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Accusatory Questions

How could a few working women cause the fall of Israel?

by Jeff Lindsay

There is a story behind this question that illustrates the importance of reading and thinking about the Book of Mormon carefully before we reject it. One genuinely intelligent person received his free copy of the Book of Mormon, flipped it open and was immediately appalled at the text. He found it ridiculous compared to the Bible. His first question to me was how I could believe in a book that teaches about (1) "the fall of Israel due to women who were not homemakers and strayed outside the family?" and (2) " the resurrection of Israel by only seven of those women coming back to the word?" My initial response:

"Where did you get this???? This is all new to me. I think it might be in the God Makers or some other anti-Mormon book, but after many readings, I've never noticed anything like this in the Book of Mormon. Maybe I've missed something. AH, maybe something from Isaiah? "

It turns out that he had been reading a chapter from the Biblical book of Isaiah (Is. 4), which had been quoted in its entirety by Nephi, who loved Isaiah. Isaiah 4 contains a prophecy about the daughters of Zion becoming vain and worldly, and also mentions seven women taking hold of one man (a sign of a great war, perhaps, in which many men are killed), but certainly does not say that Israel fell because of working women or that it is resurrected by seven women.

My subsequent discussions with this person proved him to be generally insightful and intelligent. But his initial mistake with the text is instructive. The same criterion he used to reject the Book of Mormon would have equally well rejected the Bible, for the passage he found so appalling and silly actually came from the Bible, though he did not realize it at the time. I have found that many criticisms of the Book of Mormon apply as well to the Bible, and many criticisms of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - especially those criteria used to deny our status as Christians - would apply equally well to the early Christians in the New Testament. My suggestion, then, is to be careful with your accusations. Check first to see if they would also apply to the Bible or to the original Church that Christ established.

(See The Book of Mormon home page; Response to Criticism home page; Accusatory Questions home page)

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