The Three Nephites

edited by

D. L. Ashliman

© 2020

According to the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi, ch. 28), a book given scriptural status by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Jesus Christ appeared to the inhabitants of the western hemisphere immediately following his death and resurrection in Palestine and promised three of his New World believers that they would never taste of death. The following stories are typical of the numerous accounts recorded by faithful Mormons of appearances by one or more of these three deathless saints, known as "The Three Nephites."


  1. An Experience of Mrs. Alyda Abbott Squires.

  2. Nephite Heals with Lard and Tobacco.

  3. The Hitchhiking "Ghost" Nephite.

  4. Nephite Assumes Animal Form.

  5. Rescued from a Mountain.

  6. They Helped Her.

  7. The Old Man on the Road.

  8. He Disappeared from the Back Seat (1).

  9. He Disappeared from the Back seat (2).

  10. On the Delta-Holden Road.

  11. An Incident in the Lives of William Henry and Mary Laidlaw Seegmiller.

  12. Links and Notes.

Return to D. L. Ashliman's folktexts, a library of folktales, folklore, fairy tales, and mythology.

An Experience of Mrs. Alyda Abbott Squires

It was on a hot summer day in the year 1874 at WaWa Springs in the state of Utah.

The springs being an oasis in the desert and nothing only sage and bunches of grass and hot sand it was here in a little lumber shack on their homestead Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Squires lived with their 3 small daighters. They owned horses and cattle and Mr. Squires had 2 or 3 men hired to help take care of these.

And it was on this day in 1874 they had gon on around up leaving Mrs. Squires and the children a alone and they were miles from any one else and her husband had told her he would be back at a sertain time and to have dinner ready for them. And from the house they could see for miles in any direction.

And it being about time for them to come she went to the spring for water and look in ever derection to see if they were comming but there was nothing in sight and she took the water in and set it down and turned around and there to her amazement was a man standing in the door and he ask her if she would kindly give him a bit to eat and altho she was frightened she set the table it was humble but good meal.

I remember there was cheese bread butter cold milk and an apple pie and she told him to eat he was welcome and he did eat as though he was hungry. And while eating he conversed with her and said Sister you are not well and she said No I have had apain in under my shoulder. Which bothered me a great deal and he said that is your liver but you wont be bothered any more with that. Then he got up and started off and thanked her for her kindness and fine meal and said Got bless you sister You will never want for any thing you will always be blessed with plenty and he left. As soon as she thought he had had time to turn the corner of the house she went out to see in what direction he had gon and there was no sighn of him any where. This worried her more than ever. She went back in the house and to her suprize the table was just as she had set it And she had seen him eat and drink the milk. But it was there and she then thought how he looked and he was dressed so neet and his eyes were so bright and just twinkled when he talked and he had long white beard his hair was gray.

She was still worring when her husband and the men came and she ask them if they had seen him but they hadent. She told them the story but she couldent get it off her mind and it went on for about 3 moths and her Mother Mrs. Abigal Abbott came to make her a visit and she told her the story and she smiled and said Why Lyda hove you forgote your Patriochal Blessing. You was promised that one of the Three Nephits would dine at your table thats who it was.

Well, she never had any more trouble with her liver lived a good old age and always had plenty and her husband died first and when she died she left a good start to her children and we have right here in our town a family of grand-children there mother being a daughter. And dieng before her mother her children got her share and it set them all up in business.

When she died she was 89 years old

This story was told to me by my mother it was her fathers sister and she heard her tell it and also Mr Bowman he is the father of the family here in our town a son in law of Mrs Squires. A he also tell the same story.

Nephite Heals with Lard and Tobacco

My grandmother, Mary Biddlecome, was a famous midwife with an art of healing that amounted almost to a gift. Before she came to Ferron and Castle Dale, she lived in Nevada and was taking care of a woman whose breasts had caked. The woman was in great pain and nothing Grandmother did seemed to give her any relief. Grandmother was standing at the stove heating some water for hot packs when there came a knock at the door and an old man entered. He asked for something to eat and as he sat eating the lunch she set out for him, he asked what the trouble was in that house. Grandma told him and he said to take a piece of tobacco the size of his thumb and he measured off an exact amount and boil it in lard and rub that on the woman's breast. Grandma hurried to do it and didn't pay much attention to the old man. The woman was so immediately relieved that Grandma went to call her thank you to the old man and he had disappeared completely. The house sat out on a plain and she should have been able to see him. This is told as a Nephite story.

