As many have heard, and as I wrote about in a previous post, there are credible rumors that the newly-reinstated women’s session of General Conference taking place in two days will double-down on messages being shared in stake trainings about a “concerning push” about Heavenly Mother on social media. Since that post, there have also been at least two different videos (here, and here) of Elder Renlund making similar admonitions about Heavenly Mother (friends, the Twitter post is the only place I could find that video–I don’t endorse the tweet!!!–and the Church took down the second video from YouTube so the Instagram highlight is all I have). There was also a Salt Lake Tribune article describing some of what is going on and getting some hot takes from apologists.
I will wait until General Conference actually happens to respond to whatever is said then. In the meantime, I’m going to provide background information so that those interested in heading into this weekend up-to-speed are ready. I’ll also offer some commentary on what’s already been said.
[updated 4/3/2022: Renlund gave a talk that was almost verbatim what the videos from earlier talks showed.]
There’s obviously no way to do justice on the entire history of the feminine divine, LDS conceptions of Heavenly Mother, and LDS feminism, activism, literature, and art in a blog post, so this is a broad overview that will point you to a lot of other sources. Here is what this post will cover:
Part 1 will outline the supplanting and erasure of Goddess worship in ancient history.
Part 2 will introduce historical Church teachings on and treatment of Heavenly Mother.
Part 3 will provide context in what has been happening in the LDS world in the last few years regarding the divine feminine and Heavenly Mother.
Part 4 will describe the current “crackdown” and the comments that have been made (or reportedly made) so far.
Part 5 will close out with my thoughts on the situation (which I’m trying to isolate to this section so that the first 4 parts are largely reporting and not editorializing).
Last comment before I begin: I will do my best to give credit where credit is due because much of the background summarized here is pieced together from hundreds of other articles, books, social media conversations, etc. that I’ve read both recently in connection with this issue and over the last couple of decades as I’ve paid attention to feminist issues in the Church. But a ton of this is just in my head by osmosis and if I don’t credit someone specifically, I apologize. That said, I’ll pre-credit the following: Angela / Hawkgrrl for the title of this post; Amy Allebest McPhie’s Breaking Down Patriarchy podcast; Joanna Brooks, Rachel Hunt Steenblik, and Hannah Wheelwright’s Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings (plus a bunch of the women featured in that book!); Rachel Hunt Steenblik’s books of poetry (Mother’s Milk & I Gave Her a Name) and numerous social media posts; Carol Lynn Pearson’s Finding Mother God (and lots of interviews I’ve listened to); Channing Parker & Elise Poll’s Faithful Feminists podcast and social media; Bergen Hyde’s social media posts; and Rosemary Card’s social media posts. They and so many others have done reasoned, revelatory work in this space.
Part 1: Goddess Worship and Subordination, 7000 BCE–200 BCE
Gracious Ishtar, who rules over the universe
Heroic Ishtar, who creates humankind,
who walks before the cattle, who loves the shepherd …
You give justice to the distressed, the suffering you give them justice.
Without you the river will not open,Ancient Sumerian Prayer
the river which brings us life will not be closed,
without you the canal will not be open,
the canal from which the scattered drink,
will not be closed … Ishtar, merciful lady …
hear my prayer and grant me mercy.
The very earliest evidence we have of religious / worship activities in global history includes (and was often dominated by) Goddess-worship, such as the worship of Ishtar expressed in the prayer above (also known as Inanna and one of the earliest deities we have record of). Given women’s roles in reproduction and bearing life, this isn’t all that surprising. Sometimes female deities were presented as primary in terms of creation myths; in others, they worked together with a male counterpart in a relationship that was much more egalitarian than what developed later.
Even in ancient Israel, scholars argue that the monotheistic worship of Yahweh didn’t develop until sometime during the Babylonian exile starting in 586 BCE and possibly as late as the second century BCE. There is plenty of evidence of polytheistic goddess-worship in the Old Testament, such as Rachel’s teraphim and statues of the goddess Asherah (who may have been viewed as a consort to Yahweh) being erected (and later destroyed) in Solomon’s temple. Of course, attempts were made at stamping out Asherah worship much earlier, but she persisted well into biblical history.
