3 Nephi 9

 

The Lord Confirms the Covenant Way

      Alma 45 -- 3 Nephi 10


 

3 Nephi 9:2 Wo, Wo, Wo unto This People:

 

     According to Donald Parry, when a word or group of words are introduced, and immediately thereafter the same word or words are repeated, this is called "duplication." Duplication or "immediate repetition" is used to convey a sense of urgency, explains Watson. By duplicating the word "repent," all "workers of iniquity" should feel the sense of urgency to forsake their sins and return unto Deity. Alma's words to the people of Zarahemla include such an admonishment: "Yea, even wo unto all ye workers of iniquity; repent, repent, for the Lord God hath spoken it!" (Alma 5:32). Another instance of duplication in the Book of Mormon is, "Wo, wo, wo unto this people" (3 Nephi 9:2). [Donald W. Parry, The Book of Mormon Text Reformatted according to Parallelistic Patterns, F.A.R.M.S., p. xlviii]

 

3 Nephi 9:3-7 Cities of Onihah, Gilgal, Mocum, Moronihah:

 

     There are seven destroyed cities cited in 3 Nephi 3-7 which make up the first half of the full list. Of those seven, there are only three whose locations have been talked about in the Book of Mormon (Zarahemla, Moroni, and Jerusalem). All three of these were located in the land southward. One might guess that the other four (Onihah, Gilgal, Mocum, and Moronihah) might belong in the land southward also. The reader should note that in Mormon's preliminary report (3 Nephi 8:8-12) he proceeds from land southward to land northward, which sequence might be mirrored in 3 Nephi 9:3-10.

 

3 Nephi 9:3 Behold, that great city . . . have I burned with fire (Illustration): Golden light touches one of the restored buildings of Chiapa de Corzo which was anciently one of the largest cities in the Chiapas depression of Mexico. Around the time of the crucifixion, important buildings in this city burned. [Scot and Maurine Proctor, Light from the Dust, p. 185]

 

3 Nephi 9:3 Behold, that great city Zarahemla have I burned with fire (Illustration): Morning light touches simply Mayan huts and the edge of the Guatemalan jungle between Chisec and Playa Grande. These huts may be similar to the dwelling places of the Nephites and may explain why Nephite cities could be burned to the ground and then be rebuilt quite rapidly. [Scot and Maurine Proctor, Light from the Dust, pp. 178-179]

 

3 Nephi 9:3 That Great City . . . :

 

     According to John Sorenson, at least three types of cities are indicated in the Book of Mormon. The first is a city that is the administrative center for a local land. The second is a city without any significant amount of dependent land. The third is a "great city." . . . .

     We observe that six "great" cities are specifically identified in [New World] Book of Mormon lands: Zarahemla (3 Nephi 9:3), Moroni (3 Nephi 9:4), Moronihah (3 Nephi 9:5), Jerusalem (Alma 21:2), Ammonihah (Alma 9:4), Jacobugath (3 Nephi 9:9), and the Jaredite city built by king Lib (Ether 10:20). In addition, when the Savior spoke to the people from above on the occasion of the great catastrophe, he referred to additional "great and notable cities" (3 Nephi 8:14) and "great cities" (3 Nephi 10:4) which had been destroyed (compare the "large cities" mentioned in Mosiah 27:6). . . .

     It should be of interest to know something of how Mesoamerican settlement patterns compare with the Book of Mormon. A number of characteristics of settlements that are cited in the archaeological literature have direct parallels with statements and intimations about settlements in the Book of Mormon. This mere sampling of parallels points to the need for a more comprehensive comparison yet to be done.

     1. Population size was not a vital consideration in whether a Mesoamerican settlement was to be classified as a city. Political or military function of the status of being a planned city was instead determinative.197

     2. City and land or surrounding area shared the same name and were not conceptually distinguished from each other.198

     3. Ruler and place shared the same name.199

     4. Fortified sites could also qualify as cities despite lack of other criteria.200

     5. A city could accommodate various ethnic or linguistic groups, normally in different residential sectors.201

     6. Unquestionable cities, and perhaps even great cities, existed throughout most of Mesoamerican history, even prior to 600 B.C.202

[John L. Sorenson, "The Settlements of Book of Mormon Peoples," in Nephite Culture and Society, pp. 140-142, 150-151] [See the commentary on 1 Nephi 1:4]

 

3 Nephi 9:4 That Great City Moroni Have I Caused to Be Sunk in the Depths of the Sea:

 

     What would cause a great city like Moroni "to be sunk in the depths of the sea" (3 Nephi 9:4)? According to John A. Tvedtnes, the greatest earthquake and volcanic zone lies around the perimeter of the Pacific basin, where the oceanic plate meet the land. Places like the Philippines, Japan, Alaska, the west coast of the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Peru, and Chile are noted for their frequent earthquakes and occasional volcanic eruptions.

