The Peace I Had Lost

Jan 30, 13 The Peace I Had Lost

hearts in our hands

This is the second essay in our series on Mother in Heaven

Click here to read the first essay.

By Laura C

Let’s talk moms. They’re everywhere – in the house, in the Senate, in the classroom, in the boardroom, in the kitchen, in the carpool, in the garden. We’ve all got at least one, for good or for ill. Lots and lots of us know our moms enough to be able to figure out when they want to see us or hear from us (“Get yourself in here. Right. Now.” “Oh, sweetheart, it’s so nice of you to call me on my birthday!”). Many moms talk about how they never stop being a mom, even when the kids are capable of feeding and clothing themselves and are living a continent away. These moms can relate to this description of motherhood:   “to forever have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

And yet, despite the ubiquitous presence of moms, we in the LDS world live in a Motherless house. Our Heavenly Mother is voiceless, nameless, unseeable and unreachable. She does not speak to Her children like our Heavenly Father does; She has no name, She’s not been known to visit earth-bound religious leaders much; and it’s taboo to pray to her in public places.

Oh, sure, we all know She exists, just look at the Proclamation on the Family: “ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.” And “Truth is reason; truth eternal tells me I’ve a mother there.” But when the Young Women stand to recite their theme each Sunday, they speak of being “daughters of a Heavenly Father who loves us, and we love Him.” And those who’ve advocated praying to Her just a few decades ago have been recipients of ecclesiastical discipline.

So why is our Mother in Heaven hidden – veiled – from us?

There are lots of speculative reasons: She’s too sacred. Heavenly Father loves Her so much he doesn’t want her name dragged through the mud like we’ve done for Him. There are multiple Heavenly Mothers because our Father in Heaven lives the law of polygamy.
My personal take is that She’s cut a deal with Him: She takes care of the kids at home for all eternity, but while we’re all taking turns on Earth, She gets a break. Maybe she’s locked herself in the bathroom with a good book. Maybe she’s having a weekend spa getaway. Maybe she just needs a break and some adult conversation with her own mom.

After all, which mother hasn’t been there? – Cooped up with the kids for several hours, up to your eyeballs in dirty laundry, bickering, whining, sticky something, and requests to play Candyland “just one more time and I promise I’ll be good.” And which mother in this situation isn’t overjoyed to see Daddy coming up the driveway so she can pass the kids off to him and finally get a shower? And, if Dad loves and supports Mom, he recognizes she has needs other than being Mommy and he graciously steps in, gets the kids wound up and distracts them while she has some time on her own.

Being perfect parents and all, our own Heavenly Parents have probably perfected the tag-team routine just fine, dontcha’ think?
But as fun as that little thought game is, it’s much more likely and probable that the reason we don’t know much about our Heavenly Mother is that the folks who wrote the religious texts are not moms. After all, “a man shall leave his mother.” And we have.
And we are missing Her.

But I suspect that She’s really not off on a long weekend getaway. Sure, the bathroom door may be shut, but if we knock on it, She’ll answer. What mother can ignore the pleading cries of her babies – whether the babies are 4 months or 4 years or 44 years old?
All we need do is ask. She is here and has been here, watching and waiting for us to remember to pull back the curtain. She has been here since the beginning. In the words of Carol Lynn Pearson, “in my heart I know that the Creator that brought us here is in some wonderful way both Father and Mother – that perhaps, in the beginning, on that primordial day, Mother wove the morning and Father made the evening, joyfully, together.” (Mother Wove the Morning, Act I, Scene 1).

Heavenly Parents working together perfectly, collaborating and sharing, equal partners in light and dark, in patience and love, in creativity and engineering, in thought and feeling. After all, “man was not meant to be alone” and we are not meant to live without our Mother. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”

Mom’s standing on the other side of that door, and while your brothers and sisters might try to keep you from knocking, you don’t have to listen to them. Find out for yourself. Then you, too, can say, “Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.”

Laura Compton

Laura Compton is currently working on a book about homosexuality, same-sex marriage and the Mormon church. If she weren't having so many fun and growing experiences as a wife, mother, paraeducator and occasional blogger, she'd be finished by now.

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  1. beautiful piece Laura. Thanks!

    “the reason we don’t know much about our Heavenly Mother is that the folks who wrote the religious texts are not moms. ”


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    • Hagoth /

      If your conclusion that a Heavenly Mother exists depends upon holy writ or upon statements by the prophets, would you please share which passages permit, much less encourage, us to pray to anyone other than God the Father? And once you have found and shared those passages, please help us understand how they trump prophetic commandments that we pray to pray to Heavenly Father alone?

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  2. Carrie Blank /


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  3. well, wow. how beautiful.

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  4. Well said, Laura. It seems more and more strange to me that we don’t use her name alongside Heavenly Father’s in most every conversation, prayer or conference talk.

    Once the idea has rooted in one’s soul, there’s no uprooting it. One model for God (a father and absentee mother) seems terribly lacking when compared to the other (parents, joined in loving power and purpose).

    It’s nice to see, hear and feel Her right now — in your writing.

    Thanks for this.

