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Is There a Mother in Heaven?, Pt. 2 (LDS Gospel Topics Essay Series)

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January 23, 2022 6:12 pm

Is There a Mother in Heaven?, Pt. 2 (LDS Gospel Topics Essay Series)

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January 23, 2022 6:12 pm

This episode we finish our discussion of the LDS Gospel Topics Essay, "Mother in Heaven." Matthew the Nuclear Calvinist kicks off the episode with a question about why the doctrine of a Mother in Heaven is considered authoritative doctrine when the direct support for it amounts to hearsay that Joseph Smith taught it along with the fact that it made it into an LDS Hymn. He notes that the doctrine that Adam was God has been declared to be heresy by subsequent LDS leaders even though Brigham Young taught it and claimed that Joseph Smith taught it. We hope that the rest of this conversation is helpful.


You're entering outer brightness.

Hey fireflies, welcome back to outer brightness. This week we are wrapping up our discussion of the LDS Gospel Topics essay titled Mother in Heaven. Thank you for listening. Let's get into it. Let's go on to the next question.

Michael, I think this is a question you submitted. You asked how can this essay affirm that this is doctrine without an official vote slash revelation slash scripture reference. Matthew, what do you think about that?

Well, it's a comment that I had earlier, but it works perfectly with this. It is interesting that the earliest references we have to it before it became a hymn were basically just hearsay, the account of the women that claim that Joseph Smith told them that there is a heavenly mother. Well, we have another example of a doctrine that has no official teaching from Joseph Smith, but claimed it also came from Joseph Smith and yet came from an even more authoritative source who claimed Joseph Smith taught him this, but it has been declared a heresy. And that would be the Adam-God doctrine, which Brigham Young claimed was taught to him by Joseph Smith directly. And so, yeah, I don't understand why one is accepted as doctrine. I mean, I guess because it made into a hymn and the other was completely rejected as false doctrine, even though it was taught by a prophet of the church.

So it seems like if one is accepted as true, the other one should also be accepted as true. And I actually did have a missionary on my mission that I served with who told me that he and his dad do believe in the Adam-God doctrine. So there are LDS out there that do believe it, even though I told him that it has been refuted multiple times.

I think it was Benson that kind of, was it Benson or that made it kind of an official, made an official talk about how we just don't believe it. I know that Bruce R. McConkie also has said multiple times that it's false doctrine, but there was a specific talk where in general conference they specifically repudiated the Adam-God doctrine. For those listeners who don't know, the Adam-God doctrine is the idea that Elohim or God the Father in LDS beliefs was thought or there's significant evidence that Brigham Young taught that God the Father came down and took on a body and became Adam.

And so he was the first, the first man on our planet and he took his wife Eve from a previous planet or something. And so Brigham Young claimed that this was taught to him directly by Joseph Smith. It seems that that's what was been taught by people, but a lot of Latter-day Saint apologists say that the Journal of Discourses is not an authoritative source of doctrine, even though they quote it so many times in their manuals and official sources, they pick and choose which quotes to include, I guess. And so they say that maybe it wasn't written down correctly, maybe it was misunderstood, et cetera. But I think that it's pretty clear that he did teach it. But yeah, so to wrap it all up, yeah, there was no vote on that one and it was kind of just gone by the wayside eventually, but this one was also not voted as doctrine and it's not canon. And I know many LDS will say that if it's not in the canon, if it's not in the four books of scripture or whatever is added later, like official declarations, you don't have to believe it. So I guess technically you don't have to believe in a heavenly mother. So yeah, it's a very strange situation. I'd like to hear your guys' thoughts. Michael, any thoughts?

Yes. So Harold B. Lee, one of the prophets in the New Era, in the Improvement Era magazine, actually said this, and I'm just going to read this here. How do we measure whether or not one's teachings are true or false? If anyone teaches beyond what the scriptures teach, we may put it down as speculation, except one man who has the right to bring forth any new doctrine.

