(Lattertarian is a jaded Gen-X Saint living in Southern California, currently serving as a Sunday School president)
Periodically this concept crosses my path, either in real-life conversation or in some random corner of the blogosphere or wherever. It popped up again the other day in an oddly specific way, taking form in the question “why shouldn’t I pray to Heavenly Mother?”
I got to thinking, and at some point decided I needed to start writing stuff down so I could keep the details straight and work through it. On reflection it appears to me that there is a broad four-step progression here. Unfortunately that progression slides in sequence from benign to malevolent, and does it pretty quickly. It’s important to have perspective on what’s good here, what’s bad, and how to distinguish which is which and evaluate your own position and desires.
First we must lay out a basic frame. I’m looking specifically at this from the Restored Gospel view as promulgated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is easy to turn Heavenly Mother into a pagan Goddess-figure, and that’s outside the bounds of where I want to look. I’m approaching this as a facet of currently accepted Latter-day Saint theology and cosmology, not chucking all that to wonder if Freya or Hera or Isis or whoever are for-real. It’s worth noting that this is in line with the basic question at the start of this. “Heavenly Mother” as a thing requires that a number of other gospel concepts be in place.
Thus, I am stipulating up front to the following:
- Heavenly Father exists as, literally, the Father of our spirit selves
- He is a perfect, loving, omnipotent Father who created this Earth and its associated mortal experience for our learning
- The Godhead concept (that is, a nontrinitarian separate and distinct God, Christ, and Holy Ghost) is correct
- The Restored Gospel is legitimate and accurate
- The scriptures are sound reference documents, written by prophets
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is led by prophets who have been (and are) called of God.
In short, I am really talking to Church members here. If you are not a member of the Church, I’m not going to tell you that what follows isn’t for you, but you’ll probably have questions. By all means, find a Latter-day Saint friend you trust and ask. Read this with them. See what they think.