The female half of God?

Mary is on my mind. And not just because it’s almost Christmas or because I recently gave birth to my first baby boy. Yes, Mary was a mother. But more importantly, she was the mother of Christ. Christ is not something I have trouble believing in, and Christ had a mother during His earthly existence! A mortal mother whom we know so little about, and yet we know more about her than we do about our Heavenly Mother. And it is this fact that has been a source of immense pain and stress for me over the last few months.

Shortly before my son was born, I stopped attending church. What started out as an escape from my negativity-inducing ward, carried over into maternity leave, and extended beyond into full inactivity. I didn’t make this decision lightly, and despite how it appeared, I did it very consciously. I could no longer keep up appearances that my good standing was worth fighting for, and in many ways, I have been happier staying home on Sundays, despite the guilt I feel in sending my husband to church with my 3 older children.

But that guilt is nothing compared to the pain of questioning not only the role, but the very existence of a mother in heaven. In searching and pondering (I can’t bring myself to pray yet) I have gone the rounds of logical thinking. I started with “She exists and we are not supposed to pray to her” and moved to “She is kept from contacting us, or else she would manifest herself ”. This turned into “She is willfully and intentionally absent from our lives” and then uncovered, “What would prevent her or cause her to refrain from connecting with us?” and finally “Why was she not revealed to Joseph as equal to the Father and Son? Could her role be so different from what we imagine that it makes no sense for us to have a relationship with her?”

I began to believe if she was indeed kept from us, then she had no power and we truly have no example of an exalted and eternal woman. I’m not sure if this hurt more or less than believing that my mother would not make an effort to contact me. I also began to wonder if she did not exist independently of the Father and if they were truly “one”. I wondered if “father” and “mother” were merely earthly constructs given as a way for us to comprehend the incomprehensible, and not necessarily eternal and immortal roles; thus implying that our view of heaven is limited (duh). And as I went further down the rabbit hole, I imagined scenarios of eternity that made polygamy look like a welcome reality.

How could this be? How could the whole of my faith and religious practice rest on doctrine that is practically non-existent to us? How could such a key player in our spiritual existence be such a clouded concept? And if I couldn’t talk myself through the logic, nor pray my way to an answer, what was the point of attending a church that causes me pain and essentially offers me nothing in the form of a goal as a woman. I could be a good person in this world without the church, so why go?

But the truth is that I want to go back. Call me crazy and I couldn’t really tell you why, but I want to find my way through this and I want to regain some form of peace. I don’t want to wound the LDS feminist movement with my poor example of faith, nor do I want to harm the church that in many other ways brings joy and peace to struggling individuals and strengthens families. I know that isn’t always the case, and that many have their own pain caused by the church, but I see the good, and I want those parts for my children. In addition to which, I have had powerful spiritual moments of clarity (in the temple at that) where I have known (at the moment at least) that I was in the right place and on the right path.

But I can’t ignore this void anymore. I can’t pretend that it doesn’t matter. I envy the hope of others. Many women are able to find her in their lives and are able to connect with her in ways that I am not. I see the beauty in this and I want to support efforts to include a feminine divine in our worship and to praise it. I just don’t know how to believe that this must look like what many Mormon Feminists see as a literal Mother of us all. In denying the essentialism of gender and acknowledging the eternal existence of our intelligences, I come closer to understanding why perhaps it may be that we are not acquainted with an individual. And though I feel a strong need to find and add balance to the nature of God, I just can’t say that I know what that looks like at this point.

Of course, I am aware that I could be wrong. I am lacking in so much right now that I have to allow for the possibility that I just don’t want to see what is right in front of me.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for. And right now I am still hoping that I will find answers to my questions. I am hoping that if a mother exists, that I can and will find her. But I also know that if I do, I will not be able to stand by and allow her to remain hidden. I will not be able to shy away from the reality of her role and existence, and I won’t be able to passively attend a church that does so, nor teach my children otherwise.

I acknowledge that my beliefs are a work in progress. I know that many feel differently towards the divine feminine and may disagree with me. But I also can’t continue to act as though I feel the same until I have my own witness of truth. I am hopeful to find it, and I hope to one day share more certainty with my sisters.

Please feel free to discuss your own views and beliefs about the doctrine of Heavenly Mother. I would appreciate and welcome your experiences and thoughts if they are not too personal to share. How have you found and nurtured your own connection to the feminine divine?

Corktree

Corktree is exploring life and spirituality in new ways and new environments while studying midwifery, reiki, yoga, homeopathy, herbology and evolutionary nutrition. She has 3 daughters and one son, which add up to what now feels like an enormous family of 6.

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74 Responses

  1. nat kelly says:

    Wow, Corktree, you’ve express here so many feelings that so many women share. I think you’ve outlined a pretty basic cycle, one that I know I’ve gone through. I’m interested to see how people answer, how they resolved the questions.

    For me, I have ceased to view God as a Great Cosmic Male. Therefore, I don’t need to search as stridently for a Great Cosmic Female. I have abandoned the idea of an anthropomorphic God. I am trying to see divinity as something more expansive than that. And with that, I am trying to see myself as a link in a divine chain (sealing?) that has the power to tap into the divine potential I am a part of.

    It’s all frustratingly vague and New Agey, I know, but it’s what’s jiving with me at the moment.

    PS: You are seriously one of my favorite writers on the Bloggernacle. 😉

    • Corktree says:

      Thanks Nat. This was a really hard post to write, so I appreciate the compliment.

      I also think this is something that I have strongly considered in the absence of a personal revelation to the contrary. I am quite comfortable accepting that God is more than we ascribe to Him/Her and that this may actually mean more for us than a simple version of “mother” can imply. But I also don’t want to deny Her if she is waiting around for me to find Her. Thus my limbo.

  2. Caroline says:

    Corktree,
    I so appreciate your heartfelt comments on this issue. What strikes me as I read is how much you care, how seriously you take these ideas and doctrines, how much the gaps and absences wound you.

    I have no real solutions, but I can offer you some of what has helped me.

    1) It sounds like you would like to return to church in a lot of ways. Perhaps you could go back with the idea that you’re going to do what you can to bring HM into the conversation. (It’s that ‘be the change you want to see in the world’ idea.) That would mean mentioning heavenly parents sometimes when you make comments or give talks. It would mean singing ‘mother’ or ‘parents’ in the hymns instead of ‘father’. I use gender inclusive language every week and I feel so much better that I am not excluding myself and all other women when I sing. You may earn a few glances from your neighbors, of course, but who cares. You should sing for you.

    2) Don’t be afraid to search for her. I think she’s out there and waiting to reach back for those that reach to her. I don’t know what form that reaching should take, but I personally believe that it’s not wrong to extend yourself toward divinity. I was recently reading Janice Allred’s article on God the Mother (in which she argues that HM is the Holy Ghost) and I was extraordinarily moved by this anecdote from Janice’s husband, which took place as they drove and spoke of The Mother.

    “…I felt tears welling up…. I couldn’t control my voice; I couldn’t go on. I wept for a while and then said, “I am very touched by this.” Janice said, “It’s more than that. It’s revelation.” I said, “She is here with us…” She was around me and before me. With tear fogged eyes I saw her fill the horizon in front of me….This was not just empathy for the Mother. This was epiphany. She is here! I felt such love and identification for her and her work and rapture at her presence. [I turned to Janice and said] “I’ve given my heart to the Mother. She was here and I wasn’t sure that I would go on living.”

