Book of Mormon
“Whosoever Will Come, Him Will I
Great destruction occurs in the Americas at the time of Jesus' death.
Survivors hear the voice of the Lord inviting them to return to Him.
Jesus Christ descends from heaven and teaches the people.
A study of this lesson will help us understand the fulfillment of Samuel’s
prophecies and the blessings available to those who come unto the Savior.
Scripture references for study:
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 37 Handout (PDF)
3 Nephi 8 - Destruction Upon The Land
As discussed in Lesson 35, a few years before the birth of the Savior, Samuel the Lamanite
went amongst the Nephites preaching repentance and prophesied of future
In Helaman 14, Samuel told of great destruction that would occur upon the
land at the time of the Savior's death.
Thirty-three years after the birth of Jesus, "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.
And there began to be great doubtings and disputations among the people,
notwithstanding so many signs had been given." (3 Nephi 8:3-4)
President Ezra Taft Benson: "In
the Book of Mormon we find a pattern for preparing for the Second Coming.
A major portion of the book centers on the few decades just prior to Christ's
coming to America. By careful study of that time period we can determine
why some were destroyed in the terrible judgments that preceded His coming
and what brought others to stand at the temple in the land of Bountiful
and thrust their hands into the wounds of His hands and feet."
(Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p59)
How many people in the world are actively preparing for the Second Coming? How many doubt the signs that
indicate that the Second Coming is near? How many
will be destroyed at the Lord's coming because they failed to prepare?
Just as important, how many are "taken home to that God who gave them
life?" (Alma 40:11) Though the Second Coming may still be years
away, are we prepared today to enter "paradise?" Our lives can end
at any time. Are we prepared?
"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." (3 Nephi 8:5)
Verses 6 through 18 describe
the terrible destructions that took place upon
The city of Zarahemla burned.
The city of Moroni sunk into the sea and all the inhabitants drowned.
The city of Moronihah was buried by a mountain.
"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" (v14).
This scale of destruction had not occurred upon the earth since the great
"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." (3 Nephi 8:19)
HOW LONG DID THE DARKNESS LAST?
WHAT KIND OF DARKNESS WAS THIS?
It was a total and complete darkness.
"thick darkness . . . insomuch that the inhabitants . . . could feel
the vapor of darkness" (v20).
The inhabitants could not even light a fire "with their fine and exceedingly
dry wood" (v21).
I have had the opportunity of being deep in a cave and having the lights
switched off. So complete was the darkness that I could not see my
hand, even an inch or two in front of my face. But I could have lit a candle
or turned on a flashlight. Such was not possible during the three
days of darkness. How frightening that must have been.
Jesus said: "I am the light of the world: he that
followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life"
It is interesting to note that the prominent sign, to Nephite/Lamanite
nation, of the Lord's birth into the world was light.
the going down of the sun there was no darkness; and the people began to
be astonished because there was no darkness when the night came"
(3 Nephi 1:15).
In contrast, at his death there was total and complete darkness. The surviving Nephites and Lamanites could not go anywhere so total was
As noted in the eighth chapter of John, Christ is our light and without him
we are lost.
HOW HAS FOLLOWING THE SAVIOR BROUGHT LIGHT INTO YOUR LIFE?
HOW MANY ARE LOST IN SPIRITUAL DARKNESS BECAUSE THEY FAIL TO FOLLOW THE
MASTER AND HIS TEACHING?
"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" (v23).
3 Nephi 9 & 10
In the midst of this darkness "there was
a voice heard among all the inhabitants of the earth, upon all the face
of this land" (3 Nephi 9:1).
WHOSE VOICE DID THE PEOPLE HEAR?
WHAT WAS HIS MESSAGE?
In 3 Nephi 9:2-12, the Lord describes the great destruction throughout
the land and tells the survivors that this happened "because
of their iniquity and abominations" (v2).
"And behold, that great city Moronihah have I
covered with earth, and the inhabitants thereof, to hide their iniquities
and their abominations from before my face, that the blood of the prophets
and the saints shall not come any more unto me against them"
"O all ye that are spared
because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me,
and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you? Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come
unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended
towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are
those who come unto me." (3 Nephi 9:13-14)
This second part of the message was a message of hope. After describing
the calamity, the Lord called the people to repentance and asked them to "come"
unto him that he may "heal" them.