That is the one man who holds the keys, the prophets here and revelator, who presides in that high place and no one else. If anyone presumes to bring forth what he claims to be new doctrine, you may know that it is purely his own opinion and you label it as such regardless of his position in the church. If it contradicts something that is in the scriptures, you may label it immediately that it is false. That is why we call the scriptures our four standard church works. They are the standards by which we measure all doctrine, and if anything is taught which is contrary to that which is in scriptures, it is false.

It is just that simple. Even being Mormon, I was really familiar with that quote, and so that's where I'm like, if it's not in scripture, if you can't support your belief from scripture, then it's false, according to Harold B. Lee. Yeah, but was he president of the church when he made that statement?

Okay, now I'm yelling. We do some research now. Because if he wasn't, then I don't know that we can take that as gospel. Yeah, to Matthew's point, it's really interesting to me. I've been doing a lot of thinking recently about LDS canonization and that process of putting something that the leadership has deemed worthy of putting forward to the membership of the church for a formal vote by common consent, which according to the Doctrine and Covenants is the method by which Latter-day Saints identify what their canon is, is by common consent to the membership, which is an interesting concept when you think about it. When that section of the Doctrine and Covenants was first given, the Latter-day Saints were still in the era of gathering to one place to live together in a community. The idea of putting forth a new revelation, so to speak, to the membership, you're going to be able to put it forth to the whole membership because they would supposedly be there in one place together. But in modern times, when the most recent additions in 1979, was it 77 or 79?

I can't remember for sure. When the most recent additions to the Doctrine and Covenants were added, and it's put forth in general conference for common consent, there certainly were members all over the world at that point. How can you be sure that the entire membership is approving of the addition of something to the canon?

Again, to Matthew's point, you have the Adam-God doctrine, of course, but you also have the King Follett discourse that many believe teaches most clearly the LDS view of God and humans becoming gods, and yet it's something that has not been put forth to the church for common consent, but yet is something that is believed as quasi-revelation by many unless you try to hold their feet to the fire with it, and then they don't want to accept it. Just an interesting concept. I thought it was interesting. I don't know if either of you got a chance to watch last night the debate between Radio Free Mormon and Midnight Mormons, Kwaku El, Brad Whitbeck, and what's the other guy's name? Cardan something? Yeah, Cardan Ellis.

That's right. But Cardan Ellis made the point about the Council of Nicaea and basically said, you know, we reject that because it's a doctrine that was voted on. I couldn't help but laugh out loud when I heard him say that because the whole Latter-day Saint process as canonized for them to accept canon is a voting process.

It's just interesting. I guess you could argue that they didn't have prophets on the earth at that time, so you couldn't technically vote on anything to add it as doctrine because you need prophets first to receive revelation. Yeah, you could argue that, but that's not what he argued. He argued that because it was voted. He blundered.

He blundered. All right. I know we've all talked a little bit around the fourth question that we had for discussion with President Gordon B. Hinckley's statement that the fact that we do not pray to a mother in heaven and in no way belittles or denigrates her, that's the statement I was referring to from 1991 that I heard shared and given as a warning in sacrum meeting when I was, I guess, 13 years old.

Any thoughts there on how would not talking to a heavenly mother denigrate her? Does anybody want to share anything additional or do you think we've covered that well enough already in our comments? I actually don't think I have anything else to add to that. Matthew, before I go on, anything else?

Yeah, nothing either. Okay. The next question also was one Michael submitted that I think is an interesting question. He asks, in Mormonism, does Jesus have the authority to deny us a privilege of worshiping heavenly mother since heavenly mother hadn't been revealed yet in New Testament times according to Latter-day Saint teaching and Jesus never said not to pray to her, wouldn't that make it acceptable? To that, I would just say for our Latter-day Saint listeners, have at answering that one because I think it's a tough dilemma if you're going to accept a heavenly mother as a doctrine that you should believe. Matthew, any thoughts there?

