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USU78

The Heavenly Mother as Creatrix

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At the FAIR Mormon conference a couple of years ago, the following was presented:  https://www.fairmormon.org/conference/august-2015/the-mother-in-heaven-and-her-children

This commentary was particularly striking:

Quote

 

Jesus ben Sira wrote a book of wisdom teaching about 200 BCE. He lived in Jerusalem, and he shows that the Mother and her children were not forgotten in his time. He called her Wisdom, and this is what he taught about her disciples:

[Wisdom] will meet him like a Mother
And like the wife of his youth she will welcome him
She will feed him with the bread of understanding,
And give him the water of wisdom to drink (Ben Sira 15.2-3).

He also compared Wisdom to the glorious garment worn by the high priest

You will wear her like a glorious robe,
And put her on like a crown of gladness. (Ben Sira 6.31).

This is a translation of the Old Greek. When the Hebrew text was discovered[11], the imagery of the high priest’s clothing was even more striking.

Wisdom the Mother was a weaver who made a glorious garment for her child. Once we know that we are looking for the heavenly weaver, we can begin to look at other texts in a new way.

For example, there is a poem about Wisdom in creation in Proverbs 8. She was beside the Creator as he worked. One word has caused problems: Was she ‘hidden away’ at the beginning, or was she ‘set up’ at the beginning- or what? There are many different translations of a word that is in fact quite clear. The Hebrew says she was weaving, but modern translators have not even considered this as a possibility.[12] ‘From eternity I was weaving, from the first, from the beginnings of the earth’ (Proverbs 8.23).

The same problem word is found in Psalm 2, which describes the ritual birth of the king. Here the Lord speaks and says that he has set his king, his son, on Zion his holy hill (Psalm2. 6). But ‘set’ here is an unusual way to translate the word nāsakh that elsewhere means ‘weave’[13], and it may in fact mean that the newborn king was wrapped in a woven garment that symbolised his new state.

 

So, here we have the Heavenly Mother being presented as a Maker Who wraps us up in a priestly garment woven by her. 

Her role in creation and in the life of Israel is hidden, however, in apocrypha like Ben Sira or in Proverbs and Psalms (as well as elsewhere).

The discussion in the linked address on deliberate changes in the Tanakh, like, for example, the switching of an aleph for an ayin [both of which are rough equivalents for "A"], in order to obscure original intent, is especially interesting given JSJr's reference of a deliberate change to Genesis 1:1 [King Follett Discourse] and the BoM's first book's repeated mention of the removal of "plain and precious" things from scipture [Nephi 13:26,28-29,32,34-35,40]. 

What I find most interesting, however, is the representation of the Mother as creatrix.  What exactly is meant symbolically and ritually by Her weaving and providing priestly vestments for the king and/or initiate will no doubt be a matter for some considerable debate.  In any event, we know from scripture, especially LDS scripture, that both Father and Son are creators, and that is both part of what they are, as well as what they do.  How else should we expect the Heavenly Mother to act and be, other than as engaged in the creative process, represented by weaving in the above references.

I would love some input from those not of the LDS persuasion on especially Psalm 2:6's mistranslation of nasakh "to weave" and the implicit reference to the Great Weaver.

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Interesting..I hope others will contribute to help my understanding of all of this.  As everyone knows..I kept my Heavenly Mother..I need her.:)  I am hoping that she was very much in the process of our creation...but not at sewing machine.  Which is why I hope you can expand and explain what the deeper meaning of all of this may mean.  I have never been through the Temple...but as a Mother in Heaven, surely, she was very much involved.  I wish so much that not just the LDS church....but the world of churches knew more about this.  Go on...I am listening..

Thanks.

Edited by Jeanne
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2 minutes ago, Jeanne said:

Interesting..I hope others will contribute to help my understanding of all of this.  As everyone knows..I kept my Heavenly Mother..I need her.:)  I am hoping that she was very much in the process of our creation...but not at sewing machine.  Which is why I hope you can expand and explain what the deeper meaning of all of this may mean.  I have never been through the Temple...but as a Mother in Heaven, surely, she was very much involved.  I wish so much that not just the LDS church....but the world of churches knew more about this.

Thanks.

The creator G-d in Genesis 1 is described as a bird hovering over the chaos waters out of which He then calls forth the land.  I'm not sure we need to be worried about traditional functionary roles.

Hauptman's The Weavers contains no female weavers.  Only male ones working in a factory.  The comic lead in Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream is Bottom the Weaver, and I've never seen him played by an actress.  Weaving isn't particularly a female function, especially outside hearth and home.

Point?  Let's leave discussions of sexual politics out of this here thread, si vous plait.  We get enough of that around here.

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33 minutes ago, USU78 said:

The creator G-d in Genesis 1 is described as a bird hovering over the chaos waters out of which He then calls forth the land.  I'm not sure we need to be worried about traditional functionary roles.

