SISTERS QUORUM: Every six months, as General Conference approaches, members of the LDS Church discuss their hopes about what will come from the pulpit. This go-round, however, LDS women are talking about their fears rather than their hopes. Leaks are coming from stake training meetings and other sources, suggesting this General Conference will be used to quash independent, spiritual pursuit of Heavenly Mother. When SQ asked LDS women to share their personal experiences with Heavenly Mother and their reactions to the possibility SLC will attempt to silence Her–and them–once again, twelve women gave us glimpses into their intimate, spiritual experiences. We were moved and think you will be, too.
CANDICE: My first real experience with Heavenly Mother was this past summer as I was trying to mentally prepare for a couple of my older children to leave the house. I must have prayed to Heavenly Father every night in sadness and agony, and in all those prayers to Him I just kept getting, “I’m here for you. I’ll help you. I love you.” But none of that was helpful or comforting. I needed to know how to deal with them leaving home. Then, in one stray thought, I knew that if anyone understood how to deal with children leaving and the prospect of them not returning, it would be my Mother in Heaven, and without a second thought I cried out to her. I shared with her all the feelings of inadequacy, all the fears of not doing or being enough when they were younger, and all the dreams I wished for them. The answer I received from her was so powerful it literally knocked me off my feet and I had to sit. Her spirit filled me with a strength I’ve never felt before and the words I felt Her say to me filled my heart with joy.
“I hear you. I know what you are feeling. You are strong enough to handle this. I have you, and will support and lift you up in those moments where you feel you can’t. But know that you can, know that you are my daughter and [that] I have shown you how to do hard things. Your children love you, as I love you, and we are one.”
I don’t know how long I sat there absorbing it all, but I walked away from it feeling so much comfort and a renewed sense of peace.
PHOEBE: A while back, I gave a testimony in a testimony meeting about my gratefulness to my Heavenly Parents, especially Heavenly Mother, because of the work I do. I am a doula, and I spoke of how seeking her guidance more in my life and work has completely transformed my care for people and families who are welcoming a new baby. I got no clap back and a few people thanked me for sharing that. One older woman even told me we should be speaking about Her and Her influence in our lives more, and she was glad I said it. It did feel a bit scary to open up about my quest to have a better relationship with Heavenly Mother, but it felt right to share that day, and I’m glad I did.
Now in my quest to be more connected, I’ve started referring to her as the Divine Feminine more and more as I feel like that encompasses more of who She is than just the title of Heavenly Mother. Probably because the pushback on Her has been so great that She seems to only have become a quiet little ghost with Her only identifier being “mother,” so now it feels like that title doesn’t equate to who She fully is and [that] takes away from Her power.
BRITTANI: The most powerful positive experience I’ve had happened about four or five years ago when I shared a testimony about my relationship with and love of Heavenly Mother, and having it followed by the bishop expressing appreciation for the the beautiful sermon I had just preached (he said preached!) and encouraging everyone to read the gospel topics essay about Her.
CANDICE: Something I’ve learned to do is, on those nights when my brain won’t shut off and Heavenly Father wants to help me sort it all out, I turn to Mother and say, “Take this from me. Hold it. Keep it safe. I can’t deal with it right now. I will take it all back in the morning and work through it, but for now, I need sleep.” And She does. I fall asleep within minutes every time I do this.
I see my relationship with my Heavenly Parents in similar ways to my earthly parents. One is a fixer, a protector, a problem solver, and one is a “kick you in the butt, you’ve got this and I’ve got you,” confidence builder. I need both in my life for different reasons and at different times!
L.W.: I had the privilege of being the Young Women President in my ward for the last few years. The first year of COVID-19, for Mother’s Day, we taught a lesson on Heavenly Mother. This was a subject many of our girls had expressed interest in learning more about. We have some interesting family relationships in our ward, so this seemed like an amazing opportunity to bring everyone together for a lesson instead of making anyone feel any pain in a lesson on mothers.
In lieu of delegating the teaching to the girls like most Come Follow Me lessons, our amazing secretary put together a beautiful lesson. The youth loved it, and even some of their parents chimed in on our Facebook post about it. I felt the spirit.
Several days later, I was called to a meeting with our bishop, where I felt I was interrogated about my faith, my testimony, and even my relationship with my husband. I thought I was going to a meeting about youth activities and updates, only to be blindsided and treated like a failure as a leader. I felt like a child being reprimanded for disobeying. The information used for the lesson was scriptural and quotes from our (male) church leaders, prophet, and apostles. I have very few times in my life I have felt so confused and hurt.