The Hitchhiking "Ghost" Nephite

This story came from Clyde Trammel, of Grand Junction, and I haven't had an opportunity to check with him about it, but it seems that a friend of his and his friend's wife were driving by truck from Montrose to Grand Junction when they picked up an old man. They hauled him for a long way and he seemed to be very much read-up on the current events; he knew a great deal about the war, and he talked very interestingly. They came to a long, desolate stretch of road, and the old man wanted out, and they tried to dissuade him and told him that he should go on down to more civilization, but he insisted on being let off. And they let him out on this long stretch of road.

As he got out of the truck he thanked them, and he said, "On your way back you will be hauling a dead man." And then he says, "I suppose there's something you want to know?"

"Well, maybe the end of the war."

He said, "The war will end in August."

This was in 1944.

Well, they went on, and they talked about the old man. And on the way back they picked up a dead man from a car wreck. There had been a wrecked car, and one of the fellows was killed, and they hauled the corpse back into Grand Junction. And of course it lent more credence to the old prediction of the end of the war. But August, '44, came and went, and the war still didn't end. However, in August, '45, the war ended, and they decided that the old man had been a Nephite.

Q: They didn't decide that he was a Nephite until after the end of the war?

A: Oh, yes. When they hauled the corpse back, they decided that he must have had some foreknowledge; and some of their friends had told them about the Nephites, and so they made up their minds that he was a Nephite. However, they began to doubt it when the war didn't end in August.

Q: When did you first hear this story?

A: This spring, 1946. And I heard it from Mrs. MacDougall, of Green River, Utah.

Q: Was Mrs. MacDougall one of the persons concerned?

A: No, she had heard the story from Clyde Trammel, who is a railroad man. And he, himself wasn't concerned in the story. It was some friends of his that had had the experience.

Nephite Assumes Animal Form

Some people suggest that the Nephites can take forms other than human.

It was just past midnight when a woman who was working a late shift found it necessary to walk home, as the last bus had already left. Often she had walked alone in the dark but this night she was frightened. As she approached the viaduct, a huge German police dog came toward her. She found the sight of the dog reassuring and wished it would walk home with her. When the dog was beside her, it turned and began trotting in the direction she was going. While they walked on the viaduct a car drove up, stopped beside her, and a man leaped out. The dog, which was walking a little ahead of the woman, turned and dashed toward the man, who jumped back into the car and drove away. When the woman reached her home, she called to her protector to come close so she could pet it, but it stood quietly a short distance away looking at her. She called through the door to her mother to come and see the beautiful creature, but as her mother opened the door, the dog vanished. She believed that a Nephite had taken the form of a dog to protect her.

Rescued from a Mountain

This story was told to Mrs. Eggett by Mr. Larsen who was a former bishop in Bountiful. The story was about two girls who were down in Southern Utah near Richfield. They were walking down a mountain where there was slate. It was late and had been raining so that the slate was slippery. It was dark and they had lost the trail and didn't know how they were going to get off the slate. A man appeared to them and said, "Follow me." He got them down the trail and when he was quite a ways ahead of them, he switched around the corner of the mountain. The girls went around the corner of the mountain to thank him and there was no one there.

They Helped Her

I used to know a woman who knew she had seen the three Nephites. That was old Sister Ashby. She was living alone at the time. They were all alone and the baby was awfully sick, and she couldn't get help of any kind.

She said these three men came into the room. They didn't open the door at all, but just appeared in the room. And they administered to the sick child and prayed with her and helped her there a little. And then they left the same way. She was sure they were the Nephites, and I've heard her tell it.

Q: And there were three of them all together?

A: Yes, all three of them.

Q: Where did this take place?

A: That was in Holden. Of course Mrs. Ashby has been dead a long time now, but she told me about this herself.

The Old Man on the Road

Seems like I did hear a story about one of the Nephites once. Don't know if I can remember it or not, though. It was along time ago when I heard it. It was out there on the road between Lyndal and Delta. You know what kind of country that is -- just flat desert for about forty miles. Well, this feller -- I think it was old John Rogers -- was goin' along and he saw an old man on the road. So he stopped and asked him if he wanted a ride; but he said no, he didn't want any ride. And seems like they talked there for quite awhile, and when old John Rogers had drove off -- maybe forty yards down the road -- he looked around and couldn't see the old feller nowhere.