Yeah. I'm trying to think of it as I would if I were a Latter-day Saint. The way I'd probably explain it if I were a Latter-day Saint is that since we know now about a heavenly mother, I'm saying as a Latter-day Saint, since we know now that there's a heavenly mother and with that revelation we've been commanded by, or we've been advised, I don't even know if it's a commandment technically, I don't even know if there's anything official that says don't pray to a heavenly mother. It's just kind of been a faux pas in LDS church, like just don't pray to her. I don't know if there's any official declaration that says you can't pray to her, but since we know now that there's a heavenly mother and we've been asked not to pray to her, now we have that light and knowledge, you know, God gives, you know, line upon line, precept upon precept. So now that we know we can't pray to them, it's not really the case if you're a saint in the New Testament times. So they might not even have known that there was a heavenly mother, so maybe it wasn't even a problem. Do you see what I mean?

Like it seems like this is only an issue if you are thinking of it in terms of the knowledge that LDS claim to have in that. Does that make sense? Yeah, I see what you're saying. All right, so next question. If spouses cannot be exalted without each other, doesn't that make them saviors to each other? Matthew, what do you think about that? Yeah, it's a bit of a tough question when I was thinking about this earlier. I didn't have a whole lot of time to prepare for this.

I didn't even know you guys were recording today until like three hours before. So, but yeah, I wouldn't, if I were LDS, putting on my LDS hat again, I probably wouldn't say that they're like co-saviors or co-redeemers. It would probably just be more like those are parts of the conditions, you know, like LDS often think in terms of covenants, like God set forth this covenant, which is like a, which is like a contract. And he says, okay, if you fulfill X, Y, and Z sign on the dotted line, fulfill your part of the bargain, then you'll get, you know, A, B, and C blessings, which includes exaltation. And so signing that contract requires both signatures, your signature and your spouse's signature. So that's probably how I, as a Latter-day Saint would have explained that, that you aren't saving each other.

It's just that you're both in on this agreement. And since I'm going through premarital counseling with my fiance, we've been kind of talking about that, that we, that Christians still believe that marriage is a covenant and then, you know, God sets the conditions. He's the one that ordained marriage at the beginning. And then, you know, we, we take upon ourselves certain obligations in that covenant. And so there is some truth to that, but the only difference, one of the major difference of course, is that Christians don't believe that marriage is part of your salvation. You know, that's not, that's not part of the new covenant.

A marriage covenant is something totally different. So yeah. Does that answer the question?

Yeah, it does. Let me jump in here as the, how do I be charitable to my former self? Let me jump in here as the, the yahoo who, who once made a weird statement to his wife. So I've mentioned before, like when we were first married, I had two jobs and so I was, I was gone a lot. And then after I had two jobs, I went back to school. So I was again, gone all, you know, four, four evenings a week until after you know, 10 o'clock I'd get home from school. And during those years, it was, it was really tough to kind of maintain our connection as a couple because we were spending so many hours of the day apart and we had a young family, young children. So her day was very stressful while I was gone and it, and it extended even beyond you know, the normal stressors of a husband gone nine to five to me being gone, you know, well after 10 o'clock and then coming home and having to dig into homework and write papers, you know, until one o'clock, two o'clock in the morning. And so there were a lot of times, you know, when I would, I would get into bed after a very long day and you know, she would have already been asleep for a couple of hours and sometimes she would wake up and we'd have these late night conversations because it was like the only time where it could connect with one another. And I remember thinking along these lines that, that Michael had posed in this question, you know, that if spouses cannot be exalted without each other, doesn't that make them saviors to each other and, and just kind of feeling all the pressure of being a husband being a priesthood holder, being a father, you know, and, and trying to live up to all of the expectations of that and constantly feeling like I was failing at it. You know, and just being in this mindset of kind of this romantic mindset of, you know, Oh, I love my wife and it's, isn't it great that we are supporting each other through these very difficult times. And I made the statement to her that, you know she saves me, you know, and, and, and I was thinking specifically about the temple and, and ceiling and that kind of thing.

