clbent04

Why Do We Reference Heavenly Mother and Not Heavenly Mothers?

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Not that we have a lot of insight on this subject, but whenever I hear Heavenly Mother referenced within the Church, I perceive there's this idea that God only has one wife in particular. 

If we are referencing something we have very little information about, shouldn't we do so assuming God follows the eternal principle of polygamy?

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For the most part, we don't reference the heavenly Mother at all. The bare fact that she exists and is a fit mate for her Consort is pretty much 100% of the information we have been given. The reason for this seems obvious enough to me: This life is the time to prepare to meet God, meaning the Father. Doubtless we had an intimate and indescribably beautiful relationship with our Mother before this life, and doubtless we will extend and deepen that relationship in our exalted state. But this life is not the time for us to focus on our relationship with her. We are to come to the Father through Christ.

The possibility that the Father might have more than one Wife and that our Mother may be one of several (or many) is so vastly outside our knowledge and so very far beyond the mark that we should spend zero time worrying about it. That is exactly the sort of question that can suck in the naive and the weak-minded, distracting them from much more important matters.

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1 Corinthians 8 

5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

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3 hours ago, Vort said:

For the most part, we don't reference the heavenly Mother at all. The bare fact that she exists and is a fit mate for her Consort is pretty much 100% of the information we have been given. The reason for this seems obvious enough to me: This life is the time to prepare to meet God, meaning the Father. Doubtless we had an intimate and indescribably beautiful relationship with our Mother before this life, and doubtless we will extend and deepen that relationship in our exalted state. But this life is not the time for us to focus on our relationship with her. We are to come to the Father through Christ.

The possibility that the Father might have more than one Wife and that our Mother may be one of several (or many) is so vastly outside our knowledge and so very far beyond the mark that we should spend zero time worrying about it. That is exactly the sort of question that can suck in the naive and the weak-minded, distracting them from much more important matters.

I agree there's more relevant gospel topics to be focused on in terms of testimony building. But if I have this question there's a good chance someone else does too. Not every question has an answer, but just hearing someone else say, "yeah, I've thought about that too" is somewhat reassuring. 

If it's between playing Call of Duty and and shooting up Nazi Zombies for an hour versus exploring my religious curiosity, I'd say developing my religious understanding is more productive regardless of how relevant someone else might think my questions are. 

Edited by clbent04

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1 hour ago, clbent04 said:

If we are referencing something we have very little information about, shouldn't we do so assuming God follows the eternal principle of polygamy?

What we know: We have a Mother in Heaven.

What we don't know: There are several Heavenly Mothers.

And.... you know what they say about assuming...right? ;)

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23 minutes ago, clbent04 said:

I agree there's more relevant gospel topics to be focused on. But if I have this question there's a good chance someone else does too. Not every question has an answer, but just hearing someone else say, "yeah, I've thought about that too" is somewhat reassuring. 

If it's between playing Call of Duty and and shooting up Nazi Zombies for an hour versus exploring my religious curiosity, I'd say developing my religious understanding is more productive regardless of how relevant someone else might think my questions are. 

On Elder Oaks'/Sears&Roebuck Good-Better-Best scale, perhaps wondering about the heavenly Mother is good compared to playing Call of Shootie (my daughter's term). I would suggest that there are much better things to ponder on, the best being perhaps our relationship with the Father and how we can best deepen that.

At Church on Sunday, we had a youth speaker who talked about "God the Mother". Such a thing is not appropriate. Why didn't that young woman know this? I fear that the knowledge of the heavenly Mother has mutated from a natural outgrowth of our understanding of the divine and a precious gift of knowledge to the Saints into just another sociopolitical bludgeon used by feminist-informed malcontents. You may have had no such idea or inclination, of course, but this is how I commonly hear the doctrine talked about, in discussion groups and now even in our sacred sacrament meetings. So please forgive me if I'm a little sensitive.

Edited by Vort

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2 hours ago, clbent04 said:

Not that we have a lot of insight on this subject, but whenever I hear Heavenly Mother referenced within the Church, I perceive there's this idea that God only has one wife in particular. 

If we are referencing something we have very little information about, shouldn't we do so assuming God follows the eternal principle of polygamy?

Never mind what we do and do not know and doctrine…This would a PR disaster. Can you imagine the outcry if the Prophet said “heavenly mothers”? All the stereotypes of Latter-day Saints would be gone and it would be all about “Mormons believe God is a Polygamist”

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1 minute ago, Fether said:

Never mind what we do and do not know and doctrine…This would a PR disaster. Can you imagine the outcry if the Prophet said “heavenly mothers”? All the stereotypes of Latter-day Saints would be gone and it would be all about “Mormons believe God is a Polygamist”

With the way Mormons already appear to the outside world, I don't think it would change public perception much.  Believe it or not, Mormons aren't in the vanilla, generic category of what the common person considers to be a "normal" Christian religion.

