I was doing some reading recently and came across a surprising moment where early Latter-day Saint John D. Lee casually included a reference to Heavenly Mother.
On September 27, 1857, Lee visited a ward in Provo and was invited to speak. He did so, and at the conclusion of his remarks, he said that: “He was trying to live near unto the Lord”, and encouraged the congregation “that we all might have an interest in the Kingdom that we might be permitted too return too our father & mother in peace.” (Provo Utah Central Stake general minutes, 1849-1977; Volume 10, 1855-1860; Church History Library, https://catalog.churchofjesuschrist.org/assets/da814a81-fed5-4040-a87a-2cfc46a96f52/0/960?lang=eng [accessed: February 9, 2023].)
It was striking to me how casual and normal it seemed for him to include returning to both Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother in his remarks, given the reluctance to openly talk about Her in Latter-day Saint congregations today.
(Of course, being John D. Lee, the circumstances and individual delivering the message are less than ideal – Lee had just been one of the main instigators of the Mountain Meadows Massacre about two weeks beforehand and was on his way to Salt Lake City to pawn off blame for the whole ordeal on Paiutes while reporting to President Brigham Young. This makes his statement that he was trying to live close to the Lord ring hollow.)
That context notwithstanding, I appreciate the encouragement he gave to “have an interest in the Kingdom that we might be permitted too return too our father & mother in peace.” While obscure, it is something that can be added to a collection of quotes about Heavenly Mother.