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  5. Hagoth /

    Please forgive the double post. I couldn’t figure out at first how to respond to the article and not to an individual reader. My question is for Laura.

    If your conclusion that a Heavenly Mother exists depends upon holy writ or upon statements by the prophets, would you please share which passages permit, much less encourage, us to pray to anyone other than God the Father? And once you have found and shared those passages, please help us understand how they trump prophetic commandments that we pray to pray to Heavenly Father alone?

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    • According to an exhaustive search of conference talks (done at, there have only been 5 instances that general authorities have mentioned the words “heavenly mother.” None of those statements mention anything about praying to her. Or perhaps you’re referring to other unofficial statements?

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      • Jim,

        Thanks for that link. Now, when I typed in “Mother in Heaven” as opposed to “Heavenly Mother”, I got 25 hits. There is an interesting quote from Orson Whitney:

        “Men like Beecher, like Theodore Parker, preached Mormonism for years. Theodore Parker broke out one Sabbath with a glorious invocation to our Father and Mother in heaven, and Christendom shouted and praised the great man whose mind had given birth to the wonderful thought that we had a Mother as well as a Father in heaven.”

        I am not sure how to interpret “invocation” from a 19th century perspective. Does it mean a prayer or song?

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      • Laura Compton
        Laura Compton /

        Jim –

        You would do well to expand your search terms.

        Our Mother in Heaven has been referenced numerous times by general authorities. She has been variously described as a parent, a co-creator, a wife, the original image from which women are modeled, Mother God, God Mother, God the Mother, God their Eternal Mother, Eternal Mother, and divine Mother, and is included in every reference to Heavenly Parents.

        And since every good Mormon man knows that he cannot be exalted alone (without a woman) it’s clear that She exists and is both fully divine and exalted as our Father.

        As for praying to Her, if you do it in a public prayer at church, chances are one of your male priesthood leaders will tell you to stop, and he will likely cite Gordon B. Hinckley’s 1991 statement wherein he says, “I regard it as inappropriate….”

        At the same time, each of us has a responsibility to seek confirmation of the utterances of our priesthood leaders to know for certain whether they were speaking with the spirit of prophecy and revelation or whether they were speaking as human beings.

        We receive confirmation of revelations through personal prayer. So, pray to the Father, in Jesus’ name about whether or not to pray to your Mother in Heaven as well. Maybe you’ll get the same answer President Hinckley did and maybe you won’t.

        But are your most fervent and important prayers spoken aloud over the pulpit, or do they arise in the private times and places of your deepest joy or sorrow?

        The point of prayer is to make a connection with the Divine. For some people, the feminine part of God is what makes the divine accessible, meaningful, richer, deeper and more real. God meets us where we are and speaks to us in the languages we best understand.

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  6. Laura Compton
    Laura Compton /

    My conclusion that a Heavenly Mother exists came to me the same way I arrived at a conclusion that a Heavenly Father exists.

    She has answered my prayers.

    And like they (used to) say on Reading Rainbow, “But don’t take *my* word for it.” Everyone has direct access.

    If one were uncomfortable praying to Her directly, though, one could ask the Father. And if one wanted to know for one’s self whether or not it’s okay to pray to Her, one could ask the Father if it’s okay. I’m sure He’ll answer.

    Now, for people who want to know more about what others have written and said about her, I would suggest beginning with a BYU Studies article which reports on a compilation of “over six hundred sources of all types referencing a Heavenly Mother in Mormon and academic discourse since 1844.”

    You will find a PDF version online here. Or you can pull a hard copy version by looking for “A Mother There” BYU Studies, Volume 50, Number 1.

    The authors, David L. Paulsen and Martin Pulido, go on to say:

    “While this research has been extensive, it is far from exhaustive, and we expect further investigations to uncover more information. So far, we have gathered an illuminating collection of thoughts about Mother in Heaven, her roles, her significance, and her character as given by prophets, Apostles,
    Church authorities, and other leaders since the restoration of the gospel. And although we do not have authoritative revelation on the specific roles and nature of Heavenly Mother, Church leaders have extrapolated much about her from our understanding of the plan of salvation, the nature of godhood, and the qualities of motherhood.”

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  7. Laura Compton
    Laura Compton /

    I find it interesting that so many focus on whether or not we have permission to communicate with a parent. Really? And you’re saying that because????

    And I find it even more interesting that the folks saying we don’t have permission to talk with one of our parents are our siblings:

    “You can’t talk to mom right now.”
    “Why not?”
    “Because I think you should talk to dad.”
    “I’ll talk with dad, but I want to talk with mom, too.”
    “Well, you’re not supposed to.”
    “Who says?”
    “Me and this other brother over here, and a bunch of guys. We’ve got to keep her away from the filth around here.”
    “And what does mom say?”
    “I don’t know.”
    “Why not?”
    “Because our eldest brother never asked her and I’m following his example, so I never asked either.”
    “How do you know he never asked her?”
    “Well, nobody wrote it down that he did.”
    “Did you ask dad if it’s okay to talk with her?”
    “Um, no.”
    “So, did it ever occur to you ask one of them yourself?”
    “Umm. No.”
    “Okay. Then I’ll go talk with her myself. Let me know if you want to know what she has to say. You can ask dad what he thinks about talking to her if you want.”

