Heavenly Mother: Are you Really There?

By: Graceforgrace
February 10, 2013

A couple weeks ago I wrote about women holding the priesthood.  The discussion turned from women holding the priesthood to a lively discussion on Heavenly Mother.  Some of my Evangelical pastor friends who have followed my blog for a few years were shocked and appalled to learn that Mormons were openly discussing this.  I think they kind of also felt a “bait and switch” because this is something they hadn’t heard of before in my writings, but more importantly isn’t mentioned in Mormon books they have such as: The Book of Mormon, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, Doctrine and Covenants, etc.

The reaction of my friend reminded me of a similar experience I had while I was in Germany on a Mormon mission in the mid 1990s.  As a missionary, you always are worried about what a member might say when you bring a potential convert to church with you.  There are many strange things out there that prophets have done or said over the years that some members full heartedly believe.  You invite people to visit church with the hopes that someone doesn’t say something “crazy” and scare them off.

On this particular day, it wasn’t a Mormon church member that scared our potential convert off, but a song called “O My Father”.  Part of the song discusses that there is a Mother in Heaven.  When my German friend read that verse he looked like someone had punched him in the gut as he turned and looked at me with a questioning look.  Right after the service he ran out the door and we really never saw him again after that.

With this experience in mind, and the fact that the doctrine of a Heavenly Mother isn’t technically doctrine (in my mind, at least), I tried to explain that to my non-Mormon friends online.

Other LDS, or Mormon, friends who follow the blog jumped in and shared quite a few recent comments made by Mormon prophets and apostles who discuss us having Heavenly Parents.  Even with all of the educating of the doctrine of having a Heavenly Mother, I have the feeling my Evangelical friends are still very uneasy with the concept.

Why Evangelicals are Shocked

I think there is an underlying reason why Evangelicals are shocked to learn of Mormons discussing having a Heavenly Mother, and that is the way Mormons view our relationship to who God is vs. how Evangelicals view our relationship to God.

In the book “How Wide the Divide?”, Stephen Robinson states the following about how Mormons view God:

Since Latter-day Saints take seriously and literally the scriptural language about becoming the children of God (Rom 8:16), it makes sense to us that the children will grow up to be like their Father.  According to Scripture, God is the Fother of spirits (Heb 12:9).  We are his offspring (Acts 17:29), and offspring grow up to be what their parents are…(How Wide the Divide, pg 80)

The Evangelical point of view of man’s relationship to God is described by Craig Blomberg  in the same book as God being the “Creator” and man being the “creatures”.  Therefore, God is like the sculptor who sculpts a statue.  Although the statue is in the image of a human, the statue does not possess the traits of a human and is a completely different creature.

I believe that Mormons who feel we are the literal offspring of God have this in mind when they discuss having a Heavenly Mother.  A very good example of this is the song I mentioned previously, “O My Father”.  A portion of the song reads:

I had learned to call the Father, Through thy Spirit from on high,

But until the key of knowledge Was restored, I knew not why.

In the heavens are parents single? No, the thought makes reason stare!

Truth is reason, truth eternal tells me I’ve a mother there.

Conclusion

Mormons take the biblical scripture literally to mean that they are the offspring of God.  With that thought in mind, many Mormons assume that it is logical that God has a wife (Heavenly Mother) who conceived our spirits.  Evangelicals view man’s relationship with God much differently in the sense that God created us and formed us in His image, but we are not literal offspring of God.

If you are not a Mormon, what are your thoughts about the concept of a Heavenly Mother?

If you are a Mormon, why do you think there isn’t much discussion surrounding having a Heavenly Mother?  Do you consider this to be speculation, or do you consider it to be an official doctrine?



17 Responses to Heavenly Mother: Are you Really There?

  1. Will on February 10, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    We are children of God. We are his off spring. He is not going to have children out of wedlock; that of course would violate the law of Chasity and God would cease to be God.

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  2. dba.brotherp on February 10, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    I can understand the reasoning behind “O my Father” especially when it was written. But consider this; Right now a child can be conceived without sex (a virgin birth). Right now, we can manipulate DNA and put genes from one species into another. Right now, we can clone animals and plants. All that we can’t do is make an artificial womb. So if producing offspring is just the “donation” of DNA, why couldn’t God do that all by him/herself? Or if it takes two, why would sex be involved?

    Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of a Heavenly Mother but I can see other possibilities and maybe that is why it is not discussed.

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  3. Roger on February 10, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    I would say that the Internet has simplified the task considerably for investigators. One need not brave the terrors if freeway driving nor endure posterior punishment of the 3-hour block to listen to wild and fanciful tangents to the restoration of apostolic Christianity. Although the LDS Church wants to be the vehicle through which humankind learns of Christ’s atoning sacrifice and how we can be co-inheritors with Him of God’s glory, there are plenty of modern-day Orson Pratts and Jedediah Grants willing to take us on intellectual joy rides for which there really is very little scriptural basis.

