Carol Lynn Pearson’s first collection of poetry was self-published in 1967, and the print run of 2000 books sold out in just a few days. Since then, she has published over forty works – poetry volumes, memoir, gospel commentary, and theater productions. Among her notable works are Goodbye, I love you, The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy, Finding Mother God, and the Primary song, “I’ll Walk With You.”

I’ve been spending some time with your earlier work and reflecting on some of the things you’ve said, and you’ve commented that you have a variety of challenges in front of you, behind you, and to the side of you. How do you respond when you feel it all around?

Carol Lynn Pearson

Initially, I just have to come to a place that says, “Evidently, this is what we’re here for.” We’re not here to go to the beach in a metaphorical, ongoing way. We’re not here just to have fun. We’re not here just to receive a lot of blessings. We’re obviously here to experience a lot of stuff. I’ve given up saying, “How come that happens? I prayed so hard for that not to happen,” or “how come this or that?” Part of the whole plan is to be in a place of materiality, where stuff just happens without thanking God for this good thing or blaming God for that bad thing. A lot of things just happen because we live in this material world. So I’m grateful for the things that feel good, and I find a way to handle the things that don’t feel so good.

When you’re navigating these things, and you have moments when a challenge is clearly the center of your life, do you search to find a purpose or meaning for it?

I do search for kernels of meaning, and I don’t always find them. When I don’t find them, I just have to say, “This is life. I can do this, I will do this the best that I can.” And yes, I may cry. But whatever’s in front of me, I have to do. And always, there are good people to be with, good people to talk to, good things to read and lift you up. Sometimes, I make up a story – for me and other people – that this challenge is a useful thing and will prove to be useful down the line.

When I’m in similar places, I often think of Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail and the scripture, “These things will be for your benefit.” (D&C 122:7) When I’ve been feeling really pushed down, the phrase has come to me, “You’re not as Job yet, your friends have not betrayed you.” (D&C 121:10).

I played Job’s wife on the BYU stage, in the contemporary poetic drama called J.B. by Archibald MacLeish. I, as J.B.’s wife, Sarah, got to shout out in the Joseph Smith auditorium those wonderful, awful, terrible words, “Curse God and die!”

There have been times when I have felt like that and questioned, “Why existence in the first place?” Sometimes I think, what was wrong with that wonderful silence before the Big Bang? Or before God’s thoughts that we ought to be here? What was wrong with that wonderful, grand nothingness? Well, that’s a stupid question because there’s nothing we can do about it. Stuff happened, and stuff happens, and we happened and we’re here.

Sometimes in the middle of the night, when I’m in one of my dark places and can’t find any light, I often grab the last few lines from the play to help lull me back to sleep. Everything has come down on them. Sarah has come back to her husband and they try to figure out, can we ever make sense of this?

Sarah insists, “Someday we’ll know. We’ll see.” And J.B. says, “No, Sarah, we can never know. We are, and that is all our answer. We are and what we are can suffer. But what suffers loves, and love will live its suffering again, and yet again, and yet again, in doubt, in dread, in ignorance unanswered, with the dark before and dark behind. And still live. Still love.”

I love those words, sometimes they cheer me more than just about anything. I think we all find ourselves in that place, and we can always come down to some form of love. We know that we love, and we know that other people love us. Sometimes that’s all we have. Maybe that’s enough. We are. And that is our answer.

I’ve noticed that thread throughout your work – coming back to love and maintaining a larger picture of our Heavenly Parents in the wings encouraging us, their mortal children. You have a way of getting to the heart of human experience, zeroing in and then pulling back to remind us that there’s a larger energy and purpose at work. Can you speak to that a little bit?

Carol Lynn Pearson as Joan of Arc at BYU

I was glad that I could use the metaphor of the theater – I think that works really well. But it’s taking us into life. Every one of us comes into this world, cast as the person we are. We, of course, can mold that and emphasize things and try to work out of things that we don’t like. But we all have certain things that are just us that we can’t do much about – about our bodies, about certain difficulties physically, mental difficulties that may keep us from being the largest person we want to be. We all have defective aspects in the role that we have been cast. It seems to me that almost all of us have blocks in what we would rather be doing. But here we are.

