Your Friday Firestorm #46

And when he had spoken unto them, he turned himself unto the three, and said unto them: What will ye that I should do unto you, when I am gone unto the Father? And they sorrowed in their hearts, for they durst not speak unto him the thing which they desired. And he said unto them: Behold, I know your thoughts, and ye have desired the thing which John, my beloved, who was with me in my ministry, before that I was lifted up by the Jews, desired of me.

Therefore, more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death; but ye shall live to behold all the doings of the Father unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled according to the will of the Father, when I shall come in my glory with the powers of heaven. And ye shall never endure the pains of death; but when I shall come in my glory ye shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye from mortality to immortality; and then shall ye be blessed in the kingdom of my Father. And again, ye shall not have pain while ye shall dwell in the flesh, neither sorrow save it be for the sins of the world; and all this will I do because of the thing which ye have desired of me, for ye have desired that ye might bring the souls of men unto me, while the world shall stand…

And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words, he touched every one of them with his finger save it were the three who were to tarry, and then he departed.



  1. “for ye have desired that ye might bring the souls of men unto me, while the world shall stand”

    For some reason I thought the 3 Nephites were supposed to act like guardian angels types for all of us until the millenium. From the exerpt above, it sounds more like they are supposed to be doing missionary work. I wish someone would send them to NY.!

  2. Did you all know that one of them had the cure to cancer, but was unknowingly turned away by some bishop who was otherwise busy?

  3. Narrator: It’s ok, they already had a long list of sister missionaries they had to save.

  4. re#1 exerpt is a word I invented because I couldn’t spell excerpt. I also don’t know how to insert smiley faces or I would put one here looking foolish!

  5. These verses in Mormon have always intrigued me:

    10 And there are none that do know the true God save it be the disciples of Jesus, who did tarry in the land until the wickedness of the people was so great that the Lord would not suffer them to remain with the people; and whether they be upon the face of the land no man knoweth.
    11 But behold, my father and I have seen them, and they have ministered unto us. (Mormon 8:10-11)

    Could it be that they have only made very rare appearances since then (due to “wickedness”)? If not, I wonder if they just blend in and have a job somewhere. Maybe that guy in the office next door is one of them. Wait – no, he drinks coffee.

  6. queuno says:

    LaVell Edwards is one of them. Really, there’s no other explanation.

  7. So we’ve probably all heard some goose-bump stories about how they showed up at a temple dedication or told a ward member’s cousin’s friend to build up their food storage by next conference. Does anyone know of any claimed appearances that are documented anywhere (a la David W. Patten’s experience of meeting Cain as retold in President Kimball’s Miracle of Forgiveness)?

  8. Duncan McCloud of the McCloud Clan may be a good bet, too.

  9. Or maybe Sam Beckett…

  10. 3. In my experience, Elders were much more inclined to be wildly superstitious and interested in the bizarre than Sisters. I’m guessing that it isn’t a gender issue, but a maturity issue.

  11. okay so I made a fool of myself in front of my non-mormon in-laws over this. I can’t remember what we were talking about, but I said, well, like John the Beloved staying on the earth til the second coming. And they were like wtf? and I was like wha? I swear. And they were like yeah? show us. And I was like, uh do you accept the Book of Mormon? And they were like, no.

    do no mainstream Christians believe that John asked for this? They were raised lax Mennonites and some of them are more evangelical Baptists and others are sort of non-denominational Christian. None of them had ever heard of this before.

  12. Steve Evans says:

    McCloud sounds like a character from StarFox. “Macleod” is the only spelling that will save you from getting yer hed lopped off.

  13. amri, Yes, most fundamentalist/literalistic Christians do believe in John’s “tarrying” although not everyone is aware of the idea. (Kind of like literalistic LDS believe in the “rapture” but we don’t use that term and not everybody buys into it.)

    Here’s the scripture reference from John 21 (

    21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
    22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me.
    23 Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?
    24 This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things

    Then there’s Christ’s statement in Luke 9:27, “But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.”

    The Book of Mormon seems to me to be a little more clear about the process. The FFS scripture above talks about not tasting death and being changed from mortality to immortality, rather than simply postponing or completely avoiding death. Details to be disclosed upon our own exaltation, I presume.

  14. sister blah 2 says:

    We do believe in a literal rapture? Dang it, I guess I have to stop making fun of this site then.

  15. Amri,

    Go take a look at the last few verses of John 21. That is were the idea that John will tarry till Jesus comes again comes from.

    I have heard this discussed by evangelicals in the recent past.

