Monday, February 28, 2011

February in Review

What a wonderful little month we had!

Our Heavenly Parents exist, value, send their Spirit to, encourage goodness from, lead, love, are praised by, give to, hear, and sent Christ to us and are merciful, and are the authors of love.

I wrote a book review of Dance of the Dissident Daughter, and took a look at what the Church website says about "Heavenly Mother" and "Heavenly Parents." I also sent out a call for posts. You know you want to submit something!

Heavenly Mother in the Bloggernacle this month:
Incremental Ways to Build Equality in the Church and in the Home at Agitating Faithfully
Thealogy 1: Christian Goddesses and Female Manifestations of the Divine at The Exponent II blog
Getting Mystical on You at Jenneology. I include this because many consider references to Wisdom to be references to Heavenly Mother.

Anything I missed?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Parents Up Above

Today's song is, Father Up Above, from the Children's Songbook. I've never actually heard it sung, which is surprising since I've been a Primary pianist and I'm familiar with almost every song in that book. Because of syllables, I've used "Dear" and "Our" before "parents."

Parents Up Above

Dear Parents, look on us today
And bless us with thy love.
In Jesus’ name we humbly pray,
Our Parents up above.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Doctrine and Covenants 50:34

Sorry no essay today; my writing skills are needed elsewhere at the moment. But I went on a search in the Doctrine Covenants for today's scripture and I really liked this one. I added "Goddess" and changed the various pronouns to be gender-inclusive. I actually made the pronouns and verbs plural to keep from needing to say "he or she" multiple times. In this modificiation "Them" with a capital "t" refers to our Heavenly Parents while "them" with a lower case "t" refers to mortal people.

34 All that receiveth of God and Goddess, let them account it of Goddess and God; and let them rejoice that they are accounted of Them worthy to receive.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Alma 11:24

Back to the Book of Mormon today! Changed singular verbs to plural and added the Goddess.

24 Believest thou that there are no God and Goddess? I say unto you, Nay, thou knowest that there are a Goddess and God, but thou lovest that lucre more than them.

Monday, February 21, 2011

John 4:9-10

Our ward isn't very good at sticking to the Sunday School lesson schedule, so here's a scripture from the lesson they had last week. I'm not sure if it coincides with what everyone else is studying.

9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.

10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God and Goddess, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Brightly Beams our Parents' Mercy

I love this song, but I don't hear it very often. Here is  Brightly Beams our Father's Mercy. "Father's" has been changed to "Parents'" and verbs have been changed to reflect the plural noun. I changed "seaman" to "sailor" and "brother" to "friend, dear" to include all people. "Sibling" sounded too impersonal.

Brightly beams our Parents' mercy
From their lighthouse evermore,
But to us they give the keeping
Of the lights along the shore.

Dark the night of sin has settled;
Loud the angry billows roar.
Eager eyes are watching, longing,
For the lights along the shore.

Trim your feeble lamp, friend dear;
Some poor sailor, tempest-tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor,
In the darkness may be lost.

Let the lower lights be burning;
Send a gleam across the wave.
Some poor fainting, struggling sailor
You may rescue, you may save.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Couple of Searches

Last year I was curious as to how often the term "heavenly mother," appeared on the official Church site, so I did a search. I wasn't very impressed with the results. There were a total of 11 over the past 40 years.

Most of the references are from the 70s and 80s. The one reference in 2000 is from a manual that was originally written in 1979, but was revised in 2000, so I don't think that point is really indicative of what has been published by the Church in recent years. In general, Heavenly Mother was referenced "a lot" in the 70s and 80s and not at all in the past 15 years.

After fretting about this, it came to me to go back and search "heavenly parents." So I did.

Because some of the references were to the same article, I counted each article only once. This means that if there was an article in the Ensign that was also published in the Liahona, I counted it only once. There are peaks at 1995, 2000, and 2002. The Proclamation on the Family came out in 1995 and the 2000 and 2002 peaks are the result of the Church re-publishing manuals in 2000 and 2002 with the Proclamation printed in them.

In this graph, we can see "heavenly parents" was referenced regularly in the 70s and 80s and early 90s. In the years following 1995, many of the instances of "heavenly parents" are quotes from the Proclamation. Despite this, I think it's safe to say that the average member, from Primary age and up, is hearing "heavenly parents" more than s/he would have in the past.

I hope that this increase in reference to "heavenly parents" will continue! I'm interested in hearing your thoughts about these graphs.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

1 John 4:7

Another love scripture for Valentine's week! It even starts with a term of endearment.

7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God and Goddess; and every one that loveth is born of Them, and knoweth Them.

Monday, February 14, 2011

John 3:16-17

Who's ready for one of the most popular scriptures in all Christendom? And don't worry, it mentions love, so we can still have our Valentine's Day fix.

16 For God and Goddess so loved the world, that they gave their only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17 For They sent not their Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I Will Follow Their Plan

We've been practicing I Will Follow God's Plan in Primary in preparation for the Primary Program this fall.

