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  1. Galatians 3:28 Weird and utterly ridiculous people mistake this passage foretelling us as androgynous beings in Heaven. Disproof by contradiction: Acts 1:9-12.

    And Viola’, we surmise women can be in heaven. So is there a Mother in Heaven? Proof from the Word is Revelation 12:1-2

    12 Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. 2 Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.

    And she, of Rev 12, revealed herself to me.

    I LOVE the Mormon Articles of Faith number 9.

    1. The interpretation to Revelation 12:1-2 has been offered multiple times. The woman here represents the Church of God. All christian churches and creeds agreed on this point. She is not the Mother in Heaven.

      1. Do those who believe in Our Lady of Guadalupe aspire to your thoughts?

        So A Woman Clothed In the Sun is not a Mother in Heaven? The bible tells me she is a woman, she appears in heaven, she is pregnant and she gives birth. hhhmmmm and u state she is not a mother in heaven.
        Jesus says He spoke in parables to allow those to understand the Truth at the appropriate time and the others (scribes and theologians) to flounder.
        God is said to send/allow delusions in the End Time. Wonder if we should overcome this delusion as a trial and tribulation?
        Rev 12 ends with Satan spewing blashphemous floods of pollution to send Her seed to be swallowed by the earth(grave).
        Just as easy as saying “I believe in Jesus”; one may not believe the Truth of divine mysteries of Revelation beheld.
        God is Sovereign so any man’s trifling will be impervious to the Almighty’ s prophecy through the intercessor of Jesus and expressed with Holy Spirit guidance in the Word.

        The unforgivable sin is to blasphemy the Holy Spirit. And the path is narrow to which few will enter so figure this in fear or reverence?

        We are asked to believe in God.

        And to not believe in God’s prophecy being true is like only believing in a part of God — the part man’s own smarts determines — yeah Satan loves that huh?

  2. I’m a male ex Mormon in heart and although I do not believe any Mormon doctrines or theology. I do believe the institution hurts many female members in horrific ways. I now better understand why the ivory tower fears this subject, It’s not complex. This opens a door and gives the possibility for a power share or exchange in the seating placements. The female perspective in relating to God in Mormonism is a great struggle I hadn’t considered before. I left with many great insights to help those that may struggle. I’ll say Mormon stories 580.lol

    This panel demenstrated consistent tact and diplomacy while skillfully discussing what can often be a potentially emotionaly charged field of landmines, or polygamy!

    Jamie, Natasha, Kristy and Carol all showed ample wisdom and finesse in verbally giving a beautiful and descriptive dialogue that was wonderfully enjoyable. All while preaching this essay with a unexcused clarity they offered authentic beliefs .I became more acquainted and aware with the many many deep reasons that this is so very important to them and thus it becomes important to me.

    After hearing them speak for just a couple hours. I believe if given the opportunity with thier mighty capabilities they could resolve many, if not all the current conflicts that exist in the lds church.

    I unfortunately missed conference, but can and will put all in the bank on black, guessing this was more enlightening. just watched YouTube talk of conference talk 3 minutes I was in a coma. That said I am counting this as my conference sustaining vote ( hand to square) and I vote this group as the NEW Prophet and Apostles with John as secratary. He doesn’t handle being worshipped by men very well lol. I Love you John, you saved my life from a nightmare and certain death.
    I haven’t felt this uplifted in years over the Mormon church.

    I was not paid to write this. Have never met any of them, But dang that panel was like Einstein smart!!!!! Why in the world with people like this would the church keep them in the pews or kick them out. If any of the old white guys read this. That’s not good for business!! I’m sure Dr. Money could triple your money!!! Hello

  3. Can you explain the image that accompanies this podcast? It appears to be the Virgin Mary? Is the Mormon heavenly Mother the same as the Virgin Mary or otherwise tied into Marian worship? I’m neither Mormon not Catholic so remain a bit confused!

    1. The image above is the Blessed Virgin Mary being crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth. In Catholic doctrine, Mary is the greatest of all God’s creatures. God (the Trinity God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) created her for the purpose of being Jesus’ own earthly mother. Because Mary humbled herself and accepted her eartly mission from God, the One God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) exalted her as Queen of all God’s creation.

      Originally, it was Lucifer (Satan) who was God’s most beautiful creature. His name means Bearer of Light. He was very glorious. When God created the World, he meant Lucifer to be the “Prince of This World”. But Lucifer rebelled and brought this world to darkness and corruption. In this fallen world, he is still The Prince, but his reign will soon end when Jesus returns to judge the world.

      The cosmic battle is not between Jesus and Satan. After all, there is no contest between Creator and creature. The great warfare is waged between creature against creature. It is between the sons of Mary versus the sons of Lucifer. Here are forces arraigned against each other that are equally matched. That is what Revelations 12 is all about.

      Whoever looks to Mary as his mother has Jesus for his brother. And whoever is a brother to Jesus, has God for his Father. Mary is God’s weapon against Satan. When God cursed Satan in Eden, he told the serpent “She will crush your head” (Gen 3:16). That woman is not Eve, for she had already been deceived by Satan. That woman is Mary, the only creature who was preserved against sin.

      For 1,500 years, Christians have always prayed for Mary’s intercession and protection. But sadly, only 500 years ago when the Protestants revolted against the Church, was devotion to Mary rejected. Even Muslims have high regard for her, exalting her above Fatima, their Prophet Muhammad’s own daughter. Every year, hundreds of thousands of Muslims pay devotion to the Christian shrines of Mary during the Feast Day of her Assumption.

      That Mormons do not know their Heavenly Mother is a tragic consequence of the Protestant revolution. After all, as a general fact, the first Protestants were bad Catholics. Luther, Huss, Zwingli, Calvin, Wycliff, etc. were all Catholics. And if there is so much evil in this world, it is because Catholics fail to live their Catholic faith.

      That there is a Heavenly Mother is a great truth. Catholics have taught that for 2,000 years. But that she is the wife of God, that’s absurdly false. God has no need for a wife. If he did, then he is not God. What you have then in Mormon belief on Heavenly Mother is truth mixed with hearsay. After all, it is based, not on anything officially recorded by Smith himself, but on what others recall about what they heard him teach. That the LDS Church is now floating this speculative hearsay as a “cherished and distinctive belief” is the most official way of shooting itself on the foot.

      1. Well said Rico but dead off target!! The context of the LDS essay is to acknowledge the social upheaval within the ranks by bringing back this “heresay” [in Mormon parlance, don’t know how familiar you are with it] reference to a Heavenly Mother for ALL OF Mankind and not only Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus the Son of Mary [in Sunni Islam parlance] or even Jesus the Christ if you want it that way. In Mormon Theology [beieve it or or not there is one] NO SCRIPTURE or REVELATION has been laid down and the Essay is that…an Essay and does not carry the seal of approval or official endorsment of the leadership in an open official manner. Many words about the Heavenly Mother in some discourses, Ensign etc is AN OPINION but in reality the leadership can walk away from those statements under the pretext that is NOT REVELATION. In Catholic parlance is like Pope Francis effort to defuse same sex marriages or canon condemnation for it and the African Bishops Block sayin’…. “nah, we gonna stone them all”…. EXACTLY THE SAME. The Essay has some relevance but in the end means really…. nothing. Are we saying that there is no Heavenly Mother?.. NO. Clearly in a religious belief where God the Father is a physical presence it is entirely acceptable to have not one but several, maybe many Heavenly Mothers. It’s just not something that the leadership of the LDS Church is ready to put forward as canon.

        1. The so-called “Gospel Essays” being released by the LDS Church are not aimed to please everyone in your sect. This is why I am not surprised that you can, on your own authority, state that those articles do not “carry the seal of approval or official endorsment of the leadership in an open official manner.” Sadly though, your opinion carries no weight.

          What is really obvious is that whoever owns the LDS website where these essays are published does not agree with your thoughts. For them, the articles are worth endorsing to anyone who can access their site. Because it is their website, it is therefore their opinion that really matters.

    2. Jim G, you ask a fair question.

      The podcast image, above, is the Virgin Mary as interpreted by a Catholic artist. I suspect that John Dehlin posted the image here because it is similar imagery for a Heavenly Mother; and to my knowledge, no Mormon (or other) artist has painted the latter. This image of Mary among infant angels reminds Dehlin of Heavenly Mother, equal to Heavenly Father, so he posted it here. Fair or not, there is a Mormon tradition to only speak of a Heavenly Mother in soft, hinting, whisper tones to shield Her from the vulgarities of this fallen world. The five people in this podcast challenge the need for that shield and discuss the downside of doing so.

      I hope this explanation is helpful.

    3. Jim G, you ask a fair question.

      The image, above, is the Virgin Mary as painted by a Catholic artist. I suspect that John Dehlin posted it because it reminds him of Heavenly Mother; and to my knowledge, no Mormon (or other) artist has painted the latter. Fair or not, Mormon tradition suggests that we should only speak of a Heavenly Mother in soft, hinting, whisper tones to shield Her from the vulgarities of this fallen world. In the world, the Father’s name is often used in vain, trivialized and vulgarized; and Mormon leaders do not want Mother to get the same abuse. The five people in this podcast challenge the need for shielding Her and discuss the downside of doing so.

      I hope this explanation is helpful.

    4. Thanks for your responses.

      I guess my question is really directed to John (or whomever selected the image) along the lines of Steve’s response. Was this just a quick addition for the similarity or was it actually due to a view of the Brethren (intentional word choice distinguishing from the doctrine dictated by the Apostles from the personal views of church members), are the Virgin Mary and Heavenly Mother the same entity?

      My perception from what I’ve read is that they are not–that is, that the concept of Heavenly Mother in Mormon theology is not some Mormon vision of the Virgin Mary, but another entity altogether.

  4. This interview did not really hold my interest like other podcasts I am more interested in discovering and discussing deeply disturbing facts– (about Leaders, doctrine, policies ,scriptures, history etc) often hidden from the general membership
    The keywords are deeply disturbing and often hidden

  5. It was a pleasure to listen to informed and intelligent LDS women discuss all around the ‘elephant in the room’ without ever explicitly declaring its existence. Particularly Carol Lynn’s insights and creative expressions about the female aspects of divinity have been rightfully acknowledged and appreciated by her worldwide audience, unfortunately NOT including The Brethren.

    So what’s the elephant?

    The panel agreed that LDS women (and girls) are trapped in second class roles unless and until polygamy is repealed by The Brethren. Also, they acknowledged that waiting for The Brethren to wake themselves up and join civilized society where females are not property … simply ain’t gonna happen.

    The solution to this dilemma is dirt simple, albeit it not easy. Simply declare to yourselves and to each other that The Brethren are no less obsolete and irrelevant than their stupid notions about subservient roles of women on Earth and in Heaven.

    What could The Brethren possibly have to offer to you impressively intelligent, creative, whip smart ladies? Why do you need permission from an exclusive club of geriatric misogynists to express your feminine creativity and power as you would naturally do if left to your own devices?

