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Rachel Hunt Steenblik researched Heavenly Mother full-time with David Paulsen and Martin Pulido for BYU Studies article "'A Mother There': A Survey of Historical Teachings of Mother in Heaven." She also co-edited Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings with Joanna Brooks and Hannah Wheelwright for Oxford University Press, and writes for the Exponent Blog. She is a PhD student in philosophy of religion and theology at Claremont Graduate University, and has a Masters in library science from Simmons College and a Bachelors in philosophy from Brigham Young University. She has participated in summer seminars at the Wheatley Institution (2015), the Maxwell Institute (2014), and St. Olaf College's Hong Kierkegaard Library (2013 and 2012).

News & Updates

RELATED EVENTS

For this book, Rachel Hunt-Steenblik wrote 246 small poems exploring aspects of our Heavenly Mother. And BCC’s own Ashley Mae Hoiland complemented these poems with more than 40 original drawings. The result is an intimate discussion of the deep human longing for a Mother God. 

Carol Lynn Pearson, whose pioneering work created the space, that “Mother’s Milk” occupies, calls this collection “a major step toward filling the Mother-sized hole in our hearts.” And Joanna Brooks predicts that it “will teach the world what Mormon women know—perhaps uniquely—about God.” Here is just a taste of what you will find in this remarkable book:

 

Motherless Milk

I searched for my Mother, the way a baby roots for her mother’s breast, head nuzzling from side to side, mouth open, ready to suckle. But I was still thirsty. Then my belly grew, and my breasts grew, and a ravenous little thing came out. I offer her my milk without money and without price. My husband offered it to her once, while I sat beside them on a train. She pursed her lips against the false nipple, and stared at me with sad eyes. I wondered then, if Heavenly Mother walked into another room so we would take the bottle. I wondered then, if we are weaned.

Praise for Mother's Milk:

In these brief and moving poems, Rachel Hunt Steenblik recalls and reimagines the relationship between the daughters of God and their hidden and distant mother. Using her own experience and revelation as well as her wide research, Rachel recreates the Heavenly Mother many dream of knowing, a woman not unlike our own mothers, one who shares our own experience of motherhood." —Claudia L. Bushman, author of Contemporary Mormonism


"The warm, delicious, delicate and strong poems in Mother’s Milk moved and delighted me. Without doubt this book is a major step toward filling the Mother-sized hole in our hearts. Boldly pulling back the curtain of patriarchy to show that “God” is not a boy’s name and that we have never lived in a one-parent family, Rachel reminds us that our Mother has never ceased to nourish and love us." —Carol Lynn Pearson, author of Mother Wove the Morning, and The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy

 

"Rachel Hunt Steenblik is Mormonism's most essential and necessary poet since Carol Lynn Pearson.  Out of her hunger for a mother God, she has made food for us all.  Out of her losses, she has made milk.  It's what women's bodies know how to do, of course.  But Rachel, oh honey, few of us do it so openly, so truthfully, so plainly, so well.  Come, come, everyone--Mormon or not, brothers, sisters, kindred--and take these words.  I am so proud that this book will teach the world what Mormon women know--perhaps uniquely--about God." —Joanna Brooks, author of Book of Mormon Girl


"Love depends on this kind of ordinary, practical, moral creativity. Love depends on learning how to bend our ordinary lives—like a poet bends and saves ordinary words—into creative and morally responsive shapes.
On page after page of her book, Mother’s Milk: Poems in Search of Heavenly Mother,  I watched Rachel Hunt Steenblik do this. Perfectly paired with Ashley Mae Hoiland’s striking drawings, I watched poem after poem practice this kind of moral creativity as part of the work of love." –Adam Miller, author of Letters to a Young Mormon
 

"Mother's Milk is wonderful. For me, its strength and beauty lies in the way it accepts the mystery of the feminine divine while simultaneously and confidently asserting that this mystery should no longer be relegated. In this way, the book reminds me of Emily Dickinson's line to 'tell all the truth but tell it slant,' which is the task of all good poetry and the task that Mother's Milk magnificently accomplishes. In addition, I love the way the endnotes highlight just how present the concept of Heavenly Mother has been within Mormonism, even if the mainstream culture so often fails to acknowledge this presence. Altogether, Mother's Milk is much needed addition to the Mormon canon. I hope it paves the way for similar projects to come." –Jon Ogden, author of When Mormons Doubt: A Way to Save Relationships and Seek a Quality Life

 

