Guest Post by Jenne in response to the WAVE Call to Action to post a Mormon.org profile.
One of the questions available for members of the church to answer on Mormon.org is “What do Mormons believe about the nature of God?”
“Mormons believe that God’s nature is that of the perfect parent. One of the greatest doctrines taught by the LDS church is that we believe we are loved by a Father and Mother in Heaven. Together, they love us with perfect knowledge of what we need to lead us to truth. They are patient, gentle, kind but firm and fair. Heavenly Father is attentive to our prayers and send the Spirit to guide and comfort us. He also sends his Spirit to others who will be guided to help and give us comfort in our struggles.”
Over a month later, it was still pending review.
I didn’t like the quandary that put me in. I didn’t feel like editing my response by cowing to the textbook answer; and it’s not something that I could argue with anyone. After a while, It seemed pretty clear to me that it was not going to be approved in that form and I wasn’t going to be hold the why’s behind it.
I toyed with the idea of leaving the answer the same but adding a personal experience to illustrate how I came to this belief and why it is so important to me spiritually. In the end that’s what I decided to do.
I did later find out that there had been a technical glitch with the system and my answer was never reviewed. In a way it was fortuitous, as I was given the opportunity to further reflect and add more detail and personal insight into my answer. It was a blessing to me to be able to bear testimony of Mother and Father in Heaven and to share my experiences of how I came to that testimony.
I’m pleased to report that my expanded answer was approved and is now available to view on my profile.
Mormons believe that God’s nature is that of the perfect parent. One of the greatest doctrines taught by the LDS church is that we believe we are loved by a Father and Mother in Heaven. Together, they love us with perfect knowledge of what we need to lead us to truth. They are patient, gentle, kind but firm and fair. Heavenly Father is attentive to our prayers and sends the Spirit to guide and comfort us. He also sends his Spirit to others who will be guided to help and give us comfort in our struggles.
Though I greatly mourned my father’s death, I had not had a good relationship with him when he was alive. Finding myself fatherless with no knowledge of my Father in Heaven, I yearned to know a father’s love. At first I thought it was very strange that Mormons called God “Heavenly Father” all the time. Then it grew on me when I realized that believing in a Heavenly Father meant I could come to know a perfect father and given the hope of the atonement of Christ, my father could become more perfect than he had been in life. I learned that God is a knowable, loveable personage that broke down my misconceptions about a Christian belief in God. Learning about the Mormon concept of the nature of God helped me embrace Christianity because Mormons reject the idea that God is a spirit, without passions, without body or shape.
Already having a nontraditional past and understanding of religion but valuing “truth wherever it can be found” the concept of Heavenly Mother, too, resounded strongly with me. Most Mormons first learn about Heavenly Mother in one of the LDS hymns which reads “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.” This concept made so much sense to me, and, I expect, to others who are coming from a pagan, earth-based religious background or who are familiar with the history of goddess worship throughout the centuries of the world. Its wonderful to me that neither gender is pushed aside for the other, but male and female reign together as divine beings.
In knowing about the existence of a Heavenly Mother and a Heavenly Father, I have a better understanding of who I am as a daughter of God. Though not much is taught about Heavenly Mother, I envision a womanly goddess who is capable, strong, intelligent and all-knowing, creative, hardworking and infinitely loving: the perfect woman and mother and equal to power and ability to God the Father. The vision I have of Heavenly Father is gentle, loving, compassionate, all-knowing, patient and sensitive: the perfect man and father. In both, I find the parents I need to feel loved, comforted, guided and supported. I am able to learn how to be a better parent and partner to my husband because of the example I envision my heavenly parents set for me.
I find this experience frustrating and confusing, though in the end, I was glad to have the opportunity to bear testimony of Heavenly Mother, whom I feel is missing from my spiritual life and understanding. At this point, I have to be content with the idea I have of her in my heart and mind and pray that someday she will be more knowable. I have faith that I will see her just as Eliza R. Snow describes in her hymn: “When I leave this frail existence, when I lay this mortal by; Father, Mother, may I meet you in your royal courts on high?” Yet, it’s with a pensive wistfulness that I hope to know her before then. And I hope for a church that openly recognizes, celebrates, seeks information about and teaches of her.
Note: This post has been edited to remove suggestion that Jenne’s profile was censored without communication as to why her answer was withheld. A technical glitch had prevented review of her response.