Episode 70: 3 Nephi 28 – 4 Nephi

March 8, 2015


Click to Listen: Episode 70: 3 Nephi 28 – 4 Nephi

If you’ve given up on Jesus because he was just too boring or confusing, then you’ve gotta listen to this one! No joke, he takes these three random dudes and turns them into pure awesomeness! Seriously, it’s hard to describe just how awesome these dudes are. You just have to listen for yourself.

“Drink” Count – 41

Almost 7 beers


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10 Comments on “Episode 70: 3 Nephi 28 – 4 Nephi”

  1. Duke of Earl Grey Says:

    Uh oh. The audio cuts out right as 3 Nephi 30 ends. Did the rest of the show get lost forever, or will the Lord see fit to restore it unto us in the latter days? (Which I’m hoping will be tomorrow on the iTunes feed, Lord, if you can swing it.) But that said…


    Should we all live 2,000+ years, like them, we could not say enough about the awesomeness of the Three Nephites, and their preeminent place in Mormon folklore, surpassing even that “Bigfoot is Cain” story in shear epicness. Basically every Mormon in Utah has some friend, or friend of a friend, who knows somebody else whose uncle or grandfather or somebody claimed to meet one of the Three Nephites. Just what have they been up to all this time, you ask?

    The stories often go as follows. In some stories a stranger in old-fashioned clothes shows up one night at a Mormon house and asked to stay for dinner. While there, he expounds the Gospel of Christ as those people had never heard before (but just what, specifically, the dude said is never part of the story.) The man had asked for food, but the hosts realize later that he never ate a bite.

    Maybe in a church testimony meeting an old man nobody recognizes stands up and shares all kinds of (again, non-specific) churchy talk that makes everyone’s heart burn with confirmation of the truth of the old man’s churchy talk, but after speaking, the old man is gone from the meeting without anyone seeing him leave.

    Or perhaps this friend of a friend’s uncle’s cousin was driving on a solitary road out in the desert, and picked up a hitchhiker. That hitchhiker talked with him for a while, said some bad, Last Days kind of stuff is about to go down, so he better get his one-year-supply of food storage in order. Then before the amazed driver can tell what’s what, the mysterious hitchhiker has vanished from sight.

    And maybe I just made up all three of those stories (OK, story “outlines”, fine!) out of little pieces of the many Three Nephites stories we’ve all heard. The strangest Three Nephites story I personally ever heard was the claim that during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, at one point a line of Arab tanks was on its way to battle, but three men in white robes appeared ahead of them and turned them back, somehow. Yeah, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t confirm that story, from anyone else, ever. But that’s at least the sort of thing I would expect from these godlike superheroes, not bumming around southern Utah all the time, giving cryptic warnings to alarmed motorists before disappearing like ghosts out of their backseats. At least in some stories, they help change a tire, or something, before disappearing, so they’re not entirely worthless.

    It’s hard to say how many Mormons actually believe the most outlandish of these stories. Probably not many. I never believed any of them. Currently, the church’s curriculum on 3 Nephi 28 basically discourages people from sharing this type of story, or speculating in any way, beyond what the text says, as to what the mission of the Three Nephites is. But they are fun stories to tell, even if they’re sometimes just culturally specific adaptations of popular mainstream urban legends, and I think they will stick around as long as Mormons like good stories and aren’t being entertained sufficiently at church, which will be forever.

    For anyone interested, the Mormon Expression podcast did an episode about the Three Nephites a few years ago:



    • Hal in Howell Says:

      “Bigfoot is Cain” is totally true! Mormon Apostle David Patten met him near Paris, Tennessee, rebuked him in the name of Jesus and sent the poor, immortal Cain on his way. This story appears in the book, The Miracle of Forgiveness by LDS President Spencer Kimball. David Fitzgerald cites this legend in his delightsome book, The Complete Heretic’s Guide to Western Religion: The Mormons.

      Thanks so much for your illuminating commentary, Duke of Earl Grey.


