Pipe Dreams

Earlier this week I read the following comment on the FMH facebook page  – where I lurk as I don’t attempt to keep up with everything there, as I have been behind on everything here and elsewhere.  It read: [reprinted with the permission of the author]

“I just passed a note to the visiting Seventy presiding over our Stake Conference today; I asked him, on behalf of myself and many sisters and brothers, to please ask President Monson and the Apostles to pray for further light and knowledge about Heavenly Mother. He had mentioned in his talk in which he extensively praised mothers that he is over temple construction and that he often travels with President Monson, so I hope he actually will say something (they will go to the KC MO temple dedication together next week). Pipe dream, perhaps. But I tried.”

I appreciate the poster’s quest to open the discussion about Heavenly Mother, and admire the audacity it takes to approach the leadership and work with the organization we have.  However I did not “like” the post on Facebook because I have a slightly different vision (as well as the fact that I am on an official Facebook hiatus).

I do not believe President Monson will receive further light and knowledge about Heavenly Mother.  In truth, I don’t want him to even if he asked the question – which frankly I don’t think he would.  Why?  Because I think a formal revelation about the divine feminine would be much better received from a woman.

My pipe dream is that the church will see the rise of a prophetess – someone equal in authority to the prophet.  Someone who Joseph Smith-style had a burning question and received a vision.  Sure for it to be accepted by the church, it would have to be ratified by the prophet and current quorum.  But I want a woman to stand on her own in terms of receiving further light and knowledge about Heavenly Mother.

Could you imagine if a general auxiliary leader boldly declared their experience in a conference talk and then whoever was conducting from the First Presidency simply acknowledged it was inspired?

I don’t want to see a man pontificate anymore about what it means to be a woman or an eternal woman.  I want a woman to do it.  And for it to be accepted by the mainstream church.

Sure I think both men and women in the church would benefit from knowing their Heavenly Parents, and I’d love to hear a male leader acknowledge what the female divine means to him, but I don’t want a man to be the source of revelation for what is inherently female.

I hope for radical reformation in a number of areas perhaps because I am more and more dissatisfied with the structure and system that we have in place. And frankly it is hard for me to believe it will change as is.  [Although I do like to believe there are women and men within the leadership of the church capable of becoming the conduits for change.]

So what are your pipe dreams?


Noting that the above is purely a dream and I don’t pretend to really forecast the future.  If anything, I like to hope that it can be way better than I could ever imagine.


  1. I “liked” this sister’s comment! I think that it’s important that the leaders of the church know the concerns and desires of the women of the church. I love the image of President Monson kneeling in prayer, pleading on behalf of us and our Heavenly Mother! I feel that the needs of the women and men of the church unite when we understand each others’ needs and pray for them.

    Ultimately, it would be pretty awesome if it were a woman to receive this revelation first. But, in my mind, that scenario does not seem eminent, and I just want this to happen asap! Haha. Not a good argument, but there it is.

  2. At the risk of being inappropriately self-promoting, I’ll venture to say that G and I had a “revelation” of sorts as we worked on the art for the most recent issue of Sunstone, which is devoted to motherhood and includes several essays on Heavenly Mother, including one by Robert A. Rees calling for a Mormon feminist midrash, and responses from Janice Allred and Margaret Toscano to the BYU Studies article from last summer about how there’s no official ban on talking about Heavenly Mother. (As they point out, “lack of official ban on” does not equal “approval for,” since the leaders are so silent on the topic themselves.)

    anyway, I knew from the get-go what I wanted on the cover: a version of Michelangelo’s sistine chapel fresco of God creating Adam–except that I wanted it to be Goddess creating Eve. I wanted a depiction of the goddess’s power as thorough, innate, generous, and self-aware as that of any male deity.

    I knew who I wanted to do the illustration, and I also knew I had to get permission. Permission being granted, I began the wonderful experience of collaborating with G on imagining the Goddess and trying to learn about her.

    We created four other images, with G, me and Stephen Carter working together to develop ideas as G rendered them. Using the four queens of the tarot deck as a guide to suggest basic archetypal elements, we decided to depict the goddess as a divine mother who creates, nurtures, teaches, and protects her children. I’m especially fond of the Mother Protector, who has a big-ass sword and is sort of a cross between Galaldriel from The Lord of the Rings and Maxine Hong Kingston’s Woman Warrior, and the Mother Teacher, who is a four-armed black woman reading the golden plates.

