Is there a Heavenly Mother Goddess?

Is there a Heavenly Mother Goddess?

When I started this topic, I thought it was going to be an easy one to discuss.

When you ask a Mormon, "Do you believe in Heavenly Mother?", you will get varied responses:

1. There is no such thing as a Heavenly Mother.
2. We do not know anything about this teaching - our salvation
does not depend on it so please go on to your next question.
3. Heavenly Mother exists but we don't know anything about her.
4. There is no revelation about Heavenly Mother.

Someone who answers #1 or #2 really does not believe in the existence of Heavenly Mother.

Someone who answers #3 or #4 really believes in the existence of Heavenly Mother but maybe doesn't know anything more about
her.

This is similar to when the opponents of Jesus said to Him while He was hanging on the cross. "You saved others ...
save yourself" (paraphrased). By their vary statement, they were acknowledging that Jesus had in fact performed miracles.

Likewise, Mormons who fall under the category of #3 and #4 express their belief in the existence of a Heavenly Mother.

Now we need to ask ourselves a few questions:

1. Does The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teach the existence of a Heavenly Mother?

2. From LDS theology, what else can we learn about her?

3. Is the teaching of the existence of Heavenly Mother a doctrine?

4. Is the teaching of the existence of Heavenly Mother a gospel principle?

5. Is the teaching of the existence of Heavenly Mother a revelation?

Let's examine question #1 - does The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teach the existence of a Heavenly Mother?

The answer is yes.  The church has finally used the word "doctrine" to describe her existence (online, local copy).

There being a Mother in Heaven was affirmed in plainness by the First Presidency of the Church (Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, and 
Anthon H. Lund) when in speaking of the pre-existence and the origin of man, they said that man as a spirit was begotten and born of 
heavenly parents and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father (Man: Origin and Destiny, pp. 348-355.).

We can also look to 1998 at the church's "The Family - A Proclamation to the World". It is found here:
http://www.lds.org/library/display/0,4945,105-1-11-1,00.html  (local copy).

"All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly
parents".

This is repeated again in the October 2008 General Conference "Celestial Marriage" sermon by Elder Russell M. Nelson:
http://www.lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-947-28,00.html (image, local copy).

Her existence is also considered an LDS truth in the song "O My Father":

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? [source: http://www.lds.org/churchmusic, hymn no. 292, see image and image]

Notice that the word "truth" is used twice. A truth does not equal a speculation and a truth does not equal a lie.

Doing a search on all possible LDS resources I could find, the teachings about Heavenly Mother abound:

"It is marriage, sanctified and God-sanctioned, upon which glorified home is founded - that blesses, happifies, exalts,
and leads at length to companionship with out Heavenly parents, and to eternal, united life, and increase" (Teachings
of Presidents of the Church - Joseph F. Smith, chapter 20, p. 181, online, local copy).


Here are some other references that come from the church's official magazine called ENSIGN. One event contains a teaching
by former LDS President Spencer W. Kimball. They are sorted in most current date first. I did not have access to the Ensign articles past the year 2000.

==================================================

Ensign, October 1987, page 32

"One Thing Needful - Becoming Women of Greater Faith in Christ" by Patricia T. Holland.

“When we sing that doctrinal hymn … ‘O My Father,’ we get a sense of the ultimate in maternal modesty, of the restrained, queenly 
elegance of our Heavenly Mother, and knowing how profoundly our mortal mothers have shaped us here, do we suppose her influence on us as 
individuals to be less?” (Ensign, May 1978, p. 6.)

