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Heavenly Mom, are you actually there?

(RNS) — It’s Mom’s Day once more — my least favourite Sunday of the yr within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I enjoyment of the true tales folks inform of their very own flesh-and-blood moms, each organic and chosen. Inform me how your mom held your head once you threw up from the abdomen flu or how she raged when some injustice was executed to you as a child. Inform me how the precise actions of the ladies in your life have taught you one thing about our Savior’s love.

However as I’ve written before, I cringe on the platitudes that come up on this Sunday: gendered claptrap about how “all girls” are “all the time so non secular.”

This yr, I’m touring on Sunday, so I gained’t be in church to listen to what comes up in sacrament assembly. (And I do really feel for the bishops who should plan that minefield of a worship service — some individuals are delay by the gendered fuss we make over Mom’s Day, whereas others can be upset if we handled it like every other Sunday.)

And this yr, I’ve to surprise if Mormon Mom’s Day observances will develop into minefields in one other approach, as church members attempt to determine what to do with the talk Elder Dale Renlund gave about Heavenly Mother in the April General Conference. I fear that his recommendation to not speculate about her will lead to some members pondering that it’s not permissible to talk of her in any respect.

Many individuals have been dissatisfied in that talk, given in the Saturday night women’s session of the conference, together with me. However I’ve gotten some recent perspective after taking just a few weeks to learn by it extra rigorously and mirror on what Elder Renlund truly stated.

Right here’s the related textual content:

. . . we’ve heavenly dad and mom, a father and a mom. The doctrine of a Heavenly Mom comes by revelation and is a particular perception amongst Latter-day Saints. President Dallin H. Oaks defined the significance of this fact: “Our theology begins with heavenly dad and mom. Our highest aspiration is to be like them.”

Right here Elder Renlund is reiterating and affirming what the church has beforehand taught: Heavenly Mom exists, and that existence is doctrine.

The truth that Elder Renlund affirmed this from the pulpit in Common Convention strikes me as excellent news. I’ve heard a member of the church attempt to dismiss the existence of Heavenly Mom as just a few fantasy that Eliza R. Snow cooked up in the 1845 poem/hymn “O My Father.” This affirmation places the deceive that tactic.

Elder Renlund went on,

Little or no has been revealed about Mom in Heaven, however what we do know is summarized in a gospel subject present in our Gospel Library software. After getting learn what’s there, you’ll know the whole lot that I do know in regards to the topic. I want I knew extra. You too should have questions and need to discover extra solutions. Looking for better understanding is a crucial a part of our non secular improvement, however please be cautious. Motive can’t substitute revelation.

Hypothesis is not going to result in better non secular data, however it could actually lead us to deception or divert our focus from what has been revealed. For instance, the Savior taught His disciples, “All the time pray unto the Father in my title.” We comply with this sample and direct our worship to our Heavenly Father within the title of Jesus Christ and don’t pray to Heavenly Mom.

Ever since God appointed prophets, they’ve been licensed to talk on His behalf. However they don’t pronounce doctrines fabricated “of (their) personal thoughts” or train what has not been revealed.

That is the place the discuss begins to take a extra restrictive flip. Elder Renlund directs folks to the gospel topics essay on Heavenly Mother after which says that’s actually all he is aware of in regards to the topic.

Let’s sit with that for a minute.

On the one hand, I discover it miserable that one of many apostles is saying that that is all anybody is aware of; I’m not listening to something on this assertion that means the leaders of the church are making this a matter of ongoing, common prayer for extra data; that they need to know far more about her; or that they perceive on a deep degree why some folks within the church, particularly girls, do need to know.

Whereas he says it’s high quality to hunt better understanding, he hastens so as to add that we are able to’t interact in “hypothesis” about her, pray to her or obtain revelation from or about her.

However then again, have a look at what he’s not doing. He’s not partaking in hypothesis both. For instance, he’s not insulting girls by trotting out the absurd line, “We don’t discuss Heavenly Mom as a result of Heavenly Father is attempting to guard her from having her title defamed like his has been.”

Such codswallop. Heavenly Mom, in response to our personal doctrine, can’t be some wilting Victorian flower shrinking underneath the protecting coverture of a powerful man. If we imagine in everlasting development as we declare to, then Heavenly Mom has already been by a hell of lots to develop into who she is.

If she made it that far, she’s robust. She’s holy. She will take it.

What I’m attempting to say is that the counsel to not speculate about Heavenly Mom might have a stunning profit for feminists who need to learn about her: We don’t have to take a seat by ridiculous speculative explanations about why we don’t but know extra about her. Now we have an instance of humility with a church chief happening report to say, “I don’t know.”

Which is a crucial precedent for thus a lot of our theological stances — if we’re sincere, what we don’t learn about our Heavenly Mother and father far outweighs what we ever will know on this facet of the veil.

Someday, when the church is much less wedded to the sexism of the world, I imagine that our leaders will search and obtain counsel about her. It’s irritating to attend for that day (and it’ll seemingly come too late to assist stem the tide of disaffiliation amongst younger LDS girls within the US and Europe), however I believe it should come.

Till then, I’ll sit with the irony that the identical church that retains telling me in numerous methods to not assume like a person or act like a person can be failing to offer me with every other heavenly instance to emulate.  

Associated content material:

This Mother’s Day, give Mormon women the gift of heavenly mother

Mormons for a platitude-free Mother’s Day

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