    How beautiful. How wonderful. I’ve never had a mystical experience like that, but I believe that they can and do happen. You may be one of the lucky ones who will have such an experience.

    3) Remember the layers of culture that surround everything about the church. The church arose in a time period when it was virtually inconceivable for there to be a female Christian god. That HM appeared in the discourse at all during the 1800’s is rather a miracle, I think. The current church clings to the same male-centric way it has conceived of and conversed about God in the past. The institutional church will probably continue to avoid her at all costs, given the fact that they are invested in making nice to Evangelicals these days. But your personal life is your personal life. Do whatever you need to to feel God.

    Just my two cents, for what they are worth. 🙂

    • Justin says:

      Remember the layers of culture that surround everything about the church.
      This is very true. If a person is tired of boring, lame, or offensive sacrament meeting talks and seriously considers going inactive — please don’t. Just go to church, partake of the sacrament, and as soon as the priests and deacons are dismissed to sit with their families, walk out and go home.

      You can return later to attend the Gospel Doctrine class, Relief Society or Priesthood Meetings, if you want or need to. If Gospel Doctrine is just as bad, then skip that too. [However, to remain in good standing, priesthood holders must attend their priesthood meetings, even if they are boring — talk about sexist!]

      Everyone who is tired of what is going on at church should still attend their local congregation b/c the Lord needs agents of change among them. But that doesn’t mean that such agents must feed solely upon a spiritually dead church. Church is meant to be a worship service — but when prophets and leaders are worshiped, our heavenly Mother is ignored, the role of women in the church is marginalized, the powers and gifts of the Spirit don’t manifest, etc. — a person may end-up spiritually starving.

      So, what I have found works best for my family is: In addition to attending our church “worship” services — we have organized our own tribal worship services. [I would link to more about that, but think it best to refrain].

      Anyway, in a tribal setting, Corktree, you would find the place to feel equal in your communal worship [b/c the other member is your husband, who respects your equality] and have open place to discuss, seek after, and supplicate our Mother in heaven.

      • Actually, serving in the ward library you can find yourself only attending sacrament meeting and then working for two hours every Sunday …

        I wondered if “father” and “mother” were merely earthly constructs given as a way for us to comprehend the incomprehensible — in addition you might want to ask yourself if multiple things might be true about God, just as light is a particle and a wave.

        Imagine if the blind men and the elephant ended with their getting their sight and suddenly seeing that an “elephant” was actually all the parts, and not something larger.

    • Corktree says:

      Thank you for these perspectives Caroline and for understanding and validating my pain. The quote from that article is beautiful.

      In fact, it reminds me of an experience I had not long ago as I was in the middle of these inner arguments. I was on a two hour drive with just me and the babe, and I decided to clear my mind and let whatever was out there find me. I can’t say for sure what I felt, but it was not nothing. I was probably disappointed not to have a clear and undeniable revelation from my mother, and I’m not ready to say that this was my only chance for receiving a witness, but it did keep some part of my hope alive.

      In fact, I feel more as though this is what has held me back from discussing my thoughts on this much before now. In a way, I feel that there is something I need to do that I have not yet done to receive my answer. I do believe that we should be able to seek God out in our own ways, and if prayer doesn’t work for me right now (I’ve tried but I just fall apart) then there must be something else I can do to get my answer.

      And that’s what I’m working towards. I’m hopeful to have an experience like the article mentions, but I know I can’t expect it. And I am absolutely prepared to bring her to light at church in whatever form I end up finding her. If she is truly just the female half of God (nothing to sneeze at, but not maternal per se) than I will absolutely still want to include her in our worship and music and scripture and prayers.

    • Katrina says:

      amen! Inclusive language helps a lot. Also, I don’t feel it is at all inappropriate to pray to both Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. I have begun doing that in my personal and couple prayers. I think we must unfortunately search for her but that we can find her.

  3. Justin says:

    Please feel free to discuss your own views and beliefs about the doctrine of Heavenly Mother.
    Joseph Smith: “Where was there ever a son without a father? And where was there ever a father without first being a son? Whenever did a tree or anything spring into existence without a progenitor? And everything comes in this way.”

    Likewise: Where was there ever a child without a mother? And where was there ever a father without there also being a mother? Whenever did a tree or anything spring into existence without a mother? And everything comes in this way.

    How have you found and nurtured your own connection to the feminine divine?
    I’m sure there are others — but the first thing that came to my mind was coaching my wife thru our first Bradley-based homebirth. It was there that I witnessed a woman behaving like a priestess and boldly utilizing her God-given powers within her stewardship.

  4. Jessawhy says:

    Corktree,
    Great post! I’m with you on the pain of an absent Heavenly Mother.
    I wish I could give you great advice (I echo Caroline’s comments), but I’m still stuck on a lot of the points you are.

    Even prayer is hard for me. Imagining that the divine feminine has been kept from us intentionally makes me angry at a male God and I don’t want to pray.
    Praying to a female God is still new and uncomfortable, but I have had some success with it in combination with meditation (and a bubble bath, actually).

    I’ve found that with the feminist bloggernacle, there’s a lot of discussion around these issues, but very little resolution. I don’t hear many stories of how people have made peace with the lack of divine feminine in the LDS church. I would like to hear more, though!

    • Corktree says:

      Thank you Jessawhy. Prayer is nearly impossible for me for a very similar reason. If I can wrap my mind around praying to both a male and female God at the same time, I might be able to figure it out again. But it’s really quite difficult when the language that would be necessary is just so foreign and ill formed on my tongue.

      I’ve tried to use inclusive forms with my children (back before I really struggled with this) but until I *know* more about her, I just can’t do it and not feel like a poser or that I’m trying out something that I don’t have enough passion about.

      So I just don’t pray with my girls, and I want to. So badly. And I think this is part of my motivation for figuring this out and finding more solid footing.

      And I agree, it would be nice to hear about experiences with feeling resolved on this and not just confused and frustrated. I hope people that have had personal witnessed will feel comfortable sharing with us.

    • Corktree says:

      I wanted to add that I think meditation may hold the key for me as well. I think this is why I have been drawn to start practicing yoga.

  5. Amy says:

    What a wonderfully thought out post. I know there is a Heavenly Mother and that she definitely loves and cares about us. However, I sometimes wonder if she is so sacred and special to our Heavenly Father that He doesn’t want to expose her and her name to the abuses that His name so often receives. We know that a man cannot enter the highest degree of the celestial kingdom without his wife and that to fully achieve his priesthood, he needs his wife. I don’t take this as the wife is another point on the checklist. I believe that Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother are different, complementing parts of a divine parentship and as we pray to our Father in Heaven, in a way, we are praying to our Heavenly Mother as well.
    I also sincerely believe that our honest questions and concerns will eventually be answered in a way that we will understand and that will touch our hearts. I also know that these answers don’t often come quickly or easily, but take continued faith and obedience as we struggle with our doubts and concerns and questions.
    I pray that you will continue to go to church and exercise that faith as you go through this difficult time. I know, in time, your answers will come and they will be well worth the wait, especially for someone whose heart and mind reach so deeply.