    John Dehlin now has perspective to share with you how exhilarating it feels to watch The Brethren get smaller and smaller in his rear view mirror. In reality, the Iron Rod is a clever trap. In reality, Iron Rods form the bars of a spiritual prison cell.

    Maybe it’s time to fully claim your real personal power as female human beings, strap on some lady balls, and open the door to that mind control jail cell (it’s NOT locked) and just friggin LEAVE! The only thing holding you back is … your reticence to FULLY CLAIM THE POWER that was your birthright from the day you drew your first breath.

    Your Heavenly Mother is waiting to welcome all four of you with open arms, and she doesn’t need ANYONE’s permission to do ANYTHING she pleases.

  6. WOW! This is Sweet,sweet,sweet food for the female soul !!!!!!

    Carol you brought tears to my eyes. It was so great to hear your story about the hunger to find our Heavenly Mother ! I recognised myself in what you shared. I was so incredibly glad when I learned about the books from Marija Gimbutas in the early 90’s. In this world, seemed solely build by men, where was the female touch ? And here she showed me Catal Huyek in Turkey: a matriarchy built and created by women with their own language and rituals ! There had been times that female touch was all over the place, it has only been limited in the last thousands of years by Patriarchy. But long ago there had been a time where our female talents had been important and usefull like men nowadays !

    I’m a huge fan from Annine van der Meer, who is called The Dutch Marija Gimbutas !
    http://www.annine-pansophia.nl/. She wrote a book in english (see ‘boeken’) called:
    ‘The Language of MA the primal Mother (2013)’,’The evolution of the female image
    in 40,000 years of global Venus Art’, and you can read an excerpt of it here:
    http://www.annine-pansophia.nl/annine_van_der_meer/wp-content/uploads/Folder-The-language-of-MA-short-summary.pdf. It contains a short summary of her book and that allready gives a lot of information/insight. For those seeking for more information about the presence of our Heavenly Mother in the past: this might be helpfull ! :o)

    This is a nice website to explore http://www.ascentofwoman.com/ by Amanda Foreman on BBC2. I just learned her twitteraccount got a lot of facts that might give insight: https://twitter.com/ascentofwoman. LOL !

    There is an old story of Adam and Eve found on tablets from Ugarit, dating from the late thirteenth century BCE, it throws new light on Eve’s role: whose rather a goddess and saviour than the way we learned about her.

    Here you can read more:
    http://www.sheffieldphoenix.com/showbook.asp?bkid=271.

    To me it also declares the Adam-theory that Brigham Young heard from Joseph Smith.
    It states that Adam is the God of our earth ! I geuss Joseph Smith had heard of it when he visited Israël. I also guess the theory became useless for LDS later, because of the positive role Eve plays ! ;o)

    I read the essay from the church and I’m really glad, looks like they are starting and allthough it’s not ‘the whole thing’ this is sure a first step. It makes me hopeful ! Thank you, Brethren !!!!!

    However, I couldn’t find the essay about ‘Women and Priesthood’ John talks about.

    I have to listen again. And than I will react a bit more. Everything you all said is so comforting !!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you !

    Other topic for John:
    Is my computer broken or do I get a fake-website ? I have been looking for the intervieuw from President Veazey. Allthough you mention him, it’s not on the website I’m visiting of Mormon Stories, or are you still busy with the preparation, and me being too impatient ? Please, let me know ?

    Peace,
    Adrie de Jong
    The Netherlands

    1. Hi John, When I listened the second time I heard you are busy with Pres. Veazey’s interview, so, I got the answer already.

      >>>>> …….. <<<<>>>> …….. <<<<<

      See yourself reflected in Her ! May She teach you the words of the scriptures, make your heart know and may your soul, and who you are and can be, be affirmed !

      Peace,
      Adrie de Jong
      The Netherlands

  7. I resigned in July of this year. I am now a none believer in all things religion. To me, there is zero tangible proof of a God, so to me there is no Mother God also. But if I am wrong and the LDS are right which mother God is mine? How can I know if my wife and I have the same Mother God? The theology of it all runs into craziness for me. I loved the idea when I was Mormon, today I cannot accept it.

  8. Did Gordon Hinckley teach that Mormons should not pray to their Heavenly Mother? Well, we should know where that idea comes from….

    “The Lord’s Prayer” is not the first Christian prayer. It is “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee”, uttered by the Archangel Gabriel as he announced the gospel of the coming of Jesus into the world (Luke 1:28). That revelation makes Mary the first prophet of the New Testament. She way ahead of John the Baptist in knowing about Jesus’ coming.

    Now Jesus considers John the Baptist to be the greatest prophet of all, so how did this great prophet behave before the prophet Mary? When she visited her cousin Elizabeth who was then pregnant with John, an interesting event occurred. Elizabeth tells her how the babe John in her womb “leaped with joy” after Mary called out to her. The Spirit then moved Elizabeth to utter “blessed art thou among women” and to ask why the “Mother of my LORD” had to visit her (Luke 1:39-45).

    In the Old Testament, the woman who acted as Queen of the Davidic Kingdom is not the wife of the King. It is the mother of the King, or the Queen-Mother. John’s leap for joy and Elizabeth’s greeting Mary as “Mother of my Lord” point to Mary as the Queen of Christ’s Kingdom. No wonder, Elizabeth and her unborn babe were happy. The pregnant Queen’s arrival heralds the King’s advent. Thus, the scene is followed by Mary’s joyful hymn: the Magnificat.

    My soul doth magnify the Lord
    And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
    For he hat regarded the lowly estate of his handmaiden
    For, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed… (Luke 1:46-55)

    Now how many Mormon prophets ever call Mary blessed? Unlike Archangel Gabriel and Elizabeth, there is none.
    And how many Mormon prophets are filled with joy on knowing who she is? Unlike John the Baptist, we have zero.

    You can add Mary in your list of invisible women in the LDS church.

    In the Council of Ephesus of 451 AD, the Nestorian doctrine was condemned as heresy. Bishop Nestorius denied the divine nature of Jesus, saying that God cannot be born of a Virgin. Never mind that the Gospel of John said “the Word was made flesh” (John 1:14). At the same time, the Council affirmed that Mary was the Theotokos (Mother of God). By upholding Mary’s unique status, as they condemned Nestorius, the Council invoked her name as the curse of all heretics.

    How many Mormon prophets ever called Mary the Mother of God?

    So once we see that the great cosmic war is indeed raging between the sons of Mary the Mother of God versus Lucifer’s children, it is not hard to see where Hinckley really stands….

    1. Whew! Thank YOU! So True! And as scholars have reconciled Mary the Mother of God fulfills the Word as her lineage is of King David which is the tribe of Judah and the Priestly tribe of Levi. So Mother Mary’s bloodline is quite worthy of fulfilling prophecy in birthing the Son of God. And as the Bible states Jesus is of the eternal priestly order of Melchizedek so we have Jesus whom God brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all thing… So Jesus is the Eternal High Priest; Lord of Lords and King of Kings. this enables Jesus to exercise authority in the End Times; in which during this time we give our testimony of the Blood of the Lamb (Rev 12) use Wisdom (Rev 13) and continue to bring our bounty to Him with unconditional love.
      Surely The Mother of God expresses Unconditional Love for her Son, the Son of God, her redeemer and exalts Him as does His Father exalt the Son of Man, as the Father’s right hand man and intercessor.
      Mary? How beautiful is Mary that the Almighty loves her enough allow her to birth Jesus. Wow… the point of conception, Jesus is conceived in the darkest time, to bring the Messiah into this physical world from the unknown to save man! When at any time in the known History of Heaven and Earth’s interactions has the natural and supernatural congealed to bring the most beautiful of Lives to fruition — Jesus Christ?

      I am overwhelmed!

  9. After a dark year as an atheist because I just couldn’t believe Heavenly Father could possibly understand my struggles as a woman leaving the church, this episode has opened my mind to the possibility of theism. Thank you.

    1. One thing that disturbed me about the last paragraph of the essay was the language about how man and woman must be TOGETHER. I wish the panel would’ve picked up on that. I am bothered by the dependence that is implied. The doctrine that my state in the after life depends on my marital status (and my husband’s worthiness) was a major reason I couldn’t stay in the church.

    2. Sorry to hear of your dark year as an atheist. My two years of atheism have been the most peaceful of the 51 I have experienced. I no longer have to square things that can’t be squared. The “shit happens” explanation to evil in the world is much more comforting than anything I tried to use religion to explain. We just finished out first family crisis since leaving religion (daughter in the hospital for two days) and not once did I long for a deity to pray to. I knew that it was up to me and my family to work things out and it turned out great! I feel much more inclined to be evangalistic about the peace I have found through atheism than I ever did as a believer! Come on in, the water is fine!!

      1. Thanks Bill. Good point. Life without religion is great in a lot of ways. I guess it hasn’t been the atheism that has made this year dark; the darkness has been having to live and deal with the consequences of the “choices” I made as a Mormon (to not take my education seriously, to marry a young RM who wasn’t ready for marriage, to have lots of kids). Sometimes I do still wonder if there’s a reason for life on earth, if there’s a bigger picture that explains why the universe exists. I am intrigued by the idea that there could be a god who is equally male and female. The god in my mind has little to no resemblance to HF or HM as we “know” them! I guess what I appreciate from this podcast is that the panelists feel free to consider and discuss new possibilities of what god may be like, relying not on scripture and authority but on their own thoughts and instincts.

        1. Hi Mommy,

          It broke my heart to read your comments.

          Patriarchy blurrs and blinds women minds and mostly we wake up from our nightmare after we have gotten ourselves in trouble from decisions made according to patriarchy lies … and than we have to deal with it, as well as with the shame and sorrow.

          I wished women were strongly organised to help those who got into trouble, unfortunately … blaming, naming and shaming keeps lots of women more busy than down-to-earth activities with our feet firm on the ground and visions of how the world could be aswell.

          I found an article this morning, I haven’t read it yet thoroughly, I need a dictionary for some words and that all would take too long, so, I rather share it now and because I liked the last part of the title:

          4 Ways the US Keeps Single Moms in Poverty – And What We Can Do About It — found on Everyday Feminism
          http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/10/keeping-single-moms-poverty/

          Each of the 4 points ends with a solution and I thought maybe it could inspire you to see what can be done to ease your situation ? I went through it rapidly and point 3 gives an idea for setting up a babysitting co-op ! Point 4: how to get a funding for college. Everyday Feminist is new to me, but maybe this site offers more solutions and practical ideas.

          I pray and wish you all the best !

          Peace and Hugs,
          Adrie de Jong
          The Netherlands

    3. A decade of Atheism here. Love every day of it. This worldview is so easy. Nothing to reconcile, no mental dead-ends. We are an evolved bi-pedal hominid whose twin behaviors of self seeking preservation and benevolence evolved with our big brain, benefiting us within our environments of familial survival. It explains why we are capable of such dreams, and of such nightmares. Man, don’t trade it away for dead end philosophy that is “theism” that in the end, is always a product of your brain, not the heavens.

