I haven’t been alive that long, but it seems to me that even since the time I was a kid there has been more and more talk about Mary Magdalene. The Dan Brown books created a lot of buzz, and new texts and gospels keep appearing that give more and more hints as to the prominence of Mary Magdalene in the early Christian church. She was called the Apostle to the Apostles in more than one of these texts. Much has been written about whether she was the wife of Jesus.
Does it matter? I guess that is up to all of us to decide. Even the LDS church openly taught at one time that Mary Magdalene was the wife of Jesus, they just happened to also teach that he had quite a few other wives as well…..
So here is what everyone agrees with in the KJV New Testament that has been written about her.
- Jesus cast seven demons out of her (Luke 8:2; Mark 16:9).
- She was one of many who provided for Jesus out of her own means (Luke 8:1-3).
- She witnessed the crucifixion of Christ (Matt 27:56; Mark 15:40; John 19:25).
- She was present at his burial (Matt 27:61; Mark 15:47).
- She arrived at Jesus’ tomb on the Sunday following his crucifixion to find his body missing (Matt 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-7; John 20:1).
- She saw the risen Lord, spoke with him, and later reported the encounter to the apostles (Matt 28:9-10; Mark 16:9-11; John 20:11-1
We can all agree on those things. This list alone suggests she had some very unique experiences. From these references we learn Mary witnessed much of the Lord’s ministry, his crucifixion, his burial, and was the first witness (besides heavenly beings) of his resurrection. There are many other references to “Mary” in the New Testament. It just doesn’t always specify which Mary is being mentioned because there appeared to be a lot of different “Marys”.
I have already mentioned the importance of names and titles. The name Mary is a title. The sister of Moses and Aaron was named “Miriam,” which is the same word. Naomi at one point said to call her “Mara,” also the same word. The name of Jesus’ mother was apparently Mary, and there were multiple other Marys mentioned. The name itself means BITTER. It gets very interesting to think of the symbolism in the experiences of John and Ezekiel.
3 And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.
4 And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them…..
14 So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the Lord was strong upon me.
10 And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.
Revelation from God is always sweet. Feasting upon the Word is delicious. The fruits of the Spirit always will accompany revelation. To those who receive some of the higher things a type of bitterness will follow. It is interesting how it mentions the bowels and belly in the verses above. Did you know there are more nerve endings in your belly (bowels) than in your brain? There is a whole lot more going on with our bowels than many people realize. In the scriptures we read things about how Jesus’ bowels were filled with compassion. Interesting stuff.
Now imagine being filled with understanding about the suffering and sin going on in the world, and being filled with a Perfect Mother’s love for each of those who are under the bondage of sin. Wouldn’t this cause bitterness in your soul? Who wouldn’t wear out their days in trying to assist their children who were suffering and assisting them to find joy in redemption if they had the power in them to do so?
The title Mary as far as I have learned is given to a female who has received Charity and reached a fullness of the Holy Spirit. They have been filled with the love and understanding of their Heavenly Mother. Men eventually need to receive all of the same gifts of wisdom and compassion that women do. Christ had the perfect balance of both male and female attributes. Here are some interesting words from a gnostic text.
Gospel of Thomas section 114
Simon Peter said to them, “Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of Life.” Jesus said, “I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
At first glance this might appear to be sexist…, not if we understand the truth of God’s plan. Jesus could have very well been talking to men and saying that they would need to be made female. Each of us must be filled with all of the love, spirit, attributes, and understanding of our Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. Redemption cannot come without knowing them both.
It is my belief that evil and conspiring men intentionally made changes to the Bible to masculinize the gospel and pervert the meaning of scripture. Somehow the idea that Mary Magdalene was a harlot became a widely held belief. The idea seemed to originate from the following scripture.
A woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment.”
In the following verses a man named Simon said in his heart that if Jesus knew what manner of woman this was, He would not let her do this. Simon gets a good rebuke afterwards. Ok so a couple of times in Luke 7 this woman is called a sinner, and then people started calling Mary Magdalene a harlot….WHAT?
