Monday, February 4, 2013


Note: It is not my usual MO to engage in speculative theological discussion, but I wanted to get my thoughts out on this one. They are still rough thoughts...just percolating right now after reading an article tonight.

The topic of Heavenly Mother is a tender one for many women. After all, if motherhood is so critical in God's plan for His children, why do we not hear more about Her role?

I have to confess that although I understand this longing, I share the feelings of Patricia Holland who wrote,

"I have never questioned why our mother in heaven seems veiled to us, for I believe the Lord has his reasons for revealing as little as he has on that subject."

I hear some of my sisters decrying such an attitude, as though not questioning, not demanding more knowledge from and through our leaders, is wrong -- that it is somehow holding us back.

I confess that I do not share this belief, either. There is something about clamoring for more knowledge about Her that has never felt right to me.

Now it's very possible that I am wrong about this, that perhaps people like me are holding back some marvelous revelation. But I also believe what Sister Holland said:

"I believe we know much more about our eternal nature than we think we do; and it is our sacred obligation to express our knowledge, to teach it to our young sisters and daughters, and in so doing to strengthen their faith and help them through the counterfeit confusions of these difficult latter days."

You can read more about what she means by scriptural patterns. I have taken this challenge to heart. For example, I read the Book of Mormon twice, all the way through, looking ONLY for patterns that related to or included women. I took a colored pencil to my scriptures and found something on nearly every page (if not every page) of that holy book.

It will be hard to convince me that we as women are somehow deprived or mistreated or ignored or disrespected by not hearing more. Do we have to work for insight? Absolutely. But I wouldn't expect otherwise from a God who commands us to ask, seek, and knock. The more I seek, the more I find that fills my soul with joy and excitement and conviction about His holy work and how critical, valued, and known women are to God and our Savior.

Tonight, another layer to my thoughts was triggered by an article my friend sent me. This article left me feeling even more strongly that perhaps there could be significant, divine reasons for what we do and do not know and focus on in our doctrinal discourse.

I'm going to switch around the order of a couple of comments in the article for emphasis.

"Jim Sheridan—director of the academy-award-winning “In the Name of the Father”—once stated, “'If you want to destroy a society, remove the fathers.'”

My kids and I have become fans of a few movies created by Sherwood Pictures, a movie-making arm of a Christian congregation in Georgia. One of these films, called Courageous, addresses head-on the societal problem of fatherlessness (and, more importantly, the doctrinal significance of noble, righteous fatherhood to Christians). Another article (a review of the movie that I just grabbed off of Google) summarizes some of those problems:

“Children living without their biological fathers, on average, are more likely to be poor and to have educational, health, emotional and psychological problems, to suffer child abuse, and to engage in criminal behavior, than peers living with their married, biological mother and father.
“Fatherless homes produce: 63 percent of youth suicides (Bureau of the Census); 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children (Center for Disease Control); and 85 percent of all children with behavioral disorders (CDC). In a recent survey 7 out of 10 participants agreed that the physical absence of fathers from the home is the most significant family or social problem facing America.”

But then, Kelly O'Connell takes that discussion of the cost of fatherlessness in our society (note that he has boatloads of other stats to mull over) and connects it with the doctrine of the Godhead, which for me was one of those aha kinds of connections (almost in a face palm, "of course!" sort of a way).

"From a purely secular standpoint, the health of a society can be measured by the vitality of fatherhood, according to relevant statistics. More importantly, the health of a society can be best measured from its ability to grasp the concept of God, the Father. For example, a society which merely accepts the God concept without differentiating between the elements of the Trinity is devolving towards paganism....
"[I]f one views the Father as an essential element of the Christian godhead—as Christ apparently did when he delivered the Lord’s Prayer: Our Father Who Art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name…(Matthew 6:9-13)—then to attack Fatherhood is to reject God."

I think the combination of the connection I felt with the movie Courageous (it's presents a Christian version of the Proclamation on the Family) and the focus in the new youth curriculum on the doctrine of the Godhead made this article stick out to me. Oh, how we need good fathers in our world! And oh, how we need more knowledge of our Eternal Father, and His Son and the role of the Spirit in helping us orient toward Home. And of course, what better way to have men understand fatherhood than to understand their eternal Father.

This video also seems very relevant. And timely.

This video is a perfect example of what I mean. I have heard people clamoring for a parallel video that is about earthly motherhood and Heavenly Mother. Again, while I sympathize with the desire, it doesn't feel right to me. I believe our prophets are inspired. I think we need to focus on the Godhead for a reason. I believe our Father's plan put Christ at the center for a reason. I believe Christ then pointed back to Father for a reason.

And of course this is my own personal opinion, but I cannot believe that our Mother is somewhere out there clamoring for anything different than that.

I have more thoughts on this topic, but that's all for now.