The Book of Mormon only barely mentions women, tells us that they can be responsible for men going astray (Alma 39:4), that rapists can steal women’s virtue (Moroni 9:9), and refers to abominable and unclean things as female (3 Ne 20:41 etc.). It also approves a very old man marrying a very young woman (Ether 9:23-24).
In early Mormonism there were polygamous marriages of teen women to church leaders (such as a Joseph Smith, 38 to Helen Kimball, 14). In the Mormon marriage ceremony a woman is married to a man but not vice-versa, and women are considered property (D&C 132:62). Mormonism has also often blamed women for rape (as the recent BYU case and several talks by leaders show).
Although I never personally condoned the abuse of women I supported an organization which did. I encourage all my Mormon family and friends to reject these teachings and find the greater happiness that comes through doing so.
Below is a longer study of these issues:
The Book of Mormon teaches … Women are – Unneeded & unimportant
Where Are All The Women?
“It is somewhat noticeable how little prominence is given to womankind in the historical narrative of the Book of Mormon, and unfortunately when mention is made of her it too frequently grows out of man’s sins and her misfortunes.” Elder George Reynolds
“women are virtually absent from the Book of Mormon. When they do manage to show up, they are rarely named. … None of the queens who show up in the story are mentioned by name. None of these writers ever mentions his own wife, and when women do show up in a specific role they’re still almost never named.” Orson Scott Card, LDS Author
Women Are Usually Not Worth Mentioning At All
- Only 3 unique women are named in the Book of Mormon: Sariah, Abish & Isabel.
- 188 unique women are named in the Bible!
- Women are only addressed as a group twice in the Book of Mormon. (2 Ne 4:3 & Morm 6:19)
- Male pronouns (such as “he” and “his”) appear 35 times more often than female ones, and many of the female ones refer to things!
Women Never Talk With Other Women
“The Bechdel test asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. The requirement that the two women must be named is sometimes added.”
The Book of Mormon does not pass this test.
Several books in the Bible pass the test, and two Biblical books are named after women: Esther & Ruth.
The Book of Mormon teaches … Women are – Less important than missions & Can steal men’s hearts
Leaving Your Mission Is Worse Than Abusing Women
Alma 39:3 … Thou didst do that which was grievous unto me; for thou didst forsake the ministry, and did go over into the land of Siron among the borders of the Lamanites, after the harlot Isabel.
Corianton left his mission to the Zoramites to go out of his way to Siron where he knew Isabel would be. It seems she was a prostitute – perhaps due to poverty and lack of social standing or opportunities for women. Corianton treated her like an object he could pay for. Without men like him Isabel would not be in such an abused position.
Women Can Steal Men’s Hearts
Alma 39:4 Yea, she did steal away the hearts of many; but this was no excuse for thee, my son. Thou shouldst have tended to the ministry wherewith thou wast entrusted.
Corianton is condemned – because Isabel stole his heart. It’s as if he didn’t have the choice to open his heart to her, to visit her, and to use her. He is only told he should have paid more attention to his missionary duties.
The Devil / A Woman Made Him Do It
Alma 39:11 … suffer not the devil to lead away your heart again after those wicked harlots. Behold, O my son, how great iniquity ye brought upon the Zoramites; for when they saw your conduct they would not believe in my words.
No concern is shown for Isabel’s welfare now or in eternity, and there is no indication that Corianton wronged her in any way. Corianton can just say “the devil made me do it” and the worst outcome seems to be lost potential converts.
The Book of Mormon teaches … Women – Lose virtue through rape
Rapists Can Steal Virtue
Moroni 9:9 Many of the daughters of the Lamanites have they taken prisoners; and after depriving them of that which was most dear and precious above all things, which is chastity and virtue.
No wonder abused women feel unworthy and unwanted.
The Book of Mormon teaches … Women are – Not Prophetesses
Prophetesses in the Bible
- Isaiah’s wife
- Daughters of Phillip
- Rachel (Gen. 30:24)
- Hannah (1 Sam 2:1-10)
- Abigail (1 Sam 25:29-31)
- Elisabeth (Luke 1:41-45)
- Mary (Luke 1:46-55)
Number in the Book of Mormon:
The Book of Mormon teaches … Women are – Like evil and unclean things
Negative Female Imagery
- The Great & Abominable Church – 1 Ne 14:9
- Attacking Gentiles – 1 Ne 13:17
- Wicked Cities – Hela 13:12-14
Jesus in the Bible never uses negative female imagery, but in the Book of Mormon He does:
3 Nephi 20:41 And then shall a cry go forth: Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch not that which is unclean; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.
The Book of Mormon teaches – Young women are – Okay to marry old men
Old Men Marry Young Women
Ether 9:23 And it came to pass that Coriantum … had no children even until he was exceedingly old.  And it came to pass that his wife died, being an hundred and two years old. And it came to pass that Coriantum took to wife, in his old age, a young maid, and begat sons and daughters; wherefore he lived until he was an hundred and forty and two years old.
Hebrew: maid = 12-13 year old girl
The Tradition Continues …
- Joseph Smith – married 14 year old Helen Mar Whitney when he was 38 – 24 years difference
- Brigham Young – married 15 year old Lucy Ann Decker at age 42 – 27 years difference
- Wilford Woodruff – married 15 year old Emma Smith at 46 – 31 years difference
- Lorenzo Snow – married 15 year old Sarah Minnie Ephramina Jensen when he was 57 – 42 years difference
The Book of Mormon teaches – Women are – Not considered in our day
Written For Our Women?
Mormon 8:34 Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you.
So why aren’t the following major issues relevant?
- Votes for women
- Women holding property
- Women in the workplace
- Heavenly Mother
Do You Believe This?
For anyone wanting to share this I put this together in a series of slides.