Carol Lynn has been a powerful and well-known voice in the Latter-day Saint community for many years.
She’s perhaps most well known for her memoir “Goodbye, I Love You,” about her marriage to and care for her husband Gerald, a gay man who died of AIDS in 1984. Her full catalog of works is too impressive to list here, but one other highlight is that she wrote one of our very favorite primary songs: “I’ll Walk with You,” which has recently been published as a children’s book.
Carol Lynn’s new book of poetry, “Finding Mother God,” is incredibly moving — Carol Lynn found a way to somehow simultaneously mourn and celebrate the way we interact with Heavenly Mother, both personally and in community. We found ourselves both laughing, crying, and everything in between as we read — and we can’t recommend the book highly enough.
Carol Lynn was kind enough to read several of her poems and discuss them with us — we were only able to get through a few of our long list of favorites, but we think you’ll find her words and insights inspiring, and hope you pick up the book to find your own favorites.
Thanks so much to Carol Lynn for coming on, and we hope you enjoy this episode.
You can find her book on Amazon.
Aubrey Chaves: Hi everybody, this is Aubrey Chaves from Faith Matters. In this episode, we got to speak with Carol Lynn Pearson about her new book Finding Mother God: Poems to Heal the World. Carol Lynn has been a powerful and well known voice in the Latter Day Saint community for many years. She’s perhaps most well known for her memoir Goodbye, I Love You, about her marriage to and care for her husband, Gerald, a gay man who died of AIDS in 1984.
Her full catalog of works is too impressive to list here. But one other highlight I want to mention is that she wrote one of our very favorite primary songs, I’ll Walk With You, which has recently been published as a children’s book. Carol Lynn’s new book of poetry, Finding Mother God is incredibly moving. Carol Lynn found a way to somehow simultaneously mourn and celebrate the way we interact with Heavenly Mother, both personally and in community. We found ourselves both laughing and crying and everything in between as we read and we can’t recommend this book highly enough. Carol Lynn was kind enough to read several of her poems and discuss them with us. We were only able to get through a few of our long list of favorites, but we think that you’ll find her words and insights inspiring, and hope that you’ll pick up the book to find your own favorites. Thanks so much, Carol Lynn for coming on. And we hope that you enjoyed this episode.
Aubrey Chaves: All right, Carol Lynn, it is such a privilege to get to talk to you this morning. We’re so grateful that you would make some time for us.
Carol Lynn Pearson: I am so thrilled to be wanted here. I [inaudible 00:01:21] our conversations so I’m looking forward.
Aubrey Chaves: So you just released your latest book Finding Mother God: Poems to Heal the World last week. And Tim and I read this so quickly, because it’s hard to stop once you start. It was so beautiful, every single poem. And we were talking, we were trying to narrow down this list of poems that we wanted to talk about, but I think we had at least half of them listed and that was already having tried just to weed through. So we’ll hopefully get a little sample but there were just so many that felt like we needed to talk about.
So I wondered if to start, if you would just talk about how this book came to be if this is a topic that you have explored before with Mother of the Morning, and I thought it was so interesting that though you’ve written in other styles, you have your memoir Goodbye I Love You and then also The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy, which was thousands of interviews and surveys and it had a very different feel than a book of poetry about Heavenly Mother. So I wonder if you would just talk about why art seems to be the natural language to talk about the feminine divine, and then how you decided to write this book.
Carol Lynn Pearson: Sure. Well, you’re right that I have been addressing this subject really, from my first moments of consciousness in this world, probably pre teenage. I looked around and said, “What is wrong with this picture? Why is everything important being done by men? Why when I go to churches, everything male from God through the Scriptures pretty much on down to whatever is happening up on the stand. Why is that?” And it was very, very puzzling to me.
And throughout high school throughout college, I just studied and I read a BYU library to read, to study through all the books by the brethren, looking through the index of everyone on M for mother in heaven and W for women, coming away with little tiny crumbs that would just make me really weep, because I was good and I was smart. And why was it that in this plan of God, I seem to be fated to be, let us say, a second class spiritual citizen. That is the way that I felt and I knew that something was so wrong with that, but I didn’t know what.