Couldn’t they have come up with any other sin or did it have to be a prostitute? They could have just as easily said she was a thief, or a bigot, or lazy, but they had to go ahead and throw out something that would totally defame her character, and turn people from ever thinking much of her. Why? Compare an account from Mark (very similar to the account in Matthew)…
3 And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? 5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.8 She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.
Completely different version here. No mention of a sinner although some judgments are cast as to the use of the ointment. What I wanted to focus on was the combined accounts and some interesting things found in them. This woman ANOINTED Jesus and she did what she could do. It had something to do with Christ’s body and His “burying.” There is also emphasis on the HAIR and FEET. Admittedly in these accounts there is no mention that this is Mary Magdalene. That can only be obtained by the Spirit.
So let’s see what other scriptures we can find that talk about hair and feet.
1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.8 For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man.9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a GLORY to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
Again in these verses (which in all likelihood have been corrupted), we find words that could appear to be sexist. When understanding is given, perhaps we can find Paul is actually teaching some beautiful truths about the relationship of women and men. Keep in mind he brings up ORDINANCES, and then goes on to talk about women being veiled (heads being covered), and their hair be glory. Also he mentions that women are the glory of men. What does it all mean? Could he not be referencing the very ordinance that was mentioned above in Luke? The woman being willing to submit to the man and share her glory with him? Through a sacred anointing she symbolically conveys that she is willing to impart of her light and spirit to her husband, forming a perfect seal and bond, making them one spirit and flesh. No I am not saying they become a conglomerate being. I am suggesting the perfect unification of their elements and the perfect marriage.
The symbolism of the veil is beautiful. Even though I believe there are some serious errors in the LDS endowment, we can draw symbolism from part of the ritual. The man must be made worthy by the Lord to behold the glory of the woman (symbolized by her hair). After the man is brought through the veil by the Lord, he can also part the veil of his wife’s glory and become one with her. The veil covering the woman’s glory is removed at the same time that the veil to the Holy of Holies is removed. The man is not worthy of the woman until the Lord has made him so!
Let’s look at some other similar writings…
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
Again it becomes apparent that Paul is talking about ordinances here that have to do with a wife and husband becoming one. First of all I want to point out that a woman is to submit to her husband “as unto the Lord.” Why does anyone submit to the Lord? Well we wouldn’t if he wasn’t a being worthy of submitting to. My understanding is that Paul is teaching here that when a woman’s husband is made worthy by God, she is to be willing to submit to a lesser being and share her glory with him that they might become one. Of course they are both strengthened by the other, and receiving all of the power of a righteous father and mother exalts them both, but it is my feeling that each wife actually has more glory than her husband, and the husband has to be made worthy to partake of it.
I know that all of these scriptural references might seem to only vaguely resemble the others, and that it may seem like a stretch to accept what I am saying about the symbolism, but let’s look a little further. Notice above Paul mentions Christ cleansing the church with “the washing of water.” Is this referencing baptism or something else…?
4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
Ok how beautiful is this?! Remember I talked about what the real garments are? If Jesus took his garments off it must be important! He is willing to impart of his glory to those present! He then begins to wash THEIR FEET with water. The feet have a lot of symbolism. They represent our connection to the earth for one. If they are cleansed by the Savior we are cleansed from the blood and sins of the earth. The feet are also symbolic of our travels. Through this imagery Christ is teaching that his glory will be with the disciples wherever their feet will take them. Again I would like to suggest that this is an “anointing” ordinance and is a preparation for something to come. (Day of Pentecost)
After the Lord finishes he tells the disciples to go and do likewise. Think of the Sacrament and how in both the Bible and Book of Mormon the Savior imparts first to the disciples and then they go impart to others, same concept here.
Alright so what is all of this leading up to? Well, I am suggesting that Jesus and Mary had a perfect union. She was his wife and they were sealed spirit to spirit in a perfect marriage. She was completely willing to impart of her soul and light, as he was completely willing to impart of his with her.
