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Is There a Mother in Heaven? (LDS Gospel Topics Essay Series)

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January 16, 2022 11:59 pm

Is There a Mother in Heaven? (LDS Gospel Topics Essay Series)

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January 16, 2022 11:59 pm

Michael swung by Outer Brightness to discuss the LDS Gospel Topics Essay on the LDS doctrine of a Mother in Heaven. In this first part of the conversation, they discuss how they viewed thsi doctrine when they were LDS and whether or not they felt an affinity for the doctrine. Finally, they discuss each of the passages from LDS canon that are cited in the essay as supportive of the doctrine.

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You're entering outer brightness. Hey, Fireflies. Welcome back to outer brightness. As you can see, we got the band back together. Michael Flournoy is here, a.k.a.

Dr. Pepper. And for the first time ever, we've got Doc Eklund here. Welcome, Matthew.

Doc Eklund. Hey, I'm glad to be here. I know I'm not as fun to have around as Dr. Pepper, but at least we got him here too. And Michael, welcome back. Thanks. Good to see you guys again.

It's been too long. Yeah, for sure. Glad to have you on board with us for this episode. So this episode, Fireflies, we're going to be talking about one of the Gospel Topics essays.

I reached out to Michael to have him pick one of them and decided we'd record a bonus episode for season six. So we're going to be reading through the Mother in Heaven article, Gospel Topics essay, and then we've got some questions that we're going to discuss between the three of us. So before we get started, I'm just going to give a quick kind of intro to this topic. So when I was a teenager, I distinctly remember occupying my typical sacrament meeting position, sitting next to my mother, hunched over in the pew, staring at my shoes and trying to convey to her by my posture just how miserable I was at being dragged out of bed on a Sunday morning. However, that Sunday was different because a member of the bishopric was making an announcement that members were not to pray to Heavenly Mother. He quoted from Gordon B. Hinckley, who was then the first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and he had spoken in the October 1991 General Conference and warned against church members who were advocating that women should pray to a mother in heaven. My young mind was burning because this warning, combined with the 23rd August 1991 statement from the First Presidency condemning symposia like Sunstone, made me aware for the first time that there was a vocal group of dissenters within the LDS church that worried the leadership.

And I was already aware of the polygamous groups in Utah who were outside the LDS church, but this warning about praying to a mother in heaven notified me that there were some codified doctrines that the leadership of the church considered dangerous. So that's our topic today, Heavenly Mother. And what we're going to do is have Matthew read through the whole of the article. It's fairly short.

It's just over one page. So he's going to read through that and then we'll jump into the discussion questions. Thanks, Matthew. So kind of the first question I want to get into is what was your first experience with this distinctive LDS doctrine of a mother in heaven? And did you feel any affinity for this doctrine? Michael, we'll go to you first.

Okay. So I vaguely remember being a very young man when my dad told me originally that we could become gods. You know, he kind of brought this concept up to me first saying, you know, any thing that has a child or has offspring, that offspring is going to grow up to be exactly like whatever produced it. And since we're children of literal children of God, we were going to become gods someday as well. But I think it was even a couple of years beyond that when he told me that God was married as well.

So that was kind of like big shock part two in my life. But of course, growing up in the church, it kind of made logical sense because I'm like, hey, you've got to be married and sealed in order to be exalted. And if we're following the same pattern that our Heavenly Father followed, then it makes sense in that regard. I remember being in a priest group in church where the bishop kind of brought this up a little bit too. And some of my colleagues were saying, why don't we ever talk or some of my classmates were saying, why don't we ever talk about her? And his response was, well, she's very sacred.

And if the world had public knowledge of her, they would they would malign her and say all kinds of terrible things. And obviously that would hurt God very badly to have his wife talked about like that. And so I don't know that I would say I had a huge affinity for it, maybe because I never really had much of a relationship with my mother growing up. And so having a Heavenly Mother just didn't have like this huge appeal to me.

I didn't know what that was supposed to look like or anything. So then I went on my mission. And of course, Mormon missionaries love to speculate about all kinds of deep doctrines. And so that's when it came up that in a lot of their opinions after this life, we would have the opportunity not to only be sealed to one wife, but possibly multiple wives. And I didn't like that at all. I was like, you know what, even if I could have more than one wife, I would only have one.

And their response was, why would you want to diminish your progression like that? And so I really I remember coming off my mission and I was a big fan of the whole idea. Like if it's not in the canon, it's not Scripture. And that's kind of how I put my worldview together. And so I couldn't find any evidence of a Heavenly Mother in Scripture. And so I came to really believe that that wasn't a true doctrine. So I was actually a Mormon who didn't believe in Heavenly Mother, post mission. So yeah, I wouldn't say I've really had an affinity to the doctrine at all. Yeah, I appreciate what you said there about, you know, if you couldn't find it in the canon, then you didn't grasp it as a strong doctrine or as something that you felt like you were bound to believe.