  6. CatherineWO says:

    Corktree, your sincere yearnings tug at my heart. I too have asked these same questions and have felt similarly. Like Nat Kelly, it was not until I began to consider something other than an anthropormorphic God that I was able find any peace. Such consideration has even made me more willing to accept that Joseph Smith really did see God, because I have come to believe that we are only able to comprehend God within the context of our own experience. Joseph’s experience and learning was only of a male God, a father figure, so that’s what he saw when he saw “God.” I believe, as Joseph Smith believed, that it is possible for each of us to have personal experience with the Divine, but that experience may come in different ways for different people.
    For me now (though certainly subject to change in the future) I imagine God as encompasing all gender, all love and all beauty. My thoughts are far from refined on this matter. I am just feeling my way along a path that is often shrouded in darkness, but I am feeling more hope than I have felt for some time, and with the grace of God, I am finding a place for myself back in full activity in the LDS Church. There is much love among these so-called saints, and I do believe that where there is love, there is God.
    I don’t have all the answers, even for myself, let alone for anyone else. But I am finding it easier to live with the uncertainty that I’m pretty sure will always be there.

    • Corktree says:

      “…we are only able to comprehend God within the context of our own experience”

      Thank you for this Catherine. It helps me to reconcile what I have struggled with in Joseph’s related experience. Your perspective gives me something fresh in my view that I hadn’t considered, and for just a moment I felt more clarity and peace in the way that I have come to recognize elements of truth in this world. Thank you for that.

      And yes, love is what pulls me back, and I’m coming to accept uncertainty with greater appreciation as I learn and grow.

  7. spunky says:

    Elohim is the term for God or Heavenly Father in Hebrew scriptures. It is also a plural term. (Eloah is singular). Learning this a couple of decades ago opened my mind and heart to the concept of a plural deity. As a result, when man is directed by God in the scriptures, I assumed it is by both HF and HM. Even in conference, when speakers make reference to HF, I automatically assume that they are referring to Elohim, or- both HF and HM. So, in my head, even if I pray to HF in church, it implies communication with both HF and HM. I state or comment this when necessary in lessons and talks and have found that this concept is supported. I have never had a negative comment in retaliation to my push to recognise not only the feminine deity, but also the union of HF and HM as whole and perfect.

    I suppose a number of women relate to Mary as a divine feminine, probably in relationship to Catholicism, Anglicanism, etc. I actually thought this was a string and interesting idea—especially in consideration of the “3 but 1” and Mary. The “3 but 1” sort of implies that it takes 3 immortal men to be a singular deity, whereas it only takes 1 mortal woman in Mary to perform earthy miracles. A rather strong argument for the inherent power in women.

    But my personal thoughts in regard to Mary differ. When Nephi speaks of being a tool in the hands of God to do His/Her work, I think of the perfect example of Mary. She allowed and offered her mortal body to be the life-giver so that all man may become immortal. She was a surrogate. A divine surrogate. Makes me question the church policy against surrogacy.

    I do relate to the issues of church culture. And to be honest, I think you must have a good and strong husband. After all, he is supporting you to stay at home (I assume). It can be embarrassing, lonely and uncomfortable to attend church without one’s partner. Probably similar to then loneliness HF has when HM is not recognised as His rightful and worthy partner.

    P.S. I don’t like to think of Elohim as “halved” (the female half, etc.) Elohim is perfect, no halves about that.

  8. Corktree says:

    Thank you Spunky. I’ve known that about “Elohim” but I frequently forget. I really wish we studied hebrew in church. I too have used qualifiers when I speak of *God* and I tell people that it indicates more than just Heavenly Father to me. I think I get what you’re saying about not separating the halves. This may be part of my unwillingness to seek out the female half without recognizing that she is tied inextricably to the male.

    The idea of becoming “one” is less and less frightening to me when I consider this angle of it. And yes, my “other half” is very supportive of my taking this time to find answers and figure things out. I know it’s hard for him and I try to support him in other ways to make it easier. He’d be glad to know that someone else recognizes his role in all this 😉

    Thank you for sharing your perspective.

    Oh, and I love this;
    “whereas it only takes 1 mortal woman in Mary to perform earthy miracles. A rather strong argument for the inherent power in women.” 🙂 Well said.

  9. Jenne says:

    CorkTree, you know my thoughts on this as I blogged them a couple of days ago. I’ve come to believe that all along my prayers to the Father have been heard by the Mother, and that neither blames me for not recognizing her role sooner. Like Caroline said, “remember the layers of culture that surround everything in the church.” If its any comfort to you, I did feel the confirmation of the spirit when I prayed on the idea that Heavenly Mother has heard and been an active agent in answering my prayers all along.

    The place I’m confused on now though: is if They are One, is there any means of interacting with them separately? Does there even need to be?

    I’m led to believe no, there’s no need for them to be known separately. Its like having what is impossible in this life: a loving mother and father there for you at all times. Our poor kids that because of our earthly constraints so often only get one of us and then later father and mother have to catch up with one another. With the mind powers of exultation, that disjointedness isn’t likely to still exist.

    I still would like to know the nature of Heavenly Mother and determine in what, in any way, is she different than the Father? Divine attributes I think not. Physical appearance only? Do they delegate to each other? Is she really the one in charge of all the things attributed to the ancient Goddess while Father is attributed the more manly roles? In my understanding as people as people before their gender, that doesn’t make sense to me either.

    Thank you for starting this conversation and letting me mull things over some more.

  10. SilverRain says:

    We don’t have contact from Heavenly Father, either. Not really, except through the Spirit. We only have a very, very few examples of the Father contacting anyone in mortality, when it was definitely the Father and not the Son.

    Perhaps Heavenly Mother is contacting us the same way. How would we feel or know the difference? If our Heavenly Parents are an exalted, sealed unit of Godhood, I imagine they work in sync. Not necessarily “as one” in the sense of interchangeability, but “as one” in the sense of complementing and fulfilling each other, of playing to the strengths of each other.

    I don’t know that this is the case, but I wouldn’t immediately discount the possibility that She has spoken to you through the Spirit, and you did not recognize it as anything different from the Spirit conveying the messages of the Father.

  11. Elder Chantdown says:

    God is a family. Father, Mother, Father, Mother ad infinitum. The Holy Trinity which begins our immediate family unit for this earth is not some homo trio. It is Father, Mother and Son. The Holy Spirit is Heavenly Mother. You speculated that, “She is kept from contacting us, or else she would manifest herself ” and indeed She can only manifest Herself in the ways we allow her to. For a baby the connection is extremely strong as Mother is everything. Then as a young child She is still there but more and more She is unfortunately seen as that woman who takes care of everything, makes the food, does the dirty laundry, and all with very little thanks. If we are schooled by the world then we eventually cease to really even notice her and all she does for us. And we most certainly in those circumstances deny ourselves and Her the chance of a more fulfilling relationship where communication and understanding is possible.

  12. Justin says:

    Would it make any one feel better to know that the Holy Spirit is a woman? Or maybe know that a birth [even a new birth] cannot happen without a woman.

