Mother in Heaven

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Mormon family

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints asserts that the family is ordained of God and as such is the basic unit of the Church, society, and the Kingdom of God.

In the 1995 statement “The Family: A Proclamation To The World,” the [[First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ declared that all people are the literal sons and daughters of heavenly parents.

ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents (emphasis added), and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
IN THE PREMORTAL REALM, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.[1]

In 1909 the First Presidency, under Joseph F. Smith, issued a statement on the origin of man that teaches that "man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father," as an "offspring of celestial parentage," and further teaches that "all men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother, and are literally the sons and daughters of Deity" (Smith, pp. 199-205).

Scriptural Inferences to a Heavenly Mother

While not directly discussed in the scriptures, for Latter-day Saints, the association of children to Father necessitates a Mother. Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith explained,

The fact that there is no reference to a mother in heaven either in the Bible, Book of Mormon or Doctrine and Covenants, is not sufficient proof that no such thing as a mother did exist there. . . . Is it not feasible to believe that female spirits were created in the image of a 'Mother in Heaven'? (Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol. 3, pp. 142, 144).

The Encyclopedia of Mormonism discussed a Mother in Heaven:

Latter-day Saints believe that all the people of earth who lived or will live are actual spiritual offspring of God the Eternal Father (Num. 16:22; Heb. 12:9). In this perspective, parenthood requires both father and mother, whether for the creation of spirits in the premortal life or of physical tabernacles on earth. A Heavenly Mother shares parenthood with the Heavenly Father. This concept leads Latter-day Saints to believe that she is like him in glory, perfection, compassion, wisdom, and holiness.
For Latter-day Saints, the concept of eternal family is more than a firm belief; it governs their way of life. It is the eternal plan of life, stretching from life before through life beyond mortality.[2]

The Encyclopedia of Mormonism also discussed the term ‘’Elohim’’.

Elohim, the name-title for God, suggests the plural of the Caananite El or the Hebrew Eloah. It is used in various Hebrew combinations to describe the highest God. It is the majestic title of the ultimate deity. Genesis 1:27 reads, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them" (emphasis added), which may be read to mean that "God" is plural. [3]

Ancient prophets recognized Elohim as the creator of mankind:

“And they fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh...” (Numbers 16:22).
“I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High” (Psalms 82:6).
“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...” (Romans 8:16-17).
“Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” (Hebrews 12:9).
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

Since God's laws are the same-yesterday, today, and forever — then His promise of everlasting life to His children denotes the type of life He experiences.

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 this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye 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... 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 fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever” (Doctrine and Covenants 132:19).

Recent Church Leaders Reference a Heavenly Mother

Recent Church leaders shared their belief in Mother in Heaven.

President Dallin H. Oaks:

Our theology begins with heavenly parents. Our highest aspiration is to be like them.”[4]

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf:

Brothers and sisters, we are eternal beings, without beginning and without end. We have always existed. We are the literal spirit children of divine, immortal, and omnipotent Heavenly Parents![5]

President Gordon B. Hinckley:

Logic and reason would certainly suggest that if we have a Father in Heaven, we have a Mother in Heaven. That doctrine rests well with me. [6]

President Howard W. Hunter:

I share the view expressed by Orson F. Whitney in these words:
“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude, and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven.” [7]

President Spencer W. Kimball:

God is your father. He loves you. He and your mother in heaven value you beyond any measure . . . You are unique. One of a kind, made of the eternal intelligence which gives you claim upon eternal life.
Let there be no question in your mind about your value as an individual. The whole intent of the gospel plan is to provide an opportunity for each of you to reach your fullest potential, which is eternal progression and the possibility of godhood. [8]

President Harold B. Lee:

We forget that we have a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother who are even more concerned, probably, than our earthly father and mother, and that influences from beyond are constantly working to try to help us when we do all we can.” (Harold B. Lee, “The Influence and Responsibility of Women,” Relief Society Magazine 51, no. 2 (Feb. 1964): 85)

Elder Bruce R. McConkie:

This doctrine that there is a Mother in Heaven was affirmed in plainness by the First Presidency of the Church (Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, and Anthon H. Lund) when, in speaking of pre-existence and the origin of man, they said that ‘man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father,’ that man is the ‘offspring of celestial parentage,’ and that ‘all men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother and are literally the sons and daughters of Deity’ (Bruce R. McConkie, Man: His Origin and Destiny, pp.348-355, and Mormon Doctrine, 1966, p. 516.)

Elder Eldred G. Smith:

“In the heavens, before the earth was formed, the plan of this earth life was explained to all of us. We were then but spirit offspring of our Father and Mother in heaven.
We all learned then that through this earth life experience we would have the opportunity of going through the same type of experiences they had done and so become as they are.
The records tell us that we all shouted for joy at this glorious news.” [9]

Latter-day Saint Culture Sings of Heavenly Mother

Several Latter-day Saint hymns lyrics include the belief in a Heavenly Mother. The most well-known, Hymn 292, “O My Father” by Eliza R. Snow flows as a thoughtful contemplation of her conclusion about a mother in heaven.

I had learned to call thee Father,
Thru thy Spirit from on high,
But, until the key of knowledge
Was restored, I knew not why.
In the heav'ns are parents single?
No, the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason; truth eternal
Tells me I've a mother there.
When I leave this frail existence,
When I lay this mortal by,
Father, Mother, may I meet you
In your royal courts on high?
Then, at length, when I've completed
All you sent me forth to do,
With your mutual approbation
Let me come and dwell with you. [10]

Hymn 286, “Oh What Songs of the Heart” by Joseph L. Townsend describes the Saints' blissful, heavenly reunion, culminating with embracing heavenly parents.

Oh, what songs we'll employ!
Oh, what welcome we'll hear!
While our transports of love are complete,
As the heart swells with joy
In embraces most dear
When our heavenly parents we meet!
As the heart swells with joy,
Oh, what songs we'll employ,
When our heavenly parents we meet! [11]

In 1985 the Church of Jesus Christ published, “I Walk By Faith” by Janice Kapp Perry in The New Era, its magazine for teens. The song became an anthem for teenage girls to remember their divine heritage and to make choices and promises to live in heaven again.

I walk by faith, a daughter of heav'nly parents.
Divine am I in nature by inheritance
And someday when God has proven me
I'll see Him face to face.
But just for here and now
I'll walk by faith. [12]

In 1844, William W. Phelps composed a celebratory hymn “A Voice From the Prophet: Come to Me,” sung at the dedication of a building in Nauvoo, Illinois.

Come to me where the truth and the virtues prevail; Where the union is one, and the years never fail; Where the heart can’t conceive, nor the natural eye see, What the Lord has prepar’d for the just: Come to me.
Come to me; here’s the myst’ry that man hath not seen; Here’s our Father in heaven, and Mother, the Queen, Here are worlds that have been, and the worlds yet to be, Here’s eternity,—endless; amen: Come to me. [13]

The belief in Mother in Heaven weaves throughout the theology of the Church of Jesus Christ. God's emphasis on the family's eternal nature intimates His own sacred relationship with Mother in Heaven.