What does the term “Mother in Zion” mean to you? How do you see that term being applied to women?
Curious how others would respond, I posed that question to women from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Following are their responses, in alphabetical order. I loved their diversity of expression and application and also how all the comments tied together.
Mother in Zion — What Does It Mean and How Is It Applied?
I do love the story of the mothers of the stripling warriors and the import of their teachings for both a parent’s and a child’s (society’s) point of view.
A mother in Zion is one who supports and loves all those in her fold (family, ward, community.) For me, that’s being an aunt, teacher, primary teacher, and youth leader.
To me, a mother in Zion is someone who is true: true to God above all, true to her faith, and ture to those in her care.
Eve was named the mother of all living. I think of mothers as creators. Creators of physical bodies, yes, but more importantly, creators of human beings. That type of creation is not always a physical creation. That involves building relationships with people, nurturing others, and teaching others to create harmony in contentious situations. It makes me think about the Relief Society motto of Charity Never Faileth. Charity is defined in Moroni 7: 45 as kind, envieth not, is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, and is not easily provoked. These are the characteristics women can create, both in themselves and in others.
When I think about being a Mother in Zion, I think about the unique characteristics women possess that are ideally suited to create Zion. We are the ones who can first create Zion situations in our homes where we are of one heart and one mind. After creating this in our homes, we can take this into our communities. I believe women will shoulder a big portion of building Zion first in themselves, then in the home, and finally in our communities and nations.
Honestly, I don’t think I’ve been a very good mom lately. But I try every day to do better. I guess that’s really what it’s about. Admitting our faults and trying to do better while keeping someone else’s needs in the foreground.
I think in the LDS world Zion is a place where the Pure in Heart live. Mormon teaches that becoming the pure in heart can be obtained by voluntarily giving out abundant love to everyone.
To me when I truly love someone, I can see past their flaws and circumstances and see them as a child of God. Being a mother helped me learn the difference faster between “God’s loves” (no strings attached, unconditional) and romantic or general love. So to me, I think I would say a Mother in Zion would be to have pure Love towards everyone just like a Mother has towards her child.
To be a mother in Zion, I imagine you’d continually striving to teach, live, and show the gospel of Christ to others.
Zion is one heart, one mind, united under God, carrying and loving one another. Everyone has different talents and contributions, but all are working for the better of all.
As you live daily, you’d be doing your best to follow the principles of Christ. He loved and included everyone and taught His Father’s message of hope.
“Pure in heart” makes me think of having no guild. You see others for who they are. When they do something wrong, you don’t judge. You try to understand their heart or why. You teach to always see the best in people.
You look at how to help others and then act. You are working or striving to be the best you so you can do the things the Lord needs you to do.
As a mom today some of the things I’m working on is coming together each night as a family for prayers. This gives us a chance to discuss our day and say what we’re grateful for. Sometimes we’ll talk about upcoming things or goals (still working on this,) those family members who may not be well or could use our prayers, or things we could do to help. Many nights we might just touch on one or two things, but we try to pray together for our family and friends (united hearts/minds.) Many times, it’s short, sweet, grumpy, but we do have good moments, too.
This is one way I try to be a mother in Zion in our home.
When it comes to her kids, my mother is always pure in heart. I always feel like our best interest is at hand. She sees us as the Lord sees us and loves us unconditionally. She snuggled me to show comfort, love, acceptance. Growing up, when I hurt, she hurt, when I rejoiced, she rejoiced. She taught me godly principals, worked hard to have family prayers and scriptures daily, and then take those opportunities to teach us. She got up early every day and cared for our physical needs and wants.
She showed she loved the Lord in all her actions, how she treated others, how she was dedicated to Him personally, and the trust and love she had for Him. I always saw her kneeling and pleading to Him in her personal prayers. She never made any of her eight children feel like a burden, but always a pleasure. She never showed any guile towards us. She loved unconditionally.
Yes, growing up, we were like any other family with disagreements and fighting, but we were taught to love each other despite conflict, and that has created a unity among us siblings.
She also looked out for others she served. She taught many of the youth in our ward seminary (on and off for about 15 years) and worked in Young Women. Everyone she served felt her love.
When Elder Bednar set Simon apart as the stake president, he told him that his primary – and actually only – job was to shepherd the Saints to the temple. I feel like that is the job description of a mother in Zion! We are shepherding every child of God in our stewardship or sphere of influence to make and keep covenants that will bring them back to Heavenly Father. Pretty much that’s our life’s work! If we do that effectively, nothing else matters.
