So it’s been several months since the essay about Mother in Heaven was released. Now there has not been a general conference yet, so I reserve the right to be happily surprised that Heavenly Mother is often referred to right alongside Heavenly Father, but today’s BYU devotional with Elder Marcus Nash was the perfect opportunity to talk about Heavenly Mother, as he spoke about eternal marriage, the partnership of attaining godhood for men and women, and the eternal power of the plan of salvation.
So I’m going to show how little it actually takes to include Mother in Heaven. Where I bold is where I make the changes to his talk.
Each of us here is a beloved son or daughter of Heavenly Parents and we lived with them prior to our mortal birth. Motivated by perfect love, and a desire to give each of us Their children, the opportunity to receive all They have, our Parents in Heaven instituted a plan before the foundation of this earth whereby we could obtain eternal life, the greatest of all the gifts of God. Put simply, eternal life is the life God lives.”
This now puts Elder Nash right in line with what Elder Ballard has said that “We are part of a divine plan designed by Heavenly Parents who love us.” Think about just making that change in talking about the plan of salvation, as designed by our Heavenly Parents who sent their Son down to atone for our sins. It would cause us to change some artwork, but that’d be worth it.
Ok, next one:
“We must come to know our Heavenly Parents and Their son, and learn of their character, perfections, and attributes. To know them is to love and trust them completely.”
I believe it is just as necessary for us to know our Heavenly Mother. The essay states the understanding that we have a Heavenly Mother is a cherished and distinctive belief. Let’s take that seriously. Like I’ve said before, it’s time to show the love of our Heavenly Parents.
Again from Elder Nash:
There is societal concern about equality for women and men. While I do not pretend to know all the answers, I do know that according to the plan of salvation, the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of his children and that the ultimate expression of priesthood power is in the eternal union of woman and man. While we do not fully know what administrative structure will exist in the next life, we do know that families sealed in the temple will exist in the next life. When we contemplate mortality against the backdrop of eternity, we should remember that the title of our God is not “President” but “Father” and “Mother.” That alone speaks volumes about the organizational structure that most matters in the celestial kingdom and in eternity. So let’s not get too distracted by temporal administrative structure. The ultimate purpose of the plan is that a husband and wife are happy at home and sealed for time and eternity, so that they may receive eternal life for their eternal union is part of the very definition of eternal life. You see, the ultimate equality of woman and man is godhood, something each can only with the other, by together entering into and abiding within the order of the priesthood of the new and everlasting covenant of eternal marriage, importantly the blessings pertaining to eternal life are promised jointly and severally to them, not severally to him or her. In the order, neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man in the Lord.
Wow, yeah, there’s a lot to unpack with that statement, but importantly, I think it pretty much zeroes in on the need to talk about Heavenly Mother. If we truly believe that “men and women have ultimate equality through godhood in the hereafter,” then the scripture “neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man” allows us, nay compels us to understand that neither is Father in Heaven without Mother in Heaven. And our discourse and theological creativity should reflect that. As a sidenote, I noticed that Elder Nash added “son or daughter who will humble himself or herself before God” in summarizing Ether 12:27 as an effort to be inclusive to the male and female students listening. So perhaps it’s a learned habit of only referencing Heavenly Father when we mean Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother that we’re just beginning to change just like leaders have lately enlarged our scriptural quotations to sound more inclusive.
Finally, Elder Nash concluded by saying:
The journey of faith of which I speak is to go forward, to progress and grow and through the Atonement of Christ become like our Heavenly Father, like our Heavenly Parents, as a family, enjoying “all that the Father hath.“
Notice that I didn’t need bold anything.