But anyway, that was on the forefront of my consciousness all the way through growing up and then I was being born into women’s issues, I then married into gay issues, which kind of added the strange new layer to all of this gender stuff. And I was still so committed to, well, this subject would not leave me alone. It just would not. And I started writing a little manuscript called Letters from Heavenly Mother, and that didn’t ever go anywhere, but it brought me up to focus on all of this.
And I remember walking up in the hills here in Walnut Creek, and I got to the top of the hill one day and I thought, “You know, I’ve got all of these voices of women who are searching for the female face of God.” And I’m not a novelist, I’m not a historian, I’m not anything like that. But I have a good background in drama. Maybe I could write a play, maybe I could just let these women speak for themselves. And that felt so exciting that I just came down the hill, and started to rearrange all of my files and found the women that I wanted to speak all this and so I created Mother of the Morning, which is me playing 16 women throughout history in search of God the Mother, and I performed that over 300 times during the 90s.
And after I had a very good film made that is still available as a DVD, I thought I’m through with that subject. I really am. And I’ve done everything I can to invite God the Mother back into our consciousness. And so I spent decades doing a lot of things. And I had started with poetry, of course, but the other things that I had done were larger kinds of projects, but somehow or other, and something happened that I won’t get into all of the particulars about that, but I was just all of a sudden set on fire again thinking, “I’m not done. I have to do this. I have to do this.” So I just sat down and grabbed a notebook and a pen and I just wrote a poem. I hadn’t written a poem for decades, really. Then I wrote one the next day, the next day I wrote three, and before long, I had 72 poems because it was so thrilling. I have really been fueled by anger to do this, anger that there seems not to be a real acknowledgement of the need to review the heavens in terms of gender.
And these poems just lined up and wouldn’t let me be. So I just kept writing and I loved them and they kept me awake at night. They still do. And then I got a publisher and you hear the book is out. So that is how this happened. And it was a surprise to me that I did this book. I was not anticipating. But I can’t tell you what a good time I had writing all these poems.
Aubrey Chaves: Oh, sorry, Tim. I was going to say it felt like such a gift because I think whenever I feel that anger, that fuel, I dig into scholarship and theology or history and look for answers there. And I felt like when I finished the book, it just filled the missing piece. It was the pain that really can’t be healed with something doctrinal even. It was just, I needed that, we’ve been learning about this idea of heart centered knowing from Thomas McConkey lately. And that’s what I felt like it really activated in me. It was just this deep, I feel this absence and I feel that pain and I felt like you expressed it in a way that I couldn’t have resonated with so much by just learning about the history of how Heavenly Mother disappeared. I just needed to feel that deep validation and feeling of being understood by hearing this longing expressed through poetry.
Carol Lynn Pearson: Yes, thank you, and not just a longing but it’s a celebration. Because without having had any big revelation, we’ll see we all get our tiny revelations. And so this was all fueled from my imagination. But I really think that each of our imaginations is very holy and has a connection to the divine. And so yes, thank you for what you said.
Tim Chaves: I also found that for me, and obviously, my reading of the book was a male reading. But I didn’t find, excuse me, I didn’t find it to have any real, it didn’t have for me a sense of anger. It didn’t have an edge or a bite to me. And I think there is a chance that I could have maybe been put on the defensive end in some way, or at least subconsciously, because at least on a very conscious level, I do consider myself to be very supportive of these types of ideas. But when I read the book, what I felt was that sense of celebration, and there was a longing mixed in too that I felt obviously from a position that I that is not equivalent to either of yours in any way. But the overall sense of the book was for me more celebratory and more like it was filling up a spot rather than it was cutting any holes in anything else.
Carol Lynn Pearson: I’m glad and as I expressed I think throughout, I’m inviting men to the party, to this celebration, because certainly women are the ones that feel it most, feel the absence most profoundly because it does something to our sense of self that it does not do to men, but I think there is something in men that just understands that something is askew, and so many LDS members I am quite close to are very much aware of that and very willing, very anxious to be part of bringing back a balance.
