Elder Renlund's Remarks on Heavenly Mother


We've had a great General Conference, and as always a few talks really stood out to me, in particular Elder Christofferson's and Elder Uchtdorf's. We'll talk about those some other time. Obviously, we need to speak about Elder Renlund's remarks about Heavenly Mother, and I've received a few emails asking me for my reaction.

Elder Renlund's remarks in the Women's Session on the topic of Heavenly Mother reiterated what he has said on previous occasions. Back on 26 March, the Salt Lake Tribune was reporting that he had said something on the matter.

I took notes from the General Conference video of that session, where Elder Renlund basically says the same things. He stated that the doctrine that we have a Heavenly Mother comes from revelation. He also stated that we know very little about her--which is something that can also be said about Heavenly Father. He stated that he personally wishes he knew more. He goes on to say that seeking greater understanding is an important part of our siritual development, but that reason cannot replace revelation, and that speculation will not lead to greater spiritual knowledge, but it can lead to deception or divert us/divert our focus from what has been revealed. He re-stated that members are not to pray to Heavenly Mother. He went on to express that prophets do not pronounce doctined fabricated of their own mind or teach what has not been revealed. Elder Renlund reminded us of Balaam, who told a king that he could not go beyond the word of the Lord, to do less or to do more. Demanding revelation from God is both arrogant and unproductive. Instead, we wait on the Lord and His timetable to reveal His truths through the means He has established.

These remarks of Elder Renlund's simply express the status quo as it has been for years. I see nothing that has not already been said, and thus am hard-pressed to see why anyone should be upset by his statements. In addition, it is apparent that some have gone beyond the mark--the Tribune article cited above mentions a group of members that began to pray to Heavenly Mother. If such things are indeed happening, I believe it is best for members to see Elder Renlund's remarks as a response to these types of beyond-the-mark developments, and not as some type of rebuke to the yearning for greater light and knowledge of average Church members.

And a few other points to keep in mind:

1) Please maintain perspective. For example, is this fact that little about Heavenly Mother has been revealed by prophets means She is somehow less? Actually, when you think about it, we know as little about Heavenly Father as we do about Heavenly Mother when you really get down to it. Virtually everything you could say about Him is something you could say about Her. A few years ago, I wrote:

"I note that an interesting statement was recently made by Elder Dallin H, Oaks. In his April 2017 conference talk, “The Godhead and the Plan of Salvation,” he notes something that I have never heard before, but which is true: “ . . . we know comparatively little about [God the Father]”. Elder Oaks goes on to say that while we know very little about God the Father, we do know some important things, such as that He is the Father of Jesus Christ and all of us, for example. Elder Oaks concludes, “What we know of the nature of God the Father is mostly what we can learn from the ministry and teachings of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.”

"I found this striking, because of course the very same thing has been said about Heavenly Mother. We certainly “know comparatively little” about Her. We do know some important things about Her, such as the fact she exists, that she is married to Heavenly Father, and that She is the mother of all of our spirits, including Jesus Christ. And it would be fair to conclude that what we know of the nature of God the Mother is mostly what we can learn from the ministry and teaching of Her Son, Jesus Christ.

"Isn’t that interesting? We actually know about as much about Heavenly Mother as we know about Heavenly Father! That is certainly food for thought, especially since people have often told Her Daughters that since we know very little about Her, that implies She must not be very important in the eternal scheme of things. And, I would add, there is the further implication that we should not spend our time thinking or speaking about Her. I would submit that since lack of knowledge about Him does not diminish Heavenly Father’s importance in our lives, that lack of knowledge about Her likewise does not diminish Heavenly Mother’s importance in our lives."

2) I really think it is silly to importune the prophet for a revelation on the subject of Heavenly Mother. Can you imagine Heavenly Mother deciding that the only way She will contact Her own daughters--Her apprentices--is through one of Her sons? Do you really think that's how She does things? The thought just makes reason stare. My own feeling is that the power of the matriarchal priestesshood is radically decentralized in contrast to the patriarchal priesthood, the power of which is fundamentally centralized. Men's keys in the priesthood are held centrally, dispersed through callings and then withdrawn back to the center when the calling is rescinded. However, women's keys in the priestesshood are held by every last woman who comes into mortality and remain with her even beyond her passing. The great contrast is due to our contrasting responsibilities in the Great Plan of Happiness (and I could write an entire essay on the subject, but will forbear for now).

Thus, those who look for a revelation from a (male) prophet about Heavenly Mother are barking up the wrong tree. We who hold Her keys can find Her whenever we need to find Her. We were wearing those ruby slippers all along, and had the power all the time. Remember the conversation:

Oh, will you help me? Can you help me?

You don't need to be helped any longer. You've always had the power . . .

I have?

Then why didn't you tell her before?

Because she wouldn't have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.

Don't fabricate Her out of your reason, or engage in speculation that can lead to deception . . . Just. Go. Find. Her. You will receive revelation enough to overflow your cup. This is not the type of revelation which proceeds from the centralized Church overseen by our brethren and binding on all members. That is the way of the Priesthood, and all praise to our faithful brethren who do their Father's will in this. No, what we speak of here is revelation from Mother to each individual daughter in the radically decentralized communication that is a hallmark of the matriarchal priestesshood, and which is an individual endowment of knowledge binding only on the individual woman to whom it is given. You don't need to pray to Her to receive this endowment of knowledge, either.

You've already got those ruby slippers. Use them.