Our Mother in Heaven

“A small child with questioning eyes of blue, holding a thought in leash, leaned confidently on the bosom of her mother, and with a voice full of repressed feeling, asked:

‘”Why don’t you tell me ’bout the Heavenly Mother? Don’t she give us anything?’

“A thrill of strange rapture shot through the heart of the mother as she pressed her child to her breast and inaudibly prayed that she might be able to give her a true and worthy thought. Then from her book of memory, she read in subdued tones, as follows:

“‘I knew a little girl once, almost like you, who thought about her Heavenly Father, how good and great he was, but ever and ever alone through eternity, with no one to understand Him and none to love. How understandingly men, women and little children on the earth, and angels in heaven loved each other; birds and beasts had their kind, but God had no one to love Him! How solitary and gloomy for Him to sit ever alone in heaven! This overwhelming thought of the solitude of God oppressed her little heart; it would not leave her. Overcome with sadness, she cast herself on the moist grass and sobbed herself to sleep, while in her dream a white-robed angel came and whispered something in her ear, and she awoke and arose, and with a voice of gladness cried exultingly,

“‘O, Heavenly Mother, I have found you! Strange I did not know: that no one told me! Why, there must be a Heavenly Mother if there is a Heavenly Father!’

“Can anyone conceive of a Divine Father without including a Divine Mother in the conception? No more than we think of a child without involving the idea of a mother and father. People prate glibly of a ‘Parent’ in heaven — yet look with compassion on the child who has only a parent on earth. The love of God is often illustrated by showing what an earthly father will do for a child. But, does a mother do less?

“When we draw nearer the Divine Man, lo! a Divine Woman is smiling down upon us! Much that is plaintive in music, sad in poetry, and pathetic in art, is the expression of the soul’s instinctive sigh for a Divine Mother. In the Father’s many mansions we shall find Her and be satisfied.”— Golden Age.

[p. 617]

The foregoing brief treatise gets right at the heart of the matter in a simple and direct way. It does seem strange, indeed, that sensible, reasoning, liberal and high-thinking people should have overlooked the Motherhood of God. It is stranger still that when the fact is brought to their attention they should fail to rejoice, and even will frown down the thought. As showing the orthodox Protestant view of this really sublime subject, we are pleased to append an extract from a pamphlet setting forth Elder B. H. Roberts’ answer to the Ministerial Association’s review of the First Presidency’s “Address to the World.”

“One other item in which we offend these reverend gentlemen is that we believe Jesus had a Father as well as a Mother. Now, gentlemen, honestly, is it any worse for Him to have had a Father than it is for Him to have had a mother? You concede that He had a mother; that His body grew as yours did, in the womb of His mother; that He came forth of the womb by birth-pains; that He suckled at the breast of woman; that through the months and years of infant weakness He was watched and guided by the hand of a loving mother. Tell me, is it true, that in your philosophy of things it is all right for Jesus to have a mother, but a terrible sin and blasphemy to think of him as having a Father? Is not fatherhood as sacred and holy as motherhood? Listen, people, there is something else. Having objected to our idea of Jesus having a Father, these peculiarly pious gentlemen turn now and object to our faith because we believe that we have for our spirits a heavenly mother as well as a heavenly father! They quote in part, that splendid hymn of ours on heavenly motherhood, the great throbbing hunger of woman’s soul, and which was given to this world through the inspired mind of Eliza R. Snow; the hymn known to us as, “O My Father.”

“In the Scripture we read: ‘We have had fathers of the flesh, and we did give them reverence, shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits and live?’ So that we know we have had a father to our spirits: but because we hold that the spirits of men have had also a mother in heaven, as well as a father, behold these reviewers complain against us. Now observe the peculiar position of these critics: It is all right for Jesus Christ to have a mother, but it is all wrong for Him to have had a father. On the other hand, it is all right for men’s spirits to have a Father in heaven, but our reviewers object to our doctrine of their having a mother there. I sometimes wonder what in the world is the matter with you, gentlemen.”

