The Future of Heavenly Mother

Heavenly Mother (HM) has proven to be a very potent and productive figure in the history of Mormonism. She has been put to use for all sorts of theological and political agendas. Even the silence about her functions to promote a certain political agenda. I want to briefly review some reflections on the history of HM, and offer a theory for why I think she will play a more prominent role in Mormon discourse over the next few decades.

The appearance of HM on the Mormon theological scene cannot be separated from the doctrines about human divinization and polygamy. Eliza R. Snow and others were reportedly taught about the doctrine by Joseph Smith in the Nauvoo period when these two doctrines were being developed. Further, the interrelatedness of divinization, polygamy, and HM cannot be overstated. Indeed, it may even be more accurate to speak of Heavenly Mothers in this early period since divinity and polygamy were contingent on one another for early Mormons. Celestial Marriage was patterned after the divine model.

As polygamy receded theologically from Mormonism, HM was conceived more in terms of a member of a divine pair. This divine pairing became crucial for reimagining Celestial Marriage as monogamous. Here, HM served to legitimate monogamous marriage but also to legitimate a certain kind of partnership which still supported divine (although benevolent) patriarchy.

As Mormon feminism began to develop this doctrine, they emphasized the active role of HM in the creation. HM’s divinity itself became significant and the divine feminine was mobilized as a theological justification for the resignification of women in the workplace, society, and even in the LDS priesthood.

The reaction to Mormon feminism’s invocation of HM was to essentially chill any discussion about her. HM became a dangerous doctrine to think and talk about. The justification for this move was that HM was a “private” figure and her “public” discussion was somehow offensive. Such a view was predicated on an alternative use of HM for different political purposes. HM was thus the ideal housewife, who existed in the private sphere and left the public sphere to men. Like a dutiful child, not only did she not speak, but she didn’t even speak when spoken to! Lynette at ZD has a very clear critique of this version of HM.

Interestingly, Mormon feminism mostly survived in spite of the Church’s overwhelmingly successful campaign to undercut the feminists’ theological and political uses of HM. Feminism among Mormons succeeded in that Mormon women work outside the home at the same rate as non-LDS women, fathers are (mostly) considered to be equally responsible for housework, and women’s voices have increasingly been heard and taken seriously. Where Mormon feminists clearly failed was in their campaign for the priesthood, and arguably the Church’s image of a private HM was crucial in this defeat.

Though the silence about HM has been useful for producing a certain idealized model for the silent housewife, I think that this political agenda has largely run its course in Mormonism both because the Church has mostly failed to convincingly promote this ideal to the majority of its members (and many leaders) and because the salient political issues have shifted away from the working-mother debates of the 1970′s and 80′s to the issue of homosexuality in the church.

My prediction is that HM will play an increasingly important role in Mormon discourse over the next few decades as the church faces an increased need to theologically justify its opposition to homosexuality, both to internal and external critics. The image of HM that will emerge will not be that of the silent housewife confined to the private sphere, but a fertile and productive partner in a heterosexual marriage. Here, Mormon biological literalism in divine reproduction will function to explain why homosexual relationships must be excluded from the divine realm. Celestial heterosexuality will be the new normative understanding of HM.

  • Kent

    It is remarkable how important HM is to our worldview even though we know nothing about her (or even if she really exists). I agree with you that opposition to homosexuality is part of the ascending role of HM. The idea that gender is premortal and that we were created with gender is highly favored right now for practical and political reasons.

    I find it remarkable that the idea of the hereafter which most Mormons hold is not really spelled out in the scriptures. About 5 years ago I went to a stake conference adult session where Elder Bateman spoke. One of the main points of his talk was that those who honor the law of chastity will have the opportunity to have sex in the eternities, while those who don’t honor their procreative powers will not have that power in the future.

    I often wonder if the self-identification with the men in the church to becoming a “Heavenly Father” and the women a “Heavenly Mother” somehow trivializes and misses the boat on the scripturally based concept of divinization. If there is a “Mother in Heaven,” but she was not always divine with the Father from the beginning, do the sisters lose something? If the Father created our spirits without sexual reproduction, do we lose an important part of our concept of heaven?

    I love to hate the use of the concept of a Heavenly Mother because she ends up being a prop for people to make her into whatever they want her to be.

  • http://www.libertypages.com/clark Clark

    While HM hasn’t been discussed much in orthodox Church settings I’d note she’s been a huge figure in the various apologetic movements who arguably are very orthodox. Lots of papers directly and indirectly related to her in FARMS, FAIR, etc.

  • Kent

    When President Hinckley said, “The fact that we do not pray to our Mother in Heaven in no way belittles or denigrates her…none of us can add to or diminish the glory of her of whom we have no revealed knowledge,” I think he said it all. How can anyone say anything about her if we have no revealed knowledge? She thus becomes a prop.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    Kent,
    I think that I agree with your basic point that HM is a “prop,” but I am not sure that she is uniquely so. I would say that most any doctrine can be marshaled for some political purpose. Further, I am not entirely sure I agree that we know *nothing* about HM since I have tried to show that even this position is a certain way of framing how HM is, and thus how women are related to divine governance.

    Clark,
    You make an interesting point that HM has remained a point of research for some non-feminist thinkers over the last several years. Going along with the argument of this post, how would you characterize their use of this doctrine? Is it simply a proof-text for the truth/antiquity of Mormon belief, thus sidestepping the theological/political issues into which she is situated in other LDS quarters?

  • BJH

    I think 1995 marked the beginning of HM being used as a justification of heterosexual marriage from the Church officially. The Family: A Proclamation to the World explicitly mentions both the doctrines of “heavenly parents” and the gender of individuals as an eternal and critical identity. The connection there is difficult to ignore.

  • http://www.smallsimple.wordpress.com Eric Nielson

    Very interesting thoughts. You may be right TT.

  • http://www.libertypages.com/clark Clark

    TT, the issue of the theology of MiH due to FARMS is an interesting one. I’m not sure there’s that much useful content as folks go through speculations about Ashtoreth or Wisdom literature. It ends up being a lot of focus on her existence but not her role.

    On the other hand I’d simply note that Mormon theology in general tends to not care about the roles of divinity. The closest we see is the statements during the assimilation period of LDS history from about 1900 – 1930. But that was more due to the political expediency of appearing more mainstream as well as opposition to apostates who were emphasizing Adam/God. But in effect the First Presidency statements were less about defining role than by pushing the questions away and merely talking about how we’ll talk about the figures. It was, in my opinion, a move away from theology more than a move towards theology.