To your question – you want to have a large umbrella over this whole concept and grab a little specific thing, then ask, how does this fit into the larger framework? I’m always trying to make sense out of stuff. I certainly look at things that appear to be tragedy and try to find some meaning in them.

My signature story that many people know is my unusual marriage to a gay man. Both of us tried to make it work back in the 60s when all of us knew nothing about sexuality. It led to the tragedy of divorce and pain on both of our parts. I was at a loss about why? My dear queer husband was always a philosopher. He said to me more than once, “I know that you and I chose to do a project together. And I am so sorry that it is so painful. But I know that we agreed to do this project. All those sweet little poems you were writing way back then – that’s not the reason. You became a writer to address even more important subjects.”

He and I never had a conversation that I might write our story. For those who don’t know: after trying so hard, four children and loving each other the very best that we could, we moved from Utah to California. We continued to work hard, and determined to divorce and remain good friends, which we were. Six years later in 1984, he passed away from AIDS when I was taking care of him.

Soon after that, I thought, “Wow, if I could write that story, it might be useful to a lot of people.” There was tremendous ignorance. Young gay men were dying on the streets of San Francisco, being kicked out of their homes, kicked out of their churches. Families and the gay children were all in such distress, so I made a determination that I should do that. The book Goodbye, I Love You was one of the first things in our religious culture that opened a new way to look at this subject with compassion. Since then, tens of thousands of people have been truly enlightened and blessed. Some tell me their lives were saved because of that book.

It was an odd paradigm – here’s something that’s going to be wonderful, but it turns out to be terrible. But you follow it far enough and work with it, and knead it in a way that the dough can rise. Something still painful, but spectacularly useful, might come of it. Sometimes I get way down in the darkness and think, “There’s no reason for this; this whole thing is just useless and awful.” I sort of force myself to say, “There is a larger picture. Whatever this is, all you’re supposed to do is the best you can. You might never see any good harvest from it in your lifetime. But maybe you don’t need to. All you need to do is the best you can and try to love, and that’s it.”

That really resonates with me through my own struggles of trying to find a meaning or purpose to what is happening. Not that “everything happens for a reason,” but everything is useful data. Through the creation of art, we can find purpose and healing and give voice to something that might help somebody else. What does writing give you as you make your way through this mortal experience?

Writing gives me a lot. I have kept a diary since I was a senior in high school. In the fall of 1956, I started keeping a diary, so I have this monumental trove of diaries. I try to write every day. Over the years, I have not written every day, especially when I was busy having children. I would sometimes catch up for two or three weeks. That’s not what I want to do, but I do spend a lot of time catching up. Today, I wanted to do other work, but I had to catch up on my diary because if I am not caught up in my diary, I know that something’s wrong in my life.

Carol Lynn Pearson

I remember in an early diary, I wrote the sentence: “Inasmuch as I can write down my life experience, that much do I understand the life experience.” If I can find words to describe what I think, what I’m feeling, what I’m experiencing in this moment – however difficult, however fine it might be – if I can find words to put to it, that helps me to understand it. It’s not just a globby little thought bobbing around somewhere. Writing helps me to make it more concrete.

But other things … the book Finding Mother God. I hadn’t written poetry for a long time. The way this book happened is that I got so angry hearing a scholar talk about women in the Church. I brought up a question, that we need the brethren to address the gender of God on behalf of women. He said, “Oh, well, that’s just not going to happen.” I said, “What would it take for some of the brethren to really address this subject?” He said, and I quote, “I do not believe there is anybody in Church headquarters who is interested in doing the heavy lifting that would be required to address a subject like the gender of God.” When he said that, I felt absolute anger rising in me because it was both true and horrendous at the same time. Many women at that event felt the same way as I did.

I was so upset that thinking about it the next day, I cried. I was so upset that I reached for a notebook, and I wrote a poem. I hadn’t especially thought about it, but I put all of the emotion into a poem. And that felt good. The next day, I wrote another poem. The next day, I wrote two poems. Before long, I had enough for this collection, inviting Mother God back into our consciousness.

