Two—count ‘em—two questions about Heavenly Mother materialized in my mailbox this week. And I realized with a start that in more than two years of Ask Mormon Girl columns, I had never written about this unique and inspiring aspect of Mormon doctrine here.
So here’s question number one:
I have a question for you about Heavenly Mother and why we don’t talk about her. Do you think that the church really does it to “keep women in their place”? Why can’t we pray to her? Why isn’t she worshipped like our heavenly Father. This has been something that I have been wondering for a long time and if you have any ideas on reading or anything like that I would love to hear!! Thanks!
And number two:
As a lifelong, 52-year-old member of the LDS Church, I surprised myself yesterday by having a rather basic question occur to me for the first time. It occurred to me that perhaps part of the reason that we talk little of our Heavenly Mother in the church is that she is one of many. That is, perhaps God the Father has polygamous (read polygynous) relationships. Maybe my heavenly mother is not your heavenly mother. What do you think, and what do you think church leaders think? Are there some sources on this subject, or must we simply speculate?
Yes, world, it is Mormon doctrine that God is not only a Heavenly Father but a Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. The idea proceeds very logically from Doctrine & Covenants 132: 19 – 20, which teaches that marriage in an LDS temple is a requirement for attaining the highest levels of heaven, or “exaltation.” Those who do, the scripture states, “shall be gods.”
If doctrine holds that only the married are exalted to godhood, then it follows quite rationally that God is a married couple. This beautiful, symmetrical idea found an early articulation by the LDS leader Eliza R. Snow in her hymn, “O My Father”: “In the heavens, are parents single? / No, the thought makes reason stare. / Truth is reason, truth eternal, / Tells me I’ve a mother there.” This hymn is in the official LDS hymnbook and is regularly sung in Mormon congregations around the world. And the 1995 “Proclamation on the Family” refers to our “Heavenly Parents.” Clearly, our Mother is no secret.
But she sure feels like a secret. You could listen in on a year’s worth of Mormon meetings and scarcely hear her named. What gives?
The silence around Heavenly Mother is not doctrinal. A far-reaching study published in the journal BYU Studies last year located more than six hundred references to Heavenly Mother in the writings and speeches of LDS Church leaders. It’s really an important read—please download it for free here–and the authors find that there is absolutely no doctrinal basis for the prohibition of discussion of Heavenly Mother. And that’s the journal BYU Studies, for crying out loud.
The silence around Heavenly Mother, then, is cultural. It’s just a human tradition—a habit that fell into place and has become difficult to dislodge. We don’t find her as the object of discussion or even mention in General Conference speeches. Little inquiry is made into her attributes, character, or contributions, as if such concerns were marginal or even fringe. And thus for many decades there was a virtual vacuum of substantive reflection on Heavenly Mother.
Just as folk doctrine—some of it quite cruel–crept in to rationalize Mormonism’s century-plus ban on Black priesthood ordination, a good deal of folk doctrine has also crept in to rationalize our lack of discussion about our Mother. I grew up in the 1980s hearing from my seminary teacher that Heavenly Father himself prohibits discussion of our Mother because he wants to protect her from the abuse of the world—from regular mortals taking her name in vain, and the like—a story that always sounded utterly preposterous to me. As if God Herself were too fragile!
One sometimes also hears in Mormon circles the hushed speculation that we don’t talk about Heavenly Mother because there are in fact plural Heavenly Mothers. This is a bit of theological speculation we can trace to the nineteenth-century LDS theologian Orson Pratt’s The Seer, which was in its own day disclaimed by LDS authorities as a speculative rather than a doctrinal text. I have also met contemporary polygamous Mormon fundamentalist women who do believe that Heavenly Father has many exalted wives—many Heavenly Mothers for the whole human family. (I spent a memorable evening a few years ago, gathered around the dining room table of a—and they were utterly scandalized by the fact that talking about Heavenly Mother was so scandalized in the mainstream LDS Church.) The residual speculative idea that there are plural Heavenly Mothers is substantiated in some mainstream Mormon minds by the polygamous facets of D&C 132, plus current LDS temple sealing policies that permit living husbands to be sealed to more than one wife for the eternities (but not wives to husbands), as well as an ultra-literal projection of human procreation onto Heavenly Parents. Yes, it’s true that some LDS people today imagine that our Parents in Heaven create the spirits of humankind in a manner similar to the means through which the bodies of humankind are created on earth. That’s a lot of spiritual procreation, the story goes, hence the need for so many Heavenly Mothers. Again, none of this is doctrine, but it is the kind of storytelling we hear in the absence of doctrine. And just for the record, I’ll say it again, I know plenty of women who would firmly disagree that eternal pregnancy in the company of a gaggle of eternally pregnant wives is no heaven.