Aubrey Chaves: Yeah, that seems like a really good place. Would you read Asking Father, the poem Asking Father?
Carol Lynn Pearson: Sure. And this very small poem is maybe the closest in all of the poems that I read, to experiencing something unusual for me emotionally and spiritually. And of course throughout, the question would come up well, so what does Heavenly Father think about this? I mean He’s the big guy in charge and here I’m kind of but that is such a ridiculous, ridiculous notion. And I knew that I would have to address that. And so on a particular day, I just knew that I would, and I didn’t know exactly what would come of it.
I just kind of went into my meditation right here on this chair and this room and just sort of posed the general question that I was asking, what does Father think about all this. And I had just the most lovely experience. And I had to come out of it before I wanted to because I wanted to grab it before it was gone, and get it done in words. And so I did but when I came out of that little spiritual artistic event, I just had tears all over the front of me. And so, this is what I quickly wrote down.
Asking Father. I tiptoed into prayer hesitantly. Father, do you mind that I am giving so much attention to her these days? There were no words. There was thought. I thought there was an instant embrace, warm I thought and soft and strong, that drew me in so close and drew the Mother in so close and there we were, held tight in a circle of three, a familial Trinity That’s what I thought. What I know is this, tears on my cheeks. Amen.
Aubrey Chaves: I really love that one. I think for me, it sort of took care of this fear I had that I’m doing something wrong. I don’t know where that came from. But I think that a lot of women experience that.
Carol Lynn Pearson: Well, and who am I to tell you otherwise? But all I can tell you is that this is what I believe. This is what I believe and this is what I experienced. And really, how could we even conceive of a Father God who would want to have the exclusion of the other half of dignity, really.
Aubrey Chaves: Do you feel like, oh go ahead, Tim.
Tim Chaves: Yeah, sorry, just and for me as a man again, I think this poem in particular sort of set the tone that I was talking about before, where if I consider myself as a man to be sort of in the image of Father God, and this is such a rich visual of that sort of that group hug between father and mother and you, I feel myself in that included in that group as well. And so I just felt like when I was reading through these poems, this was the overriding sense that I had, that I’m included here and it’s not one or the other. It’s not exclusionary to the beautiful things that we’ve sort of grown up with knowing about Father God. It includes those, but it brings Heavenly Mother much more fully into the picture.
Carol Lynn Pearson: Of course, and what it brings is wholeness. And you will remember that there are, I don’t know, maybe half a dozen poems or somehow I bring the words wholeness and holiness together, because we really can’t have true holiness if we don’t have wholeness. And right now, we do not have wholeness and on so many levels, certainly our concept of our divine origin is not whole. We have these little clues along the line. We have somewhere there’s a mother there but it is not brought into a place where it is actualized and so we remain unwhole.
Aubrey Chaves: Do you feel like you’ve seen a change in the hesitation to talk about Heavenly Mother in your lifetime?
Carol Lynn Pearson: I think there is more of an interest. And in my ward, it’s not unusual. I mentioned before that a former bishop would speak about Heavenly Mother frequently, how he not prays to her but communes with her. And another former bishop, who gave a beautiful Mother’s Day talk about two years ago, spent the whole last part of the talk talking about our Heavenly Mother, and Mother is equally important as God our Father, to our well being.
And we know there are, well see, I personally hear from a lot of women on this subject just because I put myself in that position, and one good thing is of course the young women are now saying heavenly parents in their theme. But young men do not. But that’s a whole different story. I don’t even know how well what the plan is for that. Yes, I think there is an ongoing increase of the hunger. And I find that a lot of women who were just doing their own thing, asking nobody’s permission and having some kind of personal experience that is satisfying to them. So I think yes, I think we are on the cusp. History moves so slowly, it just does. But once in a while there is sort of a little turn that can open up a new frontier really, and I think we could be in that place right now, that’s certainly what I’m hoping for.