This is happening in general – there’s a tremendous rise of consciousness about this. And a tremendous, if I may be so bold, fear at the top of our religious organization. But that fear is not going to stop what’s bubbling up here because this is a historical necessity. The movement from patriarchy into partnership is as historical and necessary as was moving from the Dark Ages into the Enlightenment. We are on track in bringing the feminine into balance with the masculine in the way we look at the divine, and hopefully, in the way marriages work together. I know good LDS marriages that are true partnerships – they’re not waiting around for someone to give them the word. They work together and it’s wonderful. But as a community, and as a worldwide family, we have to rearrange our concept of power at the top. We have to see our Creators – or Creator, however we want to discuss that – as equally masculine and feminine. In our community, we have the tools, but we’ve got them buried somewhere. I, and you, and so many women and men are saying, “It’s time.” I feel called to do this thing, so it’s happening. So you see that my personal life and my writing are all intermixed.

As you were talking, I was thinking about the promise of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Our theology is very clear, but our structure isn’t quite living to that promise of the theology. The thing that is disruptive and beautiful about our faith tradition is our belief in revelation – modern revelation as a church and for the individuals. You’re feeling called to say these things, in lockstep with the Spirit: I have a Mother there.

And a Mother here. Not only there, but here. We have to bring there here.

I have never had “a revelation.” I have never had a paranormal experience. I have never seen a vision. I have never heard a voice. Everything I have thought or written about, expressed in any way, comes from my imagination. I think my imagination is holy. I think your imagination is holy. We know the imaginations of all these wonderful musicians and artists who have seen something, heard something before they captured it with sound or on a painting or a sculpture. That’s the imagination at work and whatever is good is godly. Whatever is godly comes from God. God is within us as well as up there, wherever. We are filled with God-ness. We are God-ness.

This poem is my little revelatory contribution. The scene that I’m describing happened right here in this room—totally me in my imagination, but with the caveat I just gave that my imagination is holy. This moment was holy.

I tiptoed into prayer.
Hesitantly, “Father, do you mind that I am giving Her so much attention these days?”
There were no words,
There was thought
I thought there was an instant embrace
Warm, I thought and soft and strong that drew me in so close,
And drew the Mother in so close.
And there we were held tight in a circle of three, a familial Trinity.
That’s what I thought.
What I know is this: tears on my cheeks.

That little experience happened as I was sitting here. I closed my eyes and visualized all that, and I felt all that. It was so warm and so beautiful that I didn’t want to get out of it, ever. I wanted to stay in this chair right here with my eyes closed, in this prayerful poetic attitude. But also, I wanted to grab that feeling and write it down before it dissolved much. So I opened my eyes and grabbed my notebook. I saw a tear on the paper, because what I described in that little verse actually happened.

So I’m comfortable saying that was a revelation to me, for me. We all have our assignments and our insights, inasmuch as they pass our personal test of being correct and being on the wavelength of love and being holy. We have a right and maybe an obligation to share them.
We each have our own little cobblestones that we’re giving to building this new temple – whatever this temple is that we might call a new vision of God-ness that includes male and female equally. We need all the pieces that everybody can bring. There’s so much going on – it’s really very exciting. We know that it’s correct because it feels correct, and we have to trust our own feelings. We know when something feels off. When it feels so on, we can’t resist it.

I love the visual of cobblestones coming together. When Christ appeared to the Nephites, He asked them for their writing. Where was the record of their revelations and spiritual experiences? When Christ comes again and asks us that, we’ll be able to show our poems and our art.

Here’s my diary, Lord. To write all this down is an extra bonus because it can be shared more truthfully. All of us in our personhood, as we go around, we radiate a lot of light. That is our contribution to everybody around us. We should value that really highly.

I would like to speak to the brand new book that just came out. The title of the book is The Love Map, subtitled Saving Your Love Relationship and Incidentally Saving the World. I love that outrageously arrogant subtitle because there’s something in it that is so true.
We know that there is a tipping point where something builds and builds and builds and builds and builds. And then the last little thing happens – the drop of water overflows the fountain, the camel’s back is broken by one last straw, the single solitary one matters. The world today is in such turmoil, so many things about the world are so upended that it boggles the mind and we really stretch to make some kind of sense and some kind of optimism.