  16. amri (11):

    The biblical version of the John the Baptist story goes like this:

    When Peter saw him [John the Beloved], he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!” So the rumour spread in the community [lit. “among the brothers”] that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” (NRSV John 21:21-23)

    I imagine that this pericope is read by those of other faiths as saying that the rumor that John would not die is false. I don’t think the LDS interpretation conflicts with the scripture, but it might not be the most natural reading from these verses alone. Personally, I’ve always thought that last line sounded too much like editorializing and may have been an addition by a later copyist, but I don’t have much basis to go off of other than that.

  17. oops – I was too slow posting (16) – sorry for repeating other’s comments

  18. Steve (12) – Thanks for the correction – I had a feeling I had it wrong. I have no Scots in me – I’m all English and Francais. Yet another reason to have me hed lopped off by a Scotsman.

  19. (16) I have no idea why I wrote “John the Baptist” – should have read “John the Beloved.”

  20. Steve Evans says:

    that’s “hed”, pronounced “heeeeeeeed.” See here.

  21. Maybe that guy in the office next door is one of them. Wait – no, he drinks coffee.

    Here’s an interesting question: If the Word of Wisdom is unique as “the will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days,” and given that the mission and life of the Three Nephites transcends our dispensation, and that harmful substances presumably have no effect on their “transfigured” bodies, does the Word of Wisdom apply to them?

  22. SB2, # 14, please, I just looked at the site you mentioned, and don’t stop making fun of it. One of two things will happen. Either the “dead man switch” they mentioned will get forgotten or reconfigured by a systems admin some day, and millions of these email letters will got out, and all of the supposedly vanished writers will be left trying to explain why they are still there; or, more likely if the rapture actually happens, the messages will all get caught in everybody’s spam filters.

  23. I think John and 3 Nephites definitely do not need to adhere to lower laws like WoW–only for the weak.

    I have always thought there had to be 3 Nephites to even out the companionships–everyone hates a threesome, and obviously, John can’t be alone–who would believe just the mouth of one witness? Crazy talk!

  24. kristine N says:

    re: #14–that is an awesome site. wonder if it was set up before or after the Left Behind series of waste-of-paper-masquerading-as-books were published.

  25. ESO (23) – I’ve heard arguments for the WoW being a “higher” law, which is why it has only been given in this dispensation (though hints of previuos dietary laws can be found in the scriptures). But it is interesting to think that they could be at a bar pounding a few drinks in order to minister to a few.

  26. JT–I don’t want to fight, or anything, but doesn’t the Wow say: adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints?

    I say it is a pretty low law.

  27. In the book “The Logan Temple: The First 100 Years”, it tells of The Temple Recorder, Samuel Roskelley (my ancestor) fleeing from the US Marshall with the records of plural marriages to the temple to hide in the upper conference room. When he reached the door of the temple there were two very large men in armor on either side of the door. The indication was that these were Nephites. I’m not sure of the original source of the story. It may have been second hand because I couldn’t find it in my copy of his journals and I don’t have a copy of the book in front of me.

  28. ESO (in non-fighting manner :)): So I know this is neither here nor there, but for clarification purposes, I thought I would just mention that the argument I have heard interprets that phrase to mean a “lowest common denominator rule,” and that if it wasn’t adapted to the capacity of weaker saints, there would be more and/or stricter laws.

  29. ESO: “I don’t want to fight, or anything”

    Come on, did you see the title of this series??

  30. JT–right–I don’t think the Nephites or John need it.

  31. sister blah 2 says:

    #22–Never fear, Kevin, wild horses couldn’t drag me from making fun of that site. :-)

  32. SB2, who’s going to renew that domain post-rapture? Think of all those 404s in the Christian web…

  33. What if the guy who runs the website oversleeps one day and forgets to reset it? We’ll all think the rapture has happened and we weren’t in it. (humming Blondie songs about now…)

  34. Also,
    when I shall come in my glory ye shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye from mortality to immortality

    So this means they’re currently not immortal? I don’t get that. They’re just mortals who will live for thousands of years and never have pain or sickness. Huh.

  35. Bert Wilson lists some of the better collections of stories about the Three Nephites in the Autumn 1988 issue of Dialogue:

    Three Nephites in Contemporary Society

  36. I just stumbled on this interesting story told by LeGrand Richards:

    It was marvelous what God did for the Jews, especially in Jerusalem, during the fighting with the Arabs. Though quite a few months had passed since the victory of Israel’s army in Israel, they were still talking about what had taken place. Everywhere I went I heard how God had intervened in their behalf, and how He helped them to win the battles. One of the officials told me how much the Jews had to suffer. They had hardly anything with which to resist the heavy attacks of the Arabs, who were well organized and equipped with the latest weapons. Besides, they had neither food nor water because all their supplies were cut off.

