3 Nephi 21: 15-18

3 Nephi 21: 15-18:

“And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strongholds; And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thy land, and thou shalt have no more soothsayers; Thy graven images I will also cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee, and thou shalt no more worship the works of thy hands;  And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee; so will I destroy thy cities.”
Cleaning up things so that the course of wickedness comes to an end involves some highly specific purging. However, the description is not given to us so we can know what will be coming as much as it is given to us to guide our own conduct and beliefs.
“Cities will be cut off” means what? “Strongholds thrown down” refers to what? Interesting things to contemplate to be sure.  But much more relevant are the warnings in what follows:
“Cut off witchcrafts” is a warning to those who engage in certain practices. What should you do to avoid being cut off as a result of being involved in “witchcraft?” What does that mean? Are only wiccans being warned by this?
Who are the “soothsayers” who are to be terminated? What constitutes “soothsaying?” Look that word up. It appears in interesting contexts. The typical example involves predictions made using means other than true prophecy. But you should look at it and ask yourself how it would apply in modern applications: in business, government, economics, weather–especially long-term weather, politics, etc.
What are “graven images?” What are “standing images?”  Why are the “standing images” said to be “in the midst of thee?”
What does it mean to “worship the works of thy hands?” How can a person worship their own works?
What are the “groves” that are to be plucked up? Why are the groves also “in the midst of thee?” The ancient usage of groves involved fertility rites, sacred sexual practices, or the worship of intercourse. What modern versions of this ancient form of fertility worship would be similar to the ancient behavior as to merit being called the same thing?
What does it mean to have our “cities destroyed?” Does this have anything to do with the other prophecy that the final victory of Israel will inhabit the desolate cities of the gentiles?  (Isa. 54: 3.)
Remember this is Christ speaking. This is the Redeemer, the merciful author of our salvation. Therefore, you must conclude that these direful predictions are actually based on the overall long-term best interest of those involved. They are better off, improved and advanced by these judgments. Imagine that. The wrath of God is best visited upon those who are destroyed, rather than leaving them to continue the course they are headed in. It is an interesting thing to contemplate.

9 thoughts on “3 Nephi 21: 15-18

  1. This prophecy takes on meanings and insinuations that it couldn’t have 20, 10 or even 5 years ago…. with the advent of the internet (and with it the porn), 24 hour “news,” global warming (excuse me…”climate change”), instant access to the stock market, Viagra, video games, texting, iPhones, reality TV, hi-def movies, YouTube, FaceBook, eBay, Google, etc. etc. All right in the palm of my hand.

    Could this be the time period the prophecy is referring to, given that a few short years ago, we could never have applied it in this way?


  2. There are many different sins of immorality. But destruction is brought on most swiftly when ‘Divorce’ becomes rampant.

    Divorce is one of the greatest of all sins & far more destructive than mere affairs, homosexuality, abuse, porn, & worse etc. Divorce either includes all of the above or causes it.

    The total destruction of families by rampant divorce as is happening today, is something no society or church can ever survive. We have been warned that it is the reason for the coming calamities & holocausts.

    As the Prophets warn, Divorce is one of the principle tools of the Devil. And most everyone is falling for divorce, to either do it or accept & support others doing it.

    Keeping our marriage covenants is our only safety from destruction, physically & spiritually.

  3. So many questions! Denver, do you know the answers to all of these? Sorry, feeling overwhelmed and befuttled. I am still trying to grasp “Nephi’s path” in “The Second Comforter”!

  4. I came across a wonderful thing this morning while reading in Denver’s “Beloved Enos” pg. 90. This insight seems to be a helpful at least partial answer to the question so many are posing in comments on this blog as to “How do I do this? How can I repent enough or repent differently?”

    Quoting from pg. 90: “When [Enos] writes: ‘I cried unto him continually’ it does not mean a single encounter or petition. It suggests Enos worked on this covenant for some extended period before obtaining the results he desired.”

    “We should not expect our own struggles to be any less. Too often we quickly abandon a petition to God because we do not get the immediate results we want. We are impatient. That is a mistake when dealing with a Lord who wants to teach all His children the virtue of patience.”

