Dear Heavenly Mother
Dear Heavenly Mother,
Is it “Heavenly Mother,” or do you prefer something else? Would you rather I used “God” or even “Mom”? So much about you is a mystery, even your name. Most people I know don’t even imagine that you exist, but I cling to your possibilities. So much of Mormonism is uncertain for me, but you are the one, unique, tantalizing piece of my religious upbringing I can’t—I won’t—let go of.
I find myself searching for you in books about the female divine and in music or art with hints of you. Lately, I spend my time creating vibrant, rainbow-hued, felted wool images of a heavenly woman surrounded by light. I conceive complex imagery where women, children, and men look in a mirror and see your reflection in return. The joy I feel in these creations is always tinged with the melancholy reminder that I am just piecing together bits of you found here and there. I am supposedly made in your image, but your visage is a mystery to me.
Up until tonight, I always envisioned you as an unwilling accomplice to patriarchy. While I could not reconcile the secrecy surrounding you with the strength and power I hope you hold, I never dared believe you complicit. But tonight, I wonder why you don’t respond to my queries or join me on Wednesdays to fight the patriarchy. Why have you deserted women? Why silence when we need your voice; when we’ve always needed it?
My biggest fear is not that you don’t exist, but that you do, and that you hold up the patriarchy.
Dear Mother, please help me understand the divide between us. Are you just one prayer, one whisper away? Is “God” you or a Heavenly pair acting as one? Are you only lost until women unearth you beneath the weight of male supremacy and gendered power? How do we claim you when we know so little?
I wish you would appear and cleanse the earth of patriarchy—not so I could believe in your existence, but so I could believe in you.
Your existence has been kept secret (or sacred, as men say) for so long, that I fear calling upon your name. I’ve heard for so long Heavenly Mother is too precious, too perfect, too important. We can say your name, but not pray your name. Oh, how I long to publicly pray your name; to hear prophets praise your name.
I refuse to imagine you on a pedestal; a delicate flower too fragile to expose to questions, ridicule, shame, or even worship. Are you protected or is your power so robust, so enviable, that men must contain it to feel strong? I like to imagine that my strength, my compassion, my wisdom, even my humor, come from you. When I look at my sisters, my mother, and my friends, I see you in their grins, their screams of frustration, their joyous declarations, and their weary tears. Please say that you are not white, bright, unobtainable perfection, but instead round, vibrant, loud, and brazen with your love.
While I wish I could hold a book of words declaring your name, dear Mother, and unraveling the mysteries of the feminine divine, I’m also grateful that you remain relatively untouched by the revisions of men. Your absence from scripture protects you from patriarchal modifications keeping you perpetually pregnant, a plural wife, or an auxiliary of the Godhead. Perhaps you are a mystery only because you are for your children to discover unabridged.
So, I will keep seeking you in the poetry, music, art, and words that both hint at your existence and shout your name. I’ll continue letting my fingers craft at will, weaving together strands representing your love, hope, and wisdom; symbols of my quest for you. And, when melancholy or doubt threatens, I’ll reach for those strands connecting me to your feminine divine.