Bonus January YW Lesson: Heavenly Mother
In January, the youth lessons are on the Godhead. This is a lesson I did for the young women in my ward last January.
A week before the lesson, I let the girls know that I was planning a Heavenly Mother lesson the next week. They were very excited for that.
For the opening song, we sang “A Child’s Prayer” with the words, “Heavenly Mother, are you really there?” This was mostly their idea. I had mentioned we could sing a hymn with “Heavenly Mother” and suggested “Father in Heaven” because that was the hymn written up on the board from the previous ward’s YW lesson. That got their brainstorming juices going and they suggested “A Child’s Prayer” instead.
I opened the lesson by asking, “What do you know about Heavenly Mother? What have you heard about Her?”
Responses included things like, “She exists.” “She’s our spirit mother.” “There’s a hymn that mentions Her.” “We’re not supposed to talk about Her.”
Next, I brought up some of the ideas from Rachel’s post, “What I First Learned About Heavenly Mother,” specifically the first section of bullet points that include the original title of “O My Father” and that it was a seminary teacher who first originated the idea that Heavenly Mother is too sacred to talk about- and that no general authority has reiterated that. If you have time, you could probably print some of those bullet points out and have the girls share them.
I then talked about Carol Lynn Pearson, who is in our stake, and is a well-known Mormon poet. I mentioned she wrote a one woman play about Heavenly Mother called Mother Wove the Morning and performed it multiple times in our stake in the 1990s. I have a copy of her book (you can buy one here) and shared an excerpt from the first section about Carol Lynn’s daughter imagining God as an old, bearded man.
“Okay, Emily,” I said, “you first. I want you to close your eyes and tell me what you see when you think of God.”
“Okay. Well, then — I see a man — he’s pretty old — he’s dressed in a long robe, and he has a very stern expression on his face.”
“Do you like him?”
“I — I don’t think he likes me. I know he’s supposed to love me, but he’s telling me that if I’m not good when the millennium comes, I’ll get burnt to a crisp.”
I talked about the BYU Studies article, “A Mother There: A Survey of Historical Teachings About Mother in Heaven.” And split the girls into pairs to look at this handout that Jana Reis shared on her blog. I told the girls that the quotes there all came from General Authorities and to read through that handout and pick their favorite quote to share with the group.
Then I shared this clip I cut from a much longer interview with Carol Lynn Pearson.
At the end of the lesson, I shared a quote from the end of Mother Wove the Morning.
“Emily,” I said, “close your eyes. I want you to call up that picture of God. Is he still there with a stern face and doesn’t like you much?”
“Hmmm. Doesn’t like me too much.”
“Oh, Emily, that’s not God! That’s somebody else’s idea of God. Paint it over, Em. Paint a new God!”
“Oh! Okay. Then I guess I’ll make him be a ballet dancer. And he’s not too old, sort of young. and he has a beautiful, kind face.”
“Does he like you?”
“Oh, he loves me. And he would like to dance with me!”
“Now, keep your eyes closed, Em. How would you feel about adding to your God-man a God-woman? Let her be as perfect and as beautiful as he is. Could you see them? Could you see them together?”
“Oh yes, I could. Oh!”
I watched her face as Emily staged a wonderful ballet with herself and God and Goddess whirling together through the galaxies.
Lastly, the girls and I said the YW theme together starting it with, “We are daughters of our Heavenly Parents, who love us and we love them.”