Tim Chaves: I’m curious too. When you see more and more people engaging with the idea of Heavenly Mother, are you seeing them engaged? Obviously, you’ve engaged in several ways, this latest is through this group of poems. It does seem like potentially, at least my experience growing up in the church, we’ve engaged with Heavenly Father through the intellect in a lot of ways and through the mind. Is there a growing sense potentially, that as people engaged with Heavenly Mother, they’re doing more so like you have done through poetry or through art or through nature and those things?
Carol Lynn Pearson: Oh, I think so. And clearly, that’s the more fruitful field because what’s already written doctrinally and all of that, we’ve gone over that 100 times, and also, you see art is safer. And doing these in poems as I did, I think is certainly an inviting way but also a safe way. Because after all, these are just poems. I am not announcing any new revelation for anybody. I’m just saying, these are some poetic thoughts that I have had that to me are so important. But let us not minimize poetry or art. It can be profoundly useful. And I’m sure we could go back into history and find how art and drama and well all of the arts that have been very, very much a contribution to huge things that have happened.
Aubrey Chaves: Yeah, it does feel like another way of knowing. This reminds me of Before Prayer, that poem. I think this is one where you talk about the two holies, whole and holy. Would you read that one for us?
Carol Lynn Pearson: Oh, I really love this one. Before Prayer. Wondering tonight, if I really do love God, I just love the idea of God. Maybe God actually is an idea. A smart physicist said that the universe begins to look more like a thought than a thing. A thought is an idea. And so the thought that God is an idea interests me. Is God the first thought, the first thinker? I think, therefore I am, the great I Am. The God I was given is not always a good idea, for there are reports of vengeance. And tonight I am thinking, for I believe I am a thought of God and therefore, I think that a true God is the most superb idea that ever was, an idea that became creator. Once God whispered I am loved. There is no more excellent thought than love. So a God who is love is the ideal idea. Words are the confetti of thoughts. I try to catch the divine ones high, scoop them as they fall, pick them out of the carpet, press them into an inadequate poem. And even though the thought is no longer whole, the pieces still are holy. And I am quite certain tonight that I love my idea of God.
We could just keep reading them and then talk about that. Oh, go ahead.
Tim Chaves: Let me ask you this.
Carol Lynn Pearson: What does this do?
Tim Chaves: Let me ask you about one line here. So this really stuck out to me, the God I was given is not always a good idea, for there are reports of vengeance. And I feel like potentially, not the idea of Father God himself, but the male idea of God has potentially brought us some pretty poor outcomes throughout history. If we think about all the destruction and war that’s happened in God’s name and even potentially looking at the current state of U.S. politics, and maybe even our idea of what these latter days are supposed to look like or what Armageddon, what’s going to happen at the Second Coming. Potentially we generated some poor ideas about God purely because of this sort of male centric view and how might the idea of bringing more fully the feminine divine into the picture over the past several thousand years have changed what we would be living in today.
Carol Lynn Pearson: The bottom line for godliness is love and kindness, and all of the things that Jesus came to teach and that we know are true. And because as you know with some of the poems, I speak of God as the two that are one and the one that is two. I find it hard to just say well, here would be God the Father’s attributes and here would be God the Mother’s attributes, because my goodness, by the time we really comprehend Godness, godliness, there’s nothing there but love, nothing but love.
But surely, as we bring back the mother part, it will, I think, impress on our human divided minds, a kind of holiness and wholeness that maybe we don’t have right now. I wish I could address that better. But that’s all I can do right now.
Aubrey Chaves: Yeah. I felt like that was sort of this paradox that I kept sitting with after a lot of the poems that of course, are I mean, our idea but a male God is enough because he’s infinitely good and infinitely loving. And at the same time, I want a feminine God too. And I think that’s just an example of the non duality we have to become comfortable with, like yes, God’s enough and I still need a Heavenly Mother. And they’re both maybe totally complete, and we need them both. I liked Does it Matter, the poem Does it Matter, because you talk about that even though they’re enough, the house is off kilter, that we’re still missing something with only this one side of God that we know.