Carol Lynn Pearson

But we have to understand that in all of the chaos, there are little and large pockets of goodness and love that are blossoming. Why should I not be sufficiently self-aware or believe in myself enough to think, what if I am the tipping point? What if my success in my relationship – in this case, it’s a married love relationship, but the principles are the same for the family unit, for friends, for enemies, for everybody … What if I succeed?

We have not yet even talked about what is the map itself, but I modeled it on Eastern traditions with chakras. We essentially move from the third kingdom as I call it, which is the place of will of action, a wonderful place unless you’re stuck there. We have to move from that place just a few inches, up into the heart where Jesus and every other great visionary teacher has called us to if we can move just that distance. Then the physicality of guts combined with the physicality of heart, and everything they represent of power and love, can come together. Then there’s nothing we can’t accomplish.

It is obvious to look at our own lives and see, oh, I fell out of the fourth, which is the heart. I’m down here in the theory of trying to have control over something. It’s a terrible thing to look at the news these days – all we’re seeing is people trying to exert their will over somebody else’s will. We just have to hope. Something I said to myself, “often, all pain can be labor pain.” All the pain we’re seeing evidenced in the world today, and evidenced in our own lives, can be a birthing of some kind.

In the book, we’re speaking of a birthing of ourselves, or our relationships, as we moved from the first kingdom, which is just survival, into the second, which is which is emotion, sexuality, reproduction, into the third of my will over your will, where we spend most of our dramatic time in this story. And then moving up into the fourth where God lives, where love lives. We can do that because we have a map. We can watch ourselves as we succeed, as we fail, as we fall, as we rise. The trajectory is without question, and it will happen. It might take us longer than we think, but it will happen because that’s what we are built for. We are designed to move upward to higher thinking, to more godly awareness of our attributes. We’re not made for anything else but for this kind of progression.

I feel called in by that language: we are made for this. It reminds me of daring to love and daring to move from wanting to control things to being more expansive. It is a call to a higher way of being, and it requires courage.

And don’t dismiss the things we gathered in our earlier times. We never say, “Oh, good. Now I’m in the third, I’m done with the fourth.” No, we gather everything we learned in the first chakra of how to survive; in the second of joyous sexuality and reproduction and creativity; in the third, how to make things happen. We gather all this energy, bit by bit, moving upward and upward. By the time we’re ready to truly move into the fourth, into the heart, into love, our luggage is pretty heavy because we’ve gathered so many good things from the entire journey. We come with full capabilities and what we have learned in our earlier experiences. We have all of those things to meld into the functions of love.

That’s the best. It’s everything together, surrounded by and unified with the whole experience of love. That’s our goal, and we can do it because we see a step-by-step journey, and we can evaluate where we are. I love that little story. I had the best time writing it.

The book felt so relevant, being in this fractured world with the pandemic – it’s all been destabilizing, and there’s a need for certainty and control. It’s a major theme of the book. I appreciate that it doesn’t mean you graduate and leave things behind. You bring them with you. You also discussed that we won’t stay in the fourth map – sometimes we’ll drop into the second or even the first map, and find our way back up. It’s about continuing the journey. It’s not that we failed or sinned, but that’s part of how we work as humans, and we continue to move forward.

I’ve been thinking these thoughts and studying all of this for years. I’ve created a couple of other versions of the book that I didn’t like, but I love this new version of speaking in the first person.

I was asked to give a talk in sacrament meeting. It was Valentine’s Day, so they wouldn’t ask me to talk about love. But I did. I utilized what we’re talking about here. At the bottom are very primitive kinds of relations between tribes. What came before the Law of Moses? If you kill somebody in my tribe, I kill your entire tribe. Moses was sufficiently enlightened to say, “No, it’s a tooth for a tooth and an eye for an eye, not both eyes, and not all your teeth, and not all the members of your tribe.” The law of Moses could be the third kingdom. And then here comes Jesus, this wild, radical man who says outrageous things like love everybody, love your neighbor, love the stranger at your gate, love your enemy. None of us are going to stay here perfectly all the time. We’re all going to have Law of Moses moments, or the third kingdom experience.

