One Flesh

April 3, 2007    By: Geoff J @ 12:42 am   Category: Theology


“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Gen. 2: 24; Matt. 19: 5; Moses 3: 24; Abr. 5: 18)

This verse is one of those rare scriptures that was quoted by Jesus himself. Modern readers usually view it as a simple endorsement of marriage, but many ancients viewed it as being much more literal than that. For thousands of years there has been a view that Adam and Eve (and thus perhaps all humankind) were once literally joined as male and female into a single being in the beginning and that returning to a similar fusion is a goal for humans in the end. In this post I’ll list some of the sources that lend themselves to this idea starting with canonized scriptures then moving to a few non-canonized ancient texts and finally pointing out some modern LDS comments along these lines. I am not arguing for the truth of this idea here — my goal for now is simply to lay out a few sources for readers to ponder and perhaps discuss. I don’t know whether this notion has any validity or not, but I definitely think it is fascinating.

Scriptural Texts

The first scriptural texts I want to highlight deal with what many ancients considered the literal fission of “Adam” (the premortal Michael in LDS thought) into male and female, or Adam and Eve:

21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
(Gen. 2: 21; Moses 3: 21; Abr. 5: 15)

Some ancient thinkers considered the fission of the unified “Adam” into male and female parts to be what constituted the Fall and they believed that the goal of humankind was to unite or fuse the male and female together again. While this idea is explicitly stated in some non-canonical ancient texts (see below) there is also some evidence to support this notion in Biblical scriptures:

5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.
6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Mark 10: 5-9)

11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. (1 Cor. 11: 11)

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;…
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:…
31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. (Eph. 5)

15 And again, verily I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man.
16 Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation;
17 And that it might be filled with the measure of man, according to his creation before the world was made. (D&C 49: 15-17)

Other Ancient Texts

From the Gospel of Philip we get these quotes:

When Eve was still with Adam, death did not exist. When she was separated from him, death came into being. If he enters again and attains his former self, death will be no more.

If the woman had not separated from the man, she should not die with the man. His separation became the beginning of death. Because of this, Christ came to repair the separation, which was from the beginning, and again unite the two, and to give life to those who died as a result of the separation, and unite them. But the woman is united to her husband in the bridal chamber. Indeed, those who have united in the bridal chamber will no longer be separated. Thus Eve separated from Adam because it was not in the bridal chamber that she united with him.

From the Gospel of Thomas:

22. … Jesus said to them, “When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom].”

106. Jesus said, “When you make the two into one, you will become children of Adam, and when you say, ‘Mountain, move from here!’ it will move.”

From a Nag Hammadi Library text (“On the Origin of the World”)

Now the production of the instructor came about as follows. When Sophia [Wisdom] let fall a droplet of light, it flowed onto the water, and immediately a human being appeared, being androgynous.

A Modern Source

Here is a very interesting excerpt from a sermon given by Elder Erastus Snow:

the being we call man, but which in the language of these Scriptures was called Adam—male and female created he them, and called their name Adam, which in the original, in which these Scriptures were written by Moses, signifies “the first man.” There was no effort at distinguishing between the one half and the other, and calling one man and the other woman. This was an after distinction, but the explanation of it is—one man, one being, and he called their name Adam. But he created them male and female, for they were one, and he says not unto the woman multiply, and to the man multiply, but he says unto them, multiply and reproduce your species, and replenish the earth. He speaks unto them as belonging together, as constituting one being, and as organized in his image and after his likeness. And the Apostle Paul, treating upon this subject in the same way, says that man was created in the likeness of God, and after the express image of his person. John, the Apostle, in writing the history of Jesus, speaks in the same way; that Jesus was in the likeness of his Father, and express image of his person. And if the revelations that God has made of himself to man, agree and harmonize upon this theory, and if mankind would be more believing, and accept the simple, plain, clear definition of Deity, and description of himself which he has given us, instead of hunting for some great mystery, and seeking to find out God where he is not and as he is not, we all might understand him. …

“What,” says one, “do you mean we should understand that Deity consists of man and woman?” Most certainly I do. If I believe anything that God has ever said about himself, and anything pertaining to the creation and organization of man upon the earth, I must believe that Deity consists of man and woman. Now this is simplifying it down to our understanding, and the great Christian world will be ready to open their mouths and cry, “Blasphemy! Sacrilege!” Open wide their eyes and wide their mouths in the utmost astonishment. What! God a man and woman? The Shakers say he was, and Ann Lee says, “Christ came in the form of a man in the first place, and now comes in the form of a woman,” and she was that form.

Then these Christians—they say he has no form, neither body, parts nor passions. One party says he is a man, and the other says he is a woman. I say he is both. How do you know? I only repeat what he says of himself; that he created man in the image of God, male and female created he them, and he called their name Adam, which signifies in Hebrew, the first man. So that the beings we call Adam and Eve were the first man placed here on this earth, and their name was Adam, and they were the express image of God. Now, if anybody is disposed to say that the woman is in the likeness of God and that the man was not, and if vice versa, I say you are both wrong, or else God has not told us the truth.

I sometimes illustrate this matter by taking up a pair of shears, if I have one, but then you all know they are composed of two halves, but they are necessarily parts, one of another, and to perform their work for each other, as designed, they belong together, and neither one of them is fitted for the accomplishment of their works alone. And for this reason says St. Paul, “the man is not without the woman, nor the woman without the man in the Lord.” In other words, there can be no God except he is composed of the man and woman united, and there is not in all the eternities that exist, nor ever will be, a God in any other way. I have another description: There never was a God, and there never will be in all eternities, except they are made of these two component parts; a man and a woman; the male and the female.
(Journal of Discourses, 19:266)

Ok, I think that is probably sufficient to introduce this subject. If any of you know of other scriptures or important texts related to this subject that I have omitted please share.

Discuss.

66 Comments »

  1. President Spencer W. Kimball

    In the October 1975 Relief Society General Conference, President Kimball said this:

    The role of woman was fixed even before she was created, and God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. It is written:

    “And I, God, created man in mine own image, in the image of mine Only Begotten created I him; male and female created I them. [The story of the rib, of course, is figurative.]

