“Delivered Out of the Depths of the Earth”

Brant Gardner

Mormon interrupts his narrative to summarize the future history of these three. These events are out of chronological order, happening over the four hundred years between the three’s mortal lives and Mormon’s own time period. Mormon reprises this information in 4 Nephi 1:30–33, where he places these episodes in their more accurate time frame (but with little detail).

This summary recounts situations that mere mortals could not have overcome. However, the three triumphed because of their faith.

Reference: Alma and Amulek are similarly cast into prison but were miraculously delivered by the collapse of the walls (Alma 14:27). Mormon begins a series of references to incidents in the lives of the three that parallel scriptural stories of deliverance. From his perspective some four hundred years later, these events (3 Ne. 28:19–22) have been made into super-history, stories of the three that place them in the context of scriptural miracles. They are stories that, regardless of the events they describe, have been phrased in language that makes the correlation to scripture clear. The message is the complete righteousness and power of these three special emissaries. It appears that the tendency of the Three Nephites to enter into a community’s active lore has a long history.

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