Matthew, no knock on you. I'm just not sure what version of the essay you were reading from. The first paragraph in the version that you were reading has a significant section cut off because it starts out and says, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that all human beings, male and female, are beloved spirit children of heavenly parents, a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother. This understanding is rooted in scriptural and prophetic teachings about the nature of God and our relationship to deity and the godly potential of men and women.

And then it goes into the first sentence that you had read. But I think it's also significant that the first part of the second paragraph where it says, While there is no record of a formal revelation to Joseph Smith on this doctrine, some early Latter-day Saint women recalled that he personally taught them about a mother in heaven. So, yeah, I just think it's important to get that out there in light of what Michael said, you know, that the essay kind of acknowledges that it's, it's, it's dubiously attested even in LDS canon as a doctrine.

But Matthew, what are your thoughts on the first question? What was your first experience with this doctrine and did you feel an affinity for it? You know, it's one of those things where when you grow up LDS, you kind of just, you know, you just kind of absorb through osmosis certain doctrines and you're not really entirely sure when you first heard it or when you first learned about it. I do remember having discussions with my dad when I was quite young about the idea of becoming gods.

I remember asking him about that, becoming gods of your own planet. It's kind of related to mother in heaven. But as far as specifically that, I honestly don't really even remember. And it's kind of just something that you just take for granted, at least I did kind of, especially when it mentions later on in the essay about the family approximation to the world is specifically talks about, you know, heavenly parents, and the whole idea of eternal progression, this idea that we're kind of following the same path that God has, which a lot of LDS today will challenge and say that that's not canonical or it's not official or whatever, you know, they might try to squeeze in an eternal God that never progressed or doesn't have a God above him. But if you just take the eternal, the classic traditional LDS view of eternal progression, it just makes sense. You know, it just kind of fits into the puzzle. So it wasn't really something that I really questioned. It wasn't something that I really latched on to. It wasn't something that I really felt, you know, particularly strong feelings about. I just kind of said, oh, okay, well, we have parents on earth that make sense.

And then just kind of went from there. Yeah, I'm with you there, Matthew. It just was kind of ubiquitous in Mormon culture to kind of adopt this understanding of we have earthly parents, we have heavenly parents. And I remember kind of my first understanding of this probably came with like listening to the soundtracks or watching Saturday's Warrior or My Turn on Earth, some of those 1970s LDS musicals that kind of touch on this idea that we were created spirit children first in a pre-earth life and then sent here and kind of part and parcel with that is this idea that you have a heavenly mother.

As far as whether or not I personally felt any affinity for the doctrine, I didn't. I know that my paternal grandmother did, and I'm going to give a trigger warning here for any listeners who may want to bow out if topics like suicide make you uncomfortable, feel free to bow out at this point. But on my birthday, 50 years before I was born, my paternal great grandmother took her own life and my paternal grandmother who was 17 at the time found her and then ended up kind of being a surrogate mother to her two younger sisters as they grew up.

So my grandmother was 17 and her youngest sister who she was closest with, my great aunt Viola was seven at the time that my great-great grandmother took her life. So that was a very difficult and traumatic experience for my grandmother and I remember her talking about that and the essay mentions Eliza Snow's poem that has become the LDS hymn, Oh My Father. That was one of my grandmother's favorite hymns because of the line about there being a mother there as well. So just want to bring that up because it's not a doctrine that I felt an affinity for, but I do have within my own family some women who very much related to this doctrine. Yeah, thank you for sharing that, Paul.

I appreciate that. You are listening to Outer Brightness, a podcast for post Mormons who are drawn by God to walk with Jesus rather than turn away. Outer Brightness, Outer Brightness, Outer Brightness.

There's no weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth here. We were all born and raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, more commonly referred to as the Mormon faith. All of us have left that religion and have been drawn to faith in Jesus Christ based on biblical teachings. The name of our podcast, Outer Brightness, reflects John 1, 9, which calls Jesus the true light, which gives light to everyone. We have found life beyond Mormonism to be brighter than we were told it would be, and the light we have is not our own. It comes to us from without.

Thus, Outer Brightness. Our purpose is to share our journeys of faith and what God has done in drawing us to his son. We have conversations about all aspects of that transition, the fears, challenges, joys, and everything in between.

We're glad you found us and we hope you'll stick around. So the essay mentions several scriptural passages that it indicates Latter-day Saints believe give evidence of this doctrine. So let's take a look at those in turn. The first one is Genesis 1, 26 and 27, and I will read that. It says, And God said, Let us make man in our image after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them. So what was your understanding of this passage as a Latter-day Saint? Did you see it giving evidence to a doctrine of the mother in heaven, Michael? I mean, I guess by the time that I was really serious about scripture, like after my mission, no. What I did see was that it was making a case for us having an appearance like God, having physical bodies of flesh and bone, you know, two arms, two legs, I would have definitely made that argument, but I didn't see it promoting a heavenly mother. But I do have family that will point to this and will say that clearly there were female gods as well. What about you, Matthew? Yeah, I don't know.

