The Unnamed Women of War (Alma 43-52)

Monday, August 3, 2020


Channing: Hi I’m Channing,

Elise: and I’m Elise,

C: and this is The Faithful Feminists podcast.

E: This is not just any Come Follow Me podcast - we do things a little differently here. We offer approachable feminist interpretations of the Come Follow Me manual for those who want to study and understand the scriptures in a framework of equality, social justice, and sisterhood. We’re here to show you all the really good ways faith and feminism work together to illuminate and deepen the gospel experience. 

C: We’ve saved you a seat on the soft chairs so join us today for a conversation about Alma 43-52 August 3-9. We’re so glad you’re here.

E: Welcome back! I’m so glad to have Channing back for this week's episode! We need each other because there are literally so many chapters to cover. This is one of the things that we have talked about, at least behind the scenes. Channing and I always like “Why is the come Follow Me manual organized the way that it is?” 

C: Yeah! Some weeks we only cover two or three chapters and then other weeks, like that one in 2nd Nephi, it was like 11 chapters? It's literally like trying to drink from a firehose. Its a lot.

E: That's kind of how I felt initially approaching these chapters especially because this is where we start to see a lot of the infamous “war chapters” unfolding. There are a lot of stories going on, lots of characters, and a lot of death.

C: It can be a difficult story to follow because I feel like it just comes at you really fast. As you’re reading you kind of get sucked into the text, like “Whoa! That happened and then this happened and then that happened,” but literally just before we got on to record, Elise was like, “If you asked me where all of the stuff was chapterwise, I wouldn't be able to tell you.” We’re going to cover it today as best and excitedly as we can because there's a lot of goodness to pull from these chapters.


So right at the beginning of these chapters we start in chapter 43 there are some verses that I find kind of interesting but also a little bit funny because they just seemed really out of place. These verses are chapter 43: 2-3. These are written by Mormon--not by Alma--I think they were put in afterwards because they kind of carry the voice of the narrator. So these verses say, “Now we will say no more concerning Alma and his sons preaching, except that they preached the word and the truth according to the spirit of prophecy and revelation. And now I return to an account of the wars between the Nephites and Lamanites in the eighteenth year of the reign of the judges.” As I was reading I was like “Wait, what? Isn't the Book of Mormon supposed to be a record of things that are only sacred? Didn't Nephi say that when he first was writing on the plates?” 

I went back to try to find that verse. In 1st Nephi 19, he [Nephi] basically records the commandment from the Lord saying that the only things that should be written on the plates which comprise the Book of Mormon, that they should be reserved for “the ministries, prophecies, and the more plain and precious parts;” and that the other set of plates that Nephi made records on were meant for “the wars and contentions and destructions of my people.” And Nephi even goes as far as to say, “I do not write anything upon plates save it be that I think it's sacred.” You can find this in 1 Nephi 19: 3-6. I just find it really interesting that Mormon, who is abridging these plates and making them a little bit easier for us to all read, compiled them in the spirit of Nephi. I think it's interesting to note that these war chapters all of the sudden are contained in a record that is supposed to be saved for spiritual things only. I'm a little bit curious about why that would be the case that these war chapters are suddenly more important or hold more weight or value when the text makes it very explicit that Alma and his sons went out to preach. We're just missing all of the things that they said. Any thoughts Elise?

E: I think Mormon super super thinks Moroni is the most, like, fantastic person ever so it would make sense that like Mormon wants to spend lots of time telling and teaching us how amazing Moroni is. Also, it seems like these wars go on for long long periods of time. If that's the event that's taking up the most of people's time, I think it would almost be... I don't know, I'm just thinking that they were feeling like this was an important piece to talk about, especially because the Nephites were on the defensive side. They were being attacked and they saw so clearly God in their motivations to go to war. I think that they found God even in war, and that could be one reason why they feel it's important and maybe sacred to write on the plates.

