1 Nephi 12:4. Violent Nature
The quaking and rending of rocks in 1 Nephi 12:4 derives from Matthew 27:51 (“the earth did quake, and the rocks rent”). The listing of “lightnings . . . thundering . . . earthquakes” in the same Book of Mormon passage was taken from Revelation 8:5. Since the New Testament was unavailable to the Nephites, who left Jerusalem six centuries before Christ’s birth, we must attribute the borrowing to Joseph Smith.
The rock argument is weakened by the fact that, in the Book of Mormon passage, the word “quaking” appears long after the rending of the rocks, while in Matthew they are together. The idea is not unique to Matthew, however, and is found in 1 Kings 19:11.
As for lightnings, thundering, and earthquakes, such combinations are found in the Old Testament as well. We have thunder and earthquake in Isaiah 29:6 and lightning and earthquake in Psalm 97:4. The words “thunder” and “lightning” are found together in four Old Testament passages. In a fifth, they are, like the passage in 1 Nephi and Revelation, listed with earthquake (Psalm 77:18). One could argue that both Nephi and the apostle John (author of the book of Revelation) drew upon the Psalm for the imagery. Moreover, Nephi acknowledges that the apostle John would experience the same vision as himself (1 Nephi 14:27).