3 Nephi 28:21-22. Tortures of 3 Nephites

3 Nephi 28:21-22. Tortures of 3 Nephites

The tortures inflicted on the three Nephite disciples in 3 Nephi 28:21-22 and 4 Nephi 1:32-33 were borrowed by Joseph Smith from Daniel 3 and 6. It is not reasonable to expect us to believe that the three Nephites would have undergone the same experiences as Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. Besides, since the book of Daniel was not written until after Lehi left Jerusalem, the Nephites could not have known about such things.

Daniel MormonIf such tortures were authentic ancient Near Eastern practices, carried into the New World by the Mulekites or descendants of Lehi, there is no need to seek their source in the Book of Daniel. If Daniel is an accurate record, then these appear to be authentic practices indeed, and since Daniel was taken captive to Babylon 609 BC, it is obvious that these practices existed during Lehi’s lifetime. Moreover, early Jewish and Christian traditions have Abraham being thrown into a fiery furnace in ancient Mesopotamia long before Daniel’s friends.

The objection raised against this Book of Mormon passage is the same one leveled against the Bible by many scholars, in instances where Bible stories are repeated, using a different cast of characters.  For example:

Both Sarah (Genesis 20) and her daughter-in-law Rebecca (Genesis 26:6-11) are said to have been coveted by Abimelech, King of Gerar. In each case, the woman’s husband (Abraham and his son Isaac, respectively), in order to preserve his live, claims to be her brother.

Abraham’s servant met Isaac’s future bride at a well in Nahor (Genesis 24:10-20), where Jacob (Isaac’s son) is later said to have met his future bride, the niece of his mother (Genesis 29:1-12). Moses also met his future bride at a well (Exodus 2:15-21). In the cases of Jacob and Moses, each assisted the woman he loved by watering her flocks, while it was Rebecca who watered the camels of Abraham’s servant.

The Book of Genesis contains two stories of how Beer-Sheba (meaning “well of the oath” or “well of seven”) received its name. The first has Abraham naming it after entering into a covenant with Abimelech, King of Gerar (Genesis 21:27-31). The second attributes the naming to Isaac, after he had made a covenant with the same king (Genesis 26:26-33).

Isaiah wrote that, in his heavenly vision, he saw a seraph take a live coal from the altar with tongs and touch his lips (Isaiah 6:5-7). This evidently symbolized the Lord putting his words into the prophet’s mouth (Isaiah 51:16; 59:21). Similar things were reported by other prophets during their visions of the heavenly court. For example, the Lord touched Jeremiah’s mouth and put his words into it (Jeremiah 1:9), while Daniel’s ability to speak came after an angel touched his lips (Daniel 10:15-17). Ezekiel was told by God to open his mouth and eat a roll of a book, which was sweet in his mouth (Ezekiel 2:8-9; 3:1-4). In like manner, John ate a book that was sweet to the taste but bitter in the belly, and which gave him the ability to prophesy (Revelation 10:8-11). Did each of the prophets after Isaiah lie by merely copying an idea already written? Or did all of them experience this rather unusual event?

If scriptural repeats are suspect, then we must examine not only the Book of Mormon, but the Bible as well!