with you that give this aspect of my quest for knowledge of the Heavenly Mother. The first is a poem I wrote for this occasion. It is inspired by Eliza R. Snow’s “O My Father.” The second is an excerpt from a presentation I gave in a 2012 Sunstone panel, “Heavenly Mother and the Letter of the Law.” Since the Church forbids us to pray to Heavenly Mother, the panelists presented letters to her. I was asked to end the session with a letter of blessing from her. The blessing is based on my study of the scriptures. I take the liberty of putting it in the voice of the Mother.

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