Over time, female deities in numerous cultures were supplanted by male deities. While there is archeological evidence of this occurring (as well as biblical references to it, such as the destruction of Asherah described above), why this happened is a matter of educated guessing since we do not have explicit records on the topic. That said, the consensus of a number of scholars is expressed in Gerder Lerner’s The Creation of Patriarchy, which posits:
“[J]ust as the development of plow agriculture, coinciding with increasing militarism, brought major changes in kinships and in gender relations, so did the development of strong kingships and of archaic states bring changes in religious beliefs and symbols. The observable pattern is: first, the demotion of the Mother-Goddess figure and the ascendence and later dominance of her male consort / son; then his merging with a storm-god into a male Creator-God, who heads the pantheon of gods and goddesses. Wherever such changes occur, the power of creation and of fertility is transferred from the Goddess to the God.”
Lerner traces this development through several different pre-biblical cultures. One example is the way that Inanna and Nammu–two well-known, powerful Mesopotamian goddesses–were eventually replaced with Tiamat, a new goddess whose power and authority is subordinate to a new male supreme god, Marduk. Likewise, in Greek mythology, Gaia is a female goddess who created the world and helped her grandson Zeus defeat the Titans, only later to be defeated by Zeus and forced to acknowledge his supremacy.
Lerner identifies a pattern in the development of leading “explanatory metaphors and symbols” around three basic questions that all religions try to answer:
- who creates life?
- who brings evil into the world?
- who mediates between humans and the supernatural? Or: to whom do the gods speak?
Looking just at the Hebrew Bible, the following changes from older mythology are introduced in Genesis:
- Who creates life? In Genesis, “Yahweh is the sole creator of the universe and all that exists in it. Unlike the gods of neighboring peoples, Yahweh is not allied with any female goddess nor does He have familial ties. There is no longer any maternal source for the creation of the universe and for life on earth.” Woman does not create man but is created by man, from man. LDS theology similarly posits that the Earth’s creation was accomplished by three males: Heavenly Father, Christ, and Michael / Adam. In addition, even procreation in the Hebrew Bible is accomplished not by women alone but by a male god: Eve says of her conception of Cain that she has “gotten a man with the help of the Lord”; Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel both suffer infertility and are unable to bear children without God opening their wombs, and it is also God who opens Leah’s womb because He saw she was hated.
- Who brings evil into the world? Genesis also introduced / solidified an important change from Mesopotamian mythology around evil. Earlier mythology contained references to the Tree of Life (often female) and to men and women seeking to usurp immortality and knowledge from the gods. But in Genesis, the question “who brought sin and death into the world” is answered with “Woman, in her alliance with the snake, which stands for free female sexuality.” As a result of this, while both Adam and Eve were punished, Eve is subjected to rule by her husband and (described below) excluded from covenantal relationship with God. While LDS theology tries to soften this somewhat and at times honors Eve for making a brave choice, until 2019 the temple endowment still required women to obey / hearken to their husbands because Eve was the first to partake of the fruit. Post-2019, husbands still “preside” over their families both in the temple sealing ceremony and in LDS teachings such as those contained in the Proclamation on the Family.
- Who mediates between God and humans? The Hebrew Bible sets up the core relationship between the Israelites and God as a covenant relationship. God covenants with Noah, Abraham, and Moses. God’s covenant with Abraham excludes Sarah and in fact is memorialized in an act that necessarily excludes all women: circumcision of the foreskin. In the LDS Church, women can enter covenantal relationship with God through baptism and temple covenants. However, women are not ordained to the priesthood and male prophets are clearly seen as “mediators” between God and humans.
This is scratching the surface of the way that economic and political changes diminished the roles of women in society and the way that symbols, myths, culture, and theology changed in response. For more information, I highly recommend listening to the first three episodes of Breaking Down Patriarchy or (if you have a lot more time) reading The Creation of Patriarchy, from which most of my material came. My point in presenting this information is to make it clear that goddesses have been worshipped from the beginning of religious history and that goddess-erasure is likewise a very old practice.
Part 2: The LDS Heavenly Mother, 1845-present
I had learned to call thee Father,
Thru thy Spirit from on high,
But, until the key of knowledge
Was restored, I knew not why.
In the heav’ns are parents single?
No, the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason; truth eternal
Tells me I’ve a mother there.
When I leave this frail existence,
When I lay this mortal by,
Father, Mother, may I meet you
In your royal courts on high?
Then, at length, when I’ve completedEliza R. Snow, “Invocation”
All you sent me forth to do,
With your mutual approbation
Let me come and dwell with you.