But again, these are non-doctrinal, folkoric reasons assigned for the lack of official discourse on Heavenly Mother. There is no doctrinal reason for not talking about Her.
And there was a moment two decades ago when our Mother was once again making a resurgence in Mormon talk and thought, thanks to Mormon feminists like Carol Lynn Pearson, whose marvelous play Mother Wove the Morning has given us some of our best imaging of her power and presence. Then, in 1991, President Gordon B. Hinckley gave a talk instructing LDS Church members that it was inappropriate to pray to Heavenly Mother. And Mormon feminist theologian Janice Allred, whose best-known work is a book entitled God the Mother, was excommunicated. And in 1996, Professor Gail Houston was fired from Brigham Young University for publicly describing her personal relationship with her Mother in Heaven, including her use of “meditation” and “visualization” to deepen that relationship. All of these events, I think, led to a renewed stigma around even talking about our Mother. On a day-to-day basis, she is bracketed in speech, again and again and again.
Who is responsible for perpetuating the silence? And who is responsible for the improper value attached to that silence—as if refusing to acknowledge Her or perpetuating some spooky sense of mystery about Her were a sublimely virtuous act. Who is responsible? We are.
A few weeks ago, I was in a group of LDS women, when one of the women related a story of a friend who had given a talk on Heavenly Mother on Mother’s Day in his LDS congregation in the western U.S. He was extremely cautious, crafting his talk only from on-the-record statements by high-ranking LDS leaders. Why not, after all, talk about Heavenly Mother on Mother’s Day? But as soon as he finished his talk, he was followed at the pulpit by his bishop, who denounced the talk and shamed the man. Within a few weeks, his Stake Presidency issued a statement asserting that talk of Heavenly Mother was prohibited.
“That was wrong,” I said to the women in the group. “That’s not doctrinal.”
“How do you know?” the woman looked at me with big fearful eyes, stunned.
“Because I know,” I said. It’s not a mystery. The official statements are available for everyone to study. We need to take responsibility for knowing our own religion, right?
It’s a refusal to know and act on our own doctrine that keeps Heavenly Mother in silence. And that refusal is rooted in culture. Gender-conservative Mormon culture often privileges polite demurral and passivity in women over intellectual curiosity and authority. Perhaps the quiescence we assign to Heavenly Mother is a reflection of what Mormon culture at its most conservative values in women.
I certainly don’t think LDS Church leaders are plotting to keep Heavenly Mother out of the conversation. Not at all. I think they’re preoccupied with the many challenges of running a worldwide church, and Mother in Heaven simply doesn’t occur to them except as a fringe theological speculation. So it may be up to those of us for whom she is not a fringe concern—perhaps because she looks like us or someone we love—to take responsibility for knowing the doctrine.
And don’t blame God for the silence. After all, why would God prohibit discussion of the truth that women are partners in Godhood, that God looks not only like the husbands, brothers, and sons we cherish but also like us, our sisters, and our daughters? That she has parts and passions like ours, as Mormon doctrine teaches. We live in a world where women’s bodies are exploited, shamed, abused and distorted beyond recognition in popular culture, with serious spiritual consequences for men, women, boys, and girls. So many women—including (especially?) Mormon women–have issues with food, size, and embodiment that are tremendously costly to our spiritual lives and the lives of our families. Understanding the embodiment of God in female form calls us to emancipation from distorted and distorting relationships to our bodies.
I appreciate all the Mormon women and men who are making an effort to bring Heavenly Mother steadily and politely back into everyday speech and thought. (And readers, if you’d like to see some truly beautiful art and writing on Motherhood—including divine motherhood—do yourself a favor and get the latest issue of Sunstone magazine, a special issue dedicated entirely to the subject.)
I’ll get back into my silence now, and turn the space over to you, readers. How do you experience the silence around Heavenly Mother, and are you ready to end it for yourself?
Send your query to firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @askmormongirl on Twitter.
In Mormonism, Heavenly Mother or the Mother in Heaven is the mother of human spirits and the wife of God the Father. Those who accept the Mother in Heaven doctrine trace its origins to Joseph Smith, the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement. The doctrine became more widely known after Smith's death in 1844.
