Females and murmuring

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In 1 Ne. 16:20, we read the following after Nephi broke his bow.

It came to pass that Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael did begin to murmur exceedingly, because of their sufferings and afflictions in the wilderness; and also my father began to murmur against the Lord his God; yea, and they were all exceedingly sorrowful, even that they did murmur against the Lord.

So, I wonder if it’s significant that Nephi didn’t mention any of the women murmuring.

19 thoughts on “Females and murmuring

  1. Probably only that with so many men murmuring, the writer didn’t bother mentioning the women. Elsewhere, he didn’t hesitate to record feminine murmuring (1 Nephi 5:2-3).

  2. Or because he really didn’t mention the women, or children that often.

    Their murmuring was probably mentioned on his “other” plates.

  3. I’m with JM, it’s much, much stranger that no women in the Lehite party aside from Sariah getting names. Really, the more telling bits are where women are mentioned at all, not where they’re absent.

  4. That’s interesting, Ardis. It makes it all the more intriguing why he didn’t mention it if he mentions their murmuring on at least one other occasion.

  5. It’s because women aren’t worth mentioning.
    Just like in the majority of the other stories.
    They mention women about as much as they mention the other chattle – oxen, cattle, goats, women, etc.

  6. I have an essay on why the one story Nephi tells about his mother happens to be the one in which she complains.

    http://www.meridianmagazine.com/articles/050420light.html

    Also a sequel in which I suggest that the reason the mothers of the stripling warriors “knew” what their sons did not doubt they knew, is because the must have complained to the only power that could have done something about it.

    http://www.meridianmagazine.com/articles/050527nodoubt.html

    Those both derive from an earlier 52 page essay on women in the Book of Mormon in RBBM 10:2, in which we demonstrated that “when women move from the background to the foreground in the Book of Mormon they typically do so for three reasons:

    • to highlight profoundly archetypal situations
    • to show the mutual dependence and independent agency of men and women
    • to emphasize that the promises and obligations of the gospel apply equally to men and women”

    Kevin Christensen
    Pittsburgh, PA

  7. Actually women are mentioned in the Book of Mormon and bible let’s see, there is the Lamanite Queen, Abish is another). Maybe not a lot, but what is said is significant. Mormon abridged the Book of Mormon so he had to sift through a lot of the work which was relevant to what the Lord wanted for us to read. And Deborah is one of my favourite (probably the favourite) in the Old Testament. Need more women like her.

  8. It shouldn’t be surprising that women were treated like property in these books.

    Given the timeframe these stories are to be set in, it would be entirely appropriate.

    Most of the western world was not enlightened enough to give women their rights until the 19th century – we still have countries today where women are second class.

  9. uh Rick.. what planet do you live in that you would think that women have rights more then they did back in the biblical times? Yes women can vote and women can work at jobs that aren’t “menial” but you only have to check any women’s shelter to find more women then you will ever be able to count that feel that they have no rights and have grown up being told they have no rights. Women are also mentioned in the Book of Mormon, 2000 of them actually. Those are pretty good numbers for honourable mentions :)

  10. Women can hold property now. They can hold a job now. They can choose what they want to wear. They can choose where they go. They can choose when they leave their house. They can get a formal education? They can hold political office. They can unveil their faces. They can choose if they have children.

    Sure, there are many people in shelters and elsewhere who live in fear and/or in controlling environments, but there are hundreds of millions of women who do not.

  11. “more women then you will ever be able to count”
    “no rights”
    “Women are also mentioned in the Book of Mormon, 2000 of them actually.”

    Your gift for hyperbole aside, there are many, many women in positions that are as equal as their male counterparts.

    My argument was not whether or not women had equal rights, anyway. My point was that they were not even considered people until late in the 18th and early 19th century.

    If you indeed believe that women have no greater rights now than in ‘biblical times'(whenever that actually applies to) then I think it is indeed you who live on another planet. I sure hope your granddaughters don’t feel the same way when they reach your age.

  12. Just a few verses later, women are mentioned as murmurers. But then in 1 Ne. 17, it talks about women being strong in the wilderness. It sounds to me like there was a lot of attitude variation. :)

  13. Kevin,

    thanks to the pointer to your essays, particularly the one about the mothers of the 2000 warriors. That story in the BOM has always bugged me–particularly when I am told I should teach my children that no harm will come to them. I don’t know no harm will come to them. What I know is rather the opposite. Which you point out very well, pointing to the history of these convert women who have suffered and seen at first hand what violence is. It gives me great peace to interpret instead, that what these mothers knew was given to them by revelation, not by whistling in the dark.

  14. Johanna,

    You are welcome. It’s amazing sometimes, what you can see in a overly familiar text when you stop and think about it.

    Best,

    Kevin Christensen
    Pittsburgh, PA

  15. In answer to the original question, no. In my view, the absence of specific mention of women in this sentence doesn’t strike me as significant in the least.

  16. I disagree with m&m in comment 15. Neither the mention of women who were murmuring, nor the mention of women who were strong in the wilderness, was aimed at women in general. Both comments were describing a particular set of women at a particular time. Neither purports to be a generalization about women; neither indicates an attitude about women in general.

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