Why We Wrote This Book...
Sherri: When my oldest child, Victory, was born, I became acutely aware of the gravity of motherhood. This pink and swollen baby girl, with her daddy’s lips, cradled in my arms suddenly consumed my thoughts and energy. Being her mother became a focus of my life. And though Victory was nourished at my breast, comforted in my arms, and preserved by my constant, watchful care, she did not know I existed. Her life was intricately and inseparably woven into mine, and yet she could not know me.
With time Victory, and later her nine siblings that followed, began to notice when my presence was gone. The absence created a longing in them for me. As toddlers they would leave me and explore. But with deliberate looks and wobbling footsteps, they returned to me for assurance, safety, and comfort. They would color me unrecognizable pictures, write me undecipherable messages, give me boogery hugs, and bring me dandelions to tell me they loved me. They began to know me as something outside of themselves.
As they entered adolescence, their separating from me was intentional and sometimes abrasive, as they began discovering and creating the person they wanted to be. However, they continued to need my guidance, correction, rescuing, and comfort—though this need was sometimes resented. Yet, as I stayed up all night with them when they were sick, helped them with procrastinated English essays, attended their many music, dance, and sporting events, shared their distress, and as they watched me struggle with my own weaknesses, they began to understand that I was a person. For me, this discovery about my own mom continued well into my own parenting years (thanks for your patience with me Mom).
Now many of my children are adults, and I still desire to be close to them. I continue to reach out to them offering support and love. We are developing relationships where we can relate to each other as children of God, brothers and sisters, learning from one another. Their friendships are the sweet fruits of my mothering.
Through the years my children have been blessed by my strengths and have suffered because of my weaknesses, as we, with my faithful husband Victor, learn together what it means to be an eternal family. I held nothing back from my children as I shared my chocolate chips, went to thousands of their events (I calculated that number), rocked them in hospital rooms, groaned at life’s agony with them, bore the brunt of my adopted children’s trauma, and pleaded with God for His help. As a mother I have been present, I have been constant.
Latter-day Saints believe that our families are meant to last into the eternities and that the earthly family mirrors our Heavenly Family. As a mother, I am intimately involved in the lives of my children. I was aware of them every second in the beginning of their lives. And though they need me less as they become adults, I still offer what I am and have to bless them. With this model in mind, I look to the heavens weeping and ask, “Where is my Mother?” I long for her, I need her. I need to know that she is important, because it means I am important. It means the soul-wrenching work I am doing as a mother now is eternally significant. Surely her influence is intricately and inseparably woven through the fabric my life.
I am not content to be like an infant, unable to know her. I long for her presence like a toddler longs for her mother. And though for most of the world’s history, she has been rejected by us. And though we have separated ourselves from her, like a rebellious teenager, perhaps the time has come for a reconciliation. A time where she can be seen, and known, and loved.
In this day where my daughters and I must defend our womanhood, our motherhood, our gender, we would be greatly blessed by more revealed knowledge of our Heavenly Mother. This is a time when my daughters and I need earthly and heavenly role models of righteous womanhood and motherhood and a vision of what it means to be a daughter of Heavenly Parents in this life and in the eternities. A clearer understanding of what it means to be a queen and a priestess. A knowledge that mothers don’t disappear in the eternities. I believe this knowledge is coming.
“God shall give unto you knowledge by his Holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost, that has not been revealed since the world was until now; Which our forefathers have awaited with anxious expectation to be revealed in the last times, which their minds were pointed to by the angels, as held in reserve for the fulness of their glory; A time to come in the which nothing shall be withheld, whether there be one God or many gods, they shall be manifest” (D&C 121:26-28).
As I earnestly wait upon the Lord for further revelation, I have been so blessed to have a small part in writing this book. A book inspired in part by my weeping for a knowledge of my place in the eternities (thank you Victor for answering my cry). This great adventure with Victor has helped me recognize Heavenly Mother in scripture by understanding her symbols and the way she was deliberately removed from ancient worship. Now I am beginning to hear her voice - Proverbs 8 is my favorite. And I especially rejoice in anticipation as I recognize her symbolic presence in the opening scenes of the modern Restoration.
I am hopeful that with careful study, with faithful patience, and with revelation yet to come, that our Heavenly Mother will be revealed to us. She will no longer be unknowable, She will be our friend.
5 September 2022
Victor: Mother in Heaven has always been important to me. Before I even came into the Church, I knew something of her. So I was very happy the Church recognized her existence and sensed her importance, even if information about her has seemed quite scanty. It was not until I read Daniel Peterson's article "Nephi's Asherah" (Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, Vol. 9: No 2) that I began to realize that we Latter-day Saints have more revelation about Heavenly Mother at our fingertips than most of us have imagined. Later, when I read non-Latter-day Saint scholar Margaret Barker's book "The Mother of the Lord", I realized that our treasury of revelation is significantly larger still. As I shared what I was learning with Sherri, our excitement increased. Passages in the scriptures, and in writings that ancient Saints knew as scripture, are filled with echoes of her. These sacred writings sometimes even speak in her voice. Sherri and I especially wanted to share these ideas with our daughters, but we knew that many, many more people would also find these things deeply meaningful, as we had. We also realized that although Latter-day Saint scholars have been seeing connections to Heavenly Mother in a broad range of sacred writings for decades, no attempt had ever been made to collect these passages in one place and offer them to a general Latter-day Saint audience. We wanted to make this attempt. As we have, we have discovered further connections that, so far as we know, have never been described before.
So, we offer this volume as our way to make Heavenly Mother scholarship more accessible. It is a labor of love, and a labor of devotion to our Heavenly Mother, our Heavenly Father, and our precious Savior Jesus Christ.
7 September 2022
© 2022 by Sherri and Victor Worth