In Christian homes around the world this holiday season, families have dusted off their Nativity sets and carefully arranged the pieces in their living rooms. There are wise men, shepherds, barnyard animals, Joseph, perhaps an angel, all paying homage to the baby Jesus. But what about one woman in every Nativity: Mary.

Where does the mother of the Lord fit in Latter-day Saint theology and the wider Christian world?

Cristina Rosetti, a doctoral candidate in religious studies at the University of California Riverside and an expert on the intersection of Mormonism and spirit communication, examines that question and more. A convert to Catholicism, Rosetti, who is a also an archivist at Sunstone and a former Mormon studies fellow at the University of Utah, explains the prominent role Mary plays in Catholic worship and her more-subdued part in Latter-day Saint teachings, along with the doctrine of Heavenly Mother and how together they affect women’s places in the world of faith.

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