(This was really an excellent sacrament meeting–outstanding talks on the Book of Mormon by all three speakers, plus a fine musical number. My wife and I find it easier to pay attention, somehow, if we pass notes back and forth).
Wife: She’s a really good speaker. When she’s a little older, she’ll be something else.
Me: Agreed. Love her passion and confidence. And I note that the Book of Mormon seems to be the assigned topic. Two outstanding talks by women, which makes sense, given the Book of Mormon’s plethora of compelling female characters.
Wife: Maybe the reason there are so few female characters in the Book of Mormon is because they were all being good. Men get mentioned more, because they were always screwing up and needed to be included as bad examples.
Me: I’m sure that’s it. So the few named females in the B of M (see Isabel the harlot) are the exceptions. Priesthood session v. women’s conference.
Wife: I mean, even Sariah doubted, so she’s included. And the queen of the Lamanites was sort of iffy at the beginning. The exception is Abish, and she’s kind of important in a story about bad guys.
Me: Exactly. Plus she’s only ‘Abish.’ Not full out ‘Ab.’ Kind of lukewarm. ‘Ab . . . ish.’ Ab is Reformed Egyptian for ‘stomach,’ or ‘guts.’ As in ‘brave, gutsy.’ Unable to ‘stomach sin.’ So she’s ‘kinda brave, sorta gutsy.’
Wife: Wow. I got nothin’.
Me: Really, studying the Book of Mormon, it helps to be fluent in reformed Egyptian. “Nephi.” ‘Ne’ means ‘knee,’ as in someone always kneeling in prayer. And ‘phi’ means ‘pi’, prays in a circle, all around, in every direction.
Me: ‘Te-an’ means ‘teen.’ He was very young, in other words. And ‘cumin’ is kind of a hot spice. So ‘hot-headed young man.’ I can do this all day.
Me: I knew you were going to give me Ammonihah! ‘Ammoni’=poisonous cleaning fluid. But ‘hah’ is a diminutive. Actually, the technical word is ‘risibleminutive.’ ‘Turns previous prefix into a punch-line.’ He considers himself poisonous, dangerous, a guy who’s going to clean things up. But really, he’s a joke.
Me: Very tricky, very complicated Reformed Egyptian name. ‘Pacumen’ actually means ‘insatiable yellow mouth, consumer of dots.’ But the final ‘i’ suggests transformation, or ‘turns blue when fruit is consumed, becomes all powerful.’ So ‘insatiable yellow mouth, turns blue, becomes powerful, when fruit of the gospel is consumed.’ Or, more simply, ‘the power of repentance.’
Me: To understand this name, we need to reference the Old Testament, and the story of Moses and the burning bush. You may recall that Moses asked The Lord, when He spoke through the bush, what the Children of Israel should call Him. And He answered, “I am what I am. Tell the people ‘I am’ has sent you.” But in Egyptian, what he said was ‘Sam.’ To quote the eminent theologian and Egyptologist, Theodore Geisel: Sam. I am.
Me: Wo, hard one. An approximate translation: ‘He who sits by side of the stream, complaining that the water is too cold to swim across, plus fish are yucky, plus that frog is staring at me funny, so you guys go on ahead without me, no really, it’s okay, I’m fine, I promise.’
Wife: No etymology for that one? I’m disappointed.
As I said, it was a very good meeting. And we did pay attention, I promise.