Monday, May 30, 2011

May in Review

We are grateful to our Heavenly Parents, who deliver us, hear our prayers, love the children, do wonders and works, and are God and Goddess of the living, know our hearts, grant us authority, and we know them through Christ.

This has been quite the month for Heavenly Mother on the Internet! In fact, for Mother's Day, Joanna Brooks asked, "Is Heavenly Mother Making a Comeback in Mormonism?" And in response, the Bloggernacle shouted, "Yes!"

There was a new BYU Studies article, A Mother There, which discusses the history of references to Heavenly Mother in the Church. I used quotes from it in my Mother's Day talk. It also spurred a Mormon Matters podcast, Heavenly Mother in Today's Mormonism and my own review.

There is a new podcast called Daughters of Mormonism and it has addressed the Heavenly Mother concept in a few podcasts: More Than Mothers, Not Perfect: Sara's Mother's Day Talk, and others.

Also, at Keepapitchinin, there was a post about the hymn "Our Mother in Heaven" and there's a link to an audio file where you can listen to it.

Let's get ready for June! I'm going to be out of Internet access for a few days, so this will be a slow week.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Moroni 8:15-16

I went searching for the "love casteth out all fear" scripture to use today. I didn't remember that it was originally in the context of baptism and original sin. Something for me to chew on today!

I added Goddess and turned "he" into "they" for more gender inclusive language.

15 For awful is the wickedness to suppose that God and Goddess saveth one child because of baptism, and the other must perish because they hath no baptism.

16 Wo be unto them that shall pervert the ways of the Lord and Lady after this manner, for they shall perish except they repent. Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from Goddess and God; and I fear not what people can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Luke 16:13-15

This is taken from lesson 17 this week. I tried to be gender-inclusive and include the Goddess.

13 No servant can serve two masters: for either they will hate the one, and love the other; or else they will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve Gods and mammon.

14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.

15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before people; but Goddess and God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among people is abomination in the sight of God and Goddess.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I am a Child of Gods

We sang this in Primary today and I realized that I hadn't done this quintessential song here yet! I added an "s" to "God" to include Heavenly Mother, though I'm split on if this still inadvertently keeps her hidden.

I am a child of Gods,
And they have sent me here,
Have given me an earthly home
With parents kind and dear.

I am a child of Gods,
And so my needs are great;
Help me to understand their words
Before it grows too late.

I am a child of Gods.
Rich blessings are in store;
If I but learn to do their will,
I’ll live with them once more.

I am a child of Gods.
Their promises are sure;
Celestial glory shall be mine
If I can but endure.

Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,
Help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do
To live with them someday.

And while I was putting that up there, I thought about how we believe exhaltation is something we reach together in our families and wards and communities and not individual, so I re-did it again to reflect that. I think we're going to sing this version for Family Home Evening tomorrow.

We are children of Gods,
And they have sent us here,
Have given us an earthly home
With parents kind and dear.

We are children of Gods,
And so our needs are great;
Help us to understand their words
Before it grows too late.

We are children of Gods.
Rich blessings are in store;
If we but learn to do their will,
We’ll live with them once more.

We are children of Gods.
Their promises are sure;
Celestial glory shall be ours
If we can but endure.

Lead us, guide us, walk beside us,
Help us find the way.
Teach us all that we must do
To live with them someday.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Review: A Mother There

The reason I haven't done reviews in months is because I wanted to do a review of When God was a Woman, but it's a very dense book: I've renewed it from the library around 5 times, and I'm still only a third of the way in. Meanwhile, there are other great articles and books that need attention and I don't want to miss those, so When God was a Woman is on hold for a little bit.

The biggest buzz around Heavenly Mother this month has been about the David L. Paulsen and Marin Pulido's BYU Studies article, A Mother There. I linked to it in my Mother's Day
 Talk post. You can find it for free here. Mormon Matters did a discussion on the article that you can listen to here. On to the review!

The authors state the thesis of the article, "In this paper, we will share important historical accounts that cast serious doubt on the specific claims that, first, a sacred silence has always surrounded this treasured Mormon doctrine and that, second, Heavenly Mother’s ascribed roles have been marginalized or trivialized." They then separate what they have found as references to various traits of Heavenly Mother into "Heavenly Wife and Parent," "A Divine Person," "Co-creator with the Father," "Coframer of the Plan of Salvation," "Involved Parent in Our Mortality," and "Mother in Heaven in the Hereafter."