    “And I, God, blessed them [Man here is always in the plural. It was plural from the beginning.] and said unto them: Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion over [it].” (Moses 2:27-28.)

    And the scripture says,

    “And I, God said unto mine Only Begotten, which was with me from the beginning: Let us make man [not a separate man, but a complete man, which is husband and wife] in our image, after our likeness; and it was so.” (Moses 2:26.) What a beautiful partnership! Adam and Eve were married for eternity by the Lord. Such a marriage extends beyond the grave. All peoples should call for this kind of marriage.

    “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.” (Gen. 4:1.)

    “This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;

    “Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam [Mr. and Mrs. Adam, I suppose, or Brother and Sister Adam], in the day when they were created.” (Gen. 5:1-2.)

    This is a partnership. Then when they had created them in the image of God, to them was given the eternal command, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it” (Gen. 1:28), and as they completed this magnificent creation, they looked it over and pronounced it “good, very good” something that isn’t to be improved upon by our modern intellectuals; the male to till the ground, support the family, to give proper leadership; the woman to cooperate, to bear the children, and to rear and teach them. It was “good, very good.”

    And that’s the way the Lord organized it. This wasn’t an experiment. He knew what he was doing.

    The bracketed comments are all in the original.

    Comment by Gary — April 3, 2007 @ 1:53 am

  2. You’ll want to contextualize this a little better among the metaphysical groups. Specifically, you’ll want to visit Jakob Boehme’s sacred Virgin, the Shaker’s union of Wisdom/Sophia and male Spirit. This is fundamentally the dyad teaching, which is a consistent teaching in metaphysical traditions. Albanese wrote about this in Sunstone 20yrs ago, the Toscanos visit it in their Strangers in Paradox, and Albanese’s new history of metaphysical religion 2007/yale also visits this in detail.

    My own sense from reading Smith’s writings are that he did not teach the dyad, imposing rather familialism than physical unity. I suspect Blake would disagree with me given his rejection of Smith’s divine familialism, but the evidence points me toward a non-dyadic interpretation.

    Comment by smb — April 3, 2007 @ 8:10 am

  3. Adam and Eve (and thus perhaps all humankind) were once literally joined as male and female into a single being in the beginning and that returning to a similar fusion is a goal for humans in the end.

    The biggest problem here is again the question of “destiny”. Is there then just one “other half” I am supposed to be joined to? Such a view seems problematic.

    Another big problem is one of individual identity. This runs into the same sort of challenges that spiritual atomism has.

    As for other references, we’ve discussed other references in GThom in the past.

    I believe the Gospel of the Egyptians is lumped in with Phillip and Thomas for it’s views.

    Clement quotes this text as saying:

    When Salome inquired when the things concerning which she asked should be known, the Lord said: When ye have trampled on the garment of shame, and when the two become one and the male with the female is neither male nor female.

    However, Clement discounts the text immediately by saying:

    In the first place, then, we have not this saying in the four Gospels that have been delivered to us, but in that according to the Egyptians

    Tertullian, Origen, Philo, and others all seem to link it simply to the unity in marriage.

    Origen even has the following to add:

    the Son of God, through whom all things were created, is named Jesus Christ and the Son of man. For the Son of God also is said to have died–in reference, viz., to that nature which could admit of death; and He is called the Son of man, who is announced as about to come in the glory of God the Father, with the holy angels. And for this reason, throughout the whole of Scripture, not only is the divine nature spoken of in human words, but the human nature is adorned by appellations of divine dignity. More truly indeed of this than of any other can the statement be affirmed, “They shall both be in one flesh, and are no longer two, but one flesh.” For the Word of God is to be considered as being more in one flesh with the soul than a man with his wife. But to whom is it more becoming to be also one spirit with God, than to this soul which has so joined itself to God by love as that it may justly be said to be one spirit with Him?

    Comment by Matt W. — April 3, 2007 @ 8:25 am

  4. Oh, and 2nd Clement (which some say was not written by Clement, but I am not expert on Clement) says:

    2Clem 12:2
    For the Lord Himself, being asked by a certain person when his
    kingdom would come, said, When the two shall be one, and the
    outside as the inside, and the male with the female, neither male
    or female.

    2Clem 12:3
    Now the two are one, when we speak truth among ourselves, and
    in two bodies there shall be one soul without dissimulation.

    2Clem 12:4
    And by the outside as the inside He meaneth this: by the inside he
    meaneth the soul and by the outside the body. Therefore in like
    manner as thy body appeareth, so also let thy soul be manifest by
    its good works.

    2Clem 12:5
    And by the male with the female, neither male nor female, he
    meaneth this; that a brother seeing a sister should have no thought
    of her as a female, and that a sister seeing a brother should not
    have any thought of him as a male.

    2Clem 12:6
    These things if ye do, saith He, the kingdom of my father shall come.

    Anyway, I recommend this search for more sources…

    Of Course, John A. Widtsoe disagrees with this pre-gender state, noting:

    [Gender], which is indispensable on this earth for the perpetuation of the human race, is an eternal quality which has its equivalent everywhere. It is indestructible. The relationship between men and women is eternal and must continue eternally. In accordance with Gospel philosophy there are males and females in heaven. Since we have a Father, who is our God, we must also have a mother, who possesses the attributes of Godhood. This simply carries onward the logic of things earthly, and conforms with the doctrine that whatever is on this earth is simply a representation of spiritual conditions of deeper meaning than we can here fathom.

    and again:

    It has already been said that [gender] is an eternal principle. The equivalent of [gender], dimly understood by man, has always existed and will continue forever. Since [gender], then, represents an eternal condition, the begetting of children is coincidentally an eternal necessity. We were begotten into the spirit world by God the Father, and have been born into the world which we now possess.

