Tag Archives: women

The Silent Scripture

16 Jan

Those who care about such things like to point out there’s a lack of women in the Bible… or least, named women. After all, why does Zerubbabel get a mention, but not Z’s wife? The reasons given for this are… rather surprising.

I was inspired by reading another blogger going through a man and a woman from the bible every day and giving a little blurb on it. My first thought was, “Gee, he’s going to run out of women soon,” but that got me thinking, “Why are there fewer women mentioned in the Bible?” There are several theories.

Women are Busy with Real Jobs

Serach, wife of Zerubbabel, is too busy taking care of Z’s four sons and three daughters to bother going out into the desert to listen to angels. The founder of Chassidism, the Baal Shem Tov, was able to run around 18th Century Poland with his pack of disciple rabbis because his wife was running the inn and raising the kids. The Prophet Mohammad (Praise Be Upon Him) married a rich older woman, which gave him the time to devote to listening to the Angel Gabriel.

Or to give a better example, I read a fictionalization about the white mother of Naduah, the last principal chief of the Comanches. Two ladies were talking about a man giving himself a new name of power after going on a vision quest. The main character asks her friend, “Why haven’t you changed your name?” To which she bawks, “What would I need a new name? Oh, spirit, give me the power to sew better!” Then she breaks out laughing at the idea.

In this theory, we don’t read about Serach taking care of Z’s kids and household because it doesn’t make the headlines.

The Bible Doesn’t Waste Space

The reason given for why there are endless genealogies in the Bible is because they are important to letting us know where we come from. So even if Zerubbabel shows up for only one line, it’s important to indicate how his descendants relate to him and his ancestors. You’d think if they bothered to add “and he had many sons and daughters,” they could bother to add Serach’s name as well.

Those third/fourth wave feminists who feel the need to call it “hxstory” or “herstory” (even those “history” is a Greek word, dummy) would point out the marginalization of women, and they have some argument. After all, when the Hebrews walk through the Red Sea, the “Song at the Sea” (Exodus 15) is most of the chapter. Miriam is specifically mentioned for two verses (Ex 15:20-22) of this rather poetic retelling of what just happened, so I don’t buy this argument. However, if I wanted to defend the theory, I could say, “Miriam just said it better and shorter.” Which gets to the answer I prefer…

Later Editors Excised Women’s Stories

What people often forget is that like most pieces of ancient literature, such as Homer’s Iliad, the Bible was only passed down through oral tradition. It wasn’t written down. So when King Josiah comes to power, and his decides to cause a reformation of the religion, the new king’s eager priest supporters want a standardized text. The problem is that… doesn’t exist. So they start this stuff down, and if you believe the German critics, there are three different stories being told–the Priests (P), those who called God “Yahweh” (J–because Germans don’t have a Y in their alphabet), and those who call God “Elohim” (E). Then Deuteronomy is all one author (D) because it was “found” during Josiah’s reign and has a lot of stuff regarding kings. Fancy that.

This is just one example–even when you have a standardized text, the simple act of rewriting it again and again leads to a lot of mistakes. Any modern translation of the New Testament has many footnotes that say “some texts say X.” The Koran also was an oral history, and if you believe it was originally written down by the Prophet’s scribe Zayd ibn Thabit, it still had to be codified during the reign of the third caliph, Uthman ibn Affan, twenty years after the Prophet’s death.

So you’re a priest who is trying to avoid hand cramp, you’ve got this Song at the Sea you’re writing down, and now you’re trying to figure out how to cram in Miriam’s song. You can’t leave it out–too many people know it. So you just combine them, but because you’re a guy, you don’t think it’s THAT important. This theory implies that women’s stories were far more common before codification and they just got left out… or the ones we have radically shortened.

Okay, I’ve bloviated on as much as I should on this topic–some people have dedicated their whole lives to studying this. What do you think? Do you like one of my theories or do you have a better one? Let me know in the comments below!