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3 hours ago, clbent04 said:

Not that we have a lot of insight on this subject, but whenever I hear Heavenly Mother referenced within the Church, I perceive there's this idea that God only has one wife in particular. 

If we are referencing something we have very little information about, shouldn't we do so assuming God follows the eternal principle of polygamy?

I have never heard anyone ever mention anything like that in or out of the church. It is better to make assumptions based off of the standards in place...not the exceptions. Plural marriage has been authorized by the Lord at various times for various reasons, but the standard is one man and 1 woman. Maybe God does, but it is much more likely that He doesn't. Show me one scripture that says plural marriage is an "eternal principle". You will be searching a long time, because it is not. It is a special additional/optional blessing given to only a select few who have been prepared to enter into more than one marriage covenant. In no way will it be ever required of anyone.

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3 minutes ago, scottyg said:

It is a special additional/optional blessing given to only a select few who have been prepared to enter into more than one marriage covenant. In no way will it be ever required of anyone.

A special additional blessing reserved for the elect that God Himself doesn't participate in?  

3 minutes ago, scottyg said:

Maybe God does, but it is much more likely that He doesn't. 

This is just as much an assumption as my assumption.

Edited by clbent04

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3 minutes ago, scottyg said:

Show me one scripture that says plural marriage is an "eternal principle".

Putting aside the appeal to scripture as the arbiter of all eternal facts (an idea that falls apart pretty quickly), and putting aside the fact that reading D&C 132 a certain way does, indeed, call it an eternal principle (which, I know...can also be read as simply referring to the sealing power in marriage itself rather than plural marriage, or only specifically applied to Emma)...

Does it not logically connect for you that plural marriage has to be an eternal principle unless there are exactly the same amount of men and women exalted?

 

Edited by The Folk Prophet

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6 minutes ago, scottyg said:

Show me one scripture that says plural marriage is an "eternal principle".

And...by the way, and for what it's worth:

for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified. D&C 132:63

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Correct. But as I said, it is better to make assumptions based off of the standards in place...not the exceptions.

Even better is not making assumptions on matters that have no impact in our lives. This matter is of no real importance, and is in fact a slippery slope. There is a reason why such references are few and far between (and usually come from the odd member in the ward who secretly thinks he knows more about the eternities than the rest of the group). God holds Her in very high esteem, and does not want Her image disrespected in the way that He and His Son are in the world. He also wants us to concentrate on what is essential here and now...our progression and relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ.

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12 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

Does it not logically connect for you that plural marriage has to be an eternal principle unless there are exactly the same amount of men and women exalted?

 

When I think of the word principle, I think of something that applies to everyone - kind of like doctrine. I guess some folks can interpret that a different way. Of course more of God's daughters will be saved than His sons. The concept wouldn't make any sense otherwise as many of His sons would be left without the ability to progress. However, plural marriage is not, and will not be, required of anyone. There will be single couples exalted just as plural ones.

Edited by scottyg
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Just now, scottyg said:

Correct. But as I said, it is better to make assumptions based off of the standards in place...not the exceptions.

Even better is not making assumptions on matters that have no impact in our lives. This matter is of no real importance, and is in fact a slippery slope. There is a reason why such references are few and far between (and usually come from the odd member in the ward who secretly thinks he knows more about the eternities than the rest of the group). God holds Her in very high esteem, and does not want Her image disrespected in the way that He and His Son are in the world. He also wants us to concentrate on what is essential here and now...our progression and relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ.

I generally agree with this. But I also don't think it's particularly harmful (as suggested by @clbent04) to ponder and wonder and even discuss, though I do also see and relate to @Vort's sensitivity on that side of things.

Just now, scottyg said:

When I think of the word principle, I think of something that applies to everyone - kind of like doctrine. I guess some folks can interpret that a different way. Of course more of God's daughters will be saved than His sons. The concept wouldn't make any sense otherwise as many of His sons would be left without the ability to progress. However, plural marriage is not, and will not be, required of anyone. There will be single couples exalted just as plural ones.

I guess the question isn't whether anyone would be required to live plural marriage (I think your statement on that is actually an unknown...), but whether or not anyone who wanted to would be allowed to. If anyone who wants to can then it does, indeed, apply to everyone, eternally speaking.

Since we understand so little of what eternal relationships will be like I'm not so sure we can say with any certainty what will and won't be of value to us in that regard in the eternities. It's easy to apply our mortal insecurities and jealousies and perversions to the matter...but none of those will actually be of any note then.

We really don't understand this principle at all. I think it's generally best to just leave it at that. We accept it as a true principle. We don't currently practice it. And that's about the end of our understanding.