    ____________________________________________
    Note: The Widtsoe quotes were altered to avoid coming up in certain google searches, and also to irritate Eric. :)

    Comment by Matt W. — April 3, 2007 @ 8:41 am

  5. Thanks for the additional quotes and resources amigos.

    smb – I considered adding more and more to this post but decided to try to keep things short enough to be accessible to most of our readers here. But you are right that there is anything but unanimity in the ancient texts on these subjects. That dyad teaching you mentioned gets quite a bit of play in the Nag Hammadi library texts for instance but it tends to allegorize so much that I decided to leave it out of this discussion.

    Matt – I think that the objection you point out about a “destined spouse” is skirted in a couple of ways by different people. For example Erastus Snow seems to simply focus on a pending fusion rather than on a past fission. He is apparently using an Adam/God lens in the sermon above and saw the fission of “Adam” as applying only to Adam/Michael but not to us. If one wanted to apply the fission and fusion to all of us I suspect that it would require an Eternal Recursion view of eternity as we have discussed before.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 3, 2007 @ 9:12 am

  6. Matt,

    I should also point out that brother Widtsoe was begging the question in the first quote by starting with the assumption that God is male rather than the unity of a male and female as Elder Snow taught 30+ years earlier.

    Since we have a Father, who is our God, we must also have a mother

    Comment by Geoff J — April 3, 2007 @ 9:24 am

  7. I guess the issue of identity depends on how literally you are trying to connect with these ideas of fussion and fission. I mean are we talking about fussion in the sense that Scissors (Erastus’s analogy) are still two seperate pieces, linked together for a greater purpose? In other words are we talking about being one like Heavenly Father and Jesus are one? or Are we talking about fussion in the since that my spirit is now fused to my body, thus making my soul?

    Don’t the doctrine and covenants specifically denounce the Shaker concept somewhere?

    As for Widtsoe begging the question, I’d say it is due to his summarizing of the doctrinal beliefs of the time, not his invention of them.

    Comment by Matt W. — April 3, 2007 @ 10:04 am

  8. Gary: if you were going to give the “pat” answer, you should have gone with…

    Rather than relying on our interpretation of what “one flesh” means in marriage, it would be well to consider this divine concept as taught in the scriptures. Paul taught the concept of unity to the Corinthians by using the body as an illustration. “For the body is not one member, but many” (1 Cor. 12:14). Paul taught that in spite of obvious differences in the various parts of the body, “the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you” (1 Cor. 12:21). In summary, he taught “that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another” (1 Cor. 12:25). It is easy to see the application of this metaphor to marriage. Neither spouse is more important than the other. Undoubtedly, individuals bring varying talents into their marriage, just as they each have differing roles, tasks, and functions. But using Paul’s perspective, one can say, “For marriage is not one member, but two. And the husband cannot say unto the wife, I have no need of thee: nor the wife again to the husband, I have no need of thee.” We may likewise conclude that there should be no schism in marriage but that husband and wife should have the same care one for another.

    -Matthew O. Richardson, “Three Principles of Marriage,” Ensign, Apr 2005, 20–24

    But maybe it doesn’t make a strong enough appeal to authority for you…

    Comment by Matt W. — April 3, 2007 @ 10:39 am

  9. A few quick points.

    (1) I don’t really know what you mean by someone being a unity of man and woman. Were they genderless? or two-gendered? or what?

    (2) I don’t see much in any of the quotes of the post to recommend the view that people were originally a unity of male and female, or will be again some day. You claim that there has been this view for thousands of years, but then give a bunch of quotes that can easily be taken in the traditional way. So, how do you know there has been such a view for thousands of years?

    As Matt points out, Erastus Snow does not seem to be thinking we will become a single manwoman, but that we will be joined together in a marriage while staying distinct: “There never was a God, and there never will be in all eternities, except they are made of these two component parts; a man and a woman; the male and the female.”

    (3) The use of Ephesians here seems like a very terrible use of that scripture. Especially because you omitted verses 30 and 32 giving us verse 31 in isolation from these two surrounding verses which totally cast the meaning in a different light than the one you are suggesting.

    30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
    31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
    32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. (Eph 5)

    I won’t say much about the “great mystery” because it would require its own post, but the meaning here is not that it is “mysterious,” but that it is a “profound hidden truth.” The profound truth is not that man and woman were once manwoman, but that he is teaching us about our union in Christ, which is a major theme in Ephesians. This hardly seems like good evidence for your ancient view of literal union-in-one-person of male and female.

    Comment by Jacob J — April 3, 2007 @ 11:08 am

  10. Matt W. (#8),

    Nope, not looking for “pat” answers.  Just thought some of President Kimball’s bracketed comments (sprinkled throughout scripture quotes) were enlightening:

    “Man here is always in the plural. It was plural from the beginning…. not a separate man, but a complete man, which is husband and wife…. Mr. and Mrs. Adam, I suppose, or Brother and Sister Adam.

    Comment by R. Gary — April 3, 2007 @ 11:13 am

  11. Sorry Gary, I totally misunderstood your intent. Thanks for clarifying.

    Comment by Matt W. — April 3, 2007 @ 11:19 am

  12. Irritation successful. :)

    Comment by Eric Nielson — April 3, 2007 @ 11:35 am

  13. Does all this not contradict the Proclamation on the Family?

    Comment by Eric Nielson — April 3, 2007 @ 11:36 am

  14. Eric, I think it all depends on how far Geoff is going with this idea, like I said in # 7 and Jacob said better in #9.

    Thanks for being irritated. I’d hate to think of myself as a failure…

    Comment by Matt W. — April 3, 2007 @ 11:53 am

  15. Matt and Jacob,

    I am non-committal on how far this idea should be taken. I am open to the possibilities on both ends of the spectrum and can see solutions and problems that might be associated with both sides as well.

    Jacob – If your question (2) is whether the idea of an androgynous Adam (or even God) is really of ancient date just do a search on the word androgynous in the Nag Hammadi link or the Early Christian Writings site Matt pointed out… references abound. That doesn’t make them true of course but at least you can see that I didn’t make that part up.

