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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Four Important Principles We Should All Understand About Motherhood . . .

“In the heav’ns are parents single? No, the thought makes reason stare; Truth is reason—truth eternal, tells me I’ve a mother there.”
Eliza R. Snow

As part of Spirit Week when my daughter Kristen was in high school, everyone was asked to dress in what they hoped would be their future career. Kristen, who was well known among her teachers for her scholastic achievements, went to school carrying a cabbage patch doll wrapped in a blanket. Sincere in her desire to one day be a mother, she was surprised by the reaction of so many of her teachers. “You will be wasting your time!” said one. “Your talents and abilities could be put to much better use!” said another.

After graduating from BYU and becoming a school teacher herself, Kristen traded in her cabbage patch doll for a real baby--times two!

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe in some doctrine about motherhood that is perhaps foreign to members of other religions, and at times not completely understood by ourselves.  But it is doctrine critical to our eternal salvation.

 Our theology begins with heavenly parents. Our highest aspiration is to be like them.”
Dallin H. Oaks

First . . .
We believe we are the literal spiritual offspring of both a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother.

Second . . .
We believe it is our purpose on earth, our divine destiny, to become like them.

Our Heavenly Parents are just that—parents. Exaltation is Eternal Life and Eternal Life is God’s Life. Or more simply put, God’s life is parenthood.

This is why there is such an emphasis on temple marriage and parenthood in our church. And it is why Satan works so hard to discredit and demean the terms mother and father. Although gaining an education and being successful in a career are good things that can help us reach our divine potential, all women who seriously desire exaltation, will also desire motherhood, because for women, exaltation and eternal motherhood are one and the same.*

Third . . .
By marrying in the temple, and bringing children into our home, we are participating with our Heavenly Parents in their work, and becoming like them.

My mother was not raised in the gospel. She did not grow up in an active Latter-day Saint home. But at the age of 17 she moved to Salt Lake City, attended church there and eventually chose to marry in the temple and raise a family.  One day, while taking my youngest daughter to the temple to receive her endowments before serving her mission, the importance of my mother's choice was profoundly impressed upon me. As I whispered to my daughter instructions to help her, I realized I was repeating the exact words my mother whispered to me 35 years earlier, when she first took me to the temple. The act of parents teaching their children the gospel and helping them make covenants that lead to eternal life, is the pattern of Godhood. How grateful I am for my own mother who first set that example for me.

Fourth . . .  
Perfection is possible through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement.

I am aware of many well-meaning mothers who feel pressure to be Pinterest Perfect. They stress over Pinterest perfect meals, served in Pinterest perfect kitchens. They see an idealized superwoman portrayed on social media—or hear talks in church on Mother’s Day about supposedly perfect mothers-- and feel they are failures in comparison.

The good news is that we have never been asked to be Pinterest Perfect. Although Mormon culture  may have promoted the myth that grinding your own wheat, bottling peaches, sewing your daughter’s wedding dress, having digital scrap books, all while maintaining a size two figure, were requirements for exaltation, Mormon doctrine has never done so. The culture generated stereotypical Mormon mother is a myth and therefore impossible to duplicate. No wonder we end up feeling discouraged!!

Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement means believing in our Heavenly Father and in His plan for us.

It means believing that although we make mistakes, we can repent, we can be cleansed and we can be strengthened in our abilities to improve. It means believing that although all the blessings of the Gospel may not be available to us right now, they will someday be available if we do our part.** And it means knowing that if we follow the example of Jesus Christ, and develop His attributes,  we are developing the attributes of our Heavenly Parents.

Motherhood is about women who cry when their sons leave on missions, and women who cry because their sons aren’t worthy to serve.

Its about women who stay up all night making sure their newborn is breathing and women who are up late waiting for their teenaged children to return safely home.

Its about women whose hearts ache because they can't have children, and women whose hearts expand to foster children who are not their own.

Its about the expectant mother whose toddler has worn the same outfit two days in a row, and the mother who serves mac and cheese as a “balanced meal” because there are two ingredients.

Its about the mother who rejoices in seeing her baby take his first step, or hearing her say her first word.

Its about mothers who work the night shift so they can be home during the day with their kids, and mothers who work the day shift so they can be home at night.

Its about mothers who spend their days sitting at the side of a hospital bed comforting a child with cancer, and mothers who kneel at the side of their own beds pouring out their hearts each night for a wayward child.

 Its about the joy of holding your newborn baby in your arms for the first time and the anguish of burying your teenaged son.

It is about highs and lows, ups and down, good times and bad, your greatest joys and your deepest sorrow.

Its about making a lot of mistakes, repenting and learning along the way

It is about living life and loving. 

Its about reaching our divine potential

Its about coming to know our God. 

Happy Mother's Day!
Lori Wagner
One Mormon Voice

*A righteous man or woman who chooses to not be married in the next life may still obtain Celestial Glory, but not exaltation. See D&C 131:1-4

**There are many righteous women who are single or not able to bear children who wonder how they fit in, or what God’s plan is for them. But the plan is the same for all God’s children. Exaltation. Eternal Parenthood. In order to be exalted, we must enter into the covenant of eternal marriage and keep that covenant. However, as that opportunity may not now be available to everyone who desires it, we have been promised that as we make and keep sacred covenants in this life to the degree that we are able, we qualify for all the blessings of eternity.

Want to read more about what Mormons believe?


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Thank you for sharing eternal truths!

  3. Beautiful Lori. You have a gift of speaking the words that are in so many of our hearts and most certainly mine. Thank you

  4. What a wonderful idea Lori - thanks for sharing! Mary

  5. It is wonderful and amazing that we can become like our Heavenly Parents! And become like them by following righteous patterns. What a great thought! I also love the reminder that though Jesus Christ and His atonement we can become perfect! It is amazing how different the world views "perfect" than God does!

  6. I love to see you blogging again. You have a wonderful way with words!