First, I loved having access to new Heavenly Mother quotes that I didn't have access to before. Most of the sources that Paulsen and Pulido studied are tucked away in the Church Archives and not available online. I loved this so much, that I used some of the quotes in my Mother's Day Talk. And I enjoyed the layout of the article with the focus on the traits of Heavenly Mother that aren't limited to being a mother. Women are more than their ability to be mothers. And Heavenly Mother is more than a Heavenly Mother- she's a goddess! Attributing godly traits to Heavenly Mother is one of my goals in this blog and the reason I put together Months in Review.

There were some fascinating references. I really enjoyed the sections on Heavenly Mother's involvement in our current lives. There was even one where a man felt that it was inspiration from Heavenly Mother that led to him giving up smoking.

I agree with Paulsen and Pulido's thesis that Heavenly Mother has not always been shrouded in "sacred silence." In the past 15 years or so, I think many people have felt that "sacred silence" is important and I heard that repeated in church classes growing up. But I don't believe that is helpful, needed, or even wanted. I feel that with the boom of the information age of the Internet, more discussion on Heavenly Mother has been happening and I hope that the "sacred silence" around her will disapear.

The other side of the coin of "How wonderful it is to have more quotes to reference!" is the fact that there's a reason most Mormons did not know of these quotes: they are hidden away and not accessible. On one level, I felt like Paulsen and Pulido's thesis was saying, "Of course she's been mentioned throughout the history of the Church. Why does anyone think we don't talk about Her? Look at all this proof!" But Paulsen and Pulido did years of research through old Church publications to find the 600+ references they mention. On the other hand, I can take less than a second and find 504 references to Heavenly Father in General Conference and over 13,000 references to Heavenly Father total on Heavenly Mother doesn't get the same treatment.

What I hope that this paper will do is bring to light that Heavenly Mother has been, is, and can be spoken of. I would love to see a collection of all the 600 or more quotes in a database to read and access. It would be wonderful to add some of those quotes to WAVE's Words of Wisdom project! And we can all make sure that when we talk about growing closer to our Heavenly Father, we include Heavenly Mother. I'll keep mentioning her as She comes up in lessons and discussions, and you can too.

I enjoyed listening to the Mormon Matter's podcast on this. Pulido was on the discussion panel and one of the first things he mentioned was that in his research, he found no instances that anyone in the First Presidency or Quorum of the 12 has ever said that we can't talk about Heavenly Mother. There was also some discussion on the issue of praying to Heavenly Mother and at the end a mention of putting together an art project (perhaps a gallery collection?) of art and writing about Heavenly Mother.

I think you'll all enjoy reading the paper and listening to the subsequent podcast. Happy reading and listening!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Enos 1: 1-6

I've been thinking about prayer lately, due to this post on Feminist Mormon Housewives, so today's scripture is of one of the most famous prayers in the Book of Mormon. I added "Goddess" and included Enos' mother when he mentions his father, though I suppose the lack of her mention could be that she wasn't in his life growing up. But for the sake of gender-inclusiveness, I added her.

1 Behold, it came to pass that I, Enos, knowing my parents that they were just people—for they taught me in their language, and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lord—and blessed be the name of my God and Goddess for it—

2 And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God and Goddess, before I received a remission of my sins.

3 Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my parents speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.

4 And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Makers, and I cried unto them in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto them; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.

5 And there came voices unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.

6 And I, Enos, knew that Goddess and God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.

I'd like to do the rest of the prayer someday.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

John 9:35-38

This was from this week's Sunday School lesson. I actually got to catch the last part because we only had 2 Sunbeams show up and my co-teacher said she could handle it. Nice change of scenery. So here we have Jesus speaking to the recently-healed, newly-cast-out blind man. All I needed to do was add "Goddess."

35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God and Goddess?

36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?

37 And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.

38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.

I really want to do this scripture again, with the blind man being a woman, just as an small exercise in relating the scriptures to myself. I found it very poignant.

35 Jesus heard that they had cast her out; and when he had found her, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of Goddess and God?