  10. Really enjoyed the podcast; the panelists were able to articulate so many of the issues facing mormon women. I have been that auxiliary leader who has been completely shut down by a male authority and know how un Christ-like it felt to be dismissed simply because I did not have authority on my own to do what I felt inspired to do.

    Polygamy is especially destructive to the idea that women are special and beloved daughters of heavenly parents. My husband and I recently left the church and polygamy was a big player in it especially learning the truth about Joseph Smith’s colorful history with it.

    My husband assured me that he has only one wife (me) and would not add more wives, but as I understand it to truly be a god as the LDS church teaches, he would need to embrace polygamy in order to reach the highest level in the celestial kingdom.

    Maybe I am not humble enough to appreciate the vision of polygamy but the idea of being just one of many faceless wives is repugnant to me and any thinking woman know. I feel I would much rather be an administering angel than relegated to an eternity of being a breeding machine.

    Thanks for working to bring these issues to light.

  11. Wow – this just hurt to listen to. Women talking about female empowerment through recognizing a female god. This belief to me keeps women locked in a system of patriarchy and male dominated control.

    Basically I hear women trying to get men to recognize and validate this belief – or else it is not part of the orthodoxy. And the orthodoxy is what determines how women are treated. But I have no preconceived idea about God, Goddesses – whether Roman, Nordic, Polynesian or Christian. I see them as beliefs that are outgrowths of those in control perpetuating their standing, voice, and domination. Perhaps these beliefs started as ways to understand the world (God of Gaps) – but they are also about control.

    So to me, this is just playing the game. I, of course, enjoyed Jamie’s (full disclosure – she is my niece) usual concise and clear comments. The other three women seemed lost in a cloud of mysticism that doesn’t free them but helps them to justify and continue to participate in a religion that is so harmful to women – and I mean Mormonism and Christianity. Why do we continue to let some man tells us what to believe about who we are as women and as people.

    When I resigned, a man called me who I had never met and informed me he was my Bishop and he would determine if I could resign or not. Then (as somewhat now unfortunately – these beliefs of submission to men are deeply ingrained) I felt I must talk to him, submit to him and let him have say in my life. It took me a while to realize that I will never again let anyone tell me what I believe, what is important, why I should do as they say.

    Women – let’s walk away from these male created, dominated organizations. IMHO 🙂

  12. Listening to this episode made me so glad that myself, my beautiful wife and three capable daughters are no longer associated with the church. It certainly confirms our decision to resign!

  13. Thank you to everyone on the panel. Have any of you read Sue Monk Kidd’s Dance of the Dissident Daughter? Carol Lynn, so much of what you said in the last few minutes reminds me of what Sue explored in her book…finding the Feminine Divine throughout history and other cultures…

    Her book was pivotal in my transition away from Mormonism that started several months ago. I read it at a time when I needed to finally give myself permission to decide for myself what I believed, as a vital development task of selfhood, to quote Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife. In my opinion, spirituality is like sexuality, no one should make these very personal decisions for another person, be it a parent, a spouse, or others in our lives.

    FYI, polygamy was the linchpin for me (after reading the first 100 pages of Todd Compton’s In Sacred Loneliness) to dig deeper on other issues that led me to cesletter.com. I shared what I was learning with my husband, who was more than ready to learn more and we made the decision together that we would no longer manage the cognitive dissonance we were experiencing. We did not want to expose our three children to all that we learned. Happily, we jointly made the decision to leave. We feel so fortunate that we were on the same page. I have friends who are struggling with some of the same issues I had, but they are married to men who are TBMs that still subscribe to the patriarchy.

    Thank you again for all these amazing people who contributed beautifully to this podcast.

  14. I enjoyed listening to this one and the thoughts shared. There was just one thing that kept slightly bothering me though and that was comments that touched on…..well perhaps the members/church just isn’t ready. Perhaps because women are not treated equally we just aren’t ready. Perhaps God and Heavenly Mother are waiting for the right timing/people to have more equal perspectives.

    The reason this bothers me is it’s so eerily familiar to the things said about why it took so long for the priesthood ban to end. That perhaps the church/society/individuals were just not ready. I’m sorry but I hate that. I recognize that of course church/individual/society perspectives influence/affect church doctrine and are intertwined since humans are running the church. To suggest, however, that God/Heavinly Mother are just waiting for the members to be ready enough is just too close to victim blaming to me. It’s putting the responsibility on the members themselves and even on the women….for why it’s this way.

    What is the damn point of prophets/leaders/inspiration then? Are God/Heavenly Mother so passive in their invovlement with the church that they basically just sit back and let it happen entirely at it’s own pace with no direction? To suggest that they are OK with letting hundreds of years go by, while their children suffer and have pain……just waiting for folks to catch up to what they “really” should be doing…… just feels horrible to me. It’s either that or that they actually ARE OK with this situation and this is how things are run in heaven. That this structure is actually how things are set up with clear cut gender roles and responsiblities and roles…..and women’s roles/power is what it currently is.

    Either of these two scenarios feels awful doesn’t it?

  15. Mormonism, as an outgrowth of a Middle-Eastern, patriarchal, misogynistic, polygamist culture, has canonized that culture and chained it to the dogma of absolute truth. Temple vows are made to submit and perpetuate that culture…a culture that even now wreaks havoc in the world wherever it resides.

    All religions tell us what our place in the cosmos is, yet they are all mutually exclusive and contradictory. Believe if you will…but belief comes at an enormous loss of freedom and individual power.

  16. I was deeply touched by the discussion and so impressed at the professionalism & spirituality of these women. John, this might be one of your best podcasts up to this point. These women taught me a great deal and I couldn’t help but feel the hurt & pain that exists among women of the church. As a male, I also feel a sense of pain that my Mother in Heaven is hidden away and not given the respect or attention she deserves.

    As a male member of the church there is nothing more concerning to me than that my daughters, as they grow older, will learn they are second rate as they do not have the Priesthood, Scouting program and so many other things that are either taught or inferred about female roles. I will teach them that polygamy is a falsehood and that they shouldn’t expect to take second or 15th place to any other woman(en) on this earth or any other. Women are strong, smart and equal in all other areas as any man. Imagine how great the church could be if there were women apostles that could help guide and direct the church. Women in our church would be a force to be reckoned with instead of continually hearded into the statys quo.

  17. I’m listening to the podcast and just heard Jamie’s review of the BYU Studies article on Heavenly Mother. The authors could find no authoritative voice that declared we must not talk about her. Our stake recently hosted M. Russell Ballard who acknowledged at the end of his talk that we have a Heavenly Mother but that we mustn’t talk about her because Heavenly Father needs to protect her just as he, Elder Ballard, seeks to protect his wife, Barbara. I’m guessing that there is a plethora of instances where a leading church authority reflected that injunction but maybe not in Conference or the Ensign or somewhere else that is considered authoritative. Regardless, those references continue this practice of silence, the BYU Studies article notwithstanding. Anyone’s thoughts?

    1. I really wish we had a recording of him saying that. I feel that our leaders go much more “rogue” when speaking off the cuff at smaller assemblies. I, too have heard many an injunction to not speak of heavenly mother so I know it happens. It is interesting how careful they must be to “publish” their thoughts.

      1. Jamie, I looked back at my notes from that meeting and was reminded that Elder Ballard also said that, in expressing the idea of Heavenly Father protecting Heavenly Mother with the injunction not to talk about her, he was reiterating the teachings of the prophets before him. Doesn’t that contradict the BYU Studies article that says there is nothing in the official literature of the Church to support that idea?

    2. Joy, What Mormon apostle Ballard is really saying is that the Mormon Heavenly Mother has to be protected against her children by the Mormon Heavenly Father. Her children are essentially her enemies from the eyes of their Father.

      Now does this sound to you like a normally functioning eternal family? Here is a God whose jealousy seems abnormal even by human standards.

      The God presented by Ballard doesn’t seem to be a loving or lovable fellow. I wish you stay away from him and his apostle.

  18. This was a wonderful review, thank you so much Ladies . We are our own Priestesses, change the YW Moto, change the hymns. I admit I have no right to preach because I am one of the women who left Mormonism. Carol Lynn you hit the nail on the head, 😃 Yay! Such a healing narrative!!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
    Jamie I felt similarly the pain I hear in your voice, I went inactive and found my healing in the same history Carol mentioned. My perspective changed so I resigned from Mormonism and life is good.

  19. How interesting this conversation was…

    My main issue with the essay is the failure to address the plural marriage aspect. How can we talk about just ONE Heavenly Mother? I get it with God, our Heavenly Father, but with the feminine deity, everything we know about the Mormon Doctrine of exaltation includes one man and multiple women. Perhaps thousands of plural wives.

    Which wife wears the hat of “Mother in Heaven?” Is it the First Wife like in polygamous households? Was the Mother in Heaven referred to in the essay Heavenly Father’s first wife on his planet which was equivalent to our planet earth?

    Like many of the essays I’m afraid the authors have created more questions than have been answered.

  20. A few decades ago, with the advent of better scientific instruments to observe the Universe, science was able to obliterate the superstition that the Universe has always existed. The “Big Bang” theory of the cosmos was what blew it to pieces.

    Now there are three belief systems that depend on that failed superstition: atheism, freemasonry, and Mormonism. Atheism depends on an eternally existing Universe because that makes it easy to deny a supernatural explanation as its first cause. Freemasonry is nothing but a movement promoted by atheists/agnostics that presented the “Great Architect of the Universe” or GAoTU as a synthetized God who designs and constructs from pre-existing matter. Mormonism of course mixed the superstitions of freemasonry with the errors of Protestantism and came up with a God made of matter and subject to time, who creates by organizing “matter unorganized”.

    It is not surprising therefore to see Mormons who escape the frying pan of Mormonism to land eventually in the fires of atheism. They share the same fundamental superstition.

    “As man as now is, God once was…
    As God now is, man may become.”

    Mormon apologist Teryl Givens wished the first line of that couplet never existed. Because if God was once a man, that means he is less than 14 billion years old. Men are made of matter, and matter never existed eternally in the past. The Mormon God therefore had a beginning. Who then created the Mormon God? Answer: Joseph Smith!

    And who created Joseph Smith? The God of the Catholics!

    This is the truth: Our Heavenly Mother loves you all and wants you to belong to her. But the path to her does not pass through the errors of Joseph Smith. Unlike what Mormons have been taught, the true Heavenly Mother has a name and it is perfectly ok to run to her in a time of need. She is after all a Mother of Mercy and a Mother of Perpetual Help.

    “It is not good for man to be alone.” That was why God created Eve to share Life and Love with Adam. But God himself has never been alone, therefore it is absurd to think that he needs a wife. GOD IS LOVE. Before God created the natural and supernatural worlds, before he created plants, animals, men and women, before there were spirits, angels, archangels, powers, and dominions, before there was a Universe, GOD IS LOVE.

    And GOD is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The three of them loved each other before anything was created.

    That is why the Mormon God cannot be a God of Love. Because he had a beginning as a man, and therefore there was a time when he could not possibly express love.

    1. I think you are missing the point of worshiping the God of the Bible. The God of the bible is in totality – unknowable. So when one boxes God for presentation of “a matter of fact”, then man puts his right hand on man’s beliefs.