Carol Lynn Pearson: We are, and the aspects that we’re missing, because we have become a people and this is a very general statement and this worldwide statement, but I think it is true in general that we have given higher value to attributes that we have labeled masculine and we’ve devalued attributes that we have labeled feminine. And I love the way that that writer Virginia Woolf put this, but she said men and women are different. What needs to be made equal is the value placed on those differences. So maybe one of the things that would help us here is if we do bring into better focus the concept of a mother God, we would elevate what we have foolishly assigned as feminine attributes. And we wouldn’t value the warrior or the engineer making the new jet fighter more than the feminine that generally takes care of the human things.
Aubrey Chaves: Yeah, was it in the introduction where you, I think I feel like you were quoting someone, correct me where you say if God is male, then male is God.
Carol Lynn Pearson: I was quoting theologian, Catholic theologian, Mary Daly a long time ago said, “If God is male, the male is God.” And there is something to that.
Aubrey Chaves: Yeah, yeah. Well, I have like four more poem. But Tim, do you want to pick one before I take off with my favorites?
Tim Chaves: Sure. I think yeah, one of my absolute favorites that I really don’t want to miss was Jesus Remembered. Would you mind Carol Lynn?
Carol Lynn Pearson: Oh, I would not mind. I could sit here all day.
Aubrey Chaves: That will be great.
Carol Lynn Pearson: Oh hey, I’ve got nothing else to do. Well, I won’t do any extra explaining. I’ll just read it. Jesus Remembered. I am imagining this morning after my Amen in his name. When our mother helped Jesus prepare for his 33 year mission into the world’s wilderness, she laid a hand on his heart and said, “Don’t forget this. Of the many people you will teach and bless and heal, pay special attention to the ones who look like me. Things have gone awry, as we knew they might, and many are badly used, especially your sisters, who are seeing this property and position five feet lower in the temple than the men and are kept from the scriptures and from speaking and are subordinate everywhere. And oh, the daily prayers your father hears from our dear Jewish boys. Praise to be God that he has not created me a woman. You will not forget your mother’s words. You will pay special attention to the ones who look like me.”
I am imagining that she watched carefully as he walked the dusty Earth doing shocking things that made their way into my Bible, and perhaps into his mother’s journal. He spoke today to a woman in public, a Samaritan at Jacob’s wail. Disreputable act, they say. He calls women from their houses to come and listen and follow him as disciples ministering to him, unheard of they say. Today, he allowed a woman of ill repute they say to wash his feet with her tears and dry them with her hair. I will have [inaudible 00:31:53]. He performs miracle after miracle at the request of those who look like me. He saved a woman from stoning by calling out our dear hypocritical boys, the scribes and Pharisees, to sweet Martha and Mary. He speaks of the life of the spirit and the mind as the better part of the busyness of women. He calls women to pray, to lead, to preach the gospel, such good news.
He remembered. Sitting here now, with the thin pages that softly rustle as I turn them, I feel Jesus laying a hand on my heart and saying to me, “Do what you have seen me do.”, and I believe he asks me to pay special attention to those who look like our mother. I remember.
Aubrey Chaves: I love that one. It’s such a paradigm shift to imagine what if I’m not doing something wrong, which is I think where I started years and years ago feeling this need for understanding Heavenly Mother and then fast forward to this poem and it feels like that hand on the heart feeling and what if those feelings were always from God? What if that calling was always from God in the first place? And that just felt so validating. Of course, that’s a homing signal.
Carol Lynn Pearson: Sure. And we need to remember that Jesus was a radical. He violated so many regulations about so many things and one of the most egregious, according to society was how he dealt with, with women. Now, if we were to be as radical as Jesus was in his time, if we were as radical in our time to move things forward for women, what would we be doing?
