Note: We recognize that the doctrine of Mother in Heaven is a very sensitive topic for many individuals in our faith community. Many will come to this episode seeking hope and encouragement in their eternal faith journey (especially women). Both the host and interviewee intended this discussion to be hopeful and encouraging (especially to women). We also recognize that some women have felt marginalized and diminished in our religious community and might interpret some of this discussion (especially around the discussion of the role of Mother in Heaven) as short-sighted or diminishing. Please know this was not intended. Since we have so little revelation around this topic it can only be discussed with speculation. Please listen with an open heart as we strive to bring more discussion to the important doctrinal topic of Mother in Heaven.
Scott Layton is a native of West Valley City, Utah and served in the Philippines Angeles Mission. He received a master’s degree in religious education from Brigham Young University and is currently employed by Seminaries and Institutes in the Salt Lake area. He has served in various church positions including Young Men president, scoutmaster, high councilor, bishopric counselor, and was recently released as bishop. Scott and his wife, Kali, are the parents of seven children, six boys and one girl.
In this podcast, Scott talks about what he learned while preparing a presentation on the doctrine of our Heavenly Mother and compiling resources for seminary teachers, and how as leaders we can do better at including Heavenly Mother in our dialogue.
05:05 His research started with “Mother in Heaven” in the Gospel Topics Essays.
06:20 When do we refer to Heavenly Father versus Heavenly Parents?
07:25 Our theology, everything we believe, everything we are as latter-day saints begins with this foundation of heavenly parents: Dallin H. Oaks said, “Our theology begins with heavenly parents, and our highest aspiration is to attain the fulness of eternal exaltation” (“No Other Gods,” General Conference, October 1993).
08:15 Why don’t we talk about Mother in Heaven? Kathryn H. Shirts sorts reasons based on “human conventions” versus “divine reality” (“Women in the Image of the Son: Being Female and Being Like Christ,” 1991 Women’s Conference). Weigh human conventions against the reality of a divine goddess who possesses all power, all attributes, all perfections, and then question what’s mere strong tradition.
11:25 General authorities in general conference peaked at 9 references to Mother in Heaven in the 1970s, yet references to both Mother in Heaven and Heavenly Parents skyrocket to 67 in the 2010s. We must apply what we know about Heavenly Father to understand Heavenly Mother’s powers, capabilities, and perfections because they are equal.
13:35 The doctrine of Heavenly Mother is distinct to the Restored Gospel of Christ and not included in modern Protestant Christianity.
14:14 B. H. Roberts points out that our doctrine distinctly ennobles women, motherhood, and wifehood by “placing [Mother in Heaven] side by side with the Divine Father” (Defense of the Faith and the Saints, Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1912).
15:03 The doctrine that if faithful, we can gain all that the Father has creates a misnomer that a woman’s eternal identity and purpose is to become like a man. The doctrine of Heavenly Parents is fundamental to all we believe.
17:13 That all humans, male and female, are beloved spirit children of Heavenly Parents is rooted in scripture. For example, Genesis teaches we are made in the image of God, and the Hebrew word for God is plural. The book of Moses teaches there was a spiritual creation before the physical creation: he sees this as the Father and ...
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