How many Heavenly Mothers are there?
What exactly do you mean by “Heavenly Mothers”? (That term can mean a lot of different things after all…)
Good point, Geoff. How about, “Heavenly mothers with which we have to do?”
Hmmm… I guess now it depends on what you mean by “with which we have to do”…
Exactly what Brigham Young meant, of course. :)
Every woman who makes it to the Celestial Kingdom will be a Heavenly Mother.
Every woman who makes it to the highest degree (of the three) within the CK will be a Heavenly Mother.
Salvation in the Celestial Kingdom is not synonymous with exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom, though LDS often use verbal shortcuts that confuse the difference. Sections 76 and 132 give the explanation.
Well, doesn’t this all depend? We could also ask the question about heavenly fathers. I believe in lots of them, but as for us here on this earth, we’ve all got one. But he has a father, who has a father, who has a father… They’re all heavenly, right?
As far as mothers goes: I have but one. Might you have another? Sure, I guess.
I think you’re asking if Heavenly Father has more than one wife, right? Does he also have more than one house? Who mows the lawn: does he do it himself or do one of the kids do it for him? Are the mowing children pre-mortal or post-mortal? Is he still producing children, or is he on hiatus until he’s finished with this batch?
Someone explain the “with whom we have to do” comment.
Jota – see here.
Jota, There are two major sources for the “with whom we have to do”: Brigham Young and Jesus.
Brigham Young said that Adam is the only God with whom we have to do. This is a doctrine known as the Adam-God Doctrine. The church has repudiated this doctrine.
And Jesus asked his mother, “What have I to do with you, woman?” This is a question that we call rude. The church has also repudiated rude questions to our mothers.
Jota — it’s a reference to Brigham Young’s well-known “Adam is our GOD, and the only God with whom we have to do” comment in a certain notorious Journal of Discourses speech (at JD 1:50-51, I think). It’s the most famous line in the most famous speech he gave on what is commonly referred to as the Adam-God theory or Adam-God doctrine.
There has been a historical tendency, among certain LDS apologists, to proclaim that the comment is sufficiently odd grammatically that we just can’t understand what Brigham was saying, and thus, by implication, that we can’t “really” make sense of what Brigham was getting at in his Adam-God teachings. This claim is, of course, a bunch of hooey, as any serious student of the subject can tell you.
Now, Matt, I thought your research over the summer had taught you better. If we’re having a discussion concerning how 19th century Mormons imagined the celestial household, then the answer is clearly more than one. But if we’re looking at how 20th and 21st century Mormons construct the heavenly economy, I think the ambigious answer is only one. However, she’s much too sacred to even talk about, so we shouldn’t even bring her up.
DKL – audible chuckle at the rude questions comment…
Thanks. I had read the BY speech several years ago but the “with whom we have to do” part didn’t stick with me.
â€œwith whom we have to doâ€ means “to have anything to do with.” It’s a more correct way of saying it so you don’t end with a preposition.
The phrase itself is not tied soley to the Adam-God theory, though it may have been used in that context.
The phrase is actively true in itself because we don’t have anything to do with other gods besides Elohim. We don’t have anything to do with Heavenly Grandfather, or Heavenly Uncles and Aunts, even though there may be “gods” with those relationships to us.
If the generations of gods is endless, and if our Heavenly Father became a god in a manner similar to our plan of salvation, then the logical inference is that He had a Heavenly Father, spirit brothers and sisters, and mortal brothers and sisters. If the spirit siblings of Heavenly Father went on to exaltation, they would be gods, but we don’t have anything to do with them.
That’s what is meant by “with whom we have to do.”
However, spirit (or Heavenly) aunts/uncles/grandparents can only be thought of by inference, since there are no direct references to them.
But since we are told that we have the potential to have spirit children, the logical inference would be that our Heavenly Father would then be a Heavenly Grandfather.
After stumbling a bit out of the gate, “More than one” is poised on the brink!
Are these folks who believe in celestial polygamy, or of the egalitarian Jota/Bookslinger school of question interpretation?
Bookslinger, your comment #15 was irrelavent.
Matt B (#16),
I believe in celestial polygamy. Blame it on my affinity for Orson Pratt.
17: or just blame it on a correct interpretation of the scriptures :)
There is only one possible correct answer, assuming one is speaking only for him or her self: One. Each person can have only one mother. If you are asking how many there are in existence, the answer is again obvious: more than one, or more specifically, an infinite number.
If you are asking, rather, whether the Heavenly Father we all share has more than one wife and whether, therefore, we are not all full spirit brothers and sisters but rather some of us are only half spirit brothers and sisters, well, that is a very different question and you should have phrased it differently.
I imagine Matt intentionally left the question vague. If he defined “Heavenly Mother” any more specifically (and especially as specific as you demand), it would be neither “widly speculative” nor “entertaining”. And I would argue that based on the varying responses of voters, there just might be more than one possible correct answer.
Good point MCQ,
On first reading I took it as “how many wives does God have” with his extra wives as our step moms. But clearly we can only have one mother (and one father).
This should be phrased differently. Maybe ‘how many wives does God have in the highest level….’?
Also it’d be great to do this survey amongst the apostles. Wonder what they think?because they haven’t being as clear as what Young or Pratt where on this matter.
“However, spirit (or Heavenly) aunts/uncles/grandparents can only be thought of by inference, since there are no direct references to them.”
I thought this was true about Heavenly Mother as well. Although there are direct references to her, there is no direct revelation revealing her existence, is there? Let me know if there is something more than Joseph saying that it is reasonable that we would have a Heavenly Mother (inference), not that it is revealed that we have one.
(I voted 0 Heavenly Mother’s btw, for that reason)
I was attempting to address a question raised in the comments. I’m sorry that I didn’t specify which comment or commenter I was responding to. Me bad.
Maybe the children of other wives were assigned to other planets. We don’t know how the heavens or planets, star systems, and galxies are divvied up. Which prompts me to ask “Is Heavenly Father the God of this galaxy, or this part of the universe, or the entire unverse as we know it? If the entire universe as we know it, then is there an overall ‘multi-verse’ (a la Stephen Hawking) which consists of many universes, wherein each exalted couple has their own?”
As I said before, I will say it again…Pagans and Mormons Are Alike in many ways. This being one of them.
I got this good idea. How about if all the people on earth have the same mother and the other mothers have other planets.
It’d be nice to just have one mother and one father.
“More than one” is winning! Yea for me! I chose correctly.
Now if we could just adopt doctrine by majority vote like the Presbyterians…
26: we already do. This is why Adam-God and Plural Marriage have been repudiated. Read OD1 for news of the vote on the latter.
Recently, my wife told me that when she was younger, her mother told her that the reason there were so many different races was because there were multiple Heavenly Mothers. Apparently, there was a Black Heavenly Mother, an Asian Heavenly Mother, and so on.
Anyone ever heard this before? I hadn’t. I didn’t know if it was a lesser known folk doctrine or my mother-in-law’s creation.
Steve M –
Never heard that before, but if you think about it it would make absolutely no sense. That would mean that if there are racially diverse couples who produce children, there would need to be a different spiritual mother for every combination of racial mix.
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