cultural narrative, theophany, Book of Mormon, Lehi's Dream


The events surrounding Christ’s theophany as recounted in 3 Nephi describe the creation of a new world, both physically and socially. In particular, chapters 8–18 depict a series of events that are reminiscent of the creation of the earth as described in Genesis and elsewhere. From the all-pervasive darkness experienced during the cataclysmic destruction to the glorious, light-filled arrival of Christ and the institution of new laws and ordinances delivered during his first day among the people, the Book of Mormon text reflects this biblical narrative. Yet the manner in which it is presented echoes a creation narrative unique to the Book of Mormon that provided meaning and context to the entire Nephite experience—the narrative of Lehi’s dream. Though Lehi received his iconic dream six hundred years before Christ’s arrival, the images and symbols of that dream appear to have impacted later generations of Nephites, providing meaning to the events and experiences of their lives and societies, in particular, the manner in which they experienced and comprehended Christ’s theophany.

Original Publication Citation

Third Nephi: An Incomparable Scripture

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Maxwell Institute and Deseret Book




Religious Education


Ancient Scripture

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor