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.


  1. Michelle, as always your thoughts are more relavant, concise and inspired than you know.

    I believe strongly that we will not (and indeed should and can not) receive "More" until we cherish and are sanctified by what we all ready have, and are not using to its full value.

    When we cherish and revere and FOLLOW and obey our Father, perhaps we'll receive more about our mother as well. Thank you for sharing, I adored Courageous as well, but the two men in my household that viewed it with me, hated it. They said it made them feel worthless (Perhaps because both are divorced and not currently living with their own biological children). It is a delicate walk we walk.

  2. I need to see that movie. I enjoyed reading your thoughts, Michelle.


    PS. I have a paragraph about Heavenly Mother in my patriarchal blessing and have always found that unusual and interesting.

  3. So what do you think about people thinking that "God" means Heavenly Father AND Heavenly Mother? I still think of God as the Godhead, but I can see their point.

    I thought I'd like to see a mother video like the father one, just to give me a little upward push -- didn't think of it in terms of Heavenly Mother, I guess.

  4. As always your posts are inspirational and enlightening. Thanks you for this one. I just believe that I do have a Heavenly Mother and for now that is all I need to know. We do need to focus on the knowledge we do have of the Godhead. I loved the video. Since serving on our Inner City Mission I see so many single moms out there; it is so sad.
    Blessings and hugs!

  5. Emily, I don't disagree that looking at motherhood (through the traditional lens) would be great for a video like this, too (Stephanie Sorenson has a book that will be coming out that does just that...I'm excited for that one).

    In answer to your question, I think *Godhood* is a partnership deal to be sure, but to me the *Godhead* is about the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. I personally think our scriptures and doctrine are very clear about that. And I tend to think there is something to that. I sense it's pretty significant, else it wouldn't be the pattern taught in scripture and by prophets.

    Truth IS reason, and there is no doubt we have a Mother there. It just makes sense, and I think we can all sense that. But I think understanding and learning to access and invite the power of the Godhead could be a lifetime pursuit in and of itself, and I think that doctrine simply deserves more of our attention -- a living well of living water yet untapped, I think.

    I think knowledge and understanding about Godhood will come in its time, perhaps only in eternity. But isn't the truth that in Christ all things will hold together, and in Him we can receive all that we need? What if understanding Him and His role in the plan (hence, understanding the Godhead, really, for they are One), understanding His priesthood, understanding His (the Father's) doctrine is the key to understanding everything else?

    I tend to believe it is.

    1. Even as the doctrine of the family is also central. There are layers, I know. It's why I hesitate to go here in discussions because I know there is a lot to it all. :)

  6. Marsha, I ache for those who hurt because of movies like that, and I don't mean to be insensitive to that.

    In my view, it's then the knowledge of how they are first and foremost sons of a living God, a loving Father, that could salve their hearts. Christ will make up the difference to those who turn their lives over to Him. The *doctrine* of a divine Father can still help even in situations that are less than ideal.

  7. Michelle, I just found this link (I'll admit that I got wrapped up in a family history frustration and didn't come back to it until today) and we'd love to publish it. It offers a different perspective certainly than mine, though I certainly don't disagree with you, and I think that's great for healthy thinking. Let me know if you'd like to cross-post. That's what we do!