Mandy Green has created her own career as a learner, tour guide, and educator of Mary Magdalene and other women in the scriptures, in pursuit of developing women’s divinity.
Tell me about yourself and what you do.
My name is Mandy Green, and I have created a unique potpourri of things that I love. I teach Biblical Hebrew and classes about Mary Magdalene, the divine feminine, and the Holy Grail. I have a course called Finding Heavenly Mother in Scripture. I lead tours about Jesus Christ and the bloodline to the Middle East and Europe. Egypt is the most recent tour – it’s amazing. I’m visiting France for the first time next week for a Mary Magdalene Tour and I am stoked about that! I have a podcast called Reflecting Light.
I’m a humanities major so I love to infuse the arts with truth. I’m an esoteric learner – it’s more about asking good questions and less about cut-and-dry answers, embracing the nitty gritty, and understanding that the gospel has a lot of nuance. It’s multifaceted and we each have to carve out our space there. There are definitely divine principles and doctrines, but how we learn and live that in our day-to-day lives is unique and part of the beauty of our journey. The things I offer are for people who just need more – more meat, more things to think about, more connection. We like that stuff.
I’ve felt really inspired to learn Greek and Hebrew so I can read the scriptures better and understand how things got lost in translation. Both languages have a multiplicity of meanings for many of the words, so rather than translating one verse with one definition, it’s more like, “This equals A-B-C-D-E-F.” That also helps me in my own spiritual practice to understand that there’s a lot behind words like faith or wisdom. I’m kind of a mosh of things I love, and I’ve tried to turn it into a career slowly because that’s what I end up spending ten hours a day doing, so I might as well.
What brought you to this type of study in the first place?
Divine intervention. I had a friend who kept saying, “You need to come take this Old Testament class with me, taught by Rebecca Stay.” And I was not interested. Who likes the Old Testament? Well, this sounds terrible, but it’s true, so let’s just be real. My youngest child had just started first grade. I knelt down and said a prayer, “Okay, now I have time and ability, put me to work. Tell me what you want me doing.” I was just coming out of what I call my childbearing coma – you’re in this with Teletubbies and Cheerios and Dr. Seuss, and I love this stage. But you eventually come out of that, and you’re thinking, “Wait. I have a mind. And I think I have a soul left. Let’s try to plug it back in.”
So I said that prayer, and my friend kept asking me to take this Old Testament class. (It was a BYU adult extension class in religion.) So, I went, and within ten minutes, I just lit on fire. It was like something ignited in me. I had served a mission in Russia, and it was intense. I got all the boxes checked of college and marriage and children and settled into the complacency of “I’m good,” but it felt hollow. I wasn’t growing. At church, I felt like – how many times can we ask the same questions and give the same typical answers. So that Old Testament class really lit a fire in me.
I understood I had been spiritually dead for a very, very long time.
It started as a catalyst for so many things. A couple of weeks later, I was driving away from class and it was one of the few experiences in my life when I actually heard the Spirit say something: “You need to learn Biblical Hebrew.” I didn’t even know it was a language! It persisted all week, “You need to learn Biblical Hebrew.” And I did tempt God; I said, “If I’m derailing my life for Biblical Hebrew, I need a sign.” The next week, I walked into class and literally the first words out of the teacher’s mouth were, “For those of you wanting to learn Biblical Hebrew, here’s how.” So I enrolled in a condensed course at BYU that covers a year of Biblical Hebrew in twelve weeks during the summer term. It’s intense. So I was there for several hours a day with wonderful people, wonderful instructors, and kept learning it in the fall.
In 2014, I went to Hebrew University in Jerusalem during the summer to learn there and do an archaeology class, and there were missiles going off! I don’t watch the news because I think it’s so negative. So, I was all good and showed up in the Middle East, and my driver said, “What are you doing here? You shouldn’t be here right now.” He drove me to the Hebrew University and there were soldiers on every street corner with machine guns and AK-47s. My phone didn’t work – I couldn’t even tell my husband and my family I’d made it. I was sick to my stomach for three days. I finally got through to my husband – “I don’t know what I’m doing, I should probably come home.” So he got on the phone with the airline, and they said, “Okay, we’ll get her home.” He called when it was all ready to go, but I had a feeling – “Something brought you out here. If you walk away now, you’ll never know.”
What was happening in 2014?
