she ran forth from house to house


So, I'm entirely uncertain why, when forced to come up with female figures from the book of Mormon, people totally forget Abish. Ok, that's a lie. I'm not entirely uncertain. I'm pretty sure it has to do with the fact that most folks aren't paying that much attention by the time they get to Alma. I mean, it's all wars and the chopping off of arms and the harlot Isabel*. What chance does a story that actually holds direct bearing on modern believers' lives actually have?

Abish is the female servant of King Lamoni's wife (talking about women in the book of Mormon is tricky, as you make use of a lot of genitives [Nephi's wife, the daughters of Jared, etc]) who sees the whole royal household collapse and then decides it makes the perfect missionary moment. When the people get together, they start thinking maybe it's actually some evil trick of Ammon's, that he's killed the whole family. Abish becomes visibly upset by their discussions. You can almost hear her scream, "No! Why don't you just believe me?" She then wakes up the queen by touching her (proof of female priesthood, anyone?). Then, everybody's up and testifying of the great things they saw and heard. In essence, Abish experiences what a lot of modern missionaries do: the complete disjunction between what they feel and what others take from the exact same situation.

Why is all of this pertinent? Because I'm entirely unsure how I feel about Real Hero Posters. For instance, the exact dates? How white the people are? But I do know that making some lame "Daughters of the Wilderness" attempt is ridiculous given the fact that we have a story of an actual female spiritual hero. Also, doesn't Enos look a little...elfin here?

*Isabel is probably the best-recognized named harlot in Mormonism (even more so than Rahab of Jericho, though her story is probably cooler. But it's probably a bad idea to get me started on Mormons' selective memory about the Old Testament). She's also one of four women in the Book of Mormon graced with a proper name. However, I have a (totally unaccepted) theory that Isabel isn't a name, but rather a title. One rendering from Hebrew would be 'Isa Ba'al (Wife/Mistress of Ba'al). Which then raises questions about how we know that Corianton's sin is sexual and not some form of idolatry.


ke said...

Entirely elvin. Gandalph is my real life hero. (Answers to questions? Never.) (Love the Isabel as title idea.)

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