And her response really caught me off guard because I thought it was kind of a romantic gesture and she was like, Whoa, that's a whole lot of pressure to put on me. I am not your savior. Jesus is your savior. And you know, so it's, it's, it is something that you can get into in an LDS mindset with the teachings about marital ceilings and that kind of thing. So just wanted to throw that out there that I'm, I'm constantly the guy who made dumb comments to his wife.

Yeah. You actually brought this memory to my mind that I totally forgot about Paul, but when I got married the first time in the temple, I remember my my father-in-law pulling me aside and basically telling me, look, you know your wife's exaltation depends on you. And I was just like, wow. Like I just took that as like, I've got so much responsibility and you know, there's so much on my shoulders, but the fact that he said that was, was just crazy and actually brought this question up to some Latter-day Saints and in our debate group that we're in, but I worded it a little bit differently, you know, after I thought about it a little bit. So the, the question that I posed to them was what's more important salvation or exaltation? Because in my view being LDS exaltation was the greater glory than being just saved, right? That was actually going on to become a God.

So I said, which one's more important? And if you can't have exaltation without your spouse, does that not make your spouse more vital than Jesus? And I'll tell you, they didn't like the, the phrasing of the question very much, but they did seem to say like that they basically agreed with it, just didn't like the phrasing of my statement, but one of them actually went so far as to say that he, God, and his wife made up a Holy Trinity. And I'm just like, what are you talking about? So yeah, it can definitely go off the deep end with Latter-day Saints with this, with this doctrine here.

Yeah, it can. Yeah. So you were 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. All right, so why would anyone want to be like them, Heavenly Parents, when the mother has no contact with her children, according to LDS teaching? Matthew, Michael, thoughts on that one?

I'll go ahead and jump in on this one first, but let me just kind of go over some of the things that I've mentioned before. But yeah, the Heavenly Mother has, assuming that she exists, right, that Mormonism is true, she exists. She has no contact with us. She's not an active member of the Godhead.

We're not supposed to really pray to her. She has no, I mean, this is the other thing, too, is like, I think Mormon could maybe argue that we'll get to reconnect and have that relationship with her in the next life. But it's like, what's that relationship going to be compared to the relationship that we would have with the father, for example, who sent his son and was helping us through our mortality?

I think that that's what builds the relationship. And then you go back and it's like, oh, there's this mother here who had no influence on me the whole time when I was in this desperate situation of mortality. And it was, like I said, an eternal life or death situation. And what I really see is like, if the father is the most high God, I don't see it being an equal partnership.

So there's that. And I think there's definitely speculation at least that there may be multiple Heavenly Mothers. So, you know, you get this situation possibly where you've got to share your spouse with all these other Heavenly Mothers.

And I don't see how you could possibly call that an equal union, if that's the case. I just don't see anything appealing about the idea of Heavenly Mother or being able to be that when it seems like the only purpose that she serves is to have the spirit children and then not to interact with them during their mortality. I mean, there's absolutely no indication in scripture of any sort of indication, even in the Pearl of Great Price, when it talks about our pre-mortal state, there's no mention of her.

So, yeah, I just don't see how that would be something that I would, I guess, be eager to attain to someday in the next life. I wouldn't even want to be the Heavenly Father figure because I don't feel like it would be right to treat my wife that way. You know, if I had children, I feel like it would make me a moral monster to tell my children that they can't see her or ever talk to her or anything or even reveal her existence to them. I just keep it a secret their whole lives.

I mean, I think if they are really her children, they have a right to know. Yeah, I agree with that. And I think, you know, it kind of goes to my question earlier, like why, and Matthew's question too, why does this doctrine persist, right?

If it's not something, like if it's something that they're warning about constantly, if it's something that they censure women for talking about, why does it persist within the LDS church unless it's tied to the idea of polygamy, which is tied to eternal marriage, even monogamously, which is a doctrine they're completely unwilling to give up. And so, yeah, it's just kind of interests me from a, from a sociological perspective, why this persists and agree with you, Michael, like, why would you, what about Heavenly Mother would want, would make you want to become like her if you never have any kind of interaction with her at all. Matthew, any thoughts on this question?