That’s the difficult, sometimes heartbreaking, and super tricky work of mothering. We may mother our own children. We may mother our seminary students. We may mother a newly married couple moving into our ward – away from home for the first time and in need of some mentoring. All of the things that we do to help Heavenly Father’s children live uplifting and consecrated lives is “mothering.”
As I write that, I’m just thinking about all that multitasking. No wonder God gave this job to women!
My first thought when I think of Mother in Zion is sort of like the law of consecration (maybe because that’s what I was thinking about all last week) mixed with the old “it takes a village” adage. I think of righteous women working together to raise children in the gospel. Nurturing and pouring love out to all individuals, not just their own offspring. Embodying that pure love of Christ and exuding light to everyone in their vicinity.
A Zion Mom is one who loves the Lord with her whole soul, and walks so closely with Him that to be near her feels like home.
And then gently and tenderly cares for others and nurtures them back to Him.
One who guides and corrects with softness, because she knows the divinity of the souls she is teaching.
One who is hardworking but never too busy to listen or lay aside her tools to comfort someone.
One who seeks to understand another in order to build trust and communicate effectively, and help that person feel seen and accepted and loved unconditionally.
One who radiates the Spirit of God in her words and her deeds, and shares goodness and kindness wherever she goes, like leaving trails of beautifully fragrant flowers! that lead back to the One who breathes everything to life.
So for me as I think about a mother in Zion this comes to mind: To be Zion-like, we have to emulate our Savior Jesus Christ. So trying to be like Him when we interact with our kids and being a safe haven for them always! The world is getting more and more confusing and wicked so being a mother in Zion means standing firm in the gospel so that there is no question of where you stand, who you follow or how you live. That will help our kids have an anchor/rock and a safe place to turn to when they need it.
I also think that for women, moms and those without children (single, infertility, divorced, widowed, etc ) they can also be mothers in Zion because as women we are given the power to create like our Heavenly Parents create. So you can create a home of peace, a Zion-like home where the Savior is the focus. So anyone who comes in can feel that.
I also think that one of a mother’s responsibilities is to nurture and teach about Jesus Christ. And when a woman speaks and teaches about Jesus, she is participating in the role of divine motherhood. Mothers in Zion are those that emulate Jesus Christ. So yes, it’s a mother who is the one there for her kids always trying to be the example for them but it’s also the seminary teacher that helps my child come closer to God. It’s the primary and youth teacher that shares her testimony, it’s my neighbor who has a safe and Zion-like home where my kids can go play. It’s an aunt who shares her testimony through teaching them hymns on the piano.
Zion is a place, sure. But it’s also a way of being and when I think of Enoch and his people, the city was not Zion until everyone was “Zion-like” (Christlike) and good. It took everyone to create Zion (the place.) So being a mother in Zion is working in partnership with Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. With your husband and children. It’s working in partnership with others to help you achieve “Zion” (like the examples above) and being “Zion” to everyone you know. Your kids. Your nieces and nephews. Your neighbors. Your ward members.
I’ve started looking at that term as an office of the priesthood – like Elder. It doesn’t mean you have to have birthed children, it means that you nurture and guide/help all of Heavenly Father’s children that are placed in your realm of influence — certainly those sent to your home, but all those within your reach as well.
A Mother in Zion is a valiant defender of her home and family. Someone who knows who she is as a daughter of God and is trying to teach her children who they should turn to at all times. That God has a plan for her and for them and is awaiting for them to return. She teaches home and life skills but always through the scope of the gospel lens that allows her to return the focus of the family back to Christ.
A Mother in Zion is a defender of the faith and her values to the world. She leads by example and isn’t afraid to show the world her standards. She protects the virtues of herself and her children and is a loyal partner with her husband in the priesthood. A Zion Mother understands repentance and seeks to teach her family of forgiveness and the ways to overcome sin and temptation. She values the good things and good people of the world and desires for her family to love and value them as well.
A Mother in Zion is a friend to the downcast and the lonely. She seeks out those who need some relief from the world and lifts them when they are down. She is not perfect but she continually tries to do her best and every day be better. She is a chosen and blest woman of faith who is refined by the fires of adversity and who seeks the guidance of the Holy Ghost daily.
Did any of these “definitions” resonate with you? What words would you add to these thoughts to make your own definition? Leave your thoughts in the comments so we can get even more personalized definitions creating an even broader understanding of what it means to be a mother in Zion.