Withthis Sunday being Mother’s day, I have been thinking about motherhood. I feel we only need to look where Satan is focusing his efforts to know what is most important to our Heavenly Father and therefore what will bring us the greatest happiness. Satan is fighting a full out war, like never seen before, against the family. He wants us all to believe that motherhood and fatherhood are archaic, demeaning and degrading terms. And instead of providing an opportunity to marry and have eternal increase, which is what our Heavenly Father offers us, Satan is deceiving the world into trading the opportunity to marry and raise a family, into a damning relationship that can never bear fruit, and therefore never progress and never have joy.
I read an article in Meridian Magazine this morning that has caused me to ponder even more deeply the importance of being a mother. Remember in 1 Nephi 11, Nephi is shown by the angel the meaning of his father’s vision of the Tree of Life. When he was shown the tree, he didn’t understand its meaning. It wasn’t until he was shown Mary holding the Son of God on her lap (vs 20) that he understood the tree was a symbol of the love of God. Charity, or the pure love of God, was not just that God had sent His son to earth to live and die for us, so that we can return to God’s presence—as was represented by the Christ child--but the pure love of God was also represented by Mary, His mother!
Once Nephi understands the relationship between Mary holding the Christ child and the Tree of Life, he proclaims this love to be the “most desirable above all things”. And the angel then adds, “Yea, and the most joyous to the soul.” (vs 22-23)
This made me think about other times the symbol of a tree is used in the scriptures. The most obvious, of course is in Malachi 4 where we are told that at the time of the Second Coming, those who are wicked will be burned and left without root or branch. The symbol of a tree to represent the family is common and in this verse we understand that those who are not righteous will not be bound in the next life to either their ancestors (roots) or their branches (posterity). It is interesting that the Old Testament begins with Adam and Eve making a choice to bear children and ends with the warning that children will not be ours to have if we don’t live worthy lives. The Savior repeats this same warning to the Nephites in 3 Nephi 25:1-6 and goes on to explain that to help save the world from this calamity He will send Elijah the prophet in the latter-days to restore the sealing power so those who do live worthy, may be eternally sealed to their families. Fourteen hundred years later, Moroni opened this dispensation by quoting this same scripture, (JSH 1:37-38). The message of the gospel in its most simple form then, is that we can have eternal families.
I have come to believe that the “Tree of Life” –which represents the love of God and the “most joyous to the soul”, and the Family Tree are the same. The family tree, with its roots and branches, simply illustrates the entire purpose of God’s love for us, which is to help us have what He has—an eternal family. This is why the crowning ordinance of the gospel is marriage and why we are told in the temple that we will have “joy and rejoicing” in our posterity.
And Nephi understood all of this, when he saw a mother holding a baby.
And so on this Mother's Day I express my deepest gratitude and love to my eight sons and daughters and my ten little grandbabies for bringing such great joy into my life and helping me understand better God's love for me.
Happy Mother's Day