    Move to the BRM period and there once again is almost no focus on theology proper. Certainly little concern about role. (IMO)

    Maybe that’ll change. But I think Mormon theology has always been much more pragmatic in the sense of focused on action rather than clarifying the sorts of questions some raise. Even BRM’s writings, as I noted, can be better seen as a way of cutting off discussion than really pushing an answer.

    I’m not sure this is a bad thing, mind you. I was reading the Mormonism in Dialog with Contemporary Christian Theologies last week and I was struck by how the works focused movements like Liberation Theology were much more compatible with Mormon thought than most traditional theologies. I think that part of this is due to Mormons and our view of revelation trumping all (and being distrustful of philosophical filling in of blanks). But I think the bigger issue is that our focus is more works than ideas. Even the ideas we focus on in theology are more a part of a larger narrative of behavior than a collection of ideas.

    Given that, how will we approach MiH except via our view of family and our working within such? That is in large part our understanding of God is an anthropomorphism based upon our conception of family. Given such any expansion of a theology of Mother in Heaver or even Eve will probably be based upon the same.

  • Proud Daughter of Eve

    In the absence of revelation about Her, I think “… she ends up being a prop for people to make her into whatever they want her to be” is a pretty good reason to quash discussion of Her.

  • Kent

    Discuss all you want, what light can you add to a discussion that is nothing more than speculation?

  • http://www.nine-moons.com Seth R.

    February Ensign, pg. 69 – this month’s Visiting Teaching Message, very first paragraph:

    “The Doctrine of the family begins with heavenly parents. Our highest aspiration is to be like them…”

    Robert D. Hales

    Note the plural “parents.”

    Kind of awkward when you only know things about one of them…

  • http://www.coldandcalculating.blogspot.com brianj

    Nice essay. And excellent point by Kent. Perhaps another D&C section is forthcoming… {not holding breath}

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    BJH,
    Excellent point. I suppose that my “predictive” powers are really more of my reading of the present and recent past…the fact that the PoF coincided with political involvement in anti-gay marriage efforts seems to make the case for this new use of HM pretty clear.

    Clark,
    If I understand your argument here, I agree that the depiction of deity in Mormonism is nearly always tied to certain notions of practice, and that an anthropomorphic deity is highly useful in this regard. As such, the family becomes the primary way for appropriating HM.

    For those who are saying that we don’t have much revealed knowledge about HM, I am not sure that I understand your point, since I agree entirely. My argument is not predicated at all on revealed knowledge about her, but about the uses to which she is put for making certain theological and political points. In each case, her status as the wife of HF is the basis of my argument, which thing we surely know (unless you are suggesting that we don’t even know if HF and HM are married).

  • http://www.newcoolthang.com Jacob J

    I find this sentiment that we know all about Heavenly Father but not Heavenly Mother very strange. What are all these things we know about HF that we don’t know about HM? If someone wants to complain that we only pray to HF, then this is something I can at least comprehend. However, we really don’t know that much about HF, certainly not much more than we know about HM.

  • http://www.ldsaliveinchrist.com Jared

    At this point we know all that we need to know or HF would tell us more. Isn’t it enough to know that the term “God” means glorified man and woman.

    …St. Paul, “the man is not without the woman, nor the woman without the man in the Lord.” In other words, there can be no God except he is composed of the man and woman united, and there is not in all the eternities that exist, nor ever will be, a God in any other way. I have another description: There never was a God, and there never will be in all eternities, except they are made of these two component parts; a man and a woman; the male and the female.

    Erastus Snow, JD 19:270-71

  • http://www.libertypages.com/clark Clark

    Ditto to 13. What we know most about is Christ. The Father and Mother really aren’t revealed much.

  • http://zelophehadsdaughters.com Lynnette

    I think we actually do know significantly more about HF than HM. Jesus tells us repeatedly that he is following the will of the Father in his actions, and goes so far as to say that, “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” (John 14:9) This indicates that in learning about Jesus, we’re also implicitly learning about the Father. We don’t have anything comparable about HM. We might speculate that Jesus is also carrying out her will, or that learning about Jesus tells us about her as well–but it’s sheer speculation. HF is portrayed as the architect of the Plan of Salvation, but we don’t have any evidence that HM plays any role in it at all. I’d say that’s a pretty big difference.

  • http://www.libertypages.com/clark/ Clark

    The problem Lynnette is that we don’t know to what degree Christ and the Father are the same. So beyond general “attributes” it’s hard to say much. And even when you look at general characteristics or attributes the portrayals and metaphors of Christ seem to use an equal number of stereotypical masculine and feminine qualities. So I don’t think you can really say more is revealed about the Father than the Mother.

    Now if you add in some of the BY speculations then perhaps one could say more. But it seems most of those speculations are the very things that are controversial and generally held to not be trustworthy.

    So, to turn the question around, what is a quality of the Father clearly revealed of him by Christ that doesn’t apply equally to the Mother?

  • we

    17: …what is a quality of the Father clearly revealed of him by Christ that doesn’t apply equally to the Mother?

    Well, He certainly visits his kids more frequently and takes a greater interest in what they are doing. Either She doesn’t care, is a Mother who knows, and therefore is so busy She has no time left to visit or take an interest, or is serving time. I guess there are other possibilities too, endless ones. The limiting factor is the immagination. But, really, isn’t it time we started asking after her? Where’s Mom, Pop?

  • http://www.newcoolthang.com/ Geoff J

    Well, He certainly visits his kids more frequently

    Really? Other than the account of the first vision what are the frequent other visitations you have in mind?

  • http://www.newcoolthang.com/ Geoff J

    and takes a greater interest in what they are doing

    How do you know?

  • we

    One visit is an infinity more than none, isn’t it? And isn’t a single visit, if that’s all it is as you suggest, it is still much more than none. And I’d have to say that the visit you mention suggests an interest in what His kids are up to, much more so than no visit. So isn’t that greater?

  • we

    Additionally, a phone call (or a prayer) works for me as a visit–I wasn’t thinking so much in terms of a vision or visitation. I believe Pop answers the prayers of his kids . . . sometimes. On the otherhand, it seems to me that kind of call to Mom didn’t work so well for those who suggested it or tried it.