     When a severe earthquake or volcanic explosion occurs in or near the ocean, another potentially destructive phenomenon results: the tsunami. The Japanese word is often rendered "tidal wave" in English, though it has nothing to do with tides. It denotes a gigantic wave, sometimes hundreds of feet high, that results from tectonic activity sufficiently strong to stir up the oceanic waters. A typical tsunami travels at speeds of hundreds of miles an hour, sometimes as fast as five hundred miles an hour. When it reaches land, the gigantic wave crashes ashore, leaving death and destruction in its wake. An example of the combination of earthquake, fire, volcanic eruption, and tsunami was seen on April 18, 1902, when an earthquake destroyed Guatemala City. Twelve thousand people died by quake and the ensuing fire. The earthquake produced a tsunami and Guatemala's Tacana volcano erupted the same day. [John A. Tvedtnes, "Historical Parallels to the Destruction at the Time of the Crucifixion," in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, Spring 1994, pp. 172-173]

 

3 Nephi 9:5-11 From Before . . . (Circular Repetitive Parallelism):

 

     Allen & David Richardson and Anthony Bentley note that the Book of Mormon makes use of the authentic Hebrew usage of two prepositions that introduce a single prepositional phrase. For example, 1 Nephi 4:28 tells of some that "fled from before my presence." Jacob 5:30 indicates that "the servant went down into the vineyard." The example "from before" is a literal translation of the Hebrew words mippene and milliphen. The writer found that it was used twenty-three times in the Old Testament Hebrew text, but that it was translated into English (KJV & IV) only four times (for example, Genesis 23:4; Exodus 4:3; 1 Chronicles 11:13; Judges 11:23). The other verses all translate it "from," giving us a more precisely worded English sentence, even though in the Hebrew text it reads, "from before." It would have been quite difficult for Joseph Smith to have copied this Hebraism from the King James Version of the Bible when the construct only appears four times in the entire English text. Yet there are at least ten instances where the combination "from before" is found in the Book of Mormon. In this instance, the Book of Mormon contains a Hebraism "more literally" translated than its counterpart from the King James Version of the Bible.

     In 3 Nephi 9 the words "from before" are part of a phrase that amazingly appears five times in seven verses, four of them word-for-word, representing yet another Hebrew language pattern called circular repetitive parallelism. Circular repetitive parallelism is found when a phrase is repeated at intervals in a longer passage, as if the message keeps coming back in a circular motion to the key phrase. The key phrase has been highlighted as follows:

           And behold, that great city Moronihah have I covered with earth, and the inhabitants thereof, to hide their iniquities and their abominations from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints shall not come any more unto me against them. . . .

           the city of Jerusalem . . . and waters have I caused to come up in the stead thereof, to hide their wickedness and abominations from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints shall not come up any more unto me against them.

           And behold, the city of Gadiandi, . . . Gadiomnah . . . Jacob . . . Gimgimno . . . have I buried up in the depths of the earth to hide their wickedness and abominations from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints should not come up any more unto me against them.

           And behold the great city Jacobugath . . . I did cause them to be burned, to destroy them from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints should not come up unto me any more against them. . . .

           And behold, the city of Laman . . . Josh . . . Gad . . . Kishkumen . . . And because they did cast [the prophets] out, that there were none righteous among them, I did send down fire and destroy them, that the wickedness and abominations might be hid from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints whom I sent among them might not cry unto me from the ground against them. (3 Nephi 9:5-11)

           

     How can we account for this? Richardson, Richardson and Bentley note that it is remote that Joseph Smith on his own would have been able to identify these constructs as Hebraisms. Rather, we see original Hebraic authorship and a correct translation through divine aid. [Allen H. Richardson, David E. Richardson, and Anthony E. Bentley, Voice from the Dust-500 Evidences Supporting the Book of Mormon, pp. 267, 280-281; and Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes] [See the commentary on 1 Nephi 4:28; Alma 5:6]