C: Right. I just find it really interesting. I almost wish that the Book of Mormon could have been a little bit longer.Could we also include everything that Alma taught? Why do we have to do this either/or? But maybe they didn't even write it down, like maybe Alma didn't write it down. But I also think that it's important as a feminist reader to pay attention to what content in the book receives the most weight in value in the abridgement that Mormon made. It's not even just in the Book of Mormon but across all sacred texts that wars and battle and contention and violence are talked about quite a bit. I have to wonder if it's just partly because men wrote the record. I often wonder, probably like a lot of other feminist readers do, how different the scriptures would look and how different with these accounts of war would look if they had been written and recorded by women. We will never know.

E: And I think, oftentimes, even in the beginning of the Come Follow Me manual it says something like, you might find these chapters difficult to relate to but there are important lessons here, or something and I think that's exactly how I felt approaching this set of scriptures. I was kind of like, “There are no women here! The women aren't fighting! This is kind of pointless.” But after slowing down, the reason these people are going to battle is for the least of these. They're fighting for their land, their children, and their women.

C: Yeah that was one thing that stuck out to me too as we were reading. I was like, “Finally women aren't being thrown in the fire!”

E: That's exactly it. There was a passage that I had found from a Mormon Women Project article by Neylan McBaine. They write, “So it seems that Mormon’s goal to make sure that the readers know that the gruesome actions he's describing were motivated by a desire to defend wives, children, and families. It feels here like a welcome antidote to the sacrifice of Ammonihahite women and children in Alma chapter 14; instead of being tossed aside in the work of death, women are instead here positioned as being worthy of protection at all cost.”

I think that pairs up really nicely to what you literally had just said about “Wow! The women and children aren't’ just tossed into the fire.” They are worthy of protection here. 

C: I almost wonder if... I don't know... I don't want to say, oh the Nephites learned their lesson obviously, but like also maybe they did. I find this comparison between the actions of defending the women and children to the events that happened in Ammonihah. Especially if we get a little further in the text, one of the sites of battle that happens in these war chapters actually happens in Ammonihah. The text says that the Nephites have rebuilt the city. Moroni went to special effort to fortify the city to make sure that it was going to be absolutely impossible to overtake. The Lamanites didn't know this. The text even says they [the Lamanites] went to Ammonihah assuming that because they were able to overtake it once that it would be easy for them to do it again. The Lamanites arrive to Ammonihah to find it exactly how Moroni planned: incredibly fortified and impossible to overtake. So the Lamanites don't even try! They just look at that and they're like yeah, nope, hard pass.

I was actually really touched reading this section of scripture because I thought, “Oh my gosh. What a relief to have this site, this city that was a place of such horrific violence against women to not have to see more violence and bloodshed.” No one died there was literally no bloodshed at this “battle of Ammonihah.” I just found a huge relief, almost like a little bit of a tender mercy in the text of like, thank goodness! Sometimes the land and the people already suffered too much. I'm just so glad. Not that that event of women and children being thrown into the fire is redeemable… I'm sure some people won’t agree with me, but I kind of think that's not... but to see that there was some kind of attempt made, maybe some kind of divine intervention, to make sure that that was not a site of violence again. I just was really touched by it and I was really really grateful for that little bit of relief in these violent chapters.

E: Absolutely, because when Alma had gone to Ammonihah there was... you can all listen to the episode we did where we critiqued the patriarchy and the toxic masculinity that we felt showed up and in that event at Ammonihah... and so at that event they didn't choose to stand by the women. They [the women and children] were objects that were easily disposable. If we compare that to what's happening now, these women and children and the land are worthy of protection. I wouldn't want to read it as: All women and children, you're too weak. You need to stay at home. That type of protectionist mindset I feel like especially in the 21st century as feminists we’re trying to move away from. We are equal participants. But it's the women and the children and families in the land that are at risk. Those are the ones that need allies. They need people to fight for them. It doesn't mean that they're sitting home doing nothing. I'm sure that they are equally engaged in the work, but it looks different at that time. 

So there are a lot of women that show up in the text. It's the wives and their children of the Nephites that they're going to fight for. They are trying to save an honor and protect. Later, in chapters 47 and 52 we have the appearance of the Lamanite queen, and then in chapter 50 we see a maidservant appear. She plays a pretty big role in bringing peace and justice to the war.