  • http://www.libertypages.com/clark Clark

    Why assume she hasn’t? While it’s controversial clearly there are accounts in the 19th century claiming visions of Heavenly Mother.

  • http://www.libertypages.com/clark Clark

    But in any case that doesn’t appear to be something publicly revealed about her.

    So I’ll ask again, what is clearly revealed about the Father than isn’t about the Mother.

  • ed

    I think it is interesting that church leaders are comfortable talking about “heavenly parents,” but generally will not utter the words “heavenly mother.” Why is that?

  • http://www.newcoolthang.com Jacob J

    Lynnette,

    If you want to say that we know HF exists and we don’t know that HM exists, then I will grant that point. But Jesus’ statements really don’t tell us much about HF other than suggesting that he is good an loving (Godlike?), which is a foregone conclusion for HM as well if we accept her existence. I don’t dispute the fact that we know a couple of things about HF which is more than we know about HM, but I think the amount that we know about HF is very often exaggerated by the people who are upset about our lack of knowledge about HM.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com SmallAxe

    So I’ll ask again, what is clearly revealed about the Father than isn’t about the Mother.

    Clark are you serious? How about the fact that the scriptures don’t directly refer to HM once, while referring to HF hundreds of times? You might be able to infer certain things from these instances, but I don’t think inferences hold the same weight or qualify as “clearly revealed”.

    For example: “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s”. There are certainly ways in which we can infer that this also applies to HM, but it takes several steps to get there.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    We, you make a really interesting point that the heavenly family can look rather subversive at times. We’ve got an absentee mother leaving the kids alone with a(n abusive) father and his creepy male friend who doesn’t even have a body!

  • http://www.nine-moons.com Seth R.

    Clark, the entire Proclamation on the Family is premised on the idea of difference betwixt the genders. It seems pretty obvious that all of that necessarily entails that Heavenly Mother IS in fact different than the Father in some fundamental and important ways.

    After all, if She were just the same as Her husband, why have two people? Why not just one?

    No, my own feeling is that the simple reason we don’t know anything about her is because either the membership, or our leadership, or both are simply too hard-hearted to inquire after the Lord on the matter. They ask not, so they receive not.

  • Nick Literski

    I don’t really see how affirming the existence of a heavenly mother has any impact on the issue of homosexuality. Part of the problem with the Proclamation is that it attempts to answer questions of sexual orientation by referring to gender as an eternal quality. Such an argument relies on an assumption that gay men somehow think they are female, and that lesbians somehow think they are male. A few general authority statements have even referred to homosexuality as “gender confusion,” demonstrating the same sort of misunderstanding. This is a false assumption. The vast majority of gay men are quite happy and secure about being male. The vast majority of lesbians are quite happy and secure about being female. Being homosexual has nothing at all to do with “confusion” over one’s gender, or some desire to become the opposite gender.

  • Kevin Christensen

    The best recent LDS essays on the topic have been Kevin Barney’s FAIR paper, Daniel Peterson’s “Nephi and His Asherah,” and Alyson Von Feldt’s brilliantly insightful FARMS Review of Dever’s Did God Have a Wife? Kerry Shirts has also has some interesting observations. Plus, I like John W. Welch’s paper comparing Eliza’s Oh My Father with the early Christian Hymn of the Pearl, in which a Heavenly Mother makes an unambiguous appearance.

    All point out that there is much more to see of her in the scriptures than we thought. All three steer clear of either the “we don’t know anything, so what is there to discuss?” on the one side, and the speculative “projection” approaches, changing her into a delicate flower, protected from human blasphemies by her stauchly Victorian Heavenly husband, or changed into a giant angry feminist, by those who make her into a manifestation of their current political agenda. All make good use of recent research, and close re-reading of familiar texts.

    Besides Dever’s useful book, I’m also very fond of Margaret Barker’s “Wisdom, The Queen of Heaven” essay in the Great High Priest, and in Temple Theology.

    Kevin Christensen
    Pittsburgh, PA

  • http://madhousewife.wordpress.com/ madhousewife

    Part of the problem with the Proclamation is that it attempts to answer questions of sexual orientation by referring to gender as an eternal quality. Such an argument relies on an assumption that gay men somehow think they are female, and that lesbians somehow think they are male.

    Not really. Obviously, some people (including the GA’s who talk about “gender confusion”) argue it that way, but that is not necessarily the only argument. Sexual orientation is separate from gender identity, but that is not the same as saying it has nothing to do with gender whatsoever. Obviously, if there were no meaningful differences between the genders, we wouldn’t speak of homosexuality or heterosexuality at all. If gender were irrelevant, orientation would also be irrelevant. I understand the distinction between the two. Homosexuality is not a function of behaving like the gender you are not, but of being attracted to the gender that you are. Promoting the heterosexual relationship–the wedding (if you will) of distinct and complementary masculine and feminine forces/energies/whatever–as the ideal does hinge on gender being essential (and in the Mormon case, eternal); however, gender being essential and eternal does not (necessarily) preclude acceptance of homosexual relationships. One could argue that homosexuality, insofar as it occurs in nature, must serve some divine purpose as well. Not in Sunday School probably, but you know, elsewhere one could certainly argue it. :)

  • http://madhousewife.wordpress.com/ madhousewife

    I forgot the point I originally wanted to make, which was that the “doctrine” of Heavenly Mother has probably hurt my faith in Mormonism more than anything else. Taken to its logical conclusion, in the context of “revealed truth,” it is not remotely attractive or edifying to me. It makes me want to be some other religion, even if it’s wrong.

  • http://www.libertypages.com/clark Clark

    For example: “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s”. There are certainly ways in which we can infer that this also applies to HM, but it takes several steps to get there.

    But if that’s the best you can come up with it completely illustrates my point. Our theology of the resurrection tells us exactly the same information about Mother as Father. Now if you are arguing about who gets more press, clearly the Father does. And I’ll agree that can affect our valuation of how we view the figures. But that’s not what is at question. Rather the question is what information do we have about the Father and not the Mother.

    It seems pretty obvious that all of that necessarily entails that Heavenly Mother IS in fact different than the Father in some fundamental and important ways.

    No doubt. But the lack of knowledge about that difference applies equally to the Father as the Mother. So this is not something we know more about the Father about. We simply know there is some difference the constitution of which is unknown. So our information in this regard is the same for both.

  • http://www.libertypages.com/clark Clark

    Just to add, I think what bugs me is that people conflate how much we talk about Mother in Heaven (versus talk of HF) with how much we know about Mother in Heaven. I’m sticking to my guns and saying we know no more nor less about MiH than we do HF.