The LDS Church has long referenced the existence of a Heavenly Mother. Although there is no written record of Joseph Smith having taught this, Snow’s “Invocation” (now known in the LDS Hymnbook as “O My Father”), published shortly after Smith’s death, suggests that he taught this doctrine in certain circles. In 1909, the First Presidency declared that “[a]ll men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother and are literally the sons and daughters of Deity.” In 1991, Gordon B. Hinckley (then in the First Presidency under an ailing Benson) stated in a General Relief Society meeting that “[l]ogic and reason would certainly suggest that if we have a Father in Heaven, we have a Mother in Heaven. That doctrine rests well with me.” However, he went on to add that we “do not pray to our Mother in Heaven” because Jesus taught us to pray to “the Father” and that we have “no revealed knowledge” of Her.
Interestingly (in parallels echoing today), Hinckley addressed this issue after a leadership training he had given earlier that year was leaked and about which “some few women of the Church appear to be greatly exercised.” He referenced “the activities of a few who evidently are seeking to lead others in the paths which they are following. I speak of those who advocate the offering of prayers to our Mother in Heaven. This practice began in private prayer and is beginning to spread to prayers offered in some of our meetings.”
Other references to Heavenly Mother occur in the 1995 Proclamation on the Family that declared that each of us is “a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents,” and in gospel topics essay on Heavenly Mother, and in the Young Women’s theme that was revised in 2019 to state “I am a beloved daughter of Heavenly Parents, with a divine nature and eternal destiny.” Note the capitalization; the Aaronic Priesthood theme contains no such reference to parents. For significantly more information about the Church’s statements and teachings about Heavenly Mother, see the BYU paper “‘A Mother There’: A Survey of Historical Teachings about Heavenly Mother,” published in 2011.
The publication of A Mother There was for many Mormon women and feminists a watershed event. After the “September Six” disciplinary actions or excommunications of several Mormon feminists (based on their work teaching and writing about Heavenly Mother), including Lynne Kanavel Whitesides, and Maxine Hanks, and the 2000 disciplinary action against Margaret Toscano for the same, many LDS women were afraid that we were not allowed to talk or write or even think much about Heavenly Mother. While there were certainly people writing and talking about Her in certain spaces (like Feminist Mormon Housewives or Sunstone), I am not aware of much discussion of Her in mainstream Mormon spaces. In 2012, a blogger on Times & Seasons noted that her 2011 search for “Heavenly Mother” on lds.org yielded only 16 results (compared to 14,625 for “Heavenly Father”). A Mother There seems to have breathed new life into discussions about Heavenly Mother, but especially in art, poetry, and literature among LDS women. I have also noticed dramatically increased references to “Heavenly Parents” and “Heavenly Mother” in Church settings ranging from Sunday meetings to conference talks. Although we still know very little about Her (from Church sources), She seems to be becoming more mainstream. Of course, other Christian denominations and other religions were also revitalizing discussions about the Divine Feminine, especially starting during the 1970’s as feminist theologians published on the topic. The work of feminist theologians outside the LDS Church definitely seems to have had an impact on LDS women, but I am not going to go into that history here.
Part 3: Heavenly Mother in Recent Mormon Art, Literature, and Conversation
What every child wants to know is“What Every Child Wants to Know,” Rachel Hunt Steenblik
if her Mother is watching.
What every child was to know is
if she is seen.
While I would never claim that no one was writing or painting about Heavenly Mother until recently, in my observation (and others agree) there has been a real explosion of Heavenly Mother imagery in the Mormon imagination in the last 5 or so years. Some examples of published work include:
- Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings, published in 2015 and edited by Joanna Brooks, Hannah Wheelwright, and Rachel Hunt Steenblik
- Mother’s Milk (2017) and I Gave Her A Name (2019), poetry by Rachel Hunt Steenblik
- 100 Birds Taught Me to Fly: The Art of Seeking God (2017) by Ashley Mae Hoiland (who also illustrated I Gave Her A Name)
- Dove Song: Heavenly Mother in Mormon Poetry, a compilation published in 2018
- Finding Mother God, a book of poetry by Carol Lynn Pearson, published in 2020
- A Girl’s Guide to Heavenly Mother and A Boy’s Guide to Heavenly Mother, books published in 2020 by McArthur Krishna, Bethany Brady Spalding, and (boy’s guide only) Martin Pulido
As for art, there is a lot. The one that I am most familiar with is Caitlin Connolly’s 2017 In Their Image because it was purchased by and displayed in the Church History Museum and in just about every one of my friend’s homes, as well as Melissa Tshikamba’s work. But you can see tons of other examples here, here, and here. The ability to share art instantly and widely via social media has given many women access to this artwork that they may not otherwise have had.
