Flowers blooming and grass turning green is once more a reminder that the season of Mother’s Day has arrived. Men will sing to the women in their lives and children hand out small gifts in token of those who gave them life. It would seem remiss to forget the unique Mormon teaching of a Heavenly Mother that should grace the day. The world talks of a Mother Earth, while knowing little or nothing about the Mother of our spirits.
To be perfectly honest, She inhabits a silent corner of theological abstraction. Her existence more conjectured shadow than substantive talk. Only the deep pondering of eternal truths can coax Her from hiding. She is in Scripture and doctrine the trace present absence.
Despite the little said and even less known, Her influence is like all motherhood. There is a quiet dignity that should be approached with reverence. Whatever role inhabited in the eternities, Her place of importance is assured. As the poet and lady of prophetic insight Eliza R. Snow put into words:
In the heavens 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?
More than a century later, Prophet Spencer W. Kimball said of our Heavenly parents, “This is a partnership. God and his creation. The Primary song says, ‘I am a child of God.’ Born with a noble birthright. God is your father. He loves you. He and your mother in heaven value you beyond any measure. They gave your eternal intelligence spirit form, just as your earthly mother and father have given you a mortal body. You are unique. One of a kind, made of the eternal intelligence which gives you claim upon eternal life.” With so many Mormon prophets and apostles testifying of Her, it cannot be denied there is value in holding the doctrine as true.
Care must be granted the sacred nature of this truth. Because nothing concrete has been revealed, use of Her can be abused. The Ten Commandments warn that we should have no other God before the Father or take His name in vain. President Gordon B. Hinckley warned:
“It has been said that the Prophet Joseph Smith made no correction to what Sister Snow had written. Therefore, we have a Mother in Heaven. Therefore, [some assume] that we may appropriately pray to her.
“Logic and reason would certainly suggest that if we have a Father in Heaven, we have a Mother in Heaven. That doctrine rests well with me.
“However, in light of the instruction we have received from the Lord Himself, I regard it as inappropriate for anyone in the Church to pray to our Mother in Heaven.
“The Lord Jesus Christ set the pattern for our prayers. In the Sermon on the Mount, He declared:
‘After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.’ (Matt. 6:9; italics added here and in following references.)
“When the resurrected Lord appeared to the Nephites and taught them, He said: ‘After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.’ (3 Ne. 13:9.)
“While He was among them, He further taught them by example and precept concerning this practice. The record states that ‘He himself also knelt upon the earth; and behold he prayed unto the Father, and the things which he prayed cannot be written, and the multitude did bear record who heard him.’ (3 Ne. 17:15.)
“Furthermore, He said: ‘Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed.’ (3 Ne. 18:21.)
“On another occasion, ‘Jesus departed out of the midst of them, and went a little way off from them and bowed himself to the earth, and he said:
“‘Father, I thank thee that thou hast given the Holy Ghost unto these whom I have chosen; and it is because of their belief in me that I have chosen them out of the world.
“‘Father, I pray thee that thou wilt give the Holy Ghost unto all them that shall believe in their words.’ (3 Ne. 19:19–21.)
“And so I might continue with other specific instances from the scripture. Search as I have, I find nowhere in the standard works an account where Jesus prayed other than to His Father in Heaven or where He instructed the people to pray other than to His Father in Heaven.
“I have looked in vain for any instance where any President of the Church, from Joseph Smith to Ezra Taft Benson, has offered a prayer to ‘our Mother in Heaven.’
“I suppose those … who use this expression and who try to further its use are well-meaning, but they are misguided. The fact that we do not pray to our Mother in Heaven in no way belittles or denigrates her.”
That is the end of the quotation from the talk I gave earlier, to which I may add that none of us can add to or diminish the glory of her of whom we have no revealed knowledge.
With hardly any knowledge to work from how can there can be a tribute to Heavenly Mother? I think the answer might be self-evident. We must show love and appreciation for the mothers we do know. They are living here and now on the Earth. Just as Jesus said to the apostles if they had seen him then they had seen the Father, it is not unlikely that pondering the contributions of women is to see the Mother.
Happy Mother’s Day.