C: Anytime that we see women explicitly mentioned in the text, we’re always like, “Oh my gosh finally! Here they are.” Even though their stories are complicated and complex, we really wanted to spend some time digging into those stories and talking about them so that we can see the women. One of the main female characters that we see show up in the text, just like Elise mentioned, was the Lamanite queen and we see her show up in chapter 47. She's kind of showing up in the middle of a lot of like action in the battlefield. 

There was a man named Amalickiah who was once a Nephite but decided that he didn't like everything that was going on in the nephite community--probably because he was a jerk. That's at least he comes across in the text-- he goes to the Lamanite army and essentially  works his way up the leadership and kills the head of the army. He poisons him little bit by little bit. Once he becomes head of the Lamanite army, he decides that that's just not enough. He wants a little bit more, so he goes to the king of the Lamanites. The king of the Lamanites comes out to meet Amalickiah out in a field somewhere, and while the king and Amalickiah are out there, one of Amalickiah’s servants just stabbed the king and kiled him right on the spot. The servants of the king see this happen. All of the sudden, Amalickiah is like, you guys all just saw the king's servants kill the king. If any of you people love the king then chase down those servants and make them pay for this evil act, all well knowing that the people who were close and right there were his inside men, so they are the only ones--them and the king's servants-- are the only ones that know that Amalickiah actually killed the king. 

So the servants run away. Eventually word makes it back to the queen that her husband has died and Amalickiah’s armies are marching to her land. The text says in chapter 47:32-35 that the queen sent word to Amalickiah and “desired him that he would spare the people of the city” and “bring witnesses to testify concerning the death of the king, her husband.” Amalickiah was probably like sure, yes this is my plan all along. He goes there and talks to the queen and basically says, “Look, here are my witnesses. They all saw the servants kill the king and the servants have run away. Is there any more proof that you need of their guilt?” The text basically says, “and thus they satisfied the queen concerning the death of the king.” This all happens in 3 verses. There's not a lot of time between all this. Then, the text says in verse 35, “Amalickiah sought the favor of the queen and took her unto him to wife.” 

For me personally, reading this text I'm like oh how very suspicious! Of course he sought her favor and took her into him to wife. But as a woman reading the text, I'm not entirely sure that she was actually convinced, you know? Women aren’t dumb. If a man came to me and was like, “Oh yeah the servants--the ones that you probably have a relationship with and see every single day--those are the ones that killed the king.” I am just very suspicious of this whole thing. I don't actually think the queen believed him. I also think or wonder if she really had a whole lot of choice in the matter as far as marrying Amalickiah because if you think about it, her first request to Amalickiah was please spare the people of the city so obviously she cared a little bit about her duties and about her people. I imagine too that she had children with the King and she was probably concerned for their safety too. I feel a little bit sad reading the story about the queen because I can imagine the circumstances being pretty treacherous. Honestly I'm not sure that she did have another choice as far as trying to do the best by her people and the best by her children. I mean because she could have... like what, said no? Amalickiah would have slowly poisoned her and her children anyway, just like he did with the head leader of the army. So I guess I'm just kind of feeling frustrated that this was her only option, but also like really compassionate understanding that this probably was her only option. I just feel sad. That probably was not a happy or healthy or good arrangement. I don't know. Elise, what do you think?

E: I think you said it as generously and has compassionately as we can read into the story. I'm also thinking if she said, “No, Amalickiah I don't want to marry you,” I agree that he probably would have freaked the heck out and killed her anyways. Maybe she knew that. Also, what if she wanted to continue to hold the power that she did hold? I think that meant that she needed to... well, I don't know enough about Lamanite governmental structures to know if when the king dies does the queen reign in his stead? Or is there a new king that she has to marry or did she get kicked out altogether in the king's brother steps up? I don't know what that looks like, but I do trust that she wasn't just tricked. I think that she was awake and aware of the situation and was hopefully acting out of not just self-preservation but also... I don't know, maybe she tried to do good with the power that she did hold. I don't know though. Amalickiah was a super bad guy though. At least he's painted that way in the text. I don't know what role she played in the ways that Amalickiah made decisions, but he basically ran a solo show. I don't think he would really care about what she had to say. Anyway, that’s all to say, it's just kind of sad but I don't think that she was tricked. I think she knew what was going on. 