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Discussion of a Mother of heaven or a heavenly hosts has long been something discussed in religions.  It has been discussed in Judeo_Christianity in far greater detail and with much more ease in the past than it has been recently.  Our own Church has discussed it openly at some points in it's history, with some notables such as Brigham Young and other General Authorities at times opening up on the subject.

It goes both ways in whether it is good to discuss the subject, or bad.  In Judaism this topic became subverted and a bad situation occurred on multiple instances.  It was taken for granted that Deity had a spouse, but the Israelites would then start worshipping a female deity (in many instances identified with woods or trees and groves) in regards to idolatry and idol worship.  This was a downfall and a sin which brought great grief to the Nation of Israel and later the Nations of Israel and Judah.

However, the inspiration from the ancient ideas and ideals of our Deity having a Spouse was used symbolically to show WHY we worship a Father and NOT a Mother in our religion and other Christian religions (and Judaic for that matter).  The idea is NOT solely Judeo-Christian, but in fact can be seen as something in other religions, some of the most notable being those of Rome and Greece (of which many of our customs and traditions are traced to more powerfully than that of Judeo-Christianity).

In these traditions, a WOMAN or more specifically the WIFE was the ruler of the Home.  She was the law and justice of the house.  HER WORD was the law.  Outside the home her Husband may rule, but in the home, she is the one to be obeyed.  This gave her power to organize the home and raise the children as they needed, especially when the Husband was away at war, or politics or other reasons.  Outside of the Home, the KING ruled.  Inside the home, the QUEEN ruled.

We see this related in texts from other societies as well, the impact of this idea being a VERY strong idea in the ancient world.  The Odyssey is one which expresses this idea in a way that even modern audiences can understand the dynamics of how it worked.

While we do not know the situation from heaven, there may be many houses and many mansions.  Speculation would be that if we have a Mother there, then if it is as religious tradition dictates, she was the one who raised us and ruled the home.  We would have followed her as she followed her husband, and her guidance would have been essential to our young spirits.  HOWEVER, once we left home, it is the FATHER who we would need to listen to and obey as the FATHER rules without.  Furthermore, the King is HIGHLY defensive of his wife and her honor.  Being outside the home we may have some hope of escaping his punishment if he deems not to take it upon us, but as ancient texts show us, insults to his spouse inside the home generally mean he will kill the interlopers.  The Father will go to no lengths to protect the honor of their spouse.  If we are told not to take the Father's name in vain, it would be a thousand times worse if we took his spouse's name in vain going from how it is presented anciently.

For those who feel as if there is a Heavenly Mother, this speculation regarding how those in the past treated this subject can perhaps shed light on WHY it is only a Male Deity that we worship rather than others. However, the above paragraph IS speculation based upon historical reference, but without any hard evidence based on current scriptures.

That said, we do believe that we have a Spiritual Mother, but in the modern day church over the past 50 years very little has been said about it.  Further in the past, Brigham Young referenced such things, though his words are often taken out of context and misunderstood and are NOT written as scripture today.  The same would apply to Joseph F. Smith who also talked about such things, as well as Lorenzo Snow.  However, as is the case of milk before meat, I'm not sure going into it in detail in this thread is the right location to discuss it presently.

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20 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

And...by the way, and for what it's worth:

for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified. D&C 132:63

This is taken out of context. This verse is part of the introduction of this principle (plural marriage) to the early saints in Nauvoo. It was meant specifically for them, a select few...not the church at large. They needed reassurance that they were not entering into sin, but that the practice was allowed by the Lord at that time. The practice, which was an exception, is no longer taking place. Could it return...maybe. But, not every man in the church will one day be asked to take more then 1 wife. The standard is 1 man and 1 woman.

Edited by scottyg
clarification

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Just now, scottyg said:

This is taken out of context. This verse is part of the introduction of this principle (plural marriage) to the early saints in Nauvoo. It was meant specifically for them, a select few...not the church at large. They needed reassurance that they were not entering into sin, but that the practice was allowed by the Lord at that time. The practice, which was an exception, is no longer taking place. Could it return...maybe. But, not every man in the church will one day be asked to take more then 1 wife. The standard is 1 man and 1 woman. Scripture aside, show me any statement from any Prophet or Apostle that says anything to the contrary.

I understand what you're saying. Perhaps we can acknowledge that we're talking past each other a bit on this specific point. You are saying that it's not an eternal principle, meaning that not everyone will be required to live it. I am saying it is an eternal principle in that those who entered into it enter into it eternally.

I tend to stand by my view that we do not know for sure whether we will be "required"* or not. I do tend to agree with you that it won't be the standard...maybe.... Another side of me thinks maybe it will. ???