"Mormon women are strong; you don't walk a thousand miles across unfamiliar land into an arid valley you've never seen unless you've got the guts for it. Today's Mormon women evidence that same strength in coming together to demand acknowledgement of the feminine contribution to our existence. Rachel Hunt Steenblik's lovely and evocative book 'Mother's Milk' is a modern trek: a search for our Heavenly Mother, lost to theology but always present, waiting to comfort and consult. In this series of simple short poems She offers Her love and advice, Her songs, the comfort of Her arms, and in the end we are left feeling that accepting Her presence could go a long way toward curing the world's ills." –Claire Whitaker, author of "Hide and Seek," in Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings 
 


"Truly a lovely exploration of the feminine divine and our everyday relationship with Her. I've got two daughters, 8 and 5. Both have loved reading the poems with me. While some of the concepts are beyond their reach, the book is one of many things in their lives right now helping them understand that the Heavenly Mother never is. All the stars, all the time for this one. I'll be buying more copies to give out as gifts." –Megan Conley, writer at meganconley.com

 

"A beautiful, poignant collection of poems. Frequently brought tears to my eyes with its longing and reaching for Heavenly Mother and the divine feminine. There's a personal and intimate connection with the divine present here that may not always be what my connection is or hopes to be, but is unabashedly Rachel's, modeling one path to strive towards the divine feminine. Ashmae's illustrations are a perfect accompaniment for Rachel's poetry—close, intimate, personal, and snuggly (you can almost cuddle up with them). The poems are brief snapshots, capturing moments and reworking familiar phrases, narratives, verses, ideas to include or focus on Heavenly Mother. I'm left hungry for more. I want to create & find my own connection to Heavenly Mother, to write my way there. Rachel gave me a delicious taste of that possibility here." –Conor Hilton, writer at conorhilton.wordpress.com

Amazon Reviews

 

"Spanning the Second Wave to the present wave of the women's movement, these essays constitute a significant body of work on the religious implications of feminism. Their usual omission from feminist and Mormon history makes collection of them here all the more welcome and necessary. They are, indeed, 'essential.' The study of contemporary Mormonism should not be attempted without them." -Kathleen Flake, Richard Lyman Bushman Professor of Mormon Studies, University of Virginia

"The depth and breadth of Mormon feminist thought assembled in this volume will bring awareness to some and enlightenment to many. So much that has been thought and felt among Mormon women is here for reflection, reference and discussion. This book will enrich the legacy we treasure and point us to a proud future." -Aileen Hales Clyde, Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (1990-1997)

"Can one be a Mormon and a feminist? Through the careful combing of historical and modern Mormon feminist writings, the complexity of what it means to be an equal-minded, intelligent woman in a patriarchal church is here presented in its hopeful, heartbreaking, faithful entirety. Though the answer is complicated, this book honors those who have bravely and eloquently added their voices to the movement. As a church we owe these women-their words and work-much recognition for their progress and perspective." -C. Jane Kendrick, writer at cjanekendrick.com

"As Mormonism continues its evolution as a force in American public religious life, this needed compendium will help characterize this uniquely American faith." --Publishers Weekly

Upcoming Events
 

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Past EVENTS

 

Monday, July 8, 2019 at 8:00 pm in MDT

A Night with Rachel Hunt Steenblik, author of Mother’s Milk and I Gave Her a Name

and Kathryn Knight Sonntag, author of The Tree at the Center

Provo, UT – Womb Sisters

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Friday, July 5, 2019 at 7:00 pm in MDT

The Power and Vulnerability of Poetry:

Shades of Becoming and I Gave Her a Name

St. George, UT

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Saturday, June 22, 2019 at 7:00 pm in MDT

Readings by Keira Shae, Mette Harrison, Rachel Hunt Steenblik,

Steven Peck, Kathryn Knight Sonntag, and Darlene Young of BCC Press

Ultraviolet Studios – 2204 Washington Blvd Suite B, Ogden, UT 84401

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Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 7:00 pm in MDT

Four Variations on Voice

Writ & Vision – 74 W Center St, Provo, UT 84601

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Saturday, March 30, 2019 at 3:00 pm in PST

We Gave Her a Place: Poetry of Heavenly Mother Panel

Association for Mormon Letters – 2368 Le Conte Avenue Berkeley, CA 94709

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Friday, March 29, 2019 at 7:00 pm in PST

Carol Lynn Pearson Panel

Association for Mormon Letters – 2368 Le Conte Avenue Berkeley, CA 94709

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Friday, March 8, 2019 at 1:30 pm Beijing Time

Heavenly Mother in Latter-day Saint Poetry

Asia Women’s Conference – 118 Gloucester Rd, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, China

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Friday, February 15, 2019 at 2:30 pm Beijing Time

The Poetry of Process and the Process of Poetry

Before the Masterpiece – Michael Graves College, Wenzhou-Kean University, Wenzhou, China