Yeah, I really liked what you guys said. It's almost like you're holding Heavenly Mother hostage. And it's like, here, here are my ransom demands.

Follow the commandments, pay your tithe, go to the temple, be baptized, do your genealogy work. And if you do that, there's a chance you'll see your mother again. You know, think about it that way. It's kind of messed up.

But it is interesting to talk. I mean, we know several Latter-day Saints who are more on the liberal spectrum that would, that actually do pray to Heavenly Mother. So there are some that, I mean, there's not, there's not many of them, but there are some that do that. And they connect, some of them connect Heavenly Mother to Asherah, which was a goddess, that kind of a fertility goddess, I think, possibly, that was kind of, let's just put it this way, the worship of her in the Bible is not cast in a very positive light. And I think that goes along with the view, like the, the JPD theory and other theories that say that scripture was edited after Babylon, the Babylonian exile to be more monotheist and to remove any kind of reference to worship of Heavenly Mother. And there's really no evidence of that other than like maybe a few textual variants that they'll point to and be like, see, the Bible's been changed and it's been edited and watered down and they've removed all the controversial stuff. And so that's why we can marry Asherah. But it's like, it's such a huge jump to get to that point, in my opinion, because there's not, there's not sufficient evidence that major parts of the Bible have ever been edited out. And then to jump from that point to say, well, they used to worship Asherah, and that was the actual Heavenly Mother and that was accepted practice. Well, that's huge.

That's an even bigger jump. So yeah, lots of interesting stuff there. But yeah, to go back to the original question, I think a lot of women are, they're attracted to the idea of, because women are just naturally, many of them, I won't say all, but many of them in the LDS church, they don't really have a lot of sense of freedom as we've kind of talked about, you know, there's a lot of rules in the church and they do have some kind of, you know, callings in the church, but they're not really leaders. And so this concept of being able to have children in heaven is kind of appealing to some LDS women, to some people, to some LDS women, this idea of being constantly pregnant or what, however that's going to work in heaven for eternity sounds like a nightmare. So, but, but most LDS will say they don't know how God's reproduced to make spirit children. And so, you know, but, but the idea of having eternal families is something that I know that personally that women in the church have said is appealing to them. And just the idea of the promise of, of eternal happiness, because it's called the plan of happiness in their, in their church, that's really appealing to them. So that's what kind of, kind of draws them to join the church, I think. But yeah, I didn't really think about it that much from the female's perspective, to be honest, just because I felt like we were in this together and like, maybe we had different goals or different desires in terms of following the plan of happiness in the LDS church, but we were all trying to head towards the same direction. So I don't know. Does any of that make sense? You know, it seems like probably each LDS person has something that gives them more motivation to follow the commandments and everything.

And for men and women, it's probably different. Yeah, good points. So lots of, lots and lots of good conversation here tonight. Good to have the three of us all back together.

I see, I see we've got Dr. Pepper, PhD with us now. Oh, Matt, Michael, good to have you back, man. Even if it's just for a one-off here and there, I'm glad to have you with us. Thank you for joining us. And Matthew, thank you for joining me and Michael on short notice. I know you weren't planning to join us today, but let me know you had some free time, so appreciate it.

So let's kind of close it out on talking about briefly how we view this doctrine, this LDS doctrine now as Christians. I'll let one of you go first. Matthew, do you want to go ahead?

I want to pull something up real quick. Sure. Well, Paul had already mentioned about the debate between a Radio Free Mormon and the Midnight Mormons, if they call themselves. And it was kind of all over the place. I haven't even finished watching all of it.