*the quotes are implying the following: Nothing is "required". We have agency. The question is simply this: does plural marriage equate to greater glory? If it does then those who do not participate will not have that glory. If it doesn't lead to greater glory then it doesn't.

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The truth is that we do not know much of anything concerning the divine kingdom of heaven.  He have revelation that "eternal" marriage is a divine covenant ordained by G-d.  And yet we cannot even resolve if Jesus was married.  Not here on earth nor in heaven.  There are arguments that there is no marriage in heaven and yet we believe that the everlasting covenant of marriage is necessary for living like G-d  in the Celestial Kingdom.  

I have faith that no one is complete (perfect) unless they are married and loyal to that covenant.  I have faith that the creation of life requires a divine oneness.  It is interesting to me that whenever scripture speaks of "one" G-d that the Hebrew word ehad which is also used to describe the oneness of marriage.  It is also common in scripture to compare the covenant between G-d and man to the covenant of marriage.  I have tried to wrap my logic of male gender around marriage to G-d and I quickly get lost in that process and have never heard a good resolution for it from anyone.

If I put together all the scripture about our Father in Heaven all that I can come up with is that He is the father of our spirits and I am not sure exactly what that means.  But I also respect the logic referenced in the sacred hymn, "Oh My Father" that comes to the conclusion that I have a mother in heaven.  But I would put forth one other thought concerning two brothers that opposed each other for a "birth right" in the pre-existence - that in all types and shadows that exist in scripture that when two brothers have been in conflict for the divine birth right that in all cases it has been given to the younger of the two making it obvious that the first born does not mean the eldest but the most noble.  But every time I point this out it seems to upset a lot of Latter-day Saints.

 

The Traveler

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4 minutes ago, Traveler said:

But every time I point this out it seems to upset a lot of Latter-day Saints.

I'm not sure it's upsetting. Just not the core understanding most have. And...as much as it's a fine theory, that's all it really is in the end.

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The unsatisfactory truth, as has been mentioned already, it is because Heavenly Mother has been revealed. There really isn't anymore more we can say. This question is similar to whether or not God the father has a father. The chances are high that he does, at least according to the understanding we have of what has been revealed.

But as it hasn't been revealed President Hinckley's statement seems to fit hear also, "I don’t know that we teach it. I don’t know that we emphasize it … I understand the philosophical background behind it, but I don’t know a lot about it, and I don’t think others know a lot about it."

So we stick with what has been revealed -- Heavenly Mother.

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I'm going out on a limb here but I'm assuming we each only have one Heavenly Mother. So from our perspective that means there is only one Heavenly Mother. Now if you want to talk about Heavenly Aunts, well that's a whole other matter. Or would that be stepmothers? Can we even use heavenly and stepmother in the same sentence? Now I know why it's never talked about. 😁

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On 9/2/2021 at 12:56 PM, clbent04 said:

Not that we have a lot of insight on this subject, but whenever I hear Heavenly Mother referenced within the Church, I perceive there's this idea that God only has one wife in particular. 

If we are referencing something we have very little information about, shouldn't we do so assuming God follows the eternal principle of polygamy?

I would say that we have only one Father and one Mother with whom we have to do. God has only one Wife who is our Mother in particular, and this is the eternal principle through which our being has progressed. On another level, though, I suppose there are many exalted men and women that form the Divine Council (Elohim, which is plural) with which we have to do, but we are not yet brought in to the Church of the Firstborn to make that claim.

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On 9/2/2021 at 3:54 PM, Fether said:

Never mind what we do and do not know and doctrine…This would a PR disaster. Can you imagine the outcry if the Prophet said “heavenly mothers”? All the stereotypes of Latter-day Saints would be gone and it would be all about “Mormons believe God is a Polygamist”

I do not think it will be a PR disaster. Even a church video shows Heavenly Father having 
children of different nationalities (like Africans and Hispanics in the pre-mortal life).

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/media/video/2010-11-01-introduction-our-heavenly-fathers-plan?lang=eng

The Folk Prophet referred to D&C 132:63 in one of his replies.  But when I look earlier, it 
mentions Heavenly Father glorified himself in the same way; with plural marriage (verse 31).

Matteo

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4 hours ago, romans8 said:

I do not think it will be a PR disaster. Even a church video shows Heavenly Father having 
children of different nationalities (like Africans and Hispanics in the pre-mortal life).

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/media/video/2010-11-01-introduction-our-heavenly-fathers-plan?lang=eng

The Folk Prophet referred to D&C 132:63 in one of his replies.  But when I look earlier, it 
mentions Heavenly Father glorified himself in the same way; with plural marriage (verse 31).

Matteo

If I cared what the world thought I wouldn't be in the church at all.

 

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