 

 

3 Nephi 9:5 Moronihah:

 

     In 3 Nephi 9:5 we find the name of a city named "Moronihah." We know that "it was the custom of the people of Nephi to call their lands, and their cities, and their villages, yea, even all their small villages, after the name of him who first possessed them" (Alma 8:7). Perhaps the city of Moronihah was in the same place that chief captain Moronihah "did fortify against the Lamanites from the west sea, even unto the east," "in the land Bountiful" (Helaman 4:6-7). [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]

 

3 Nephi 9:7 Onidah (Onihah)?:

 

     In 1999, the Zarahemla Research Foundation (RLDS) finished an exhaustive review of all known manuscripts and editions of the Book of Mormon in order to restore the text "to its purity." The result was the Restored Covenant Edition of the Book of Mormon. One of their "restorations" involves the geographical place name "Onidah" (3 Nephi 9:7), which they have changed to read "Onihah." [Zarahemla Research Foundation, "Geography Concordance" in The Book of Mormon: Restored Covenant Edition, p. 1009]

     Note* This must be considered tentative subject to the verification of Royal Skousen, director of the Book of Mormon manuscript project, who will not comment at this time relative to such changes. [Personal communication, 11/22/1999]

 

3 Nephi 9:7 Jerusalem:

 

     According to Alma 21:1, there was a city of Jerusalem which was "away joining the borders of Mormon." If we assume that this was the Jerusalem spoken of in 3 Nephi 9:7, then this Jerusalem was sunk, and waters were "caused to come up in the stead thereof." In view of the text and our logic, we probably should entertain the idea that Jerusalem was by a large body of water. It probably was a lake (and not a sea) because the "borders of Mormon" were close to the land of Nephi which was "up", and not down by the sea. Furthermore, this lake might have been part of what was considered the "waters of Mormon." [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]

 

3 Nephi 9:7 The city of Jerusalem [have I caused to be sunk] . . . and waters have I caused to come up in the stead thereof (Illustration): [According to John Sorenson] the leading geographical correlation of Book of Mormon lands with the modern map puts the city of Jerusalem, built by the Lamanites and Nephite dissenters (see Alma 21:2), at this location in southern Guatemala, near the village of Santiago Atitlan.203 Third Nephi 9:7 reports that the city was destroyed by waters that did "come up in the stead thereof." Lake Atitlan is prone to sharp rises and falls in its level due to the volcanic geology of its environs. [John L. Sorenson, Images of Ancient America, p. 205]

 

3 Nephi 9:8-10 Behold, the City of Gadiandi . . . Gadiomnah . . . Jacob . . . Gimgimno . . . Jacobugath . . . Laman . . . Josh . . . Gad . . . Kishkumen:

 

     John Sorenson notes that the Lord's account of destroyed cities tells a story of great damage. The listing of their fates (see 3 Nephi 8-9) informs us of sixteen named cities that bore the brunt of the natural catastrophe. The list appears to be in two parts: 3 Nephi 9:3-7 gives the names of three destroyed places that we know were located in the land southward, so it is logical that the four cities mentioned with them were also located in the south. 3 Nephi 9:8-10 form a distinct segment of text and probably name cities farther northward. Jacobugath was farther north than all the other cities mentioned in the Book of Mormon for which we know locations. Very likely the others mentioned with it in these three verses were likewise to the north. [John L. Sorenson, Mormon's Map, F.A.R.M.S., p. 118]

 

3 Nephi 9:8-10 Cities of Jacob, Gadiandi, Gadiomnah, and Gimgimno, Jacobugath, Laman, Josh, Gad, and Kishkumen:

 

     There are nine destroyed cities listed in 3 Nephi 9:8-10. We can speculate that either the city of Jacob or the city of Jacobugath, or both, were in the land northward for the following reasons: (1) King Jacob's activity four or five years prior to the destruction involved going into the northernmost part of the land to build up a kingdom (3 Nephi 7:12); and (2) The Nephite custom was to name the land after the person who settled it. (Alma 8:7, Ixtlilxochitl: 22) Perhaps one could say that the other seven cities listed were in the land northward also.

 

3 Nephi 9:8 The City of Gaddiandi . . . and the City of Jacob . . . All These Have I Caused to Be Sunk . . . and the Inhabitants Thereof Have I Buried:

 

     According to Warren and Ferguson, between two architecture levels at Teotihuacan appears a layer of volcanic ash probably blown in from that eruption. By radiocarbon dating, that eruption dates to A.D. 34 (plus or minus a few years).