Podcasting has also made it easy for women to distribute content and have broader conversations about Heavenly Mother. A quick search on Spotify shows some entire podcasts devoted to the topic (such as In Her Image and Behold Thy Mother), as well as literally dozens of podcast episodes on Mormon-genre podcasts like Faith Matters, The Foyer, This Week in Mormons, Q.MORE, Listen Learn Love, Saints Unscripted, The Cultural Hall, The Backyard Professor, At Last She Said It … and more. (I haven’t listened to all of these.)
There are also, of course, many blogs and periodicals that focus on feminist or female LDS perspectives such as The Exponent II and Segullah, plus other periodicals that occasionally publish feminist work like Dialogue and Sunstone. Admittedly, I did not scour these for all of the references of Heavenly Mother. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know that many mainstream LDS women who read them (or this blog, hah!)–so while they are important and have produced some great work, I am intentionally focusing more on what I’m seeing among mainstream LDS women because I think that is what has got Church leadership talking. I know many, many mainstream LDS women who own the books I’ve posted above (except for Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings), and follow artists like the ones referenced in my links on social media and own prints of their work.
In addition, over the last couple of years (especially during Covid, when many people I know started redefining their own spiritual practices), I have seen a huge number of divine-feminine focused social media accounts where LDS women share their own journeys connecting with the feminine divine / Heavenly Mother, share artwork, quotes, etc. across a large spectrum of orthodoxy. A very cursory search revealed more than 30 different Heavenly Mother / divine feminine focused Instagram accounts from Mormon women, plus dozens of accounts with broad followings that do not exclusively focus on but often discuss Heavenly Mother.
I have also seen a number of LDS influencers become more vocal about Heavenly Mother and other feminist issues in the Church. And I have heard increasing numbers of people address prayers to “Heavenly Parents” (even at Church meetings) and use “Heavenly Parents” and “They” when talking about God, and confide that they pray to Heavenly Mother and/or Heavenly Parents in private or in their homes. These are all just anecdotal, personal observations, but it seems to me that over the last several years more and more LDS women are seeking–and often finding–personal connections with Heavenly Mother / the feminine divine. They are finding it is enriching their spiritual lives, offering something that religion has not yet been able to offer them, and talking about it. I’m not the only one who has noticed this; Peggy Fletcher Stack wrote about it last May in the Salt Lake Tribune.
Until recently, most did not see any hint of trouble about this chatter. The poets and the artists and the social media influencers didn’t, as far as I know, get called into a membership council–even for saying many of the same things that were said by women who had been excommunicated in the 90’s. It felt safer than it had in a long time.
That may be changing.
Part 4: The Crackdown
One of the wonderful things that Mormonism teaches us is that experience is sacred. Who can excommunicate a poem? Who can excommunicate your heart’s authentic longing?Joanna Brooks
Perhaps the canary in the coalmine signaling that all is not well in the Heavenly Mother renaissance was Fiona Given’s abrupt departure from the Maxwell Institute at BYU, and withdrawal from several pre-committed events, shortly after she spoke at a fireside and on a podcast about Heavenly Mother (and theorized that Heavenly Mother may be the Holy Ghost). While Givens insists that she departed voluntarily to pursue other interests, the timing of her departure still raised eyebrows and started rumblings that perhaps those publicly talking about Heavenly Mother could be in trouble, or at least that the Church wanted to distance itself from any such talk so that it did not appear to endorse it.
More recently, rumors began circulating that Elders Holland and Christofferson were talking about “doctrinal drift” at stake leadership trainings, and instructing that leaders need to insist on the following:
- Prioritizing Heavenly Parents over referencing Heavenly Mother and not speaking about Her in Church.
- Using lower-case letters to write “heavenly mother.”
- Not speaking of Heavenly Mother’s involvement in things like the creation or plan of salvation because we don’t have evidence she was involved.
- Not praying to Her.
There are also rumors that the same message will be given at General Conference (potentially in the newly-reinstated Women’s Session):
Finally, and in what in my view confirms the validity of these rumors, there are now two videos available of talks given by Elder Renlund (here, and here) in two different meetings sharing similar messaging, including the following:
- The Heavenly Mother gospel topics essay is everything that the leadership knows about Heavenly Mother; “I wish we knew more and you may wish you knew more as well, but reason cannot replace revelation.”
- “Jesus instructed his disciples to pray to Heavenly Father alone so that is the pattern for all Christians.”
- It would be “wonderful to sit back and make up all kinds of comforting doctrines, but latter-day prophets are constrained not to do that.”