    Also, I agree that the use of Ephesians is complicated by the Christ as groom analogy intertwined with it. I don’t think it is accurate to call such a use a “terrible use of that scripture”. Simply because the Christ/Church unity is mixed in does not mean that the actual husband/wife portions must not count.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 3, 2007 @ 12:29 pm

  16. Geoff,

    Thanks for the link. I wasn’t trying to say you were making it up, just that the post doesn’t offer any quotes that teach this androgyny concept explicitely. They all seem very open to other interpretations.

    Perhaps I was too harsh in my language about Ephesians, but as I read it, the theme of the whole book is the gathering of all things together in one in Christ. Which part do you think represents the “actual husband/wife portions” which I am not counting? Eph 5:31 is the one you used in the post, but as I mentioned, verses 30 and 32 make it clear that Paul is not talking about actual husband/wife in verse 31.

    Comment by Jacob J — April 3, 2007 @ 12:55 pm

  17. Jacob,

    I see verse 25 in Eph. 5 as the set-up for the literal husband wife message. But as I said — I do recognize that it is deeply intertwined with the analogy of Christ and the Church as exemplified by verses 30 and 32 as well. I am just assuming that there are layers of messages in that passage and was trying to draw out one layer without focusing on the others.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 3, 2007 @ 1:01 pm

  18. trying again….

    Of Course, John A. Widtsoe disagrees with this pre-gender state

    So does the Proclamation, IMO.

    I don’t see much in any of the quotes of the post to recommend the view that people were originally a unity of male and female, or will be again some day. You claim that there has been this view for thousands of years, but then give a bunch of quotes that can easily be taken in the traditional way.

    I agree.

    Someone mentioned the fact that Christ and the Father are “one.” We know without question that they are resurrected, perfected and separate Beings. I think this is a case for the very real possibility that being “one” as husband and wife will not remove the separate and individual individuals unified in purpose, one mind, one heart.

    Also, if the fall itself was a separation, you’d have to account for the fact that Lucifer could approach Adam and Eve separately before the fall, wouldn’t you?

    Comment by m&m — April 3, 2007 @ 1:08 pm

  19. I was thinking about this for a couple of more minutes, and then it dawned on me. If I know Geoff, he doesn’t really care about any of these quotes, he is just intrigued by the idea, and the quotes are a way to bring up the idea.

    If I’m right, Geoff, then tell me what about the idea is appealing to you. Then we can get past the red herring of these quotes to talk about whether there is anything useful in the androgyny idea. Or maybe I’m wrong.

    Comment by Jacob J — April 3, 2007 @ 1:42 pm

  20. For those interested, here is at least one other member’s favorable view of the Gospel of Phillip.

    And Eric Huntsman, one of the three BYU proessors behind the wildly popular Jesus Christ and the World of the New Testament had this to say about the book in a more general light:

    The Gospel of Phillip is dated anywhere between the mid-150s and as late as the late-300s. The longer sayings or paragraphs that constitute the gospel were put together in an anthology of questions and answers on theological matters—for instance, a question on the sacrament is posed that the Risen Lord then answers. In most of them, the Savior is portrayed as the bridegroom of a fallen deity, Sophia or Wisdom, who had become trapped in this wicked physical world that the Demiurge had created. Christ came to save Sophia and then takes her to the bridle chamber in a spiritual journey that is related to the disciples so that they will learn how they too can pass the various demigods and angels that stand as guardians or oppose them in their way. In this sense it is more typically Gnostic than the Gospel of Thomas—it focuses on conveying the secret knowledge that allows the initiate to ascend through the spheres, passing the guardians. This, then, is the text that provides the most specific references to a personal relationship between Christ and Mary Magdalene, relating that she was his constant companion and that their relationship was physical and intimate.

    Comment by Matt W. — April 3, 2007 @ 1:49 pm

  21. The “fused view” to me does have at least one appealing aspect. It is that it gives more strength and validity to the otherwise low key doctrine of a mother in heaven. It brings the 1840s idea of a mother needed for godhood where godhood is define as the ability to procreate up to date where Godhood is defined as the equal relationship of divine unity between a husband and wife and God(as a husband and wife.) But I think we can hold to a loose fusion and get all these results.

    The fused view does hit some snags, like polygamy for one…

    Comment by Matt W. — April 3, 2007 @ 1:56 pm

  22. m&m, but don’t we hold that the fall was itslef a seperation? It was a seperation from God the father via sin and death? Isn’t that what the missionary discussions teach? Lucifer approached Adam and Eve sperately from God, so I think the same concepts could apply. (Now grant you, I’m still not buying it.)

    Comment by Matt W. — April 3, 2007 @ 1:58 pm

  23. Few of these quotes seem to rise above the level of metaphor. Erastus Snow’s in particular seems to simply be a roundabout way of defending the relatively unremarkable position that for every heavenly father there is also of necessity a heavenly mother.

    That is a conclusion typically drawn from D&C 131:2-4 and D&C 132:19-20, and more or less endorsed by Hymn 292 (O My Father). Short of the suggestion that godhood entails becoming a transgendered blob, this seems like a standard LDS perspective on the requirements for exaltation to me.

    m&m (#18),

    The “Proclamation on the Family” takes the position that gender was an essential part of our identity in the pre-mortal life, implicitly starting from spirit birth. Since the Proclamation does not speak to the issue of personal existence prior to spirit birth (as implied by Abr 3:18), the question of gender in that state appears to remain unresolved.

    Comment by Mark Butler — April 3, 2007 @ 5:27 pm

  24. Your quotes seem pretty ambiguous, even taken as a whole, as evidence for this one-flesh theory. And Erastus Snow??? I wouldn’t be too worried, except I suspect you have more up your sleeve than you have mentioned so far! :-)
    The strongest evidence I can imagine for something like this is the conspicuous lack of scripture, teachings, prophecies, or other traces of a Heavenly Mother. That doesn’t mean there isn’t one, but it is puzzling.
    Other than that, I wonder what would be the use or purpose of this? I have to ask you again, Then why gender at all? If the purpose of women is only as baby factories for a short mortal period, why not just hatch out mortal men from the mud like Uruk-hai? :-)

    Comment by C Jones — April 3, 2007 @ 5:55 pm

  25. Jacob (#19),

    I think Matt outlined the major appeal of the “fused” view in his #21. I have been sitting on this subject for more than a year — since a friend of mine made me aware of the idea and many of these source texts. But the recent thread that C Jones linked to in #24 was the immediate impetus for me to finally post on the subject.