     According to Warren and Ferguson, Cummings studied ancient volcanic eruptions at the site of Cuicuilco, near the National University on the southern end of Mexico City. He also studied another site, about five miles away, called Copilco. Copilco has a lava flow thirty feet thick, covering architecture, burials, and pottery vessels. This layer of lava dates from the time of Christ. Further confirmation of the dating is that Cuicuilco and Copilco are on the west side of the Valley of Mexico where the volcano Xitle is located; and about thirty miles northeast is the huge site of Teotihuacan. [Bruce Warren and Thomas Stuart Ferguson, Messiah In Ancient America, p. 44]

 

3 Nephi 9:8 All these have I caused to be . . . buried up in the depths of the earth (Illustration): Lava flow overlaying the ruins of Copilco. The stone construction of the ruins comes up to the position indicated by David Palmer's left hand. [David A. Palmer, In Search of Cumorah, p. 104]

 

3 Nephi 9:8 All These Have I Caused to Be . . . Buried Up in the Depths of the Earth:

 

     According to David Palmer, one of the significant ash layers found in ruins near the Tuxtlas, Veracruz, is at Tres Zapotes. The site is of special significance since it is in the shadow of the Cerro Vigia (the proposed Hill Cumorah). The site was explored by Matthew Stirling (1943) and was excavated by Drucker (1943) and Weiant (1943). One of the extraordinary features of the excavations was the discovery of a pronounced ash layer between several cultural strata. The dating of the site has been very uncertain for two reasons. The excavations were carried out a decade before discovery of radiocarbon dating. Furthermore, the principal investigators could not agree on the interpretation of the results. Covarrubias (1957) criticized their work and Coe (1965) ignored their interpretations. Coe used only their raw data and developed a new interpretation consistent with materials from other sites.

     The famous monument found at Tres Zapotes had a bar and dot style date pertaining to the so-called "Mayan Long Count" calendar system. Because of the style of carvings on the back of the monument Coe locates it in the cultural horizon below the ash layer. If interpreted according to the Goodwin-Martinez-Thompson (GMT) correlation the date on the stela is 32 B.C.

     From this information we can draw the tentative conclusion that the ash layer could have been laid down in A.D. 34 at the time of destructions spoken of in the Book of Mormon. [David A. Palmer, In Search of Cumorah, pp. 101-102]

 

3 Nephi 9:8 All these have I caused to be . . . buried up in the depths of the earth (Illustration): Stela C from Tres Zapotes, Veracruz. It is on display in the National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City. The upper part of the monument was discovered more recently and is displayed in the town of Tres Zapotes. This monument recorded a date of 32 B.C. and appears to be from the period of cultural development found below the thick layer of volcanic ash that fell on Tres Zapotes. Chase has indicated that the eruption occurred in late spring when prevailing winds would have carried the ash from volcano San Martin over Tres Zapotes. [David A. Palmer, In Search of Cumorah, p. 102]

 

 

3 Nephi 9:9 Jacobugath (Jacob-Ugath)?:

 

     In 1999, the Zarahemla Research Foundation (RLDS) finished an exhaustive review of all known manuscripts and editions of the Book of Mormon in order to restore the text "to its purity." The result was the Restored Covenant Edition of the Book of Mormon. One of their "restorations" involves the geographical place name "Jacobugath" (3 Nephi 9:9), which they have changed to read "Jacob-Ugath." [Zarahemla Research Foundation, "Geography Concordance" in The Book of Mormon: Restored Covenant Edition, p. 1003]

     Note* This must be considered tentative subject to the verification of Royal Skousen, director of the Book of Mormon manuscript project, who will not comment at this time relative to such changes. [Personal communication, 11/22/1999]

 

3 Nephi 9:10 The City of Laman, and the City of . . . and the City of:

 

     According to John Tvedtnes, the Hebraisms in the Book of Mormon help persuade us that it is authentic . . . Hebrew uses conjunctions much more frequently than English does. One clear example of this can be found in lists of items. In English, the conjunction and is normally used only before the last item in a list, such as wood, iron, copper, and brass. But Hebrew usually uses a conjunction before each item. One example among many is found in 3 Nephi 9:10, "The city of Laman, and the city of Josh, and the city of Gad, and the city of Kishkumen, have I caused to be burned with fire." [John A. Tvedtnes, "The Hebrew Background of the Book of Mormon," in Rediscovering the Book of Mormon, F.A.R.M.S., p. 83]

