3 Nephi 8: Destruction and Darkness

Book of Mormon Student Study Guide, (2000), 161–162


At the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the wicked will be destroyed and the righteous will be caught up to meet the Savior. Have you ever pondered on what that will be like? In 3 Nephi 8 is a description of the destructions that took place among the Nephites at the time Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem. As you read, notice who was destroyed and why. Also note that events occurred just as Samuel the Lamanite had prophesied (see Helaman 14:20–27).
city destroyed by lightning

Understanding the Scriptures

3 Nephi 8

Just (v. 1)Righteous, honest
Reckoning (v. 2)Counting, calculating
Earnestness (v. 3)Eagerness
Tempest (vv. 6, 12, 17)Destructive storm
Divide asunder (v. 6)Break apart
Desolate (v. 14)Empty
Rent in twain (v. 18)Split in two
Fallen (v. 20)Died
Vapor (v. 20)Cloud

3 Nephi 8:25—Rejecting the Prophets

Many of those who were spared from the destructions described in 3 Nephi 8 recognized that if the majority of the people had not rejected the prophets they would not have been destroyed.

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A or B as you study 3 Nephi 8.

Activity A iconCompare Two Events

  1. 1.

    What were the people looking for with “great earnestness” (v. 3) and why?

  2. 2.

    Summarize what Doctrine and Covenants 133:38–45 says about how the righteous will feel as the time of the Savior’s Second Coming approaches.

  3. 3.

    Compare 3 Nephi 8:4–22 and Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:28–33 and list the similarities you see between the coming of the Savior to the Nephites and what is prophesied to precede His Second Coming.

Activity B iconA Letter to Yourself

  1. 1.

    Why were the people “mourning,” “howling,” and “weeping” in 3 Nephi 8:23?

  2. 2.

    From 3 Nephi 8:24–25, what did they wish they, as a people, had done to avoid that great tragedy?

  3. 3.

    Suppose you were one of the Lord’s prophets. Write a message to all people concerning what they must do to avoid the promised destructions of the last days if the people will not repent.