Three Nephites

In the Latter Day Saint movement, the Three Nephites (also known as the Three Nephite Disciples) are three Nephite disciples of Jesus described in the Book of Mormon who were blessed by Jesus to "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."[1] As described in Third Nephi chapter 28, this change occurred when they were caught up into heaven.[2][3] Since they will never "taste death", in the Book of Mormon the Nephite prophet Mormon contemplates if they are already immortal.[4] After Mormon prays for wisdom, Jesus tells him that there would be another change made at his coming so that they may become immortal.[5]

Similar to Mormon beliefs about John the Apostle, the Three Nephites were granted immortality so that they could "bring the souls of men unto Jesus, while the world shall stand".[6] The account in the Book of Mormon reads that they "did minister unto all the people, uniting as many to the church as would believe in their preaching; baptizing them, and as many as were baptized did receive the Holy Ghost."[7] Also similar to other stories about missionaries and martyrs, the text says that they suffered severe persecution from those who did not believe.

Their immortality is referred to later by Mormon, who lived about four hundred years after the three Nephites in the Book of Mormon's timeline. He says "I have seen them, and they have ministered unto me."[8] Mormon also wrote that they will be among the Jews and the Gentiles, and the Jews and Gentiles "shall know them not." "[And] when the Lord seeth fit in his wisdom that they shall minister unto all the scattered tribes of Israel, and unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, and shall bring out of them unto Jesus many souls."[9]

Mormon states that he intended to write the names of the Three Nephites, but God forbade him to do so.[10]

The so-called Three Nephites are never called Nephites in the Book of Mormon text itself; they are referred to only as disciples, and it is quite possible that one or more of the three disciples were Lamanites by descent.[11] Note, though, that it was standard practice in the Book of Mormon to refer to Lamanites who were converted to the faith as Nephites.[12]

In Modern Mormonism

Three Nephite folklore has been studied by folklorists William A. Wilson, David Utter, Wayland Hand, Hector Lee, Austin E. and Alta S. Fife, and Richard Dorson.[13]

In Mormon art




  • Baptists at Our Barbecue: the Three Nephites are portrayed as three mechanics in spotless, white coveralls in two scenes (one scene is only noticeable through listening to the DVD commentary)
  • The Singles 2nd Ward: the Three Nephites are portrayed near the end of the film as three men in off-white coveralls
  • Jer3miah[14]

See also


Further reading

  • William A. Wilson, "Three Nephites" in Encyclopedia of Mormonism (New York: Macmillan, 1992).
  • Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 28, account of the Three Nephites.
  • D. L. Ashliman, ed. (2 October 2006), The Three Nephites, retrieved 7 August 2011 — a web based collection of reported encounters with the Three Nephites.
  • Lee, Hector (1977) [1949], The Three Nephites: The Substance and Significance of the Legend in Folklore, New York [Albuquerque]: Arno Press [University of New Mexico Press], ISBN 978-0-405-10105-2, OCLC 2876067
  • Dana, Bruce E. (2003), The Three Nephites and Other Translated Beings, Springville, Utah: Bonneville Books, ISBN 978-1-55517-687-7, OCLC 51505293
  • Beardall, Douglas; Beardall, Jewell (1992), About the Three Nephites, Provo, Utah: LDS Book Publications, ISBN 978-1-882371-25-9, OCLC 28839528
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