 

3 Nephi 9:10 The City of Laman:

 

     In 3 Nephi 9:10 a city by the name of "Laman" is mentioned. According to Ammon O'Brien, there has been a relatively recent discovery of an archaeological site in Belize, the ancient name of which was found to be "Lamanai." In 1974, excavations began at a location in Belize which until that time had been known simply as "Indian Church." David M. Pendergast, working for the Royal Ontario Museum, headed the excavation project which uncovered several principal structures of the ancient city. Upon inquiries in search of any data concerning the site which might have been written in colonial times, it was discovered that the Maya people of the region in the 16th century actually knew of the city which lay buried there, and referred to it by the name of Lamanai. While the ancient names of most archaeological sites of America have been long lost, this is one of the few which have survived. Even in the case of Teotihuacan, the name of which is centuries old, we are left without knowledge of the true ancient name, for as noted earlier, Teotihuacan is simply the name given to the site by the Aztecs when they discovered it in ruins over a thousand years ago.

     It is interesting therefore that in the discovery of a pre-Classic Maya site for which an ancient name has been preserved, the name turns out to be Lamanai which compares significantly with the name of Laman. Moreover, we read in the Book of Mormon of King Lamoni who ruled over a sizeable region; hence there also might have been a "city of Lamoni." [Ammon O'Brien, Seeing beyond Today with Ancient America, pp. 369-370] [See the commentary on Alma 27:22]

 

3 Nephi 9:10 Kishkumen (Kishcumen)?:

 

     In 1999, the Zarahemla Research Foundation (RLDS) finished an exhaustive review of all known manuscripts and editions of the Book of Mormon in order to restore the text "to its purity." The result was the Restored Covenant Edition of the Book of Mormon. One of their "restorations" involves the geographical place name "Kishkumen" (3 Nephi 9:10), which they have changed to read "Kishcumen." [Zarahemla Research Foundation, "Geography Concordance" in The Book of Mormon: Restored Covenant Edition, p. 1004]

     Note* This must be considered tentative subject to the verification of Royal Skousen, director of the Book of Mormon manuscript project, who will not comment at this time relative to such changes. [Personal communication, 11/22/1999]

 

3 Nephi 9:15 I Am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I Created the Heavens and the Earth, and All Things That in Them Are. I Was with the Father in the Beginning:

 

     Out of the darkness and destruction which marked his death, the resurrected Lord declared to the Nephites on the American continent: "I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father in the beginning . . . (3 Nephi 9:15).

     According to T.J. O'Brien, the "feathered serpent" hero/god who inspired the later historic Quetzalcoatl/Kukulcan/Gukumatz, existed long before there was a Toltec nation (see illustration) . . .

     Known as the creator Quetzalcoatl, or "god of our flesh," this previous mystery man was the only member of the old native pantheon said to ever possess a human body--suggesting he was once a real person of high esteem. It was this "first," this most "ancient god" who seemingly had such a profound effect upon later cultures . . .

     One of the earlier cultures that had contact with the Valley of Mexico as early as 1000 B.C. was the ancient and mysterious Olmecs. Although no legends exist from that period, they left numerous identifying objects at the mountain site of Chalcatzingo, and also at the cave of Juxtlahuaca where art historian Gillett Griffin discovered and identified a feathered serpent.204 Another is seen on a stone at the Olmec site of La Venta. Powerful as the Olmecs were, it would be strange indeed if something of their culture did not leave its mark on [the Valley of Mexico]. And perhaps it did, at Cuicuilco (kwee-kweel'-coh), an ancient ceremonial center immediately south of Mexico city which was destroyed by the volcano Xitle (Sheet'-leh) around 200 B.C. Still imbedded in thick lava can be seen a large circular stone pyramid often identified with Quetzalcoatl and the ancient wind/rain-god. [T.J. O'Brien, Fair Gods and Feathered Serpents, pp. 56, 58,76]

 

3 Nephi 9:15 I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning (Illustration): Approximate Comparisons of Old and New Worlds. [T.J. O'Brien, Fair Gods and Feathered Serpents, p. 162]

 