In order to make the syllables fit, you'll have to turn the quarter note of "seek" into eighth notes for "seek our." In place of "for God's" you'll sing "Parents."

I Will Follow God's Plan

My life is a gift; my life has a plan.
My life has a purpose; in heav’n it began.
My choice was to come to this lovely home on earth
And seek our Parents’s light to direct me from birth.
I will follow Their plan for me,
Holding fast to their words and their love.
I will work, and I will pray;
I will always walk in their way.
Then I will be happy on earth
And in my home above.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Call for Posts

So you may have noticed (or read the last paragraph of the About section) that on Fridays, I hope to post essays and personal thoughts. On the first Friday of each month, I hope to do book/article reviews, but the other 3 or 4 Fridays in the month are open and free!

And while I have an essay or two in the works, I know you all don't want to hear me ramble every week. So how about we hear you do some rambling?

This is my official call for guest posts. Here are some ideas, but feel free to come up with your own.

Describe the first time you heard about having a Father and Mother in Heaven.
How does the knowledge of a Heavenly Parents affect you? Have there been times in your life when you really felt the need for a Mother or Father in particular?
How do you include Heavenly Mother in FHE lessons or in talks lessons for church?

Email me at mutualapprobation @ gmail dot com. And even if you don't send in a guest post, maybe just writing down your thoughts in your own journal might be nice.

But it would be nice to hear from a few of you! Think about it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Moroni 7:13

I'm feeling Valentines-y, so today's scripture mentions love. Next week, I'll use a few from 1 John 4, the big chapter on love.

13 But behold, that which is of God and Goddess inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love Goddess and God, and to serve them, is inspired of Them.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Matthew 3:16-17

Because we had stake conference last week, we're probably a week behind in Sunday School lessons, but oh well. This one is from lesson 4. I really like the way this scripture reads when we think of God as a couple and as parents together.

16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God and Goddess descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:

17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is our beloved Son, in whom We are well pleased.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

For the Beauty of the Earth

Reader, Descent, edited the hymn For the Beauty of the Earth, for a family home evening lesson last December. Here are her edits, along with a fourth verse she wrote and added on.

For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,
God, Our Father, we now raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flow’r,
Sun and moon, and stars of light,
God, Our Mother, we now raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild,
Christ, Our Brother, we now raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

Here's her fourth verse, referencingto the Thirteenth Article of Faith and Moroni 7:13.

For all that is praiseworthy
Kind benev’lent chaste and true
Everything that enticeth
to do good and to love God
Our family in heaven, we now raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Book Review: Dance of the Dissident Daughter

I'm not sure who recommended this gem to me, but I'm glad they did. Sue Monk Kidd, known for The Secret Life of Bees, had a life centered around traditional Christian thought: she wrote Christian books, was married to a Baptist preacher, and was an active participant in church activities. Over time, though, she had experiences that led her to start looking for the Feminine Divine. The Dance of the Dissident Daughter follows that awakening and journey.

She calls the lack of the Feminine Divine in her life the "feminine wound." Christianity does not recognize a female god, and from that, Kidd felt that this lack resulted in the inferiority of women: that women could not be priests, that family was set up as God-man-woman-children, etc. While Mormon doctrine gives us a Heavenly Mother, we don't have much besides "she exists," which I don't think is very much better than not having one at all. As I read, I found that the feminine wound she talked of, to be something I could relate to as a Mormon woman.

In her journey to relate to the Feminine Divine, Kidd studies motifs from dreams, history, and myths. These include trees, the serpent, the labyrinth, circles, and more. As a very graphic dreamer myself, I found her dreams and subsequent Jungian analysis to be interesting. While many of my dreams are just silliness, I have a few I have written down because they felt very poignant and after this book, I went and re-looked at the symbols to see if there was something new there.

I was also caught up in the story because I feel like I'm on my own search of the Feminine Divine and I wanted to know how hers turned out. What is there at the end of this journey for me to look forward to?

I'm trying to be vague here to avoid spoilers. I really liked reading this; I think the fact that I'm pretty much the target audience helped. On the "how much did I read out loud to my husband" scale, this was only slightly lower than Mother Wove the Morning. I thought it would be a good one to have on my shelf for my kids to read it in the future, so I got my own copy of it (the first was the library's). I would recommend it to all of you for sure.

I look forward to reading this again while being able to make notes in the margins as well as knitting a finger labyrinth, inspired by this book. Maybe when I finish that, I'll post pictures here.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Doctrine and Covenants 18:10, 15-16

This year in seminary, the students are studying Doctrine and Covenants. Here's a scripture mastery for you all. When I memorized this scripture in high school, I don't think I noticed the exclamation marks. But really, how excitedly do you expect teenagers to read scriptures at 6 in the morning?

10 Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God and Goddess;

15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with them in the kingdom of my Mother and Father!

16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Parents, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!