Patricia T. Holland, “ ‘One Thing Needful’: Becoming Women of Greater Faith in Christ,” Ensign, Oct. 1987, 32. I have never questioned 
why our mother in heaven seems veiled to us, for I believe the Lord has his reasons for revealing as little as he has on that subject. Furthermore, 
I believe we know much more about our eternal nature than we think we do; and it is our sacred obligation to express our knowledge, to teach it 
to our young sisters and daughters, and in so doing to strengthen their faith and help them through the counterfeit confusions of these 
difficult latter days.

online, local copy

==================================================

Ensign, November 1987

"A Champion of Youth"
Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone of the First
Quorum of the Seventy

Women are endowed with special traits and attributes that come trailing down through eternity from a divine mother. Young women have special God-given feelings about charity, love, and obedience. Coarseness and vulgarity are contrary to their natures. They have a modifying, softening influence on young men. Young women were not foreordained to do what priesthood holders do. Theirs is a sacred, God-given role, and the traits they received from heavenly mother are equally as important as those given to the young men.

online, local copy

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Ensign, November 1986

"A Time for Hope" by Ardeth G. Kapp, Young Women General President

Let us listen to another young woman pouring out her heart:

“They always say something must happen in your life so you want to change. Well, that something has happened. I still have a long way to go. I finally realized that my Father in Heaven is on my side, even though I have betrayed him in a way. I am trying awfully hard to get my life in order and do what is right. I am bound and determined to, no matter how long it takes—but it is so hard. I just wish of all things I could go up and give Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother a big hug and tell them that I made it back.”

online, local copy

======================================================

Ensign, August 1980

"The Lord as a Role Model for Men and Women" by Ida 
Smith

Building upon the foundation laid by Joseph Smith, subsequent prophets taught that God was not single, but married; that there is a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother; and that we were made in their image: male and female children. (See James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–75, 4:203, 205.)

online, local copy

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Ensign, May 1978

"The True Way of Life and Salvation" by President 
Spencer W. Kimball

Finally, when we sing that doctrinal hymn and anthem of affection, “O My Father,” we get a sense of the ultimate in maternal modesty, of the restrained, queenly elegance of our Heavenly Mother, and knowing how profoundly our mortal mothers have shaped us here, do we suppose her influence on us as individuals to be less if we live so as to return there?

online, local copy

 

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Ensign, May 1978

"The Women of God" by Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Of the 
Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Finally, remember: When we return to our real home, it will be with the “mutual approbation” of those who reign in the “royal courts on high.” There we will find beauty such as mortal “eye hath not seen”; we will hear sounds of surpassing music which mortal “ear hath not heard.” Could such a regal homecoming be possible without the anticipatory arrangements of a Heavenly Mother?"

online, local copy

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Ensign, February 1974

A Sure Trumpet Sound:

Quotations from President Lee

From a forthcoming book to be published by Deseret Book 
Company

Revelation

“A Sure Trumpet Sound: Quotations from President Lee,” 
Ensign, Feb. 1974, 78

There are forces that work beyond our sight. Sometimes we think the whole job is up to us, forgetful that there are loved ones beyond our sight who are thinking about us and our children. We forget that we have a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother who are even more concerned, probably, than our earthly father and mother, and that influences from beyond are constantly working to try to help us when we do all we can".

online, local copy

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Ensign, July 1973

In the COMMENT section:

“There are many more comparisons that one could make between these two missions, but the point I want to make is that before our mission calls, we were raised and prepared for them by a heavenly mother, as well as Heavenly Father.

“Mom, I think that you are feeling some of what our heavenly mother may have felt as she watched us all leave for our earthly missions. You must realize to some degree that great love, anxiety, and desire to see us grow and succeed that she and our Heavenly Father have. You realize how hard it would be for them to send out communication to their children (letters, if you will) and to not have them answered, and maybe even rejected. You must be feeling some of the joy that our heavenly mother feels as she sees her children growing and following the right paths. 

online, local copy

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So now you can see that the answer to question #1 has been fully explained.

Let's examine question #2 - from LDS theology, what else can we learn about her?

Well, let's examine what former LDS President Spencer W. Kimball taught:

"Finally, when we sing that doctrinal hymn and anthem of affection, "O My Father," we get a sense of the ultimate in maternal modesty, of the restrained, queenly elegance of our Heavenly Mother, and knowing how profoundly our mortal mothers have shaped us here, do we suppose her influence on us as individuals to be less if we live so as to return 
there?"

a. Heavenly Mother exists.
b. She is a queen.
c. She has a restrained elegance.
d. She is maternally modest.
e. In the future, she will influence us no less than our mothers on planet Earth.
f. She is apparently married to Heavenly Father.