    In Hebrew, the Ruach haQodesh [or Holy Spirit] is feminine. She is a woman — not a male and definitely not an “it”. This is matched by her role as“comforter” and with the aspects of Jehovah acting as a “mother” [as in Isaiah 66:13]. A feminine Holy Spirit explains the identity of the personified “wisdom” in Proverbs 8:12-31.

    A feminine Holy Spirit — with a Father and Son as the other aspects of the Godhead, may help explain why the family is the basic unit of human society.

    With the scriptures teaching the importance of marriage [i.e. that a man and woman must become unified], it seems odd to me that the woman would then drop out of the picture and have little to do with the lives of Her children on a created earth.

    She is there — just don’t wait around for the Church(TM) to acknowledge Her. Each person has the tools to do so for her/himself individually and communally [at least among your family].

    • Corktree says:

      Thank you for your interpretation Justin. I actually have considered the possibility that the Spirit is HM. This idea has been presented repeatedly on other blogs.

      But while I have no problem accepting that the Spirit is female, I do have trouble seeing it as having a body. If we truly require a resurrected and perfected body to attain an exalted state, how can we attribute this to HM? What does this mean for all women who are looking for an example of what our eternal existence will actually look like?

      I’m not so closed minded as to believe that Gods cannot send their spirits out of their bodies at will, and that this is how they dwell in us, but I’m pretty sure D&C 130:22 says that the Spirit doesn’t have a body. So there’s that. I’m not tied to this scripture as the last word on the subject, but this is the source of our doctrine. And if I choose to believe otherwise, it’s not easy for me to feel a strong pull to attend and otherwise support a church that doesn’t have anything invested in correcting or understanding this.

      • Justin says:

        But while I have no problem accepting that the Spirit is female, I do have trouble seeing it as having a body.
        These are my thoughts as well. When I think of the formula for the Godhead — I find it best to stop assuming our heavenly Father exists apart from our Mother.

        Therefore, for me at least, it is not [Father+Son+Mother] — but [Parents+Son+Daughter].

        This might be a separate conversation altogether — but you said, “And if I choose to believe otherwise, it’s not easy for me to feel a strong pull to attend and otherwise support a church that doesn’t have anything invested in correcting or understanding this.

        I ask — what does the Church(TM) have a vested interest in correcting or understanding?

        Corktree — you are the church. The church is two or more believers in Christ who have repented and come unto Him [Nothing more or less, D&C 10:67-69]. It is a result of the corporatization of the church [making it into “the Church”] that you associate it with anything outside of you and those who have a vested covenant interest in.

  13. SilverRain says:

    I’ve not commented on this for awhile, because I’m hesitant to set myself up for attack, yet I feel that it has to be said. This is not a comment on the OP, but a comment on several things which I have noticed you, Justin, saying.

    I’m all for seeking after personal revelation and understanding about heavenly things. That is a huge chunk of the foundation of our Church. And yet, it is one thing sharing feelings or possible insights, it is a whole other thing to try to teach as LDS Church doctrine things that have not been taught by those who lead the Church, and have not been accepted as doctrine by sustaining of the membership (which is God’s method). As with any personal revelation regarding things outside of the personal realm, one must remain open to being wrong.

    Naturally, you can say whatever you wish. But I hope that no one else mistakes your teachings for being accepted Church doctrine.

    And Corktree, there is a doctrinal difficulty to divinity separating their bodies from their spirits, in that we are taught that in the resurrection the bodies and spirits are inseparably connected. Seeking after a divine feminine is not anything to be condemned, but we do have to be careful that we don’t let our yearning to see ourselves in God convince us to force an image of ourselves onto God.

    • Justin says:

      SilverRain:

      Naturally, you can say whatever you wish. But I hope that no one else mistakes your teachings for being accepted Church doctrine.

      I certainly hope not as well.

      But none of what you say applies to families and tribal worship services and ordinances. The priesthood, when used within a tribe, becomes a tribal priesthood. When using priesthood in a church setting — you’re right, one would need church permission. However, when used in a tribal setting, the tribe has jurisdiction — not the church.

      As I noted in a comment towards the top — the purpose of organizing tribal worship services is so people may be open to living according to the scriptures and the revelations they have received — avoiding prophet/leader worship, acknowledging our heavenly Mother, magnifying the role of women, manifesting the powers and gifts of the Spirit, etc.

      This is necessary precisely b/c — as you said: “it is one thing sharing feelings or possible insights, it is a whole other thing to try to teach as LDS Church doctrine things that have not been taught by those who lead the Church.

      Oh yeah:
      …and have not been accepted as doctrine by sustaining of the membership (which is God’s method)

      Good call. Perhaps the GA’s should put the matter of our Mother in heaven before a general assembly of the saints for a vote. I’d like to see how the hands manifest.

      However, that would require Pres. Monson to enter the temple, seek a revelation on the matter, write down what he received from the Lord, and then read that during the following Gen. Conf. Thus, you can see why [for those for whom this particular doctrinal matter is very important] many go inactive holding their breath for such an event.

    • Corktree says:

      Thank you for sharing your concern and opinion SilverRain.

      As for doctrinal difficulties, I read that scripture as applying to our next state of existence, but I don’t necessarily believe that it describes God. I do believe that God is a being(s) of spirit and body, but I also believe that God is all powerful and able to do more than we can comprehend, which is what I was implying with my statement.

      Obviously we have no way of knowing how God goes about most of what S/He does, and we also don’t know why the Holy Ghost could be a God in the most basic sense of our theology without a body.
      The scriptures are incomplete. We know that there is more to be known, more to be revealed, and even more to be translated. So it’s hard for me to jump to conclusions based on one part that may not be whole.

      As for
      “we do have to be careful that we don’t let our yearning to see ourselves in God convince us to force an image of ourselves onto God.”
      I agree, which is why I question the traditional view of “mother” that we project onto the Feminine Divine.

    • we do have to be careful that we don’t let our yearning to see ourselves in God convince us to force an image of ourselves onto God.

      So very often I see people recreating God in their own images. It seems as if they are looking for a mirror, rather than a view through the veil.

  14. Jenne says:

    Wasn’t it Janice Allred who got excommunicated for writing that the Holy Ghost may be Heavenly Mother?

    I have the same qualms with that idea as CorkTree. It doesn’t make sense that an exalted being would be separate from her body. The whole construct that makes sense to me is that Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother are one and make up God/Elohim. Christ then is Heavenly Mother’s biological step-son but still the mother of his spirit.

    I would guess that the word for Spirit possesses a female gender for the same arbitrary reasons that many languages assign gender to words and ideas. The culture may have had a symbolic meaning attached to assigning a certain gender to a word that likely has little to do with the true characteristics of that word. It certainly would be interesting to learn the how/whys words got assigned the gender they still possess hundreds to thousands of years later. Its this same line of reasoning that I do not think that Sophia (wisdom) is the Mother, though she may be the one who is the giver of that. Just a possibility to ponder, perhaps Mother in Heaven is also the person who communicates between Christ and the Spirit without herself being the Spirit. That would then follow the reporting procedure modeled by Christ to Father and the delegation of responsibility that way.