3 Nephi 9:15 Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth (Illustration): Christ Is the Creator. "Behold, I am Jesus Christ the son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are." Artist: Robert T. Barrett. [Thomas R. Valletta ed., The Book of Mormon for Latter-day Saint Families, 1999, p. 521]

 

3 Nephi 9:18 I Am the Light and the Life of the World:

 

     [See the commentary on Ether 4:12]

 

3 Nephi 9:18 I Am Alpha and Omega:

 

     According to Richardson, Richardson and Bentley, some critics have charged that the Book of Mormon use of the Greek words "Alpha and Omega" (3 Nephi 9:18) is an anachronism. However, this is one of several supposed problems in the Book of Mormon that has actually become another evidence.

     Of course the English words found in the copies of the Book of Mormon were not engraved as English on the plates. The ancient engravings were translated into English. Yet, the English language is actually a combination of several languages and thus contains words from Latin, German, French, and, significantly, Greek. For example, many English words, such as "critical," music," and "poetry" may be thought to be purely English words, but were actually borrowed from the Greek language. So when the word "critical" is used in Alma 51:9 and 57:16, it must be remembered that this Greek word was not originally engraved upon the plates, but was employed by the English translator (Joseph Smith). Likewise, Alpha and Omega has become an accepted English expression, though it was once purely Greek. To use a literal English translation by saying, "I am the A and the O," or the more ancient "I am the A and the T" would be meaningless to english-speaking readers.

     Furthermore, Hugh Nibley notes that in the ancient ritual alphabet of the Mandaeans, a Semitic alphabet, "the first and last letters, the "alpha and omega," are the same and represent "perfection of light and life." Both letters, as E.S. Drower explained, "have as their sign a circle, possibly representing the sun-disk as a symbol of light." Hence, as Nibley contemplated, there may be more behind 3 Nephi 9:18 than a mere literary convention: "I am the light and the life . . . I am Alma and Omega." (Nibley, Since Cumorah, pp. 165-166)205 [Allen H. Richardson, David E. Richardson and Anthony E. Bentley, 1000 Evidences for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Part Two-A Voice from the Dust: 500 Evidences in Support of the Book of Mormon, p. 274]

 

3 Nephi 9:19 Your Sacrifices and Your Burnt Offerings Shall Be Done Away:

 

     According to John Sorenson, the performance of sacrifices is not mentioned in the bulk of the Book of Mormon record between Mosiah 2:3 and 3 Nephi 9:19. The later verse tells us that some sacrifices were being practiced, but we are not told of what they consisted. It is unlikely that they approached the cultural centrality of the temple sacrifices in Israel during the same period, or more would have been said of them. We simply don't know what was in the Nephite version of the "law of Moses." [John L. Sorenson, "Viva Zapato! Hurray for the Shoe! in Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 6, Num. 1, p. 343] [See the commentary on Alma 34:10]

 

3 Nephi 9:20 Ye Shall Offer for a Sacrifice unto Me a Broken Heart and a Contrite Spirit:

 

     From the darkness of destruction at the time of the crucifixion, Christ spoke the following to the Nephites in the Americas:

           And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings.

           And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not. (3 Nephi 9:19-20)

 

     According to Ronald Poelman, the really serious challenges in life require not so much temporal resources but the gifts of the Spirit. . . . In these latter days, the Lord has said [to the covenant people]: "Behold, now it is called today until the coming of the son of Man and verily it is a day of sacrifice. . . . Consider the meaning of the two Latin words from which the English word sacrifice is derived. These two words, sacer and facere, taken together mean "to make sacred." That which we [consecrate] to the Lord . . . is indeed made sacred, and the obedient are edified. . . .

     Consider the people of Alma who were afflicted with heavy burdens while in the valley of Helam by the priests of Amulon. When they poured out their hearts to God, He answered them with words, "I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage." (see Mosiah 24:13-14). Did the Lord immediately remove their burdens and free them from bondage? No! We read: "The Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord" (Mosiah 24:15). . . .

     If we [keep our covenants] with the Lord, then, as we face adversity, we can be assured that we will be blessed with faith, strength, wisdom and help from others--with all that is necessary not only to overcome but to learn and to grow from these experiences. [Ronald E. Poelman, "Tithing: A Privilege," in The Ensign, May 1998, pp. 78-79]

     In essence, through covenants and "a broken heart and a contrite spirit" we take the trials of adversity and make them sacred. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]