Annotated Book of Mormon
Evaluated According To My Current Knowledge

3 Nephi Chapter 8

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Book of Mormon Annotations

Chapter 8

 

1 And now it came to pass that according to our record, and we know our record to be true, for behold, it was a just man who did keep the record—for he truly did many miracles in the name of Jesus; and there was not any man who could do a miracle in the name of Jesus save he were cleansed every whit from his iniquity—

 

2 And now it came to pass, if there was no mistake made by this man in the reckoning of our time, the thirty and third year had passed away;

 

3 And the people began to look with great earnestness for the sign which had been given by the prophet Samuel, the Lamanite, yea, for the time that there should be darkness for the space of three days over the face of the land.

 

4 And there began to be great doubtings and disputations among the people, notwithstanding so many signs had been given.

 

5 And it came to pass in the thirty and fourth year, in the first month, on the fourth day of the month, there arose a great storm, such an one as never had been known in all the land.

 

6 And there was also a great and terrible tempest; and there was terrible thunder, insomuch that it did shake the whole earth as if it was about to divide asunder.

3 Ne 8:6-19

 

Great cities being sunk into the sea (verse 9) and covered or buried in earth (verse 10), and a mountain appeared where there had been a city (verse 10) would all be expected to leave massive and undeniable geological evidence, yet there is no such evidence for such a large cataclysmic event in that time frame as I understand it.

 

In reference to these verses, the Book of Mormon Student Manual for Religion 121-122, copyrighted 2009, says,

“Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles cited the increase of major earthquakes as one of the signs of the Second Coming: ‘Signs of the Second Coming are all around us and seem to be increasing in frequency and intensity. For example, the list of major earthquakes in The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2004 shows twice as many earthquakes in the decades of the 1980s and 1990s as in the two preceding decades (see pages 189–90). It also shows further sharp increases in the first several years of this century … Increases by comparison with 50 years ago can be dismissed as changes in reporting criteria, but the accelerating pattern of natural disasters in the last few decades is ominous’” (p. 296).

 

Yet, “The ComCat earthquake catalog contains an increasing number of earthquakes in recent years not because there are more earthquakes, but because there are more seismic instruments and they are able to record more earthquakes.

 

“According to long-term records (since about 1900), we expect about 16 major earthquakes in any given year, which includes 15 earthquakes in the magnitude 7 range and one earthquake magnitude 8.0 or greater. In the past 44 years, from 1973 through 2017, our records show that we have exceeded the long-term average number of major earthquakes only 11 times” (United States Geological Survey).

 

Given the facts, why would the Book of Mormon student manual cite this and why would an apostle say what Elder Oaks said?

7 And there were exceedingly sharp lightnings, such as never had been known in all the land.

Annotation for 3 Ne 8:6-19 above

8 And the city of Zarahemla did take fire.

Annotation for 3 Ne 8:6-19 above

9 And the city of Moroni did sink into the depths of the sea, and the inhabitants thereof were drowned.

Annotation for 3 Ne 8:6-19 above

10 And the earth was carried up upon the city of Moronihah, that in the place of the city there became a great mountain.

Annotation for 3 Ne 8:6-19 above

11 And there was a great and terrible destruction in the land southward.

Annotation for 3 Ne 8:6-19 above

12 But behold, there was a more great and terrible destruction in the land northward; for behold, the whole face of the land was changed, because of the tempest and the whirlwinds, and the thunderings and the lightnings, and the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth;

Annotation for 3 Ne 8:6-19 above

13 And the highways were broken up, and the level roads were spoiled, and many smooth places became rough.

Annotation for 3 Ne 8:6-19 above

14 And many great and notable cities were sunk, and many were burned, and many were shaken till the buildings thereof had fallen to the earth, and the inhabitants thereof were slain, and the places were left desolate.

Annotation for 3 Ne 8:6-19 above

15 And there were some cities which remained; but the damage thereof was exceedingly great, and there were many in them who were slain.

Annotation for 3 Ne 8:6-19 above

16 And there were some who were carried away in the whirlwind; and whither they went no man knoweth, save they know that they were carried away.

Annotation for 3 Ne 8:6-19 above

17 And thus the face of the whole earth became deformed, because of the tempests, and the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the quaking of the earth.

Annotation for 3 Ne 8:6-19 above

18 And behold, the rocks were rent in twain; they were broken up upon the face of the whole earth, insomuch that they were found in broken fragments, and in seams and in cracks, upon all the face of the land.

Annotation for 3 Ne 8:6-19 above

19 And it came to pass that when the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the storm, and the tempest, and the quakings of the earth did cease—for behold, they did last for about the space of three hours; and it was said by some that the time was greater; nevertheless, all these great and terrible things were done in about the space of three hours—and then behold, there was darkness upon the face of the land.

Annotation for 3 Ne 8:6-19 above

20 And it came to pass that there was thick darkness upon all the face of the land, insomuch that the inhabitants thereof who had not fallen could feel the vapor of darkness;

 

21 And there could be no light, because of the darkness, neither candles, neither torches; neither could there be fire kindled with their fine and exceedingly dry wood, so that there could not be any light at all;

The only reference to a pre-Columbian, American candle I can find is this:

“archeological findings from the first century CE support the idea that native Americans burned oily fish (candlefish) wedged into a forked stick” (Indian Journal of Chemical Technology, p. 319). And, apparently these fish are only found in the sea of the Pacific Northwest of the United States, so it seems “candle” would be an anachronism.

22 And there was not any light seen, neither fire, nor glimmer, neither the sun, nor the moon, nor the stars, for so great were the mists of darkness which were upon the face of the land.

 

23 And it came to pass that it did last for the space of three days that there was no light seen; and there was great mourning and howling and weeping among all the people continually; yea, great were the groanings of the people, because of the darkness and the great destruction which had come upon them.

 

24 And in one place they were heard to cry, saying: O that we had repented before this great and terrible day, and then would our brethren have been spared, and they would not have been burned in that great city Zarahemla.

 

25 And in another place they were heard to cry and mourn, saying: O that we had repented before this great and terrible day, and had not killed and stoned the prophets, and cast them out; then would our mothers and our fair daughters, and our children have been spared, and not have been buried up in that great city Moronihah. And thus were the howlings of the people great and terrible.

 

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