    • Justin says:

      In re: to Wasn’t it Janice Allred who got excommunicated for writing that the Holy Ghost may be Heavenly Mother?

      Joseph Smith said:

      I did not like the old man being called up for erring in doctrine. It looks too much like the Methodists, and not like the Latter-day Saints. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be asked out of their church. I want the liberty of thinking and believing as I please. It feels so good not to be trammeled. It does not prove that a man is not a good man because he errs in doctrine.

      For him, the way to reclaim a saint who may be believed to be erring in doctrine was confined to the means outlined for leaders in the revelations: “only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile.

      Today this has been expanded to include excommunication for what are supposed doctrinal errors. Instead of persuading using better doctrine to correct an error — we punish and silence any dissenters.

      Jenne, I like what you said concerning the Spirit being/not being our Mother in heaven.

      The idea that the Holy Spirit is a woman has been confirmed to me. However, I have received no manifestation that has told me whether She is our Mother in heaven or not. My own thoughts on the subject are that She needn’t be our heavenly Mother, and saying that She is just complicates things [the D&C 130:22 thing, etc.].

  15. Lisa says:

    I really appreciated this post. To see someone searching and yearning to find a way to reconcile what they learn in church with a reality that they feel must exist, ie. a HM. But there is something missing from the searching, and although I know you acknowledged it, Corktree, I think it shouldn’t be overlooked. Call me cliched, because I guess what I’m advising really are the sunday school answers, but I do have a strong belief, and personal evidence, that they do work. We’re taught in Church that we receive the witness that we’re looking for only after our trial. You do need to go back to Church, you do need to pray, even if it is to a HF, he is still a parent who loves you and who wants you to understand. You do need to put in your effort, to show that you are willing to put forth the faith in the things that he has asked us to do, and I know you will find the answers you’re looking for. I feel like its easy to say, oh I can’t pray right now, or oh I can’t do this or that, and then say, and see, I still don’t have the answers I was looking for. Examine your motives, and see if you’re really putting everything you can into finding the answers you need. This comment is sort of coming apart here at the end, but my newborn has awoken and is screaming for food, and I’d better wrap this up.

    • Corktree says:

      Lisa,

      I’m trying really hard not to be touchy about this and not to conclude that you assume I haven’t already done everything included in a sunday school answer.

      But the truth is, my fears and emotions about this subject have absolutely prevented me from praying for quite some time, and in all my attempts at re-instituting a conversational relationship with God have failed. And I know this is a failing on my part. But I have also never received any witness of truth that I have directly asked for through prayer. All that I have ever been able to call testimony has come through other experiences. So I’m not only afraid of not getting the answer I hope for, I am doubtful that it will come in this form.

      I appreciate the beautiful simplicity of what you propose, and there was a time that I believed I should be able to find answers just by asking the questions. Yes, it may take more work on my part. I am prepared for that. But I don’t think that I have to follow a specific formula prescribed by mortal men in order to “qualify” and be worthy of receiving an answer. That doesn’t seem right to me.

      It may be that I need to learn a different approach to prayer that looks foreign to many church members. I have already felt in my life that music is a form of prayer for me, and I am actively seeking new methods that may give me more success in connecting with not only THE Divine, but also with the divinity within ME. This is where I am hoping to find my answers.

      I feel good about this, and I hope that just because it doesn’t look like the LDS formula of personal revelation, that church members won’t act as though I’m doing something wrong. Maybe it won’t work. Maybe I still won’t get my answers. But this is what I have to do right now. Yes, I am waiting for it to be easier to attend church where I am. Think about that what you will. But I couldn’t handle walking away each Sunday with such ugly feelings from a place that should have been safe. I hope that changes.

      And lastly, I’m curious. Have you received a witness of the truth of Heavenly Mother by doing these things? I sincerely and respectfully would like to know.

      • dallon j says:

        You will receive a confirmation of the truth if you pray. All of our justifications against communication with god are insane and evil. How can you long to know more about god while not talking to god? How foolish would we be to long for a better relationship with our parents and yet refuse to initiate conversation with them?
        2 nephi 32:8
        STOP ASKING EVERYONE ELSE AND ASK YOU PARENTS DIRECTLY

  16. Jenne says:

    Justin, thank you for that insight. What marvelous balance to have two males and two females in the Godhead. Perhaps one of the reasons why we know so little of the Holy Ghost is the same for why we know so little of Heavenly Mother: marginalization of the female gender.

  17. TopHat says:

    dCorktree,

    Thanks for your post. And for the linkage. And I hope you don’t mind if I link back to you in a future post. 🙂

    I definitely understand the circles you’ve been in. I’ve been in them, too.

    “I began to believe if she was indeed kept from us, then she had no power and we truly have no example of an exalted and eternal woman.” I think this sums up what a lot of Mormon feminists struggle with. I sometimes struggle with, “What if… I really am not as important as a man. Maybe I don’t actually get to be a God like my husband and I’m going to be left out in eternal limbo instead of eternal life.”

    It’s either Truth or my inner gumption that tells me, “No. That’s not true. I do get to be exalted. There IS a Heavenly Mother and I WILL be like Her.” And then I go and tell my husband that if there is ever a “First Vision” type experience in a world we create, I’m the one going down and he can stay and twiddle his thumbs because I am NOT going to let half my children think they aren’t important.

    Yeah. I think She is there (She had better be!). And I think She is active in our lives and we’re the ones not recognizing Her and Her power. And that’s why I started my Mutual Approbation blog.

    • Katrina says:

      I agree, Heather!

      This has been a fascinating discussion. Thanks, everyone!

    • Corktree says:

      You’re welcome! Great new blog, BTW.

    • TopHat says:

      I was trying to word some more of my thoughts and clarify.

      I think the hardest thing about not knowing about Heavenly Mother is that if it’s not important for us to know her, does that mean she’s not important at all… does it mean I will not be important in the future… does it mean I’m not important now?

      Because I do think I am important (fault me with pride), I feel it is important for us to search for her. I feel that my eternal worth is tied up with her worth- and I invest energy in giving her worth because in the end, it assures me that I am worth something as a person and not just an accessory to my husband.

  18. Ana says:

    I just want to second Caroline’s encouragement to seek Her on your own. Look in your home, look in nature, and look (when or if you go there) in the temple. Look in symbols and dreams. I think that by looking at the best parts of ourselves, even, we can learn a lot about Heavenly Mother.

    This is a little bit of a tangent, but you might enjoy reading about this colossal nondenominational statue of Mary, Our Lady of the Rockies. (http://ourladyoftherockies.net/) I can see it out my window right now. It is a pretty audacious thing for humans to make, but I kind of like having a big audacious reminder of the divine feminine looking over me all the time. (Plus we also have a giant audacious scar on Mother Earth that we have to look at all the time – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berkeley_Pit – so maybe there is some balance there?)

  19. Urraca says:

    This has been a fascinating read. Thanks for posting your thoughts Corktree and other contributors. It is nice to know that others are out there thinking the same things, wrestling with the same questions.

    I wonder about the revelation that the Earth has a spirit and that the spirit is feminine. It is difficult to connect that to HM, though, for the some of the same reasons it is hard to connect HM to the Holy Ghost. Like others have asked, why would she be spirit only instead of exalted being?