Hauptman's The Weavers contains no female weavers.  Only male ones working in a factory.  The comic lead in Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream is Bottom the Weaver, and I've never seen him played by an actress.  Weaving isn't particularly a female function, especially outside hearth and home.

Point?  Let's leave discussions of sexual politics out of this here thread, si vous plait.  We get enough of that around here.

Where did she bring in "sexual politics"?  I see her respectfully responding to your OP, asking you to "expand and explain".

I think it's odd you'd start a thread on Heavenly Mother and then criticize someone who responds asking and wondering what her role was and wishing we knew more on that.

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5 minutes ago, JulieM said:

Where did she bring in "sexual politics"?  I see her respectfully responding to your OP, asking you to "expand and explain".

I think it's odd you'd start a thread on Heavenly Mother and then criticize someone who responds asking and wondering what her role was and wishing we knew more on that.

It was a caution  ...  as I continue to caution:  please no sexual politics.  Weaving is weaving.  One can take the position that She is weaving the very fabric of creation into those priestly temple vestments referenced in the OP.

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11 minutes ago, JulieM said:

Where did she bring in "sexual politics"?  I see her respectfully responding to your OP, asking you to "expand and explain".

I think it's odd you'd start a thread on Heavenly Mother and then criticize someone who responds asking and wondering what her role was and wishing we knew more on that.

The comment about Mother in Heaven dutifully at work behind a sewing machine, an image abhorrent and to feminists.

Edited by Bobbieaware

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5 minutes ago, Bobbieaware said:

The comment about Mother in Heaven dutifully at work behind a sewing machine, an image abhorrent and to feminists.

Maybe you should actually quote what she stated instead of using YOUR words :rolleyes:

I thought her post was respectful and well stated.  She asked some questions that I have too and that I hope will be discussed here to "help" our "understanding of all this" (Jeanne's words).  She ended with "I am listening".

Edited by JulieM
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So Mom designed garments? Checks out. She and I agree as much on fashion sense as me and my earthly mom did when I was growing up. :vader: 

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11 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

So Mom designed garments? Checks out. She and I agree as much on fashion sense as me and my earthly mom did when I was growing up. :vader: 

You always were and always shall be a stinker.

 

🤣

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16 minutes ago, JulieM said:

Maybe you should actually quote what she stated instead of using YOUR words :rolleyes:

I thought her post was respectful and well stated.  She asked some questions that I have too and that I hope will be discussed here to "help" our "understanding of all this" (Jeanne's words).  She ended with "I am listening".

I will be delighted to have you participate substantively. Any thoughts? Did you have a chance to read the linked transcript?

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4 minutes ago, USU78 said:

You always were and always shall be a stinker.

 

🤣

Yeah, one more paving stone on my road to hell unless Mom finds me as funny as I imagine I am.

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23 minutes ago, JulieM said:

Maybe you should actually quote what she stated instead of using YOUR words :rolleyes:

I thought her post was respectful and well stated.  She asked some questions that I have too and that I hope will be discussed here to "help" our "understanding of all this" (Jeanne's words).  She ended with "I am listening".

" I am hoping that she was very much in the process of our creation...but not at sewing machine." Intended as an obvious jab at a traditional motherly role, as if the ability to know how to rcreate functional and attractive clothing for her family is somehow demeaning to a women.

Edited by Bobbieaware

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1 hour ago, Jeanne said:

I am hoping that she was very much in the process of our creation...

If you have time, you may want to look through this BYU Studies article: http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4308&context=byusq

There are a few quotes from early church leaders discussing the role of Heavenly Mother "as procreator and parent, as a divine person, as co-creator of worlds, as coframer of the plan of salvation with the Father, and as a concerned and loving parent involved in our mortal probation."

It's pretty good stuff. I highly recommend giving it a look if you haven't come across it before. 

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1 hour ago, Jeanne said:

Interesting..I hope others will contribute to help my understanding of all of this.  As everyone knows..I kept my Heavenly Mother..I need her.:)  I am hoping that she was very much in the process of our creation...but not at sewing machine.  Which is why I hope you can expand and explain what the deeper meaning of all of this may mean.  I have never been through the Temple...but as a Mother in Heaven, surely, she was very much involved.  I wish so much that not just the LDS church....but the world of churches knew more about this.  Go on...I am listening..

Thanks.

I agree with you Jeanne (and I also hope it's not just at a sewing machine...love your humor :)....although my own Mother was a beautiful seamstress and created some masterpieces!!).  I think this topic is something that many are interested in.  I've seen an increase of questions on this from some of the youth in our ward (at a recent fireside discussion we had).  

Great discussion potential, USU.   I'll take a look at the info and link you posted!  Thanks.