The heavenly Mother doctrine is taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), the Restoration Church of Jesus Christ, and branches of Mormon fundamentalism, such as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The doctrine is not generally recognized by other denominations within the Latter Day Saint movement, such as the Community of Christ, where trinitarianism is predominant.
In the LDS Church, the doctrine of "heavenly Mother" or "heavenly parents" is not frequently discussed; however, the doctrine can be found in some church hymns and has been briefly discussed in church teaching manuals and sermons.
Origin of the theology
Further information: Exaltation (Mormonism)
The theological underpinnings of a belief in Heavenly Mother are attributed to Joseph Smith, the prophet of Restoration, who shortly before his death in 1844 outlined a controversial view of God that differed dramatically from traditional Christian consensus. Smith's theology included the belief that God would share his glory with his children and that righteous couples might become exalted beings, or gods and goddesses, in the afterlife.
Although there is no known record of Smith explicitly teaching about heavenly Mother, several of Smith's contemporaries attributed the theology to him either directly, or as a natural consequence of his theological stance. An editorial footnote of History of the Church 5:254, quotes Smith as saying: "Come to me; here's the mysteries man hath not seen, Here's our Father in heaven, and Mother, the Queen." In addition, a secondhand account states that in 1839, Smith had told Zina Diantha Huntington, after the death of her mother, that "not only would she know her mother again on the other side, but 'more than that, you will meet and become acquainted with your eternal Mother, the wife of your Father in Heaven'".:65
In addition, members of the Anointed Quorum, a highly select leadership group in the early church that was privy to Smith's teachings, also acknowledged the existence of a Heavenly Mother.:65–67 The Times and Seasons published a letter to the editor from a pseudonymous person named "Joseph's Speckled Bird", in which the author stated that in the pre-Earth life, the spirit "was a child with his father and mother in heaven". The apostle Parley Pratt even taught in an official church periodical that God may have had multiple wives before Christ's time, and that after the death of Mary (the mother of Jesus) she may have become another eternal wife.
In 1845, after the death of Smith, the poet Eliza Roxcy Snow published a poem entitled "My Father in Heaven", (later titled "Invocation, or the Eternal Father and Mother", now used as the lyrics in the Latter-day Saint hymn "O My Father"), which acknowledged the existence of a heavenly Mother. The poem contained the following language:
In the heavens 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?
Some early Mormons considered Snow to be a "prophetess". Later, church presidentJoseph F. Smith (a nephew of Joseph Smith) explained his own belief that "God revealed that principle that we have a mother as well as a father in heaven to Joseph Smith; Joseph Smith revealed it to Eliza Snow Smith, his wife; and Eliza Snow was inspired, being a poet, to put it into verse.":65 A companion hymn "Our Mother in Heaven" was published in the church's Juvenile Instructor four decades later.
The doctrine is also attributed to several other early church leaders. According to one sermon by Brigham Young, Smith once said he "would not worship a God who had not a father; and I do not know that he would if he had not a mother; the one would be as absurd as the other."
Worship and prayer to Heavenly Mother
Orson Pratt, an early apostle of the LDS Church, opposed worshiping a heavenly Mother, because, he reasoned, like wives and children in any household, heavenly Mother was required to "yield the most perfect obedience to" her husband.
Early leader George Q. Cannon thought that "there is too much of this inclination to deify 'our mother in heaven'", arguing that she is not part of the Godhead and that to worship her would detract from the worship of heavenly Father.:78 However, early 20th-century church leader Rudger Clawson disagreed, arguing that "it doesn't take away from our worship of the Eternal Father, to adore our Eternal Mother ... [W]e honor woman when we acknowledge Godhood in her eternal prototype.":79
Some church leaders have interpreted the term "God" to represent the divinely exalted couple with both a masculine and feminine half. Erastus Snow, an early Mormon apostle, wrote "'do you mean we should understand that Deity consists of a man and woman?' Most certainly I do. If I believe anything that God has ever said about himself ... I must believe that deity consists of a man and woman." This notion was reaffirmed by later church leaders Hugh B. Brown, James E. Talmage, Melvin J. Ballard, and Bruce R. McConkie.:79–80
Some Mormon feminists have adopted the practice of praying to the heavenly Mother. However, LDS Church president Gordon B. Hinckley opposed this practice, saying that Mormons should not pray to the heavenly Mother because Christ instructed his disciples to address the heavenly Father in their prayers. When a feminist professor was fired from Brigham Young University in the 1990s, it was revealed that one of the reasons was her public advocacy of praying to heavenly Mother. Other Mormon women have been excommunicated for similar publications such as teaching that Heavenly Mother is the Holy Ghost.