There was a Gaza crisis between Israel and the Palestinians. Within the first day, I learned that each apartment has a bomb shelter in one of the rooms. The rockets were hitting Tel Aviv and they said a rocket had never gotten as far as Jerusalem, so don’t worry about it. Well, that was the first time I heard an air raid siren go off. That will make your heart pump. It’s loud. It’s intense. You’re sitting in an apartment with – oh, by the way, they put me in a co-ed apartment. I don’t know how that happened. But just everything that could have gone wrong did –
Anyway, it was that do-or-die moment. Do I follow through? Do I have the courage and the faith to believe there was a reason I’m here? Or do I just go back to my cowardly life? I stayed, and that month was illuminating, and challenging, and so many things. I think I needed to do that by myself. I needed to find heaven in that hell. I needed to sift through all of the things that I had become and realize there’s tremendous strength in us as women. We’re far more capable and resilient than we think.
That was the giant springboard. From there, I thought, oh, I gotta learn Greek. So I started learning Greek. Oh, I need to learn about Egypt. I started learning about Egypt. I read a lot of Hugh Nibley and came across this tale of the Holy Grail and Mary Magdalene as perhaps the wife of Jesus Christ. And that really became my passion, and it led to me really wanting to understand the attributes of a woman of God – what does she look and behave like? What does her Heavenly Mother look and behave like? What’s our prototype?
I think Mary Magdalene gives us the best shot for looking at that, even though the text is really changed and adulterated. We come from a western tradition that paints her as a prostitute, which isn’t true at all. So I’ve had a lot of unraveling to do. As Yoda says, You must unlearn what you have learned. One step has beautifully led to another. I started teaching a few students. Then someone said, “Would you mind leading a tour?” I really feel like heaven has led me on this path and I never know the next step. My Heavenly Parents have done far more with my life than I ever dreamed possible. The last eight or nine years have just been amazing, and nothing that I ever conceived of doing. It’s been wonderful to see that there’s a plan and there’s space for all of us to find what we love and run with it.
Backing up a little, when your youngest child started school, it was, “All right, Mom, time for you to do your own thing,” while still raising your family. How have they felt about all this?
My husband is a better parent than I am in so many ways – he is an amazing dad. At the beginning, it was challenging because it was, wait, this is different. This is new and where’s the stability? I hated the tremendous backlash – so many people said, “How can you do that? What about your kids?” I started fighting back on that. “Have you ever asked my husband this question? He’s traveling all over the world. Are you asking my brothers these questions? They go on big work trips for several weeks.” And this crazy idea that you’re going to be led right into temptation if you’re away from your family for a month? I give my husband and my family kudos for being awesome. I really don’t make much money at all so my husband is wonderful to bring home the bacon so I can do my job.
One of the best gifts I’ve given my two girls and my son is the idea that you can do everything you feel prompted to do. When I grew up, the line was – you can be a professional or a mom, but you can’t do both. I no longer believe that. I am a much better wife, mom, human, and member of the Church, because I’m fulfilled as a person. Because I pursue things that light my soul on fire. Because I am alive as a spirit child of our Heavenly Parents.
There are a lot of women who 100% feel called to motherhood and have no desire to go beyond that. I absolutely support that. I’m not saying that there’s one template. But that’s just it – there’s not one template. What I was taught was – this is the one template. But I think a reason I felt so empty and spiritually dead was I had not pursued the things that made my soul feel light and fire and love.
I want my daughters and other women to know: you are here for a reason and whatever that reason is, you can pursue it tenaciously. You don’t have to check boxes. When you’re doing more, it makes you a wider, deeper person. That’s been my experience, and it has been life-changing. I am so proud of the way this has beautifully influenced the people I love most in the world, but it’s meant for all of us to share. I’m so much richer from all of the women who have studied and who share what they’ve learned, and who are doing good in different ways. We create a cultural richness when we engage.
I liked what you said earlier – the courage and faith to follow through. I think a lot of us can be nervous when we’ve been prompted with something in life, like you with learning Hebrew. How has courage and faith worked for you?
The root of courage is coeur, the French word for heart. Your heart really has to be engaged. It took a lot of courage when I got on that plane in 2014. I should show you a picture – my face was white. I think I lost ten pounds because I couldn’t keep food down. It was the longest I’ve ever been away from my family. It was a genuine leap of faith. What’s the phrase…feel the fear and do it anyway. Every time I leave on a tour, I always have this same terror when getting on the plane. But I’ve done it enough times now that I know that illumination is on the other side of that courage. I know what comes when you extend yourself.