Edited by ALarson
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1 hour ago, USU78 said:

The creator G-d in Genesis 1 is described as a bird hovering over the chaos waters out of which He then calls forth the land.  I'm not sure we need to be worried about traditional functionary roles.

Hauptman's The Weavers contains no female weavers.  Only male ones working in a factory.  The comic lead in Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream is Bottom the Weaver, and I've never seen him played by an actress.  Weaving isn't particularly a female function, especially outside hearth and home.

Point?  Let's leave discussions of sexual politics out of this here thread, si vous plait.  We get enough of that around here.

I was just truthfully trying to understand..I know that Heavenly Mother was not a seamstress..that is why I asked you to give me a deeper meaning.  I don't know the scriptures like you do.  Please forgive me if I have offended you.:(

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1 hour ago, JulieM said:

Where did she bring in "sexual politics"?  I see her respectfully responding to your OP, asking you to "expand and explain".

I think it's odd you'd start a thread on Heavenly Mother and then criticize someone who responds asking and wondering what her role was and wishing we knew more on that.

Thank you Julie...this seems to be a problem with me.  I don't post much anymore because I am afraid to. 

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Nevermind guys...nevermind.

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17 minutes ago, Jeanne said:

I was just truthfully trying to understand..I know that Heavenly Mother was not a seamstress..that is why I asked you to give me a deeper meaning.  I don't know the scriptures like you do.  Please forgive me if I have offended you.:(

Not remotely offended. I do you the honor of explaining myself. I'd rather hoped gently. And I hope you take a gander at the linkee.

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John Bright has said that 

Quote

Personified Wisdom has nothing essentially Hellenic about it, but stems ultimately from Canaanite-Aramean paganism, being attested in the Proverbs of Ahiqar (about sixth century).  The text of Prov., chs. 8;9, must go back to a Canaanite original of about the seventh century with roots in still earlier Canaanite lore; . .  Bright, A History of Israel, 3rd ed. (Westminster Press, 1981), 448; cf. Daniel C. Peterson, "Nephi and His Asherah: A Note on 1 Nephi 11:8-23," in Davis Bitton, ed., Mormons, Scripture, and the Ancient World: Studies in Honor of John L. Sorenson (Provo: FARMS, 1998), 191-243; Alyson Skabelund Von Feldt, "Does God Have a Wife?" FARMS Review, 19/1 (2007):81-118, review of W. Dever, Did God Have a Wife? Archaeology And Folk Religion In Ancient Israel (Eerdmans, 2005).

.Whether the references are metaphorical is an important question, and we ought to observe that even the Book of Mormon personifies feminine Wisdom at Mosiah 8:20b, "For they will not seek Wisdom, Neither do they desire that she should rule over them."

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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Personally, I think too much is made out of the gender of Wisdom in poetic writings. It's natural to psychologically assign gender to certain concepts and ideas, and cultures sometimes differ on this (e.g., Mother Russia vs. das Vaterland). 

I don't, personally, think that female personification of Wisdom is code for Heavenly Mother. I think it's simply poetic figurative language, and that not much should be read into it. But, that's me. 

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38 minutes ago, rongo said:

Personally, I think too much is made out of the gender of Wisdom in poetic writings. It's natural to psychologically assign gender to certain concepts and ideas, and cultures sometimes differ on this (e.g., Mother Russia vs. das Vaterland). 

I don't, personally, think that female personification of Wisdom is code for Heavenly Mother. I think it's simply poetic figurative language, and that not much should be read into it. But, that's me. 

One notion is that Israel demythologized  it's literary Canon so as not to allow the old Canaanite elements to continue.  The Canon thus comes to present a mostly "pure" face of aniconic monotheism.  However, archeologically we know that this picture is late and false.  The average Israelite was a polytheist who had idols in his home, and we have inscriptions from the Classical Israelite period which speak of Yahweh and his Asherah.  The Mother Goddess was a staple of the ancient Near East, and Israelite prophets constantly inveighed against the old ways -- even removing the Nehushtan (Brazen Serpent), which had been perfectly acceptable in Moses' time.   It is no accident that Lehi ignores the newly instituted rule that one may not sacrifice outside Jerusalem.  You might want to consult the articles I cited by Peterson, Dever, and Von Feldt.

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WHY DOES FAIRMORMON NOT SHOW THE AUTHOR'S NAME??

I know that it's Margaret Barker, but why don't they show that??

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It was an error when we reformatted, it dropped the name...they were going to fix that, probably forgot in the turmoil of other things.  I will try and remember to remind them...

Edited by Calm
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3 hours ago, The Nehor said:

Yeah, one more paving stone on my road to hell unless Mom finds me as funny as I imagine I am.

My wife always told me the reason she married me was because I made her laugh.

I never quite knew how to take that.  

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Just now, mfbukowski said:

My wife always told me the reason she married me was because I made her laugh.

I never quite knew how to take that.  

Ask her if she is laughing with you or at you? ;) 

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