These survivors were a generation of people that needed healing. They had:
Endured war with the Gadianton robbers.
They had watched the collapse of their government.
They were witnesses to the natural holocaust that had just occurred in the cities
of the American continent.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: "'Come,' [Christ]
says lovingly. 'Come, follow me.' Wherever you are going, first
come and see what I do, see where and how I spend my time. Learn
of me, walk with me, talk with me, believe. Listen to me pray.
In turn you will find answers to your own prayers. God will bring
rest to your souls. Come, follow me." (Ensign, Nov
In 3 Nephi 9:15-18, Jesus testifies that he is the Son of God and that
he is the "light and the life of the world".
He tells the people to no longer offer up their sacrifices and burnt offerings. The Law of Moses has been done away with.
WHAT DOES HE TELL THEM TO DO INSTEAD OF MAKING THESE OFFERINGS?
"And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a
broken heart and a contrite spirit" (3 Nephi 9:20).
Neal A. Maxwell: "The real act of personal
sacrifice is not now nor ever has been placing an animal on the altar.
Instead, it is a willingness to put the animal that is in us upon the altar—then
willingly watching it be consumed! Such is the "sacrifice unto [the Lord
of] a broken heart and a contrite spirit." (Meek and Lowly,
"Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me
as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God.
Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again;
therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved"
(3 Nephi 9:22).
"And it came to pass that
thus did the three days pass away. And it was in the morning, and the darkness
dispersed from off the face of the land, and the earth did cease to tremble,
and the rocks did cease to rend, and the dreadful groanings did cease,
and all the tumultuous noises did pass away. And the earth did cleave together again, that
it stood; and the mourning, and the weeping, and the wailing of the people
who were spared alive did cease; and their mourning was turned into joy,
and their lamentations into the praise and thanksgiving unto the Lord Jesus
Christ, their Redeemer." (3 Nephi 10:9-10)
From these verses it would appear that during the three days of total
darkness there continued to be aftershocks from the great cataclysm. How difficult, and terrifying at times, this must have been for the survivors
to see great destruction, be surrounded by total darkness, and to have
the earth unstable during this time of darkness. Indeed, when it stopped, this
a time of rejoicing and thanksgiving.
3 Nephi 11 - The Appearance of Christ
The greatest moment of the Book of Mormon is revealed in the personal appearance of
Jesus Christ to the more righteous part of Lehi's descendants, those who
had witnessed the bitter and the sweet in the years preceding this grand
Following the great destruction and the three days of darkness a multitude
of people had gathered near the temple in the land of Bountiful.
3 NEPHI 11:3-7.
WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE THE PEOPLE DID NOT UNDERSTAND THE VOICE UNTIL THE THIRD
The scripture says the third time they "did open their ears to hear it".
Were they not sufficiently spiritually tuned?
Were they not trying to understand the voice?
THE QUESTION FOR US: HAVE WE OPENED OUR EARS TO HEAR AND UNDERSTAND THE
VOICE AND WILL OF THE LORD OR DO WE JUST HEAR THE SOUNDS AND NOT TRULY
OPEN OUR EARS?
We are about to have the opportunity to listen to another great General
Will we just hear the words or will we seek to comprehend, understand,
What do we need to do to prepare?
3 Nephi 11:8-17.
HOW DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD HAVE FELT IF YOU HAD BEEN PRESENT WHEN JESUS
APPEARED TO THE PEOPLE IN ANCIENT AMERICA?
WHY DID THE SAVIOR WANT THE MULTITUDE TO FEEL HIS WOUNDS?
It was a second witness to that which they beheld with their eyes.
"and this they did do...and did see with
their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and
did bear record, that it was he, of who it was written by the prophets,
that should come." (v15)
HOW CAN WE KNOW THAT JESUS IS THE SAVIOR?
"But he that believeth these things
which I have spoken, him will I visit with the manifestations of my Spirit,
and he shall know and bear record. For because of my Spirit he shall
know that these things are true; for it persuadeth men to do good."