I'm trying to remember. It seems like I would point to this as just seemed like, yeah, that we were made to look like, to make us look like God. And I guess it depends on to what extent that's true. And I guess most LDS do take this very literally in terms of like, this is, you know, that's why we look like God. But since women don't look like Heavenly Father, because Heavenly Father is man, you know, I probably did use that as justification to show that, you know, there must be a Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. And so I guess that let us make man in our image, you know, most Christians will say that that's seeing that's the inner intra-trinitarian speech, where it's the Father, the Son and Spirit speaking together. But I guess LDS would see that as either God talking to Jehovah, you know, like Elohim talking to Jehovah, which is a Father and Jesus, or, but if that's the case, and then that would mean that Heavenly Mother, you know, if it's making man in our image, meaning man and woman, in both the image of Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother, that would mean Heavenly Mother was also participating in creation. And it seems like depends on I do remember vague notions of like LDS leaders that would say that priesthood leaders in the pre existence were participating in creation. So that must mean the Heavenly Mother holds some kind of priesthood in order to do that. So it gets kind of complicated if you try to go down that route of using this passage in particular to prove that we're being made in the image of God requires both a mother and a father. If I could add to that just a little bit, real quick to I mean, when I look at this too, I've had arguments with some of my family members over this. But just to give you an example, real quick, you know, we've got this, we've got these two cats, and one of them is this black cat named Dracula.

And they had a litter of kittens, and one of them was this black female kitten. And I mean, I'm just like, it looked just like Dracula and acted just like Dracula. But even though she was female, she was in the image of her father, you know, so I mean, there's just not enough specific enough to indicate that there has to be a female God for that passage to be true, even if you assume the LDS understanding to be correct, that it is talking about physical appearance, which I would argue that it's not because it seems to actually be calling it like pointing that out to be like dominion, you know, like that's talked about immediately after like, let's make God in our image and give them dominion over everything else on the earth. So that's just some of my thoughts. Yeah.

Yeah. And I think, I think that's a good point. And it's, you know, as I was reading through the essay again, a few weeks ago, in preparation for this episode, I noted that language that I think is, I think it's really restrained what they say, you know, when they say this understanding is rooted in scriptural and prophetic teachings about the nature of God. They don't say, they don't go so far as to say, you know, that this understanding is taught clearly in scripture or this understanding, you know, anything like that, that's so dogmatic, they really restrained what they say. It's rooted in scriptural teachings. It's not necessarily evidenced by it. And so to your point, Michael, where you're saying, you know, there's not enough specificity here in Genesis 1, 26 and 27, I would agree with that.

The next Mormon scriptural passage that they cite is Moses chapter three, verses four to seven. Would one of you like to read that or I can, I've got it up if you'd like me to read it. Yeah. Sorry.

I don't have that right now. So go ahead. I'll read it. And now behold, I say unto you that these are the generations of the heaven and of the earth, when they were created in the day that I, the Lord God made the heaven and the earth and every plant of the field before it was in the earth and every herb of the field before it grew for I the Lord God created all things of which I have spoken spiritually before they were naturally upon the face of the earth for I the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth. And I the Lord God had created all the children of men and not yet a man to till the ground for in heaven created I them. And there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air, but I the Lord God spake. And there went up a mist from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground and I the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul, the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also, nevertheless, all things were before created, but spiritually were they created and made according to my word. So this passage, it doesn't really mention Eve at all, right?

It doesn't mention females. What it does mention is the LDS idea of a spiritual creation before a physical creation, which you know, then leads to the doctrine of a pre-existence. So would you have used this passage Matthew or Michael jump in as you see fit to support a doctrine of a mother in heaven personally, I would never have gone to this passage to argue that a Heavenly Mother existed, but I might have gone there to prove that there was a pre-existence, you know, I think that just to kind of give an explanation that there was pre-existing material and that we were all created spiritually before being created physically. I might go that route, but I just don't see the argument for a Heavenly Mother here at all.

I'm surprised this even made it into the article. Now one thing that is kind of interesting. I'm looking at Romans chapter 4 in verse 17 as it is written. I have made you the father of many nations in the presence of the God in whom he believed who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist basically saying that that God by his word has created out of nothing everything that exists. So, you know, it really flies in the face of what Moses is saying here that everything was created, you know, spiritually first or that there was a pre-existing material because there simply was not anything like that tangent. I know no, that's good Matthew any thoughts on the the book of Moses chapter 3 4 to 7 passage. Yeah, nothing really to add.

I kind of agree with Michael that I would use it for the pre-existence or the pre-immortal existence whatever you want to call it. Not so much. Yeah talking about Heavenly Mother about you Paul.

Yeah, I agree. I was you know, when when Michael just now said he was shocked that it made it in the article. I was like, well, I better go back and make sure that I didn't miss sight what they were citing. But no the first footnote is where they list all the scriptural passages where they say that this is rooted and Moses 3 4 to 7 is there. So I'm not sure exactly what they what they are going for there except maybe just they're trying to support the idea that there was a pre-existence and kind of that first sentence of the of the essay which says that male and female all human beings male and female are beloved spirit children of Heavenly Parents. So maybe they're just trying to support that generally by saying see Moses the book of Moses says that there was a pre-existence. Okay, so good on you Michael for going to Romans because that's actually the next citation they have Romans chapter 8 16 to 17. All right, I got it.