Q: Did the old man give him any advice or help or did he prophesy anything?

A: Seems like he did. I think it was my Grandmother Melville told the story a long time ago. Maybe it was in church. Seems like she said he predicted something, but I can't remember what. Maybe it was that Delta would have the third largest population in the state. And when you count Topaz [Japanese relocation center] that almost makes it come true.

Q: Did Rogers think it was one of the Nephites?

A: Oh, yes. He said he was sure it was.

He Disappeared from the Back Seat (1)

Mr. Harrison said that he had heard many Nephite stories. He mentioned the one told by Mr. Claude Wright of Provo, Utah. According to Harrison, the story concerns some people who were driving on Highway 91 from Nephi to Cedar City. They picked up an elderly man who was hitchhiking. He rode in the back seat and conversed with them. Somewhere near Parowan they turned to speak with him but he had disappeared from the back seat of the car, which had not been stopped. They inquired about him a Parowan and were told that a person of the same description had previously appeared from nowhere and asked a lady for food and then had disappeared in open country when anyone might easily have been seen. It was thought by some that he was a Nephite.

[Mr. Harrison lives in Provo. Filled a mission. According to Mr. Bryner, he was disfellowshipped from the L.D.S. Church. Very intelligent.]

He Disappeared from the Back Seat (2)

Bishop Morgan was telling about a Greek family that weren't converts of the Church but were sure that they had met one of the Three Nephites.... They were riding from Price to Salt Lake around conference time and met an old man on the road around Soldier Summit. They offered him a ride. He got in and they pushed the catch on the door down because they were used to having children in the car. They got on the way and were talking among themselves and turned around and looked but they couldn't see him. He had said just before that he was going to the gathering of the Saints. They turned around and went all the way back to Soldier Summit but they couldn't find him.

On the Delta-Holden Road

I heard about them [i.e., the Three Nephites] when I was here seven years ago. It was out on the road between Holden and Delta, where it is flat and you can see for miles around. Don't you remember it, mother? Somebody was going along that road and these Three Nephites suddenly appeared on the road and then disappeared.

Q: All three of them?

A: That's as I heard it, yes. It was quite a story, but I don't remember it. That's all I can remember about it.

An Incident in the Lives of William Henry and Mary Laidlaw Seegmiller

In the month of November 1867, my parents, William H. and Mary Laidlaw Seegmiller, were married in Salt Lake City. My father and mother were among a number of L.D.S. people who received calls to colonize the southeastern part of Nevada. The group settled on what was known as the Muddy River, in a place called St. Joseph, in the Moapa Valley, Nevada.

Late one afternoon while my father was just outside their tent home chopping wood, he was approached by a rather distinguished-looking person of Jewish type, having a large Roman nose, who accosted father in the German language, father's parents being German, that language, as well as English, was familiar to him. The visitor asked for something to eat to take along in his bag that he carried across his shoulder, and also for some patches of cloth with which to mend his clothes.

Father told the man they had not yet eaten their evening meal and for him to come in the tent and rest and mother would prepare supper and they would all eat together. To this the man replied he did not have to to stop and would prefer to have some food just to take along with him. Father asked him where he was going. He pointed to the southwest. Father then warned him not to go in that direction as it was barren desert and no water within sixty miles. To this the man replied, "I have traveled in the north, south, east and west, in heat and in cold, and I have no fear of suffering from thirst." Father then asked him his name, to which he replied, "They call me the Wandering Jew."

The stranger was given the things he asked for and father stepped into the tent. Mother said, "Don't let that man start over the desert this late in the day." So father hurried out to call him back to spend the night with them. The road stretched out for miles without obstruction, but the man could not be seen. A neighbor, Brother Fairbanks, had also seen the man as he approached my parents' tent, but had no conversation with him.

Father and mother always thought their visitor was John the Beloved, or one of the three Nephites, who had been promised by the Savior to tarry upon the earth until He returns again.

--William A. Seegmiller.

Links and Notes

Revised December 1, 2020.