“MaMa!” It’s a primal utterance, recognizable in many languages. And it’s more than a title or role. It can be a cry for help or an exclamation of pain or need. Not long ago I was walking around my school, something I do to find some thinking space when few people are around. I was struggling over some problems; I can’t even remember what now. But the pain was deep. I opened my mouth to pray quietly, and this is what came out: “MaMa! MaMa!” I didn’t intend to pray to the Mother, but my soul cried out to her. It startled me, but felt right. There was no need for more words. I can’t say this resulted in a grand spiritual experience, but I felt some comfort and hope and love—enough to keep me going and feel a bond with her.
My theological search for the Mother began in much the same way—indirectly. I didn’t even know I had a longing to know about her. But as I began trying to formulate a Mormon feminist theology in the 1980s, I knew that the Feminine Divine had to be a part of it, and it was not simply because Mormonism has a doctrine of the Heavenly Mother. More importantly Mormonism is an embodied theology: resurrected, gendered bodies are considered eternal. And the roots of Mormonism go back to Jewish and Christian texts, which picture God as male. Even when theologians dismiss the body of God by saying he is beyond gender and sex, the weight of tradition, sacred texts, and pronouns says otherwise. I believe women need to picture and connect with an embodied Divine Female to feel the divine within their own bodies. Without a female divinity who is fully God and who is fully involved in the creation and redemption of the world along with the male divinity, the place of women in religion can never be equal with men.Read More