Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Heavenly Mother

A few weeks ago, while I was promoting the study of our Founding Mothers by showcasing one of Abigail Adams' divinely inspired letters, I goofed. In stating that General Authorities had had little to say on the subject of our Founding Mothers, I made a bad comparison, arguing that "Church leaders have never taught us from the pulpit in General Conference about inspired Founding Mothers any more than they've taught us about our Heavenly Mother." Turns out, that's not actually true. Church leaders really haven't had much to say about our Founding Mothers, but a new paper forthcoming from the journal BYU Studies (50.1) demonstrates that they've had a WHOLE BUNCH to say about Heavenly Mother.

In their article "'A Mother There': A Survey of Historical Teaching about Mother in Heaven," David Paulsen and Martin Pulido review more than 600--count 'em--Church sanctioned references to our Heavenly Mother, dramatically debunking the myth "that Heavenly Mother deserves, or requires, a 'sacred' censorship" (75). In summarizing these references they write, "While some have claimed that Heavenly Mother's role has been marginalized or trivialized, we feel that the historical data provides a highly elevated view of Heavenly Mother. The Heavenly Mother portrayed in the teachings we have examined is a procreator and parent, a divine person, a co-creator, a coframer of the plan of salvation, and is involved in this life and the next. Certainly, consideration of these points reinforces several unquestionably important LDS doctrines: divine embodiment, eternal families, divine relationality, the deification of women, the eternal nature and value of gender, and the shared lineage of Gods and humans. Far from degrading either the Heavenly Feminine or the earthly feminine, we feel that these teachings exalt both" (85).

The issue of BYU Studies in which their research will be published hasn't even cleared the presses, so you can't acquire a copy of the article yet--but you will eventually be able to access it by subscribing or, after two years, searching here for free. Of course, if you know the double-secret knock, I might be able to get you a copy sooner. It's well worth the read!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

88 Percent of Atheists . . .

. . . prefer hot weather over cold (as opposed to just 54 percent of the general population), according to the March 19th entry on correlated.org. And who says God won't answer an atheist's prayer?