“Insomuch That the Inhabitants Thereof Who Had Not Fallen Could Feel the Vapor of Darkness”

W. Cleon Skousen

With all of the dust and debris emanating from a cataclysm such as this one, we would expect a partial darkness. But the Book of Mormon says this darkness was different. It was a damp, soggy darkness that could actually be felt. It seems to have been the same kind of damp darkness as that which engulfed Egypt in the days of Moses.2

The New Testament speaks of these same three hours and says, “from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land [of Jerusalem] unto the ninth hour.”3 And when Jesus had finally yielded up the ghost the scripture says, “the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent.”4 But this earthquake and darkness in the vicinity of Jerusalem was nothing compared with the gigantic upheaval that went roaring across the face of North and South America.

Perhaps before continuing we should mention that the prophet Enoch saw a vision of the impact that these terrible hours of Christ‘s agony had on the intelligences in this round of the Father’s creation. Enoch says, “And he heard a loud voice; and the heavens were veiled; and all the creations of God mourned; and the earth groaned; and the rocks were rent.”5 It will be recalled that when we discussed the Atonement in Alma chapter 34 we mentioned that the excruciating agony of the Savior during these terrible hours became the pivotal core of the Atonement. It so aroused the flood of compassion among the intelligences of the universe that it gave Jesus the power to serve as the Father’s great Mediator throughout time and all eternity.

Now we continue:

“And there could be no light, because of the darkness, neither candles, neither torches; neither could there be fire kindled with their fine and exceedingly dry wood, so that there could not be any light at all; And there was not any light seen, neither fire, nor glimmer, neither the sun, nor the moon, nor the stars, for so great were the mists of darkness which were upon the face of the land. And it came to pass that it did last for the space of three days that there was no light seen; and there was great mourning and howling and weeping among all the people continually; yea, great were the groanings of the people, because of the darkness and the great destruction which had come upon them.”

Treasures from the Book of Mormon