Mary Cassatt, Mother's Kiss, 1891
Now that I have this little fig in my belly, I've been thinking about motherhood a lot. A lot a lot. I've been thinking about the grand emphasis my Mormon people place on motherhood. "Motherhood is divine! It is inherent. It is eternal!" we exclaim in our pews and Sunday schools and scripture studies. And those exclamations feel right to me. Motherhood is divine--I can think of few things more otherworldly than the spontaneous combustion of this little human within me. It does feel inherent--like this baby was someone that was meant to happen in my body at this time. And it is eternal--I'm engaging in some process bigger than me, bigger than my marriage, bigger than the universe. As big as God, even.
I've been wondering--with all of our church talk of motherhood and the godliness therein, why is there so much discomfort in talking about our Heavenly Mother--the female half of what Mormons believe is a duel gendered God? If motherhood is, in fact, divine, why do we shy away from talking about the divine Mother?
I recently read this article: Review of Paulsen and Pulido's 'A Mother There'
And this blog post: What I First Learned About Heavenly Mother
And in reading both, electric jolts shot through my body, and the Spirit said, "Yes."
Other women I know who read these posts cried.
I think many of us are longing for Her or at least longing to know that we can speak respectfully of Her as we would speak respectfully of God the Father or of Jesus Christ without judgement or a sideways glance from our church friends.
And the thing is, there is no sanction in talking about Her. The concept of a feminine divine is a clear and undeniable element of Mormon doctrine. The Family: A Proclamation to the World--one of the most mainstream, contemporary LDS documents and one considered by many Mormons to be comparable to scripture--refers to our 'Heavenly Parents.' This idea that she is too sacred to speak of and must be protected originated with a well meaning seminary teacher. Such a speculation was never perpetuated by any formal church leaders but simply festered within the culture. (For the record, I think this speculation is utterly ridiculous. She is a Goddess of the Universe for Pete's sakes.) Prophets and apostles, conversely, have said quite a lot about Her:
Elder Melvin J. Ballard said of Heavenly Mother, "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."*
Prophet Spencer W. Kimball said when speaking to a group of young women, "You women are daughters of God. You are precious. You are made in the image of our Heavenly Mother."*
Recent apostle Neil A. Maxwell said that the knowledge of our Heavenly Mother is one of the "truths that [is] most relevant and most needed in the times in which [we] live."*
And it's not just the women who need Her, it's the men, too. When I sent these posts to my husband, he said, "I think it can be a powerful thing for men [to know Heavenly Mother] as well. Developing a relationship with Heavenly Mother could be a huge thing for men and women alike."
I believe it is time for us--men and women--to honor the duality of the Divine. We need embrace the Yang and the Yin. Eastern philosophy recognizes that an imbalance in feminine and masculine energies results in a sick and dis-eased world. Is it possible that in bringing Heavenly Mother back into our consciousness and conversations, some of the sexism and oppression that plagues our world community will be ameliorated and the hurting in our hearts will be soothed?
When I think on it, electric jolts shoot through my body, and the Spirit tells me the answer to this questions is, "Yes."
*Quote origin can be found in What I First Learned About Heavenly Mother