You'll be able to read it. Yep, the spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God and if children then heirs heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ if so be that we suffer with him that we may be also glorified together. How does how does this passage support a doctrine of the mother in heaven? I mean it says that we're children of God and if you take that literally, I guess you could imply that there must have been a Heavenly Mother but it just gets a little bit awkward when the context of just one verse away, it's like completely changes the meaning because in verse 16, I just have to point it out. I'm sorry verse 15 for you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear but you've received the spirit of adoption whereby we cry Abba Father if we're children by adoption obviously that completely takes the wind out of the sails of their having to be a Heavenly Mother.

Yeah, Matthew any thoughts there? Yeah, it's another passage that tries to connect us as being literal children of Heavenly Parents, but doesn't explicit it's not an explicit statement that we are they have a Heavenly Mother. So it's kind of like you have to fit it into the system and then use well if we have only if we have earthly parents that are father and mother we will set father and mother in heaven as well. So it's kind of yeah that seems to kind of be like what how they tie it all together and yeah as Michael said if you read it in context, it doesn't really tell you that we're literal children. It's funny because it's talking about believers, you know, but LDS believe that we're everybody believers are literal children of Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. So like what's the point of encouraging Christians to like, you know, take cheer and you know, we're a spirit, you know proclaims to our spirit that we are children of God and we cry out Abba Father like what's the point of that? How does that encourage us or give us hope when an atheist who spits at the name of God and curses Jesus's name every day if they could say the same thing, you know, it's it doesn't really make sense. Right.

Yeah. Yeah, that's a good point because you know Latter-day Saints will often cite this idea that we're literal children of Heavenly Parents as a reason for hope, right? But to your point Matthew, you know someone who is an enemy to God if you know them being able to say that how does how does that give them hope right if they're if they're in an attitude of rebellion against God so right and I and I just want to point out too that like it talks about and if we are children then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs of Christ. So does that mean everybody is an heir of God? Everybody is going to inherit everything in creation believer or not Latter-day Saint or not, you know Judas all the people who are so as a perdition who are also literal children of God, you know, some LDS will say that when you become a son of perdition, you're like, you know disowned from the family I guess but even even people in celestial Kingdom, they're not inheriting all that God has they're not joint heirs with Christ.

They're like they're given like a tiny little a token gift, you know for for word or whatever it is they hear it. So so it's like this passage talks about spiritual adoption and then they pick this specific verse that they claim is talking about literal childhood of God and then it goes back to being spiritual adopted children because only the those who are children of Christ is obvious say will inherit all things. So it goes from spiritual to physical to spiritual or or or, you know, adopted literal adopted, you know, it doesn't make sense in the context.

Yeah, it doesn't and the other thing doesn't make sense is according to this logic. I mean one thing that I love about Christianity is that God doesn't send any of his children to hell but with the Mormon perspective, he's already sent a third of his spirit children like are already destined to go there just for not keeping their first estate. And so I mean, I think that's a really problematic thing.

I mean, it's like hey, he's a really just a failed parent if that's the case. The other thing that's a little bit awkward is like I'm just trying to put myself back in the LDS mindset a little bit and looking at verse 15 like I cited a minute ago. It talks about crying Abba Father and then Heavenly Mother is just left out completely and it's just one of those things where it's like this is a perfect opportunity if it was true for the scripture to just to put it there. I mean, it looks like for some reason out of the LDS been claimed that Paul wasn't aware of this doctrine because the restoration hadn't played out or not the restoration but like Christianity hadn't Christianity hadn't been fully brought to bear at that point or what but it's just it seems very strange that it's absent there if it's true.

Yeah, yeah, very good point. And that's, you know, the other line from the essay that kind of stood out to me is, you know, while there is no record of a formal revelation to Joseph Smith on this doctrine, some early Latter-day Saint women recalled that he personally taught them about a mother in heaven. You know, my understanding of LDS teaching is that prophets and apostles are important because they're supposed to be the ones to receive revelation on behalf of the church and deliver it to the church and yet this essay is kind of clear that there's no revelation from Joseph Smith on this doctrine and yet here we are talking about it as a doctrine of the LDS church.

How does that happen, right? So it's not even something that's canonized in there, you know, that's put before the church for common consent. It's just kind of there as a cultural doctrine. Yeah, and what's crazy because you're what you're saying is that a couple of women with accounts are coming up with this doctrine and they do not only not hold the priesthood but they do not hold priesthood keys.