  • Kent

    Clark, I agree completely. We can say “these are the properties possessed by deity,” but we can say nothing about what we consider their personalities (beyond personal experience). Who knows what the Father’s “gender” role is? What do we know about how spirits are created? Do we really know if the Father had a Father in Heaven ad infinitum? Who knows how he goes about doing what he does? We only know the results and the way that prophets/transcribers/etc. have interpreted God’s actions in the past.

    Look, I am one who loves to spend lots of time on the long skinny branches on the tree of speculative doctrine trying to discover what implications of holding specific beliefs may be; but turning that into a “world view” and then getting invested into how things “really” are or should be in heaven is misguided.

    That being said, I believe there is good evidence to suggest that early Israelites and Christians believed in a Heavenly Mother of sorts, but do Mormons believe in the same being with similar properties or roles? I doubt it. It would do no violence to my faith to find out that she does not exist.

  • http://www.libertypages.com/clark Clark

    I think a Mother in Heaven is a pretty key and foundational doctrine for Mormons. I think it certainly would do violence to my faith to find out she did not live.

  • Kent

    Clark, can you sincerely say you have a testimony of her?

  • Kent

    Let me ask this in another way. What is it about having a Mother in Heaven that is so important to your world view that you would say “this isn’t the heaven I signed up for”?

  • Nick Literski

    #32:
    Obviously, if there were no meaningful differences between the genders, we wouldn’t speak of homosexuality or heterosexuality at all. If gender were irrelevant, orientation would also be irrelevant. I understand the distinction between the two. Homosexuality is not a function of behaving like the gender you are not, but of being attracted to the gender that you are.

    Part of the difficulty arises from the fact that while we may casually use the two terms interchangeably, “gender” is not the same as “sex.” In standard usage, “sex” refers to biological differentiation between XX and XY chromosomes, i.e. whether one is biologically male or female. “Gender” refers to social and cultural characteristics, i.e. what we think of as “masculine” or “feminine.” Ergo, homosexuality is a function related to the sex of the parties involved, as opposed to their genders.

    When people use terms like “gender confusion” to talk about homosexuality, they conjure up images of transvestites. Frankly, many straight white men of a certain earlier generation really do conceive of gay men as effeminate transvestites. Do those exist? Well, of course they do, but gay men vary widely, just as straight men do. Many gay men actually present an image of what has been called “hyper-masculinity,” which couldn’t be more different from the stereotype.

  • http://www.libertypages.com/clark Clark

    Kent – Yup. It’s her existence and the nature of exaltation that is key. It’s at least as important as the idea there is a life after death to me.

  • Kevin Barney

    Kevin C. thanks for the shoutout. You may be interested to know that I have a very long article on HM (in case there’s any question, I’m pro) in the pipeline at Dialogue (it will probably be two or three more issues before it appears), with the bloggishly provocative title “How to Worship Our Mother in Heaven (without Getting Excommunicated).” Look for it later this year. [Since the article is for print publication, I do not intend to discuss its actual contents on the blogs before it appears in print.]

    Kent, I have a testimony of Heavenly Mother.

  • http://zelophehadsdaughters.com Lynnette

    Clark, I think you have a fair point about the difference between how much press time we give to HF and HM respectively, and the difference between the actual information we have about each of them. However, I can still see some things that are clearly revealed about the Father but not the Mother:

    1) HF wants us to talk to him; in fact, we are commanded to do so. I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to conclude from this that he wants to be an active part of our lives, and that our relationship with him is important for us.

    I might want to believe that a relationship with HM is likewise important, or that she also wants to be an active part of our lives–but I don’t think we have any evidence for that.

    2) HF is, so to speak, the mastermind behind the Plan of Salvation. Jesus is going about the Father’s business, carrying out his will.

    Again, we have no evidence for HM being involved in the Plan to any extent.

    Maybe it would be helpful to frame this another way. If we’re talking about what we know about HF and HM as unique individuals apart from their relationship with us, I’d agree that information about either of them is in short supply. But if we’re talking about them in the context of their relationship with us, their relevance to our lives, their work, we have much more information about HF.

  • Kent

    Kevin, I look forward to your article.

  • http://www.theculturalhall.com Ann

    Any information about the Goddess filtered through the agenda of a patriarchal church is going to be distorted.

    If women want to connect with the Divine Feminine, we’re much better off seeking our own revelation and leaving the church out of it completely.

  • http://www.libertypages.com/clark Clark

    Lynnette (43), according to most (albeit not all – see Blake’s writings) Mormon theology your (#2) is false. The Father explicitly wasn’t the author of the Plan of Salvation but was merely following what he’d seen done before.

    Your first point is perhaps better, although I’d argue it doesn’t really tell us anything about him proper.

  • http://zelophehadsdaughters.com Lynnette

    Clark, my use of the term “mastermind” might not have been the most helpful; I wasn’t trying to make any claims about who came up with the Plan in the first place. I was merely pointing out that we have evidence that HF is in some fashion involved in it, but no corresponding evidence about the involvement of HM.

  • we

    Ann, I suppose you could say ditto for men wanting to connect with HM (or Goddess, which term I find less endearing): go get it on your own. However, why don’t citizens of the household of HF call for the patriarchal church to repent, which your observation suggests is needed? Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God. Seems to me as fellow citizens, some fundamental rights of citizenship are being denied the women. I see a shift coming and think the homosexuality agenda will be a catalyst but not the only one. In our country and in the world women are more and more coming into the mainstream and want to share in all the rights and privileges.

  • http://www.libertypages.com/clark Clark

    The presumption that the lack of information is due to sins of the “patriarchal church” which then needs a call “to repent” simply boggles the mind.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    I think, as I have argued in this post, that the silence about HM and the supposed “lack of information” actually does say in and of itself quite a lot about who HM is supposed to be. These function to produce an image of HM as “private,” which is a classical “feminine” virtue, while the “public” is the sphere of the “masculine.”
    At issue here is not what we do or don’t know about HM (or HF for that matter), but how what is said and not said about her is connected to a normalizing discourse of femininity.

    Nick #30,
    “I don’t really see how affirming the existence of a heavenly mother has any impact on the issue of homosexuality.”