Tim Chaves: Yeah, an image that came to my mind as I read this poem was, and I’m not a scriptorian so I could be easily called out on this, but what I was imagining was looking at sort of the standard works from this side, and imagining sort of a neon highlight for each time in the standard books, it works that a woman is elevated or loved or cared for in a really divine way. And it feels like for a while during that Old Testament, those Old Testament pages, there might not be much but then all of a sudden you hit those 33 years that Jesus was on Earth, that small section of pages and all of a sudden, you’re just inundated with those highlights.
And I felt like, I remember a teaching of Richard Rohr that maybe is one of his more radical teachings where he says that well, he teaches that Christ in many ways is the intersection of opposites, and I think you can see that in a lot of different ways. He’s mortal, and he’s God and his cross was both vertical and horizontal. Richard Rohr even says that he has a male body and a feminine soul. And I wonder if you see that, too, that in some ways, Jesus is the embodiment of both father and mother.
Carol Lynn Pearson: Sure, of course, he was the perfect and perfectly balanced human and coming to earth, of course, he had to be in one body or another. And I mean, we can say that we know about eternal gender. I’m not sure that I know for sure eternal gender. But Jesus, while in a male body, certainly did exemplify all of the qualities that are on the list of female qualities, as well as the strength that was required of him that we could possibly call the masculine qualities. So he indeed is our goal.
Aubrey Chaves: Yeah. I would love to, if you’d be willing to read of What to Do. I think this was definitely my top few.
Carol Lynn Pearson: Really?
Aubrey Chaves: What to Do, yeah, I think it would be page 59.
Carol Lynn Pearson: This is one of the later ones and I thought, gosh, I don’t know if this is really even fit. I mean, not all these poems are just about gender. Some of them are just new ways of looking at God and godliness and God in us but yes, I do like this. And here we are, what to do. When the thing happened that slammed my breath shot and knocked me to my knees, I cried, “God, what can I do?” He said, “Wrestle, wrestle with it until you wrest some words from it.” She said, “With the words build a story.” He said, [inaudible 00:37:52]. She said, “Then cease the wrestling and the wresting and just rest.”
Aubrey Chaves: I felt like that could almost be an introduction to this book because some of these poems felt like real wrestling and some of them really felt like rest. And for listeners who are familiar with your life story or with your memoir Goodbye, I Love You, I think that makes this poem hold even more weight because we’ve been privy to a few moments in your life that must have felt like those knock you to your knees moments.
Carol Lynn Pearson: More than you know.
Aubrey Chaves: It felt like such a privilege to get a little glimpse about your recipe for getting through those moments that you wrestle until you rest. And I haven’t been able to stop thinking about that since I read it.
Carol Lynn Pearson: And I don’t think it helps to just I have had a distressing father experience and I put it away, put it away. But I think it is a calling for us to enter into it and is there meaning that we can find, maybe just some kind of inner meaning event that will help us not make it be okay because plenty of things will never be okay. But if we can draw some sort of meaning out of it, and then by that time we’re just exhausted and this is a little nicer to see on the page because the word wrestle and then the word resting in terms of rest something from it, and then keep chopping the word down until we get just to the little tiny word rest. That’s yeah, [inaudible 00:39:58] things with words.
Aubrey Chaves: Yeah, yeah.
Tim Chaves: Is there any chance Carol Lynn that you could read Imagine?
Carol Lynn Pearson: There’s every chance.
Tim Chaves: I was thinking that might be your answer.
Carol Lynn Pearson: On the jackpot. Yeah, Imagine. And if it turns out dear Mother Father God, that you were just my imaginary friend, though I would never know, would I for then death is a dark room getting smaller? Still, I will thank your make believe self for delivering actual warm and actual light, and then the question must arise what is the source of that manifestly friendly and divine imagination of mine?
Tim Chaves: So when I read that, I just wrote in my notes the word testimony. And for me, it was such a beautiful expression of just such an honest testimony. There’s a strong element obviously of uncertainty, but you also recognized very completely what you do know, that there has been actual warmth and actual light delivered to you from some source. And I just love the idea that you can sort of hold on to both uncertainty and faith in the same place and feel grateful for what you do know through your lived experience.