      If what I just stated is true, then if you boxed God in your writing, then I may be able to disprove what you said as definitive absolutes of what is.

      I will give disproof a go… My belief system is I have a relationship with the a ONE Supreme Being which in this Life on Earth, I cannot fully know this God and all nuances of His doings. My belief is counting what I and others speculate in seeking God as possibilities I weigh using discernment. And the unknown are Divine Mysteries that may be revealed to me at some point. If I have been deceived or deceive then please allow me to be in repentance and be in forgiveness and allow God’s Jealousy to lead me in a more righteous mind. And this is a nutshell of what my “Belief” system is and what it brings.

      Yes, I think this disproofs the labeling system you have stated.

      Is God of the bible correct?(not to connote i am doubting) He says we must “believe” in Him. HHmmm… I am finding “belief” in all things God does. (this is hUGe realizing God works are in omniscience which must contain belief) so what about existence itself, do we “need” to believe in existence and therefore existence is of God? Because no one can prove a straight line exists, we “believe” it exists and thus form Postulates to define Geometry and Math. Science depends on theory and empirical evidence. Our definition of Empirical evidence is “one ‘believe’ what is observed to be true”. Quantum Mechanics Principle of Uncertainty backs up the definition of Empirical Evidence – lokking at something changes it so looking at nothing makes it something! Ya with me? Can ya wrap our lovin arms around “belief” being in ALL?

      Viola’, our current understanding and definition of existence states we have “belief” in our reality and abstractness whether we realize we do or not. And God says He is in us whether we realize it or not. Righteous dude!

      So you boxed in LOVE, dude. Do you know God’s LOVE entirely? U stated its absurd to think God needs a wife. Ugh, slide that thought off like a snake skin … disproof of your box– Mother Mary, as a Woman Clothed in the Sun, has extended a personal invitation to me to attend the the wedding supper of the Lamb. So God is getting a wife unless Jesus backs out!

      It is stated the ending is a beginning.
      So when this World is gone, Jesus (the Word) will consummate His marriage to have a new beginning?
      And Viola’ another Mother in Heaven?

      I venture, “I will know when I get there!” Happy Trails, dude.

      1. Charles,

        When God created Adam, God saw that it is not good for man to be alone, hence Eve was created (Gen 2:18). “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Gen 2:24).

        God created Woman because Man was alone. Now is God by himself lonely? Does he need a helpmeet just as Adam did? No, absolutely not. Therefore, he does not need another being to console him. Neither does God have a father and mother to leave so that he can be joined to a wife and be one flesh with her.

        Now if you think that God NEEDS a wife, then your idea of God is faulty. That would mean he is lacking something. That would mean he cannot fulfill that need on his own power. Yet God does not need anything from anyone. He was God before he created anything. He is the Self-Existing One. He is Being itself.

        Now when Jesus lived among men, did he ever teach that God his Father had a wife? If not, then why believe anyone who comes along that preaches such nonsense?

        Indeed Jesus the Lamb of God will hold a Great Wedding Feast with his Bride. “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” (Rev 19:8). If her fine linen is the righteousness of the saints, who then is that Bride?

        If the Blessed Virgin Mary herself invited you to that feast, well, you ought to know who that Bride is….

    2. “Atheism depends on an eternally existing Universe because that makes it easy to deny a supernatural explanation as its first cause.” That’s funny Rico. Sorry but Atheism has no such need. The big bang was a physical event that can be explained through physics. While we may not fully understand the ultimate nature of the universe we hardly need any supernatural explanations to fill in the blanks. That nonsense is what theists do.

      1. Xposit,

        If atheism does not depend on an eternally existing Universe, then please tell me how the entire cosmos began without pre-existing matter. There’s no reason why matter should exist, so why does it exist at all? Atheists must have some rationally defensible explaination for why there exists anything at all. But I don’t think they do. You can try if you want.

        And how do you know that science (or the scientific method) is true? Because science says so? Now, If science doesn’t say that, then who says science is true? Again, I doubt that any atheist here can explain why the scientific method is true. If you can, then by all means try.

    3. The Universe is NOT eternal, that is something we know know. But given time and opportunity…… Would you discard the possibility a being, supernatural if you like, being able to take matter of some sort and turn it into a creation of sorts? I’m willing to accept that there was once a situation that created the “Adam and Eve thang”. But then we would all be inbred sons of……Adam would we not?. The God I picture is a lot more smarter than that.

  21. This was so beautifully articluated and something I needed to hear. It felt healing, so thank you.

    I do not mean to be critical but I wish that Natasha and Kristy would have been given more of an opportunity to respond to Jamie’s prompts. One of many examples was when Jamie shared a very heart wrenching story about an ignored letter to her bishop. I think that Natasha and Kristy would have been able to respond eloquently but they were not given the chance. I guess that can’t be changed so it’s probably pointless to say this. It’s just that everyone kept getting interrupted and one voice kind of took over the podcast which was frustrating because there was a panel of amazing minds who could have contributed so much more…

    Either way, I apprentice this. Thank you.

  22. It seems to me that, since we are not to commune with, speak of, or otherwise apprehend Heavenly Mother, other than to acknowledge the fact of her existence, that she’s tantamount to a mother whose parental rights to her children have been terminated. Where’s the virtue and purpose in that?

  23. First off, I couldn’t have been more pleased with the episode but especially the panel. So many women that have influenced my life in recent times. It really was excellent. I had been hoping for an episode to come out of this essay. You guys nailed it.

    Jamie, the first time you made the “vanish” comment in the conference review, I burst into tears. I have 5 younger sisters and, as I move through this weird and often stressful life event that is a faith crisis or transition or whatever it is, I am so worried for them. Not that they can’t figure this whole crazy thing out for themselves but, I just want things to be good for them. My mother passed away a couple of years ago and as they grow up, I really want them to have strong female role models. People like you, Kristy, Natasha and Carol.

    Anyway, probably getting too emotional for an internet comment. The comment you made about your purpose being to vanish, shattered me. It so well articulated the point that I had been trying to make. Thank you, for that.

  24. I tried commenting earlier but I am not sure if it stuck. After finishing listening to the podcast, especially the last 20 minutes, I feel the need to try commenting again.

    This is something that I, as an LDS woman have needed to hear for a long time. I am so grateful that you took the time to cover this topic with these amazing women.

    Unfortunately, there was one voice that sort of hijacked most of this conversation, which was sad, because there were some great minds on the podcast from whom I thirsted to hear. You talked about bringing back “some” of these women to discuss the ‘women and the priesthood’ essay. May I suggest bringing back only those women who did not get the opportunity to say much? As a listener, I felt anxiety every time someone would talk because the one voice attempted (and usually succeeded) to interrupt countless times and eventually took over the last part of this episode. It was really sad. Good stories were being shared and good points were being made and none of those thoughts were allowed to be finished or discussed.

    Thank you again.

  25. This was a wonderful podcast. I thank each of you wonderful women who contributed your reasoning, intellect, passion and emotion to this issue of equality within your Faith and in the world.

    I have laid in bed in the wee hours of the morning over the years, pondering the status of my daughter in this world and the world to come. She has four brothers. I have continually come to the conclusion that her soul is of infinitely equal in worth to any of my sons. I don’t in any way mean for this to sound patronizing — coming from a male voice. To the contrary, I am deeply humbled and touched by the influence my daughter has had among our family. She truly is my rock.

    We have had a bit of a rocky road over the past 5 years, as a family. Our youngest son was killed instantly in a tragic accident. Shortly thereafter, my wife was paralyzed with a massive stoke and subsequently died four years later. It was a long, drawn out ordeal for her, and the family. My kids went through 4 1/2 years of some tough grieving. We lost our home and life savings simply trying to tread water with medical costs. Due to the recession, we lost a family business. And amidst all of this, we lost 3 nieces/nephews to suicide. Things are better now. Rays of hope and opportunity have come out of the tough times. But through this all, my dear daughter has been the one who I could lean on to talk with, cry with, laugh with, and find strength and reason to keep plowing ahead.

    My daughter has been a ray of light to me and to all of her brothers through all of this. I am deeply grateful to have her influence in my life.

    As I look back on life, it has consistently been women who have had more of an impact on me than men. While there have been a few very Christlike, tender, wise, patient male mentors in my life; overall, it has been women who have taught me, cried with me, walked with me and helped me to see so many bright and beautiful things in life, including humor! I’ve been taught the most basic and needful concepts in life in most part, by women. These include: honesty, charity, productivity, kindness, openness, thirst for knowledge and many more.

    I have run an office of design teams, working on national projects over the past 40 years. Among our teams have been a large percentage of women. These women have been bright, talented and good with people. They have contributed equally in every way to successful outcomes. I have always been respectful of them, and a proponent of equal treatment and equal pay for them. I’ve admired the strength and goodness of so many of them.

    I read the comment of RIO here that said, “Mormonism, as an outgrowth of a Middle-Eastern, patriarchal, misogynistic, polygamist culture, has canonized that culture and chained it to the dogma of absolute truth. Temple vows are made to submit and perpetuate that culture…a culture that even now wreaks havoc in the world wherever it resides.

    All religions tell us what our place in the cosmos is, yet they are all mutually exclusive and contradictory. Believe if you will…but belief comes at an enormous loss of freedom and individual power.”

    I couldn’t agree more with what he said. In normal human adult development, it is necessary to gain a sense of personal self determination and entitlement to our own beliefs. These include a healthy sense of self, spirituality, sexuality, and knowing our rightful place in the world.

    I would not have been a very good example of being a woman had that been my role in this life. The idea of putting on so much for men and in feeling like a second class citizen to the patriarchal order that has been perpetuated for centuries, is troubling. I’m afraid I would be a bit cranky and vociferous about things.

    I am no longer LDS, thankfully. I can no longer abide by certain male dominated practices, policies and procedures of an institution that is always 20 years behind on social issues and equality; and that rules by fear.

    I was fascinated by a podcast awhile back, wherein a female sociologist ( I’m sorry I don’t remember who), mentioned that she had moved to Utah and joined the LDS Church. She had come from an italian jewish, New York family. She mentioned that because of her jewish upbringing, that it was okay to doubt and have questions. Because of her italian heritage, it was okay to have open, loud, honest family discussions about whatever was on your mind. When she moved to Utah and became a member of the Church, she was stunned at how patriarchal things are. She was also stunned that people could not doubt or question in public. She was stunned that healthy debate was not allowed.

    Doubt is a healthy aspect of human development. It moves us onward and upward to new plateaus that are needed in life, as we outgrow a cocoon that we have been inhabiting. New awareness helps our faith grow.

    I remember years ago as a young missionary in Brazil, asking the mission President if, as a zone leader, I could have ALL of the sister missionaries sent to my zone. i had just left the office as an assistant. Behind the scenes, I was aware of the frustrations that the President and other zone leaders had with the sisters. They simply didn’t know what to do with them! It was kind of comical. The poor dumb guys!