    I am sorry if I wasn’t more clear. I have argued here that HM is used and will be increasingly used to reinforce the LDS view of a heterosexual afterlife, and heterosexual marriage as the key issue in salvation. I have argued that she will be used to demonstrate the supposed impossibility of homosexual relationships having any eternal status.

    Nick #40,
    “Ergo, homosexuality is a function related to the sex of the parties involved, as opposed to their genders.”

    This makes no sense given that you define sex in this paragraph as referring to biological maleness and femaleness. The notion of “gender confusion” to explain homosexuality arose out of the second-wave feminist distinction between sex (fixed) and gender (fluid) that you outline above. Obviously, its inability to account for homosexuality and its presumptive heterosexuality are among the reasons that this sex/gender polarity has largely been abandoned in contemporary queer and feminist theory. The third term of “sexuality” has been introduced in the attempt to map the various combinations of sex/gender/sexuality, but this term has its limitations too because it relies on the same fixed/fluid assumptions of the sex/gender binary.

  • http://zelophehadsdaughters.com Lynnette

    TT, I’m intrigued by your theory. I especially like your point that lack of information in and of itself has meaning. Saying that we don’t know about HM because such knowledge isn’t necessary, for example, already communicates a lot about how we see her.

    If HM does come to play a more prominent role in LDS discourse in the future, I’m wondering what the implications might be for Mormon feminism. You mentioned the priesthood issue, which seems quite relevant. I can see different possibilities. If God is more frequently defined as HF and HM, given that priesthood is understood as the “power of God”, that might raise some serious questions about male-only priesthood. On the other hand, a scenario intended to reinforce the necessity of heterosexual marriage is likely to play up the importance of distinct gender roles.

    Similarly, I wonder what effect might more attention paid to HM have on–or reflect–our still formally hierarchical understanding of marriage. Will we talk about HF presiding over HM? I think Ann (#45) has a point about the challenges of talking about a female divinity in the context of a patriarchal system.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com SmallAxe

    But if that’s the best you can come up with it completely illustrates my point. Our theology of the resurrection tells us exactly the same information about Mother as Father. Now if you are arguing about who gets more press, clearly the Father does. And I’ll agree that can affect our valuation of how we view the figures. But that’s not what is at question. Rather the question is what information do we have about the Father and not the Mother.

    Clark, don’t confuse “the first thing that comes to mind” with “the best I can come up with”. Do a search, even just through the D&C for “father” and see how much “information” we have. Clearly just about everything we learn about God in the D&C is in regards to HF (the other scriptures may be more of a complex issue). If your argument is that everything there equally applies to HM, then I would say that such requires several logical steps to get there and doesn’t qualify as “clearly revealed”. If your argument is that it really doesn’t tell us much about HF, then I find it strange indeed that the scriptures don’t tell us much about God.

  • http://www.newcoolthang.com/ Geoff J

    TT: These function to produce an image of HM as “private,”

    Actually, the point that is being made by Clark and Jacob and Kent etc. is that the Father seems to be just as “private” as the Mother (assuming she exists as a separate being). I completely agree with their point. Sure we assume all sorts of things about the nature and history of the Father but we really know very, very little about anything but the Godlike qualities of God.

    SmallAxe: Do a search, even just through the D&C for “father” and see how much “information” we have.

    The point being made is that the D&C doesn’t reveal very much information at all about the Father. If you have specific examples to show this to be untrue there are several people here who are all ears.

    Look, the reason we can debate incessantly over the question of whether the Father has a Father or whether there was a time before the Father became divine or whether The Father is somehow an emergent fusion of unified minds (a la Orson Pratt) etc. etc. is because next to nothing is reall revealed about the nature and history of God the Father.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    Lynnette 51,
    I totally agree that all of the latent possibilities for LDS feminist theology will still exist in future, and may even be augmented by certain official articulations of HM. I think that the move away from the hierarchical marriage in LDS culture given the Hinkley-era emphasis on “equal” partners will cause mainstream thinkers to have to account for this in the heavenly sphere (I tend to think that theology mostly follows sociology, rather than the other way around, which also explains why LDS feminist theology failed to make the changes it sought).

    Geoff J 53,
    “the point that is being made by Clark and Jacob and Kent etc. is that the Father seems to be just as “private” as the Mother”

    If this indeed their point, then I think that we are not defining “private” in the same way, or we understand the LDS cultural hesitancy to think about HM very differently. In my view, HM is “private” in the sense that she is not someone who interacts with the world, and that there are some taboos around discussing her. For instance, it is a large taboo to pray to HM, much greater than if someone were to pray to Jesus. HF, in contrast, is a more public figure in that he communicates through prayers and the intervention into history, and there are much fewer taboos around discussing HF. This notion of “private” has nothing to do with how much or how little “information” we have about them, but about how our discourse regulates the way we think and talk about them. The fact that we pray to HF alone demonstrates my public/private distinction. The fact that there are notions that HM’s “sacredness” or other such special status that preclude us from direct interaction is a way of feminizing HM in very traditional ways along the public/private axis.

  • http://www.libertypages.com/clark Clark

    TT I certainly agree with the distinction you make. I’d argue that the so-called “taboo” about her is more due to the connection of speculations being tied to apostates or perceived apostates. (i.e. first the connection between Eve and MiH among polygamist fundamentals who also distinguished themselves on BY’s Adam-God theory; later by connection to feminists who were perceived as expanding theology in order to push a feminist political agenda) I think added to this is the problem (well that might not be the right word) of the Church trying to distance itself from speculations on theology. Thus GAs, especially of the last 25 years, have been much more cautious and guarded when speaking on theology.

    Now the claim that a lack of revelation is due to wickedness seems somewhat problematic. Although I also suspect those wanting public revelations on the subject also have pretty strong preconceptions of what revelations ought consist of. (Speaking of “the Patriarchal Church” suggests that what is expected is a feminist nirvana overthrowing Church structure more than actual more modest clarifications)

    Put an other way if one is merely being conservative in the sense of not speaking beyond what one knows and practices that have been authorized I’m not sure one can expect much else. And expecting significant revelations seems to overlook both the significant changes during the transitionary period of assimilation from 1894 – 1930 as well as the key aims of people like Pres. Hinkley. The idea that we’ll get significant revelations (or lose them) purely because of some Church wickedness seems dubious to me. It’s akin to expecting to be called up to march to Missouri to build the New Jerusalem if only we were more charitable and did our home teaching.