C: I also just want to make some commentary. As I was doing research for this episode, I came across a couple of things that people had written in commentaries on this story, basically saying that the queen was in on it and that she wanted her husband to die and she was excited and ready to marry Amalickiah. I think I'm also a little bit bugged or concerned by those because I'm like oh really, you think she had that much say and that much power? I mean, not that it's like totally impossible, right, but the circumstances and the way that their interlude is worded just in these three verses... like, I just I feel like it doesn't really point to that. Also, understanding women and the power structures that they're living in at the time, don’t really lend themselves to that type of...coup. Its possible but it's not plausible. I'm totally going to bug my husband if he listens to this episode, but anytime I hear opinion pieces that try to make women out to be conniving, mischievous, premeditative people, I'm always like who authored this opinion piece? Oh yeah, it was a man. 

E: I think that's the other thing too, In the same way that we're being imaginative with what we think might have happened, you can do the same, just as these other opinion pieces have done, and flip it and say she was in on it the whole time. She wanted to hold onto her power. She had a big role in the Lamanites pursuing the Nephites. Yeah, I mean, you could read it that way, but there are so few women that show up in the Book of Mormon I do feel like as a feminist podcast we have a responsibility to read and interpret them in the most compassionate and loving light because the majority of their stories are not included in the text. When they are, I think we should try our best to push past this the interpretation that's a given to us. Perhaps here the interpretation that's given to us as either “she was dumb and she didn't know Amalickiah was a bad guy” or she was like in on it the whole time and was kind of evil. Neither of those are really generous or supportive or compassionate to her position.

C: And those stem from what? Years of male scholarship in the Book of Mormon. I totally agree with you that it is the responsibility and the benefit of coming to the text as a feminist reader to say okay, hang on, maybe this could have been different. Based on my lived experience as a woman, I think this actually might have looked different. Lived experience is a valuable way to interpret scripture.

E: Yes! Absolutely. 

C: The next significant woman that we see show up in the text is the maidservant of Morianton. We find her in Alma chapter 15: 31-33. 

E: Morianton and the people of Morianton live in the land of Morianton (laughing)... They are Nephites, but what ends up happening is that the people of Morianton… it says there's “warm contention” and then they end up fighting their own people that live across the way in another land called Lehi. The people of Lehi and the people of Morianton are fighting. The people of Lehi end up running to Moroni and they say hello all of these people are coming against us. The people of Morianton fear that Moroni's army is going to come against them so the people of Morianton want to flee northward and basically try and get more of the Nephites on their side. 

This is a big deal because a few chapters ago, the Nephites had entered into a covenant to remain righteous and if they continue to remain righteous they would be blessed and they would prosper and there would be no curse on the land but if they were unrighteous--which I think going to war against her own people and stirring up dissension and killing people definitely counts his unrighteous--that means that the Nephites wouldn’t prosper. The land would be cursed. There is a lot at stake here, especially for Moroni and Teancum who are kind of trying to keep everything at bay; not just among the Nephites but between the Nephites and Lamanites. 

So Morianton has a maidservant and in chapter 50: 30-31 this is where we see her show up. It says that Morianton is a “man of much passion;” I think you're way too nice considering that he ends up beating her. I would say he is a violent abuser. So he beats this maidservant because he's upset and she ends up running away from the people of Morianton. She comes into Moroni's camp and she tells Moroni everything that the people of Morianton are planning to do. She tells them that they're planning to flee north and that they are planning to continue this type of dissension and violence among their own people. So it's her action, it's her courage, not just from escaping a violent… I wouldn't even say relationship... like a violent work relationship and choosing to use her voice to stand up for her people. Ultimately not just to protect herself but going to Moroni and saying things are going to get bad between our own people if we don't put an end to this. 

