Sunday, May 31, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
The Divine Nature of Motherhood
Something with Divine Nature:
1) something that comes from God
2) something that turns us to & teaches us about God
3) something that prepares us to live with and become like God
Elder Holland’s preface to his May 1997 Conference talk, Because She Is A Mother: “To the women within the sound of my voice who dearly want to be mothers and are not, I say through your tears and ours on that subject, God will yet, in days that lie somewhere ahead, bring “hope to [the] desolate heart.” 1 As prophets have repeatedly taught from this pulpit, ultimately “no blessing shall be withheld” from the faithful, even if those blessings do not come immediately. 2 In the meantime we rejoice that the call to nurture is not limited to our own flesh and blood. In speaking of mothers I do not neglect the crucial, urgent role of fathers, particularly as fatherlessness in contemporary homes is considered by some to be “the central social problem of our time.” 3 Indeed, fatherlessness can be a problem even in a home where the father is present—eating and sleeping, so to speak, “by remote.” But that is a priesthood message for another day. Today I wish to praise those motherly hands that have rocked the infant’s cradle and, through the righteousness taught to their children there, are at the very center of the Lord’s purposes for us in mortality.”
The world often characterizes motherhood as anything BUT divine. Here are some things I’ve learned about the divine nature of motherhood from my mother and grandmother and from the words of ancient & modern prophets…
1) Comes from God
As men were foreordained to the Priesthood, women were foreordained to motherhood during the pre-mortal existence.
Alma 13: 2 – 3
Men were foreordained to become High Priests in the pre-mortal existence
3 And this is the manner after which they were ordained—being acalled and bprepared from the cfoundation of the world according to the dforeknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to echoose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great ffaith, are gcalled with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such.
Sister Shari Dew (Are We Not All Mothers?) : Elder Matthew Cowley taught that “men have to have something given to them [in mortality] to make them saviors of men, but not mothers, not women. [They] are born with an inherent right, an inherent authority, to be the saviors of human souls … and the regenerating force in the lives of God’s children.” 7
Motherhood is not what was left over after our Father blessed His sons with priesthood ordination. It was the most ennobling endowment He could give His daughters, a sacred trust that gave women an unparalleled role in helping His children keep their second estate. As President J. Reuben Clark Jr. declared, motherhood is “as divinely called, as eternally important in its place as the Priesthood itself.” 8 “
2) Turns us to God & Teaches us about Him
Everything of divine origin, everything in the gospel, turns us to the Son of God and testifies of His atonement.
Alma 34: 14
All things point to the Atonement of Christ in the meridian of time.
Alma 13: 2 (see above)
The order of and ordination to the Priesthood themselves teach us about the Son of God, the author of redemption. Motherhood can do the same.
All things have their likeness and all things are created to bear record of Jesus Christ
Motherhood is a type and shadow of the Savior’s Atonement (as are all principles and ordinances of the gospel)…
1) Physical birth represents spiritual birth through the Atonement of Christ
Moses 6: 59 – 60
Physical Birth represents Spiritual Birth
59 That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the aspirit, which I have made, and so became of bdust a living soul, even so ye must be cborn again into the kingdom of heaven, of dwater, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and eenjoy the fwords of geternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal hglory;
2) Mothers’ sacrifice represents the Savior’s sacrifice
Victor Hugo wrote: “She broke the bread into two fragments and gave them to her children, who ate with eagerness. ‘She hath kept none for herself,’ grumbled the sergeant. ‘Because she is not hungry,’ said a soldier. ‘No,’ said the sergeant, ‘because she is a mother.’”
3) Mothers’ role in the creation of physical bodies reminds us of the Savior’s role as Creator under the direction of the Father
Gabriela Mistral, Nobel Poet from Chile, wrote a tribute to the divinity of motherhood and a mother's partnership with Deity in her poem, Meciendo (Rocking).
El mar sus millares de olas
Oyendo a los mares amantes,
mezo a mi niño.
El viento errabundo en la noche
mece los trigos.
Oyendo a los vientos amantes,
mezo a mi niño.
Dios padre sus miles de mundos
mece sin ruido.
Sintiendo su mano en la sombra
mezo a mi niño.
Holy ocean rocks its millions
of waves in the sun.
Listening to the loving seas
I rock my little one.
Wandering in the night the wind
rocks the wheat.
Listening to the loving winds
I rock my sweet.
The Father rocks his thousand worlds
Feeling His hand in the darkness
I rock my child.
When we understand what a sacred symbol motherhood and what a glorious role we as mothers have, we realize that the phrase I am JUST a mother comes from the adversary. HE would have us think motherhood is a second rate job.