Aubrey Chaves: Maybe too close. Could you read A Motherless House?
Carol Lynn Pearson: What? Have you used up our hour? Oh dear.
Tim Chaves: I have one more though.
Aubrey Chaves: Oh, do you have one more?
Tim Chaves: Yeah.
Aubrey Chaves: Okay, okay. Two more.
Carol Lynn Pearson: What are you asking for?
Aubrey Chaves: Let’s do A Motherless House.
Carol Lynn Pearson: Okay. Well, this is one that I wrote a long, long time ago, decades ago. And this, we’ve gone into some of the poems that bring the harvest in. This is well before the harvest. Although in so many ways we still, in so many ways, our civilization is a motherless house. In so many ways, our church is still a motherless house.
A Motherless House. I live in a motherless house, a broken home. How it happened, I cannot learn. Would I have words enough to ask where is my mother? No one seemed to know. And no one thought it strange that no one else knew either. I live in a motherless house. They are good to me here. But I find that no kindly patriarchal care eases the pain. I yearn for the day someone will look at me and say, “You certainly do look like your mother.” I walk the rooms, search the closets, look for something that might have belonged to her, a letter, a dress, a chair. Would she not have left a note? I close my eyes and work to bring back her touch, her face. Surely there must have been a motherly embrace I can call back for comfort.
I live in a motherless house, motherless and without a trace. Who could have done this? Who would tear an unweaned infant from his mother’s arms and clear the place of every souvenir? I live in a motherless house. I lie awake and listen always for the word that never comes but might. I bury my face in something soft as a breast. I am a child crying for my mother in the night.
Of course, the rest of the book is really an answer to that. When you study history and mythology, all of these little clues come into place. But then we see the original feeling of mother being all because from the earliest civilizations, that’s all they knew where life came from, and that it in turn turned into this very strict patriarchy, where we still are. And our next major step, the final goal that we must keep in mind is partnership, partnership with a capital P on earth, and in the heavens.
Aubrey Chaves: Yes.
Tim Chaves: I love that. Okay. Do I get to ask for one more?
Aubrey Chaves: Yes.
Tim Chaves: Could you read First Thought of Me?
Carol Lynn Pearson: Oh my God.
Tim Chaves: It’s right near the end.
Carol Lynn Pearson: It’s fun, isn’t it?
Tim Chaves: It is really fun.
Carol Lynn Pearson: And why not? Why not have a little fun with God? First Thought of Me. Before the egg and the sperm, there was the conception in the vibration that we call heaven. God had a conversation. “Who are you thinking, my dear?” He said, “Not sure yet.” She said. “Kind of fuzzy and slow, this one is hard to conceive. Probably a poet. He said. “It would be nice, too many businessmen zipping around.” “A poet.”, she repeated. “Oh what a concept. Let me think.”
Pregnant pause. “Ah yes, she’s splendid, odd but splendid. Do you love her? Oh, yes.” God laughed and the conception was complete.
Tim Chaves: I love that for a couple of different reasons. The first one, I think is just I felt like it was such an interesting sort of exercise that anybody could go through and say, when we imagine Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother working together and coming up with what it is that makes us us, makes each one of us us. What do we find there? And I think it’s a rich exercise in that we get at the very best of ourselves.
And the other thing that really struck about this was that when you imagine just a heavenly Father sort of coming up with the idea of you, I think there is, you can certainly do it with a lot of love. But there is something about this idea of conversation happening, this sort of like crafts together, working together, the back and forth of ideas that brings an extra element of love because it’s not just love from the divine to you. It’s love between you and the divine, that then extends down to you. And I just felt it was really moving to sort of live this out in a way that shows the amount of care that has gone into coming up with each one of us in all of our oddity and quirkiness.
Carol Lynn Pearson: Yes, well, thank you for that. I enjoyed it.
Aubrey Chaves: I wonder if you could talk for a minute about if you have a vision for ways that we can see Heavenly Mother more clearly, as members of the church and as Christians and so in our congregations or even just in our own families, how can we bring back this balance?
