Note: I woke up rather tired and my thinking feels rather clouded this morning. But here are some notes nonetheless:
Last night for Study Group, we looked at places in the Book of Mormon that talk about Mary. We started with Alma 7 and that became our center point as we talked about various passages.
- Why does the Book of Mormon give us Mary’s name?
- We noticed that it was only given in two places: here and to King Benjamin’s people. Both people were especially righteous and prepared.
- In both cases, the name of Mary was given within a quotation. King Benjamin quotes an angel, and Alma quotes the Spirit.
Origin of her name?
- We wondered about the name Mary.
- Does it mean “exalted”? Is it a proper name at all? His mother shall be called exalted?
- Is it the same as Miriam? (Jesus is the same as Joshua.)
- If so, what interesting connections might there be between the two women? Miriam watched over the vessel (basket) when Moses was in the river. Mary is the vessel which carries the child?
- No consensus on the Hebrew meaning of Miriam. Might even be Egyptian! (We noticed that Alma in verse 1 says he is going to “attempt to address you in my language.” But we don’t know what language that is 🙂 )
How is Mary symbolically a temple?
- “at Jerusalem”
- precious “vessels” in temple
- Ark holds word of God, she holds God
- temple overshadowed by cloud by day, she is overshadowed
- temple shadowed by smoke from incense
- also, overshadowed idea comes up on Mount of Transfiguration, Mary, and 3 Nephi before Christ visits Nephites,
Alma 19/women in general:
- When Lamoni wakes up, he says to his wife “blessed art thou … he shall come forth, and be born of a woman.”
- Perhaps talking about a woman, a mother, and especially a name of a mother, makes Christ’s birth literal. They can comprehend that he actually will come to earth when we get a name of a literal mother
- Mosiah 3:5-8, Christ comes in tabernacle of clay (in Alma 7, simply mortal tabernacle), but Mary is a “precious and chosen vessel.”
- She was already precious before Christ came to her? It sounds like it.
- Nephi sees she is fair and beautiful – before the Holy Ghost comes (1 Nephi 11:18-20)
- This isn’t a sense of condescending to come into a broken, corruptible, mortal woman, but coming to something holy and beautiful
- Mary was already chosen and precious before Christ came – that’s a beautiful thought
- womb = bowels = womb in Hebrew (verse 12)
- Chapter 19, when Lamoni wakes up he says “Blessed be the name of God, and blessed art thou. For as sure as thou livest, behold, I have seen my Redeemer; and he shall come forth, and be born of a woman, and he shall redeem all mankind who believe on his name.” When his wife (“the woman” and later “the queen”) wakes up, she says, “O blessed Jesus, who has saved me from an awful hell! O blessed God, have mercy on this people!” She has a very motherly reaction