And if that's the case, why do we need prophets and apostles at all? If anybody can come up with a doctrine because they said Joseph Smith told them in privacy, yeah, and I you know, I want to be I want to be careful here and tread lightly Michael you and I discussed possibly having, you know, a female ex-Latter-day Saint Christian on the show for this episode with us to discuss this doctrine because you know, I've mentioned before that I came out of the LDS church kind of through a detour along the path of more progressive Mormonism where there are many women in the Latter-day Saint faith and on the progressive side of the Latter-day Saint faith for whom this doctrine is very important, right? They and you know, they look at statements like Gordon B. Hinckley made and it and it hurts them and they look at the silence of scripture on a doctrine of Mother in Heaven and it hurts them because they think oh something about women is distasteful and it's being withheld and the patriarchy and all of that. And so I want to tread lightly and understand that that's that is the experience of some people but I think what's interesting about the line that I just quoted from the essay where it talks about there not being a formal revelation but several women recalled him talking about it. The footnote for that if you go to footnote three in the essay it cites Zina Diana Huntington Young and says that she recalled that when her mother died in 1839 Joseph Smith consoled her by telling her that in Heaven she would see her own mother again and become acquainted with her eternal mother.

Now Zina Diana Huntington Young was married to Joseph Smith as a plural wife on October 27th 1841. So this doctrine is tied up with his proposals to women for plural marriage which might be an interesting link for why it doesn't completely disappear within Mormonism even though it's not formally canonized as a revelation. Any thoughts on that from either of you? Yeah I'm not really sure that's interesting though. Yeah she's got an interesting fascinating history herself in terms of polygamy and all that. So do you think that was like a genuine thing or was it more of a kind of like a reassurance like hey stay on the boat with this whole polygamy thing you know? From Smith to her you mean?