    He sent ALL of them to my zone. I sincerely let each sister know and feel that she had unique gifts that the elders did not have. I let the sisters know that they could get into places and influence things that men could not. I wanted them to feel loved and valued.

    We ended up having the best time together! We did crazy, fun service projects at a time when service projects were not part of missionary work. We painted houses, sewed curtains, helped single mothers, taught english to youth, and did so many things that showed the gospel through action instead of words. The city ended up writing a positive article in the local newspaper about us. The sisters gave the elders a run for their money! I watched this all with joy as I worked alongside them! We ended up becoming the top baptizing area in the mission!

    I remember a cold, dark, rainy night when the sisters came upon a deathly ill woman. The elders could not be reached. The sisters knelt by the bedside of this woman. One of them raised her arm to the square and invoked a blessing in the name of Jesus Christ, upon this ill woman. They prayed in faith that she would be comforted until she could receive help. They were able to calm her and get her to a hospital some 20 miles away. The woman’s appendix had burst. It was a miracle that she lived. This same woman later became a very strong leader and voice in the Church in Brazil. But I will never forget the power of faith that these wonderful women had (and have). I never doubted that it was their equal right. I learned much from this experience.

    I would encourage all women to take their rightful place at God’s table. There is a place setting already set there for you. You do not need permission. You do not need out of touch church leaders who feel threatened by equality, to grant you what a loving Father and Mother have already given you rights to.

    I am a product of the E.R.A. and the N.O.W. era. At that time, feminists were feared. Some misperceptions of feminism came out of that period. Much good was accomplished. I still am amazed that petitions circulated in sacrament meetings against the E.R.A. The Prophet spoke out officially about it. Men felt threatened.

    I would only offer in love, to all women, the thought that many men are totally okay with equality. We are not threatened. Just be nice about the process, in the same way that you would want to be treated. No group needs to feel marginalized. No group needs to be browbeaten because of the sins of a previous generation. Christ gave us the perfect example of how to treat one another.

    The people ARE READY! I would encourage women and men to stop the victimization chatter. If the faith organization to which you belong is not working for you, then leave. Take control of your life. We are in an enlightened time socially. Times will get even better. Why? Who knows? I believe that it is to usher in a time of more peace worldwide, and to reach our divine potential as sons and daughters of God (s).

  26. I am amazed that Carol Lynn Pearson is still a believing member. It is unbelievable that these intelligent women are still looking for male permission to believe there is a Mother in Heaven that can be addressed or even talked about. I don’t understand why the mother of the 10 year old girl got a babysitter instead of just taking her daughter to the event? Really? And the speculation that Joseph Smith has to give credibility to these what his polygamous wives claim about a Mother in Heaven. We are looking for a man who seems to be nothing more than Warren Jeff’s on steroids—who told women anything he could think of to get them into bed with him—to validate their claims. After all they are “only” women. I am so sorry that these intelligent women have had the opportunity to see the “truth” and still choose misogynistic ideas for themselves and even more sadly for their own daughters. It is certainly true in all societies that men make the rules and women enforce them. What a gig for males!

  27. I read all the comments and I now feel as they read: insane. This issue, no matter HOW presented and who presents it, makes people crazy, rabid. That alone should say something.

    As someone who left Mormonism over 40 years ago and who has wandered the world spiritually, it shocked me to hear the panelists not mention the issue of Mary, mother of Jesus, nor the history of the Divine Feminine. It is NOT true that she is hid from us.

    I join the ranks of people with strong feelings: I felt bereft at the end.

    1. Perhaps you should have listened to the entire podcast Deborah, Carol Lynn spoke extensively about various concepts of the Divine Feminine during the latter half of the discussion.

  28. To the commenter(s) who complained about “one dominate voice” (perhaps Ashley & A Allen are the same person (?) – anyway, no matter), I wish to give an alternate view:

    I listened to this podcast twice. I realized, the 2nd time around, that when Natasha observed (early on) that the concept of H.Mother seemed unique to Mormonism, CLP could’ve corrected her right then and there, but she didn’t. Later in the discussion, CLP very kindly schooled us all on a rich & fascinating history of H.Mother, spanning numerous & varied faith traditions, cultures, & centuries. I thought her comments were absolutely fascinating – I learned SO much in just one podcast about the evolving rise and fall of the divine feminine & her presence on our world’s stage and in our collective (human) narrative.

    No doubt Jamie, Kristy, & Natasha are each brilliant in their own right & respective spheres of expertise – but on this topic of H.Mother, Carol Lynn’s knowledge, life experience & countless volumes of published research far surpassed the others. (And that Jamie allowed CLP to expound speaks volumes to Jamie’s own wisdom.) This does not take one ounce of wisdom away from Natasha or Kristy (I’m sure they have much to contribute, especially concerning the current psychological, mental, & emotionally deleterious effects of patriarchy.) I’m fairly confident they would agree that yielding the floor to CLP in this setting was beneficial to all.

    (This all reminds me of when I was a teenager, back in the 1980’s. Michael Jackson’s music was all the rage, & he won several Grammy awards one particular year. During the award ceremony, a pre-recorded video message from Paul McCartney was aired, wherein Paul congratulates Michael on his great success. Many teenagers around me had never even heard of Paul McCartney, and their reaction was “Who is this guy and who does he think he is, conferring his congratulations upon the Great Michael Jackson?” I get the sense that something similar might be happening here with CLP. If you knew who she was, and the mountains and piles & collections of work she has contributed to the Mormon community (spanning several decades I might add -and specifically on-topic about Heavenly Mother), you would likely NOT complain, but would instead feel grateful & privileged that we were lucky enough to hear from her at all.)

    I thought Carol Lynn’s contributions broke open the sky & painted a gloriously broad & inclusive picture of what Zion might some day be – it is a vision that reaches far beyond the narrow confines of one small tribe who call themselves Latter-day Saints. I thought it was beautifully poetic, and it set the scene perfectly for Jamie’s end-summary, her Hubble telescope numerous & numberless galaxies analogy. [end rant] 🙂 Thanks for the podcast John, Jamie, Natasha, Kristy, and Carol Lynn.

    1. But Paul McCartney didn’t show up at the awards show, interrupt Michael Jackson, and take over the show. Maybe an analogy to Kanye West and Taylor Swift would be better. 🙂

    2. Yep, I am the same person. I thought my first comment didn’t stick so I re-submitted, as I stated.

      I am glad that you were able to take away much from Carol Lynn’s contributions. Just like religion, I think we all perceive things differently. For me, the constant interruptions, causing the other contributors to cut short their thoughts was driving me up the wall, but that’s neither here nor there. The important thing is that someone out there was enriched by it.

      I still enjoyed it, but I’ll admit that I did fast forward during Carol Lynn’s extended monologue toward the end. It doesn’t mean she didn’t have good things to say, I’m simply saying that I would have liked for others to have more of a voice. It’s over now, though, so I guess that is a moot point.

  29. Thank you for the podcast. What I heard from Jamie, Natasha, Kristy, Carol Lynn and John in this podcast was how each of them at this point in their lives have found a way to “deal” with abuse. They shared raw and tender pain of the heart, carefully crafted educated verbiage and beautifully woven creative expression. How appropriate that each uniquely voices their gifts of processing life experience. The common thread, that John can only understand through compassion yet never know entirely, is the acknowledgment that all LDS women are or have been exposed and immersed in the daily reminder that they exist only to glorify the male. Anyone who disputes this simply does not know LDS theology as taught to women and men from the time of Joseph Smith. It does exist in other cultures as stated by above posters and in those it is easy to see the injustice and to feel abhorrence. Yet it is sanctioned by leaders today in the LDS Church and accepted, although with a great sense of personal loss and indignation because we simply do not know what else to do. Anyone who has been a member of the LDS church knows you are either “in” or “out.” If something is said or a question asked the woman is silenced and “corrected” or even perhaps excommunicated. How dare she seek answers or desire to give voice and substance to the “Feminine”, But how dare she not?
    The essay on Mother in Heaven is pathetic. It is more of the same pablum and nonsense. I am surprised that the panel gives it the slightest recognition of worth as it deserves only indignation and outright rejection.. Please raise the bar. If you notice the Essays in general are systematically addressing topics that are receiving the most attention by members via internet hits. It is simple damage control and even in this the feminine face of Deity is given scant coverage as it simply does not fit the LDS model and a bright light on polygamy must be suppressed.
    To the woman, I think it was Jamie, who felt painfully silenced with her recognition that her daughter would equally profit through activities her son had enjoyed, please just do them. Get together with some friends or community groups, get a babysitter for your 8 yr old son and share with your daughter, Give her the same commitment of time, energy and spiritual authenticity. Do not let the control of the LDS leaders cripple your inspired direction as a Mother. Your daughter has only you to open that door for her. If you see value then do it.
    As to the thought process that more is not known about Mother in Heaven because as women we just have to “do” more, need to “be” more worthy. Can you not see that is exactly the same mind game used on LDS people all the time? You are restating the control methods used on yourselves by buying into the fact that your deepest heartache is not soothed because you just are not “worthy” enough. It is a “no win” and a cruel message to a woman’s soul
    Truth is you exist as a woman and so does your Mother in Heaven or the feminine face of Deity or the ‘Other half of all that Is” or whatever you want to call her. She exists and always has. As a woman you KNOW this in your soul. If you cling to a belief system and patriarchal group that cancels her as well as women in general then that should be a “wake up” call. Silence and inaction will only be a heavier burden you place on the shoulders of your daughters.

    1. Janice, thank you for your concern. I want to re-assure you that my 3 daughters are being given every opportunity and then some and these experiences are not usually coming through the LDS church. That said, I feel strongly that many girls are not being given those same opportunities and work as often and as hard as I can to try and rememdy the situation wherever I see it, by
      1. pointing it out — stating the inequity of a situation
      2. brainstorming a solution
      3. offering to be a worker towards that solution

      I hope that by sharing this particular incident it will empower others — men and women to write similar letters, offer new and wonderful ideas, and work hard to make those ideas a reality.

      Whether it is in church functions, community sports, local theater, school groups, and more — we can all work in our sphere of influence to BE THE CHANGE for better.

      1. Jamie
        Thank you for your clarification. I am so glad. When I hear you talk on this podcast as well as others you are wonderfully articulate in expressing the pain in your soul as to this topic and Polygamy. I completely understand and relate. What I hear you say is that you are acutely aware and deeply feel the inequalities in a faith culture that you love. In a spiritual context you desire to teach truth to both your daughters and your sons. Tragically the messages taught in the LDS theology concerning women are excruciating. The solutions seem so simple don’t they? Just change some things. Yet when you offer your inspiration with an open heart you are cancelled. When you look at history it has been going on since the inception of Polygamy by JS. And of course exists in other less enlightened cultures around the world. I was in your place 40 years ago. I feel your pain. For years nothing I offered or did made a change. I finally had to choose. I would not sacrifice my children, especially my daughters, to the negative messages designed by disinterested men who did not care.
        Take courage. I pray that God, both Mother and Father will continue to teach you truth and to bless you in exercising your stewardship as a Mother to your children and a friend to others.