  • http://www.newcoolthang.com/ Geoff J

    TT: In my view, HM is “private” in the sense that she is not someone who interacts with the world, and that there are some taboos around discussing her.

    Herein lies the problem. None of us know any of the following for sure:

    (a) Whether there is an individual divine person (or group of divine persons) we would call Mother.
    (b) Whether that person or group of persons actually interacts with the world or not

    How on earth do you know which divine persons are interacting with the world or not? Sure HF gets most of the credit but that is the default position on giving credit for divine intervention.

    Now I agree that it is somewhat taboo in Mormon culture to discuss MiH. I agree with you that there are probably some political or other agendas behind that taboo. But one of the reasons we don’t talk about the subject is because we don’t even know if there is such a person or persons. (BTW — is it my imagination or do I sense you starting to use HM as a prop to hint at the old “them Man is keeping her down” line?)

    As an aside — There are a few of strains of Mormon thought that don’t go for the idea that there is a divine person or persons who is our Mother in heaven at all. One is the Monarchical Monotheism that Ostler likes. A variation on that is the ontological divide model that Stapely likes where we can become Kings and Queens to God but never become Gods ourselves. Another is the notion where divine persons (Gods) are basically transcendent beings who are the (androgynous) fusion of exalted couples.

    These are obviously not the mainstream concepts but their very existence shows that in the absence of revelation on the subject there is ample room for varied thought and guesses about it.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com SmallAxe

    The point being made is that the D&C doesn’t reveal very much information at all about the Father.

    So I guess you’re taking the line that the scriptures don’t tell us much about God?

    Herein lies the problem. None of us know any of the following for sure:

    (a) Whether there is an individual divine person (or group of divine persons) we would call Mother.
    (b) Whether that person or group of persons actually interacts with the world or not

    How does this not contradict your earlier point? It seems that we can answer these questions in regards to HF.

    How on earth do you know which divine persons are interacting with the world or not? Sure HF gets most of the credit but that is the default position on giving credit for divine intervention.

    This requires quite a non-traditional reading of our texts. Is “father” somehow a synonym for “mother”?

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    Clark 55,
    “I’d argue that the so-called “taboo” about her is more due to the connection of speculations being tied to apostates or perceived apostates.”

    This is my argument as well. What gets said or not said about HM is a way of regulating certain orthodoxies that go beyond HM herself, such as polygamy, working moms, or homosexuality.

    “Now the claim that a lack of revelation is due to wickedness seems somewhat problematic.”

    I completely agree with you here, and I have not called for more revelation on the subject, nor have I accused the church of wickedness on this topic (though this is a popular position to take in some circles). As I have argued, HM is a touch point for so many different political and theological positions that any “revelation” is bound to disappoint someone. I am much more interested in an analysis of how this doctrine functions.

    “Put an other way if one is merely being conservative in the sense of not speaking beyond what one knows and practices that have been authorized I’m not sure one can expect much else. ”

    I disagree with this. A “conservative” theological position does not yield neutral results, but a yields a conservative view of HM. As I have argued above, what is not said about HM also says a great deal.

    Geoff J 56:

    “Herein lies the problem. None of us know any of the following for sure:
    (a) Whether there is an individual divine person (or group of divine persons) we would call Mother.
    (b) Whether that person or group of persons actually interacts with the world or not”

    I suppose that it depends on what you mean by “know.” If you mean in some objective, verifiable sense that we don’t know these things, than I agree (but as SmallAxe notes, we don’t “know” these things about the Father either).

    However, if you mean to suggest that there is some ambiguity in Mormon doctrine on either of these issues, I disagree. The PoF, this month’s Ensign, they hymnbook, and countless GA statements affirm without any ambiguity the existence of HM. As for whether or not she “interacts with the world,” again I agree that we don’t know this in an objective sense, but the fact that LDS doctrine insists that we not pray to her at the very least closes off the possibility for us to interact with her. Though I can’t prove a negative (that she does not interact with us), it is relevant that pretty much everything we know that deity has done in LDS interpretation is attributed solely to the male members of the godhead.
    But again, I am not interested in “knowledge” per se, but in the sociology of knowledge.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com SmallAxe

    As a point of clarification, my understanding of “information” was in the context of that which Clark defined as “clearly revealed” (which I took to mean our sacred texts). If we’re talking about empirical claims to knowledge, then I would agree that we know (or don’t know) just as much about HM.

  • http://www.newcoolthang.com/ Geoff J

    Again, I agree that most credit for divine intervention is given to “The Father”. Why do we give credit to “The Father”? Because we are the Church of Jesus Christ and Jesus told us that’s what we should do. But we don’t know very much about who or what The Father actually means. Our scriptures describe the Godhead as One God so it might mean both a person and a group of persons. Further, it is commonly speculated that there is a regress of Fathers above the Father of Jesus so it is very possible that “The Father” is the catch-all term for that divine unity of many persons.

    To repeat the point made by so many here: We hardly know what is really meant by the term “The Father” in scriptures. We as a people are fooling ourselves if we assume otherwise. Therefore, it is not much different than what we know about the idea of MiH.

  • Kent

    I agree wholeheartedly with you Geoff.

  • http://www.libertypages.com/clark Clark

    Similar to Geoff I think most of the information we have about the Father is taken to apply to all divine beings. Yes there is the divine monarchialism which some thinkers like Blake Ostler support. But let’s be honest, despite the historical arguments, it’s much more speculative theology than orthodox dogma.

    The point about praying to the Father probably is the best thing we know. It’s less something we know about him than it is a different practice by us. But as I said earlier while I have some problems with it I have to concede it is a clear difference.

    TT, I recognize your point was less formal information than the implications of our talk (or lack thereof). I do think it an important point to make.

    Regarding your point about a conservative theology having implications. Certainly silence always has connotations whether deserved or not. While folks can say absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence – except in some broader circumstantial ways – the fact is that folks don’t think that way. But what is the alternative? To create some theology and then end up with the same problem that (IMO) beset orthodox Christianity when they started filling in bits.

    Regarding folks seeing wickedness for the reason we don’t know more. Certainly I didn’t mean to imply you were arguing that. But as you note it’s not an uncommon assertion.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com SmallAxe

    How has the debate moved from “clearly revealed” “information” about HF, to now the nature of the term “the Father”?

    If you want to argue that references to HF “applies to all divine beings” that calls for a very particular reading of the text. A reading that is certainly not mainstream and requires several logical jumps to accept. Even the existence of a MiH is not “clearly revealed” in our sacred texts, and referencing the “Father” to include her is something you’d be hard pressed to prove that the authors of the text would accept.