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  4. Royal on February 10, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    In a recent series of ward conferences, I proposed and received permission and support from the Stake Presidency to teach the youth in our stake the Plan of Salvation. This included our spiritual birth to Heavenly parents who loved, nurtured, raised and taught us about our eternal potential. They, God\Elohim (plural in the Jewish language) shared with us their plan that would allow us to become like them by receiving physical bodies and passing an earthly experience. In that spiritual sphere as we learned and progressed we were allowed to exercise our agency which ultimately resulting in Lucifer’s opinion/plan which opposed Elohim’s plan. Jesus Christ, Elohim’s chosen executor, championed God’s plan and a battle of ideas/plans began as we tried to convert or convince our siblings that Elohim’s plan (including a spirit and mortal birth) was the only feasible plan. Ultimately Lucifer and all those who chose to rebel were overthrown and cast down to earth where they continue to this day to wage war against Jesus Christ and his followers still trying to thwart God’s plan. I have not included any scriptural references but this truth is supported through ancient and modern scripture and the teachings of both ancient and modern prophets. If we believe in the restoration of the gospel, modern prophets and the restoration of knowledge and truth from past prophets then all of the above are supportable. It also rings true and the spirit testifies of the same. This I have gained a testimony of and I share with you for your consideration and study, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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  5. LDS Anarchist on February 11, 2013 at 2:38 AM

    We worship the Father (male) in the name of the Son (male) by the power of the Holy Ghost (female). Check the Hebrew. Now which of those Three corresponds to a Mother figure? There is no mystery to this, only mistranslation.

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  6. ji on February 11, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    I also see this as an intellectual and unscriptural joy ride, an attempt to re-create God in our image. For me, I see no need to look beyond Jesus Christ. I am reminded of his counsel in the John chapter 14 that we SHOULD NOT try to look around him to the Father, but look only to him. I also know that the scripture teaches that we can become sons and daughters of Jesus Christ — to me, he is my focus. Anything else is looking beyond the mark, a joy ride, after the order of 2 Timothy 4:3.

    This is one Latter-day Saint’s opinion.

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  7. FireTag on February 11, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    Even in the RLDS/CofChrist tradition we do not take the LDS view of the physicality of God, and so do not presume ourselves offspring in the sense of the OP.

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  8. hawkgrrrl on February 12, 2013 at 2:05 AM

    Well, personally I see being the literal offspring of gods as the crown jewels. Otherwise, God seems pretty incomprehensible and irrelevant. It’s disturbing that we don’t talk openly about our Heavenly Mother, but considering that we talk about women like they are sweet smiling dolls with full wombs and empty heads, I can only imagine the reductive viewpoint on HM that would be shared.

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  9. Roger on February 12, 2013 at 8:42 AM

    Hawk—

    We appear to be conflating two sets of issues. My reluctance to embrace and explore a construct of HM is, I hope, due to my aversion to polytheistic veneration.

    I wholeheartedly reject the notion that the female ideal is represented by the harried woman in a K-Mart housecoat rushing home in her mini-van from the scrapbooking store so she can iron her husband’s shirts (I read your most recent post).

    I just don’t see how, absent any scriptural basis, we avoid speculation on the role of Heavenly Mother(s) turning into the mythology summaries published by Edith Hamilton

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  10. graceforgrace on February 13, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    LDS Anarchist,

    I have heard recently how people say the HG is a female figure and possibly Heavenly Mother. Can you elaborate on where you are getting your belief that HG is a female?

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  11. LDS Anarchist on February 13, 2013 at 8:21 PM

    #10 graceforgrace,

    http://ldsanarchy.wordpress.com/2010/06/07/the-holy-ghost-is-a-woman/

    Also check the 6th comment for more links.

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  12. RockiesGma on February 16, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    I am LDS and believe in HM, though She can’t be the Holy Spirit. She must have a resurrected, exalted body to be with HF eternally. I have a dear friend whose son had a near-death experience when he was 2 or 3 years old. He spoke of HM being there and telling him he had to go back to this side of the veil to accomplish things She told him he was supposed to do. I’ve often wondered if Catholic visitations of Mary might be HM, instead, but because they aren’t taught about HM they assume it’s Mary.

    And finally, I wonder if the Holy Spirit is, indeed female, and perhaps the firstborn daughter — twins? — and one like unto Christ.

    All my beliefs stem from Journal of Discourse materials, teachings of Joseph Smith, and personal revelation on rare occasion. I have as much faith in HM as I do HF and the Savior. But I have a particular fondness for the HG who goes without a physical body for so, so long in order to testify, teach, comfort, warn, guide, and soften my heart so that I may deeply believe in the other Three. Reading the scriptures with the idea that the HG is female, and God means HF&HM is a transcendent experience to cherish.

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  13. Henry on February 17, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    RockieGMA:
    We are commanded specifically to pray to the Father in the name of Christ. To the Father and not the “Parents”.

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  14. Hedgehog on February 18, 2013 at 8:37 AM

    Our sacrament meeting yesterday, the YW who spoke on Divine Nature (one of the YW values) mentioned HM several times and the HP who spoke later said how nice it was that we had heard about Her today, because She isn’t mentioned much and we miss Her.

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  15. LDS Anarchist on February 18, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Christianity: God is a Trinity (the Father, Son and Holy Ghost) and there is no “Heavenly Mother.”

    Speculative Mormonism: God is a Fourplex (the Father, Son, Mother and a male Holy Ghost), but “Heavenly Mother” is silent and does nothing during this estate.

    The facts: God is Triune (the male Father, the male Son and the female Holy Ghost.) If She (the Holy Ghost) is the “Heavenly Mother” figure of speculative Mormonism, then She can’t be a “heavenly” Mother, since She is here on Earth striving with men. Which would mean that all those who lament that “Heavenly Mother” is absent from our worship rites are mistaken, since we are taught to worship the male Father in the name of the male Son by the power of the female Holy Ghost.

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  16. RockiesGma on February 18, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    Henry, #13, what are you talking about? I don’t understand your comment about prayer. I never said anything about praying to anyone but God. Could you explain, please? Thank you in advance.

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  17. Trevor on February 23, 2013 at 11:00 PM

    From the Family Proclamation:

    “Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents”

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