Guest Post: Why Heavenly Mother is Essential: Part 2
Guest Post by McArthur Krishna, McArthur comes from a pack of storytellers. And while the pack rightly insists she’s only in the running for third-best storyteller on a good day, she’s made her living in stories. Stories in words and visual art that inspire, demand, encourage and cajole us along this wild ride of life. If you know her, she will unabashedly tell your stories too (with some degree of truthiness). Look out.
This is the second of a seven-part series about why Heavenly Mother is essential.
I knew some about Heavenly Mother before I started digging into this topic. I realized She existed. I realized She was the mother of my spirit. I realized I was made in Her image. I assumed she loved me. But some of the other quotes that I found (again from all prophets and apostles) really surprised me.
Essential Fact #2: Heavenly Mother and Heavenly Father both designed the plan of happiness for us… and work together side by side.
One of the concepts that I didn’t know before is that Heavenly Mother and Heavenly Father both crafted the plan of happiness for our lives. President M. Russell Ballard said, “We are part of a divine plan designed by Heavenly Parents who love us.”
I have a sister-in-law who is a planner. I come from a large family and we all went to their wedding. We showed up to the wedding and had a three-page typed written itinerary down to 15 minute increments. This woman is ON IT. It was a very foreign concept to my family who has a much more roll-with-it kind of approach to time and schedules. Plans for the day are merely suggestions.
She recently called me up and said that it is so satisfying for her to hear about Heavenly Mother.
It hit me— maybe because she didn’t know that when she planned for her family that she’s acting in the model of her Heavenly Mother planning for Her family. What a beautiful thing to think about! In her mind, a talent that she maybe hadn’t quite celebrated before was now realized as something incredibly potent for her.
I started to wonder about other ways that Heavenly Mother and Heavenly Father interact and found a model that was literally life-changing.
First, the doctrine:
No matter to what heights God has attained or may attain, he does not stand alone; for side by side with him, in all her glory, a glory like unto his, stands a companion, the Mother of his children. For as we have a Father in heaven, so also we have a Mother there, a glorified, exalted, ennobled Mother.Elder Melvin J. Ballard
“The divine Mother, side by side with the divine Father, [has] the equal sharing of equal rights, privileges and responsibilities.”Susa Young Gates
She is like Him [Heavenly Father] in glory, perfection, compassion, wisdom, and holiness.Encyclopedia on Mormonism
The divine model is EQUALITY. For the purposes of this posting, we understand we don’t think our Heavenly Parents are exactly the same. They can’t be. But they can have the same divine traits like patience or compassion without being clones.
With that understanding, what shifts?
Working from our most personal spheres to the broader…
How do my identity and goals shift when I know I have the potential to be on par with the supreme power of the universe? How do I talk to myself? How do I spend my time? How do I let others treat me? What roles do I play? Michael Goodman, speaking to women at BYU Women’s Week said, “You are a perfect version of Heavenly Mother. Your destiny is not counselor-hood. Your destiny is Godhood.”
In our families and relationships, do we treat ourselves as equals? As equitable partners? Do we have equal decision-making? Do we have equal access to resources? Do we counsel together? I have seen numerous instances online and from friends and my own life where it was assumed that because the other person in the equation had the priesthood or was male, that they trumped. This is heartbreaking. The Proclamation on the Family calls men and women co-equals… and we need to live like it.
More than anything, women need to see themselves as equa and act like it.
Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife said, “Partnership in marriage does not mean diving up tasks equally. Real partnership in marriage means that equal priority is given to each partner’s needs, wants, and desires and that equal value is given to each partner’s input, time and contribution.”
As Dr. Julie Hanks has said, “It’s not who does what, it’s who decides who does what.”
While these are marriage examples, the same is true for whatever place we find ourselves in. A recent study at BYU divided students into groups of five. Unless four of the five were women, men talked 75% of the time. Most often comments after a women spoke were undercutting or disparaging.
I am not trying to slam men or set up women and men as opponents. Or even say that equality is about speaking up the same amount.
What I am pointing out is that this gender disparity is not just an issue in a far off country in an extreme situation (like the Taliban), and that we as women need to see ourselves as Gods in embryo. This means we claim space for our ideas, and needs, and talents.
What is the impact of a world that begins to follow the divine model of equality? Valerie Hudson’s research shows that countries that follow a divine model of equality literally perform better. This surprised me at first— I thought my visions of equality were perhaps divine-but-fanciful. Turns out, it’s solid. Countries that treat women more equitably have astounding comparative success: lower rates of diseases, higher rates of education, longer life spans, less war.
With this learning it would appear to me that one of the essential concepts we get from Heavenly Mother and Heavenly Father is that working together as equals matters. Let’s try.