But we are destined, we are called, and we keep going until we arrive to become more full citizens of the fourth. Everybody has heartfelt moments of energy from what I call the fourth kingdom. We’re not locked down here in the third. We all spend some time in the fourth – we all express love, we do good things, we are generous from time to time. That’s our actions and God-ness in the heart of the place that Jesus called us to be. Our goal is to know that we’re not strangers to this place. We function here. Our goal is to try to become naturalized, full citizens of this new country that is not really new because we’ve spent a lot of time here. Once it is our residence, all of our impulses will be infused with the energy of love so the fifth – which is our voice, everything we speak – will have been developed somewhere in the lower kingdom, then build, build, build, and infused with love. We will only speak love. The heart for love is a very exciting thing. This is the true connection to godliness.

That’s what we were born for. When the divine feminine and the divine masculine first got together through the powers of love, our beingness came from that. We are sprung from love to be loved, to share love, to create more love.

There’s also a moment in the main character’s journey when she sees history and an ancestor. In your work, pioneers and ancestors show up frequently.

I have a grandmother who walked across the plains at age eight. I have a great-grandfather in the Mormon Battalion, another great-grandfather on the ship Brooklyn. I am inundated with pioneer DNA. From them, I received honor toward them and the concept of pioneering, and I believe that we still are called to be pioneers.

One of my poems that so many people love – I have made it a tradition to post on Pioneer Day on Facebook – is a poem called “Pioneers.” I am certain that the pioneering things that I have done with ideas are an expression of the genetic inheritance that I have from my many ancestral pioneers.

My people were Mormon pioneers.
Is the blood still good?
They stood in awe as truth
Flew by like a dove
And dropped a feather in the West.
Where truth flies you follow
If you are a pioneer.
I have searched the skies
And now and then
Another feather has fallen.
I have packed the handcart again
Packed it with the precious things
And thrown away the rest.
I will sing by the fires at night
Out there on uncharted ground
Where I am my own captain of tens
Where I blow the bugle
Bring myself to morning prayer
Map out the miles
And never know when or where
Or if at all
I will finally say,
“This is the place.”
I face the plains
On a good day for walking.
The sun rises
And the mist clears.
I will be all right:
My people were Mormon pioneers.

I also have pioneers on both sides and feel their DNA in me. Can you talk about navigating the Church as a pioneer now?

A lot of people are curious, “How come you have not been excommunicated?” What’s to excommunicate? I do only good. It is true that way back there in the 70s, there was that little flap about the Equal Rights Amendment. But that got worked out. My experience with all of my bishops and stake presidents has been really, really good. I’m sorry for those people who have not had church leadership like I have had.
Because it’s on my mind right now – on Sunday, I went to see the bishop, and he’s a brand new guy. I said, “I am one of your somewhat unorthodox, but still highly useful, members of the Church.” I had three books to give to him and his wife – The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy, Finding Mother God, and this new one, The Love Map. I said, “These books contain issues you need to know about because a lot of members of the Church are very questioning on some very important subjects – the concept of God the Mother, and eternal polygamy, which is devastatingly cruel and affects many women so badly. These things affect people in your congregation. I know that for a fact because I’ve talked to them.” I had a fine conversation with him, and nobody was uncomfortable.

What I’m saying here is that the guts of the third level of The Love Map and the power and love of the heart combined to allow me to be a pioneer in these subjects. I’m not afraid to talk to the men, and I do it respectfully. But I do it with power. They know that there’s something important when I talk to them.

I urge all LDS women who feel they have something important to move us forward on some of these issues that we all think about and we talk about in our little private cliques – I want to urge everybody to be brave enough, no matter what comes.