- [4/3/22 update: he also said it was “arrogant” to demand revelation.]
While some wonder if leadership will back down given the social media chatter about this, that exact situation (minus social media) was the context for President Hinckley’s 1991 remarks. Many expect there to be a talk on this, by a man, during women’s session of General Conference. [There was, and it was Renlund.]
Part 5: Concluding Thoughts
If God is male, the male is god.Mary Daly
I’ve tried in this post to keep to the facts as best as I understand and can report. In this concluding section, I’m going to share my reaction to what has been reported so far and the potential for this to be shared more broadly at General Conference.
First, some responses to the points being made in the trainings and by Elder Renlund:
- Prioritizing Heavenly Parents over referencing Heavenly Mother and not speaking about Her in Church: The reason I began with ancient history in this post is because once you understand that, it seems to obvious that is just history repeating itself–attempting to diminish female deity has been happening for literally thousands of years. Our leaders are just doing what the Assyrians (not very nice people, btw) and Egyptians and Greeks did. This is neither groundbreaking, reasoned, or revelatory. I am also at a loss for what harm leaders are afraid of here.
- Using lower-case letters to write “heavenly mother”: This seems like nit-picking on leadership’s part, but it’s both significant and insulting to Heavenly Mother and women. First, it seems like a clear demotion of Heavenly Mother from a significant, powerful, discrete deity to a small god. Women, take note: this is also a demotion of your eternal status. We are being sold that we can aspire only to lower-case godhood, eternally subordinated to the upper-case male Gods. Second, many are speculating polygamy is driving this–because there can’t be one Heavenly Mother, only multiple heavenly mothers. It bothers me that the cart (polygamy) is driving the horse (our conception of God) here rather than the other way around, and suggests that polygamy is a much more fundamental part of our theology than what leadership lets on in public. Finally, if leaderships’ claim is that we “don’t know anything” about Heavenly Mother, then how are they so sure about a detail like capitalization? Is that the one thing the Father has revealed to them about Her lately? Is the only knowledge they seek a confirmation of their own superiority? (Note that this is still capitalized in online Church resources, so either (1) those haven’t been updated, (2) this isn’t actually being said, or (3) leaders have changed their minds about making a big deal out of this. Time will tell.)
- Not speaking of Heavenly Mother’s involvement in things like the creation or plan of salvation because we don’t have evidence she was involved: This again follows clear historical patterns of religious groups taking credit for fertility and the creation of life away from females and giving it to males. This is particularly troubling in a religion like the LDS Church that claims that the most significant and holy role that women get to play is as mothers–but men are the supreme mothers. This also contradicts other Church teachings about Heavenly Mother as a creator and participant in the plan of salvation (some of which are described in “A Mother There“). Although Renlund discounts “reason” in coming to conclusions about Heavenly Mother, it truly does make reason stare to imagine that, if there is a Heavenly Mother, she was not involved in the creation of life or the plan of salvation.
- Not praying to Her; Jesus Said Only Pray to the Father: This is, of course, not a new argument as it formed the basis of President Hinckley’s 1991 comments on Heavenly Mother. It’s a bad argument, though. Jesus did give us an example of praying to the Father, but he did not say ONLY pray to the Father. Also, the New Testament is not verbatim what Jesus did and said (it was written decades after his death), and does not include everything he ever said. So I am not persuaded by this argument. We do HUNDREDS of things that Jesus never said to do (see, e.g., the entire Church Handbook of Instructions, almost none of which comes from Jesus’s express instructions). We are told that it is not meet to be commanded in all things but that we should be anxiously engaged in a good cause as agents unto ourselves. Finally, Rachel Steenblik in particular has done a good job of debunking the no-pray idea in various Instragram posts if you want to learn more.
- “We wish we knew more, but we don’t.” First all, there is so much in scripture and history about Heavenly Mother that I guess leadership is just ignoring. There is as much scriptural evidence of Her as there is of a lot of other beliefs we adhere too. As such, I have a hard time believing this is sincere and that leadership is truly asking the right questions because I think they may be afraid of answers that would upset the Church’s gendered hierarchy. But even taking them at face value, has the leadership considered that maybe Heavenly Mother isn’t going to be revealed through men but through women? The assumption here is that only someone in the Q15 can learn anything about Heavenly Mother. Many women I know actually do not want leadership to further define Heavenly Mother for them because she tends to be trotted out only when convenient to reinforce a heteronormative narrative. We just want to be left alone to continue discovering Her for ourselves.