    Combine this concept with that found in Helaman 5 when the imprisoned Lamanites were overshadowed by a cloud of darkness:

    Hel. 5: 28-49 (selected verses):

    28 And it came to pass that they were overshadowed with a cloud of darkness, and an awful solemn fear came upon them.

    32 And behold the voice came again, saying: Repent ye, repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand; and seek no more to destroy my servants. And it came to pass that the earth shook again, and the walls trembled.

    34 And it came to pass that the Lamanites could not flee because of the cloud of darkness which did overshadow them; yea, and also they were immovable because of the fear which did come upon them.
    35 Now there was one among them who was a Nephite by birth, who had once belonged to the church of God but had dissented from them.
    36 And it came to pass that he turned him about, and behold, he saw through the cloud of darkness the faces of Nephi and Lehi; and behold, they did shine exceedingly, even as the faces of angels. And he beheld that they did lift their eyes to heaven; and they were in the attitude as if talking or lifting their voices to some being whom they beheld.
    37 And it came to pass that this man did cry unto the multitude, that they might turn and look. And behold, there was power given unto them that they did turn and look; and they did behold the faces of Nephi and Lehi.
    38 And they said unto the man: Behold, what do all these things mean, and who is it with whom these men do converse?
    39 Now the man’s name was Aminadab. And Aminadab said unto them: They do converse with the angels of God.
    40 And it came to pass that the Lamanites said unto him: WHAT SHALL WE DO, THAT THIS CLOUD OF DARKNESS MAY BE REMOVED FROM OVERSHADOWING US?

    41 And Aminadab said unto them: You must repent, and cry unto the voice, even UNTIL ye shall have faith in Christ, who was taught unto you by Alma, and Amulek, and Zeezrom; and when ye shall do this, the cloud of darkness shall be removed from overshadowing you.

  5. continued from Hel. 5:

    42 And it came to pass that they all did begin to cry unto the voice of him who had shaken the earth; yea, they did cry even UNTIL the cloud of darkness was dispersed.
    43 And it came to pass that when they cast their eyes about, and saw that the cloud of darkness was dispersed from overshadowing them, behold, they saw that they were encircled about, yea every soul, by a pillar of fire.
    44 And Nephi and Lehi were in the midst of them; yea, they were encircled about; yea, they were as if in the midst of a flaming fire, yet it did harm them not, neither did it take hold upon the walls of the prison; and they were filled with that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory.
    45 And behold, the Holy Spirit of God did come down from heaven, and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as if with fire, and they could speak forth marvelous words.
    46 And it came to pass that there came a voice unto them, yea, a pleasant voice, as if it were a whisper, saying:
    47 Peace, peace be unto you, because of your faith in my Well Beloved, who was from the foundation of the world.
    48 And now, when they heard this they cast up their eyes as if to behold from whence the voice came; and behold, they saw the heavens open; and angels came down out of heaven and ministered unto them.
    49 And there were about three hundred souls who saw and heard these things; and they were bidden to go forth and marvel not, neither should they doubt.

    Do you think this would do it for us? Would we be thrilled or what? The key word is UNTIL. We can all repent with all our hearts, do Mormon 9:27-28 and cry unto Him UNTIL the cloud of darkness that we’re all in is dispersed from overshadowing us. It has to work.

    Mormon 9: 27-28:

    27 O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him.
    28 Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and dliving God.

  6. Thanks warmly, Kisi. The feelings that come in reaction to these new thoughts bring an immediacy to the events that makes it feel like we’re out of time personally. Your remarks are helpful to bring a balance to not procrastinating, but pressing forward steadfastly without missing the mark.

  7. Thank you so much Kisi for connecting the scriptures so beautiful for us. Between Snuffer teaching us and all you guys’ comments….I have found a treasure.

  8. Kisi-
    That was a beautiful reminder. I wonder what would happen if, like the Lamanites in the prison, in unison we were to “cry unto the voice of him” who shakes the earth, to disperse the cloud of darkness surrounding us…to GRANT unto us repentance. Surely the Lord would hear us!


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