Why are Mormon Women So Attractive? (Part II)

28 Jul

Continuing on my strange topic, you may be wondering, “Why am I blogging about this?” Because of my Hamilton fix, the online performing group Working with Lemons did an amazing job of taking the musical and putting it “in real life” (off stage). They’re also from Utah, and no surprise, Mormon. They also have incredibly hot women performing in it. No surprise either; the acting profession tends to be self-selecting, because beautiful women tend to be more successful. However, that’s what got me thinking about this–and check out their channel!

Self-Selecting Immigration

When the LDS made their first foreign missions, they hit England, right as the Industrial Revolution hit. Brigham Young himself immigrated from England. However, part of the reason there was a push to polygamy was because they converted a LARGE number of English women (who were probably working in cloth factories in terrible conditions), and ended up with more women than men.

In early 19th Century thinking, you can’t leave a large group of single women around unprotected. So all these women get scooped up. Following waves of converts from other parts of Europe generally are folks who a) believed and b) felt an opportunity in Utah. These people tend to be the folks who think they can get ahead and those folks tend to be more attractive.

Is this sexist? Sure–but how many ugly salesmen and saleswomen have you met? Go ahead–I doubt you can count them on more than one hand.

Modest is Hottest

Let’s face it, a woman in a bikini is pretty amazing, but it’s not like they’re hiding much. The same woman in a concealing blouse and skirt… wouldn’t you like to know more? On a similar vein, let’s try…

Happy is the New Sexy

Mormon women tend to be happier. And let’s face it, a happier girl is a sexier one; she brightens up a room. Could it be good living, frontier politeness, and avoiding drugs and alcohol? A greater emphasis on family and friendship? Doing things together and for others? Perhaps. It doesn’t work for everyone in the church–trust me, I’ve met several ex-Mormons–but generally all the LDS folks I’ve worked and hung out with are great, interesting, and happy people.

What do you think? Am I an asshole to bring this up? Do I just need to visit Utah to have my perception change? Or am I right on the money? Let me know in the comments below.

Why are Mormon Women So Attractive? (Part I)

27 Jul

Your mileage may vary, but this something that has puzzled me for quite some time – why are Mormon women so attractive? Is the water? Self-selecting immigration? Or is there some Sisterhood class that I’m not aware of? (Why would I be?) Let me throw out some wild speculation, put in some quotes, and see where this takes me?

Not Everyone Agrees

This was not considered “gospel” a hundred years ago. Mark Twain wrote about them in Roughing It: “My heart was wiser than my head. It warmed toward these poor, ungainly and pathetically ‘homely’ creatures, and as I turned to hide the generous moisture in my eyes, I said, ‘No – the man that marries one of them has done an act of Christian charity which entitles him to the kindly applause of mankind, not their harsh censure – and the man that marries sixty of them has done a deed of open-handed generosity so sublime that the nations should stand uncovered in his presence and worship in silence.'”

Best Foot Forward

Whenever LDS missionaries come over, I always invite them in. As a student of Mormon History (but not a member of their church), I find them interesting to talk to and love to go back and forth on the BoM. 9 times out of 10, Saints on a mission are generally young – between 19 and 24 – so it could be that we’re just seeing them at the right time. Certainly, there’s plenty of beautiful women on Arizona State’s campus… although they have an LDS training center on campus… wait a minute…

When I was 25, I went on a road trip and landed in Independence, Missouri. Because I like Mormon history, I decided to check out the temple site… and pulled into the wrong parking lot. Turns out there’s three different denominations claiming different parts of the Temple Site and the mainline denomination has a visitor’s center right next to the Community of Christ’s big temple. So I’m walking into the visitor’s center and five of the most beautiful women I have ever seen are working there as tour guides. I had to admit, it was a great conversion tool: “Seduce your way to Christ!” 🙂

Wow! This article is getting too long – I’m going to have to finish this tomorrow. But am I full of it? Am I right on the nose? Let me know in the comments below.

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