  30. Well, defending the mantel of femininity, Heavenly Mother Gonhorra, requires a vigilant gaze.
    Do a google image search for: Heavenly Mother Gonhorra. Her mystical powers are a cartoon for the Men’s Caucus For The Women Of The Arts,
    Seems the weaker sex needs some militant, headstrong, assertive action to cow the brethren into our constitutional rights. The human being, regardless of sex has rights that no religion can steal.
    The Sisters need to make the bid for leadership both intellectual and spiritual or cast off into friendlier waters.
    Heavenly Mother Gonhorra needs redefinition. Look for the goddess, mother of the Book of Mormon –– there is none.
    And Fare Thee Well.

  31. First let me say that Carol Lynn Pearson is one of the few people I know
    of who deserves to be viewed as a role model. I have no doubt that her courageous work has served to comfort and save hundreds, if not thousands, of lives. She hit the nail squarely on the head in this discussion when she pointed out that polygamy is the festering wound that must be attended to if LD$ Inc. is ever to become the egalitarian culture that fully values the feminine in a way the brethren keep claiming they do. As the women panelists pondered what that messy belief might lead to in the eternities Ms. Pearson, thinking aloud, said “complicated” with a perplexed tone to her voice. That, imho, was an understatement as I immediately thought convoluted is more like it. The church has been severely lagging on too many moral and social issues for anyone to take their claims of revelation seriously and the continued canonization of polygamy, with all the intellectual contortionism that accompany that paternalistic fantasy, may indeed be the single most glaring proof that, if God ever was talking to the brethren, She quit talking to them a long, long time ago. I really enjoyed this discussion.

  32. l too feel that we all should be free to talk as and when we need and want to, to our heavenly mother, the church should definitely be more open to discuss our mother in heaven, also be more clear about where the church actually stands on the polygamy issue as this affects members lives so intensely, l think there should be more open discussions and podcasts on these matters and the pain that goes on around them, it was a very intriguing and there is always so much involved with the issue of polygamy, it’s such an extremely sensitive and hurting subject, the panellists were all very open and informative, l hope we hear more on these tough subjects in the future,

    1. Amen, Beth.

      I think I would just like for the church to once and for all admit that our early leaders were imperfect men who did what many have done and still do today when they find themselves in positions of power. For some reason, there is this phenomenon that makes some men who suddenly come to power desire to sleep around. Consider most cults – polygamy is almost certainly an eventuality. Warren Jeffs… Heck, even Tiger Woods (not a cult leader, but an example of a man who comes into power and money and desires to sleep around even though he is married).

      It happens. It is not okay, but it happens. I believe that Joseph, in his way, restored the gospel to the earth and it continues to be refined through our modern prophets. However, restoring the church does not make one immune to marrying 14-year-olds. I think he screwed up. Maybe he felt justified, maybe he didn’t, but he made a big mistake. I still love him, but I wish we could stop pretending that he was perfect. It is not my job to judge him, but I feel it is my right to know the truth about it.

      I personally feel that the church’s carefully worded essays, if read between the lines, admit all of this. My takeaway is, “you guys, Joseph Smith practiced polygamy, it was shady in X, Y, Z ways, and he lied about it, but he still restored the gospel.” I wish that they could just come out and say it though. End this pain. I think the thing that infuriates me the most is (while I do not believe it is from God) as a woman, many misogynist men in the church use this as a weapon against us. They upset is with it and then tell us that we are crazy and jealous. If not wanting my husband to sleep around means I’m jealous, then I guess I am jealous, but I am not crazy. I know victim blaming when I see it.

      Members of the church should not have to resort to anti-Mormon websites and resources to no only discover the historical truths of our religion, but to discuss them… And then be disciplined for doing so because there is no church-approved context in which to talk about it. I hope that this will change and I think these essays are a step in the right direction. We need to be comforted. Again, end the pain.

  33. It’s interesting hearing this cuz I’m such a guy that I don’t catch this. It takes my girlfriend pointing this stuff out to me to catch it. Thanks for this 🙂

  34. Towards the end of the Podcast, there was a mention that our Mother Divine loves her sons also, and it struck me that I have been putting a bracket around what she means to myself as a woman. What a thought, that this aging male authoritative leadership in the church, doesn’t have the ability to express their tender relationship to their Mother God. As if that is only something that only women think of when they ‘miss’ the ‘other’ part of deity. I love my son as much as I love my daughters, and have just as important relationship with him as I do my daughters. He openly and sweetly honors me. What a shame that we live in a culture that leaves this highest relationship in a sacrad closet!

  35. While Mrs. Handy & company are busy “being the change”. What exactly will the general “authorities” be doing? Will they be receiving revelation regarding who gets to use the Huntsman jet?

    1. Phil,

      Your comment is fabulously funny! I howled, sitting in bed, after an hour of bawling. It was well needed this evening as so many of us who have been on the fringes, looking faithfully for some hope and change, have been deeply saddened and disappointed by the news that just broke about gay families and children. Stunning!

      The prejudice, marginalization, misguided energies, practices and policies within the LDS church continue. The polarization continues between the ‘faithful’ and those who truly and humbly see the day-to-day needs of our fellow sisters and brothers around us. These are the humble and the good-hearted. There is a difference between the institution of the Church ( with all of it’s grand pomposity and illusions of authority) and the organization of the members.

      I believe that there are many average, workaday LDS people who are intelligent, kind, open minded and open hearted. They listen to the inner voice — their own inner voice from God. They refuse to allow any leader ( men ) to come between them and their relationship with their Father or Mother. There are many non-LDS people who equally share in these qualities and use their gifts to bless others.

      Just when so many of us had high hopes of really great social changes within the Church, the leaders of the faith release the pronouncement against gay families who are simply trying to do the right thing, and have a loving home life and some stability. Similarly, the marginalization of women continues. These men are not of God. Christ would not do some of the profoundly dumb, clumsy, hate filled things that have been witnessed coming from these leaders recently.

      Just when things were settling down a bit for the LDS church with regard to social issues, we see ugliness rear it’s head. If Mormons think they are a ‘peculiar people’, just wait til the national news has it’s heyday tomorrow. Mormons will be spectacularly peculiar in a very bad way. I’ve witnessed over the years, some arrogant church members who gloat over being ‘peculiar’. Today’s news that marginalizes families and punishes children for being born into certain circumstances is beyond reason, logic and the gospel of love. It is not of Christ.

      The Catholics gave up years ago on the notion of holding children accountable for the sins of their fathers. Not the Mormons.

      As a young missionary in Brazil, I am ashamed to say that I was part of racial marginalization of blacks that was sponsored by the Church. The Church used the logic that they were cursed because of the sins of their ancestors, some 4000 years earlier — and because of that, the current generation needed to pay for it. Lunacy! I’m glad I saw the light. I’m very glad I’m out of the faith. But not out of faith or love for Christ or my loving Father and Mother in Heaven.

      Sometimes a thread of hope is all we have. If a thirst to know and seek the help of our Heavenly Mother gives us the hope we need in a tough world; it is a beautiful and helpful thing that is blessed by the heavens. Who needs a church leader to give you permission to believe it? Listen to your own inner voice and know that a loving God has given it to you for a reason.

      I offer hope and support for so many intelligent, kind, good-hearted women. Rock on sisters!

  36. The true Heavenly Mother reveals herself by her actions…

    In 1830, while Joseph Smith busied himself organizing his little Mormon sect, the era of the Blessed Virgin Mary began. Although she had appeared centuries before to many Catholic visionaries, the great Marian apparitions of the 19th-20th centuries stand out as incredibly phenomenal events that mark the age.

    In a vision, St. Catherine Laboure was told by the Blessed Virgin Mary to have medals constructed according to her specific design. She was also instructed to confess this vision about the medal to her Father Confessor. The priest heard her and relayed the vision and its message to the Church authorities who determined that the apparition was authentic. Soon, the medals were struck, and popular devotion to it began to spread like wildfire in France. Numerous miracles resulted from the medals so that it came to be called the “Miraculous Medal”.

    One of its famous miracles was the conversion of a wealthy but agnostic Jewish banker who denounced all religions: Marie-Alphonse Ratisbonne who later became a Jesuit priest. Together with his brother Theodore, he established a ministry to convert Jews in Palestine to the Catholic Faith.

    In 1858, the Blessed Virgin Mary again appeared in a series of visions to St. Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes, France. Bernadette was explicitly told to tell her priest to build a chapel in a specific place and have the faithful come in processions there. The Church authorities of course opposed her; after all, it takes money to build one. And at that time, the town government of Lourdes were dominated by atheists who wanted nothing more than the suppression of the Catholic faith. But once again, the Church determined that her visions were not phony, and cannot be ignored.

    Franz Werfel was a French Jewish playwright and poet who escaped Nazi persecution by hiding in Lourdes with the help of Catholics. There, he vowed that if he ever escaped alive, he would write about the visions of Bernadette. When he arrived in the US, he wrote his best-selling book “The Song of Bernadette”. The book was made into a successful film that won an Oscar award for Jennifer Jones who played Bernadette’s character. But that’s beside the point.

    The point is: the atheists lost at Lourdes. The Blessed Virgin Mary got, not only a chapel, but a huge Cathedral where millions of Catholics have never stopped to go in processions since 1858. What’s more, Bernadette’s visions confirmed the truth of the “Immaculate Conception”, a doctrine that has wracked the brains of Catholic theologians since Aquinas. Lourdes also has been the site of the most remarkable miraculous healings that confound science.

    A similar event would play out later in 1917 when three shepherd children would behold the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima, Portugal. When the visions began, the Church opposed them, but later changed its mind when the apparitions could not be positively declared fakes. Unlike Lourdes, the atheists who controlled the town of Fatima played a more aggressive game. They resorted to kidnapping and mental abuse of the children to force them to deny their visions. But to cut the story short, the atheists lost. The children would not break even under threat of violence.

    The visions at Fatima which began in May 1917 concluded in October, the Month of The Rosary, with a stunning celestial show: the Miracle of the Sun. It was an event witnessed by tens of thousands, and reported even by atheist-owned newspapers.

    These three great Marian visions of our age are remarkable for the following:

    1. All the visionaries were mostly female simple folks of little education and means. Therefore, contrary to someone’s claim above, the Catholic Church does not trample its female members.

    2. The message of the visions were not subversive. The visionaries were humble enough to obey and subject themselves to the proper Church authorities. They were not revolutionists out to topple the existing order.

    3. The Church authorities were not bypassed. They had a role in investigating and authenticating that the visions were not demonic in nature. Satan himself can appear as an angel of light or wolf in sheep’s clothing. It is their calling as defenders of the faith and guardians of the flock to tear apart Satan’s pretensions.

    4. It is not wrong to pray to the Heavenly Mother, and the Rosary is recommended most of all.

    As these extraordinary visions show, the Blessed Virgin Mary is a real person who exists in the supernatural realm yet loves her children who live in the natural world. She can accomplish supernatural acts whenever she wants to. And she employs the Church even when its priests are hesitant to obey her. Just as a mother would protect her defenseless children from harm, so she comes at critical moments to defend her children. She reveals herself by her actions.

