Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Daughter of Jared

Although it takes a lot of reading between the lines to get to know the women of the Book of Mormon, it is an enjoyable exercise for LDS feminists. One of the more interesting characters I have encountered is the daughter of Jared. I wonder, if someone had thought to ask Brother Joseph what her real name was, what he would have come up with. Surely this woman was no "Sarah" or "Mary." I like to think she would have had a name as exciting as "Mahonri Moriancumer."

The daughter of Jared, like all worthy women everywhere, was "exceedingly fair." *heavy sarcasm intended* If we only had the full account instead of Mormon's abridgment, I'm sure her hairstyle, wardrobe, headscarf, and shoes would have been rigorously critiqued.

Although the daughter of Jared is painted as extremely wicked, I have come to admire her somewhat. She was "exceedingly expert." When her father had a problem, she berated him by saying, "have you not read the record which our fathers brought across the great deep?" Which means she had actually read the Old Testament-type records and understood them well enough to be able to plot intrigue based on their principles. In a male dominated society, it is surprising that she had access to the plates and that she was sufficiently motivated to read and ponder them. This required a bit of intelligence.

The daughter of Jared came up with a plan to entice Akish with her dancing, whereby Jared could promise her hand in marriage if he would bring Jared the head of his father the king. The Biblical student will recognize this same scenario occurring much later in the case of Salome and the head of John the Baptist. (Matthew 14) We can speculate that Herodias got the idea from the same source as did the daughter of Jared.

One can sympathize with her motivations, since the daughter of Jared became involved in secret combinations primarily to help her father, who was sorrowful because he had lost his kingdom. However, because of her great influence, Jared searched out the wicked secrets of old, and he taught them to Akish, who administered them unto his kindred and friends, leading many away into darkness.

As often happens, the daughter of Jared's plan backfired. Her father-in-law was warned to desert his throne, Jared took over the kingdom and she was given in marriage to Akish. Akish, having been stirred up to desire for power, then proceeded to have the head of his father-in-law. He murdered Jared as he sat upon the throne, and took over the kingdom. We hear no more of the fate of the daughter of Jared.

Although this daughter went over to the "dark side," she is of great interest. She is a symbolic character representing the strength and influence of woman. She is a reminder that a woman can be intelligent and talented, well versed in scriptural and political knowledge, and capable of exerting a strong influence over her male associates. In the portrayal of a woman with a great potential for evil, we might also assume that a woman can have a great influence for good. Indeed we see this in other stories in the Book of Mormon.

And now, blog friends, a chance to use your creativity!!
If you were to pick a name for the daughter of Jared, what would it be? Carmen? Phylinda Gadiantonfollower? How does the name you chose reflect your opinion of this Book of Mormon character?


Jacob J said...

Great post. I was hoping to see more brilliant suggestions in the comments. I don't have one, but I'll take a stab anyway. How about:

Molilithri Moricleopatramer

Anonymous said...

Um al-Makirat Mudhbihat al-Rijal:

Mother of Cunning Women, Man-slaughterer

Bored in Vernal said...

I guess no-one is feeling very creative.
Anon, that's great!

G said...

...yeah, not feeling very creative with BOM names at the moment, so I am just going to go with "Lilith"

James Staiti said...

What's so great about the daughter of Jared? She was a murderer. There's nothing too appealing about that. It's gross, and I really don't care what her motives were.

James Staiti said...

Daughter of Jared was a cheesy murderer. How do you say that in Adamic? I could care less how fair she was or well-read or what her motives were. She was scum.

Elder Chantdown said...

How about Talitha Cumi Garlick Avery Cheney Ann Davies?