The Women’s Book of Mormon Is Here

Papereback 9.99 Kindle $6.99

We have been busy little deseret here at BCC Press in January. For ther unitiated, deseret is a Jaredite term for “honeybee.” The Jaredites, of course, came to the New World before the languages were confounded at the Tower of Babel, so they spoke a pure Adamic tongue. As near as we can tell, deseret is what God calls bees.

There are all sorts of fantastic beasts in the Book of Mormon. Along with honeybees, there are horses, and cows and oxen and asses and goats. And, of course, the mysterioius curelom and cumom. In all, the official LDS Coloring Book Curriculum lists 17 different animals that are named in the Book of Mormon.

Yes, there are lots of animals named in the Book of Mormon. What there aren’t a lot of are named women. There are, in fact, four women named in the entire book: Sariah, the wife of Lehi; Abish, the Lamanite servant; Isabel, the harlot and, by prophecy and reputation only, Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ. This is not enough for the Book of Mormon itself to even sit for the Bechdel Test, much less pass it.

BCC has been worried about this for a long time, so we decided to do something about it. Mette Harrison has already given a rich and complex story to one of the canonical women in last year’s The Book of Abish. She is back this year with a two-volume series called The Women’s Book of Mormon. We asked Mette for a few workds about the book, and here is what she said:

There are plenty of women in the Bible. Stories of women who find ways to power and ways to the divine are in both the New Testament and the Old Testament. But in our foundational scripture, The Book of Mormon, there are few women named or even mentioned at all. Women seem to do the work of giving birth to babies who will be chewed up in the endless wars between the Nephites and the Lamanites. But they do little else. The mothers of the sons of Helaman teach their sons to follow God, but they aren’t named. They don’t feel individual at all. Frankly, this is a complaint that I’d make about women in Mormonism in general. For all the talks I hear from the male leadership about how important women are, I often feel like the women they’re talking about aren’t individuals, but are examples of a category of womanhood.

Well, The Women’s Book of Mormon fills in a lot of those gaps. Every one of the women in this invented scripture is an individual. They have individual challenges, from infertility to suicidal ideation to war and body dysphoria. But these women aren’t just a compilation of problems, either. They are powerful women, every one of them. They may be victims of some terrible circumstances around them, but they don’t give up. They have passed down to each other the knowledge of The Mother, also known as Heavenly Mother, the Goddess, or the Mother-God. She is always there for them, waiting to be called upon and offering strength to Her children.

Have you wanted to talk about how women can have a relationship with Heavenly Mother? Have you wanted to get to know what a divine feminine figure might look like and how it might change how you think of yourself and other women? Have you wondered how the wars between the Lamanites and the Nephites got started? Have you asked yourself if chopping off Laman’s head was the only way to save the nation?

Do you want to see women walking on water? Women giving blessings to other women? Women healing the sick and injured? Women changing the world?

Then The Women’s Book of Mormon is for you.

The Women’s Book of Mormon, Volume 1 is available today in both Amazon Kindle and Paperback versions. The Second Volume will also be published this summer. Our amazing cover guy, Christian Harrison, has exceeded his already astronomical standards in designing the covers for this series, and we are thrilled to up our Book of Mormon game by releasing the first of them today.

.

Here, for your perusing pleasure, is the seventh chapter of the Book of Sariah, the first book in The Women’s Book of Mormon.

.

Comments

  1. Correction: there are 6 women named in the Book of Mormon. Eve is mentioned in 2 Nephi 2. Sarah is mentioned in 2 Nephi 8. I had all their names posted on my wall when I was a young girl.

  2. And why are we looking for more differences? We’re (in theory) God’s people (ALL of us). God ain’t looking at gender in my opinion. He sees our souls. I am a crabby old woman, but geez. Really??

  3. A few corrections/comments:
    1) the Jaredite story begins with the confounding of languages at the Tower of Babel. Consequently, “Deseret” is not Adamic or what God calls bees.
    2) it is misleading to refer to “invented scripture”. Either it is scripture—i.e. the divinely inspired record of God’s dealings with the Church and sanctioned by the Church—or it isn’t. At best, this could be described as devotional literature—writings of people which are designed to enrich spirituality but are not authoritative.
    3) Referring to horses, oxen, cattle, and goats as “fantastic beasts” is an interesting diction choice. Fantastic beasts are typically mythical or extraordinary.
    4) Heavenly Mother, the Goddess, the Mother God, etc, is not doctrinally based nor is she canonically recognised. Christian identity is to be found in Christ, not God the Father, and He (God Incarnate through Christ) is accessible to men and women.

  4. I, for one, am really looking forward to these books. I love Mormon and Mormon-adjacent women who proudly proclaim Mother God. I’m excited to see Mette Harrison’s faithful imagination of The Book of Mormon’s many unnamed and unmentioned women.

  5. lol @ ryan thanks

  6. melodynew says:

    Wow. ^^^ The comments here. . . beautiful examples of why and how women’s voices are silenced and invalidated still.

    Mormon Midrash is among my favorite (relatively recent?) traditions around here. Thanks for the sample from the book. I’ve ordered my copy.

  7. Ryan, this is fiction. I expect that everyone who reads it will approach it that way, not as a substitute or supplement to canonized scripture. I don’t expect to hear comments in gospel doctrine class that confuse the narratives, like I have with “The Work and the Glory”, “Our Heritage”, or the First Vision movie I saw in seminary. I hope it gives us an opportunity to look at the unseen and unnamed women living today, and I hope it’s as good as the Book of Laman.

  8. Aussie Mormon says:

    Melody, which comments exactly were silencing or invalidating women’s voices?

  9. Ryan Mullen says:

    This looks absolutely fantastic. Thanks for the sneak peek.

  10. A friend of mine texted me a few quotes from this book tonight and I placed my order immediately. This looks wonderful! I picked up Buried Treasures and the Book of Mormon for the Least of These already and they’ve been so nourishing. Thanks for your voice, Mette, and thanks BCC Press for amplifying it.