    Even my not-so-good example from D&C 130 provides a very clear statement (at least within the context of that chapter) “The Father” is one figure and has a body of flesh and bones. This is “clearly revealed information”; information we don’t have about HM.

    The reason I keep belaboring this issue, is that IMO the significance of a HM is something that is becoming increasingly significant (although it has historical precedence); and this significance should be recognized for what it is–increased significance in our time, and not necessarily something that has been in our tradition from the beginning (of the restoration). In other words we can’t simply re-vamp our texts fit our context, at least not without the self-awareness of so doing.

    BTW Geoff, you simply repeated yourself in #60 rather than responding to the issues raised in #57, and neither you nor Clark (nor Kent) adequately responded to Lynette’s point in #43.

  • http://madhousewife.wordpress.com/ madhousewife

    Ergo, homosexuality is a function related to the sex of the parties involved, as opposed to their genders.

    You’re right, of course. I meant to make more of a distinction between sex and gender, but I think sexuality is complex enough that gender necessarily has to figure into it as well. Gender itself is so complex, and from a gender essentialist standpoint, anyway, heavily influenced by biological sex. It’s complex enough that I think there is room, even in the gender essentialist framework, for valuing homosexual relationships. I don’t think it’s likely to happen in the LDS church in our lifetime, but I guess anything’s possible.

  • http://www.newcoolthang.com/ Geoff J

    Alright SmallAxe, here are some direct responses to #57

    So I guess you’re taking the line that the scriptures don’t tell us much about God?

    Yes. As I read them, they tell us a lot about divine attributes but very little about who or what is referred to as “The Father”. Feel free to show me that I am wrong on that assertion.

    How does this not contradict your earlier point? It seems that we can answer these questions in regards to HF.

    See my #60 again. We can’t really clearly answer those questions regarding “The Father” exactly. We know that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are repeatedly referred to as “one God”. If three divine persons can combine to constitute “one God” then why can’t 3000 or three billion or an infinite regress of divine persons combine to make up “one God”? It seems to me that Jesus addressed the “one God” as “Heavenly Father” so that is what we do too even in the absence of details.

    This requires quite a non-traditional reading of our texts.

    Ok. So what’s your point?

    As for the issues in #43 you want addressed:

    HF wants us to talk to him; in fact, we are commanded to do so.

    True. The question is who or what “HF” refers to. The title Heavenly Father seems to be equivocal in scriptures to me; referring to the “one God” in most cases but to a single divine person in other cases (like in D&C 130). In cases where HF is the name we are calling the “one God” it could mean the unity of innumerable divine persons (including male and female person assuming the androgyny speculation is wrong).

    HF is, so to speak, the mastermind behind the Plan of Salvation

    Once again, it is safe to say the one eternal God (usually referred to by the title HF) is the mastermind behind the Plan of Salvation. So since we don’t really know who makes up the one eternal God (One divine person? Three divine persons? An infinite regress of divine persons?) we can’t really say this is a useful argument.

    All of this is again to repeat the point Jacob made first: We don’t know very much at all about “The Father”. We certainly don’t know enough to make gender comparisons of divine persons etc.

  • http://www.libertypages.com/clark Clark

    If you want to argue that references to HF “applies to all divine beings” that calls for a very particular reading of the text.

    There’s a difference between referencing an object and making a predication of an object.

    My point never was about references. As I said several comments back clearly the Father is referenced and lot whereas Mother in Heaven is not. And, as TT notes, that can have effects due to the way we as humans tend to interpret gaps.

    However if we speak about the properties of the Father (properties he has, not acts we take towards him even if those logically entail a relational property) then we don’t really have any information about the Father we don’t of other divine beings. That’s because the properties of the Father are the properties of divinity which must apply to the Eternal Mother as much as the Eternal Father.

    This isn’t some esoteric, speculative and indirect inference. This is part and parcel of the unity of the Godhead and the logic entailed by it. It’s why basically all Christians treat Jesus, the Holy Ghost, and the Father as sharing in the unity of God and having most of the same properties. The logical implication of D&C plus the endowment plus many GA statements is that that divinity applies to Mother as much as Father.

    If by “clearly revealed” you demand “a simple proposition with MiH as the subject” then of course they aren’t there. However I don’t think one ought take “clearly revealed” in that manner.

  • http://www.libertypages.com/clark Clark

    Yes. As I read them, they tell us a lot about divine attributes but very little about who or what is referred to as “The Father”. Feel free to show me that I am wrong on that assertion.

    I think you’re completely correct here Geoff. We know a lot (well, relatively speaking) about the divine attributes. We know very little about the Father. We know the Father primarily through the Son.

  • http://blakeostler.com Blake

    With respect to a mother in heaven, the simple fact is that there is no reason in revelation to know anything about her — not even whether such a being exists. We have nothing from Joseph Smith about a Mother in Heaven. There is speculation that his views require a mother in heaven. I believe that the arguments that Joseph taught about a Mother in Heaven are unpersuasive. He kept a good many things secret — but we know all about them. The heresies that he taught in secret were made known (trumpeted) by the apostates when they left, and we have not a word about the heresy of a mother in heaven. I am aware that shortly after his death we get references to a mother in heaven — but I cannot see such temporal coincidence as much of an argument unless one is fond of post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacies. Further, Joseph didn’t teach about a spirit birth. For him intelligences and spirits are synonyms and the spirit is uncreated and eternal — not birthed at some point.

    Eliza Snow certainly taught about a mother in heaven. I ask: just what is the import of the fact that she taught it? Not much in my view. She later regarded the mother in heaven as Eve tied in with the Adam-God theory. It is a fair question whether the mother in heaven view originated in that heresy.

    The notion that we know little more about the Father than we do about the mother in heaven is just short sighted in my view. We know that he exists. We know from Joseph’s visions that he resembles the Son physically (or the Son resembles him more properly). We know that he has a body of flesh and bones, became mortal at some time on another planet and resurrected. We know that he created the world through the Son. We know that we pray to him. We know that the Father and Son enjoy a wonderful relationship of indwelling unity. Need I go on? That is a quantum leap beyond what we supposedly know about a mother in heaven. In fact, knowing merely that he exists puts in an entirely different category than the mother in heaven.

