“One of the Lamanitish Women Whose Name Was Abish”

Bryan Richards

Abish is noteworthy not just because of her pivotal role in the events of chapter 19 but because she is one of the few women mentioned by name in the Book of Mormon. The others are Sariah, Eve, Sarah, Mary, and Isabel (Alma 39:3). Some may wonder why women did not play a bigger part of the narrative of the Book of Mormon. Others may complain, but this is a great example of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon because it followed the old Hebrew cultural tradition which was male-dominated. The Lord God should not be held responsible for this cultural tradition, nor does this scant treatment of women reflect the Lord's view on the role and importance of womanhood.

Let's take a look at Abish's spiritual maturity. Assuming that it was her father who had the vision and not her, 1) she was obedient to the vision and teachings of her father, 2) she was faithful and discreet as a silent convert, 3) she had the gift of discernment by which she knew that the three lay prostate by the power of God, 4) she was an opportunist and a missionary who gathered all to witness the power of God, 5) she was sensitive to the great conflict amongst the gathering (v. 28), and 6) she took inspired action amidst this great conflict which led to its resolution in that she took the queen and king by the hand, awakening them from their trances (v. 29-30). In the span of a very few verses, she demonstrates incredible spiritual acumen which is worthy of emulation.