C: One thing that I find significant in the text is that in verse 31 it says after she fed, she “told Moroni all things concerning the matter--comma, pause-- and also concerning their intentions to flee into the land northward.” I feel like the text is trying to bring our attention to the fact that the maidservant felt comfortable telling Moroni what actually happened to her, what Morianton did to her; and also all his dirty naughty plans to be a bad boy. I find this really touching that this woman felt... I don't know what the circumstances were, she could have been desperate for protection, but she must have at least in some measure trusted or hoped that she would be met with at least kindness, understanding, or at the very minimum respect. 

The second thing that I find striking about this is that they actually believed her. Moroni took everything that she said, believed it as fact, and acted on it. I find this awesome. This never happens. Not even a real life. How many women come forward with allegations of abuse or assault and are not believed? It happens literally every day. It's happened to me, it's happened to people that I love and it's really really sad. It's really significant and exciting that we see a case right here in sacred text of a man taking allegations of abuse and assault seriously and acting upon the information that a woman gives him. So even though its just two verses in the text, I feel like they're really significant; especially for anyone whose survived any type of domestic violence or sexual assault. So, yay Moroni! You actually did the right thing! 

E: Yeah, it further reinforces what Moroni and his people have been claiming that they are fighting for, right? You can't just say that you are fighting for the freedom and liberty of your women and children and then not believe a woman when she comes to you and says this has been my experience this is how I was abused and this is what's going on. I feel like there is an alignment between what the people of Moroni say that they're fighting for and what they actually show up and do.

C: That's a good point I hadn't picked up on that but it is exciting and it's good to see. I feel like and this might come off as bitter and I don't really care, but like I feel like in the church we claim that we care about women and we care about their health and we care about their well-being but if they come forward and say hey, I'm being abused by an ecclesiastical leader. I'm being abused by a priesthood holder. I don't feel like my voice or role in the church or family has equal weight …  the church is just like obviously you're not doing a good enough job of being a woman. It's a problem with you not a problem with us. I think there's a lot that we as individuals can learn, but also the system can learn from the text, like: believe women. It's not that hard. Most of the time it's a huge risk for women to come forward with any kind of personal experience that is a dissension from the societal norm. She most often does so at great risk to herself. I think the very least we can do is afford her the benefit of the doubt and just believe what she says, you know what I mean?

E: Yes, yes, yes!

C: And I loved what you said Elise about there being an alignment between what the Nephite community claims that they are working toward and the actions that they take toward it. I think you picked up on another significant theme in the text, which is Liberty.

E: Yes, liberty plays a pretty significant role in the entirety of these chapters. In chapter 43: 45- 46, this is where the Nephites clearly lay out what they are fighting for. It says they were “inspired by a better cause, for they were not fighting for monarchy or power but they were fighting for their homes, and their liberties, and their wives, and their children and they were fighting for all; yea, for the rights of worship, and their church; and they were doing that which they felt was the duty which they owed their God.” 

Liberty here means freedom to do as one chooses. Free choice. As feminists and people who care about equality and social justice, the freedom to do as one chooses is an important part of what it means to be in the world. This doesn't just mean you get to do whatever you want. You don't just get to be reckless and you don't just get to say well I have the freedom to do whatever I please no matter who it hurts. It's not that. I don't think that it's just a reckless, do-whatever-you-want type of freedom, but what do you think Channing?

C: Yeah, I don't think it's that either. I think a lot of people hear “freedom to [choose]” and they will read that as like oh yeah, “I get to do whatever the heck I want,” what kind of setup is that? Anarchy? and I think a lot of people are relying on rules or framework to hold people accountable. That's important too, but I think the freedom to choose is important because the the actual choice is what brings us progress. If we get to choose, there's a big difference between saying you know what? I choose to do this thing because I know that it's going to make me a better person or improve my community or improve this relationship. versus oh I know I should do that so I guess I'll do it because I have to do it. I feel like one brings individual growth, change, and progress, and actually benefits us; and the other is just, like, compulsory obligation. Because people are “shoulding” all over us. They say, “You should do this and you should do that. A good person does all these things…”  There's a difference. It's subtle but it's important.

