Criticisms: 3 Nephi

Criticisms: 3 Nephi


 3 Nephi 8. Disasters Accompanying the Crucifixion

It seems strange that so many natural phenomena should occur simultaneously in one region, yet the Book of Mormon says that, at the time of Christ’s crucifixion, “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.” How is this possible?

All of the phenomena described in 3 Nephi 8 have been observed during volcanic explosions. (Read more)

3 Nephi 8:19, 23. Darkness for 3 Days?

According to Luke 23:44, at the time of the crucifixion there was darkness for three hour, but 3 Nephi 8:23 says it lasted for three days.

Jesus Heal Nephites in America MormonThe darkness in Judea, where Christ was crucified, lasted three days. In the New World, it lasted for three days and may have had a different cause, in this case volcanic. Three days of darkness have been reported for other volcanic eruptions that filled the air with ash. We do not know what caused the darkness in faraway Judea. (Read More)

3 Nephi 8:20. Thick Darkness

The account of the thick darkness that could be felt in 3 Nephi 8:20 was taken by Joseph Smith from Exodus 10:21-23.

If these phenomena were real, should we not expect them to be described in such terms? The gospels tell us that there was darkness in Jerusalem at the time of the crucifixion (Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44-45). Was that story borrowed from Exodus also? (Read More)

3 Nephi 8:21 Candles

The Book of Mormon speaks of candles, which did not exist in ancient America (3 Nephi 8:21; 12:15).

Though the terms “candle” and “candlestick” are frequently used in the King James version (KJV) of the Bible (e.g., Exodus 25:31; Job 18:6), they were not in use in ancient Israel. Instead, they used oil lamps, which were less known in seventeenth-century England, when the KJV was translated. (Read More)

3 Nephi 11-28. Jesus’ Visit to the New World

Unlike the Mormon Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible did not visit the New World.

Members of the Church of England and its American offshoot, the Episcopalian Church, are readily accepted as Christians, even “born again Christians” when appropriate, by other Protestants, yet Anglicans have a tradition that Christ, as a boy, visited the British Isles. If Anglicans can be considered Christians and yet believe Jesus visited ancient Britain, why should the Book of Mormon account of Christ’s visit to the Nephites in the New World disqualify its believers from being Christians? (Read More)

3 Nephi 22:4 Added Phrase Unwarranted

The addition of the phrase “And shalt not remember the reproach of they youth” in 3 Nephi 22:4 is an obvious interpolation into the text, as it breaks the rhythm of the clauses in this poetic passage drawn from Isaiah 54.

This additional phrase is not attested before the 1837 edition of the Book of Mormon and appears to have been an inadvertent error that crept in by dittography during one of the revisions. (Read More)

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

The tortures inflicted on the three Nephite disciples in 3 Nephi 28:21-22 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.

If 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. (Read More)