  20. Elder Chantdown says:

    Corktree,

    Why would you ever want to support or build up “the church” (TM) when that is the trick of the adversary the same one he used in the begining? If the spirit directs you to attend then do so. But remember that you are there to support PEOPLE…brothers and sisters….NOT A SYSTEM. We opted for THE PLAN not THE PROGRAMME. There are huge differences that are not clear to us at this stage in time but are nonetheless crucial for our progression. Go with GOD’S PLAN and not with SATAN’S PROGRAMMES.

  21. Deborah says:

    Corktree, I don’t know why or wherefore or if it will work for you, but studying Mary’s life has done incalculable good for my spiritual life, my prayer life, and my sense of connection to feminine spiritual power. I wandered in small steps — exploring the Rosary, studying the Magnificat, memorizing Salve Regina, thumbing through painting after painting, visiting a monastary devoted to Mary, reading the stories of women who felt connected to her. If you are interested, “The Search for Mary: The Woman and the Symbol” is a wonderful text — part history, part theology, part sociology.

    • Corktree says:

      Thanks for another great reading suggestion Deborah. My grandmother sent money for Christmas and I promised her I would order some great new books with it. So I ordered most of the ones that you suggested a while back! 🙂 I just got my “Meditations on Mary” in the mail today and I’m thinking of skimming through it before I wrap it up for under the tree.

      I do feel a pull toward Mary lately that I haven’t felt in quite the same way before. Which is why the post started with her (but I didn’t get too much into that). I’ve long wished for a place to meditate and ponder her without imposing on another church, but I’m really hoping to use what I read about her to help me connect with my own divinity as a female while I practice yoga.

      I will definitely try to get my hands on this book as well.

  22. Deborah says:

    Elder Chantdown: I have moderated your previous comment. Its treatment of one of our commentators on this thread oversteps the bounds of our comment policy and basic civility. Please keep your comments respectful and tone down the hyperbole.

  23. Deborah says:

    Oh, and here’s the link the book I mentioned:

    http://www.amazon.com/Search-Mary-Woman-Symbol/dp/0345382463

  24. Jenne says:

    I had a fascinating conversation with my husband about this discussion. He reminded me of the concept that in the eternal round of things that at some point Christ will need to become a God, not a Christ-figure and when this round of the earth, he is Christ. Next, after all his work will be fulfilled, he will become God the Father. This, then, opens up the possibility that in the afterlife, our next turn on earth may be in the role of Savior for another group of humankind. And now to tie it into this conversation, there’s a possibility that Christ may always be the role of a man and if that is the case, women could be left out of fulfilling some sacrifice to save a world of people, unless women become the Holy Spirit in their next turn of life while men become Christ. Then after that, both would be reunited in the celestial kingdom as perfected beings together as God the Mother and God the Father.

    I can think of no better way to become Omniscient than suffering the sins and suffering and pains of a world of people. No better way for a man to become perfectly empathetic and understanding of female emotions.

    I’m not generally a fan of gender-separate roles but this is an interesting concept that I wanted to share here.

    • Corktree says:

      Yes indeed. Thank you for sharing those thoughts Jenne.

      There is so much contained in the layers of what little we have as doctrine about HM. And while so much of it is speculation, it gives me comfort to see that there are more possibilities than the limited stock answers we give ourselves in the infancy of our searching.

      Whatever the truth ends up being, I do feel better with a sort of peace that God, both male and female as either separate or together, is smarter and more experienced than us all. I do believe that and I do trust that I am important enough not to be sidelined or left out of the highest form of progression. I don’t pretend to know what that looks like, and I’m still frustrated with the lack of official questions posed by the church leadership. But I am more confident that I will find what I, personally, am looking for in a relationship with Deity.

      • Jenne says:

        I’m a big fan of speculation so thank you for letting me get carried away a little.

        I share those frustrations with you, CorkTree. I hope that one of the efforts of WAVE will be to gather support and enough women’s voices asking for further clarification that we will be heard and answers sought.

        Your testimony of God’s knowledge is powerful and I share that belief. I have faith in a day when all will become clear and then we will look back and realize that, in this matter and all others that, ” thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;” (D&C 121:7)

        It doesn’t feel that way now, and I say this in so many areas of my life, but I do believe that day will come and I do all in my power to be prepared for it (and maybe a little try to get ahead of the game so I’m only pleasantly surprised by what is revealed…)

  25. Debra says:

    Great post! I remember similar feelings and struggles as I was going through a major transition and development in my own faith and relationship with Heavenly Parents a few years ago. My experiences led me to an expanded awareness of the larger spiritual world than the LDS box of conventional Mormonism, and while I struggled for quite a while with the “okayness” of doing this, ultimately, I HAD to do it, for my own spiritual well-being – I have never known such soul pain as during those times that I tried to stifle and ignore the questions and the searching, and the truth of God within myself.

    Ultimately, I chose to follow and trust the voice of God within myself; after all – it was this voice that led me to the Church, that taught me the truth of the Book of Mormon, that leads me personally day to day, has led and continues to lead me in my professional growth and the work that I am blessed to provide and bring to the world, as the originator of a wholistic, spiritual energy healing protocol, in the founding of a women’s institute dedicated to women’s spiritual growth and development, and into the expanded spiritual universe – in it all, God has and continues to be my guide.

    SO, I have found there are ways and means to come to know and have a relationship with Heavenly Mother, and I too, profoundly believe that it is basic, even fundamental to all existence, that there is a Feminine Principle, even a Feminine Divine – that ALL creation requires the full participation and union of Male and Female, and that is ultimately the pattern of heaven and the cosmos – as the eastern Sages and mystics across many cultures and times have long taught.

    This has been confirmed to me many times in sacred experiences within our LDS practice – in the temple, in prayer and meditation, and through direct experience with both Heavenly Father and Mother.

    Ultimately, I was led by the Lord how to gain access to her, and how to have a relationship with Her, by expanding beyond our Mormon constructs and practices. The Lord has shown me answers to the questions of my soul – the how questions and the why questions, and in so doing, I have been able to find peace with the Church community as it is now, knowing that more is coming, and understanding the process and the reason for the partial fulness that we have now.

    The soul pain you are experiencing is a great sign – a sign of your own divinity and eternal potential. They are growing pains, and will lead you to marvelous and wonderful things, if you can let God lead you through it.

    They are shared by countless thousands across the globe, who are similarly questioning and searching – and a significant sign of the times in which we live, and the New Millenial Age that we are on the verge of.

    • Corktree says:

      Thank you so much for your thoughts Debra. I have come so far just in reading everyone’s wonderful comments today, and yours gives me hope that what I have believed all along – that I WILL come through on the other side of this with more positive energy and clarity – is indeed capable of being true.

      Something that you said, about being led by the Lord to Her – I think this may help my mindset. I find that my most beautiful spiritual moments have been related to Christ. I don’t have the relationship that I ultimately desire with Him either, but I know what it feels like to have Him reach out His hand to me – so I have even more hope that I will be able to let Him lead me in this particular journey.