    Finally, the last thing we ought to consider doing in my view is adopting a view to assuage our needs to fill some void (e.g., the Freudian view of religion) or to adopt a view because it is more politically palatable or tantalizing.

    So what do we do with statements in the Proclamation and First Presidency statements about a mother in heaven? Let’s give those statements the weight they are due. At this point I am open to the possibility of a mother in heaven who birthed spirits — tho I tend to give much greater weight to Joseph’s view of an uncreated spirit (that is also adopted in the book of Abraham 3). I am open to the possibility that the entire belief in a mother in heaven is a cultural overbelief.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com SmallAxe

    I now rest my case ;>)

  • http://www.newcoolthang.com Jacob J

    Blake,

    Your argument is exactly demonstrating what I have said earlier, which is that there are two pretty obvious and legitimate points. The first is that we know the Father exists but we do not know that the Mother exists. The second is that because we pray to the Father we have at least this one thing that we know the Father does. I’ll grant that those are significant differences. However, beyond that, everything you can name is something we know about the Mother if her existence is accepted. If she exists, we know that she has a body (as all resurrected gloried beings do), we know that she lives in a loving indwelling releationship (as all exalted beings do), etc.

    Let me illustrate why I make this point. I could use any number of examples from bloggernacle discussions about MiH, but from #10 on this thread, Seth quoted this from the Ensign:

    “The Doctrine of the family begins with heavenly parents. Our highest aspiration is to be like them…”

    Then he said: Kind of awkward when you only know things about one of them…

    Now, if you want to argue that there is no MiH, that’s fine, but in the context of people who already believe that she exists, that sentiment makes no sense to me. Does our ability to aspire to be like God hinge on specific things we know about him as a person? Of course not. A woman can aspire to be like her Heavenly Mother just as well as a man can aspire to be like his Heavenly Father because the whole effort has nothing to do with knowing specifics about what they do all day or what their personality is like. We don’t try to be like God by imitating his behavior throughout the Old Testament. That would be ridiculous. We try to be like God by responding to our moral sense about what is right. Our lack of knowledge about MiH is thus commonly marshalled as some big problem for women (who already believe MiH exists) as though men know all sorts of specific details about HF and what he does all day. I think that is misguided.

    TT’s point about theology following sociology has a good deal of truth to it and I don’t really disagree with the original post.

  • lxxluthor

    Nice post TT. Great overview and a very plausible projection.

  • http://www.theculturalhall.com Ann

    What an interesting discussion! Clark, I certainly did not mean to imply that the patriarchal church’s lack of revelation on MiH/The Goddess (a term I like, it has lots of fun baggage) is a situation that needs correction or repentance. It’s not my place to steer or direct the church, and I don’t think the church needs to / ought to change to suit my tastes.

    We have thousands of years of patriarchy behind us as humans; the church is far from a driving force in the patriarchal order. The church has a strong investment in the patriarchal order through both priesthood restrictions and the FamProc; I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that any revelations on the nature of MiH would be received within that framework. BECAUSE of that framework, I would just as soon no revelations come. I have no reason to think that any revelation on MiH would be progressive or pro-feminist, which is my personal leaning. I’d just as soon leave her out of the public sphere, lest I start being encouraged to model myself after a celestial, divine June Cleaver.

  • http://www.libertypages.com/clark Clark

    Ann, I was more thinking of folks discussing this issue back in the mid-90′s.

  • http://www.libertypages.com/clark Clark

    Regarding Blake’s comments I think Blake “narrows” what constitutes revelation more than many of us are comfortable with. If we limit ourselves to canon then I think he’s right. But for most of us revelations go well beyond that. (And even beyond what ends up in TPJS) Certainly the authority of such statements and texts is up for dispute and I suppose that can then tie to the epistemological question of what we know.

    I’d say that I think Blake’s statements demand that one make the Father unique and that talk of divinization never makes one equal with God (or really a God in a full sense of the term.) Once again Blake’s not the only one to assert this. And he probably makes the strongest arguments for this view I’ve seen. But I think he’d fully agree that this is a minority view within the Church.

    I also think Blake knows he’s playing fast and loose by tying this to simply Eliza R. Snow or Brigham Young’s Adam/God theory.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com TT

    Blake,
    I am sympathetic to your at times revisionist notion of LDS theology, but I find your denial of HM striking. The problem isn’t simply the history of the doctrine, but that I cannot conceive of the LDS embodied divinity without thinking of females. Otherwise we are stuck with the most andromorphic deity in all of Christianity. If we want to have an embodied God, there have to be sexes other than male. Unless, are you suggesting that the God you imagine is sexless?

  • http://www.bycommonconsent.com Brad Kramer

    “We don’t try to be like God by imitating his behavior throughout the Old Testament. That would be ridiculous. We try to be like God by responding to our moral sense about what is right.”

    We try to be like God by emulating the mortal life and example of his Son in the flesh and obeying his commandments. Christ — not the Father — is the one about whom we have relevant information and whose example we are to follow. The reason we pray to the Father in the name of the Son is that the Son commanded us to do so. And, as Clark pointed out already, in terms of traditional human characteristics and traits, Jesus is as much prototypically female as he is male.

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  • R. Kallisti

    Maybe God is an androgyne?

    We live in a binary world of seeminly polar opposites. Srangely enough, the more you research and learn, the more you realize these two “opposites” go strictly by the hand, as if they actually were one and the same, or the two sides of the same coin (and I think this applies to everything). How can it be then that the deeper we go the higher we reach? Or, as we all should know, as it is above, so is below, and as it is within so is without.
    Separation and differenciation are manmade concepts to help him create contrast, and thus measure one thing from another.

    Maybe the words “father” and “mother” do not exist for God. Nevertheless, humans call him “father”.

    Or maybe that’s what I kind of hope sometimes, since I’m basing myself from my own stand which is absolutely anti-sexist (separation of the sexes and gender roles) and absolutely unisexual (believing that “masculine” and “feminine” are in fact one and the same).

    I believe you are all well aware of the ancient doctrine of the primordial androgyne.
    So why couldn’t God have become one flesh again with his consort? Couldn’t this mean that in the beginning (before mortality, that is) we were one entity, and afterwards (post resurrection) we shall be made whole again?

    Wasn’t Adam taken from Eve? Which means that Eve was in Adam, and Eve was in fact Adam. Or… that Adam and Eve were not (did not exist) until they were separated, and that first human being was someone else.

    To me, that is very plausible.