Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Where are All the Women in the Book of Mormon?


One of the biggest complaints I hear about the women of the scriptures is that there very few women mentioned in the Book of Mormon. Some women feel frustrated or offended that in what Joseph Smith called " the most correct of any book on earth," God would have neglected to mention women. It is true that there aren't very many women mentioned by name, only three-- Sariah, Abish and Isabel (who happens to be a harlot). Yet as I've studied the Book of Mormon the last few months from the perspective of looking for women I have been AMAZED to find SO many women I didn't even know were there. In my study I found that there are over 87 references to specific women and that most of those references are to groups of women, like wives, daughters, children meaning that there are hundred and hundreds of women mentioned within in the pages of the book of Mormon! While we don't know a lot about them as individuals the scriptures give us lots of insight into what their lives may have been like and what type of women they were-- you just have to read between the lines a little bit.

It helps me to remember that the Book of Mormon is a spiritual history book and that it was written by ancient men who were concerned with preserving the significant historical and spiritual events of their people. Unfortunately much of what women did was not viewed as important enough to be engraved into the plates. In reality, this isn't too different from how our history books are today. It wouldn't surprise me if in a few hundred years another civilization gets hold of our history books and wonders "What were all the women doing?" This is why it is so important that women take the time to write down their own personal histories and spiritual experiences. No matter how "mundane" or "normal" a woman's life seems to be she has valuable experience and insights that WILL be interesting to future generations. It is all the "mundane" and "normal" things that I YEARN to know about these women from the Book of Mormon. I want to know what they thought, what they suffered, what they loved, what they feared, how they bore and raised their children, how they held it all together through years of war and famine, and how they kept their faith in Christ. Unfortunately those conversations will have to wait till heaven and right now I will have to content myself with the bits and pieces of their lives that I can piece together out of the Book or Mormon-- and you know I am SO grateful to even have that much!

I thought that I would make a list of all the women I found listed in the Book of Mormon (if you happen to know of one that I left out PLEASE let me know). I am not going to write explanations about who they are or what happened to them at this time (unless I already have and them I've made a link), but I'm sure if you keep reading my blog eventually I'll post on all of them someday! I've put them in chronological order by the books in the Book of Mormon. I hope that this helps you to start paying more attention to what is written "between the lines" and begin to put the pieces of these women's lives together.

1 Nephi

5 daughters of Ishmael 7:1,6, 19; 16: 7, 27, 35; 18:9
Wife of Ishmael 7:6, 19
Sariah 2:5; 5:1-9; 8:14; 17:55; 18:17-19
Nephi's wife 16:7; 18:19
Women who traveled with Lehi into the wilderness 17:1-2, 20; 18:6

2 Nephi

Daughters of Laman 4:3
Nephi's sisters 5:6

Jacob

Nephite wives who grieve because of the wickedness of their husbands 2:7-9, 31-33, 35
Extra wives and concubines of the wicked Nephite men
Wives of the Lamanites whose husbands love them 3:7

Mosiah
Wives and daughters who came to hear King Benjamin's speech 2:5; 4: 1-3; 5:2-5; 6:1-2
Wives of the men who went with Zeniff (the first time) 9:2 (also Omni 1:27-29)
Women of the people of Zeniff 10:5, 9
Wives and concubines of King Noah 11:2, 4, 14
Wives and concubines of King Noah's wicked priests 11:2, 4, 14; 20:3
Women of the people of Noah 19:9-15, 19-24; 20:11
Fair daughters of the people of Noah
24 daughters of the Lamanites abducted by King Noah's priests 20:1-5, 15, 18, 23; 21: 20-21; 23:33-34; 25:12
Widows among the people of Limhi 21:9-11,13-17; 22:2,8
Great number of women afflicted in the war between Limhi and the Lamanties 21:9-11,13-17; 22:2,8
Wives of the people who followed Alma 23:28; 24:22
Wives of the guards left to occupy the land of Helam 23:38

Alma

Wives of the people of Minon 2:25
Wives of the people of Nephi 2:26; 3:1-2
Ishmaelite women 3:7
Women of Gideon 7:27
Wife of Amulek 10:11
Women in Amulek's household 10:11
Wives and children of those who believe Alma and Amulek 14:8-11, 14; 15:2
Daughters of King Lamoni 17:24; 18:43
Wife of King Lamoni 18:43; 19:2-3, 17-18, 28-30
Abish 19:16-17, 28
Queen of the Lamanties (Mother of King Lamoni) 22:19-24
Widows and daughters of Nephites slain protecting the people of Ammon 28:5
Women led away by Korihor 30:18
Wives of the Zoramites who repented 35:14
Isabel 39:3-4
Wives of the Nephites 43:9, 45; 44:5; 4:12; 48:10, 24; 58:12
Lamanite queen who marries Amalakiah 47:32-35; 52:12
Maid servant of Morianton 50:30-31
Women of the City Bountiful 53:7
Women taken prisoner by the Lamanites 54:3; 55:17-24; 58:30-31; 60:17
Wives of the 10,000 Nephite soldiers at the City of Judea 56:28
Mothers of the stripling warriors 56:47-48; 57:21
Women and children carried off by the Lamanites 58: 30-31
Wives and daughters of the 5,400 Nephites who migrated northward 63: 4-10

Helaman

Women and children slaughtered by Coriantomer 1:27
Women who toiled and spun all manner of cloth 6:13
Women carried away by the Gaddianton robbers 11:33

3 Nephi

Women who united against the Gaddianton robbers 2:12-16; 3:13
Fair daughters who gathered together to be protected from the Gaddianton robbers 3:13
Mother sand fair daughters killed when the city of Moroniah was buried 8:25; 9:2
Women who heard Jesus pray and who were healed 17: 1-25; 19:1
Girls who were encircled about by fire and ministered to by angels 19:1

