Space to Fall
As children of God, we live in a fallen world where we are distanced from our heavenly parents, our true home, and our full understanding of who we are and who we are destined to be. Whatever our distance though, God beckons us to worship Him and His Son and to draw closer to them in thought and deed. One powerful way to align ourselves is through symbols and rituals that connect fallen men and women to perfect divine power.
We know from Father Lehi that if Adam and Eve had not partook of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the first tree in the Garden of Eden, that they would have halted their progression. Instead, there was a great plan where they would progress, become parents, and have challenges and sin in their lives, the linchpin being the atoning sacrifice of the Savior Jesus Christ.
Symbols of Christ
We find symbols of Christ’s atonement everywhere. However, there are some symbols particularly familiar and poignant to women and mothers. Recognizing these symbols and their layered meaning may bring more power and depth to your everyday routines and responsibilities as mothers and caretakers.
Even the language surrounding pregnancy, and birth — bear, borne, carry, and deliver — are “powerful, heartening messianic words … They convey help and hope for safe movement from where we are to where we need to be—but cannot get without assistance.” These active verbs, which require mortal hands and devoted hearts, also “connote burden, struggle, and fatigue—words most appropriate in describing the mission of Him who, at unspeakable cost, lifts us up when we have fallen, carries us forward when strength is gone, delivers us safely home when safety seems far beyond our reach.” (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Behold Thy Mother)
As Mother Eve rejoiced in a mortal body that could help create life, so we should also rejoice and be inspired from the eternal symbolism in women’s bodies, their potential for motherhood, and their relationship to blood, spirit and water.
In Moses 6:59, the Lord commanded Adam to teach these truths to the first children of men, that “ as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten.” The Lord concludes — reminding him that “all things bear record of me.” Moses 6:63
Every human being is brought through the veil into this world by a mother with blood, spirit, and water. Thus, every mortal birth can be a sacred reminder of the second birth at baptism, where a person is immersed again (like a mother’s womb), at an appointed time the Holy Ghost is received into the mortal body (like an immortal spirit into a new baby’s limbs) and blood sanctifies or enlivens the person (just as blood flows in a new person). Both of these births are part of the great plan.
In guiding new spirits from one side of the veil to the other through birth, Mothers have the distinct honor of being witnesses and gatekeepers to this cycle where mortal life begins and blood, water and spirit work in harmony to bring our spiritual and physical bodies together. Women “clothe each traveler with a physical body and introduce them into mortality and agency through personal suffering and sacrifice.” Sorensen & Cassler: Women in Eternity Women in Zion.
Sanctification & Similitude
Some women might not readily identify their birth experiences with symbols of light, love, or spiritual significance (especially if you have ever heard the birth horror stories at any baby shower!). However, examples from the Mosaic law observances can help us reframe and reclaim these symbols into their proper context. Pregnancy, birth, lactation, and the cycles that allow these process are pretty incredible and they connect women to the universal cycles of creation and progression.
Blood has always been a symbol of mortality and plays the most prominent role in the sacrificial law of Moses. Blood, used in various ways on the Mosaic altar, dramatized the consequences of sin and the process of forgiveness and reconciliation. Thus, the blood becomes a symbol for the whole process by which man becomes reconciled to God. Devoted disciples who were enlightened spiritually knew anciently that “sacrificial ordinances were in similitude of the coming death of Him whose name they used to worship the Father, and that it was not the blood on their altars that brought remission of sins, but the blood that would be shed in Gethsemane and on Calvary” (McConkie, The Promised Messiah, p. 258).
However important these rituals of sacrifice, from Adam’s first crude altars to the elaborate ceremony of the ancient Israelites, the ritual itself did not cause this transformation in people. What changed it from a physical rite into an inspiring, uplifting ordinance was the spirit in which it was revealed and practiced. Faith was essential. Only through this “assurance of things hoped for, [and] evidence of things not seen” (JST, Heb. 11:1) could the participants understand what they were doing, conform their lives to the covenant, and receive the spiritual power it was designed to bring.
These rituals and symbolic connections should turn us to God and His Son, not the worship of our own bodies or the works of this earth. Joseph Smith emphasized this point: “Certainly, the shedding of the blood of a beast could be beneficial to no man, except it was done in imitation, or as a type, or explanation of what was to be offered through the gift of God Himself” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 58). We should find purpose and divinity in these earthly symbols and let them be a reminder of our own sanctification and redemption through the blood, water, and spirit of Jesus Christ.
Brittany is a mother of four littles who works from home as a “naptime attorney.” She helps entrepreneurs, influencers and creatives with their legal needs when she is not persuading tiny humans to put their shoes on. She is also a guardian ad litem for the Utah courts and represents children in divorce and abuse cases. She loves to quote movies with her hunky husband and is an unapologetic car singer. Britt also loves to read past her bedtime, sew, knit and snowboard. She lives in Provo with her family and claims Coeur d’Alene, Idaho as her hometown.
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