At the age of 13, I embarked on a journey of religious exploration. My parents raised me in the Unitarian Universalist Church and one of the religion's guiding principles is that each person is encouraged to be on a "free and responsible search for truth and meaning." I didn't know at the time when I set out to honestly seek to find and embrace truth that I would end up a Mormon with pagan leanings. Before I joined the LDS Church, I learned and loved a great deal about Wicca. I loved the emphasis on nature and the beauty of the earth as well as the recognition and honor of a female deity. Though I found a portion of truth I was seeking there, I did not feel it was complete and continued my search.
In 2001, I was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I love the doctrine of Mormon theology that families can extend beyond the grave, that life is but a short while of our existence, that there is a grand plan that extends beyond what we know and love here. The goodness of life and love continue on. Joseph Smith, the founder of the LDS Church, and prophet of the restoration of the gospel, taught that Heavenly Father is an exalted man who in order to be exalted must be married and that his wife has also been exalted and inherited the powers, dominions, thrones and principalities of divinity. God the Father and God the Mother rule together as equal partners . In our dominant culture. very little is known or understood about God the Mother, but as a mother and woman myself, I have a desire to seek after the goodness and truth that I can know of Her. One of the concepts I love about Mormon theology is that truth is embraced wherever it can be found and that we are encouraged to seek after the things that are good, virtuous and praiseworthy because all good things come from God.
Now, 10 years after my conversion I am coming full circle. After 10 years of looking towards a better world and securing my knowledge of the afterlife and my faith and hope in being reunited with deceased loved ones, it is time for me to connect with the earth and my life here. My children are young and just starting to learn about their purpose here on the earth, part of which is to "replenish the earth" and use the bounty of the earth for the benefit and use of humankind. For my children, I want them to secure the blessings promised to them in the Word of Wisdom:
"And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;
And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;
And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint."
In teaching them to honor the cycles of the earth, I believe that they and I will learn some of those hidden treasures, that we will find beauty and joy in the world around us, strengthen our family bonds here and in the afterlife and live gently on the earth making our home here a heaven on earth.
I am looking forward to this year of celebration and gratitude for the blessings of nature and the love of God that is manifest in them.