There Was a Terrible Thunder

Alan C. Miner

In 3 Nephi 8:6 it says that “there was a terrible thunder.” According to Alvin Benson, the first arrival of energy from an earthquake is the compressional wave that produces “noise,” which could sound like “thunder.” This energy is then followed by the arrival of shear and surface waves, which typically produce most of the shaking and damage along with more deafening noises. The “tumultuous noises” could be generated by the breaking of rock strata, the opening of cracks in the earth, the collapse of buildings, etc., followed by the noise of volcanic eruptions and associated lightning and thunder (Fodor 11-15). [Alvin K. Benson, “Geological Upheaval and Darkness in 3 Nephi 8-10,” in The Book of Mormon: 3 Nephi 9-3-0, This is My Gospel, pp. 66-67]

3 Nephi 8:6,8-10 A great and terrible tempest …fire … sea … earth (Illustration): Chart: “Destructions at the Death of Christ.” [John W. & J. Gregory Welch, Charting the Book of Mormon: Visual Aids for Personal Study and Teaching, F.A.R.M.S., Chart #49]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary