Guest post by Bethany
Bethany is a community activist in Richmond, Virginia, focusing on creating a healthy food culture in public schools. In her spare time she works to create a healthier gender culture at church. She’s finding that getting adult Mormons to say “Heavenly Parents” is a lot harder than getting kids to eat kale. She mothers three young girls, loves to cycle with her husband, and digs cooking spicy vegetarian food to share with neighbors.
I don’t know anyone who anticipates the unveiling of the General Primary theme for Sharing Time for the year. I know I certainly never have. This year, I happened to stumble upon it and was pleasantly surprised. No, I was more than surprised. Elated–that’s a better description. Have any of you seen it? It certainly doesn’t get a lot of coverage. I mean, who even thinks about the Sharing Time theme until early October when you’re trying to help your child memorize her part for the Primary sacrament meeting? Well this year, I suggest we start thinking about it earlier, because it contains a gem.
For 2013, Primary children throughout the world will be celebrating the theme I Am a Child of God. But the theme doesn’t stop with that typical Mormon mantra…it continues on with a phrase from the Proclamation on the Family, ““All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents”. Did you catch that? Heavenly Parents in the Primary theme? Is it just me, or is that pretty remarkable? I mean women in the Relief Society are studying Lorenzo Snow, but the kiddos in Primary get to focus on Heavenly Parents…I know where I want to hang out on Sundays. But whether you’re serving in Primary or not, I think this is something all Mormon Feminists should jump on.
To me, the theme gently opens up the door to speak about our Heavenly Parents and/or Heavenly Mother whenever we feel inspired to do so…in sharing time, in Primary lessons, in talks, in fast and testimony meetings. So let’s raise our hands in Sharing Time and declare that Heavenly Mother was certainly involved in creating everything that is lovely in our world. Let’s ask the Primary chorister if we can use the term Heavenly Parents as we sing some of our songs. Let’s show the I am a daughter of God Mormon Message video in our classes and discuss specific qualities we have inherited from our Heavenly Mother. And let’s initiate conversations with our ward and stake Primary presidencies on how to fully take advantage of this inspired theme. Surely our children need to hear more about our Heavenly Parents…there is no better way for them to understand the importance of marriage and families and the ideal of equal partnership. If we let this unique theme go by unnoticed, it will be a tragically missed opportunity.
Earlier this month, I bore my testimony in sacrament meeting about the Primary theme and how awesome it is that the restored gospel enables me to teach the 10 and 11 year old Valiant girls in our ward that they have a Heavenly Mother, that they have a divine role model and an example of their infinite potential. It’s powerful stuff. And my testimony was even well received by my rather conservative ward. So go for it!…let’s get Heavenly Mother out of the Primary closet and into our Sabbath conversations and beyond. If anyone gives you any trouble, just refer them to President Wixom, the General Primary President.