    In that thread we once again rehashed the arguments for and against literal (and especially viviparous) spirit birth and as usual I and others vigorously argued against the idea. I see no good evidence for the idea and gobs of evidence against it. But then C Jones complained that if women were not eternal “baby factories” (her term, not mine!) then she could not see what their eternal purpose was as women. I honestly find that view to be sort of disturbing (though maybe I am missing her point…).

    But as Matt implied, we need to figure out some reason why we are completely cut off from the divine feminine here on earth. Any view that has a Mother in Heaven who is so delicate that she must be shielded from her own spirit children seems like nonsense to me. Who ever heard of not letting children ever write to or talk to their loving mothers when away from home or on missions or whatever? The other alternative I’ve heard (espoused in various forms by folks like Blake and Stapley) is that Gods are not like us and we can never really become like them and as such there is no Mother in Heaven. Blake has stated he thinks the whole idea of a MiH is a cultural overbelief and an outgrowth of Adam/God theology. But I reject Blake’s view too. So some variation on the ancient androgyny/fusion idea has some appeal I think.

    Of course there are major issues with this fusion notion too (like a fusion of personal identity) so I am not heartily endorsing the idea either. I am simply open to it in some form and appreciate its positive possibilities.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 3, 2007 @ 6:36 pm

  26. i would highly recommend Nibley’s patriarchy and matriarchy article. While I don’t believe we were physically one, I do like Nibley’s argument that after the fall we have been in a competition between sexes and that only the atonement can reunite us as one.

    Comment by Joshua Madson — April 3, 2007 @ 10:25 pm

  27. Lucifer approached Adam and Eve sperately from God

    Huh? Explain please.

    Yes, the fall is a separation, but Lucifer tempted them before the fall. If they were “one” before the fall, I don’t see how they could have been tempted separately. The fall happened after they were tempted.

    Comment by m&m — April 3, 2007 @ 10:27 pm

  28. Geoff,
    IMO, patriarchy itself as a pattern could explain why we don’t hear about Heavenly Mother. I’m not sure that we need to fuse heavenly parents to account for not hearing about Her. I think there are also other reasons we could speculate about before we’d need to eliminate the feminine. (Not that speculating does any good….)

    Mark Butler: Gender is eternal is what the Proclamation says, and is essential to pre-mortal and post-mortal life. “In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father….” “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”

    Individual identity and purpose doesn’t sound like fused entities to me.

    Geoff, you say you see “gobs of evidence” but I really don’t see it.

    that Gods are not like us and we can never really become like them and as such there is no Mother in Heaven.

    This would seem to me to contradict everything we are taught by prophets today, particularly the part about “not really becoming like them.” Just look up “become like God” and see how much is there. In my mind, you can’t build a good theory on faulty assumptions, and I think this one is erroneous.

    That said, we don’t know the details about how eternal parenthood and creation works. But I think it’s not naive to consider that the patterns we see and live in this life (esp. within the family unit) will be more similar than not to our “sociality” that exists here.

    Comment by m&m — April 3, 2007 @ 10:48 pm

  29. m&m: IMO, patriarchy itself as a pattern could explain why we don’t hear about Heavenly Mother.

    Really? How so? Is there anything in the patriarchal pattern we now practice that precludes loving mothers and children from having any contact with each other but allows loving fathers to have open lines of communication? I mean how would you feel if you were totally cut off from your children but your husband got to interact with them daily? I certainly would never wish that on Kristen.

    I think there are also other reasons we could speculate about before we’d need to eliminate the feminine.

    I’d be interested in any ideas you have on this. It seems to me that this is a conundrum that has been around for a long time and it will probably take more expansive thinking than the same ol’ same ol’ to come up with a workable solution to it.

    Geoff, you say you see “gobs of evidence” but I really don’t see it.

    See here for a long post and 159 (and counting) comments if you are looking for more evidence.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 3, 2007 @ 11:46 pm

  30. m&m,

    I think you missed my point. I think the canonical evidence for fusionism is virtually non-existent, and agree with you there.

    However, the possibility of non-gendered identity at some point prior to the acquistion of a spirit body (e.g. as a quasi-unembodied intelligence) is not ruled out by the Proclamation, as it avoids the issue of pre-spirit birth existence completely.

    There are three basic schools of thought here. One is that biology (and thus gender) is more or less an accident. Second is that biology is a Platonic form authored by no one in particular. Third is that biology is of divine design.

    I find the first option hard to distinguish from atheism and the second option a practical denial of divine discretion. If a divine council of some sort did not (by whatever means or process) determine the form of the human body, including the form of the bodies that they themselves would both as spirits and mortals, the proposition that they are anything more than shadows of some atemporal Platonic meta-God (or worse) seems pretty bleak.

    Comment by Mark Butler — April 4, 2007 @ 12:24 am

  31. But then C Jones complained that if women were not eternal “baby factories” (her term, not mine!) then she could not see what their eternal purpose was as women. I honestly find that view to be sort of disturbing (though maybe I am missing her point…).

    My point, though it’s clear that I’m not very good at explaining it, is that it is the fused view that lowers a woman’s role to that of mortal baby factory. I would never complain of the role of divine eternal motherhood. I find it to be the best and most fulfilling and wonderful thing that I can imagine. I don’t know whether I will be allowed to continue being a literal mother in the eternities or not, but I can only say that I hope so.

    Comment by C Jones — April 4, 2007 @ 7:44 am

  32. The other alternative I’ve heard (espoused in various forms by folks like Blake and Stapley) is that Gods are not like us and we can never really become like them and as such there is no Mother in Heaven.

    While I am uncertain on Blake’s rejection of Heavenly Mother, I think this view is a pretty heavy handed reduction of his and Jonathon’s views. I’d say that they actually are both pretty in line with Widtsoe’s view. (excepting the idea of Heavenly Mother, since it is pretty clear that Widtsoe held the view that there is a mother in Heaven.)

