“Of the Loss of Their Kindred and Friends”

Brant Gardner

This phrase forms a closing bracket on the experience with the Savior that parallels 3 Nephi 8:23–25, further emphasizing Nephi’s careful and purposeful construction:

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.
And in one place they were heard to cry, saying: O that we had repented before this great and terrible day, and then would our brethren have been spared, and they would not have been burned in that great city Zarahemla.
And in another place they were heard to cry and mourn, saying: O that we had repented before this great and terrible day, and had not killed and stoned the prophets, and cast them out; then would our mothers and our fair daughters, and our children have been spared, and not have been buried up in that great city Moronihah. And thus were the howlings of the people great and terrible. (3 Ne. 8:23–25)

The essential features of this introductory passage between Yahweh’s first pronouncement and his final statement are:

Three hours

Audible mourning.

Silence during the appearance.

Audible mourning (v. 8)

Three days (v. 9)

Of course the people would still be in mourning and it is understandable that they again grieved for their losses, but it seems unlikely that the outbreak immediately followed Yahweh’s second proclamation. They had waited in silence for an unspecified period between the two utterances. Probably they also remained silent after this one. The return to mourning provides the final bracket to the experience.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 5