Yeah yeah. Yeah I don't know. It's hard to get in it's hard to get inside the mind of someone you've never met and I know like a lot of a lot of people look at Joseph Smith and think oh you know he's just he's gaslighting women. He's doing all kind of this nefarious stuff and maybe I'm just also you know recalling pieces about him that were written in very glowing terms and aimed at getting you to feel sympathy with him. You know I'm thinking about like passages that talk about when he was dragged out of the Johnson house in Kirtland and you know tarred and feathered in the middle of the winter and the exposure that his two young children experienced at the time ended up in their death you know. So yeah it's hard to get at that whether or not he's genuine in his comfort to other people but it's also hard to not think you know with some of the things that he did that and some of the lies that he told that there's some there's some duplicity going on with him. So yeah it's hard to say but it just seems like something kind of like how he was very well known for you know coming up with things on the spot like himself the white knee fight somebody found a pile of bones and it just kind of out of the blue got this revelation about this supposed white knee fight you know. Yeah so that's just kind of an idea I had is maybe it was something I'm not even sure he consciously came up with these ideas now maybe they just popped into his head and he kind of rolled with it you know I don't know so I don't know it's just interesting to think about. Yeah and what you just said is interesting we could talk about it another episode like what he says about receiving revelation and ideas popping into your head is very kind of very similar so. Okay so next go ahead let me just throw in like two cents real quick because I'm thinking about a lot of things here too and particularly why this doctrine would be very appealing to women in the church like you were saying because you know there is so much in the church that you cannot do if you are a woman right I mean you can't hold any leadership positions you can't you can't even go up and bless your own baby when they name the baby you know and so the idea that you can go past this life and then actually have some some authority and and be something better is I could see how that would be appealing but I do think that it ends up being a false hope at the end of the day because you know you look at all these passages you know in scripture or and and heavenly mother just just isn't isn't really mentioned at all and then even in the church you know it's like what happened with Fiona with with Fiona Gibbons that you were talking about before we started recording you know or I mean there have been people who said like you know don't don't pray to Heavenly Mother right like the church has actually come out and said that where it's like if if she's a member of the Godhead then why should that even be be a thing like why are we as her children kept from being able to talk to her and so to me it just sounds like there's you know the hope that you're going to be a goddess someday is kind of dashed by I'm not going to get to talk to my children when they're going through their mortality which is a an eternal life or death situation you know that moment where they need you the most and you you cannot have contact with them but it's just a they may come back to you they may not be like you mean that she you know if she's real and she sent us all to this earth she's not going to see a lot of us ever again like that's it we are now not worthy of her presence anymore so so I think about all that and I just I don't know I don't know how I could try to put myself in a LDS woman's shoes especially but I don't know how I could possibly hold on to that belief and actually hope for better things in the next life yeah yeah yeah all right so let's go on to talk about the next two passages and we'll come back to talking about some of the some of the recent happenings around this doctrine within the LDS church so the next one is psalm 82 six either of you have that or if not I've got it up I can read it yeah I've got it okay psalm 82 verse six and King James says I have said your gods and all of you are children of the most high all right so what do you think of this this passage as a as a support for a doctrine of a mother in heaven yeah similar to what we have talked about earlier in the Romans passage where it just says that you know children of God or you know created in the image of God as in Genesis it doesn't say anything about a mother in heaven so it kind of has to be like a deduction of like well for like like we've said multiple times if we have heavenly parents that are father and mother we must have spiritual earthly mother father and mother we must have a heavenly father but we've we've kind of talked about previous episodes especially with the gospel topic essay about becoming like becoming gods or becoming like God I forget what the exact title but we have like a three part or four part or whatever it was that gospel topic essay so yeah it's pretty long so so we're for our listeners to that one if they want to know in depth our views of psalm 82 but in context I just don't think it's it's speaking of it's either not it's either speaking of a heavenly council which doesn't include us or it's speaking of elders you know leaders in Israel at that time who are ruling unjustly which also doesn't include us so to use us as justification for our being literal children of God it doesn't work either way no matter how no matter how you slice it yeah yeah for sure and it's and it's a song it's a psalm of judgment too you know the verse seven actually says but you shall die like men and fall like one of the princes so whether it's whether it's referring to a heavenly council right the divine council or whether it's referring to leaders within Israel either way the judgment coming upon them here is not good they're not leading the the people justly and so the the penalty of that is coming is being declared upon them so yeah to refer to this passage as a as a support for a doctrine of the mother of a mother in heaven is kind of an interesting approach to to take i think michael any thoughts on this passage um i agree with what both of you said i think that this is just um them trying to to support that we can become gods and just they're trying to put up uh a hundred different tacks on the wall to make a picture of you know you you deduce enough different points they're gonna eventually point to their being a heavenly mother but again i think what really always bothered me is that there was never a clear scripture anywhere that says that there is a heavenly mother period so this verse again does the same thing now i think where i would have taken you guys to task a little bit if i was still lds is uh john chapter 10 uh verses 34 and 36 where jesus quotes the passage uh because the pharisees say that he is blaspheming because he's making himself god and in verse 34 jesus says is it not written in your law i said ye are gods if he called them gods under whom the word of god came and the scripture cannot be broken say ye of him whom the father hath sanctified and sent into the world thou blasphemous because i said i am the son of god um so a couple things in that verse and i know i'm going in a little bit of a tangent here because like i said none of this even here in john 10 none of it supports their being a heavenly mother and all but uh first of all he says that they were called uh gods who the to whom the word of god came which i would have said that's that's us that's human beings um and then he's using it in a way because i know that i've heard evangelicals say uh that the psalms is talking about like judges or somebody in authority but here jesus seems to be using it uh in the context of how can it be blasphemy for me to call myself the son of god if psalms says you are gods and i'm just kind of surprised that you know the pharisees uh didn't come back to them being like okay well you're using ice of jesus here like that's not what that passage is even talking about it seems to actually uh kind of confuse them enough that like they stop questioning him here so do you guys have any thoughts on that yeah so my thought on that and if you're gonna if you're gonna take psalm 82 as not referring to a heavenly council a divine council of angelic beings but rather taking it to mean judges in israel who are not judging the people righteously um then