36 She answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?

37 And Jesus said unto her, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.

38 And she said, Lord, I believe. And she worshipped him.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sweet is the Work

This was our closing hymn today and I had fun trying to come up with ways to modify this. When we sang it, we skipped verse 5, which is nice. For a hymn that starts with the word "sweet," the violent imagery of war is very stark.

To include Heavenly Mother, I changed "my God, my King" to "my Queen, my King" so that it's a list of multiple people instead of modifiers of one person. I also pluralized the rest of the verses. I completely re-wrote the first line of verse 3 to "In Them, my heart in triumph soars." I tried to maintain the feeling and rhyme there; I hope I succeeded. In verse 4, I changed, "thy face in full felicity" to "they faces in felicity" with "in" on the beat "full" was in.

Sweet is the work, my Queen, my King,
To praise thy names, give thanks and sing,
To show thy love by morning light,
And talk of all thy truths at night.

Sweet is the day of sacred rest.
No mortal care shall seize my breast.
Oh, may my heart in tune be found,
Like David’s harp of solemn sound!

In Them, my heart in triumph soars,
And bless their works and bless their words.
Thy works of grace, how bright they shine!
How deep thy counsels, how divine!

But, oh, what triumph shall I raise
To thy dear names through endless days,
When in the realms of joy I see
Thy faces in felicity!

Sin, my worst enemy before,
Shall vex my eyes and ears no more.
My inward foes shall all be slain,
Nor Satan break my peace again.

Then shall I see and hear and know
All I desired and wished below,
And every pow’r find sweet employ
In that eternal world of joy.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Psalm 77:10-15

Sorry this is so late! Blogger was down yesterday and I couldn't post and no one could comment. I feel like I've been neglecting the Old Testament lately, so today we're in the book of Psalms.

I use the suggestion to try to use "Deities" to mean "Goddess and God." What do you think? I also added the wives of Jacob and the wife of Joseph. While I didn't have to change verse 12, I love it.

10 And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High.

11 I will remember the works of the Lord and Lady: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.

12 I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.

13 Thy way, O Goddess and God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great Deities as our Gods?

14 Thou art the Goddess and God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people.

15 Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, the children of Jacob and Leah and Rachel, and Asenath and Joseph. Selah.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Matthew 18:10-14

Our ward combined lessons 13 and 14 in order to catch up from falling behind. This scripture is from lesson 13. I added Mother and made the language gender-inclusive. Once again, I'm using "they" as a singular and I hope those of you who are grammarians will forgive me.

10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father and Mother which are in heaven.

11 For the Son of man and woman is come to save that which was lost.

12 How think ye? if a person have an hundred asheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth they not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

13 And if so be that they find it, verily I say unto you, they rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.

14 Even so it is not the will of your Mother and Father which are in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

Additionally, I'd like to thank Sybil at Daughters of Mormonism, for mentioning this blog in Episode 5 on Sunday. I hadn't read the show notes, so I wasn't expecting to hear "Mutual Approbation" mentioned at all! Fan girl (woman?) squealing ensued.

Daughters of Mormonism is a new podcast that is hoping to tackle Mormon women's issues and I know I've enjoyed what I've heard so far. Good stuff to think on. Thank you, Sybil!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Talk

Happy Mother's Day, everyone! I know Sundays are when I usually feature a hymn, but today I'm going to share the last few paragraphs of the talk I gave today. I was asked to talk about how being a mother has helped me increase in love and become more like Christ. The first 8 minutes of my talk consisted of me quoting a scripture from the Sermon on the Mount and then giving an example of how I have lived that or how I try to live that in my life. I also included the story of the rich young man and the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Then at the end, I added a few paragraphs, which I'll share here.
Parents are important, because it is from them that children learn whether or not the world is dark and cold or warm and inviting. I know that their confidence and personhood is first developed at home. Home should be a place where they are built up, not brought down.

Elder James G. Duffin declared, “We, as parents, give an account to our Father and Mother in heaven of the manner in which we have conducted ourselves toward the precious souls entrusted to us.”

Speaking of a Mother in heaven, I think it would be disgraceful to go through Mother's Day and not reference Her at some point. The publication, A Short History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints says, “The theological conception of a Mother in heaven as well as a Father lends dignity to motherhood and wifehood.”

I would add that it lends dignity to womanhood and manhood: humanity and personhood in general. When we elevate the persons who created us, we elevate ourselves and understand our potential more greatly.

