Topic Pages: Mother in Heaven

May 25, 2022

Issue

2022: Spring 2022 IssueDialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 55 No. 1 (2022).

The Spring 2022 issue is a special one. “Heavenly Mother in Critical Context” begins with Art Editor Margaret Olsen Hemming on “The Divine Feminine in Mormon Art” and continues with Margaret Toscano’s “In Defense of Heavenly Mother: Her Critical Importance for Mormon Culture and Theology.” Other highlights include, “Guides to Heavenly Mother: An Interview with McArthur Krishna and Bethany Brady Spalding. And love the cover? It was carefully curated by Andi Pitcher Davis. You can read more about Sara Lynne Lindsay’s cover art here. The issue is full of other fascinating scholarship, as well as personal essays and poetry all in honor of Heavenly Mother.

Articles

2020: Kyra N. Krakos, “The Order of Eve: A Matriarchal Priesthood,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 53 No. 1 (2020): 99–107.

Elder Oaks clarified that priesthood is the authority and power of God. By extension, that must also be the authority and power of our Heavenly Mother. I decided to give it a name. Not the Order of Aaron, that great Old Testament wingman to Moses, or the Order of Melchizedek, mentor and life coach to Abraham, but the Order of Eve, a matriarchal priesthood, in honor of the mother of all living.

2009:  Cheryl Bruno, “Asherah Alert,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 42 No. 2 (2009): ix–xii.

But when it comes to pegging Asherah as our Heavenly Mother, there are many problems which must be overcome,and Kevin Barney falls short ofdoing so. Barney’s proposition isthat the early worship form ofvenerating Asherah is morevalid than the later, more evolved form of monotheism.

2009:  Kevin Barney, “Kevin Barney Responds,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 42 No. 2 (2009): xiii–iixx.

The truth is that the winners get to write the history, and itwas those who rejected Asherahwho largely redacted or wrote the Old Testament as we have ittoday. There is, quite frankly, alot of political spin in the OldTestament. I recognize that weget really nervous when we starttalking about spin in the scrip-tures. So I do not blame anyone,including you, for not wanting to follow me there.

2008:  Kevin Barney, “How to Worship Our Mother in Heaven (Without Getting Excommunicated),” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 41 No. 4 (2008): 121–147.

In this essay, I shall begin by describing what we can learn about our Mother in Heaven from the scriptures. I then will draw from those descriptions some (very modest) suggestions for how we might actually worship, or at least honor, Her in ways that should not be considered offensive or heterodox by traditionalists. This essay is therefore a little exercise in religion-making. It is my hope that I will be able to express my mediating thoughts in a way that will not be deemed offensive by those of either school of thought on the subject.

1998:  Margaret Merrill Toscano, “If I Hate My Mother, Can I Love the Heavenly Mother?Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 31 No. 4 (1998): 31–42.

A series of questions began to occur to me: If I hate my mother, can I love the Heavenly Mother? If I hate my mother, can I love myself? If I hate God, can I love myself? If I hate myself, can I love my mother or theHeavenly Mother? I wanted to put these questions in the sharpest terms possible—love/hate. There was no room for ambivalence at this point. I had to let myself feel my strongest and darkest feelings, about mymother, about myself, and about God.

1994:  Janice Allred, “Toward a Mormon Theology of God the Mother,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 27 No. 2 (1994): 15–40.

It would seem that Mormons who have believed for over a hundred years in the real existence of the Goddess, the Mother in Heaven, should be far ahead of other Christians in developing a theology of God the Mother. However, our belief in her as a real person puts us at a disadvantage. If the Goddess is merely a symbol of deity, as the male God is also a symbol, then certainly God can be pictured as either male or female with equal validity.

1988:  Melodie Moench Charles, “The Need for a New Mormon Heaven,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 21 No. 3 (1988): 73–85.

Although she is great and good and wise and omniscient and perfect, it is not for any of these qualities that she is valued. Her value is in her fertility. She exists to procreate, not to create, to inspire, to guide, to plan, to intervene, to empower, to comfort. 

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