Acknowledgment by the LDS Church
The LDS Church did not formally acknowledge the existence of a heavenly Mother until 1909, in a statement on the "origin of man" by the First Presidency on the 50th anniversary of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species. The church also later implied the theology in the 1995 statement "The Family: A Proclamation to the World", where the church officially stated that each person is a "spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents". Other references to heavenly parents can be found in Latter-day Saint speeches and literature. In 2015, an official essay was published on the church website which surveyed 171 years of statements about a Mother in Heaven and confirmed that it is part of church doctrine.
Statements by church leaders
Various LDS Church leaders throughout the history of the church have spoken openly about the doctrine of a heavenly Mother.
Brigham Young, who taught Adam is Heavenly Father, taught that his wife Eve is heavenly Mother: "I tell you more, Adam is the father of our spirits ... [O]ur spirits and the spirits of all the heavenly family were begotten by Adam, and born of Eve. ... I tell you, when you see your Father in the Heavens, you will see Adam; when you see your Mother that bore your spirit, you will see Mother Eve." (Since the LDS Church has formally denounced since the 1970s the Adam–God doctrine as taught by Young, today this statement is doctrinal only to certain groups of Mormon fundamentalists.) Young also preached that resurrected "eternal mothers" would "be prepared to frame earths like unto ours".:80
Susa Young Gates, a daughter of Young and a women's rights activist, stated that the "great Heavenly Mother was the great molder" of Abraham's personality. "Gates speculated that Heavenly Mother has played a significant role in all our lives, looking over us with 'watchful care' and providing 'careful training.'":75
Early 20th-century church leader B. H. Roberts pointed out that the heavenly Mother doctrine presents a "conception of the nobility of women and of motherhood and of wife-hood—placing her side by side with the Divine Father.":77 Apostle John A. Widtsoe, a contemporary of Roberts, wrote that the afterlife "is given radiant warmth by the thought that ... [we have] a mother who possesses the attributes of Godhood.":78 In 1894, Juvenile Instructor, an official publication of the LDS Church, published a hymn entitled "Our Mother in Heaven". A 1925 First Presidency statement included the lines "All men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother .... [M]an, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents .... [and] is capable, by experience through ages and aeons [sic], of evolving into a God."
There has also been some more recent discussion of heavenly Mother by LDS Church leaders. In a speech given at BYU in 2010, Glenn L. Pace, a member of the LDS Church's First Quorum of the Seventy, said, "Sisters, I testify that when you stand in front of your heavenly parents in those royal courts on high and look into Her eyes and behold Her countenance, any question you ever had about the role of women in the kingdom will evaporate into the rich celestial air, because at that moment you will see standing directly in front of you, your divine nature and destiny."
According to historian Linda Wilcox, heavenly Mother "is a shadowy and elusive belief floating around the edges of Mormon consciousness".:64 Though the belief is held by most Mormons, the doctrine is not actively advertised by the LDS Church, though heavenly Mother is sometimes mentioned in talks or sermons in sacrament meetings and in Sunday School classes. The topic is most often consistent with the theology discussed above.
The lack of focused teaching and more information about her has caused speculation among Mormons that this de-emphasis may have a divine purpose, such as to avoid drawing attention to her and to preserve the sacredness of her existence. In 1960, an LDS seminary teacher published in a Mormon encyclopedia that "the name of our Mother in Heaven has been withheld" because of the way God the Father's and Jesus Christ's names have been profaned.