Elder John A. Widtsoe wrote: “The glorious vision of life hereafter . . . is given radiant warmth by the thought that . . . [we have] a mother who possesses the attributes of Godhood.”

How do we come to know Her? Just as Christ says we cannot know the Father but through him, I think that as we follow Christ, we grow closer to our Heavenly Mother. She is there. I do not think our lack of scripture and writings dedicated to her do not demonstrate that she is not important in our lives and eternally, but that we do not recognize her importance.

President Rudger Clawson urged, “It doesn’t take from our worship of the Eternal Father, to adore our Eternal Mother, any more than it diminishes the love we bear our earthly fathers, to include our earthly mothers in our affections.” Rather, “we honor woman when we acknowledge Godhood in her eternal prototype.”

When God comforts his children, so does she. When He wept before Enoch, I believe she was crying too. Together our Heavenly Parents bring us miracles, care for us, love us, sustain us. Together they grants us wisdom, command us, judge us, and edify us. They sent their Son to show us how to kind to each other and to be patient and merciful. I believe in the gospel of Christ, and I find hope in eternal life. Through Joseph Smith, many wonderful truths were brought together again to aid us in our eternal journey. I know our leaders are trying very hard to show us the way back to Christ. Happy Mother's Day to everyone. (name of Christ amen)

As an aside, I had to read my talk from my smartphone and that last paragraph somehow got deleted in the transfer from my laptop to my phone, so I had to come up with my testimony on the spot which involved crying and an off-handed remark on how I'm a mother who doesn't know a thing.

How was this received? I got lots of great feedback- much more than my intro-to-the-ward talk last year. Many people loved the structure of using the Sermon on the Mount and a few people mentioned how wonderful it was that I mentioned Heavenly Mother. One even asked for a copy of the talk so she could share it with her husband who wasn't here. The Heavenly Mother quotes I used at the end there were from this new BYU Studies paper, A Mother There, which I plan on doing a review on later this month.

How was Mother's Day in your ward? I'm guessing most wards gave Heavenly Mother the common shout-out in O My Father today, though strangely, ours didn't. We had a brunch afterwards for all the young women and Relief Society sisters instead of going to Sunday School or Relief Society classes and the men took over our callings (I was Sunbeam-free today!). There was a presentation highlighting the ways women in our ward have served in their lives and a focus on how we can serve in many different ways. Wonderful day overall.

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Matthew 22:31-33

I once heard someone include the wives of the Biblical patriarchs in a list: God of Abraham and Sarah, God of Isaac and Rebekah, God of Jacob and Rachel and Leah. I fell in love with that- after all, are they not the Mothers of Israel? And with Mother's Day approaching, I wanted to choose "mothery" scriptures. Because of this, along with including "and Goddess," verse 32 here gets quite the treatment.

31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by Goddess and God, saying,

32 We are the God and Goddess of Abraham and Sarah, and the Goddess and God of Rebekah and Isaac, and the God and Goddess of Jacob and Rachel and Leah? They are not the Goddess and God of the dead, but of the living.

33 And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.

I love the idea of "the Goddess and God of the living."

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Alma 56:47

I didn't do a Sunday School scripture yesterday because our ward did 2 lessons on parables and so I'm ahead of them by a week. I'm giving them time to catch up.

Today's scripture is the quintessential Mother's Day scripture. How many times will we hear it quoted this Sunday? I added "Goddess" and added "and mothers" after "fathers" and "and fathers" after "mothers." Fathers can be wonderful teachers, too.

Happy Mother's Day this weekend!

47 Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers and mothers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers and fathers, that if they did not doubt, God and Goddess would deliver them.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Parents, We Thank Thee for the Night

Sorry this is up late! We had an unusually hurried Sabbath and it slipped my mind.

Today's song is one of the songs that I often use as a lullaby because of it's first line. As I was preparing for this post, I thought it was beautiful that the first thing it mentions is gratitude for the night. I had looked at a few other Primary songs as possible songs for today, some about light, and the contrast of being thankful for the night was poignant to me. As dark as it is, I am thankful for the night.

I added a syllable when changing "Father" to "Our Parents." When I sing it to my children the "Our" is a pick up note, or grace note. I love this little unknown song.

Our Parents, we thank thee for the night
And for the pleasant morning light,
For rest and food and loving care
And all that makes the day so fair.