I know that I have been protected geographically here. I said to my bishop, “If I had been in Utah in the 1980s, I may have gone the way.” He was aware of the September Six in 1993. I’m just lucky, I guess, living where I am and having developed the history that people would not want to publicly try to get rid of me. But what’s to want to get rid of?

Mother Wove the Morning

I do good work in the Church, even though some think that it’s not because I am working on some things that the Brethren have said, “No, we’re not going to do that.” Well, we’re past that. We are doing it. It is a historical necessity that we do this work to bring women up, which does not bring men down, to make us all equal in terms of value. We should bring our individual gifts here, and they should be equally valued. I mentioned that during the 90s, I was busily doing 300 performances of Mother Wove the Morning, in which I played sixteen women throughout history in search of God the Mother. I often visited with my leadership and said, “I want you to know what I’m doing.” The stake president came to see the play three times, bringing high-powered guests. He told me, “Yes, I get calls from Salt Lake about you from time to time. When I get a call that says, should we do something about Sister Pearson, I say to them, leave her alone. She does better PR for this church than you could ever buy, leave her alone.” I later learned there were seven times he received calls about me. Whatever the outcome, we have to do what our power center combined with our love center – our guts combined with our heart – insists that we do.
It took a lot of guts to put on that play – it was a terrifying but thrilling experience. But we need to know the history of humanity in terms of a female deity – searching for, finding, not finding, all of it. We’re at a point in history that it is one of our assignments. We must bring back the concept of God the Mother and yes, She is here. We are the ones who are blind. She is not hidden away in some celestial nursery, giving birth to baby after baby after baby. She is not being protected by the Father because we’ve been so bad about His name that He’s protecting her name. That is such nonsense. She is powerful. She is there. She is here. We have only to open our eyes and our hearts and our vocabularies. We must. We will. We all need to be pioneers in whatever way we feel called to be.

You talk about some really hard things. I think of you in some ways as the conscience of our community that says, “This is still a problem; this is still causing pain. We need to look at it, and we need to address it.” You do it in a way that is clear and loving. Even if it’s a hard thing to hear, there’s still love in it. I get the sense that your intention is to heal and to build up Zion.

If anybody wants to read The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy, that’s precisely what I do there. I did it consciously, and I did not do it artificially. I asked for a meeting with my state presidency before I wrote that book, and their wives, all six of them. I told them exactly what I was going to do and nobody tried to dissuade me. I said, “You’re going to be surprised when this book comes out. I say that Brother Joseph made an error when he brought in polygamy, that God had nothing to do with it. At the same time, I am going to say so many fine things about Joseph, you’re going to love him even more. You’re going to be very confused. I’m going to love Joseph in this book and also say he made a terrible error. And it’s an error that must be corrected by the contemporary leadership.”

I have developed a skill for saying hard things, strongly and respectively, and without equivocation. This is how I see it, and I believe this with all my heart.

You’ve been so generous sharing so much of your journey with the public. Right now in your life, what does discipleship look like for you?

Just continue doing what I’ve been doing. A good disciple is not necessarily just a yes-woman or a yes-man. A disciple is one who follows, who is in the circle of activity, of expanding the work. I think a disciple expands the work and doesn’t follow with blinders. Discipleship is to see what – to me – is so obvious and needs to be addressed. Because I can see it, I’m called to act on it. People who don’t see it can’t act on it. But I have seen it and felt it – I’m thinking specifically of these two things, eternal polygamy and the absence of God the Mother. Those are two hugely important things that must be addressed.

I had the hunger for it – studying and finding some answers, and the experience of being able to use words to express all that. It was beyond clear to me that I was called to write both of those things, The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy and the poems of Finding Mother God. Each of us has something we observe that we think, this is not helpful, this is hurtful. If we can see it, we are called to do something about it.

I appreciate you framing it this way. This is a real frustration for me as somebody in this work. I have things I feel called to say in my own way. Sometimes I am dismissed by members of the community that my faith is faltering. But they’re not considering that it’s actually because I am deeply rooted in my faith; that because I am so faithful, I can’t let it stand.