Margaret Merrill Toscano writes that "[w]hile no General Authority has made an official statement denying belief in a Heavenly Mother nor stating that her existence is too sacred to discuss, several factors may influence the current trend that sees even a mention of Heavenly Mother as treading on forbidden ground. Members take their cues about what is acceptable doctrine from talks of General Authorities and official church manuals and magazines". These materials rarely mention heavenly Mother directly. The publicly discussed church discipline of feminists like Lynne Kanavel Whitesides, Maxine Hanks, Janice Merrill Allred, and Margaret Toscano, all of whom were disciplined in part for statements related to the heavenly Mother, may add to the general sense that discourse about her is strictly forbidden. However, Brigham Young University professor David L. Paulsen has argued that such a belief finds no official backing in statements by church leaders, and that the concept that the heavenly Mother is consigned to a "sacred silence" is largely the result of a relatively recent cultural perception.:75
Though LDS Church president Gordon B. Hinckley has said the prohibition on praying to heavenly Mother in no way "belittles or denigrates her", some[who?] feel that it makes her seem less important than heavenly Father. Others assume that both heavenly parents are equally important and expect that more will be revealed when we are ready.[editorializing] Mormon fundamentalists believe that heavenly Father has multiple wives, and that although humankind shares the same heavenly Father, they do not all share the same heavenly Mother.
The question of how heavenly Mother is regarded ties into a larger set of questions among many Mormons about power in relationships between men and women. When asked why God said that Adam would rule over Eve, Hinckley said, "I do not know ... My own interpretation of that sentence is that the husband shall have a governing responsibility to provide for, to protect, to strengthen and shield the wife. Any man who belittles or abuses or terrorizes, or who rules in unrighteousness, will deserve and, I believe, receive the reprimand of a just God who is the Eternal Father of both His sons and daughters."
Reported visions of Heavenly Mother
Heavenly Mother is absent in the visionary experiences in Mormon scriptures. The only recorded visionary experience is related by Zebedee Coltrin and recorded in the journal of Abraham H. Cannon.
One day the Prophet Joseph asked him [Coltrin] and Sidney Rigdon to accompany him into the woods to pray. When they had reached a secluded spot Joseph laid down on his back and stretched out his arms. He told the brethren to lie one on each arm, and then shut their eyes. After they had prayed he told them to open their eyes. They did so and saw a brilliant light surrounding a pedestal which seemed to rest on the earth. They closed their eyes and again prayed. They then saw, on opening them, the Father seated upon a throne; they prayed again and on looking saw the Mother also; after praying and looking the fourth time they saw the Savior added to the group.
- ^"Pre-Mortal Existence", Mormonism, BBC, 2009-10-02
- ^Role of women in the Restoration Church of Jesus Christ (On menu on right of website, click on "Core Beliefs" and then click on "The Role of Women")] Archived July 1, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- ^"The Role of Women in the Church". Restoration Church of Jesus Christ. Archived from the original on 2008-06-17. Retrieved 2006-07-17. [unreliable source?]
- ^"O My Father" (LDS hymn #292) refers to a mother in heaven. "Oh, What Songs of the Heart" (LDS hymn #286) refers to "heavenly parents", and "We Meet Again As Sisters" (LDS hymn #311) to "heav'nly parents". "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" mentions "heavenly parents". Various LDS Church curriculum materials refer to a heavenly Mother. E.g.: "Lesson 9: Chastity and Modesty", The Latter-day Saint Woman: Basic Manual for Women, Part A (2000); "Chapter 2: Our Heavenly Family", Gospel Principles, pp. 8–12 (2009); Spencer W. Kimball, "The True Way of Life and Salvation", Ensign, May 1978, p. 4.
- ^See: King Follett Discourse, Smith 1844. Also: Doctrine and Covenants 132:19-20
- ^ abcdWilcox 1987
- ^Orson Pratt 1876, p. 292; Wilford Woodruff 1875, pp. 31–32.
- ^Joseph's Speckled Bird 1845, p. 892.
- ^Pratt, Parley (1853). The Seer. p. 158,172. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
- ^Dana, Bruce E. (September 2004). The Eternal Father and His Son. Cedar Fort Inc. p. 62. ISBN 1555177883. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
- ^Snow 1845. See also: Derr & 1996–97; Pearson 1992.
- ^"Abstract of Poems, religious, historical, and political". Harold B. Lee Library/Online Collections at BYU. Retrieved 2008-06-13.
- ^Aston, Warren (22 April 2014). "Remembering Mother in Heaven". Meridian Magazine. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
- ^Harrison, William Chase (15 April 1894). "Our Mother in Heaven: Companion Hymn to E.R. Snow's 'Invocation'". The Juvenile Instructor. 29 (8): 263–264. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
- ^Journal of Discourses, vol. 9, p. 286
- ^Pratt, Orson (October 1853), "Celestial Marriage", The Seer, 1 (10), p. 159
- ^ abcdefghPaulsen & Pulido 2011
- ^Hinckley 1991, pp. 97–100
- ^"Academic Freedom and Tenure: Brigham Young University"(PDF). American Association of University Professors. September–October 1997. Archived from the original on 2006-08-13. Retrieved 2006-07-20.