the way jesus seems to be using the passage in john 10 is to say um that judges in israel um someone like moses right was a judge in israel judges in israel can be referred to as quote-unquote gods because they represent god to the people and so later or another in another passage in the new testament in matthew uh 23 2 jesus says that the scribes and the pharisees sit in moses's seat right and he enjoins the people to uh to to take heed of their word because they are sitting in the rightful seat of moses as a judge of the people as judges of the people um so but he says not to do their works right because their works are are not righteous right so um he's he does seem to be saying that um if you're taking psalm 82 as judges within israel then then yeah this you know he could be referring to the pharisees there and saying you know it doesn't say in your law ye are gods right because you're sitting in moses's seat um then how much more you know why would it be blasphemous for me to say that i'm the son of god so that that that's kind of what he could be doing there all right cool thanks all right yeah i don't really have anything to add to that sorry about that go ahead that's okay thanks matthew um so the final passage that they cite in the essay is doctrine and covenants 132 19 to 20 do either of you have that i'll read it if not um so uh 19 is it might as well be a book on its own but um here it goes and again verily i say unto you if a man marry a wife by my word which is my law and by the new and everlasting covenant and it is sealed unto them by the holy spirit of promise by him who is anointed unto whom i have appointed this power and the keys of the priesthood and it shall be said unto them you shall come forth in the first resurrection and if it be after the first resurrection in the next resurrection and shall inherit thrones kingdoms principalities and powers dominions all heights and depths then shall it be written in the lamb's book of life that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood and if you abide in my covenant and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put forth upon them in time and through all eternity and shall be of full force when they are out of the world and they shall pass by the angels and the gods which are set there to their exaltation and glory in all things as hath been sealed upon their heads which glory shall be a fullness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever then shall they be gods because they have no end therefore they shall be from everlasting to everlasting because they continue then shall they be above all because all things are subject unto them then shall they be gods because they have all power and the angels are subject unto them so of any of the passages that we've read tonight this to me would seem to be the most direct one that that could be read as supporting a doctrine of a mother in heaven if you're if you're within the worldview of the latter-day saint scripture that says there's a an infinite regression of gods male and female going back into eternity and that there will be forever and ever going forward into eternity as well as men and women are sealed together under the new and everlasting covenant of marriage which was originally having to do with polygamy so any thoughts on this passage with relation to a mother in heaven michael matthew yeah i have a couple thoughts about this passage um first of all i just have to throw this out there i think it's hilarious um well i guess not hilarious but then it basically says that you can uh get away with anything as long as you don't murder anybody so apparently you can go around robbing banks and selling people into into slavery and anything else and that's fine you'll get slapped on the wrist and you're still going to go for your exaltation i think that completely destroys the justice of god um in that verse but aside from that like you said paul this is definitely the closest passage to say i mean it clearly says that men and women are going to go on to become gods and if you believe in the infinite regression of gods logically there must be a heavenly mother and a heavenly grandmother and so on and so forth um but again it does not actually specify that there is a heavenly mother i feel like a broken record do i sound like a broken record to you guys um it still has to be inferred logically that there must be a heavenly mother and i think that there are other parts of scripture that make it an impossibility for example it calls the father the most high god and so that becomes a problem i mean if you're a latter-day saint listening on you really think about this but if if the father is the most high god then he's not equal to his wife is he so so there's an unequal union even though she's she's a goddess somehow he's he's still greater they're not they're not equals um and i also think that whole thing takes away the idea of there being an infinite regression of gods i mean when i was lds i actually believed that the father was the original god that he was not created at any point and if that's the case he doesn't need a wife because he would just be and i think that's something that a christian is going to understand at least but i don't know what do you guys think well going back to our discussion earlier too about um i think it was both was it uh was it fiona givens that uh said she thought the heavenly mother was only ghost is that who we talked about yeah let me grab that so there's an article in the um salt lake tribune that touches on this and just for the benefit benefit of our listeners um tarryl and fiona givens are mormon uh neo apologists i guess you would term them um but mormon authors they've written a number of books uh tarryl uh on his own and fiona on her own and then the two of them together um both both um you know well studied and credentialed lds scholars um but they were both working for uh the maxwell institute at byu um which was formerly named farms the foundation for ancient research and mormon studies but has undergone a cultural transition in terms of what uh scott what type of scholarship it wants to put out uh less apologetic and more scholarly um and so fiona givens had recently done a study uh as i understand it of ancient references to female deities uh in the form of pillars of light and then she was comparing that to in a in a fireside uh a virtual fire fireside to the uh first vision of joseph smith where he talks about seeing a pillar of light and so i guess was making the uh the suggestion that um the father the son and the mother were present at the first vision as as the the godhead and um she's quoted let me find the the quote here um hang on i'm looking in the article to try to find exactly where she says the line about the holy spirit um and i'm not finding it um but in any case she was she was asked and i'm not sure when it sounded like maybe in an in an interview um if uh if she thought the um because i guess i guess the interviewer was was seeing the implication there that the the heavenly mother would be the the holy spirit and um asked her if she thought that was the case and she seemed to indicate yes in the quote in this article and i can share this article in the in the show notes so people can read it for themselves but um she's so fiona givens gave this fireside and then pretty quickly after that i guess this was in may of 2021 pretty quickly after that um was no longer uh employed by the maxwell institute at byu and is turning down um requests to speak publicly so and it does sound like she was um reprimanded for for sharing her views in that regard um so there's the background for our listeners any any thoughts from you matthew or michael on that yeah i was just uh i was just kind of mentioning her passing because of that comment because i found also we were talking before recording and uh margaret barker made a uh 2015 fair mormon conference presentation called the mother in heaven and her children and i think she's like a methodist or something like that so she's not letter d sing but she's often quoted by lds uh she's very much on the like liberal kind of scholar spectrum so she has some very aberrant uh ideas as compared to historical christianity and so they asked her the question number five do you believe the holy ghost is our mother in heaven the answer is yes and then uh question seven should the traditional concept of the godhead i.e father son holy ghost include her and her answer was well it does so she was kind of saying that this is