I think I watched about half of it. And it's strange because at a certain point one of the people on the LDS side, Kwaku L, he brought up the fact that either it's obscured or it's hidden, or it's not shared about the eternal nature of me. And as LDS, it's not a big deal. You said all the time, our eternal nature, eternal relationship with God, whatever. But as a Christian now, thinking about that, it's like, if you're claiming to be eternal, you're claiming to be God, because there is no eternal one but God. And so anytime we talk about, you know, what God is, or who God is, and how we can become like him, we can become conformed to the image of Christ, you know, like we become conformed to his image in sanctification, where we are, you know, our sin is slowly purged, and we become more like him. But we're never going to be exactly like him in his divine nature, because he's eternally God, he's an unchangingly God. And we've talked about this in other episodes. And so to claim that whatever God is, now we can become exactly like that.

It just makes my skin crawl, because it puts God on such a lower level, you know, it's like, you know, so I've been. So the reason why, if listeners don't know, I'm called the nuclear Calvinist, because I studied nuclear engineering, and I am a Calvinist. And we've been calling me Doc, because I've been in college, basically half my life. I think this makes it like 14 years or something like that.

13, 14 years of college. Yes, Michael, I also have an explosive temperature. No, actually, a Latter Day Saint said I'm a nuclear Calvinist, because I believe people will burn in nuclear hellfire for eternity.

So that's why. But anyways, back to the subject. So I've been in college for a long time, right? And it's like, it's been a really long road looking back. And if I were to tell myself, year one, all the stuff I would have to go through, I probably would not, because it's been rough. But you know, God's got me through it.

And I'm very thankful for it. But I feel like that's kind of like the LDS view of exaltation, you know, like, it's a rough journey, but you can make it you can become God's just like God, it's an attainable goal. And it makes God finite, you know, like, okay, yeah, maybe I did mine in 14 years, and they have to take 500 years, but still 500 years, you can become God, or a God, it kind of cheapens the magnificence and the glory of God into something that we as finite humans can attain. And even though we need Jesus to do it, it's still something it's still a race that we have to run, according to LDS doctrine. And so, yeah, just everything about it, when you think about having a heavenly mother, or even Heavenly Father, having a human, you know, male body that's glorified, LDS think that's an advantage to them. But really, it's a disadvantage, because it just, it just makes everything it changes, everyone, every one of these changes, you just take it on its own, it completely reshapes how you sin, how you redemption, how you view justification, how you view faith, you know, it all it all becomes part of this kind of like, hamster wheel, that every person that has ever existed, has to go through, you know, and God went through it too, and his God went through it, and his God went through it, and his God went through it. And it just, it just reduces the uniqueness of God's plan for us, you know, him being the only God in existence and only having one son, and everyone else being adopted children, by being grafted in and united to his son through faith.

It just, it just cheapens it and makes it into like, you know, it's like, if you read comic books, you know, DC Comics has a new comic book every every month. It's like every every time, you know, there, you know, there's a new person becoming a god every month, you know, and there's, there's millions and trillions of comic books out there, there's millions and trillions of universes out there, and people becoming gods and having saviors, you know, but for us to know that this is the only existence that there is, you know, as far as we know, and there's only one God, to me, that just, like, it just, it doesn't reduce everything, like, many of us think it is expands it for me, you know, it just makes me think, wow, this is all there is, you know, and this is the only God that we have, you know, there's, there's not other gods floating out around there that are greater than us. He's, he's the best there is. And we can pray directly to him. Whereas in as an LDS, you know, you don't know who the highest God is, you don't know who the most high God is technically, because there's a God above him and a God above him and a God above him, and it never ends. But we can pray to the most, most, most high God, who's above all, and we can never become exactly like him, because there's no way, you know, it's like, you can, you can become more like him.

But to say we can go through the same, the same Academy that he did, you know, it's kind of going to police academy, you're going to college, and by the end, you'll get a diploma, and you'll get a, you get a little piece of paper that says, Hey, you're a God now. And it's, it's just very, it's very sad, because I know that's what so many of them are working towards. But it's just a false promise.

And it's a false view of it's just it's just a very depressing and limited view of who God is, to be honest. So anyways, lots of thoughts on that. I'll stop there. Yeah, really great thoughts, Matthew. Appreciate what you said there. I'll let Matt or Michael jump in.