    Anyway, the point is, I did discover things about what I hope/believe Heavenly Mother is like–from trying to figure it out. And our hope as we did this work that it be a contribution worth attending to in the larger conversation about the role of women in the world and the need for greater attention in our theology (not just Mormon, but all of monotheism) about the nature of both human and divine femaleness.

    So let’s not wait for someone else to have this revelation. Let’s seek it ourselves, right now.

    Even if you’re not interested in having a revelation about the Goddess, I hope you’ll take a look at G’s amazing art–it’s every bit as beautiful as you’d expect her work to be. 🙂 I would really like some feedback on what you think.

    I tried to include a link to the foreword I wrote for the issue–it talks a bit about the art–but right now it’s showing up on my computer as an empty page, so instead I linked to Sunstone’s Cafe Press page, where you can see the art for the issue, as well as buy a shower curtain, maternity t-shirt, or coffee cup with an image of Heavenly Mother on it.

  3. I find this bold OP very exciting. It makes absolute sense that Priestesshood–the power of Goddess on earth–would be revealed through a woman. I also see Creatrix’s pragmatic approach and desires for immediacy. If a woman were to receive this revelation and be told to share it with all of humanity, it would be a revolutionary idea for certain. As revolutionary as the Restoration of Priesthood through Joseph Smith, or even more so. Who knows how this revleation will come to humanity as a whole, but we can seek and ask for this personally and find out what our mission is.

    Holly, I am nearly through reading the current Sunstone issue. The art is absolutely a revelation in every sense of the word. I haven’t read the three essays you mention yet (I am working my way through cover-to-cover), but I have enjoyed the wonderful inclusion of female experiences expressed around motherhood. A great issue–a must-read for any Mormon feminist. Coupled with the latest issue of Exponent II that I received in the mail yesterday, my heart is full for my wonderful friends who have put these publications together and those who contributed.

  4. I’m just making it through my blogreader (I have GOT to go do some landscaping – it’s gorgeous outside) and share your dream! I’ve just written, today in fact, about my beliefs in the power of women and that there is no need to wait for a nod from the men – we got that nod from Joseph Smith! I’ll check into the Sunstone reference just as soon as I can. Thank you for your courage to expound this truth! We need and want prophetesses!

  5. Kelly Ann, I love this! As the original post-er that you quoted, I wholeheartedly endorse your beautiful vision. Receiving revelation from a woman for the whole church would be truly fantastic. I like your response, and it reminds me of why I don’t really want to be “given” the priesthood through correlated channels that will prescribe for me how and when to exercise it; I would rather figure out how to reclaim it myself, particularly if there were other women to observe and learn from. Some of the historical work done on how women used to use those gifts are very inspiring to me, and I appreciate those who work to bring that knowlege into the light.

    I should confess that my pipe dream was much less grand than you supposed in your reading of my post; it was merely that the contents of the note I wrote would actually get to President Monson’s ear, and not just languish in Elder Walker’s pocket only to be removed by the dry cleaner. I’m so disillusioned after Julie Beck’s failure to deliver on her proposal (I think it was a promise, really) to answer any question we could come up with in a 90 minute, unscripted session, that I wanted to find another avenue to get my voice heard. Mostly I needed to say, “I’m here! I matter, and what I need matters, and you ought to know what those needs are, because they are not being met.” I don’t want President Monson to be able to say about Heavenly Mother, like President Hinckley said to an interviewer about women getting the priesthood, “there’s no agitation for that. We don’t find it.” Perhaps if (when?) your dream scenario plays out, it has a better chance of being endorsed by the prophet if he knows that there is a deep longing for a connection to our Mother.

    Holly, the current Sunstone issue was fabulous, cover to cover, and the art is fantastic. I love knowing more about the process and inspiration that went into the creation of the art. I have yet to read my Exponent, that is next on the list!

  6. That’s so fantastic! I would love it if something like this happened on a large scale, with women relying on themselves rather then on male leaders. To see Relief Society presidents and other female leaders making decisions without asking permission, just doing what they know is the right thing to do. I’d love to see women exercising priesthood without being ordained to it; just calling on the power of God if they feel they need to. It’s such a powerful idea to think of women just doing it, just speaking their truth without fear and without waiting for permission.

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