  26. Jenne says:

    Debra, I would love to hear more about your experiences in detail. Mostly to gauge the similarities to my process

    Is there a private Mormon Goddess group? I know there is a Christian Goddess group but what about one specifically for LDS to discuss and learn about the goddess together?

  27. Elder Chantdown says:

    Your censorship is completely unnecessary. I made very clear that if the commentators on this blog have no intentions of ruling over their fellow brothers and sisters then they will not take offense but rather rejoice at my comments. I would appreciate you or whoever it is that makes the approvals would point out where I was unkind or as you put it “uncivil” in my comments. The word uncivil and civility tends to get thrown around a lot by people who on some level, often very deeply believe in controlling their brothers and sisters. It has deep statist roots and therefore deep satanic roots. Now of course odds are you will not post this. But I sincerely pose no threat and I have full confidence that taking a step back and approaching this in a Christ-like way you will see that. [Comment truncated by admins).

  28. Deborah says:

    Elder Chantdown: If you cannot see how your now-moderated comment violates our comment policy, perhaps this blog (and the tone we strive to maintain) is not the right forum for you.

  29. MormonDeadhead says:

    Great Post! Thank you! I’m sure many of you already know much of this, and I’m still working through just what all this means but since I haven’t seen it mentioned here are a few random thoughts on the subject at hand:

    The Old Testament that we have was not put into its (more or less) current form until much later than the events that it recounts. Thus, one often finds issues that the then current writers/editors are dealing with in their recounting of a story long past. Goddesses and Gods are one such issue that shines through. At the time of the editing the writers/editors were very concerned about making their religious documents monotheistic. As a result, some of the entities that were once worshiped by ancient Israelites were written out of the record. Traces can still be seen of these now condemned deities, particularly when OT passages condemn people for worshiping poles (no Freudian analysis please 🙂 and/or trees. By the time of the editing, the writers turned these once worshiped entities into idol-like objects. But, and here is the interesting part, we have archeological evidence that ancient Israelites did indeed worship not just YHWH, a male god, but also a female counterpart. She plays a more central role in many of the other ANE religions, but she was certainly being worshiped by ancient Israelites at some point though later writers didn’t like the idea and thus turned her into an idol. That HM shows up in scripture (in part) is, I think, very interesting!!

    Also, Elohim is in fact Hebrew for “Gods” the singular of which is El (Eloah is a different, but similar, name for God used in the OT). I think the fact that God goes by so many different names in the OT (Elohim, YHWH, Eloah, El-Shaddai, Ancient of Days, etc) adds to what many have already said above: God is a very fluid concept that is heavily affected by one’s perception, experience, need, want, etc. For me, I hope for/need/want a Female Deity for the very idea of God to begin to make sense. Anyways, FWIW 🙂

    I love this discussion and appreciate everyone’s thoughts on the subject. Thx!

    • Corktree says:

      Thanks for your comment, MD. I appreciate you bringing those parts to the discussion. I have read about them in other places, and it’s not hard at all to imagine that ancient Israel worshipped a female deity; with the name of Asherah.

      Part of what I am trying to overcome is not the intellectual pursuit of whether or not she *can* exist, or whether we have evidence of her in scripture or ritual. I’m finding that my struggle is rooted in whether or not I know Her personally. I am coming to terms with my own very real desire to have a connection with Her, and to have Her make Herself known to me. In truth, my issues aren’t with the church as an organization as much as they are with my lack of faith and action in going forward with this. I’m working to change that despite my fears of getting no answers.

  30. Nancy says:

    The Sisters at WAVE on Facebook ask me to share my thoughts on our Mother in Heaven here. I’m grateful for the opportunity to expand on them a little. But first let me say or add a disclaimer, I don’t give this as gospel truth just my own ponderings.

    In D&C 52 the Lord makes this simple statement;

    “I will give unto you a pattern in all things…”

    All presidencies in the Church are set up after the pattern of the Godhead, Stake High Councils are similar to the Council in Heaven. There is an eternal pattern and our earthly lives are mirrored to some extent after that pattern. I’ve simply taken the earthly pattern for our families which the Lord instituted and applied that to our Heavenly Family.

    Secondly there is the law of stewardship.

    D&C 72
    “….for it is required of the Lord, at the hand of every steward, to render an account of his stewardship, both in time and in eternity.”

    A Bishop is steward of his ward. The Prophet does not come in and tell that Bishop who to call to which position, he would be usurping the Bishop’s stewardship if he did. But the Bishop understands that he will be held accountable for his actions if he miss uses that stewardship.

    Within the ideal family the father’s stewardship is to provided and then to lead that family “upon principles of righteousness”, D&C 121: 36. A mother’s stewardship has been to bear the spirit children of our Heavenly Parents and to love and nurture them as they prepare for adulthood. It takes the combined effort of both to help the child reach his/her full potential. Often the oldest sibling is called upon to be his “brothers keeper”, to be the example and caregiver for the younger children.

    I’ve simply taken that pattern and applied it to our Heavenly Father and Mother’s relationship.

    I believe our Father’s stewardship is the over all general care of the universe. I also believe part of our Father’s stewardship is helping us take the finally steps into Godhood. Our Mother in Heaven’s stewardship is our pre-earth life. She is one on one preparing us to come to earth. Christ our elder brother’s stewardship is this life, preparing us to be reunited with our Heavenly Parents.

    Neither of them would try to usurp the other’s stewardship. Having said that I believe Elisa’s hymn was inspired when she wrote; “Father Mother, may I meet you in your royal courts on high”.

    The over all stewardship is a combined effort, they council together for they are one Elohim. Elohim is a plural word, the Father cannot be Elohim without the Mother, nor can the Mother be Elohim without the Father. Nor can they be Elohim without a “fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever”, D&C 132. Elohim is a family of celestial being each full filling their individual stewardships.

    I hope this all makes sense and I’d like to hear your comments.

    • Corktree says:

      Thank you for sharing your perspective Nancy. I do think a lot of what you say makes sense, but I wonder then if this is a way of supporting the church’s assertion that we are not to pray to Her or single Her out, because our earthly existence is not Her stewardship?

      I’m not sure how I feel about that. It sounds logical, but it makes me sad.

      I am reminded of something that I can’t believe I have been passing over in all of this. My patriarchal blessing, which has given me great comfort and clarity in other matters throughout my life, mentions very specifically “Heavenly parents” nurturing me in my pre-existence state. It’s part of a paragraph that I have not had cause to ponder on as much as the others, but I believe that is going to change.

      • Jenne says:

        I think what is so interesting about Nancy’s theory is this:
        <blockquote cite="The over all stewardship is a combined effort, they council together for they are one Elohim. Elohim is a plural word, the Father cannot be Elohim without the Mother, nor can the Mother be Elohim without the Father."

        Because this is the catch-22 of the proclamation “In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.” Meaning that just because its Heavenly Father’s stewardship in this life, Heavenly Mother is helping as an equal partner.

        So even if Nancy’s theory is true, we can still have a connection with Heavenly Mother in this life as she helps Heavenly Father. CorkTree, there’s your assurance that the prohibition to connect with Heavenly Mother is not because she is withheld from us by the Father.

        On that note, does anyone want to have the conversation about why she is with-held from us?

