Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship
This paper puts 3 Nephi 1 in conversation with Helaman 14 in order to argue for a complex relationship between temporality and the fulfillment of prophecy. In addition to echoing Matthew 5:17-18 in order to place a structural emphasis on fulfillment, 3 Nephi 1 portrays a series of Nephite misunderstandings about the nature of time and fulfillment that are then counteracted by the cosmic signs of Samuel the Lamanite. What Samuel's signs ultimately show is that fulfillment of prophecy is best understood as the beginning of a new era rather than as a conclusion, and that this temporal reorientation makes repentance possible. After discussing how Samuel's signs implicitly correct Nephite temporality the paper concludes with a brief reflection on the implications for the Book of Mormon as a whole, arguing that the Book of Mormon is intended to function as a sign that likewise orients readers to a new experience of time.