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Breaking Down Barriers about 3 Nephi 11

I write this in the spirit of overthrowing conventional thoughts and wisdom of events that happened in the scriptures; particularly in 3 Nephi 11:14-41. This morning while doing my morning study, I reread these scriptures with the following in mind and it became so glorious.

Jesus Christ Visits the Americas, by John Scott (1969, oil on canvas, 47" x 121")
In various seminary videos and church movies like The Testaments, we see the Savior walking through the crowd of people as they feel the nail prints in his hands and side. I have come to the belief that this is probably not how it happened. As suggested by Ricks and Baker, it is more consistent if the Savior entered the throne room of the temple (the Holy of Holies) and took a seat upon the throne and placed his feet upon the footstool. The doors of the temple would have been opened and then the Savior would have made his invitation to "Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world."

In verse 15 it clearly states that the multitude went forth, not the Savior:

"And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet..."

The idea of doing this that they "may know that [Christ] is the God of Israel" is consistent with this classic line from the Prophet Joseph that I am sure you all are aware of:

"No one can truly say he knows God until he has handled something, and this can only be in the Holiest of Holies."(1)

To me, this puts the events of 3 Nephi 11 squarely in the throne room (i.e. the Holy of Holies). Even further, when we get Nephi into the throne room in verse 19 he bows to kiss the Savior's feet. The imagery of Nephi kissing the Savior's feet on the footstool (i.e. the Nephites version of the Ark of the Covenant) is beautiful and then the Savior telling him to arise in verse 20 is telling. The Savior proceeds to lay forth the Doctrine of Christ within the Holy of Holies to Nephi and others who were specifically called in (see verse 22). For me, this makes the various teachings about the Doctrine of Christ in the Book of Mormon squarely in this context.

This is the only account in the scriptures that I am aware of that is as explicit as this is when it comes to what the Prophets encounter in the Holy of Holies. I am aware that my criticism of Church media in how they portray this event is probably a little harsh in that it probably isn't the best idea to portray this event in a sacred space for all to see. At the same time, it is hard to see the plainness of what is actually written with various church media images in your head.



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