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!


Marisa said...

Not a mention of Heavenly Mother once in my Sacrament meeting today and the only speakers were men. It was disappointing.

TopHat said...

That reminds me of the female:male ratio of talks. Last year, all 4 talks were women. This year the ratio was 1:1. The youth speaker and the speaker after me were male, but I'm female and so was the concluding speaker.

Katrina said...

well done, heather! i didn't hear a mention of HM today but I was also dealing with my kids so I could have missed it. the first talk by our primary pres was great. the second by an older man just talked about his mom.

Melissa said...

I had to give a talk today too! I did mine on my search for a Heavenly Mother, wasn't so sure how it would be taken, but it seemed to be REALLY well recieved!! The older man who gave the closing prayer even mentioned being thankful to be able to celebrate Heavenly Mother today, so I thought that was atleast a good thing! First time I've ever heard someone pray that they were thankful for her...not only that, it was a man!!

Juliane said...

Loved your talk!! Heavenly Mother wasn't mentioned at all in my ward. Speakers were both male, and shared mostly the usual eye roll inducing stuff about how motherhood is the most superior destiny for all women, and everything else is inferior...blah...but reading your remarks gave me a boost! Thank you TopHat/Heather :)

colleeeen said...

(I found your blog through a comment on FMH, hello!)

Oh hoorah for you! Poor Heavenly Mother(s), she gets such short shrift. I admit I forget about her far too often. I thought I was being very cheeky when I wore pants to church for Mother's Day, but you have me beat by a mile. Bravo. Our talks were given by a man & a woman of whom I am both very fond & respectful, but I think there are very few Mother's Day platitudes I'd be happy to hear from... well, pretty much anybody. A laundry list of the impossible myriad attributes of a virtuous woman certainly didn't inspire me.

cc said...

I've been trying to leave a comment for days! :)

This was such a great talk Heather! I'm so glad YOU were the one to speak on Mother's Day. Not only are you a wonderful example to other young mothers, but I can't even imagine how rare it was for most members to hear anything about HM last Sunday, and I'm glad you are spreading the dialogue so well. Wish I could have a ward with people like you in it. The talk in my ward was so atrocious and inappropriate that it is laughable at this point. At least my bishop took me seriously when I told him I didn't appreciate hate speech and ignorant prejudice spouted from the pulpit where it can't even be disputed or defended. He agreed and I think it's been worth it to open the conversation in my area. But wow, the contrast between your ward and mine must be so drastic.

And they did sing O My Father, but it was the slowest, most depressing version of it I have ever heard. It was almost worse than not singing about her at all.