Introduction: Where did Nephi's sisters come from?
EToday's verse gives us an amazing surprise when we learn that Nephi had sisters. We do not find them anywhere else in history. And since these are all the data we have of Nephi's sisters, we are left with many questions and few sure clues to help us answer them. When the information is insufficient, most of our conclusions are speculative.
Why are Nephi's sisters not mentioned before?
The Scriptures almost always focus on the main characters of the events, who are executing the main action. On many occasions these are the leaders, usually males. In many passages of the Scriptures, women, servants, and supporting characters are omitted, unless they have direct participation in the action that is unfolding.
Lesson learned: The fact that a character is not mentioned in a scripture does not mean that it does not exist.
Another lesson learned: This means that Lehi's group could be bigger than we suppose, although we usually stay with the characters that we already have for sure. Also, Lehi was able to receive help during his trip of characters that he does not mention, especially in the land of Abundance, but that is the subject of another article.
How far can we go with the data we have?
In the passage of 2 Nefi 5: 6 the word "sisters" is plural, which means that it was more than one. We know that at least two were on Nephi's side when separating from Laman's group. We understand that they were older, since they were making their own decisions. In addition to four males (Zoram, Sam, Jacob, Joseph) and their respective families, their sisters, himself and his family, Nephi mentions other people ("all who wanted to go with me"). We do not have, therefore, an exact estimate of how many were in the group that followed Nephi.
Have the General Authorities written about this?
Yes. Elder George Q. Cannon, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, wrote a beautiful book called "The Life of Nephi," full of curious facts about this outstanding leader and prophet. "Nephi, a few years after this (2 Nefi 5: 6) talks about his sisters. He does not mention them as members of his family at the time of leaving Jerusalem, and we are left to speculate if they were born before leaving Jerusalem or later "(free translation).
In connection with Ishmael's family, Elder Cannon also writes: "We are not informed," he says, "exactly the number of Ishmael's family members, but we are made to assume that it consisted of himself and his wife, two children who also had families, and five unmarried daughters. There may be more than this, but if so, we are not mentioned "(free translation). Elder Cannon leaves open then the possibility that Ismael's family was bigger, and only the most active characters were mentioned.
But our point here is with the two sons of Ismael who already had family. Elder Erastus Snow wrote a little more about this point:
"The Prophet Joseph informed us that the record of Lehi was contained in the 116 pages that were translated at the beginning and subsequently stolen, and of which a compendium is given to us in the first book of Nephi, which is the individual record of Nephi, being himself of the lineage of Manasseh; but that Ishmael was of the lineage of Ephraim, and that his sons were married to the family of Lehi, and that Lehi's sons were married to the daughters of Ishmael ... "(Journal of Discourses, 23: 184, free translation).
That is to say, Elder Snow suggests that the daughters of Lehi, that is, the sisters of Nephi, married the sons of Ishmael before Lehi left Jerusalem.
Implications of kinship with the family of Ismael
This has interesting implications. It implies that Lehi and Ismael were not strangers, but consuegros. It clarifies why Ishmael could have been so ready to accompany Lehi to the desert. It gives us some light on what could have been the lives of Ismael's relatives before the departure and during the crossing in the desert.
What this information does not clarify
Even so, some things remain in the inkwell: the sisters who accompanied Nephi when separating from Laman's group were not the same as the wives of Ishmael's sons, since they were alive at the time of the separation and preferred to stay at the same time. Laman's side during the separation. So we do not yet have enough information or revelation to answer all the questions that may arise about Nephi's sisters. But we can assure that they were, at least, more than two!
Originally posted 2015-06-12 05: 00: 02.