If you go to college, you pay tuition before you ever step into the classroom. I think Heaven follows a similar pattern. They want to know that you are really all in. It takes courage to make that leap and courage to stay in the game. And then, as Heaven sees that you are steadfast and you’re going to knock on Heaven’s door as long as it takes, They deliver. Hugh Nibley said, “Stirrings below create stirrings above.” It takes a lot of heart. It takes a lot of guts – a female thing is our gut, that center of us. I think we’ve silenced that over the years. But our intuition/gut always knows, even if it’s sick and churning and maybe can’t keep food in. To me, that’s a sign that you’ve got to stick it out. If your heart tells you to pursue something, gut it out and know that illumination will come. I have never not had a profound experience when I follow those two things.
Since God wants us to “pay the tuition,” what has the pursuit of this study required of you?
A lot of tenacity and the willingness to keep going. It has also been a sizable financial investment. I finally started charging for things, because it costs a lot of money to travel to these places and take classes. I know that Heaven’s currency is different, but that’s how we measure value here. It requires a lot of tenacity, sacrifice, and heart. And that’s why I say that it has to be something inside of you. That will lead you and give you intrinsic reward – it’s the most fulfilling, rewarding experience for me.
Also, authentic devotion to the Lord, and a devotion to our Heavenly Mother and our Heavenly Father and to Mary Magdalene. Love is definitely part of that – love is what propels you forward and gets you through the hard stuff. Everything I do – my job as I see it, is to point to Them out of love and devotion and a desire to share the great things I’ve learned. Sharing is what makes it even more rewarding. That desire to share that beauty and love with others is to realize that it’s not yours, but you have to be a really good custodian of sacred things. Sometimes it requires silence. It always requires you to do it with reverence and on Heaven’s terms, and that’s difficult to learn. You’ll mess up a lot as you start out, but Heaven is a great tutor.
Pointing people to Christ is so crucial. What do you see as the core of the gospel, and how does this type of study point you into it?
I think the gospel is so rich and multifaceted. A line in one of the Grail tales says, “I’ve hardly taken a step, yet I feel I have gone so far.” That perfectly describes my journey. There’s a tremendous richness and beauty of the gospel that we haven’t really begun to uncover. It’s far more than stamping your temple recommend and checking the box for church. People say they’ve read the Book of Mormon thirty times, and they’re still learning from it. There’s a never-ending well of truth to be gleaned there. Dostoevsky has a beautiful quote that everything beautiful is found in the Savior, and if he were to find that truth was outside of the Lord, he would rather stand with the Lord than with truth. I love that.
Everything will point you to Christ. All things testify of Christ. I have found it in the arts. I have found it in literature. I have found it in music. You can find it in medicine, in color, in science, or anywhere! Everything testifies of Christ. You can pick anything in the world and learn about the Lord from that.
Additionally, we have the template of a divine family. Once you know a few things about our Mother, it’s ridiculous to shroud Her. Can you imagine talking about yourself and never mentioning your mother? Can you imagine talking about your life – “Yeah, that’s my mom; my dad doesn’t let me talk about her.” She’s so critical to your formation and your character. Since I was four or five, I can recall desperately craving to know more about who I was as a woman. For men, the masculine salvific path is very delineated, but for women, we’re over here banging two rocks together, trying to understand what’s inside of us, what our path is, and how it’s different. My quest has been to discover what that equal opposite looks and behaves like. In doing so, really coming to feel that part of your Mother that lives in you changes everything. You trust your heart, you trust your gut, and you want to help other women connect with it too. You have force, you have beauty, you have strength, you have power. You are your Mother’s daughter, and you go after it. There’s nothing in this world you can’t do because of that divine inheritance because you are Hers.
An important thing is that She never takes away from the beauty of the divine masculine. She would never detract from that, she would never tear it down. She upholds it. But we need to bring our understanding of Her up to being an equal opposite that mirrors their amazing balance. Our Heavenly Parents are our archetypes. I really worked hard to flesh out that portion of my studies so we as women understand and can stand together – the men of the kingdom and the women of the kingdom in equal and perfectly complementary strength and power and beauty. I think that’s what the grand design is.
