When Joseph Smith Saw A Vision of Heavenly Mother

This article which was written by Danielle B. Wagner appeared in the 23 June 2016 online edition of LDS Living Magazine.

“As with many other truths of the gospel, our present knowledge about a Mother in Heaven is limited,” the Church’s Gospel Topics Essay “Mother in Heaven” states.

While we do have quotes from Church leaders that give us insight into Her nature and role in our lives, many understand our unique knowledge of Her is sacred.

However, the First Presidency shared in 1909 that “all men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother, and are literally the sons and daughters of Deity,” and in 1995 the First Presidency declared in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” ” Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.”

While we might not know as much about our Heavenly Mother as we do our Heavenly Father, the words of prophets and apostles, as well as Church records still provide a surprising amount of information about our other divine Parent.

For instance, the LDS archives contain a journal entry from Abraham H. Cannon, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and son of George Q. Cannon. On August 25, 1880, Abraham Cannon recorded a time when the Prophet Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and Zebedee Coltrin saw a vision of our Heavenly Mother:

One day the Prophet Joseph Smith asked him (Zebedee Coltrin) and Sidney Rigdon to accompany him into the woods to pray. When they had reached a secluded spot Joseph laid down on his back and stretched out his arms. He told the brethren to lie one on each arm and then shut their eyes.

After they had prayed he told them to open their eyes. They did so and they saw a brilliant light surrounding a pedestal which seemed to rest on the ground. They closed their eyes and again prayed. They then saw, on opening them, the Father seated upon a throne; they prayed again and on looking saw the Mother also; after praying and looking the fourth time they saw the Savior added to the group. He had auburn brown, rather long, wavy hair and appeared quite young” (Journal of Abraham H. Cannon , 25 Aug. 1880, LDS archives).

Though rare, this vision might not have been a singular occurrence. The Church’s Gospel Topics Essay “Mother in Heaven” states, “Susa Young Gates, a prominent leader in the Church, wrote in 1920 that Joseph Smith’s visions and teachings revealed the truth that ‘the divine Mother, [is] side by side with the divine Father'” (emphasis added).

The use of the plural in this case suggests that Joseph Smith may have had other visions in which Heavenly Mother was revealed to him, which means other prophets and apostles could have been blessed with such a divine visitations.

But whether or not others have seen our Heavenly Mother, many Church leaders have talked about her great influence in our lives. According to an article published in BYU Studies, “‘A Mother There’: A Survey of Historical Teachings about Mother in Heaven,” Susa Young Gates called Heavenly Mother a great “molder,” who watches over us with “watchful care” and provides “careful training.” In addition, “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” teaches us that we were born to Heavenly Parents who guided and reared us in the pre-existence.


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