Let's examine what former LDS President Lee taught:

"There are forces that work beyond our sight. Sometimes we think the whole job is up to us, forgetful that there are loved ones beyond our sight who are thinking about us and our children. We forget that we have a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother who are even more concerned, probably, than our earthly father and mother, and that influences from beyond are constantly working to try to help us when we do all we can".

a. Heavenly Mother exists.
b. She is concerned for us.
c. She possibly influences us from heaven.

Let's examine the August 1980 edition of Ensign that I referred to earlier:

"Building upon the foundation laid by Joseph Smith, subsequent prophets taught that God was not single, but married; that there is a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother; and that we were made in their image: male and female children."

a. The teaching of Heavenly Mother was one of the foundations of Joseph Smith.
b. She is married to Heavenly Father.
c. We are made in her image too.

Let's examine what is taught about her in Gospel Principles:

"Every person who was ever born on earth was our spirit brother or sister in heaven. The first spirit born to our heavenly parents was Jesus Christ (see D&C 93:21), so he is literally our elder brother (see Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 26)" (Chapter 2, p. 11, local copy).

"Our heavenly parents provided us with a celestial home more glorious and beautiful than any place on earth. We were happy there. Yet they knew we could not progress beyond a certain point unless we left them for a time" (Chapter 2, page 13).

"If we passed our tests, we would receive the fulness of joy that our heavenly parents have received. (See D&C 93:30–34.) (Chapter 2,
page 14).

Online at http://www.lds.org/library/display/0,4945,11-1-13-5,00.html


Let's combine just these 4 sources to see what the LDS Church teaches about Heavenly Mother:

a. Heavenly Mother exists.
b. She is a queen.
c. She has a restrained elegance.
d. She is maternally modest.
e. In the future, she will influence us no less than our mothers on planet Earth.
f. She is concerned for us.
g. She possibly influences us from heaven.
h. The teaching of Heavenly Mother was one of the foundations of Joseph Smith.
i. She is married to Heavenly Father.
j. We are made in her image too.
k. She is the mother of Jesus Christ.
l. With Heavenly Father, she provided us a heavenly home.
m. She knew we could not progress there.
n. She received a fulness of joy. That is, she became a goddess too.

That's quite a lot.

Let's examine question #3 - is the teaching of the existence of Heavenly Mother a doctrine?

I would have to say yes.

The doctrine that there is a Mother in Heaven was affirmed in plainness by the First Presidency of the Church (Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, and Anthon H. Lund) when, in speaking of pre-existence and the origin of man, they said that "man, as a spirit was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, and that man is the offspring of celestial parentage" (Man: His Origin and Destiny, pages 348-355).

Let's examine question #4 - is the teaching of the existence of Heavenly Mother a gospel principle?

For sure. The existence of Heavenly Mother is taught both in Gospel Principles, Gospel Fundamentals, and Religion 234–235 - Eternal Marriage Student Manual (We Are Women Of God, page 371).

Let's examine question #5 - is the teaching of the existence of Heavenly Mother a revelation?

I would say yes. 

Why? 

Because the LDS Church uses what they believe are revelations to reveal (or teach) her existence.

"The first spirit born to our heavenly parents was Jesus Christ (see D&C 93:21) (Gospel Principles, chapter 2, p. 11, image).

"If we passed our tests, we would receive the fulness of joy that our heavenly parents have received (See D&C 93:30–34) (Chapter 2, page 14, image).  Note this - Heavenly Father and Mother are taught to have become god and goddess too.

The very fact that the LDS Church uses its believed revelations to teach her existence proves that her existence is a revelation of the LDS Church.

When you study what has been published by the LDS Church, the idea of Heavenly Mother is not a speculation. I trust that we have sufficiently discussed this matter now.

If a Latter-day Saint does not want to believe or accept their church's teachings about Heavenly Mother, I don't blame them.

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