ANGIE: I’m a new mom, and I noticed a lot of yearning for closeness to Heavenly Mother during my pregnancy. I expressed this to my husband, and he seemed to understand. However, he was concerned that I might want to start praying to her instead of Heavenly Father. I explained that I would like to address Her when I need Her. I don’t consider that praying per se, but it’s not not praying. Anyway, the clamping down on Heaven Mother has me concerned because I’m positive my husband will have concerns and expect me to toe the line–which can’t happen in this case.
KATE: from Canada: I remember seeing a post a few years ago asking people to ask Heavenly Father how He feels about [Heavenly] Mother. I thought it was an intriguing idea, and I did so. I couldn’t even get the entire thought out before I was filled with the most amazing feeling of love and peace. I think that experience started my journey to find Her in earnest. I try to use the term Heavenly Parents (or Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother) in conversations when I’m talking about God in general. I talk to Them regularly throughout my day (not official prayers in the name of Jesus Christ, but just saying hi, touching base, etc) and, each night before bed, I say, ‘Thank you, and I love you’ to Them, specifically mentioning Mother first. I’ve also asked for Mother to come ‘stroke my hair’ when I’m having a hard time falling asleep, and that’s been a very sacred experience, and I always fall asleep quickly when I do that.
NIKKI: I have loved learning of the Feminine Divine. I have loved learning that She’s not too sacred to talk about. I have loved learning of her symbols and being reminded of her. I’ve had a paradigm shift since including her in my life, and it has made for a more holistic perspective. I can see where She must’ve been, and I hadn’t realized it. She has 100% helped me be a better mother to my children.
Now that She’s here, I cannot deny her, just as I cannot deny The Father. I can’t always tell the difference, and I think it’s always through the Holy Ghost as a companion with them. I’m kinda whirling at what appear to be credible rumors of a crack down on Heavenly Mother.
CAMI: My first real memory of encountering the Divine Feminine was when my oldest was a newborn. He wasn’t sleeping well, it was 3am, and I was sobbing because I was sick, tired, in pain, and dealing with PPD/PPA. I felt HER overwhelming presence and it was literally like she was holding me the same way I was holding my son. The thought came clear as day, You have everything you need to do this because your are mine and made in my image. I have sought her fervently ever since.
KATEY: A couple of months ago a woman in my stake started her prayer, “Heavenly Parents…” The next week a member of the stake presidency came to speak specifically on prayer and that it is inappropriate to pray to Heavenly Mother.
The following month, another woman was teaching singing time and mentioned Heavenly Parents. A member of the bishopric rushed to the front, patted the sister on the back, and proceeded to take time to reiterate to the Primary that Heavenly Mother is sacred and that we don’t talk about her.
The thing is, nobody complained a year earlier when other women had prayed, given talks on, or changed lyrics to songs to be more inclusive. There is something that recently shifted and I feel like the men fear women gaining their own authority.
THOMANN: Heavenly Mother is one of the reasons I cannot join another church. As far as I know, we are the only Christian church that acknowledges Her. The Godhead v. The Trinity is the other. I feel Her presence whenever I sing “Oh My Father.”
A.W.: A few years ago, I was in the middle of my faith deconstruction, and I was on my knees, pleading with Heavenly Father for comfort or answers or help and I just felt nothing. Like my prayers were just bouncing off the ceiling. I didn’t know what to do because it felt like my world was falling apart and no one cared. At this point, I hadn’t really ever prayed to God the Mother and was scared to do so because of all the messages telling us not to. But I guess out of desperation I prayed to know Her. I prayed that She would show Herself to me and prayed to understand how to access Her divine love. I heard a distinct message to “go outside.” I stood up and did. It was a blustery, cloudy day, and when I stepped out into my yard, I felt her spirit wrap me in love and power and strength and peace. I felt that the message she sent me was that the churches and temples we build on this earth may be monuments to our Heavenly Father, but Hers are everywhere around us. She makes Her monuments in the mountains, and rivers, and oceans, in the rain and wind, and earth. She is everywhere around us, and she is strong and powerful and full of love and wisdom. She doesn’t need anyone’s permission to exist.
ANNE: I’m the YW President in my ward. Last year, I suggested we do a talk on Mother’s Day on Heavenly Mother. Of course, I was asked to give it. Preparing for that talk was the hardest thing I’ve done for church. It took me hours to do and only when I let my feelings and words flow did the right words come to mind. When I give talks in sacrament meeting, I am often nervous before, but as soon as I stand up, the nerves go away and I’m fine. That wasn’t the case this time. I was nervous. My hands were clammy, and my heart was pounding. The entire chapel was silent for the first few minutes of my talk, and I was so worried about how it was being received. It was also the farewell of one of my former young women, so there were extra people in attendance. As my talk progressed, I looked down to see tears in women’s eyes. My message was so well received. So many women told me afterward that their hearts were touched. We need Her. We need to feel Her spirit and we need Her presence in our lives.
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