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Monday, October 8, 2018

Divine Feminine in Poetry

Feminist FHE – Provo, UT

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Thursday, October 4, 2018

Mother’s Milk and Model Mormon Reading

Salt Lake City, UT

England Hansen Residence

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Tuesday, September 28, 2018

Telling our Own Stories: Mother’s Milk and Model Mormon

for BYU US Women’s History and History of Transnational Feminism students, Provo, UT

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Saturday, September 22, 2018 at 7:00 pm

Where We Must Stand

Contravent – 916 S Main St, Salt Lake City, UT 84101

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Friday, August 24, 2018 at 6:30 pm

Mother’s Milk: Reading and Discussion

Anthony’s Fine Art and Antiques – 401 E 200 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111

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June 2018

Cracks of Light in the Darkness: Meditations on the Feminine Divine

Allegheny Pilgrims, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

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Sunday, May 13 2018

Divine Feminine in Poetry

Cambridge, MA

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Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 12:00 pm EST

Balance Breakout Session: Mormon Feminism

Reason and Revelation Conference - Columbia University, New York, NY

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Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 11:00 am EST

Radiant Mormonism: Arts and Humanities Panel

Reason and Revelation Conference - Columbia University, New York, NY

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March 2018

Killing Off ‘Footprint in the Sand’: Finding Metaphor in Mormon Poetry Panel

Mormon Scholars in the Humanities Conference, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT

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Mother’s Milk Reading, Potomac, Maryland, November 2017.

“Reviewing the in-dwelling Feminine Divine,” God, Faith, Women, and Church: Feminist Spiritual Formation, Case Agency, New York, NY, November 2017.

“Bringing Heavenly Mother into Daily Life,” The Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center, Exponent Retreat, Greenfield, New Hampshire, September 2017.

New Books by Mormon Women with Rachel Hunt Steenblik, Ashley Mae Hoiland, Mette Harrison, and Melissa Larson, Writ & Vision, Provo, Utah, July 2017.

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Thursday, September 21, 2017 at 7:00 pm in EST 

Book Club

New Haven, CT 06519 – The Thurston Residence

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Sunday, October 8, 2017 at 7:00 pm in EST [Tentative Date]

Second Sunday

Prentiss St., Cambridge, MA 02140 - The Ulrich Residence

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Sunday, November 12, 2017 at 7:00 pm in EST [Tentative Date]

DC area gathering– Mother's Milk and The Burning Point with Tracy McKay

Signal Tree Lane Potomac, MD 20854 - The Prince Residence

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All Good Books

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Sunday, July 30, 2017 at 6:00 pm in MDT

Mother's Milk Poems Dessert Potluck

200 S, Provo, Utah 84601 – The Goldsberry Residence

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017 at 7:00 pm in MDT

 New Books by Mormon Women with Rachel Hunt Steenblik, Ashley Mae Hoiland,

Mette Harrison, and Melissa Larson at Writ & Vision

74 W Center St, Provo, UT 84601

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Friday, April 8, 2016 at 7:00 pm in EST

Rachel Hunt Steenblik and Judith Dushku at Porter Square Books

25 White St, Cambridge, MA 02140

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Saturday, February 27, 2016 at 10:00 am in PST

Rachel Hunt Steenblik at Menlo Park Stake Women's Conference

1105 Valparaiso Avenue, Menlo Park, CA 94025

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 8:00 pm in EST

Mormon Feminism Book Event with Rachel Hunt Steenblik

Sheldon Terrace, New Haven, CT 06511

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Sunday, December 13, 2015 at 7:00 pm in EST

Second Sunday

Prentiss St., Cambridge, MA 02140 - The Ulrich Residence

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Saturday, December 5, 2015 at 7:00 pm in EST

New York area gathering- Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings book event!

390 Broadway, New York, NY 10013 - Case Agency

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Sunday, November 22, 2015 at 7:00 pm in EST

DC area gathering- Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings book event!

Signal Tree Lane Potomac, MD 20854 - The Prince Residence

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Saturday, November 21, 2015 at 7:00 pm in EST

Fireside with the editors of Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings
Vassar Road, Alexandria, VA 22314

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Friday, November 20, 2015 at 7:00 pm in EST

All Good Books

Side Saddle Road, Springfield, VA 22152

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Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 7:00pm in MDT

Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings - An Evening with the Editors at Writ & Vision

74 W Center St, Provo, Utah 84601

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015 at 5:30pm in MDT

Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings presentation and discussion! at Benchmark Books

3269 S Main St, Ste 250, Salt Lake City, Utah 84115

 

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015 at 6:00pm in MDT

The editors of MORMON FEMINISM: ESSENTIAL WRITINGS at Weller Book Works

607 Trolley Sq, Salt Lake City, Utah 84102

 

 

Please let us know if, there is INTEREST or you are able to host/support an event for the book in your area.