And then I'll round this out. Yeah, I should have I should have not let myself follow Matthew after that. That was amazing. Really agree with everything that you said, Matthew. I remember being at church one time and one of my leaders in the elders quorum was talking to his son in the hallway and his son was probably eight or nine, but my son's age right now. And he made mention about, you know, God's powers. And the elders quorum president kind of, you know, got this smirk on his face talking to his son, so he doesn't, God doesn't have any powers. He, you know, he's just using the natural order of the universe. And I think that really just flows from all this theology that we've been talking about, you know, God's really not that special. He's he's the same species that we are.

And when we evolve, we're just going to be using, you know, more science or more, you know, just have a greater ability to use the natural universe around us. And so, I mean, even as a Latter Day Saint, that really put a bad taste in my mouth when I saw that exchange. But as far as how I feel about the doctrine of a Heavenly Mother, I actually put out an article recently called Heavenly Mother, Are You Really There?

And I'm just going to quote a couple of lines from that because I think it really, it should give you a pretty clear indication of how I feel about the doctrine. But I say 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. So just to kind of echo what Matthew's been saying, you know, if there are infinite gods out there, then God is not unique or special at all. But if He's the only one, if you take away all those other infinite gods, it makes our God infinitely more unique, more interesting, more powerful, more worthy of our worship. And so, I mean, ultimately, that's why I'm a Christian and not a Latter-day Saint at this point, because I don't want to worship a being who is not unique and special, who's just like us. You know, I want to worship the Most High God, somebody who's higher than I'm ever going to be, and I'm okay with that, you know, because I'm not trying to usurp God's authority.

I mean, that's Satan in the Bible who's trying to usurp God's authority. And, you know, I think that it's really, it is our sinful nature that wants to be equal to Him. I think, ultimately, that's what it comes down to.

So I don't know, what do you guys think? Yeah, yeah, really good thoughts there, Michael. Definitely dovetailed with what Matthew had said previously, and I'll see if I can kind of sum up as well. One of the most mind-expanding experiences that I had was in my first semester at Cincinnati Bible Seminary when I was taking my Intro to Theology course and reading Dr. Jack Cottrell's book, and he talks about the difference between anthropocentric theologies and theocentric theologies. Anthropocentric theologies being theologies that begin with man as the central focal point and looking to understand God from the perspective of humanity. And then theocentric theologies being those that are focused on God's Word and what He has revealed about Himself.

And so it goes directly to what I think about this LDS doctrine of a mother in heaven now as a Christian, because, you know, a lot of the progressive Christian scholarship that we've talked a little bit about tonight, you know, Margaret Barker and Francesca Stavrakopoulos and, you know, from a Latter-day Saint perspective, Daniel Peterson with Nephi and his Asherah and Daniel O. McClellan and his views, you know, as Matthew mentioned, they kind of take the view, the J.E.P.D. view that Scripture was edited after the Babylonian captivity and that what you see in archaeology in a lot of the archaeological digs in ancient Israel is you see Asherah, right? You see these graven images of Asherah and it takes the view that the underlying presupposition to that is that, oh, this is normative. This is what the Israelites were worshiping. They were worshiping Yahweh and they were worshiping Asherah. They were worshiping El and they were worshiping Asherah, right? And the underlying assumption there is that because you find that in archaeology that, and you assume that it's normative, that that's what was the appropriate worship, right?

They put a little equal sign between the two words normative and appropriate. Well, if you do that with our society today, there's a lot of forms of worship, new age, even, you know, Satanism. There's a lot of forms of worship that are quote unquote normative because they can be found within the society even in large scale. That doesn't make them appropriate forms of worship, right? And so ultimately the underlying presupposition of this liberal progressive theology that some Mormons are adopting because it seems to align with this doctrine of theirs of a mother in heaven is that it's anthropocentric. You're starting with humanity and you're arguing to therefore the nature of God. And as you have both rightly said, it's not a very impressive or it doesn't inspire me to worship, right? Because even Latter-day Saint scripture says that fallen man and natural man is an enemy to God, right? And so to try to argue from humanity and the forms of worship that we've come up with and say, well, this must be how the heavens are. And I've recently been, I was listening through on my Kindle app, Parley P. Pratt, who was a Latter-day Saint apostle and kind of his first systematic theologian. And he talks about, you know, the speed at which gods are able to travel between the planets and the universe because they have the key to the science of theology. They have the priesthood. And to your point, Michael, that you were talking about, like with the gentleman in your ward talking to his son, right? The early Latter-day Saints really did view this as a very scientific thing, right?