The particular point to which Elder Roberts makes answer in the foregoing paragraph is brought out by the declaration of the Ministerial Association in regard to the “Mormon” idea of Deity, as follows: “But when the full doctrine of the Deity, as taught in Mormon congregations, is known, it will at once be seen that no Christian can accept it. In fact the Mormon Church teaches:

[p. 618]

* * * That Jesus Christ was physically begotten by the Heavenly Father, of Mary, His wife; that, as we have a Heavenly Father, so also have have a Heavenly Mother”; and to support their statement they quote the last two stanzas of “O My Feather.” In their eagerness to misrepresent us, these self-appointed teachers are scarcely ever able to limit themselves to statements of fact. It is even so in this case, although the instance cited, to which Elder Roberts replies so well, shows that they do have some understanding of the doctrine of the Motherhood of God, as taught by the Latter-day Saints. The statement that no Christian can accept this idea of Deity, is presumptuous and too sweeping. Many Christians do accept it, but very few preachers outside of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have sufficient faith to teach it. It is rather the business of sectarian preachers to keep their flocks from learning too much; for the more people learn the better able they are to take care of themselves, and the less use they have for cant, which is “the use of religious phraseology without understanding or sincerity; empty, solemn speech, implying what is not felt; hypocrisy.”‘

The Lord said to Moses: “For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. For I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth. And I, the Lord God had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them: and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air; but I, the Lord God, spake, and there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. And I, the Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul, the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also; nevertheless, all things were before created; but spiritually they were created and made according to my word.” (Pearl of Great Price, page 12.)

That clears up the seeming contradiction between the first and second chapters of Genesis. To read in the first chapter of Genesis, of the creation in all its phases, including the creation of man (Gen. 1:27) and then to read in the very next chapter that man had not as yet been created, has started many investigators on the road to doubt. But this passage from the Pearl of Great Price, throws light on the subject. From the days of the Primitive Church, even until the beginning of the nineteenth century, when revelations from God was resumed, the double story of Creation has puzzled Bible students, and many and ludicrous are the theories advanced in attempts to solve it. The answer is found in the fact that “many plain and precious parts” have been lost from the Scriptures in their transmission through the ages. Some of these deletions were from Genesis, rendering the story of the beginning rather perplexing than enlightening. But God has now [p. 619] given the key: There were two creations, the first spiritual and the second natural; and these two creations were counterparts. Whatever God did in the first creation, the spiritual, He did, also, in the second, the natural or earthly creation. If in the first case, “God created man in his own image, male and female,” so in the second case He “created man in his own image, male and female.” Now, if there is no female in the Godhood, how could the female be created in Godly likeness? The conclusion is so inevitable that we need no longer wonder at the exultation that filled the heart of the poetess when she sang:

“In the heavens are parents single?

No; the thought makes Reason stare!

Truth is reason, truth eternal,

Tells me I’ve a mother there.”

And what is there in the natural man or woman that revolts at the idea of a Heavenly Mother? The sublime attributes which are ascribe to Deity, are just those which have immortalized the name of mother. Fatherhood and motherhood are co-equal in sacred office on earth, but childhood wants mother. That’s why babes delight to hear of the Heavenly Mother. The poet, Wordsworth, had a remarkably clear spiritual vision, as his “Intimations of Immortality ” charmingly testifies. He sang:

“Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

Shades of the prison-house begin to close

Upon the growing boy,

But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,

He sees it in his joy;

The youth, who daily farther from the east

Must travel, still is nature’s priest,

And by the vision splendid

Is on his way attended;

At length the man perceives it die away,

And fade into the light of common day.”

And yet, while it may be true, that man drifts farther and farther away from the influence and impression of that “imperial palace whence he came,” there is something, if faint and indefinable, that calls out for such a being in the eternities as he knew in the days of his infancy when heaven shone around him.

“Who taught my infant lips to pray,

To love God’s word and holy day,

And walk in wisdom’s pleasant way?

My Mother.”

An unknown author has said, “Not only from the mouths of babes and sucklings has the cry gone forth for a Mother in heaven. Men, strong and brave, have yearned to adore her. The heart of man craves this faith and has from time immemorial demanded the deification of woman.” It doesn’t take from our worship of the Eternal Father, to adore our Eternal Mother, any more than [p. 620] it diminishes the love we bear our earthly fathers, to include our earthly mothers in our affections, in fact, the love of one is a complement of our love for the other. We honor woman when we acknowledge Godhood in her eternal Prototype. And, man may never hope to reach the high destiny marked out for him by the Savior in these encouraging words: “Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,” without woman by his side; for “neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” Then let us respond to the lofty theme of George Griffith Fetter:

“The noblest thoughts my soul can claim.

The holiest words my tongue can frame,

Unworthy are to praise the name

More sacred than all other.

An infant, when her love first came —

A man, I find it just the same;

Reverently I breathe her name,

The blessed name of mother!”


[1] [Rudger Clawson], “Our Mother in Heaven,” Millennial Star 72 (September 29, 1910): 616–20.

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