“Book of Mormon: What Were the ‘Mists of Darkness’ / ‘Vapor of Darkness’ at the Great Destruction at Jesus’ Death in 3 Nephi 8?” by grego
I opened to 3 Nephi 8 today, and wondered again about the “vapor of darkness”, the “mists of darkness.” I have heard lots of explanations, such as volcanic ash), none of which seemed right to me. It popped into mind–probably because I read about dust storms the other day–that it could have been electrostatical in nature. I think the descriptions of the destructions attest that conditions were possible.
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…
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.
–lots of dust, from the “quakings of the earth”, the rending of the rocks, etc.;
–lots of ashes, from the fires;
–strong winds and whirlwinds blowing dust from all over outside the area in, and all dust and ash to that area, and then being contained there;
–and having the dust, ashes, and possible rain struck by severe lightning for three hours;
–now floating, having become charged particles;
–creating a large cover, or a dome container, so that no light would shine through;
–with most of the rain falling out of the mix;
–all set up a pretty-much non-toxic, moist, enduring condition for three days?
It’s possible the electricity also rent the rocks.
I see some problems, but I see problems for about anything else I can imagine, too.
One of the things that bothered me was rain/ water. After all, “storm” and “tempest” are mentioned, my guess is that lots of rain would make the conditions extremely improbable. A look at Webster’s 1828 Dictionary shows:
“STORM, n. 1. A violent wind; a tempest. Thus a storm of wind, is correct language, as the proper sense of the word is rushing, violence. It has primarily no reference to a fall of rain or snow. But as a violent wind is often attended with rain or snow, the word storm has come to be used, most improperly, for a fall of rain or snow without wind.”
“TEM’PEST, n. 1. An extensive current of wind, rushing with great velocity and violence; a storm of extreme violence. We usually apply the word to a steady wind of long continuance; but we say also of a tornado, it blew a tempest. The currents of wind are named, according to their respective degrees of force or rapidity, a breeze, a gale, a storm, a tempest; but gale is also used as synonymous with storm, and storm with tempest. Gust is usually applied to a sudden blast of short duration. A tempest may or may not be attended with rain, snow or hail.”
So, no need for lots of rain, or any at all.
What about breathing? I think it’s safe to assume that no matter what caused the darkness, people used cloth to filter the air from dust, ash, moisture, etc.
Once it all blew away, or settled, it wouldn’t have caused death by contamination.
Of course, maybe the righteous did have food storage and water.