EVIDENCE: Harlot Isabel

Ed J. Pinegar, Richard J. Allen

Alma is grieved over the behavior of his son Corianton, “for [he did] forsake the ministry, and did go over into the land of Siron among the borders of the Lamanites, after the harlot Isabel” (Alma 39:3). Hugh Nibley informs us that “Isabel was the name of the Patroness of Harlots in the religion of the Phoenicians.” According to Nibley, the Book of Mormon distinctly hints of a pagan mother goddess in the account of Corianton, who had apparently committed immoral acts with the harlot Isabel and had to go to the land of Siron to do so. The “Great Mother” is the so-called mother of the gods, an ancient fertility goddess worshipped by various pagan religions. This mythological goddess is known by many names, including but not limited to Ishtar (Babylon), Isis (Egypt), Astarte (Syria), Ceres (Rome), and Demeter (Greece). Nibley explains that the Book of Mormon does not specifically mention the Great Mother but describes all non-Nephite cults as involving idol worshipers. (See Echoes, 480.)

Commentaries and Insights on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 2