Mormon

Wives and children of the Nephites at the time of Mormon 2:23; 4:14-15, 21; 6:7,19

Ether

Wives of the families of Jared, Brother of Jared and their friends 1:33, 37, 41; 2:1; 6:3
Daughters of the brother of Jared 6:15, 20
Daughters of the friends of Jared and his brother 6:16-17
8 daughters of Jared 6:20
12 daughters of Orihah 7:1
Daughters of Corihor 7:4, 14
Daughters of Shule 7:12, 26
Daughters of Jared 8:1
Daughters of Omer 8:4; 9: 2-3
Wicked daughter of Jared 8:8-12, 17; 9:4
Daughters of Emer 9:21
Wife of Coriantum 9:24
Young maid Coriantum takes as his second wife 9:24
Daughters the young maid bears to Corianutm 9:24
Daughters of Com 9:25
Daughters of Shez 10:2
Many wives and concubines of Riplakish 10:5
Daughters of Kim 10:14
Daughters of Levi 10:16
Daughters of Com 10:17
Daughters of Lib 10:29
Fair daughters of Corinatumr 13:17-22
Fair daughters of Cohor 13:17-22
Fair daughters of Corihor 13:17-22
Wives of the Nephites at the time of Ether 14:2
Women and children who were slain by Shiz 14:17
Women killed in the final Jaradite battle 14:22, 31; 5:2
Women and children who take up arms for battle 15:12-25

Moroni

Nephite women from the tower of Sherrizah who were held captive by the Lamanites 9"7-8, 19
Daughters of the Lamanites held prisoner in Moriantum 9:9-10
Widows and their daughters who remained in Sherrizah 9:16, 19
Many old women who died in Sherrizah 9: 16, 19

If you are interested I have also put together a study guide for all the women of The Book of Mormon. It has each woman listed with her scripture references, room for thoughts and questions for additional study. You can find it here.

14 comments:

  1. Love it. Very comprehensive list. Thank you.

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  2. thanks so much for sharing your studies with the world! I started studying the women in the scriptures this year and your site has been really motivating for me!

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  3. Very interesting list - I just looked up your reference to Amulek's wife, as I didn't immediately recall her, and was interested to see it said 'women'. Opens more questions to me!
    The thing that clicked for me, though, was how we know that when Mormon abridged the record, about 99% of it had to be left to other records. Maybe the other prophet's wives are referred to as was Sariah. Maybe. We won't know for a bit yet, but it's a possibility.

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  4. .

    I've been using this as a reference, so please don't think I'm complaining. Just note that the kidnapped daughters of the Lamanites are in osiah, not Alma.

    Also: have you read this? I found it pretty compelling. (And this is a good followup response.)

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  5. Thank you, for saying that this book was written in a time when what women did wasn't really noted and that in general, in our history, what women do isn't really recorded.

    I think people can get hung up on details and miss out on the really good things that are there to be relished.

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  6. Don't forgot Mary and Eve. . . though they aren't specific to the book of mormon, they are specifically mentioned in the book of mormon.

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  7. I am a "less-active" member of the LDS church (unfortunately). I have(recently) started keeping my Quad right by where I sit in the living room. In the morning and afternoon after work is when I surf the internet and Pinterest and things; I find little scripture refrences here and there and enjoy looking them up for myself and relating to them in my own way. I feel Religion as well as my relationships with Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are very personal and private. I have enjoyed this blog very much and can't wait to read these refrences for myself and connect to these women through the scriptures.
    Hopefully you can tell that even though One is not "Active", One can still have a very Strong testimony of Christ, his teachings and His Church; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!
    Best Regards!
    ~Andrea~

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  8. I too have an interest in women and the QUALITIES of righteous womanhood as preserved in the Scriptures I made a list of those qualities anfd finding your blog is a perfect compliment to my research and interest! <3 Love it! Love the scriptures and love My Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ. ~PATRICIA

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  9. "Unfortunately much of what women did was not viewed as important enough to be engraved into the plates."

    I disagree. I believe their work was so highly regarded and so well known that it was inconceivable to have to remind the people generations or centuries later.

    Who, in any healthy relationship today, isn't aware of the amazing amount of strength, work, and dedication a woman has for those she cares for?

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  10. I teach Sunday School in my ward to the 14-18 year olds. I have a difficult young man in my class who has yet been unable to recognize the importance of women in the scriptures, their role in our divine inheritance, and their ability to utilize the priesthood and call down the power of heaven. One of his claims was that there aren't any women in the Book of Mormon which shows they are lesser than men. I've prepared and planned several stories to share with him, but this list has helped me immensely as I know it will him also! Thank you!

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  11. There are actually 6 ladies mentioned by name: Sariah, Sara, Eve, Mary, Abish and Isabel.

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    Replies
    1. I only counted women who were unique (as in not mentioned in the Bible or Pearl of Great Price) to the Book of Mormon, but you are right, if you count the Bible women there are 6 mentioned by name!

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    2. Plus those who are mentioned by title like Isaiah's wife "the prophetess," (2 Ne 18:3).

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  12. I was expressing gratitude in my prayers for all the men who sacrificed so much to write, record, abridge, and translate the scriptures so I could read them. The thought came that there were many women who sacrificed so much as well. I immediately thought of Mormon's wife who was probably practically a widow as a result of all the time it took for Mormon to read and abridge roughly 1000 years of history (on top of commanding the Nephite army). She sacrificed so much for the Book of Mormon. I wish she was mentioned so I could hear your thoughts on her. She must have been incredible.

    Also congratulations on your adorable daughter!

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