“The Great and Marvelous Change Which Had Taken Place”

Jana Reiss

We now skip ahead more than a hundred years from Alma’s advice to his sons (ca. 73 BCE) to the coming of Christ to the New World (sometime between 30 and 35 CE). Prior to this scene, there have been tumultuous and cataclysmic portents; storms, earthquakes, and fires have destroyed several Nephite cities.

This destruction happened in the New World at the same time that Christ was being crucified in the old. Then a thick darkness covered the land in the New World for three days (coincident to the time that Christ was in the tomb). During this time, Christ’s voice spoke to the people, urging them to repent and give their hearts to him. In his teachings, he identifies them as the house of Israel, tells them that they have been saved from the devastation because they were more righteous than their neighbors, and promises to come among them.

Some time later, he visits with approximately twenty-five hundred Nephite men, women, and children for three days at the temple in Bountiful. (The text is not specific about exactly when this happened, or how much time has passed, but this visit occurred at least after the forty days that Christ spent after his resurrection ministering with his apostles in and around Jerusalem, as recorded in the New Testament. It may have been even later, especially if Christ visited other people around the globe, as the Book of Mormon teaches.)

The Book of Mormon: Selections Annotated & Explained