    To recap:
    There is one Universe, We are all in it. Heavenly Father is the best of all within the universe, being more obedient and thus has greater capacity. (more intelligent than they all.) We are like him when we reach the point that we are progressing like he is, not when we reach the level he is at.

    Now I need to read more Widtsoe to see how he handles “seed” and Heavenly Mother…

    Comment by Matt W. — April 4, 2007 @ 7:48 am

  33. C Jones: My point is that it is the fused view that lowers a woman’s role to that of mortal baby factory.

    I don’t understand this point. What do you mean? In the view expressed here women are the the yin and men are the yang — neither can be divine without a union with the other. As Elder Snow said, “There never was a God, and there never will be in all eternities, except they are made of these two component parts; a man and a woman; the male and the female.” In what way is that lowering women here or in the eternities?

    Consider water as an analogy. If men are the hydrogen and women are the oxygen then only combined (fused) do they create water — when separated they are not water at all. Separating them does not reduce the role of hydrogen or oxygen but combining them creates something new and different. That is the idea that I think has some appeal here.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 4, 2007 @ 8:45 am

  34. Matt W.,

    I’ll let Jonathan and Blake describe their views on MiH themselves. In past blog conversations Blake has expressed serious skepticism about the idea of a MiH and Jonathan has on occasion done the same. But they both have also said they have not reached any final conclusions about the subject.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 4, 2007 @ 8:50 am

  35. I am pretty aware of Jonathon and Blakes seperating themselves from MiH. It is more your view of the 1 track/2 track model I think they don’t necassarily hold to. I believe you argued this with them here.

    Comment by Matt W. — April 4, 2007 @ 10:53 am

  36. Blake does reject the 2-track concept (even though his views are very similar to it). Stapley has made it clear he likes it and assumes an ontological gap between humans and God.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 4, 2007 @ 11:26 am

  37. C Jones,
    Maybe you’re misunderstanding what the word “man” actually means (or meant, rather). In Old English, man meant human — the female was the wyfman and the male was the wereman. Eventually the wyfman transformed into the modern woman, and the wer part of the wereman was dropped to what is now just man. But Man still carries the neutral, a-sexist meaning (e.g. man-made, modern man, etc).

    In Garden story of Genesis, we have the three different terms: Man is adam, male man is ish, and female man is ishshah.

    Nowhere does it pass a value judgement saying that men are better than women. Indeed, the Garden story doesn’t even say that woman were taken from man (the male kind), but that male and female only appeared after the Lord divided the Man (as in: human).

    (I hope this specification of terms adds to the discussion, and doesn’t jack it.)

    Comment by Jason — April 7, 2007 @ 3:43 pm

  38. George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth, Vol. 1, p.103
    When we talk about celestial glory, we talk of the condition of endless increase; if we obtain celestial glory in the fullest sense of the word, then we have wives and children in eternity; we have the power of endless lives granted unto us, the power of propagation that will endure through all eternity, all being fathers and mothers in eternity, fathers of fathers and mothers of mothers, kings and queens, priests and priestesses, and shall I [p.104] say more? Yes, all becoming gods. For this is the power of God; it is the power by which God presides over the universe and fills the universe with power and which we pray unto Him to bestow upon us.

    Orson F. Whitney, Elias an Epic of the Ages, p.103
    Spirit and body, blending, make the soul,
    As halves, uniting, form the perfect whole;
    Symbol of wedded bliss, celestial state,
    The sealing of the sexes, mate to mate,
    That heirs with Christ may reign as queens and kings
    Where endless union endless increase brings;
    Where souls a sweet affinity shall find,
    And restitution’s edict seal and bind
    Eternal matter to eternal mind;
    Like unto like, for night weds not with day,
    And Order’s mandate e’en the Gods obey.

    Melvin J. Ballard, Conference Report, October 1934, p.121
    If you are faithful over a few things here, you shall be ruler over many things there, and become kings and priests unto God. And you sisters who have dwelt in reflected glory will shine in your own light, queens and priestesses unto the Lord forever and ever.

    It makes little sense to me to have separate titles of men and women, fathers and mothers here, and kings and queens and priests and priestesses hereafter if we are simply meant to be a lump royalty, one entity. We are commanded to be one here, and I think that wouldn’t be a commandment if it weren’t possible in this life. In my mind, that means we can be one “there” too…again, united, in purpose, in teh same way the Father and the Son are one and still separate people. I think there a LOT more in our doctrine supporting the “cultural” view than this other approach. IMO. But, I know, that is just because I’m simplistic, right? :)

    Comment by m&m — April 9, 2007 @ 12:07 am

  39. M&M. I don’t believe Geoff is arging for absolute fussion in this sense, but more for the idea that when we talk about all the good things HF has done, we mean HF and HM? (and I don’t think that is objectionable, since we already mean HF, JC, and HG when we say HF in many circumstances.) Or do you think HM has her own universe on the side?

    Comment by Matt W. — April 9, 2007 @ 8:24 am

  40. Really? I thought Geoff was talking about an absolute fussion. Geoff?

    Comment by Jacob — April 9, 2007 @ 9:25 am

  41. Jacob,

    Yeah, I’m open to that possibility. Having said that, I am also open to the notion that Matt describes where God the Father is simply the title of a divine couple. The advantage of the latter (figurative fusion) is there are fewer personal identity issues to deal with. An advantage of the former (real fusion) is it helps explain the seemingly vast difference between us and God better; where God is really a being that transcends what we are now. (Perhaps the Hydrogen/Oxygen fusion analogy works or perhaps a better analogy would be the the sperm/egg fusion that creates a truly transcendent being… Of course that would make us Gods in pre-embryo…)

    I think m&m is simply saying that not many church leaders have assumed this fusion take place. But that was never in question.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 9, 2007 @ 9:48 am

  42. Geoff, you seem a bit wishy washy on this one. (Nothing wrong with that.)

    I think figurative fusion could be easily drawn from a number of GA sources, all the way up to the links in the chain analogy which goes beyond marriage and is extremly popular in the geneaology circles.