  2. Duke of Earl Grey Says:

    In saying that, like the Three Nephites, John the Beloved had also requested to become an immortal, powerhouse missionary until Jesus comes back, the Book of Mormon is alluding to John 21:20-24, which says:

    20 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?
    21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
    22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.
    23 Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?
    24 This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.

    That passage itself pretty much implies that Jesus never meant to say that John would never die, but it doesn’t exactly deny that that’s what Jesus might have meant. So the Book of Mormon took this little passage and ran with it.

    Incidentally, this type of person whose body gets changed to not taste of death, in Mormon parlance we call them “translated beings”.


  3. Ephima Morphew Says:

    Joseph Smith’s prophetic labido

    Despite the paucity of details the BoM is a great work of interpretation rendered though the brain of a grave-robber.

    “Spurn and yet spurn again some more, until you believeth what you are told and I will not curse you to eternal damnation. I have spoken.”

    Changing the world one
    Mormon at a time through
    religious understanding and
    Mormon Counter-Apologetics


  4. dustin Says:

    Hey David loved the episode buy it seemed to cut short at mid nephi 2 29 just thought you should know keep up the awesome podcast


  5. Tina Says:

    First off, I loved the Three Nephites episode! It’s my favorite since the Korihor episode!

    It’s been a long time since I have heard any myths about them, but I once heard a speaker at a Sunstone conference about such myths. (Think of it as a Mormon nerd conference for liberal thinkers who don’t want to flat-out quit the faith, but who want to find a sympathetic crowd that acknowledges some of the problems and discrepancies in the stories and history of the church.) The speaker found that other Christian faiths had their own legends of heavenly messengers that were almost identical to the the most famous Three Nephite legends, but with different characters. These “faith-inspiring narratives” were at one time pretty abundant in American churches, irrespective of denomination. Here’s another article on the Three by a Mormon cultural/literature journal: https://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V21N03_15.pdf

    Also, thanks for bringing up the age issue with the other nine disciples. The BOM suggests they were probably young adults in AD 33, when Jesus appeared to the Nephites. So let’s just say they were born around AD 13. If they died at age 72, then they would have died around AD 85.

    BOM in 4 Nephi 1:14 says, “…till the seventy and ninth year had passed away; yea, even an hundred years had passed away, and the disciples of Jesus… had all gone to the paradise of God.” A Mormon apologist would explain the scripture this way: “The BOM is simply is stating that the nine moral disciples passed away sometimes between AD 79 and AD 100, with all of them surely being dead by AD 100. Since our estimate was around AD 85 for most of them, there is no discrepancy.” (I’m pretty fluent in Mormon apologetics.)


  6. Tina Says:

    *mortal disciples, not “moral,” though the book suggests they were very moral, too. 🙂


  7. Duke of Earl Grey Says:

    I actually had forgotten this until now, and was about to point out how the record keepers in 4 Nephi had possession of the plates for ridiculous and impossible spans of time (Amos Jr. for 111 years, etc.), but once immortal “Highlander” types have been introduced into the narrative, it seems a useless point to say it’s impossible for Amos to live into his 120’s or so.


  8. Gottfried the Hirsute Says:

    Just as a note of clarification, midway through 3 Ne 28 Mormon does the whole “and now I make an end of my writing” thing and then, as usual, proceeds to keep writing for Chapters 29 and 30! So Chapter 30 is not Jesus addressing Gentiles among the Nephites, it’s Mormon speaking directly to BoM readers 1500+ years later – which sounds an awful lot like an early 1800’s camp revival meeting! Hmmmm….


  9. George Nash (@gnash117) Says:

    There are some Mormon apologetics that I have heard to describe all the “I now make an end of my writing” lines then going on but they require knowledge about how the book ends so I will not introduce them here.

    Love the podcast David. I finally caught up with all the shows. I first herd about the podcast when you were a guest on Dogma Debate 24 hour show. I have been binge listening to the show till I finally caught up.


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