like secret or lost knowledge that people used to worship you know the holy ghost as heavenly mother supposedly it's an interesting kind of connection she tries to make but i forgot what my original point was but um if we're talking about like uh michael i think it's going back to what michael said about the god being the most high god if you think of if heavenly mother is the holy ghost well then you have the heavenly father which is at the top and then jesus christ which is right below him and then his wife the holy ghost is below jesus so in the hierarchy his wife comes below uh christ and that causes problems also because the holy ghost doesn't have a body so she hasn't been resurrected so i mean to me that causes all kinds of issues if you consider it that way because we look forward to our resurrection that's that's why christ was resurrected was to give us hope you know to give us hope that there is there is life after and that we will be reunited with our bodies in heaven but she doesn't have that yet so for however many eons she has existed she has been disembodied and so the only time she would ever actually get her body is after everybody who's ever born on this planet will live and die except to reject the gospel and then everything is done and then maybe she'll get a button or uh as michael said like well if she's part of the godhead but why don't we worship her but if she's not the holy spirit then she's a god that's equal supposedly in power to the father but she's not in the godhead or she's like a secret fourth member that nobody knows about so anyway you try to look at it trying to fit heavenly mother somewhere in there it just doesn't make any sense and uh yeah well i'll also refer our listeners to the episode we have with the episodes we had with erin shuffle wall of where we talk about exaltation dilemmas in mormonism where uh we talk about these expanding godheads or you know like um will jesus also be part of another godhead you know with him at the top and so that will that mean that jesus is part of two separate godheads you know one for this universe and one for his own universe and when we become gods will we become you know if we follow the plan i guess will we become gods in our godhead and will that keep happening or you've got these overlapping godheads there's all kinds of issues when you consider the entire system of exaltation in the obvious system yeah for sure and um for the benefit of our listeners as well like matthew mentioned margaret barker so yeah she's a she's a methodist scholar who has written quite extensively on temple theology trying to recreate the theology of the the of solomon's temple the first temple and kind of makes the makes the suggestion consistent with like the the deuteronomics history theory which is that you know deuteronomy was written later during the time of the exile and but but kind of makes the margaret barker kind of tries to make the case that the the theology of the first temple was different than the theology of the second temple which was kind of focused on more priestly the more priestly role that you see in in the law of moses and kind of tries to make room for a female deity being part of temple worship and and worship in israel before the exile so um it's it's it's definitely a line of scholarship that latter-day saints love to jump into i think one of you mentioned when we were talking before we hit record uh the the nephi's ashra article uh i think it was daniel peterson that wrote that i may be wrong it may be somebody else but it was somebody at farms wrote that um trying to make the case that uh nephi and the book of mormon uh refers to a female deity and and then tie that to ashra worship in the old testament um and so there's a there's this you know alternative line of scholarship um the more liberal side of christian scholarship that looks at ashra worship in the in the old testament as once being a normative thing within israel and that uh later uh man it's it's a very feminist uh approach to the old testament that later men try you know kind of wrote out a female deity out of scripture um so um margaret barker does that and then uh daniel mcclellan who's an lds uh scholar does that as well uh you'd see him do it on you can see him do it on tick tock quite a bit on his uh tick tock videos uh he's a uh scripture uh translation i forget his exact title but he's involved in scripture translation for the lds church in an official capacity um but he studied under um francesca staba kapulu i think is her name and she she does a lot of that same kind of scholarship about a mother in heaven about um female deities i recall seeing her uh not that long ago um a few years back i saw the video i think it's from uh maybe uh seven years ago maybe a decade ago she was on a a british um talk show and she was being asked about her scholarship and you know she was being pretty she's pretty um i'd call her a firebrand she's pretty uh she can be pretty offensive at times like she was uh just making bold claims you know like moses never existed uh those kind of claims and uh you know basically said about uh you know the men who wrote scripture that they were a bunch of men with daddy issues um and so you know that kind of uh i would say uh not um grace-filled and uh not a charitable approach to scholarship is not something i really uh would like to time i had on so i also i sometimes find it interesting that uh latter-day saints do and daniel mcclellan uh studied under francesca francesca staba kapulu she was i think he mentioned in one of those videos she was his uh thesis advisor so it's just interesting to me how latter-day saints will will latch on to the more liberal forms of scholarship to try to support their beliefs so um sorry i went off on a big tangent there but i wanted to make sure and get that in all right that's it for this episode fireflies next week we'll be back with the rest of our discussion of the lds gospel topics essay mother in heaven thank you for tuning in we thank you for tuning in to this episode of the outer brightness podcast we'd love to hear from you please visit the outer brightness podcast page on facebook feel free to send us a message there with comments or questions by clicking send a message at the top of the page and we would appreciate it if you give the page a like we also have an outer brightness group on facebook where you can join and interact with us and others as we discuss the podcast past episodes and suggestions for future episodes etc you can also send us an email at outer brightness at we hope to hear from you soon you can subscribe to outer brightness wherever you listen to podcasts if you're benefiting from our content please write a review to help us spread the word you can also subscribe to our youtube channel and hit that notification bell music for outer brightness is graciously provided by the talented brianna florinoi and adams road you can learn more about adams road by visiting their ministry page at in the past i believed in my own righteousness and hope that i was worthy of the blood that jesus shed but now i know that all the works i did were meaningless compared with jesus lonely death on the cross where he bore sin and now i have the righteousness that is by faith in jesus name i consider everything a loss compared to knowing jesus for your sake i have lost all things oh because of the cross on the cross jesus took away the written code the law of works that stood opposed and nailed it there for me and through the cross he put to death hostility and in his body reconciled us to god and brought us peace and i am crucified with cries and i no longer live but he lives in me i consider anything a loss compared to knowing jesus for your sake i have lost all things oh but when i gained jesus it was worth the cost all my righteousness i count as a loss because of the cross some demand a sign and some seek to be wise but we preach christ crucified the foolishness of god but wiser than the wisest man the power of the cross may i never boast except in the cross of our lord through which the world has been crucified to me an eye to the world so i take up my cross and follow where jesus leads oh i consider everything i lost compared to knowing jesus for your sake i have lost all things oh all my righteousness i count as loss because of the cross because of the cross because of the cross
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-23 16:18:51 / 2023-06-23 16:40:39 / 22

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