"Verily, verily, I say unto you,
if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you
cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of
these things. Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning
the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?"
HOW HAS THE BOOK OF MORMON HELPED YOU GAIN THIS WITNESS?
As one comes to know the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, these great
events become a testimony that Jesus is the Christ, the Redeemer of the
"Hosanna! Blessed be the
name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of
Jesus, and did worship him." (v17)
Daniel H. Ludlow: "The word Hosanna is a transliteration
of a Hebrew word of supplication which means in essence 'Oh, grant salvation.' Evidently the people were asking the Savior to teach them the way to salvation;
thus it is not surprising that he immediately teaches them the basic principles
and ordinances of the gospel." (A Companion To Your Study of
the Book of Mormon, p261)
Authority & Ordinances.
WHAT IS THE FIRST THING THE SAVIOR TEACHES AFTER HE APPEARS TO THE PEOPLE
AND THEY SEE AND FEEL HIS WOUNDS?
WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE, OF ALL THE WONDERFUL ASPECTS OF THE GOSPEL, BAPTISM
WAS THE FIRST THING THE SAVIOR TAUGHT?
Baptism, with its necessary prerequisites of faith and repentance, opens
the door to the Lord's kingdom and to the reception of the Holy Ghost.
This is the gate by which all must enter. One cannot feast at the
table of the Lord until he has entered in at the gate.
3 NEPHI 11:28-30.
WHAT DID THE LORD TEACH HERE ABOUT CONTENTION?
WHY IS CONTENTION ABOUT GOSPEL DOCTRINES DANGEROUS?
"...Satan doth stir
up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine;
and in these things they do err, for they do wrest the scriptures and do
not understand them." (D&C 10:63)
"Now these dissenters, having the
same instruction and the same information of the Nephites, yea, having
been instructed in the same knowledge of the Lord, nevertheless, it is
strange to relate, not long after their dissensions they became
more hardened and impenitent, and more wild, wicked and ferocious than
the Lamanites--drinking in with the traditions of the Lamanites; giving
way to indolence, and all manner of lasciviousness; yea, entirely forgetting
the Lord their God." (Alma 47:63)
Elder Bruce R. McConkie:
leads to bitterness and smallness of soul; persons who contend with each
other shrivel up spiritually and are in danger of losing their salvation.
So important is it to avoid this evil that Jesus expects his saints to
suffer oppression and wrong rather than lose their inner peace and serenity
through contention. `He that hath the spirit of Contention is not of me,'
he told the Nephites, `but is of the devil, who is the father of contention,
and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another."
(Mortal Messiah, 2:141)
3 NEPHI 11:38-39.
- WHAT IS THE LORD'S DOCTRINE?
- Elders George Reynolds and Janne M. Sjodahl: "Our
Lord, next, tells Nephi and the other disciples, and He repeats it by way of
emphasis, that repentance, a childlike disposition and baptism, are three
conditions without which none can inherit the Kingdom of God.
"Why childlike? The normal little child is willing to
learn. It is content with the arrangements of its father or mother, its
teachers, its lawful governors, to whom it is bound by love, admiration and
respect. Because of that disposition it fits perfectly in its place in the
family, the school or the society. It is so with those who have experienced
repentance, been 'born again' and become as a little child, childlike, and have
proved their willingness to obey the Lord; they are they who can have a useful
place in God's Kingdom. They are never rebellious. In other words, they are as a
stone laid in its proper place in the structure reared on the Eternal Rock,
which Rock is Jesus Christ." (Commentary on the Book of Mormon,
- WHY DO WE SOMETIMES COMPLICATE WHAT THE LORD HAS MADE SO CLEAR?
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
Record your thoughts on the great events discussed in this lesson. How can
you better know that Jesus is the Christ?
Resources Used In This Lesson
A Companion To Your Study of the Book of Mormon by Daniel H. Ludlow.
Commentary on the Book of Mormon by George Reynolds and Janne M. Sjodahl.
Meek and Lowly by Neal A. Maxwell.
Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson.
The Mortal Messiah by Bruce R. McConkie.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
02 September 2016