There are 4 thoughts on ““The Great and Terrible Judgments of the Lord”: Destruction and Disaster in 3 Nephi and the Geology of Mesoamerica”.

  1. Has anyone to your knowledge examined the human dimension of the 3rd Nephi disasters and their immediate aftermath in the light of recent events, applying something along the lines of Scot Facer Proctor’s “7 Things I Learned from an Earthquake in the Third World”?

  2. I find it interesting that in addition to the geologic factors relating the the destruction in 3rd Nephi, there seem to be metaphoric dimensions as well: Mormon records widespread destruction as the result of a tempest, Zarahemla is burned, Moroni is submerged, and Moronihah is buried with earth. Christ speaks of these specific examples of destruction from heaven. Earth, wind, fire, and water are generally acknowledged as the traditional four elements of antiquity. Perhaps the metaphor suggested is that all the “elements” of creation participated in the judgement of the wicked Nephites, providing a needed cleansing prior to Christ’s visit. Could these events serve a type and shadow of the destruction to come prior to our Millennial visit by the Savior.

    • Mark:
      The so-called elemental powers are traditionally fire, air, water and earth, each represented by an animal figure. Fire is often pictured (even carved in wood in famous French palaces) with a salamander in fire. I don’t see anything remotely like the elemental powers in the Book of Mormon, or in Joseph Smith’s world. It was a forged letter by Mark Hoffman that sent quite a few into the bushes hunting for magic and the occult. Some never recovered from that trip.
      A word tempest can clearly be used metaphorically, as it was in Shakespeare’ s famous play. We know instantly that “tempest in a teapot” is a striking metaphor. But the destruction described in the Book of Mormon seems rather directly descriptive of actual events in time and space. On the other hand, the cursing for disobedience to the convent one has made with God is being “cut off” from his presence and this seems to me to be clearly metaphorical like “tempest in a teapot.” I don’t think that there is an actual blade and severing going on, except metaphorically, much like washing our dirty linen in the blood of the Lamb makes them and us clean and pure, thereby turning us into Saints (Holy Ones) by sanctifying us through the baptism of fire (or the Holy Spirit).

  3. I very much enjoyed Neal Rappleye’s fine review essay on Jerry Grover’s treatment of the geological materials in the Book of Mormon. Neal is a gifted young scholar and has published some excellent essays–if I have counted correctly this is his ninth published essay.
    I am inclined to point out, without spelling out the reasons mentioned by Rappleye that guide Grover’s work, which again punches holes in the ungrounded speculation about Book of Mormon geography. Speculation about such matters has been the hallmark of tour directors, three of whom parade their opinions under the odd name “heartland.” This vague location both locates and restricts the Lehites to the southern edges of the Great Lakes and as far west as the shores of the Mississippi River. It does this without providing any plausible links to oceans or the large number of geographical clues found in the Book of Mormon itself. The most recent version of Rodney Meldrum’s jingo geography is currently being advanced by Jonathan Neville, who both ignores, when convenient, the Book of Mormon itself, and also fails to engage the relevant scholarly literature that challenges his grounding assertions.

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