That's the kind of freedom that I feel like feminism, anti-racism, anti-colonialism, and all of the other isms are asking for is this freedom. Not complete anarchy, not like Korihor says where “whatever a man doeth is no crime.” That's not what they're asking for. What they're asking for is the opportunity and ability to make the choice that will bring them the most growth and the most progress and the most healing. That's what I think. 

E: I think you are spot-on. I also think in this way, free will is not just an isolated individual choice. You can't only decide what you think is best for you as a standalone, isolated person. I think a responsible use of freedom is to make sure that everyone has it, and to make sure that you're using your freedom of choice to allow for others to step into their full being. That means that you look outward and look for the needs of your community. 

This is one thing that I think is really striking about these chapters in the way that the Nephites are reluctant to go to battle. They don't want to be fighting the Lamanites because they see the Lamanites as their family. They realize that war is not the best option for the good of the whole. Time and time again, whenever the Nephites and Lamanites come up to war against each other and the Nephites have the upper hand, they say “Please just stop coming against us! Promise you'll never come against us again and we'll let you go. We do not delight in the shedding of blood. We don't want to be against you. We just want to live peaceably and we want everyone--even you, our enemy-- to have freedom. But it's not freedom to come and attack us. It's not freedom to oppress us and put us into bondage.” I think it's freedom to live a good life and to have the resources and opportunities and the ability to move throughout the world without bondage.

C: I'm getting the tinglies and goosebumps listening to you talk about this! 

E: I had first come to these chapters I was like,”Why war? Why are these people fighting, again?” I've learned that I believe that God takes the side of the oppressed. The people that are oppressed here, at least in the way that the story is presenting it to us, are the Nephites. They're the ones whose lives are at stake, they're the ones who are continually threatened by the Lamanites who continually want to take them captive, to have power and control over them, and to put heavy burdens on their back, and put them into bondage. I do believe that God takes the side of the oppressed and that's what's happening here too. I think that God sees freedom as an intrinsic human value and when that freedom is threatened, lost, or obscured, it requires liberation at any price. For the Nephites, what's the other option? When the lamanites are continually coming against them they can't lay down or they’ll be slaughtered, or they'll be taken captive. They have to fight because the system is already so violent. The Lamanites are already forcing violence upon them. 

C: Well... I think... actually just literally something that I hadn't thought of yet so far… I feel like we spend so much time looking at why did the Nephites make the choice to go to war? Why did the Anti-Nephi-Lehies decide not to go to war? and I feel like maybe you and I have been looking at this kind of one-sidedly by not holding the Lamanites accountable. Why the heck are you guys [the Lamanites] doing this again? Its kind of like my knee-jerk reaction to look at like people who are being threatened with violence [with an attitude of] don't you know that Martin Luther King Jr. says do not return violence with violence like hate just friends more hate, but it is the responsibility of the people instigating the violence. I feel like they need to hold more weight and responsibility for the actions that they instigated. I feel like I've kind of been looking at it one-sided, blaming the Nephites, like oh you could have done something differently, why did you do this? when really, most of the critique needs to fall on the Lamanites because they're the ones that are actually instigating the violence in the first place. 

E: Exactly. The Nephites wouldn't have to respond with violence if there wasn’t violence coming against them. I think this is something that we saw a lot with the Black Lives Matter protests. People would say, like, why can't we all just get along? but that comment, just like you're pointing out, was only ever directed to the protesters, not to the police officers that were murdering all of these people. So it's that twisting of how freedom gets understood today.

C: Yeah I would agree with that for sure.

E: So as we continue to come up on war chapters in The Book of Mormon and in all of our other sacred text, there's a really great passage that I try and keep in mind as I remind myself that God is always on the side of the oppressed and God is a liberator. This is a passage from Severino J. Croatto. It says, “A God of peace is first of all a God of justice and freedom. Peace is sinful when it serves to maintain injustice and dependence.” So God is in that Title of Liberty. God always sides with the oppressed and will do anything to move out of injustice and into freedom.