Ok this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Most people in the LDS culture entertain the idea at one time or another that Jesus was / is married. It fits into the title of Rabbi, into the first witness of his resurrection being Mary Magdalene, and into the framework of a husband and wife needing one another to become heirs of God’s kingdom. Let me go on to something that has been seared deeply into my soul.
To say that Mary was willing to impart of her spirit meant A LOT!
39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. 40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.45 And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,46 And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
Well I can’t give any scriptural evidences. All I can do is share my testimony that I know that the angel who strengthened Jesus after he asked if the BITTER CUP might be removed was none other than Mary Magdalene. I know it. Many have suggested possibilities of the angel being Michael or other men. Bruce R McConkie I think suggested this saying that Michael was next in the line of authority. I can tell you in all humility that while the men slept it was a woman, who went to the Lord as an angel from heaven to strengthen him in the tortures endured. She gave of her light and spirit for him, and for all of us.
If there is ever another person that deserves praise beside Jesus, it is not another man, it is his wife. If we can but think that Jesus needs a wife to be a God, then do we not also need his wife? Makes sense to me. Remember the disciples were asleep at this time. We have no account of witnesses of what happened, so Jesus must have thought it important to share that an angel came to strengthen him. Though much of what is precious has been taken from the Bible, the Lord planned for certain things to remain that people could see and learn by the Spirit when the time was right.
So my intent is not to meddle with anyone’s beliefs here, it is to share my own testimony. Take and consider if you will. Some other fun facts that you might find interesting I will quickly relate. For centuries a tradition has been handed down that Mary Magdalene was a “hairdresser.” I don’t think most people have thought more than this except that it was her occupation. Could it have been more? Could Simon have thought she was a sinner because she openly professed to priesthood power and helped women to prepare their hair for a sacred ordinance? There is so much more to women than we currently have been given in scripture. The Bible has been corrupted, and the Book of Mormon lists the names of 3 or 4 women that I can think of. We have Sariah the wife of Lehi, Abish, Isabel, and then the name Mary that was given to Nephi by revelation. That’s it.
Every man who wrote on the plates neglected to mention the name of his wife. Was this just not important enough or were they commanded to not include many things about women? Do we as a people have to be made worthy by the Lord to learn the higher truths of Heavenly Mother and women? Let’s look at just a few quotes from some ancient texts that have been found concerning Mary called Magdalene.
“This word she spoke as a woman who knew the All” – Dialogue of the Savior section 139
Mary is spoken of in The Pistis Sophia as one “whose heart is more directed to the Kingdom of Heaven than all [her] brothers” (Chapter 17, trans. Carl Schmidt and Violet MacDermott). Jesus said that she was “blessed beyond all women upon the earth, because [she shall be] the pleroma of all Pleromas and the completion of all completions” (section 19). She is the blessed one who will “inherit the whole Kingdom of the Light” (section 61).
“There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary his mother and her sister and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion” (section 59). – Gospel of Phillip
Now back to titles.
2 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils.
Magdalene is interpreted as the fortress, high tower, or castle. This is a title. With this in mind we can wonder if prophecies of her in scripture exist. Look at one translation of a verse in Micah…
And you, O Magdalah of the flock, hill of daughter Zion, to you it shall come, the former dominion shall come, the sovereignty of daughter Jerusalem.
Thank you to all those who have read this long post. I have been edified and inspired by some of the recent posts by others and appreciated the opportunity to share some of the beliefs I cherish. God bless. – Minority of One
Mary, we did not know you.
Kept hidden for centuries you were despised,
A Queen not seen, under harlot’s disguise.
Mary, we did not know you.
No Wife has He, we were told.
No Priestess, no Bride, no Queen, He was alone.
They dressed you in rags, royal purple not shown.
Mary, we did not know you.
My heart weeps for what was lost.
How we treated you, Divine Daughter on High.
I search Heaven and Earth and ask myself, why.
Mary, we did not know you.
May we now bring wrong to right.
We will sing of Your Queenship for all to hear.
We will ring your truth, north, south, far and near.
Mary, now all may know you.
-poem by Priestess Maya