Carol Lynn Pearson: Well, we have to find ways to shift our vocabulary because we can really only bring in things that we have words for. And we do have words from whatever we are speaking of here. We have the word with a capital M, Mother. And I believe we have to have the courage to say, “I need my mother.”, and to say our mother has never been gone from reality, our mother has been gone from our perception. We’ve had a false perception here.
Let’s just put on our new glasses so we can see more clearly that perhaps everything we’ve been calling Heavenly Father all this time, maybe is this great grand combination of mother and father together. We don’t know that. We don’t know exactly how this numbering thing works in a poll. I say, over there we do arithmetic differently in heaven because there is one that is two and two that are one.
But for us to be brave enough in our own meditations, in our conversation with our family, to just be, you have to become more comfortable with speaking of God/mother, God-mother, God as mother and father, however it is that we want to do that. We must do it. We just must, because now is the time. And our generation has been given, I mean, my generation has helped and your generation has got to do more now and I think you’re ready to do that., to just assume that we have not only a privilege but a responsibility to work toward more wholeness, which will be more holiness, to see and feel and speak of the divine in both genders.
I like the writing of Deepak Chopra. And sometimes when I read a paragraph, he speaks of in one paragraph I’m saying God, he, in another sentence God, she. Now to us, we can’t do that. Well, whatever it is that we feel comfortable doing, we have to do it. And then we have to take a little step beyond what we’re comfortable doing, because this is our life, and God is our mother/father, our father and mother. And we have every right to claim our maternal divinity as well as our paternal divinity. And that will be kind of different for each person. But find what feels comfortable and then stretch it just a little bit. And the little girls growing up must not grow up as I grew up. And as at BYU, I wept because God was male, everything important was male. That is not okay. That must not happen to any generation coming up. And our girls these days are very inquisitive. And they’re not ready to take east, easy answers. And we have to help a new generation become one that is truly considering and working on and enacting partnership and demanding partnership from our ideas of heaven as well as Earth.
Aubrey Chaves: Wow, thank you. What a such good advice, figure out where you’re comfortable and stretch a little bit. That’s just, I love something to do today, and thank you for modeling that deep connection to that wholeness. That’s what I felt like I was reading on every page was just this powerful connection. And it was so helpful to just see it modeled over and over through this expression on every page that it really was such a gift, so thank you so much.
Carol Lynn Pearson: Thank you. I can’t tell you what a good time I had writing these poems. I just couldn’t wait for getting all my stuff done so I can just have fun and just because they were all lined up saying me next, me next, me next. So I’m so glad to learn that these were meaningful to you.
Tim Chaves: Oh, absolutely.
Carol Lynn Pearson: I hope to a lot of people.
Tim Chaves: I hope so. I would definitely encourage anybody listening to this to pick up the book and just find a tree to sit under and spend some time with it. It really felt like a refueling for my soul. It was really incredible. So we can’t thank you enough for both joining us on the podcast and for this work that you’ve done.
Carol Lynn Pearson: Before I forget, in the not too distant future, there will be an audio book.
Tim Chaves: Oh, excellent.
Carol Lynn Pearson: Me reading all of the poems.
Aubrey Chaves: Oh, that will be so great. Wow.
Tim Chaves: That’s so great.
Aubrey Chaves: I’m excited to hear that.
Carol Lynn Pearson: So thank you. Bless you both in your journey and made this world to be blessed.
Tim Chaves: Yes. Thank you, Carol Lynn.
Carol Lynn Pearson: Thank you.
Aubrey Chaves: Thank you. Special thanks again to Carol Lynn Pearson for coming on the podcast. Again, her new book is called Finding Mother God: Poems to Heal the World. We hope you’ll get a chance to pick it up and enjoy it as much as we did. For everybody that’s left a review of our podcast or content on any platform, special thanks to you as well. Your kind words keep us going. And as always, you can check out more at faithmatters.org.