        I’ll also add that I’m not sure its a sound argument to say that Christ would have stewardship over this life because of the pattern set forth in the temple. Heavenly Father is still at the helm, directing Christ after Christ fulfills his obligation to report back to the Father.

  31. Nancy says:

    Corktree said; “…but I wonder then if this is a way of supporting the church’s assertion that we are not to pray to Her or single Her out, because our earthly existence is not Her stewardship?

    What helped me was reading William Barclay’s rendition of Eph 5

    “For this cause a man will leave father and mother, and will be inseparable joined to his wife, and they two will become so completely one that they will no longer be two persons, but one…”

    As I see it this means when we get to that point we will think as one, we will feel as one. Our consciousness is one.

    Christ said that we should be come one with him as he is with the Father. I don’t want to make this a long scripture quoting segment so I’ll just paraphrase. He said the Father shews him all thing he did, his words are the Father’s words, his doctrine is the Father’s doctrine, they are one. On the cross the Father for the first time was not there for him and he felt forsaken. Must have been a very lonely feeling.

    At some point, and it will take eons for me, our wills and consciousness will meld with the Elohim and we will be one. I don’t think we can fully comprehended that at this point. I believe that when we pray to the Father our Mother is fully conscious of what we said and in full agreement of the answer given.

    On another point; I feel the Old Testament really has Mother in Heaven up front and not hidden at all. First in Gen 1 where it refers to ‘us’ and ‘our’ and that we are made in their image, male and female. Secondly in Gen 2 where it says man or Adam shall leave father and mother. In Luke 3 it says that Adam was a son of God, he left Father and Mother and cleaved unto his wife.

    Jenne question Christ stewardship being this earth;
    In Gen 18 Melchizedek is the priest of El and he says to Abraham “ Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth” he is referring to Yahweh there. In Isa 45 Yahweh says I have made the earth, and created man upon it…” but then turns right around in ves 18 and says

    “El himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited..”

    He doesn’t take the whole glory to himself but acknowledges El as being supreme. (I have a long, long thesis I could go into but I won’t, it does clear up some book of Mormon passages though.)

    In Gen 4 Cain is the older brother and yes he is his ‘brother’s keeper’. There is a pattern of birthright, the oldest holds claim to this right. Throughout the scriptures there is this struggle between older & younger brothers with the older not fulfilling their stewardships. Christ did his.

    As I understand it, Adam or Michael holds the keys to this earthly family and at Adam-ondi-Ahman he will hand those over to his older brother Yahweh/Christ who then will deliver them up to El/ the Father.

  32. Corktree says:

    Thank you for the further clarification Nancy. I do see where you get the basis of your theory. This has actually given me some more positive motivation to read my scriptures better. I’m not great at it because I can’t always get into it, but something about being on the lookout for these hidden revelations (even if they’re incomplete and shifted a bit) has generated some healthy interest at least.

    And Jenne, I’m sure this could be whole post in itself, but I do think it’s possible that some form of this understanding (HF has stewardship over this life) that has been misrepresented or misunderstood somewhere down the line to mean that we should maintain a distance between us and HM right now. And this is what has culturally been used to keep Her out of worship and educational resources at church. Just another hiccup in the practice of the gospel as coming from a male perspective (and all the more reason to join our voices in calling for representation and consideration of revelation that affects us equally).

    But I agree, She must be right there, one in purpose, one in knowledge, one in power, but She is also perhaps busy preparing spirits to come to earth. I feel that part of this is truth. Like in my blessing, I do feel that she must have been with me right up until the moment I left Her presence to come to the home that my Father provided. This comforts me, and I hope it’s not just wishful thinking.

  33. nat kelly says:

    Corktree, I just finished Chapter 18 of Women and Authority, and I thought of this post while reading. I highly recommend, in particular the second half about Heavenly Mother. It’s beautiful. I found myself saying, many times while reading, “Of course! That makes so much sense!”

    You might enjoy it. The relevant section starts under the title: “God the Mother: The Great High Priestess”

    http://www.signaturebookslibrary.org/women/chapter18.htm#Zion

  34. nat kelly says:

    Oh, I meant to mention – the section about Heavenly Mother as Holy Ghost was particularly interesting to me. I’ve never found that particular “theory” very compelling, but I think that she said it pretty powerfully. Going along with the sections preceding it, it’s quite insightful.

  35. Katie says:

    I felt like I should post, I probably do not have any ‘answers’ or solutions that you have not already tried, but I have asked these same questions. I sincerely hope you are able to get answers, or get to a place where you can pray again. It is through prayer with my Heavenly Father that I have received personal inspiration regarding my Heavenly Mother. My relationship with her is very private, in my heart, and I don’t really talk about it, but it has grown (and still is growing) little by little throughout my life. Two of the biggest sources of personal inspiration for me are The Family: A Proclamation to the World and my patriarchal blessing, also scripture study prompted by things I am pondering.

    I also understand your difficulty with attending church, as I feel very much the same way. So far I drag myself there every week because I know it is a commandment even if it is incredibly hard for me to do. That is one of my biggest struggles right now, and I am trying to reach a better place spiritually with myself so I don’t come home every Sunday angry or in tears. I understand that desire to attend church, even when it doesn’t seem to make sense.

    I sincerely hope you are able to find peace and build a relationship with your Heavenly Mother, as well as heal your relationship with your Heavenly Father.

  36. Matthew Chapman says:

    It is my experience that the relationship with Heavenly Mother is an extremely personal and individual one—even more individual than our relationship with the Holy Ghost.

    I would recommend Elder Uchtdorf’s recent essay “Can We See the Christ” from the latest Ensign.

    http://lds.org/ensign/2010/12/can-we-see-the-christ?lang=eng

    ” Sometimes the most difficult things to see are those that have been right in front of us all along.”

    In the same issue, in an article about Georg Handel, Elder Spencer Condie, late of the Seventy, quotes Elizabeth Barret Browning from “Aurora Leigh::

    Earth’s crammed with heaven,
    And every common bush afire with God;
    But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
    The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

  37. quite frankly says:

    Justin- none of the women here are interested in polygamy or joining your “tribe”, so perhaps you need to go back to your anarchist blog and stop trying to “infiltrate” others as you described.

    Quite frankly, your ideas and lifestyle are offensive to us as women, and as members of the church.

  38. Corktree, I shared a hymn book with your mother this morning. She giggled when I sang out loud “women” where the song said “men.” Too much to say on this and too little time. In a word (or two), I am confident that Everything we’ve been calling “Father” all these centuries is surely “Father and Mother” or “Mother/Father.” We don’t need to go out searching for a lost Mother. We need to adjust our Vision. Her absence is not Her fault, His fault, or Their fault. It is our fault. We need to Repent (rethink) and Revision. She is with us.
    Love from Carol Lynn

    • Corktree says:

      Thank you so much for adding your thoughts Carol Lynn. I am so much closer to this perspective than I was, and your poetry and words on the subject have helped me immensely.

      For my own peace of mind, I have begun to use “Elohim” in my prayers – even with my children – and it has just felt right. I’m sure it’s just for me, but it works in getting me past the obstacles that my brain puts up.

  1. June 8, 2011

    […] If there is and how we should worship a heavenly Mother […]

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