Discomfort and Longing: Identity Crisis and God
When I was in high school, a popular song by Dishwalla went something like this:
“Tell me all your thoughts on God.
Cause I’d really like to meet her.
And ask her why we’re who we are.”
Although the tune was catchy and I liked the artist, I forced myself to turn this song off when I heard it on the radio. My super-seminary self thought that this song was desecrating God by calling Him a her. The lyrics made me uncomfortable and I felt like God was watching me to see if I would choose right and turn off the song.
In the last few years, I’ve spent more time thinking about God as female, or the divine feminine. It’s still not a concept I’m entirely comfortable with, but I wish I was. So I try to integrate a female God image into my worship.
During church today, as the Priests were blessing the sacrament, my mind substituted female pronouns for male pronouns and I found myself thinking about God as a female.
It felt like a poem to me, the Sacrament prayer to a Heavenly Mother.
“O God, the Eternal Mother, we ask thee in the name of thy Daughter, Sophia* Christa, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Daughter, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Mother, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Daughter, and always remember her, and keep her commandments which she has given them, that they may always have her Spirit to be with them. Amen.” (Book of Moroni 4:3, Doctrine and Covenants 20:77).
The prayer on the water had to be repeated, so I had extra time to ponder the meaning of blood and water from a Mother’s perspective. It was a powerful reminder of the gift of life.
“O God, the Eternal Mother, we ask thee, in the name of thy Daughter, Sophia* Christa, to bless and sanctify this [water] to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Daughter, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Mother, that they do always remember her, that they may have her Spirit to be with them. Amen.” (Book of Moroni 5:2, Doctrine and Covenants 20:79).
I wish I could say that I felt calm or peaceful after thinking about the prayers in this way. Mostly, I felt alone. It was like I was the only person in the room with a huge void in my soul.
In fact, I thought to myself, “It’s a good thing this isn’t testimony meeting or I might get up and tell everybody about my new version of the sacrament prayer and what it means to me.” Then I realized it was testimony meeting and I got that sick feeling in my stomach like I used to when I promised myself I would go and bear my testimony.
But I didn’t. I couldn’t think of a way to share my longing and discomfort in a way that would be uplifting for people and that’s the point of testimony meeting, isn’t it? Where’s the meeting where we share our fears and imaginations? Our changing faith and lack thereof?
In summary, I’m glad for Dishwalla all those years ago that pushed me to think of God outside my seminary box. Although I acknowledge that the androcentrism of Mormonism is painful for me, I can’t say that I find peace in the divine feminism. Perhaps it’s that I’m looking in the wrong places. Perhaps there is no divine feminine. Perhaps it’s just bad timing.
But in the meantime, I’m thinking more about the divine within me and the divine within the people around me. Making these connections is what helps me get through this identity crisis I’m having with God.
*I chose Sophia because she is the Goddess of Wisdom in the Old Testament. I choose to also substitute a female savior for Jesus, but I don’t think that’s a common practice for feminists.