This idea keeps showing up in different ways, and that tells us that Heaven is trying to teach us. Something keeps showing up – all these movements for women. A wave is coming, and it’s not just isolated to us in the Church – the entire female population is really waking up and arising.
The usual women in the scriptures that we focus on are Eve and Mary, the mother of the Savior, you’ve extensively studied Mary Magdalene. Are there any other women in the scriptures that you focus on?
I love the prophetess Miriam. You can learn volumes from her. One really beautiful thing about the prophetess Miriam is, according to the Jewish Women’s Study Library, there’s no comment on her as a wife or a mother. The writing is strictly about her power as a woman, which I think is instructive.
I love Anna the prophetess and some of the things she teaches us. I talk about the woman with the issue of blood – so much we can learn from her. Many are unnamed women of the Old Testament. I love the Queen of Sheba, and there’s a lot to her story with Solomon – I have a podcast episode about that. Once we clue into the key attributes of what a divine woman looks like, behaves like – you’ve got to read between the lines and pull the pieces out, but there’s a lot there– you gain a clearer picture. All of them have tenacity, all of them have courage and a certain fearlessness. Anna in the temple – how many years? That’s what I’m talking about with “tuition” – I can’t imagine sitting there for decades waiting, but she does. All these women can teach us something wonderful.
How do you read between the lines when we’re asked to not speculate? How do you pull that stuff out?
This is where Hebrew and Greek have been helpful because the keywords denote bigger symbols. Wisdom is a huge keyword in the Old Testament for our Mother in Heaven. When you see a wisdom text, that can clue you in because the text was heavily edited, and most mentions of Her are cut out. Tree of Life is another keyword. You look for symbols or keywords that are Hers, then trace it back.
Read Proverbs 8 – it’s Wisdom speaking in first person. The Hebrew word hokhmah is feminine for Wisdom. In the Greek, the King James Bible talks about Her helping weave the cosmos when the Father sets the bounds of heaven. She’s there as his daily delight – there’s a sermon on marriage right there (verse 30). You could spend weeks trying to tease that out. So I think you look for clues.
And the Spirit. Throughout my studies, the Spirit has taught me so much. I’ve been translating Isaiah and every chapter, I’m thinking, this is about Her. I’ve got all those symbols and all that language to sift through, but She’s there. I’ve talked about finding Her one-on-one – I think She always meant for us to find Her one-on-one like the Madonna and Child paintings. You are Her child, and She would have you find Her in your own sacred, beautiful way. That’s how I found Her, and all these beautiful little clues, a breadcrumb trail to the veil She sits behind. She is veiled because She is terrifying and full of majesty and power, strength and beauty and love. And if you want to lift that veil, it’s not out of curiosity, it has to be out of love and devotion and a desire to do things She would ask of you.
What is your overall goal with these different threads of study?
My goal in all this is that people begin to see golden threads of divine womanhood, and it’s not just for women. My favorite emails are from dads and husbands who say, “I want my wife and my daughters to know this. I want them to feel this!” And that really is what it’s about.
When you understand who you are, you connect in your soul, and you connect in your heart. And it does give you the courage and tenacity to go after what you’re prompted to do and add your beautiful layer to the canvas of life. I think that’s where we are in history – we all get to add our own brushstrokes. You can add light and illumination to this beautiful canvas of mortality we’re all part of, centered around this divine family, around our Heavenly Parents and the Lord. When we all play to our strengths, we employ our light, our souls, and our hearts to add to the canvas. It’s going to become more and more beautiful with all of our different shades, textures, and layers.
It’s time for us to take our place, and then pass it to those who come after us and encourage them to make those strokes and add their own colors and dimensions. It just becomes richer. That’s what I hope to add to and encourage others to contribute to as well.
At A Glance
Name: Mandy Green
Location: Herriman, UT
Marital History: Married to a stellar man
Occupation: Teacher, Educator, Tour guide, Podcaster
Convert to the Church: No
Schools Attended: BA/ Humanities, Just got accepted to Duke Divinity to pursue a Masters Degree.
Languages Spoken At Home: English
Favorite Hymn: Our Saviour's Love
Website or Social Media You Would Like Featured:: http://Mandybgreen.com
Interview Produced By: Trina Caudle