Krishna, MacArthur and Bethany Brady Spalding (2020) A Girl’s Guide to Heavenly Mother, Portland, Oregon: D Street Press

There’s a new book out from the authorial duo that created the Girls Who Choose God series (with Book of Mormon, Bible, and Church History versions, reviewed here and here), as well as Our Heavenly Family, Our Earthly Families (with its awesome cover acknowledging Heavenly Mother is part of the heavenly family, reviewed here.) The new book, A Girl’s Guide to Heavenly Mother, is meant as part of a set that will include A Boy’s Guide to Heavenly Mother, but the publication of that latter volume has been delayed due to the pandemic emergency.

The new book is very welcome: this is a moment in time where a growing acknowledgement of our Heavenly Mother matters tremendously. It matters for the women who yearn to know more about their eternal identity and destiny; it matters for the argument that the heterosexual pairing called marriage is of divine origin and is thus worth safeguarding as a precious civilizational ideal; it matters for all Her children who yearn for the maternal touch of heaven they once knew in the pre-mortal existence.

This book is unlike the others penned by Spalding and Krishna, for instead of a single narrative story or a series of stories with a single illustrator, this book is more of a compendium. It has a section on what we know about Heavenly Mother, a section on how women are in Her image, and a section on how this knowledge can help women be a stronger force for good in the world around us. While pitched at girls, it is of great worth to women as well, especially the mothers of these girls. Each page has a theme, and has quotes by general authorities or their wives or scripture or someone whose authority is deemed trustworthy, a piece of artwork about Heavenly Mother by a wide variety of artists in the Church of Jesus Christ, and some framing text. So, for example, on a page whose theme is that Heavenly Mother is equal in might and glory to Heavenly Father, we have a depiction of the divine couple by artist Heather Ruttan, a quote by Elder Melvin J. Ballard, a quote from the Family Proclamation, a quote by Susa Young Gates (daughter of Brigham Young), and a quote from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism. The framing text provided mentions how equality is divine, and asks the reader how these truths “change the way you think about God and yourself.”

While sometimes the pages seem a bit visually busy to these old eyes, filled with little sections partitioned on the page that might be called “life tips” or “need to know” or “top 10 ideas,” I could imagine using one or more pages as the basis for a family home evening, and extending the discussion over several family home evenings to complete the material provided. I am so glad such a variety of artwork was provided; indeed, you will not find a more extensive compilation of art on Heavenly Mother in any one book. (I understand the Boy’s Guide will have another such compilation.) It is very true that one picture is worth a thousand words, and some of the CoJC art on Heavenly Mother in this book is just stunning, and will give our youngest women (and youngest men) a great advantage over previous generations in being able to visualize and reflect upon their Heavenly Mother. What a great contribution!

Here are two of the quotes to be found in this book, which I hope will whet your appetite for more:

“She matters, and because She matters, I, and all of Her daughters, matter.” (Rosemary Card)

“You are a perfect version of Heavenly Mother. Your destiny is not counselor-hood. Your destiny is Godhood.” (Michael A. Goodman, Professor of Religion at Brigham Young University)

Now, this review would not be complete without acknowledging that all of the previous books by Spalding and Krishna mentioned above were published by Deseret Book. This one was not. Apparently, speaking so openly about Heavenly Mother was a bridge too far at this point in time for that publishing house, though I could not find anything un-orthodox in the contents of the volume. That is sad, but not surprising. I fully believe there will come a day when Deseret Book will be able to joyfully publish a book on Heavenly Mother. Spalding and Krishna’s book will have been part of the preparatory work necessary for that day to arrive.

In the meantime, A Girl’s Guide to Heavenly Mother would be a wonderful gift that mothers could read with their loved ones this Mother’s Day, turning that holiday into one that celebrates not only the influence of mothers mortal, but also our Mother divine.

Full Citation for this Article: Cassler, V.H. (2020) "Review of A Girl’s Guide to Heavenly Mother," SquareTwo, Vol. 13 No. 1 (Spring 2020), http://squaretwo.org/Sq2ArticleCasslerGirlsGuideHMReview.html, accessed <give access date>.

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