Heavenly Mother’s Day: Are You My Mother? (eBook of LDS quotes and artwork about Heavenly Mother)
Guest post by Evelynne
Evelynne is a mother to three sweet children, a wife to an adorable and adoring husband, a graphic designer and a communications consultant. She is also a Gospel Doctrine Sunday School teacher. With what time is left over she likes to pretend she is a master yogi. She also loves making beautiful things and making things beautiful.
This is the story of a little girl’s journey…
My parents joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the year before I was born. By the time I came along my mother’s cigarettes were long gone, my father had given up on perfecting his home brew and my two older sisters firmly believed that popcorn came from apricot trees.
I will be forever grateful for being raised in the LDS church. The things I have learned from the gospel have absolutely formed the foundation for life as I know it today. But looking back, I can’t help but see a gaping hole that I wish I could go back and fill.
I recently discovered a far-reaching study published in the journal BYU Studies last year which located more than six hundred references to Heavenly Mother in the writings and speeches of LDS Church leaders1, however as concluded by an internet survey, most Mormons believe that discourse about Heavenly Mother is forbidden or inappropriate.2 I personally have clear memories of asking questions about my Heavenly Mother and being brushed off with statements in line with this thinking.
Gina Davis, who has created a foundation for improving female representation in the media, has said “We are in effect enculturating kids from the very beginning to see women and girls as not taking up half of the space.”3
Girls need to see women in movies, TV shows and the media who are intelligent, successful, and valued for qualities other than their physical appearance. There is ample evidence and research which concludes that this will lead to more opportunities and greater life experiences for girls.
In light of this information I could not help but ask, “Is this any different from the importance of girls seeing positive female role models in a religious setting?” and “Where did the concept of ‘sacred’ silence about our Heavenly Mother come from?”
In 1960, an LDS member published in a Mormon encyclopedia that information about our Heavenly Mother has been withheld because of the way God the Father’s and Jesus Christ’s names have been profaned.4 This was reflective of the romanticized, Western culture of the 19th and early 20th centuries where women were viewed as somewhat helpless and in need of protection from men. This concept has been refuted by LDS Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley who spoke of Heavenly Mother as being deity, whom “none of us can add to or diminish the glory of..”5
Another possible explanation for the reluctance to speak of a Heavenly Mother is that this is a unique doctrine that puts LDS members at odds with mainstream Christian theology.
I was asked once by a professor, who is an atheist, if I ever questioned my faith. My response to him was that I felt that it was irresponsible not to. This example clearly illustrates the need for all of us, whatever our religion (or non-religion), to challenge each element of our belief systems. To pull it all apart and put it back together again. I have striven to do this with my understanding of my Heavenly Mother. Through this experience I have come to better understand Her role in my life. As a Mormon, mother and feminist, I now can’t help but feel a responsibility to the rising generation to help break this so-called “sacred” silence.
**The references are included in the ebook. You can view Evelynne’s ebook here.