We'll just be using more science to be more powerful. And that's the view of God. And it does very much end up being rooted in 19th century evolutionary scientific thought of what man can become. But what we have with Christianity is we have God revealing to us as humans that he is our creator.

Without him, we would not exist at all. We're not eternal beings. God brought us into existence for his good purpose. And it is a good purpose. And that's what leads to worship and true worship of the true God.

And so as a Christian now, I just think, you know, the theologies that that seek for a divine feminine, I think they miss the mark with what we have with the true God. And they started at a human centered place. Yeah, great stuff. Thank you, Paul. And Michael, I appreciate your thoughts on this.

Yeah, thanks, guys. I enjoyed talking to you guys about some theology. I know when it was just going to be you and me, Michael, I had said I wanted to talk a little bit about your your article, but maybe we can have you back on sometime soon to talk about your latest article, 17 evidences of the devil's church. Would you be willing to come back on a little while and talk about that? Yeah, if we can come back on and talk about that, I think that'd be that'd be great. Okay, we'll set up some time to do that. And, Matthew, I know you announced it on Facebook, but you want to tell our listeners what the big news is as well.

I know you kind of alluded to it, talked a little bit about it a little bit here in the episode, but really, really get it out there. The big news, right? Yeah.

So aside from past my PhD defense. Yeah. So I got engaged a couple of weeks ago. So it's a very thank you, Dr. Pepper, PhD. Thank you.

I'm glad we didn't run into Mr. Pibb MBA Esquire. I'm glad I'm glad he stayed in his cage. Yeah, I locked him up before I came here. Yeah, thank you. Yeah.

So yeah. So we got engaged. So we're planning on getting married December. So it's gonna be a very short engagement since I'm starting, I'm graduating, starting my new job. And so we're not entirely sure when I'll be moving to Idaho since I'll be working remotely. So we kind of wanted to, you know, get it done quick.

So in case I have to move there that we could both move together. Awesome. So excited for you. Yeah. Thank you. Appreciate it, guys. Yeah. So I'm looking forward to seeing where God takes you in that relationship and really, you know, praise God for his goodness and bringing you to that.

I know you shared in your story episode the, you know, your difficult past with, with being engaged previously and, and how painful that was. And, you know, just really happy to see all that God's doing in your life. So praise him. Amen. Praise God. All right, Michael, any final thoughts for the, for the fireflies?

You put me on the spot. Hey guys, I love you. I've missed you. Hope things are going well in all of your lives and hope to be able to come on and talk to you or be on the podcast again soon. Hey guys, thanks for, thanks for catching up.

It's been good. Really enjoyed talking to, talking to you about tonight. Have a good one.

You too. Thank you. We thank you for tuning into 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've discussed the podcast, past episodes and suggestions for future episodes, et cetera. 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 Flournoy 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. Now I have the righteousness that is by faith in Jesus' name. I consider everything a loss compared to knowing Jesus for who's sake. I have lost all things 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.

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 Christ and I no longer live but he lives in me. I consider everything a loss compared to knowing Jesus for who's sake.

I have lost all things. 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. A stumbling bottle of sun, the foolishness of God but a 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. And I tell the world so I take up my cross and follow where Jesus leads. Oh, I consider everything a loss compared to knowing Jesus for who's sake. I have lost all things. But when I gained Jesus it was worth the cost. All my righteousness I count as a loss because of the cross. Because of the cross.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-18 23:00:57 / 2023-06-18 23:19:03 / 18

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