C: Something else I thought was significant in the text was how often the Earth shows up again in these chapters. This is something that we've talked about in past episodes, and I always try to come to the text with an ecofeminist lens as well, which means that not only am I looking for the ways that women show up in the text but I'm also looking for ways that the Earth or the land shows up in the text. The reason I thought this was significant was because the Earth shows up in ways that are similar to the ways that it showed up in the past. It's also mentioned a lot--like I think I have eight bullet points here talking about specific incidents where the land is mentioned. I want to cover those really quick.

One thing that I thought was significant was this battle happens at the same place the last major Nephite-vs-Lamanite battle took place, which was at the river Sidon. What I also found incredibly interesting was that the [wording] in these chapters-- Alma 44: 21-22-- are almost the exact same as the verses talking about the earlier battles. In chapter 44:21-22, it says “the number of their dead was not numbered because of the greatness of their number. And it came to pass that they cast their dead into the waters of Sidon, and they... are buried in the depths of the sea.” In Alma chapter 3:3, when the Nephites and Lamanites went to battle, that verse says, in that battle, “as many who have been slain upon the bank of the river were cast into the waters of Sidon, and behold their bones are in the depths of the sea; and they are many.”

I find this so interesting, that this portion of land is again the sight of such significant bloodshed and that the bodies are literally cast into the sea, as if like the land is just like these people's graveyard/dumping ground for all of the horrific things that have happened on the banks of the river Sidon. I am sad reading this part in the text, but... there's not even a “but.” I'm just sad because it's awful. This connection between war and the land that it takes place on actually stems from a lot of the work of Rosemary Radford Ruether. She talks a lot about how militarism and war is actually not just violence against humans, but it's also violence against the land. I think it's especially noteworthy as we come to these chapters that consist of so much war. We often only think about what the violence has to humans, but as an ecofeminist, I'm also acutely aware of what the violence is to the land. Just something to keep in mind. 

Other cool things that they mentioned in the text that refer to the Earth is in Alma 45. Moroni and Alma both place a curse and a blessing upon the land, and it's based on righteousness. Also Elise and I loved the verse in Alma 46: 40. At the very end of the chapter… the whole chapter was like “okay now there's peace in the land everything is good and also whole bunch of people started getting sick and fevers because of the climate but don't worry there were actually plants that like helps heal their fevers” and I was like oh my gosh! It's plant medicine! That’s awesome. Like God must have planned that because she's pretty great. So thanks for being a little bit nerdy with me about ecofeminism and the way that it shows up in the text. I get excited about it, and when it shows up so many times I feel like we just have to talk about it because Mother Nature's pretty cool.

C: So as we wrap these chapters up we also want to say goodbye to Alma because we’ve said goodbye to all the other prophets in the Book of Mormon that we've come across so far. But Alma’s goodbye in the Book of Mormon is pretty unique and Elise and I both were a little surprised when we came across it this time. 

E: Yeah, because all the sudden Alma is, I don't know talking to his sons again or preaching, and then the chapters just say basically he was never heard from again. The chapter heading and most interpretations of his disappearance just assumed like he was probably translated into god’s presence. Like, that seems wild!Like if you or I went missing or we just disappeared and no one ever heard from us again, literally no one would assume that I had been translated unto God.

C: (laughing) Right? Well and they are probably like... he probably was really old at this point and he kind of did say a little goodbye thing to his sons in last week's episode… but like, the fact that he just like disappeared and everyone's like where did Alma go? and then I don't know he probably got translated and then no one actually went and look for him. (laughing)

E: I mean, for people to assume that he did get translated does show that, you know, everyone thinks he's just so amazing and could immediately just go live with God, which is fantastic! I'm not saying it didn't happen, but it's just a strange way for him to go. It's strange that he might have been translated, but it's just weird that no one ever heard from him again.

C: Mormon probably was like no one said anything about this? I guess you just have to make it up as I go… (laughing) Weirder things have happened in the text.

E: That's true, that is true. But whatever happened with Alma, we appreciate him for the fantastic things he's done, the stories he shared with us, and for the ways that he's tried to repair his past wrongdoings. 

C: So with all of this said, I know this has been kind of a light-hearted episode which will stand in contrast to the content that we actually covered today, but we really are so glad that we can share this time with you and talk about the scriptures... and all the things we just love. Thanks for joining us and we'll see you again next week.

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