The Mormon Concept of Mother in Heaven : A Sociological Account of its Origins and Development
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Wiley ; Society for the Scientific Study of Religion
From the abstract at the beginning of the article: 'Among modern Western religions, Mormon belief is quite distinctive in its inclusion of a Heavenly Mother figure among its divine personages. This paper examines some of the historical and theological background of the Mormon 'Mother in Heaven.' We assess different explanations accounting for this belief and show its logical consistency with other aspects of Mormon doctrine. Further, we look at the politics associated with the Mother in Heaven belief which bear on feminist issues among Mormons. In recent times we find that the existence of a divine female has become a rallying symbol for some Mormon feminists within an incipient 'grass roots' movement aimed at acquiring greater power and equality within the church. We note how this belief in a female deity has primarily functioned in conservative ways tot sustain institutional ends rather than feminist concerns. Considering the prospects for change in Mormonism's position on the role of women, we conclude that the presence of a goddess in the pantheon is not guarantee of sexual quality in the real world.'