I read a statement the other day that made me laugh at the irony. It was in an article written about Heavenly Mother from an outsider’s perspective, and the author wrote something to the effect that if we truly had a Mother God, wouldn’t the Bible or at least Latter-day Saint scriptures mention Her?
Not two minutes before reading this article, I had, in fact, read a scripture that revealed the divine reality of our Heavenly Mother.
After Lehi detailed his wondrous vision of the tree of life, Nephi inquired of the Spirit to see and understand this same vision. During his conversation with the Spirit, Nephi witnesses a woman.
1 Nephi 11:18 reads, “And he [the Spirit] said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.”
Why would the Spirit need to specify Mary’s role as the Savior’s mother “after the manner of the flesh”? If we all have only one mother, that would be obvious without the clarification, right? But when you understand the Latter-day Saint theology that we each have a Heavenly Mother who bore our spirits and an earthly mother who bore our bodies, this clarification in 1 Nephi make sense and comes into context. Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, was a divine Son of our Heavenly Mother and a mortal Son of Mary.
The scriptures are full of heavenly truths about our Eternal Mother—many that specifically refer to Her by title. The teachings of modern prophets and apostles are full of rich doctrine that detail the reality and role of our Mother in Heaven. But sometimes we buy into the myth that if some principle isn’t outlined in the triple combination, somehow those truths don’t matter as much. And yet many essential, exalting truths, like temple ordinances, are not outlined in the Bible, Book of Mormon, or Pearl of Great Price.
However, the more I study about Heavenly Mother and the more I understand how our scriptures were passed down, the more I realize She does fill each page, from Genesis to Joseph Smith—History. But the fascinating thing about the scriptures is that they are often an enigma. Jesus Christ, the central figure throughout the Old Testament, is never once named in all those thousands of pages. But the prophecies, interactions, and miracles throughout the Old Testament testify of His love and reality. It’s much the same with our Heavenly Mother.
I am not a biblical scholar or a scriptorian, but I am fascinated by etymology and the evolution and transmission of scripture. And when you remember the context of the scriptures—who is writing them during what time period for what audience and who later came and adapted or edited those scriptures and then translated them into a torrent of different languages—deciphering their meaning becomes a fascinating jigsaw puzzle. You have layers upon layers of history and altered meaning in the scriptures each person gets to parse out for themselves, which gives these sacred words life and depth. They’re like a breathing being; the minute you think you understand them, they change and surprise you. They are too complex to pinpoint or simplify. No wonder modern revelation is such an essential element of daily faith.
Some traces of our Divine Mother could have been obscured throughout the generations and millennia, but the more you understand about Her, the more you recognize testimonies of Her reality in the scriptures. Take, for instance, the Creation. Right smack dab in the middle of Genesis 1 we read: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
Male and female were created in the image of God. How could that be if Heavenly Mother was not a part of the process? In my own study of words in the scriptures, I found a translation of “Elohim,” often written as “God” or “Lord God” that fundamentally changed how I read scriptures. Now, whenever I read those titles, I understand the meaning of “God” as our Heavenly Mother and Father united in purpose and working together to bring about our eternal exaltation, to mold us into gods and goddesses. I know our Heavenly Mother can be found in every book of scripture. I have seen Her. I have felt Her. And I know you can, too, if you have “eyes to see and ears to hear.”