Carol Lynn Pearson

If someone cares enough about the community to say, “I see some pain going on, and I cannot stand here and see this pain and not do anything …” If we were out in a large group of people and saw somebody suddenly fainting, or in an accident, all of us would have the impulse to help. That same impulse should be in us as we look around in our community that is struggling to be Zion, and say, “I perceive things here that are not worthy of Zion.” And because I perceive them, I am the one who is called to address them.

We’re the lucky ones who see the hurt and therefore must address it. That’s a thrilling thing to do. It isn’t satisfying to me to sit and watch. No, no, we came here to participate. Today is the day that women have got to stand up and participate in a way that is intelligent and strong and kind. Soft and hard at the same moment.

The major test right now is the concept of bringing back into our consciousness, bringing back into the family, the Mother. We have seen significant adverse responses to that but nevertheless – it is essential to speak up kindly, correctly, respectfully.

That’s one of the things I love about being part of the LDS Women Project. Neylan [McBain] was inspired to form this project as the grassroots. We create what we want in our wards, communities, and families. I see the Church as bi-directional, not just waiting for Salt Lake headquarters to tell us what to do and let it trickle down. We can be change agents in ways that honor doctrine and many things, but challenge policies and governance that aren’t serving us.

We plant seeds for others to think about. The visit I had with my new bishop was so satisfying. I said that there are so many things about what must happen to bring about equality of valuing between maleness and femaleness. I invited him to listen in sacrament meeting to every pronoun we use in talking about divinity, about heaven – those pronouns are all male. What does that do to the psyches of the young girls and the young boys in the hall? And the women and the men, even women who say it doesn’t bother them. I beg to differ because our communal psyches absorb that the good stuff, the divine stuff, is masculine. We are the observers, and that’s not what anybody wants, but we have to be brave enough to do something about it. And of course, all the songs we sing are to the masculine, except occasionally when we sing “the grave yield up her dead.” We get the grave. They get the heavens. Once you stop to think about it, it goes on and on. You wonder, what is this? How could we not have noticed it all these years? That’s not helpful.

I have one more poem I want to read to you.

The eight-year-old, newly baptized, takes the blessed bit of bread from the silver tray in her brother’s hand, glances that her father who is always on the stand, and whispers to her mother, “When I’m twelve I’ll get to pass the sacrament, won’t I?”
“Shhhhh!” The voice of her ten-year-old brother in a loud whisper across their mother’s folded arms. “No.” “Why?”
“Because you’re a girl.”
The eight-year-old’s mind, full of every Harry Potter book, half of Louisa May Alcott, and many other worthy friends, speaks silently, “Maybe when I’m thirteen.”
The voice of her sixteen-year-old brother who kneels at the white table on the stand to bless the tiny cups of water – “that they do always remember Him.”
“I love Jesus. Maybe when I’m fourteen. Absolutely when I’m fifteen, He will remember me.”
Then the voice of her other Brother, sweeter than Good Night Moon. “I do always remember you.”

Jesus and our Mother and our Father, I believe, are right here, doing Their good work for all of us. It’s us who are still so stubborn. Protecting patriarchy is a cause that is not worthy of the energy.

I feel that poem captures that assumption – as we’re raised in the gospel, singing I am a Child of God, hearing all these wonderful things, but then a moment of divergence. Why wouldn’t she think she has the same opportunities? But that painful realization. I do love the Comforter’s whisper to tell her she is valued and remembered.

Every young woman and man is valuable. All of us are valuable. But we’re losing a lot of young women who are not willing to wait. We have the power to bless each other. I feel to bless you and all the women who are working toward all the lovely things of good report and praiseworthy that we have been talking about. And what could be more praiseworthy than bringing our Mother back into the family.

At A Glance

Name: Carol Lynn Pearson

Age: 83

Location: Walnut Creek, California

Marital History: Married to Gerald Pearson in 1966, divorced in 1984

Children: Emily, John, Aaron, Katharine

Occupation: Writer

Convert to the Church: Born from many lines of Mormon pioneers

Schools Attended: B.A. and M.A. in Theatre from BYU

Languages Spoken At Home: English

Favorite Hymn: A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief

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Interview Produced By: Elizabeth Ostler