    I guess I don’t see the relative differences between literal and figurative fusion in this case. But then again, I don’t neccasarily see the big difference between Godhead and Trinity either, but that is for some other time.

    Comment by Matt W. — April 9, 2007 @ 10:18 am

  43. I haven’t been wishy washy at all here, Matt (that implies I’m flip-flopping). Rather, throughout this conversation I have been very clear that I am open to various possibilities on this subject. I have no idea where you got the idea I had settled on one conclusion or the other in #39.

    I guess I don’t see the relative differences between literal and figurative fusion in this case.

    Hmmm… Maybe you have not been catching the key issue in this discussion… The difference between the literal and figurative views on this (or on the trinity) have everything to do with distinct personal identities. In a literal fusion there is one identity/mind that arises. In the figurative version there are separate identities/minds that are unified as a team. In the case of the ancient androgyny concept the idea would be that two spirits can merge to form one spirit and one mind (in one body, assuming resurrection). That is obviously significantly different than a married couple.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 9, 2007 @ 10:34 am

  44. I didn’t mean wishy-washy in the sense of flip flopping, but in the sense of undecided. You just feel very uncertain in this post, which is refreshing to me, since you typically roll forth with the gusto of a locamotive.

    WNow while you say I am missing the key issue, please note that I even brought the issue of identity up in earlier comments.

    Here’s where the identity issue breaks down for me.

    In the figurative version, the seperate entities are unified so well as a team, that one entity arises. (Heck even when entities are unified not so well as a team, one entity arises, any corporation, nation, culture, etc, is a unity of multiple entities into one entity…)

    I mean, if we are talking about the physical (or even spiritual material) unifying, that is one thing, but as far as the distinctiveness of personal identities, when you can distinctly tell me which is HF and which is JC speaking in just the Book of Moses alone, I will take a step back and reanalyze. I mean things like divine investiture of authority and what not blur this line quite bit.

    The main difference seems to be one of body only.

    As for the egg and seed analogy, I think it can reasonably be proven that seeds don’t have an independent spirit of their own.

    Comment by Matt W. — April 9, 2007 @ 10:58 am

  45. Heck even when entities are unified not so well as a team, one entity arises, any corporation, nation, culture, etc, is a unity of multiple entities into one entity

    I guess the question is if a corporation has a separate mind from the people who run the corporation, Matt. While to claim it does might seem silly I could see arguments in favor of that idea I suppose.

    Orson Pratt would claim that you and I are in fact fundamentally the equivalent of a corporation/team/unity of individual intelligence particles that have freely formed a perfect unity together. But that idea is pretty objectionable to most people — no one I know likes to think that they are simply a passing mind that has emerged from a unity of millions of irreducible intelligent spirit particles.

    As for the egg and seed analogy, I think it can reasonably be proven that seeds don’t have an independent spirit of their own.

    Hydrogen and oxygen don’t necessarily have intelligence of their own either but that doesn’t mean the analogy won’t work.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 9, 2007 @ 11:25 am

  46. The Hydrogrm and Oxygen analogy runs into a different problem, in that Water or H20 is still made up of speraate and individual components and is easily seperable. It’s not like splitting an atom…

    Comment by Matt W. — April 9, 2007 @ 11:54 am

  47. That is partially why I thought the seed/egg analogy might be better. Something transcendent arises from the original fusion. Of course it is only an analogy so I don’t think your objection to it in #44 is much of a problem. (And if one agreed with Orson Pratt they might dispute your claim there anyway.)

    Comment by Geoff J — April 9, 2007 @ 12:12 pm

  48. I really need to go back and read some O. Pratt, if only to honor my wife’s grandfather.

    That said, I think the problem with the future literal fusion may be the same as the problem with Pratt’s past fusion. It makes the statement “I will always exist” false in the way the majority want it to be true, and in the way JS seems to mean it to be true.

    Comment by Matt W. — April 9, 2007 @ 12:22 pm

  49. See this post as a primer on the OP model of spirits.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 9, 2007 @ 12:32 pm

  50. #37 Jason
    There’s no question that I am misunderstanding a lot of this discussion! However, I think that Geoff’s comment #43 makes it more clear what he is alluding to in this post–a literal rather than figurative fusion.

    So here’s how I am seeing the literal fusion issue and why I am not liking it so far:

    1-Joseph says God and Jesus look alike, and that they appear undeniably male– right down to the facial hair . . . So it at least as far as appearance, the female seems to be swallowed up or incorporated

    2- If we are “Adam” in a literal way prior to mortality, then according to the quotes in the original post “Eve” is described as being something temporarily separated from the more desirable whole.
    So I wonder why in this scenario does the female need to be separated for mortality? The obvious answer is that biology requires it in order for mammals to bear children. Then when mortality is over, the female is merged back into the whole.
    So then we have a God who looks male, and Heavenly Mother is nowhere to be found. Why shouldn’t that bother me?

    Comment by C Jones — April 9, 2007 @ 12:36 pm

  51. Where did Joseph say God has a beard?

    Comment by Geoff J — April 9, 2007 @ 12:40 pm

  52. Oh… I think I see what you are getting at. You take the comment that they look alike to mean that the Father currently looks like Jesus looked in mortality. Is that what you mean? I think that is a stretch. I can buy that they look like each other now — as resurrected and glorified beings — but I think it is quite another thing to say the glorified Father looks like the mortal Son. Joseph said they look like super bright glowing beings mostly. Also, don’t forget that Jesus was able to control his appearance as a resurrected being so that his disciples had no idea it was him on the road to Emmaus. So I wouldn’t be too quick to make big theological assumptions based on the idea that the Father and Son look alike as resurrected beings.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 9, 2007 @ 12:51 pm

  53. BTW — I will note that if Erastus Snow is right then Jesus had to be sealed to a spouse prior to coming to this world. He was a God prior to his time here after all and Erastus claimed “There never was a God, and there never will be in all eternities, except they are made of these two component parts; a man and a woman; the male and the female.”