    The Arabs, who had a great army in strong position, were determined to destroy the Jews, while the Jews were few in number, without any arms and ammunition. The two or three guns they possessed had to be rushed from one point to another, to give the Arabs the impression that they had many of them. The Jews had quite a few tin cans which they beat as they shot the guns, giving the impression of many shots. But as the pressure was too great, they were unable to hold the lines any longer and finally decided to give up the city. At this critical moment God showed them that He was on their side, for He performed one of the greatest miracles that ever happened. The Arabs suddenly threw down their arms and surrendered. When their delegation appeared with the white flag, they asked, “Where are the three men that led you, and where are all the troops we saw?” The Jews told them that they did not know anything of the three men, for this group was their entire force. The Arabs said that they saw three persons with long beards and flowing white robes, who warned them not to fight any longer, otherwise they would all be killed. They became so frightened that they decided to give up. What an encouragement this was for the Jews, who realized that God was fighting for them.

    The Lord moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform. The Jews did not understand who the “three persons with long beards and flowing white robes” were who warned the Arabs “not to fight any longer, otherwise they would all be killed.” The Stick of Joseph may throw some light upon this matter.


    Therefore, “the three persons with long beards and flowing white robes” could have been these three Nephite disciples, for Jesus said: “And behold they will be among the Gentiles, and the Gentiles shall know them not; they will also be among the Jews, and the Jews shall know them not.” (LeGrand Richards, Israel! Do You Know?

  37. Oops – The first two paragraphs didn’t copy in. Also, the pages of the citation are pp. 229-32. Here are the first two paragraphs:

    Of interest is the following quotation from an article by Arthur U. Michelson which was published in “The Jewish Hope,” Issue No. 9, Vol. 22, September, 1950. The article suggests how the Lord may, even now, be fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah, “In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem . . .”:

    On my recent trip to Palestine I saw with my own eyes how God’s prophecy is being fulfilled. In Gen. 17:8 God promised Abraham that he would give this land to him and his seed for an everlasting possession. The Jews waited 2,500 years for the fulfillment of this promise. After World War II, England, which had mandatory power over Palestine, suddenly gave it up and the Jews marched in. This was marvelous, for Palestine was one of the strongest fortresses England had in the Mediterranean Sea. Many contend today that the day of miracles is past, and that God does not intervene any more on behalf of His people, but they have learned through the events in Israel that they were mistaken.

  38. Here is some interesting, random stuff.

    In a sermon on the House of Israel, Orson Pratt speculated a little on the three Nephites:

    Do you suppose that these three Nephites have any knowledge of what is going on in this land? They know all about it; they are filled with the spirit of prophecy.

    Why do they not come into our midst? Because the time has not come.

    Why do they not lift up their voices in the midst of our congregations? Because there is a work for us to do preparatory to their reception, and when that is accomplished, they will accomplish their work, unto whomsoever they desire to minister. If they shall pray to the Father, says the Book of Mormon, in the name of Jesus, they can show themselves unto whatsoever person or people they choose.

    The very reason they do not come amongst us is, because we have a work to do preparatory to their coming; and just as soon as that is accomplished they are on hand, and also many other good old worthy ancients that would rejoice our hearts could we behold their countenances, and hear them recite over the scenes they have passed through, and the history of past events, as well as prophecy of the events to come (Journal of Discourses 2:259).

    Mormon folklorist Hector Lee wanted to publish a book on 3 Nephite stories, and wrote Pres. George Albert Smith regarding the project. He responded, in part:

    Furthermore, so far as records of manifestations are concerned, the doctrine of the Church is that these are given for the up-building of the individuals to whom they come and that they are not for public display or public recording. They are regarded as sacred by those who have them, and while they may on occasion repeat them, generally speaking, I repeat, they are for the individual who receives them. (See “About the Three Nephites,” book review by Richard L. Hill in FRB 5:1 Pp. 87–95.

    Lee published his work in 1949,The Three Nephites: The Substance and Significance of the Legend in Folklore (Albuquerque: The University of New Mexico Press).

  39. #38 reminded me of the general policy to keep spiritual experiences to oneself. I understand the principle behind it and evidences of it in the scriptures, but I have wondered when the modern-day church began to teach it as a policy. It seems that people were much more open about it in the earlier days of the church. I think a post on this would be really interesting. I don’t know if it was the broach of something big, but soon after one individual was called as a Seventy in the late ’90s, he was instructed (I can’t remember if he actually signed a statement or not) that all diaries/journals of general authorities would be property of the church. I’ve often wondered if it had to do with the papers of David O. McKay that were formerly in the possession of Claire Middlemiss which were soon to be published to the whole world through an upcoming biography, but I have no evidence of this.