- “Reason cannot replace revelation.” This seems like a deliberate dig at Eliza R. Snow, and it contradicts what President Hinckley said in 1991. So it seems a very treacherous path as it aims to undermine the entire foundation for the Church’s official Heavenly Mother teachings (and I’m guessing a lot of other teachings and policies as well), and I’m also no fan of discounting the value of reason and thinking in seeking knowledge. More importantly: women are receiving revelation. So what they are really saying is that only male Church leaders can receive revelation about Heavenly Mother. Rather than trying to listen to and learn from the women of the Church to see if our life experiences and personal revelation can help add to a more fulsome, comprehensive, true vision of God—after all, why else is the Body of Christ made of so many different members?—they are asking us not to seek after or share those perspectives. If the only people who get to define God are white men, settle in for a lot more years of a white male god.
- “Making up comforting doctrines.” This one is particularly insulting and harmful. Again, it suggests that women are not qualified for or entitled to do theological work or to receive revelation. It suggests that women are just “making things up” whereas male leaders are NOT just “making things up”. (Umm, they are: Adam-God / Blood Atonement, the TK Smoothie, or less-valiant blacks in the pre-existence anyone? I could go on.) Most troubling, it suggests that women cannot trust their lived experiences and personal revelation if those don’t line up with what Church leaders are saying. Our experiences aren’t speculative. It also fundamentally misunderstands what women are doing here–but I’ll get to that later.
Two final overarching observations about leadership’s response to women connecting with and sharing about Heavenly Mother.
First, these leaders do not see women as equals. I don’t care how many times they tell us that they do, that we are valuable, that we need to speak up in meetings—they do not mean it.
They see our fullest potential as being lower-case goddesses to an upper-case male God. They see us as eternal plural heavenly mothers orbiting our husband at the center. They say that we are creators of life—our highest and holiest calling—but they claim it was exclusively men who created the universe. They say they value motherhood—but they seek to cut the human race off from our divine Mother. They say we are extra spiritual (some even claim that is why women are not ordained to the priesthood)—but they tell us we aren’t entitled to revelation about our Mother God and that we are just “making things up”. They say they want us to speak up—but their ideal Mother is silent, and they will once again dominate the sessions of General Conference, hijacking the women’s session to put us in our place as they’ve done before.
Second, it is clear to me that Church leadership fundamentally misunderstands what is going on here. Women aren’t “making up doctrines.” Women (and men!) are experiencing Mother God.
We are connecting with Her through prayer, meditation, study, nature, ancestors, poetry, literature, art, music, dance, motherhood, work, and each other. We aren’t as concerned about defining Her or fitting her into our God-box as we are with being in relationship with Her. That our leaders do not seem to understand what is happening (and that they are trying to stop it from happening at all) suggests that they may not know what relationship with the divine actually looks or feels like, because a relationship isn’t about a doctrine, it isn’t contained in a conference talk, and it doesn’t require middlemen or box-checking. We are finally, finally living in our own divinity and power without them as mediators. They are afraid of that.
I am at a point in my spiritual development where I do not need permission from Church leaders to seek out and connect with any good thing. Still, leadership’s actions here will do real spiritual violence to our people because some those who’ve not yet started down this path, or who have done so only tentatively, may be scared off. So I absolutely will call them out for attempting to orphan us from our Mother God and denying us of our own upper-case Goddesshood.
But those of us who are already on the path aren’t going anywhere. Church leaders who claim to know nothing about Mother God most certainly don’t have the authority to constrain Her from connecting with us or us with Her. All we need to do is realize that the only authority Church leaders have over us is the authority we give them, and the only way they can stand in the way of our relationship with Mother God and our own divinity is if we let them.
- Have you noticed a shift in the way LDS women (and men) talk about Heavenly Mother or Heavenly Parents in the last several years? If so, what would you attribute this shift to?
- Do you plan to watch Women’s Session this Saturday? Do you ordinarily watch it or are you watching especially for this? Why do you think this is being announced in a newly-reinstated “women’s session” instead of a general session? Do you think women’s session will stick around after this year?
- Have you heard any additional rumors or information about what’s being said about Heavenly Mother in leadership training? Was it news to you (it was to me!) that Hinckley’s famous 1991 talk admonishing women not to pray to Heavenly Mother also followed leadership trainings on the issue?
- Why do you think Church leadership cares so much about this issue? What is the real threat?
- How do you think women in your life will respond to this? Do you think that if this happens (and what has happened so far) is significant or are people making a big deal out of nothing?