    Comment by Geoff J — April 9, 2007 @ 12:54 pm

  54. OK, I’ll give up the beards. But I still say Joseph describes them as super bright glowing male beings. And I don’t think it’s a big theological assumption to say that the disciples didn’t mistake the resurrected Jesus for a woman.
    I really am interested in this idea and I’m not trying to be difficult. But the implications of this are huge. I don’t even know how to start to make sense of it.

    Comment by C Jones — April 9, 2007 @ 1:07 pm

  55. I guess one question is: In what forms can the resurrected Lord appear to mortals? Maybe the Lord has more influence over that then we might initially assume. The road to Emmaus story leaves room open for that at least.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 9, 2007 @ 1:34 pm

  56. So I wonder why in this scenario does the female need to be separated for mortality?

    I also see it problematic because they weren’t mortal until after they fell. The Garden was still a sort of pre-mortal existence. Creation happened before the fall, therefore saying that male and femaleness is part of the fall misses the part of creation of male and female.

    I hope it’s obvious that I don’t dispute the fact that male and female should be one; I just dispute the fact that that is a literally and permanently fused physical thing.

    Comment by m&m — April 9, 2007 @ 5:52 pm

  57. First of all, I love the idea of some kind of literal, physical fusion, however extensive it may be. I have had serious MiH issues for a while. At institute I am known as feminist doctrine girl. (it’s the teacher’s fault, he’s an area authority seventy who likes to talk about deep doctrines and is always asking for questions and I have a big mouth.) I think that this idea of a physical fusion elevates woman’s role far above that of “baby factory” both mortal and immortal. I have always wondered why HM would have no part in our mortal lives. When I asked Elder Anderson about this he looked at me and said “You are incapable of discerning which promptings come from Heavenly Father and which ones come from Heavenly Mother.” I liked that comment, but still had my doubts. I have also always wondered about the promise that we can become like HF. Basically what we are saying is that men can become like HF. Women have to become like HM. Well, what about HM? Does she get all the omni-s too? That is, is she all-powerful, all-knowing etc.? What was she doing during the creation? Is she just sitting there listening to our thoughts silently with no active role in our mortality? Is she so busy preparing spirits to come to earth that it’s impossible for her to have anything to do with the spirits that are here on earth? Is our role as women to be eternal silent cheer-leaders? Anyway, I’m not saying I have a testimony of this per se, but it really is something to think about. It makes a lot of sense and there is nothing that can disprove the idea. Geoff, you’re awesome. Thanks for all your posts, I really enjoy all the food for thought.

    Comment by Lyndsey D — April 17, 2007 @ 9:06 pm

  58. This idea also brings new meaning to the declaration that those who are unmarried in the celestial kingdom will be “single and SEPARATE.” Maybe the sexes will co-exist in the lower degrees of the celestial kingdom, but will not be able to obtain the fusion of male and female necessary for full exaltation.

    Comment by Lyndsey D — April 17, 2007 @ 9:06 pm

  59. Hey thanks for the kind words Lindsey. Sounds like we are seeing the same exciting theological implications of this concept. (That’s not to say there aren’t hurdles to overcome with it but like you, I really do like those good parts.)

    Comment by Geoff J — April 17, 2007 @ 10:14 pm

  60. I still think we can get all the good parts without the problems by just having a non-literal, non-physical fusion.

    Comment by Matt W. — April 18, 2007 @ 7:11 am

  61. Wow – great post, Geoff! I never would have pegged you as a liberal Mormon feminist. I loved your comment #29.

    Comment by ECS — April 18, 2007 @ 7:28 pm

  62. I never would have pegged you as a liberal Mormon feminist.

    Lol. Thanks for the kind words ECS.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 18, 2007 @ 8:35 pm

  63. I made this comment on another thread, but think it may be more relevant to this thread. I am editing it slightly from it’s original to diminish the tone somewhat

    I think the “Poor Heavenly Mother” can’t speak to her own children bit is a false dichotmoy. Heavenly Father has never talked to me. I’ve felt the spirit. I’ve had personal revelatory experiences via the spirit. But considering we can count the actual manifestations of Heavenly Father (Not Jesus, Not Jehovah, not an Angel.) on our fingers and still have plenty of extra fingers, I’d say there is somewhat a missing piece to this puzzle. Even Jospeh Smith, who saw over 100 different angels and spiritual beings, only saw Heavenly Father once that I know of.

    The whole point of our mortal probation is that we’ve been cut loose of our mother’s(and father’s) apron strings.

    Comment by Matt W. — April 26, 2007 @ 8:43 am

  64. Matt,

    It is certainly true that the Holy Ghost is the member of the Godhead who we nearly always directly interact with. But I think the complaint about an invisible Heavenly Mother is more valid than you are giving it credit to be. We pray directly to the Father in the name of the Son and the scriptures tell us it is the Father who answers us (through the Holy Spirit). So unless we start adjusting our paradigm I think there is quite a conundrum here regarding a silent and invisible mother.

    As we have discussed in this thread there are several possible adjustments that can be made to standard assumptions — some more radical than others. The question is which, if any, of these adjustment to assumptions works best.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 26, 2007 @ 9:16 am

  65. the scriptures tell us it is the Father who answers us (through the Holy Spirit).

    While I asume this is true, I’d be interested in what scriptures you are referring to. It sounds like an interesting topic to analyze.

    Comment by Matt W. — April 26, 2007 @ 10:36 am

  66. This post keeps making me think about another discussion we had.

    As it stands, Only one verse in the book of Mormon directly refers directly to the father answering prayer, and is a bit ambiguous. None in D&C, none in the Bible.

    Further, with the whole “divine investiture of authority” clause, I am not sure we can make to many claims in this area.

    In any case, you are correct, we do not have any paradigm in place when discussing our Mother in Heaven. As President Hinckly even said: “none of us can add to or diminish the glory of her of whom we have no revealed knowledge.”

    Comment by Matt W. — April 27, 2007 @ 9:27 am

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