Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2011, March 16

“Book of Mormon: Did a Comet Cause the Destruction near the Time of Jesus’ Visit to the Nephites and Lamanites in 3 Nephi 8; and Was There a Volcano Involved?” by grego

Book of Mormon: Did a Comet Cause the Destruction near the Time of Jesus’ Visit to the Nephites and Lamanites in 3 Nephi 8; and Was There a Volcano Involved?

grego

(c)2011

UPDATE: Well, after searching even more, I found a website that already guessed
this, and does a much better job at explaining it: http://www.bookofmormonpromisedland.com/Q%20&%20A.htm

Here is a description of the local destruction at the time of Jesus’ visit to the Nephites and Lamanites:

3 Nephi 8:5 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.
7 And there were exceedingly sharp lightnings, such as never had been known in all the land.
8 And the city of Zarahemla did take fire.
9 And the city of Moroni did sink into the depths of the sea, and the inhabitants thereof were drowned.
10 And the earth was carried up upon the city of Moronihah, that in the place of the city there became a great mountain.
11 And there was a great and terrible destruction in the land southward.
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;
13 And the highways were broken up, and the level roads were spoiled, and many smooth places became rough.
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.
15 And there were some cities which remained; but the damage thereof was exceedingly great, and there were many in them who were slain.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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;
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.

3 Nephi 9:8 And behold, the city of Gadiandi, and the city of Gadiomnah, and the city of Jacob, and the city of Gimgimno, all these have I caused to be sunk, and made hills and valleys in the places thereof; and the inhabitants thereof have I buried up in the depths of the earth…
9 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.
10 And the earth did cleave together again, that it stood…

3 Nephi 10:14 … all these deaths and destructions by fire, and by smoke, and by tempests, and by whirlwinds, and by the opening of the earth to receive them, and all these things are not unto the fulfilling of the prophecies of many of the holy prophets.

I used to wonder, what a coincidence, all these destructions going on at the same time: great storm(s), lightning and thunder, fire (from heavens?), whirlwinds (tornadoes?), earth-quaking/ movement of mountains/ sinking of land (sinkholes?), dark vapor where nothing could be lit.

With some serendipity, I found an answer: a comet.

Were a comet to hit the land, it could cause all of that. (See, for example: http://www.thunderbolts.info/webnews/122107doomsdaycomet.htm, etc.)

In addition to “vapor” being used to describe the darkness, note that there is nothing about lava or suffocation; ash would not prevent fire; and after three days ash would not suddenly disappear. This strongly hints that the darkness is instead a wet mist of very small particle size, having nothing to do with a volcano.

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