    In contrast, the Mormon Heavenly Mother is either conjecture or hearsay. She has never revealed herself. It is impossible to love her because you cannot love someone you don’t know, or who doesn’t show love to you. Hinckley had reportedly said, “Logic or reason tells us that if there is a Heavenly Father then there must be a Heavenly Mother.” Not scripture, not revelation, but “logic or reason”.

    A few more years of logic and reason, I bet Mormons will learn to love Augustine and Aquinas instead.

  37. The panelists are indeed correct to identify that polygamy is the “elephant in the room” when discussing the Heavenly Mother. However, I find it hard to understand why the panelists still discuss their hope the church can eventually make “progress” by abandoning polygamist theology.

    How would that help? If new revelation ever expunges the last vestiges of polygamy from Mormon theology it will have done so only by destroying the credibility of all previous Mormon prophets and thereby undermine the authority of the church.

    In short, if the panelists ever got their wish that polygamy be expunged from Mormon theology they will have wound up killing the church.

    Face it, the LDS church was founded on the theology of polygamy. If you remove that foundation then everything else falls apart.

    If you don’t like the polygamy then just leave. I did…

  38. Thanks for this discussion. It really gets to the “heart” of the matter. Polygamy is the rape of Mormon women. Women will never accept or get past this – not should they. The innocent nurturing Virgin Mary does not exist in Mormonism. She has sex with God and shares God with many other sex objects.

    As also mentioned, the LDS Chruch must ditch polygamy. However, they can’t do it without ditching all the early prophets. Joseph, Brigham etc., were scum balls.

    Lastly, polygamy is all about about power – not love. The last thing the brethern want is to share the power. Women are not sex objects and should share power. The brethern need to drop the ego – need for power – and allow the nurturing of women into the power structure.

  39. Was I the only one who was surprised that Kate Kelly wasn’t on this panel? Was she invited and reject the invite? Was not even considered? Puzzling.

  40. Great topic. Thanks. In the future, you might what to interview Carol separately. Unfortunately, she dominated the conversation – the others had great observations as evidenced by their closing comments. However, they were interrupting Carol if they wanted to contribute.

    That said, Carol’s comments were enlightening. With 52 – 42 minutes remaining, she starts talking about “power” and how there are all these women who need a space where they can practice and learn to wield power. What? Good thing I was driving or I’d have fallen off my chair. Is that part of what this interest in Heavenly Mother is about? So that I can have women lording over me along with the men in the Church lording over me.

    Maybe my view of what religion should be is a bit different. I didn’t think it was about power (didn’t Jesus have a discussion with his disciples about this?). I thought it was about charity and service. Sigh…

  41. I love my Mormon feminist sisters. They may yet rescue their Heavenly Mother and the LDS church without renouncing their faith. I suggest they look at the history of Christianity, particularly at the competition with the cults of Isis that led patriarchal Romans to deny the feminine aspect of the trinity. The Roman catholics took the Egyptian trinity of Isis, Osiris, and their son Horus, replacing the feminine Isis (healing, nurturing part) with the “Holy Ghost” so they could claim an all-masculine trinity. Early Christians like the Gnostics recognized a feminine presence. See gospels of Philip and Mary among the Nag Hammadi scrolls. Also see Sophia, goddess of wisdom, who in the Old Testament existed before Jesus.
    Best wishes in all your holy endeavors. H.H.Gordon

  42. Really loved this podcast and listened several times.

    I wonder if maybe a Mormon Stories ‘Heavenly Mother’ Podcast could be created, where these topics could be discussed and worked out. We could hear more from Carol Lynn Pearson where she could freely share her knowledge mingled with her wisdom, where also Margaret Toscano and Maxime Hanks could talk. All topics could be discussed as well priesthood for women. Jamie, Natasha and Kristy could freely talk and peel of the layers from how the nowadays discriminating attitude is experienced and how to deal with it, aswell their own insights on who Heavenly Mother is. Blogs might be added, cos I’m also curious what Deborah Aronson has to tell !

    As CLP says: we women have to fill in who our Heavenly Mother is ! Btw, how will men be able to give us a picture? Patriarchy mormon men have no clue who and what women are, there is not enough interest to get to know them, and that is why our Heavenly Mother is invisable. Only women can show who our Heavenly Mother is. So, mormon men might know Her by looking at their mormon women in the church and see Her many different talents, forms and names, we reflect Her here on earth !

    Why can’t patriarchy mormon men not get a right picture from Heavenly Mother ? I think it is because their vision is blurred with what could be this ridiculous idea about Her:

    I allways considered Brigham Young’s interest for The Bee-hive kind of cute. I never thought about it differently than to see the resemblance with our society: buzzy, buzzy, buzzy to make society work !

    Yesterday a whole new insight was brought in: the place of the women in the beehive: you got this queen-bee laying eggs all her life long, just laying eggs and eggs and eggs and eggs and eggs etc etc etc etc etc ………. The qeen-bee, the greatest bee-women of all in the beehive is nothing else than productive in creating new life: plopping out egss !

    I suddenly saw through it and realised how I overlooked all the time how important this must have been in the eye of Brigham Young ! We allready got the idea of our Heavenly Mother constantly bringing forth spiritchildren, and Jamie fearing she would waste her eternal life away and be limited to only create new spirit life. How could men get such a limited idea about women ? Well, the Buzzy Bee Beehive got such a female Deity !

    If mormon men are limited to this idea of what and how a women is, yep, your interest is soon fullfilled and you move on to other more exciting topics, like: how are men going to create new worlds and keep themselves busy eternal-lifelong while the woman you were once married with is plopping out new spirits all the time. You might aswell have more women otherwise you might never have a chance of making love or share a few words before the plopping is interupting the cozy togetherness. How dull a men’s life can bee ! So, he better gets buzy creating new worlds … and fast, because the plopping goes on and on and on … into eternity ! [Btw, I was told that getting spirit kids is painless, since it is spiritual matter. So, all those striving for celestial life, that might ease your mind !]

    How ridiculous it might sound, I am very much afraid that this might be a serious thought, that patriarchal mormon men expect this to be the eternal situation for celestial mormon women.

    Well, I am a women and I can say from the vessels of my spiritual excistance: this is not how female Deities spent their lives in eternity !

    I came to the conclusion yesterday that Brigham Young must have liked bee-hives so much, not only for the buzzyness of society, but also the role the queen-bee plays.

    I had allways heard from male beehive-keepers that the queen bee was like this, laying popping out eggs, but a couple of months ago I learned a new fact about the queen-bee from a female beehive-keeper: she pointed out at a certain spot on the glass where you could look inside the beehive and said: Look ! This is the Queen Bee, she’s not popping out eggs all the time as was said, but she’s buzzy herself in the beehive aswell ! She told how after the work was done the Queen Bee gathered all those who wanted to come with her into the sky, to find a new place to make a new beehive !

    In that case: I wonder if eternal marriage is an option in celestial realms: cos Heavenly Mother is gathering her offspring and asks anyone who wants to come along to fill a new created world. Celestial Mormon men better get buzzy creating beautifull new earths, so, Heavenly Mom might have interest and let her offspring live on an earth chosen from one of the Heavenly Foster Fathers.

    And so they lived on happely forever and ever and ever and ever !!!!!!!! :o)

    I wondered if Brigham Young had this idea about female Deities and Bee-hives, if that idea allready was present in Joseph Smith’s life ? I doubt it. Joseph Smith clearly had a Heavenly Mother in mind like Emma: an intelligent woman, eager to do good and create … and worthy for the priesthood !

    Peace,
    Adrie de Jong
    The Netherlands

  43. Isn’t it possible that the main reason Mormons are instructed not to speak of Heavenly Mother is because it will reveal that Mormonism is not monotheistic?

    Either there is only one god in the universe or there are thousands and thousands, each one with his wife who is also a god (or goddess if you prefer). All of them equal in power and stature. This is fine as it goes but it’s not monotheism.

    Other Christians are always looking for a way to exclude Mormons from Christianity. There are many reasons one could do so — additional scriptures and revelations, a totally unique understanding of Jesus’ life and the nature of Jesus, but a goddess to go with the god would sort of put it all over the top.

    Personally, I believe that Mormonism has been successful because it is a successful culture that people find meaningful and beautiful. Lots of Christians are simply jealous of Mormon success.

    But if Mormons were truly open and completely clear and transparent about their understanding of the nature of god, it would become clear that Mormon theology violates the historic understanding of the first commandment and more people might realize that Mormonism is not Christianity as it was historically understood until Mormonism came along.

  44. Thank you for your discussion of this essay. I must say I disagree with the across the board rejection of the idea of polygamy as a problem with the discussion of Heavenly Mother and Heavenly Parents. Please understand that prior to the change in the Church’s policy allowing women to be sealed to more than one man in the eternities, yes plural marriage of one man to many women did mean that women were second class citizens in the eternities. But not any more. I embrace the possibility of our ability to retain relationships we establish in this life into the eternities. If you were in love with a man and he died and fell in love with another man and married him, in the eternities, would you want to be forced to choose which relationship you would have to abandon? Now please understand that our monogamous perspective in this current world is based on one spouse at a time, but does not force us to only ever choose one person to love in this life and eternities? No. But now with the new change in policy we realize that men and women are the same and if we choose in this life to only be married to one person and we both choose this then we can have a monogamous eternal family unit. And that is ok. But in reality it is also very compassionate if we realize that in the eternities we may be able to let go of jealousy and be able to share partners with others both men and women.

    I profoundly disagree that polygamy has to be excised from our eternal concept of what is possible in the eternities. For me understanding that loving human relationships for both men and women and hopefully soon for men and men and women and women can endure into the eternities.

    Now many of us are not ready to accept the possibility of eternal polyamory as well as some relationships that are one women and more than one men, some that are one man and more than one women, some relationships that are one man and another man or more than one man, or one woman and another women or more than one women, or a network of relationships where men and women are sealed to one or more than one other same or opposite sex partners. Or if we choose to be in monogamous eternal male female or male male or female / female relationships. In addition, we would also have the option of an exalted single person who chooses not to be sealed to another.

    Even if we assume that part of eternal responsibilities is parenting spirit children, certainly in this earth life we figure out how to parent in blended and adopted families and how to conceive children without heterosexual intercourse, why do we limit ourselves to a narrative that requires monogamous heterosexual paradigms? If we can deal with it now and if some poly families function now in this life in love and harmony without men ruling women or problems, why could not those relationships continue in the eternities?

    Feminists, like myself, are justifiably offended by the concept that polygamy makes women second class citizens or eternal wombs. But that is not what eternal exaltation of women and men are about. The Church now allows women to be sealed to more than one man, so women are NOT second class citizens! Women are equals! Soon gay, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered, and asexual individuals are equals too!