  40. #13 Jami, most fundamentalist/evangelical Christians around here (San Francisco Bay Area) don’t believe John tarried. I mentioned this in my ecumenical bible study a few years ago, and they all thought I was crazy, and had never heard of it. Though they knew about him being buried alive, but there being no body when the grave was dug up the next day.

  41. John 21:20-23 is explaining the origin of a misconception among members of the Johannine community concerning their founding figure, the Beloved Disciple.

    It appears that members of the community originally believed that the BD would live until Jesus returned. When he died, it became necessary to explain that Jesus had NEVER promised that the BD would live until he returned, just that it was no concern of Peter’s whether such a promise was made.

    From the NAB:

    John 21:21-23 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” 22 Jesus said to him, “What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours? You follow me.” 23 So the word spread among the brothers that that disciple would not die. But Jesus had not told him that he would not die, just “What if I want him to remain until I come? (What concern is it of yours?)”

    From the NRSV:

    John 21:20-23 20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!” 23 So the rumor spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”

  42. Mogget to the rescue!

  43. I used to have a testimony that Dick Clark was one of the three Nephites–that is until he had a stroke.

  44. Yeah–Peter was really nosy.

    But if I were going to live for thousands of years, I would want to get sick sometimes–everyone needs a sick day.

  45. This thread was fun until it got serious.

    I think Dennis Rodman is one of them. Since I don’t believe in actual aliens living among us, there just isn’t a logical explanation otherwise.

  46. Historicity of this account aside, I find it very inspiring. It teaches that the desire to avoid death in order to serve God is admirable (perhaps even more admirable than the desire to be with God swiftly). This suggests that pursuit of longevity through scientific means, rather than being an affront as man “plays God”, may be an expression of a desire strongly approved and enabled by God.

  47. Steve Evans says:

    Grasshopper, I agree. I would also argue that the historicity of this account is important.

  48. That may be, but it’s not central to the reading described in my comment above. :-)

  49. Johnna–Just did a quick investigative call to my closest non-denominational Christian friend. She’d forgotten about the passage, but her husband knows people who believe that John still lives. And upon his prompting she remembered discussing the idea before. They both believe John died of old age.

    My S. Baptist relatives in Ohio go for the more exciting belief that John is hanging around doing important stuff.

  50. Oh and I believe it too. If I can buy that Jesus died and was resurrected so that all mankind will be resurrected, I can certainly buy that he had the power to have four individuals linger longer.

  51. #50 – Is that where our former branch got the inspiration to stay after church once each month, bring food and “linger longer”? It would have been cool if 3 or 4 strangers walked in and ate with us.

  52. I like the distinction Christ makes between the disciples who will enter his kingdom and the three who will enter God’s (Father’s) Kingdom. Is there a higher law, or higher level of discipleship with the three?

  53. the desire to avoid death in order to serve God is admirable (perhaps even more admirable than the desire to be with God

    That is, I think a reasonable reading of the BoM passage. It also resonates a bit with the NT side, because once you add v. 24 to the passage, it appears that the author of John 21 wishes us to understand that Peter’s witness via martyrdom is not to be valued over the Beloved Disciple’s witness via the Fourth Gospel.

    /Boring Mogget

  54. StillConfused says:

    They are Big Foot… at least that is what my Canadian friend tells me.

  55. No, Cain is bigfoot.

  56. I remember a paper on the Three Nephites that I read that compared them to appearances of Mary and concluded that there is a vast body of experiences of that type.

    The author did not believe in either, btw.

  57. Random note that would probably only be appropriate for a firestorm:

    I think someone had mentioned in a previous post (I can’t remember which one it was) that Preach My Gospel had been taken down from the church website for a period of time, and it was speculated as to why. I don’t know if this was brought up before, but as it turns out, it was taken off for a brief period as it switched from one large, single .pdf file to individual chapter .pdf files (so that people don’t have to download a massive file every time they want to reference PMG on the web). In addition, they increased the number of languages the .pdfs are available in and added MP3 files for each chapter. I imagine it was down simply for web page reconstruction.

  58. I think Dennis Rodman is one of them. Since I don’t believe in actual aliens living among us, there just isn’t a logical explanation otherwise.

    Come to think of it, that explains Mark Cuban.