“Of Whom the Sign Had Been Given Concerning His Death”

W. Cleon Skousen

Now we come to the most exciting portion of the entire book of Mormon. The major mission of the Book of Mormon is to tell this story which now lies just ahead.

We have already learned from 3 Nephi 10:18 that the events we are about to encounter occurred many months after the great destruction and toward end of the thirty-fourth year. This means that Nephi III has had ample opportunity to visit the various congregations of survivors and assemble a careful selection of 2,500 for this great conference. The preparation for this conference are not furnished in Nephi’s writings but it soon becomes apparent that this multitude which Nephi had assembled at the temple in Bountiful was no ordinary assembly.

Nephi, the Lord’s prophet was here. So were all the men who would be the twelve disciples for the administration of the Church in the western hemisphere. Altogether, this multitude soon takes on the characteristics of a general conference that Nephi must have been inspired and perhaps even carefully instructed to call to welcome the resurrected Jesus Christ to his ministry in America.

According to 3 Nephi 25:17, it turns out that there were 2,500 chosen associates of Nephi who had the thrilling privilege of witnessing this monumental event. It is interesting that not far from the temple was the city of Bountiful with a population of survivors from the recent holocaust. But none of these got to see the Savior’s arrival even though it occurred right over their heads. Nor did they hear the voice of the Father as he introduced his Son. The scripture says:

“And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn. And it came to pass that again they heard the voice, and they understood it not. And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came. And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them: Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name -- hear ye him.”

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