I’ve heard the comment before that it’s hard to relate to the scriptures when all the main characters are men. In a way, I understand that logic, but it’s also incredibly faulty to me. However, I studied literature in school, so relating to words on a page is essentially what my degree taught me. Recently though, I’ve begun to think about the women in the Book of Mormon and the bible. There aren’t very many of them, but I think the examples they do sent are incredible. I’ve also started thinking about the women who aren’t mentioned by name, and I actually think they have more to offer us.
We know that where there is a man in the scriptures, there is generally also a woman. We know about Saraiah, we watch her struggle as her sons go back to Jerusalem. We know of her hardships and trials. Who intrigues me more, is Nephi’s wife. We know he had one, because they go back and get Ishmael and his daughters, and because Nephi has children of his own. What we don’t know is anything about her. This doesn’t bother me, as I know it does some women, because we know what Nephi is like. Just as we know the type of woman Emma Smith was because she was married to Joseph. Since she isn’t mentioned, when I read the Book of Mormon, I have started to stop and think, “What would it be like for his wife…. for his daughter…?” What would it be like to know that your husband or father had enough faith to build a ship based solely on the Lord’s commands? What would it be like to then watch as he was tied to the mast of that ship by his brothers and you suffered through the treacherous ocean storms? What would it be like to know that he had seen and spoken with God? That he was a visionary man? Would you believe him?
There is an oft untold story of “Mother Whitmer”. A lot of the translation of the Book of Mormon took place at her home, and it is said that one day, as she was out attending to her daily tasks, an angel appeared and showed her the plates because she was a faithful woman who believed and supported the work. I love this story, because it reiterates that God is not a respecter of persons. He is willing to show miracles to those who are faithful to him- both male and female. This story also testifies to me that the unnamed women of the faithful leaders of the Book of Mormon had witnesses and visions and miracles in their own lives.
One day, when we reach the celestial gates of Heaven, we will have the great opportunity of speaking to the women of the scriptures. We will know their stories and we will be edified as we listen to them. For now, we must dig a little deeper and ponder about them. As you ponder, I know you’ll be able to learn some more things about the women in the scriptures.