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Gospel Topic Essays: 007: Mother In Heaven

We continue our tour of the Gospel Topics Essays and with the essay Mother In Heaven.  The Goal- To share the LDS Church’s Gospel Topic Essays and help the both the believing member and the non-believer get a sense of the why these essays were written, who the intended audience is, whether these essays resolve the concerns of the faithful and non-believer and why they perhaps these essays even add to the disbelief of those who skeptical of the issues they find in Mormon History.


A Hymn written about Mother In Heaven ( “Our Mother in Heaven.” Originally written in 1893 by William C. Harrison, this companion hymn to “O My Father” was circulated in LDS periodicals, such as the Juvenile Instructor and the Millennial Star. The text has been revised and placed to a new tune.)

Co-Hosts of this episode

Blaire Ostler is a philosopher specialized in queer studies, and is a leading voice at the intersection of queer, Mormon, and transhumanist thought. She is an author publishing her first book, “Queer Mormon Theology: An Introduction.” She is a board member of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, the Christian Transhumanist Association, and Sunstone. Blaire is also an artist and poet, and spends her spare time hiking, painting, writing, and bickering with her friends about almost any topic imaginable. Blaire and husband Drew reside in Utah with their three children.

Jana Spangler is an Integral Professional Life Coach with Symmetry Solutions who specializes in working with individuals who are experiencing shifts in their faith, those affected by a loved one’s shifting faith, and mixed-faith couples. She attended The Living School – a wisdom school run by the Center for Action & Contemplation under the direction of Fr. Richard Rohr – where she studied Contemplative Christianity and Wisdom Traditions and how they can support the transforming work of Love in ourselves, our communities, and the world. She is a frequent speaker at conferences, workshops, firesides, retreats, and on podcasts and is a guest lecturer at BYU on issues of faith and development.

Anthony Miller is an entrepreneur and education enthusiast in Billings, Montana, with Masters degrees in Business Administration and in Financial Services. After a lifetime of faithful membership in the church, he experienced a faith transition after he stumbled across the Gospel Topics Essays and similar materials in 2016, while he was searching for resources to support his adult gay son. Anthony blogs at and is a frequent contributor to post and progressive Mormon support communities.


7 thoughts on “Gospel Topic Essays: 007: Mother In Heaven”

  1. Pingback: Podcast Episode on the Gospel Topic Essay: Mother in Heaven – Unpacking Ambiguity

  2. Regarding the teaching that the Lord’s Prayer teaches us NOT to address Mother in Heaven, another point I would have loved to hear you address is the context of that passage. Taken in context, I don’t think it’s even justifiable to use that passage to teach ANYTHING about Heavenly Mother.

    The high points of that passage are that we should pray privately, in a simple way, to our deity. It is specifically pointing out that we should not use prayer to improve our image in the eyes of others. We should not repeat things vainly. We should not use lots of words when praying. We should not ask the Lord for the many things that we need, as He is already aware of our needs.

    He is specifically criticizing the Pharisees in this passage and contrasting that with the way He wants His disciples to address their deity.

    The context matters.


    What about this though?

    I am a beloved daughter of heavenly parents, with a divine nature and eternal destiny…

    I think the leaders need to speak for the church as a whole, and invite us to have our own personalized views. It’s hard to create an LGBTQ inclusive theology, but perhaps we can one day having something more complete… but would having such theology attract or repel more coverts to the church?

  4. Excellent! No kidding, a pantheon of gods created in our own images. Thank goodness for Pharisees to reveal/dictate which version(s) are correct.

  5. Is there anyone else’s out there who believes the possibility that The Holy Ghost is Heavenly Mother? This just makes sense to be. But I feel alone in this idea.

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