Shari Dew: As mothers in Israel, we are the Lord’s secret weapon. Our influence comes from a divine endowment that has been in place from the beginning. In the premortal world, when our Father described our role, I wonder if we didn’t stand in wide-eyed wonder that He would bless us with a sacred trust so central to His plan and that He would endow us with gifts so vital to the loving and leading of His children. I wonder if we shouted for joy 12 at least in part because of the ennobling stature He gave us in His kingdom. The world won’t tell you that, but the Spirit will.
We just can’t let the Lord down. And if the day comes when we are the only women on earth who find nobility and divinity in motherhood, so be it. For mother is the word that will define a righteous woman made perfect in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom, a woman who has qualified for eternal increase in posterity, wisdom, joy, and influence.
3) Prepares us to return to God: Motherhood is a pre-run on godhood
God finds His ultimate purpose in his role as parent—as should we
God’s work and glory is to parent His children as a perfect Father—so that they can enjoy all He has—immortality and eternal life.
Home = great laboratory for godhood
Elder Holland: “One young mother wrote to me recently that her anxiety tended to come on three fronts. One was that whenever she heard talks on LDS motherhood, she worried because she felt she didn’t measure up or somehow wasn’t going to be equal to the task. Secondly, she felt like the world expected her to teach her children reading, writing, interior design, Latin, calculus, and the Internet—all before the baby said something terribly ordinary, like “goo goo.” Thirdly, she often felt people were sometimes patronizing, almost always without meaning to be, because the advice she got or even the compliments she received seemed to reflect nothing of the mental investment, the spiritual and emotional exertion, the long-night, long-day, stretched-to-the-limit demands that sometimes are required in trying to be and wanting to be the mother God hopes she will be.
But one thing, she said, keeps her going: “Through the thick and the thin of this, and through the occasional tears of it all, I know deep down inside I am doing God’s work. I know that in my motherhood I am in an eternal partnership with Him. I am deeply moved that God finds His ultimate purpose and meaning in being a parent, even if some of His children make Him weep.
“It is this realization,” she says, “that I try to recall on those inevitably difficult days when all of this can be a bit overwhelming. Maybe it is precisely our inability and anxiousness that urge us to reach out to Him and enhance His ability to reach back to us. Maybe He secretly hopes we will be anxious,” she said, “and will plead for His help. Then, I believe, He can teach these children directly, through us, but with no resistance offered. I like that idea,” she concludes. “It gives me hope. If I can be right before my Father in Heaven, perhaps His guidance to our children can be unimpeded. Maybe then it can be His work and His glory in a very literal sense.” 7
Motherhood—like godhood—is not easy
Elder Holland: “Sometimes the decision of a child or a grandchild will break your heart. Sometimes expectations won’t immediately be met. Every mother and father worries about that. Even that beloved and wonderfully successful parent President Joseph F. Smith pled, “Oh! God, let me not lose my own.” 8 That is every parent’s cry, and in it is something of every parent’s fear. But no one has failed who keeps trying and keeps praying. You have every right to receive encouragement and to know in the end your children will call your name blessed, just like those generations of foremothers before you who hoped your same hopes and felt your same fears.”
Our Heavenly Father understands the pain and worry of parenting. He watched 1/3 of His beloved spirit children fight against Him during the war in heaven before the world began. Enoch recorded that the Lord wept over the wickedness of His children on Earth. God the Father watched from afar—as He had to—as His only begotten was mercilessly crucified and then willingly gave up His life for the rest of the Father’s children. Yes, when motherhood becomes difficult and sometimes even seemingly unbearable, remember that the path of discipleship—of becoming like our own Heavenly parents—is not easy. It was not easy for our Father in Heaven, it was not easy for His Son, and it will not always be easy for those who want to become like them.
Elder Holland: “You can’t possibly do this alone, but you do have help. The Master of Heaven and Earth is there to bless you—He who resolutely goes after the lost sheep, sweeps thoroughly to find the lost coin, waits everlastingly for the return of the prodigal son. Yours is the work of salvation, and therefore you will be magnified, compensated, made more than you are and better than you have ever been as you try to make honest effort, however feeble you may sometimes feel that to be.
Remember, remember all the days of your motherhood: “Ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.” 10
Rely on Him. Rely on Him heavily. Rely on Him forever. And “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope.” 11 You are doing God’s work. You are doing it wonderfully well. He is blessing you and He will bless you, even—no, especially—when your days and your nights may be the most challenging. Like the woman who anonymously, meekly, perhaps even with hesitation and some embarrassment, fought her way through the crowd just to touch the hem of the Master’s garment, so Christ will say to the women who worry and wonder and sometimes weep over their responsibility as mothers, “Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole.” 12 And it will make your children whole as well.”