Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Heather Moore's Women of the Book of Mormon

It's an honor to review this book, not only because I enjoyed reading it, but I've already quoted from it in presentations and lessons. This book is a collection of 12 chapters on the women who are mentioned in the Book of Mormon. Here are some of the highlights that I appreciated:

* Heather is a reliable source on the history of the Book of Mormon, not only scripturally but from a historical standpoint as well. She delves into the customs of the day, presents viable scenarios and situations that likely occurred for these women of whom so little is written.

* The book is meticulously documented in quotations/source material. Very well done.

* Heather does not throw criticism upon the customs of the day, even subtly. She is a good example of a non-judgmental historian who looks back on flawed societies and recognizes that it was what it was. She doesn't allow modern sensibilities to cast aspersions on situations that a contemporary reader might find frustrating.

* Alternatively, the author is still willing to give a "fallen" woman the benefit of the doubt, or at least a sense of compassion. Speaking of Isabel, the harlot mentioned in Alma 39:3, she says, "What desperation and misery drove a woman to the life of a harlot? Perhaps there was little or no choice in the sense that Isabel may have been born or sold into this diabolical practice."

* Eve is mentioned in the Book of Mormon, and as such receives a chapter of her own in this book. The analysis is a beautiful tribute to our first mother, and ties the Book of Mormon to the Bible in a significant and complete way.

* Practical application. In reference to the story of the Queen of King Lamoni's Father, the author says, "In our lives, by delaying our emotional reactions and waiting for all of the facts to come in, we might discover that we had viewed the situation wrong from the beginning. When we wait, pause, or even turn to prayer for guidance and direction, we find that the correct response will often make itself manifest." Each chapter has words of wisdom that tie the scriptural account to an application to modern life.

* The presentation of the book itself is absolutely beautiful. The narrative is coupled with stunning paintings by a variety of artists.

As I mentioned, I've already quoted from this book in a presentation at a women's conference in Idaho and in my calling as Gospel Doctrine teacher. I love that Heather is a contemporary of mine, that she's a woman and is so well-read. She's an amazingly talented writer and storyteller, and this first nonfiction effort on her part is extremely well done. As a fellow author of historical fiction, I appreciate the efforts that have gone into the research used not only in her Book of Mormon novels, but in this book as well.

This book makes a wonderful gift for not only women, but men, too! I highly recommend it.

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