Sisters Speak: “Everybody Needs a God That Looks Like Them”
“How come you put a black Madonna on your honey?” I asked. I’d been curious about this from day one. Usually people got in a rut putting honey bears on them.
August grew still, holding the jar in her hand and looking into the distance like she’d gone in search of the answer and that finding it had been the bonus of the day. “I wish you could have seen [my friends] the first time they laid eyes on this label. You know why? Because when they looked at her, it occurred to them for the first time in their lives that what’s divine can come in dark skin. You see, everybody needs a God that looks like them, Lily.”
Everybody needs a God that looks like them. Yes. Yes. When I read that phrase for the first time, the truth of that statement resonated in my soul.
One of the greatest joys of being Mormon for me is our belief in a feminine divine. One of the greatest sorrows of being Mormon for me is Her absence from our worship and, for the most part, our very consciousness. Because, as Sue Monk Kidd alludes, when people acknowledge and commune with a God that looks like them, they see God in themselves.
At the same time, however, I think it’s crucial to have a God that doesn’t look like them as well. I have a three year old boy who prays to Heavenly Father. As he goes through primary, seminary, and beyond, I know that he will hear about Heavenly Father, and pray to Heavenly Father, dozens of times a week. I am happy that he has that model – he needs a God that looks like him, and hopefully as he grows, he will consequently feel his own divinity, his own limitless potential.
But I want him to see that potential in the women around him also. Will the lack of discussion at church about Heavenly Mother impact his ability to appreciate the divinity of the women in his life? I don’t know, but I don’t want to take any chances. So I intend to teach him as well as my daughter about Heavenly Mother. But how to do it? How to incorporate Heavenly Mother into our lives?
Here are a few ideas that have crossed my mind:
-use inclusive language when we pray at home. For me, that means using “God” rather than HF, since I define God as both Mother and Father.
– do an FHE (continual FHE’s?) on the divine potential of all humans, male and female. Initiate a discussion of HM.
– read books that acknowledge a feminine divine. Like Big Momma Makes the World by Phyllis Root.
The Sisters Speak column of a future issue of the Exponent II magazine will feature these questions, and I would love to hear your ideas on them.
a) should we explicitly teach about Heavenly Mother and incorporate Her into our lives? Why or why not? If your answer is no, what other ways can we teach our sons and daughters to see women as divine?
b) How should we go about integrating Her into our lives and teaching our kids about Her? Can you see any methods backfiring or being particularly effective?
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