- ^Stack, Peggy Fletcher (16 May 2013). "A Mormon mystery returns: Who is Heavenly Mother?". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
- ^Smith et al. 1909.
- ^E.g.: Hinckley 1991, encouraging Latter-day Saint women not to pray to the heavenly Mother, and M. Russell Ballard stating, "we are part of a divine plan designed by Heavenly Parents who love us" in his book When Thou Art Converted.
- ^Tad Walch. "LDS Church releases new essays about women and the priesthood and Heavenly Mother". Deseret News. Retrieved 2015-11-01.
- ^"Manuscript Addresses of Brigham Young, Oct. 8, 1854".
- ^Spencer W. Kimball, "Our Own Liahona,"Ensign, November 1976, p. 77.
- ^Juvenile Instructor, vol. 29, no. 8 (April 15, 1894): 263.
- ^The Origin of Man & Organic Evolution(PDF). Rexburg, Idaho: Brigham Young University-Idaho. 2004. pp. 2–3. Archived from the original on 5 August 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
- ^"'Mormon' View of Evolution". Improvement Era. 28 (11): 1090–1091. September 1925. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
- ^Grant, Heber; Ivins, Anthony; Nibley, Charles (18 July 1925). "'Mormon' View of Evolution". Deseret News.
- ^Glenn L. Pace (March 9, 2010). "The Divine Nature and Destiny of Women". Speeches. Brigham Young University. Archived from the original on March 18, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-07.
- ^Melvin R. Brooks, LDS Reference Encyclopedia (Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1960), p. 309–10.
- ^ abMargaret Merrill Toscano, Is There a Place For Heavenly Mother In Mormon Theology; Sunstone; July 2004.
- ^Hinckley 1991
- ^Wilcox 1987 note 13
- Bickmore, Barry R., "Mormonism in the Early Jewish Christian Milieu", (1999).
- Derr, Jill Mulvay (1996–97), "The Significance of 'O My Father' in the Personal Journey of Eliza R. Snow", BYU Studies, 36 (1): 84–126, archived from the original on 2011-11-07, retrieved 2012-08-07 .
- Hinckley, Gordon B. (November 1991), "Daughters of God", Ensign: 97–100, retrieved 2012-08-07 .
- Joseph's Speckled Bird, Letter to the Editor, Times and Seasons 6: 892 (May 1, 1845).
- Jorgensen, Danny L., "The Mormon Gender-Inclusive Image of God", Journal of Mormon History, 27, No. 1 (Spring 2001): 95-126.
- Origen, Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of John: Book II, ¶6. Included in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, 10 vols. (Buffalo: The Christian Literature Publishing Company, 1885–1896) 10:329-330.
- Litchfield, Allen W. (1987), Behind the Veil: The Heavenly Mother Concept Among Members of Women's Support Groups in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, BYU Master's thesis .
- Paulsen, David L.; Pulido, Martin (2011), "'A Mother There': A Survey of Historical Teachings About Mother in Heaven", BYU Studies, 50 (1): 70–97, archived from the original on 2012-06-24 .
- Pearson, Carol Lynn (October 1992), Mother Wove the Morning: a one-woman play, ISBN 1-56236-307-7 (depicting, according to the video's description, Eliza R. Snow as one of "sixteen women [who] throughout history search for God the Mother and invite her back into the human family").
- Pratt, Orson, Journal of Discourses 18:292 (Nov. 12, 1876).
- Smith Jr., Joseph, King Follett Discourse, April 7, 1844, published in Times and Seasons 5 (August 15, 1844): 612-17, and reprinted in the History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, edited by B. H. Roberts, 2d ed. rev. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, (1976–1980), 6:302-17; see also "The Christian Godhead--Plurality of Gods", History of the Church, 6: 473-79.
- Smith, Joseph F. et al., "The Origin of Man", Improvement Era (November 1909): 80.
- Wilcox, Linda P. (1987), "The Mormon Concept of a Mother in Heaven", in Maureen Ursenbach Beecher; Lavina Fielding Anderson, Sisters in Spirit: Mormon Women in Historical and Cultural Perspective, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, pp. 64–77 .
- Woodruff, Wilford, Journal of Discourses 18:31–32 (June 27, 1875).