In approximately 6 BC, Samuel, the Lamanite prophet, prophesied of Christ’s birth and death and revealed that when the Savior died there would be three days of darkness, great upheavals, and destruction. About forty years later, at the time of Christ’s crucifixion, the Nephites saw the fulfillment of this prophecy (see Helaman 14). From a scientific point of view, the calamities which would fit the description of destruction recorded in the Book of Mormon would have to be an earthquake followed by a volcanic eruption –which we now know can be triggered by earthquakes. Since the Book of Mormon likely took place in ancient Mesoamerica, it is of interest to note that Mesoamerica lies in an active earthquake zone –a fact that would have been unknown to Joseph Smith.
Michael R. Ash is the author of: Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting The Prophet Joseph Smith. He is the owner and operator of MormonFortress.com and is on the management team for FairMormon. He has been published in Sunstone, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, the Maxwell Institute’s FARMS Review, and is the author of Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One’s Testimony in the Face of Criticism and Doubt. He and his wife live in Ogden, Utah, and have three daughters.
Julianne Dehlin Hatton has worked as a News Director at an NPR affiliate, Television Host, News Anchor, and Airborne Traffic Reporter. She graduated with an MSSc from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in 2008. Julianne and her husband Thomas are the parents of four children.
Music for Faith and Reason is provided by Arthur Hatton.