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    • Hagoth /

      I had previously read the BYU studies article. I appreciate your response, but I was hoping for some authority any authority beyond your logic. I don’t believe that that either of us believes your logic is sufficient to guide me to salvation. I do believe that the scriptures are. I also respect your right to pick and choose from the prophets. Essentially you are saying, the prophets and apostles were inspired when they introduced us to Heavenly Mother, but they and Heavenly Father were uninspired when they commanded that we pray only to the Father and only in the name of Jesus Christ. You have the right to pick and choose, particularly when the God of your creation doesn’t have your best interests at heart. I fought for your right to do this in the preexistence. (If only we could pick and choose consequences to our choices. Sigh.) I won’t mock you for exercising that right. As for me, I am uncomfortable disobeying such a direct commandment from the source who introduced me to Her in the first place. I wish you well and a safe return home.

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      • “but they and Heavenly Father were uninspired when they commanded that we pray only to the Father and only in the name of Jesus Christ. ”

        Hagoth: That is only your interpretation of the scriptures. On my interpretation, Heavenly Father and Jesus have never commanded that we pray “only” to the Father. Notice that your precise wording does not appear in the scriptures. The scriptures give positive injunctions to pray to the Father, sometimes in the name of Jesus, but as far as I know they never say “only” to the Father.

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        • Hagoth /

          You have me thinking. You may be right about the lack of a specific scriptural prohibition, particularly if you choose to interpret “no other God” as being inclusive of Heavenly Father and Mother.” I’m not with you on the interpretation, but I acknowledge the intellectual honesty of it. I’m searching for some precise scriptures on the subject. I can think of some prophetic statements that are pretty relevant, but cannonied scripture? Still searching. Thanks for pointing this out.

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      • Laura Compton
        Laura Compton /

        Sounds great. You don’t mock me and I won’t sigh in resignation and disbelief upon observing you seizing an opportunity to cast aspersions on the spiritual experiences of people you’ve never met. After all, I fought for your right to do that as well, may God have mercy on your soul.

        I am sure you would never belittle a believer’s testimony or personal revelation, knowing, as you do, that God speaks in many languages and gives to those who ask in faith, nothing wavering.

        Heaven forbid one would raise himself above another in order to place himself at the judgment bar between Christ and salvation, mocking and pointing like those with no authority dwelling in great and spacious buildings. Those placed in authority to judge others are called to that purpose and set apart with discernment strangers are unable to bear.

        By their fruits ye shall know them. I gotta go clean my shoes.

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        • Hagoth /

          Please read again, only this time, accept my sincere certification that my post was 100% sarcasm free. I honestly respect your right to pick and choose. Don’t we all? I pick and choose differently than you. I hope I make it. I hope you do too. (Still certifying 100% sarcasm free here, just in case you were wondering.) Everyone who chooses differently than you is not your enemy. I don’t intend to be. I just don’t choose your approach to God.
          Be well.

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  8. Michael Barker: the great man whose mind had given birth to the wonderful thought that we had a Mother as well as a Father in heaven.”

    This made me smile. Truly, Christianity shouted, but it’s likely there were women before him who “gave birth” to that thought, but women weren’t invited to offer invocations, so who’d have known? Seriously, what a perfect example of how patriarchy can twist things around: a man “gave birth” to the idea of Feminine Diety. Okay. I’m done now.

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  9. I’m all for patriarchy as it stands because, well, that’s what we’ve got to work with. I do think there is something better, however, and I’m pretty convinced it includes an equal share of Matriarchy.

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  10. wonderdog /

    The scriptures teach that Jesus Christ is the Second Comforter. One who reaches the level of spirituality to receie the Second Comforter is told that the Father may visit from time to tme. Perhaps Heavenly Mother also. Since that person can receive visits from the Church of the First Born.

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  11. Thanks so much for a wonderful post!

    It amazes me how much we as Mormons are divorced from our own souls. We have come to rely so much on prophets and scriptures to contain revelations for us that we don’t trust our own spirits to do anything other than confirm what we have already heard.

    My experience has shown me that Heavenly Mother wants nothing more than to answer our prayers and shower us with love. We need only turn our attention to Her. Knock and it shall be opened…

    In answer to Hagoth’s request for some “authority” permitting interaction with Heavenly Mother, I say: the authority of my own soul.

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  12. I can appreciate the desire for a personal relationship with our Mother. Personally, I don’t mind just thinking of Heavenly Mother and Heavenly Father as one united couple. I am grateful for any response from Heaven, and don’t find it particularly significant whether it came from a male source or a female source. I am content using the title “Heavenly Father” to signify both parties, kind of akin to a family surname. However, I am fully aware that it has a male connotation. It is not much different than a couple using the husband’s surname, in my opinion. I can pray to “Heavenly Father” and picture a loving couple listening intently to my sincere pleas for mercy and forgiveness. If that is not the case for you, then please, pray however you feel closest to God.

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