Heavenly Mother, Are You Really There?
By: Michael Flournoy
“In the heavens are parents single? No, the thought makes reason stare! Truth is reason, truth eternal tells me I’ve a mother there.”
LDS Hymn #292 “O My Father”
I was shocked when my father told me I had the potential to become a god. He explained that since we were God’s children, it was only natural to become like Him.
My 14-year-old mind protested. This was God we were talking about. The chasm between us was basically infinite, right?
However, I couldn’t argue with his logic. If I was a literal child of God as LDS doctrine taught, then why shouldn’t I eventually become a god? As I grew in my understanding of Mormonism, I learned that I needed to be married before I could ascend to godhood.
After obtaining godhood, my spouse and I would have spirit children and send them to an earth of our creation. It was a continuation of the pattern of eternal progression. As Latter-day Saints we were treading the same path Heavenly Father once walked.
I was 16 when I first heard about Heavenly Mother from my Bishop in Priest’s Quorum. He explained that God Himself was married. Again, I was surprised, but couldn’t argue the logic.
One of my peers asked the Bishop why we never talked about her, and why her existence wasn’t revealed in scripture.
“She’s very sacred,” the Bishop said solemnly. “If people knew of her existence, they would malign her and use her name in vain. I’m sure that would hurt our Father deeply, and that’s why He doesn’t reveal it.”
That piece of emotional rhetoric was enough to satisfy me at the time. When I went on my mission I was exposed to deeper doctrines. The other missionaries informed me that I could have multiple Celestial wives. The idea didn’t sit well with me, but they said feelings of envy wouldn’t exist in the next world. The women wouldn’t mind sharing, and besides, there were way more faithful women than men.
I insisted that even if Celestial polygamy was available, I wasn’t interested in it. One of the missionaries shot me a smug grin. “Why would you want to slow your progression? With more wives you could have more children and attain greater glory.”
When I came home from my mission I continued to study the gospel. I realized that Heavenly Mother didn’t exist at all. For one thing, scripture called the Father the Most High God. That didn’t leave room for a wife of equal power.
I was unable to find any scriptural evidence that the Father was ever created or walked a mortal path like us. That didn’t mean there wasn’t a road to godhood, or that future generations of gods couldn’t exist, but it put serious doubt on the idea of a Heavenly Mother.
Former LDS prophet, Harold B. Lee stated, “If it is not in the standard works, we may well assume that it is speculation, man’s own personal opinion; and if it contradicts what is in the scriptures, it is not true.” (January 1969 Improvement Era, Harold B. Lee, p.13)
The closest thing I could find to evidence came from Genesis when God made men and women in His image. It could be interpreted to mean there were female goddesses, but it seemed like a stretch. If God had arms and legs, then we were in His image regardless of gender.
It didn’t matter if the hymnal had references to a divine mother, or if General Authorities made occasional mention of her. The Standard Works were devoid of any direct reference to her existence. Therefore she was a myth.
A lot changed over the next decade and I left Mormonism for the Biblical gospel. I still have LDS friends, and occasionally their zeal for a Heavenly Mother shines through. The thought of her always left me uneasy as a member, but I couldn’t explain why.
Now that I’ve had time to think about it, and since I’m no longer committed to the doctrine of eternal progression, the reasons for my uneasiness have come into focus.
Let’s start with the assumption that there’s polygamy in the Celestial Kingdom. I don’t consider this the orthodox Mormon position, but it’s worth mentioning briefly. Polygamous marriage in heaven necessarily makes the husband and wife unequal. While the exalted man is having many children with many wives and gaining glory thereby (see Moses 1:39), the exalted woman can only have a fraction of the posterity.
Then there’s the fact that having plural wives means the man is not satisfied with any of them. No polygamous wife is ever enough for her husband.
It goes back to one of the main issues Evangelicals have with Latter-day Saints: they practice a polygamous atonement and trust many saviors. Even if Jesus is the main one, He has to share with baptism, repentance, temple ordinances, and overall obedience. Plainly stated, in Mormonism Jesus is not enough.
Beauty and the Beast
Even if polygamy doesn’t occur in heaven, the existence of Heavenly Mother doesn’t bode well for Mormonism because it makes the Father a moral monster.
Let’s look back at my bishop’s sentiment that God didn’t reveal His wife because people might malign her. Does a Celestial being need that kind of protection? She should be able to withstand the mockery of measly mortals. This isn’t some 10-year-old we’re talking about.
The idea of any God having such a fragile ego is not only laughable, it immediately renders that God unworthy of worship. What’s the point of worshiping a God that’s no better than us?
If anything, the idea that God has to protect his wife sounds like an attempt to justify his own insecurity. There aren’t many reasons to hide a mother’s existence from her children. The mother would have to be dangerous or a degenerate. Otherwise, the Father’s a narcissistic kidnapper.
That possibility makes sense since it’s forbidden to pray to anyone besides the Father. The Mother is completely shut out, thus reducing her to a demigod whose only role is that of incubator. I can’t imagine LDS women being thrilled about a future like that.
One could argue that mortality is short, and our future relationship with Heavenly Mother will compensate for lost time, but I disagree. Our relationship with God will be built on what He did for us during mortality.
On the other hand, we’re reunited with a Mother who wouldn’t help when we needed her most, when our mortal situation was a matter of spiritual life and death. When it comes to parenting, staying out of the limelight isn’t classy, it’s negligent. A relationship like that could never rival what we’ll have with members of the Godhead.
To top it off, some statements by God come off as incredibly callous when you assume Heavenly Mother exists. Take Isaiah 45:5-6 (KJV), for example:
“I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou has not known me:
That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else.”
Then there’s Isaiah 44:8 (KJV):
“Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? Ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? Yea, there is no God; I know not any.”
My friends, this isn’t just God hiding the existence of Heavenly Mother, but lying to do so. This is an action, according to The Book of Mormon, that will have violators thrust into the fires of hell (2 Nephi 9:34).
God continues His denial of Heavenly Mother in Isaiah 46:9 (KJV) when He says:
“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me.”
Let’s examine all the options:
- Heavenly Mother exists but there’s something wrong with her. She’s a degenerate who’s detached from her children or a demigod who lacks the power to help.
- Heavenly Mother exists but there’s a problem with her husband. He hides her existence and forbids any contact between her and her children.
- Heavenly Mother isn’t real.
Seriously though, if Heavenly Mother exists, why isn’t she part of our lives? Did she fall from her exaltation? Did she divorce Heavenly Father and lose the custody battle? Perhaps God learned a trick from Chronos in Greek mythology and devoured her to keep from being dethroned.
The only option that makes sense is that Heavenly Mother is a myth. God wasn’t lying when He said there wasn’t a God beside Him. He isn’t a moral monster, shutting our Mother out and engaging with polygamous demi-goddesses.
To those invested in the Heavenly Mother myth, I offer this plea: repent from your animosity and your rebellion against God. This theology only serves one purpose, and that’s to siphon away God’s glory.
An idolatrous heart craves a Heavenly Mother, Celestial Marriage, and priesthood ordinances. It looks to salvation and anticipates heavenly joy anywhere it can except God and embraces an ideology of any creed but Christ.
Would you partake of a beverage that had a tiny bit of alcohol in it? No, because a little alcohol contaminates the whole drink. You would fling it far from you. In the same way I implore you to fling these poisonous doctrines as far away as you can.
Abandon all hope but Christ, for His grace is sufficient to save and His presence is enough to grant us the highest exultation in heaven.