#VisibleWomen: We are daughters of Heavenly Parents
Dear President Oscarson, Sister McConkie, Sister Marriott, and members of the YW General Board,
As I write you this letter, we are celebrating International Women’s Day throughout the world. I am filled with love and a feeling of strong kinship as I think of the ways that my sisters around the world of all faiths lead, inspire, and serve in their communities. I think of many of my own personal heroes from past and present: Amelia Earhart, Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, Ellen Sirleaf, Mother Teresa, Malala Yousafzai, Esther, Ruth, Anna, Mary, and so many more. I honor them and look for inspiration from their lives as I look to make my own corner of the globe a better place as much as possible.
I am a life-long member of the church and have had the privilege of serving in many capacities. I currently serve with the Young Women, specifically the Mia Maids, and am constantly challenged by working with such incredible young women in my community. They are smart, strong, and ambitious girls who are navigating the tricky waters of adolescence with faith and resolve. I have been doing my best to teach them and inspire them to follow God and to live a life patterned after the life of Christ.
Every Sunday, we stand together and say the Young Women Theme. I love this ritual – it draws our minds and our hearts back to the values that we stand for, and it reminds these women of their divinity and worth as daughters of God. However, I am a bit concerned that one opportunity for reminding these girls of their divinity in the YW theme is being missed: that they are daughters of not only a Heavenly Father, but Heavenly Parents, and that their divine nature stems from both a Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother who love them, and they love them.
I know that we don’t speak much of our Heavenly Mother at church, although a recent article in BYU Studies shows that, historically in the church, “there has been substantial discussion and elaboration on the roles and divinity of our Heavenly Mother.” However, even recent statements from prophets and general authorities have referred to us as being children of Heavenly Parents – as recently as the October 2014 General Conference, President Uchtdorf reminded us that “pondering this truth — that we are children of heavenly parents — fills us with a sense of origin, purpose, and destiny.”
In my home, on the wall directly behind my workstation, I have framed pictures of women who inspire me. Every day, when I sit down to work, I am reminded of the great things that they did with their lives, and I am reminded that I am capable of doing equally great things. It reminds me to use my time wisely, and it reminds me of my capability to make a difference in the lives of those around me. Before I had these pictures up, I was more likely to waste time or become distracted, but now I have a focus. I see what a good force I can be – I am reminded of it every day. I believe that this kind of ritualistic reminder, though seemingly small and simple, can have an incredible impact on how we see ourselves and how we act.
Dear sisters, I believe that if we can make this small and simple change to the YW Theme – of changing “Heavenly Father” to “Heavenly Parents” – our girls will be invigorated. They will see themselves not just as daughters of a Heavenly Father, with past and present divinity, but they will see that there is future divinity for women, too. I believe that envisioning Heavenly Parents, with a Father and Mother side-by-side, will embolden them to see themselves as they are: divine daughters of God, with divine nature and divine potential. They will be reminded every week of their divinity, and that “in the heav’ns, are parents single? No, the thought makes reason stare! Truth is reason; truth eternal, Tells me I’ve a mother there.”
Thank you for your service, your leadership, and your example. I pray for you and our other church leaders, and I look forward to hearing from you in our General Women’s Meeting this month.
Midland 1st Ward, Midland Michigan Stake
***** Paulsen, David L.; Pulido, Martin (2011), “‘A Mother There’: A Survey of Historical Teachings About Mother in Heaven”, BYU Studies 50 (1): 70–97.
 Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Living the Gospel Joyful,” October 2014 General Conference.
 “O My Father,” LDS Hymns #292.