    If you want to be heterosexual and monogamous in the eternities and you and your spouse agrees, then you can have your goal. But what right do you have to mandate that another couple or loving group of individuals not be able to continue their loving relationships into the eternities? What right do you have to mandate that a woman who has been married to two men in her lifetime that she has to pick one in the eternities if she and her husband’s wish to stay together in eternities? How is that righteousness? What about eternal monogamy is so scared to you that you will require everyone to live it to protect your view that women are equal to men in eternities? What right do you have to restrict two men who love each other from being together in the eternities and to be involved in eternal parenting.

    Once we realize that men and women are equal in the eternities and that all loving relationships of all types entered into in this life CAN be sealed and continue in the eternities and that for some may involve more than one person that they choose to be sealed to in eternities, THEN section 132 can take on a whole new very loving compassionate expanding meaning and answers basic concepts of fairness in eternities that is not present in doctrine limiting no one to eternal relationships or to monogamous relationships or heterosexual relationships!

    Men and women of the Church, we don’t have to reject eternal polygamy, we just need to expand it and understand it to mean that all types of valuable loving relationships individuals or groups of individuals want to be part of can continue into the eternities!

    Read D&C 132:66, the last revealed scripture that we have the full text of that addresses the eternal nature of relationships…”And now, as pertaining to this law, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will reveal more unto you, hereafter; therefore, let this suffice for the present. Behold, I am Alpha and Omega. Amen.”

    So what this teaches is that our Heavenly Parents have more to reveal to us on this subject. I believe that fairness requires that we can choose to be involved in eternal relationships of our choosing and that the God’s will not limit our choices but honor them! Same sex, monogamist heterosexual, single women and more than one man, single man and more than one women, polyamorous groups, or networks of sealed individuals, and single persons not sealed to anyone all can be exalted!

    This is in my opinion the true nature of the possibilities of eternal relationships! We are not required to be part of a polyamorous relationship or a same sex relationship, but we also in our limited ability to love in this life and when we are exalted perhaps we will let go of our prejudice and accept that God might allow love of all types to continue without subjugating one gender or sexual orientation to another!

    Love can continue! It is a marvelous doctrine rather than a shackle of women and same sex orientation individuals.

    Timothy Birt
    Auburn, Alabama

  45. Carol Lynn Pearson, thank you for your work and comments on this pod cast. As an LDS active, married, heterosexual, cis-gendered, male, feminist, therapist, I appreciate the work you do and the voice you bring to the LDS community and the world.

    I wanted to say that, while I respect your opinion that the concept of polygamy must be rejected to allow women and the gospel to proceed, I disagree fundamentally, but not for the reasons you may believe.

    Hear me out please. If we accept that polygamy only involves men being sealed to more than one woman and is necessary for exaltation, then, yes, it subjects women to be second class citizens in eternity and this concept is flawed, immoral and incredibly damaging to women. However, the Church has recently changed its policy and now allows women to be sealed to an additional man as an eternal spouse if her previous spouse has died. So being sealed to more than one spouse does not exclusively extend to men as a privilege but also belongs to women too. Thus even in current LDS policy, women are not second class citizens in eternity who are limited to be eternal wombs, but they too can have eternal relationships with more than one spouse.

    Why is this important and what might the doctrine of the sealing power to seal earthly relationships in the eternities mean in an expanded view?

    I believe that the sealing powers can and should be used to seal all types of loving earthly relationships for those who want those relationships to continue into the eternities and that exaltation is and will be available to individuals, sealed heterosexual monogamous couples and other networks of blended constellations of loving relationships without prejudice to gender or sexual orientation or number. As God is no respecter of persons.

    If you love a man and are sealed to him in this life and he dies and your marry another man and are sealed to him and both consent to being with you in the eternities, why should you be required to choose? What harm would come in having to pick one relationship to end if none of the participants wanted the relationship to end? Is love in this life limited to the one true person and all other loves must be extinguished against our will when we enter the eternities? We reject polygamy because it was used to further male power and privilege and was not fully consensual. But why must those who choose to have more than one love pick and settle for just one in the eternities? Why is it a heterosexual monogamous union that is mandated for eternities? I believe this is cultural and not fair or loving as God surely is.

    Who are we to mandate that others end loving same sex relationships in the eternities? Who are we to tell a wife she must pick which husband to be with? Who are we to tell a loving poly family group in this life that they cannot choose to live as a loving unit in the eternities? Who are we to tell a gay couple they can’t love in the eternities? Who are we to condemn the asexual person to not be able to participate in exaltation because they choose not to love someone else?

    The doctrine of sealing of loving consensual earthly relationships in eternal bonds is a wonderful doctrine of hope. It does not place men above women, or heterosexual above, same sex oriented couples or bisexual or polyamorous family groups. We don’t have to enter into a relationship with another person or persons and consent to that relationship continuing into the eternities to be exalted, but we also should not require exaltation to necessarily cause the termination against our wills of loving relationships formed in this life.

    If we can manage blended parenting and fall in love and cherish more than one person in this lifetime, why when we are perfected in an eternal existence should we loose the capacity to be fair and loving to those we loved in this world or be forced into a monogamous heterosexual relationship for the purpose of parenting eternally? Single parents parent in this world, as well as same sex couples, polyamorous groups, and blended family units successfully raise children and coexist in love and unity. Why would we lose that capacity in the eternities when we are perfected beings?

    I reject historical LDS polygamy, but believe in the revealed principle that loving earthly relationships can continue in the next eternal existence. To be fair, it would have to be consensual to all involved, bestow absolute equality to all regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or relationship type or status, and not require individuals to end relationships they did not want to end.

    Just like baptism for the dead and preaching of the gospel to those who didn’t have the opportunity to hear it on this earth life makes it fair for all humanity and solves inequities, so expanding the use of sealing power to all types of consensual loving relationships based in equality is a gospel principle that makes the possibility of eternal relationships fair.

    Far from making women second class citizens, women are equals in all ways. A lesbian couple exalted as parents of children in eternities. No biological barriers prevent such, even in doctrine there is the virgin birth.

    What we have to let go of is putting our jealous view limiting the possibilities of love and equality of treatment in human relationships aside. No one will be required to be outside a heterosexual monogamous relationship, but those who chose another type of relationship will also not be prohibited from entering and continuing this or these relationships in the eternities. There will in fact be network blended relationships where one man is in a relationship with multiple women who themselves are in relationships with multiple men or women as well. What have you against allowing loving human relationships to continue if it is their desire to do so?

    The ability to be sealed to more than one person male or female is necessary for fairness to those who love more than one person in this life and all involved don’t want to pick and choose what relationship to retain and what relationship to end in the next eternal existence. It must be a part of the plan of salvation if heterosexual monogamy is not the only approved eternal pattern of relationships.

    The only current barrier to this currently is the bar against same sex marriages and relationships. If we are children of our heavenly parents, then those who came to this earth attracted to the same sex, both sexes, have a different experience of gender, or who are intersexed, are not mistakes but manifestations of options of how humans can be. The plan of salvation will be expanded to show how all heavenly parent’s children, regardless of gender, orientation, or loving relationship orientation can be exalted and participate in the divine plan to help spirits progress and fulfill the measure of their creation.

    See the last verse of section 132 you have so much difficulty with. D&C 132:66 ends with a promise that I submit has not yet been fulfilled. “And now, as pertaining to this law, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will reveal more unto you, hereafter; therefore, let this suffice for the present. Behold, I am Alpha and Omega. Amen.”

    So God says that more is to come and promises to reveal more. We await that revelation. Perhaps it has not come because we as a people are not ready to treat women as equals and to expand our view of appropriate relationships beyond heterosexual monogamy and understand that God the Father and Mother also involve LGBTQA children and polyamorous groups. When we can live with less bias and accept loving committed relationships affirming equality of gender and orientation, perhaps we will be ready for the sealing power to be extended to same sex and poly groups in this life and the world to come.

    So in my view, polygamy is not the barrier to women’s gender equality in the eternal realms, but rather our hierarchal view of male led, monogamous, and heterosexual relationships as being divinely appointed as the only model for eternal existence.

    When we embrace allowing loving relationships of all types to exist, section 132 can be come the foundation of a wonderful egalitarian non-culturally encapsulated view of godhood and eternal families that embraces both the feminine divine and the divinity of loving family relationships.

    Please let me know what you think of my unorthodox faith and view of equality and eternal families.

    Timothy Birt,
    Auburn, Alabama

  46. One essential piece of my journey towards reclaiming my own mind from the church, was the dawning realization of how absurd and false is the idea of a “Heavenly Mother” who is so sacred that she needs protecting from us uncouth humans. Whether this idea that Heavenly Father protects the purity and sanctity of His partner originally came from a GA source or not, it was very much accepted and talked about from ward pulpits and in Sunday school and RS classes, when I was younger. Even today, when the topic of a Heavenly Mother crops up, this is always the reason given for why we are not to pray to Her or discuss her much.

    One day, after years of struggling with the increasing sense of shame and suffocation around being female in the Church, a thought occurred; what kind of mother desires to be shielded from her childrens’ cries? What mother refuses to be present to her children? All the human mothers I knew would shove aside any man who tried to prevent her reaching for her child when her child was in pain or fear. If need be, she’d bare teeth and nails, or grab a big rock, and she would get to that child. No mother with a healthy attachment to her child is going to let that child’s rudeness, disrespect, or bad behavior prevent her from being with her child as needed. Mothers tend to have ways of coping with passionate rage, or flailing fists and feet, or even the hurled, “I hate you!”of their children. No one is more resilient in presence and love, no one is more tough and persistent, than a healthy mother with a child in need of guidance. And this is just human mothers! What would a Heavenly Mother be like? What a ridiculous notion, that she would be less fierce, less passionate in her devotion, less tough for the sake of her offspring, or less intense in her desire to participate in their development, than a human mother!

    Only a man stuck in the patriarchy thought-loop would suppose such a thing to be reasonable. Or a brainwashed woman. Probably it’s mens’ unconscious fear of the Yin, of the Mystery of the feminine non-duality, the creative power which cannot be controlled and contained, which led to the creation of exclusively male deity. In any case, the really amazing aspect to my mind, is how long it took for the realization to dawn on me that I had been taught to fear my own divine feminine power, even while it was harnessed for the use of the patriarchy for the purpose of perpetuating the patriarchal belief structure. Why do you think the “primary responsibility” of women in the church is to raise good Mormon children, teach Mormon children in church, and defer to Mormon men in matters of what to teach said children? We’re being tied tightly to our natural mothering inclinations, while being taught to fear the inherent power in Motherhood. It’s an energy-robbing dynamic. It’s deeply, subtly unhealthy for both men and women.

    When I made this realization, I sat down and wrote an essay. Writing it dissolved my feelings that men had any right to create a god after their own image for me to worship. Now, when I pray thanksgiving over my food and life each day, I pray to Mother Earth. I pray to the loving presence I’ve actually experienced, not to a Heavenly Father that I have to imagine. I don’t know what “gods” there might actually be. I suspect there are none. Not in the way that Religion defines “god”, anyway. Praying to a Mother Goddess-energy, the energy of love and nourishment, and the beautiful-terrible Earth from which all gifts literally come, at least opens for me a path to gratitude and divinity that isn’t tainted with the shaming toxic baggage of the Mormon Heavenly Father.

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