Thinking of Heavenly Mother for Mother’s Day

Whatever the relationship you have to your mother here on Earth or to motherhood, you and I have a Heavenly Mother who loves us dearly. That is something we can all rejoice in and celebrate together on Mother’s Day.

First, I want to acknowledge that Mother’s Day can be hard for many reasons. It can be hard for those who don’t know their birth mother, who grew up in an abusive home, or have a complicated relationship with their mother for any reason. Mother’s Day can be difficult if your mother has died. It can be difficult if you want to have children but are unable to or if you don’t want children but feel pressure to become a mother. And Mother’s Day can be difficult if you’ve ever lost a child or your children have made choices that separate you from them.

Whatever emotions—happiness or sadness or anger or a confusing mix of several emotionsthat you feel about Mother’s day are ok and accepted here today.

I’d like to tell a story about Zina Diantha Huntington. Zina was born on January 31, 1821, and joined the church with her family when she was fourteen. After their family gathered with the other Saints, Zina’s mother fell ill and died. The rest of Zina’s family was still very sick, so Emma and Joseph Smith invited Zina and her father to move in with them until they were better. One day Zina was feeling very sad and missing her mom a lot. She wondered aloud “Will I be able to see my mother in heaven?” right as Joseph Smith walked into the room. 

He responded, “Certainly you will. More than that you will meet and become acquainted with your eternal Mother, the wife of your Father in heaven.”(1)

Zina was amazed. She had never heard of God the Father having a wife and partner before. “And have I a Mother in Heaven?” she asked.

“You assuredly have. How could a Father claim His title unless there were also a Mother to share that parenthood?” Joseph Smith responded.

Learning that she had a Heavenly Mother comforted Zina. Of course, it didn’t mean she no longer missed her mom, but she found comfort in the idea that her mom wasn’t alone. Heavenly Mother was in heaven caring for her. Someday Zina would be reunited with both her earthly mother and her Heavenly Mother.

And someday you and I will be reunited with our Heavenly Mother, too.

In his talk “Behold Thy Mother,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland thanked our Heavenly Mother for her “crucial role in fulfilling the purposes of eternity” (2). Let’s talk about what that means.

Heavenly Mother is the mother of humanity. Together our Heavenly Mother and Heavenly Father parented us in the premortal life. Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught that, “We were born as the spirit children of Celestial Parents long before the foundations of this world were laid”(3). Similarly, President Joseph F. Smith taught that we were “born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity. . . prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal [physical] body”(4). Boyd K. Packer suggested that in the development of our characters in the premortal existence, “our Heavenly Mother was perhaps particularly nurturing”(5).

Together Heavenly Mother and Heavenly Father created this world. The Women of Mormondom, edited by Sister Eliza R. Snow, proclaims that the “eternal Mother [is] the partner with the Father in the creation of worlds”(6). More recently Sister Patricia T. Holland, wife of Elder Jeffery R. Holland, taught that together our Heavenly Parents are involved in “our creation and the creation of all that surrounds us”(7).

Man and woman of color wearing white clothing holding earth between them
Watching Over Us by Paige Payne

Ponder with me, what might that creation have looked like? Heavenly Mother and Heavenly Father, equal partners in the creation of this earth. Would they have debated the pros and cons of a carbon-based life system? Maybe collaborated on the colors of the birds? Did they revise and rework the opossum until they got it just so? Would they have laughed and teased each other while they worked?

In “Happiness, Your Heritage” Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf described creativity as “one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul”(8). Whenever we create, we imitate Her and our Heavenly Father’s creation of this world. The ability to create is a divine birthright, a gift given to us as children of our Creators. Creation like Heavenly Mother isn’t limited to giving birth. It’s also any type of “bringing into existence something that did not exist before—colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter”(9). Creation includes a poem, a delicious meal, a bookcase, a quilt, a table to gather round, an essay, or a new friendship. When we create, we imitate Heavenly Mother.

As we go about our life on earth, Heavenly Mother cares and watches over us. President Harold B. Lee taught, “Sometimes we think the whole job is up to us, forgetful that there are loved ones beyond our sight who are thinking about us and our children. 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”(10). I imagine that Heavenly Mother is present, loving each of us irregardless

of our mistakes or pranks or Her own weariness

from living through the waxing and waning of many,

many moons, whispering “I love you” and

“You can do this” and “I am with you” to children

struggling with history or calculus or roommates

or depression or any part of life. (11)

She knows you and she knows me. She knows our needs, our desires, our fears, our strengths and weaknesses. And She is constantly there. Ready to listen or offer help if we reach out to Her.

Heavenly Mother and Jesus Christ sitting in front of a triangle
Heavenly Mother, Beloved Son by Mary Alice Pritchett

In order to help us return to Her and our Father in Heaven, Heavenly Mother allowed her son Jesus Christ to suffer in the garden and die on the cross. Do you think it pained her to watch her Son’s bloody sweat in the garden and the mangling of his body on the cross? I do. 

Examine this description of Christ in the garden of Gethsemane from Luke. 

And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,

Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. (12)

The scriptures don’t say who the angel was, but I wonder if it might have been Heavenly Mother. 

I imagine that when Christ returned to them after his death and resurrection, Heavenly Mother gathered him in her arms in a tight hug. She might have whispered, “I love you. I am so proud of you.”

When we finally return to our Heavenly Parents after our life on earth is finished, Heavenly Mother will be there to welcome us. Harold B. Lee taught that in heaven “we will find beauty such as mortal ‘eye hath not seen’; we will hear sounds of surpassing music which mortal ‘ear hath not heard.’ Could such a regal homecoming be possible without the anticipatory arrangements of a Heavenly Mother?”(13) Maybe Heavenly Mother will gather each of us into her arms, one by one, and whisper “I love you. I am so proud of you, my child.”

Man and woman surrounded by floating blue bubbles
Greeted at the Gates by Madi Matthews

Heavenly Mother designed the Plan of Salvation with Heavenly Father, and She has been and will be involved every step of the way. She cared for and taught us before we were born. She created this earth with all its beauties for us. She is aware of our lives and sacrificed Jesus so we can return to Her. After we die, she will welcome us with love. Whatever the relationship you have to your mother here on Earth or to motherhood, you and I have a Heavenly Mother who loves us dearly. That is something we can all rejoice in and celebrate together on Mother’s Day.

 

Sources

  1. Susa Young Gates, History of the Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association (Salt Lake City: General Board of the YLMIA, 1911), 15-16.
  2. Holland, Jeffery R. “Behold Thy Mother,” October 2015 General Conference.
  3. McConkie, Bruce R., Mormon Doctrine, p.516-517.
  4. As quoted by Elder Douglas L. Callister in “Our Refined Heavenly Home,” Ensign, June 2009. See footnote 1.
  5. As quoted in “‘A Mother There:’ A Survey of Historical Teachings About Mother in Heaven.” by David A. Paulsen and Martin Pulido, BYU Studies Quarterly, vol. 50 no. 1.
  6. As quoted in “‘A Mother There:’ A Survey of Historical Teachings About Mother in Heaven.” by David A. Paulsen and Martin Pulido, BYU Studies Quarterly, vol. 50 no. 1.
  7. Holland, Patricia T. “Filling the Measure of Your Creation,” Brigham Young University Devotional, January 17, 1989.
  8. Uchtdorf, Dieter F. “Happiness, Your Heritage,” October 2008 General Conference.
  9. Uchtdorf, Dieter F. “Happiness, Your Heritage,” October 2008 General Conference.
  10. Lee, Harold B, as quoted in “Mother in Heaven,” Gospel Topics Essay, churchofjesuschrist.org.
  11. Shurtz, Charlotte Scholl. “Lost & Found,” Medium.
  12. Luke 22:41-43
  13. Maxwell, Neal A. “The Women of God,” April 1978 General Conference.

Images

Watching Over Us by Paige Payne

Heavenly Mother, Beloved Son by Mary Alice Pritchett

Greeted at the Gates by Madi Matthews

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Comments (2)

Beautiful! This is a message I would find so profound and thoughtful to hear in Sacrament meeting on Mother’s Day.

Charlotte Scholl Shurtz

Thank you, Johanna!

Comment to Johanna Cancel reply