Latter-day Fairy Tales: Goldilox and the Three Nephites

In this new ZD feature–Titles in Search of a Post–we’ll provide catchy titles and you, our scintillating and creative readers, will have the opportunity of offering suggestions in the comments section as to what such a post should be about, ranging from half-baked free associations to polished paragraphs, and (this should go without saying on our blog) from the sublime to the ridiculous. Enjoy!


  1. Once upon a time there were three Nephites who went out preaching among a wicked people. The people were angry and cast them into three prisons. Now the first Nephite rent his prison in twain too hard. The two halves of the prison flew so far that they smashed people’s houses. The second Nephite rent his prison in twain too soft, so that it was barely cracked and he really had to squeeze to get himself out. The third Nephite rent his prison in twain just right, so the halves were separated, but not so much that they broke anything.

    But the people were still angry, and they cast the three Nephites into three pits, and covered them with earth. Now the first Nephite smote the earth too hard, and it rose up and delivered him, but also made a mountain that buried a city. The second Nephite smote the earth too soft, and he had to struggle and fight to get out of the pit. The third Nephite smote the earth just right so that he was delivered but no cities were buried.

    But the people were still angry, and they cast the three Nephites into three furnaces. Now the first Nephite cooled his furnace too much, and he got frostbitten toes while escaping. But the second Nephite did not cool his furance enough, and his hair got a little singed. The third Nephite cooled his furnace just right, so he was able to escape in comfort.

    Finally, the people cast the three Nephites into three dens of wild beasts. Now the first Nephite played with the wild beasts too roughly, and he accidentally killed them all. But the second Nephite played with the wild beasts too gently, and he got a bite on the neck for his trouble. But the third Nephite played with the wild beasts just right, enough to impress the people, but not so much that the beasts were injured.

    And the first two Nephites began to feel that the third Nephite was being a show-it-all. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other two. And the first and second Nephites no longer tarried with the third. And thus was born the latter-day preference for sending missionaries in pairs instead of threes.

  2. I didn’t have time to read your entire post (well, any of it really), but I nonetheless felt compelled to jump in to say that I have a very firm testimony of the Three Nephites–in fact, I’m almost positive that I encountered one of them in an elevator recently–and I’m appalled to find them being casually discussed on a public blog with such light-mindedness. Are you suggesting that they are somehow on the same level as Goldilox? Do you even have a testimony of the Book of Mormon?

    Perhaps we could all be enlightened by listening to the words of Elder Papa H. Bear, formerly a member of the Seventy (before his untimely release, a result of vicious gossip that his chair at General Conference was “too big”):

    Brothers and sisters, do not be fooled by the lies of the Adversary: the tale of Goldilox is a myth. And those who falsely characterize the porridge of the gospel as “too hot” are on a sure road to spiritual destruction.

  3. Come on, Sweet Spirit! Elder Bear was attacking a straw man. Nobody was claiming that the porridge of the gospel was “too hot”! They were making the rather more substantial claim that it was “too cold.” Elder Bear clearly feared that addressing their genuine concern might lead people to the obvious conclusion that the Church’s light has been placed under a bushel and is no longer capable of heating the gospel porridge to be “just right.”

  4. As a seminary teacher and an employee of CES (call me SIR!, dang it!), I am very happy to hear that a scholarly and in-depth treatment of the Three Nephites is going to be done on this very fine weblog.

    Based on my personal experience, I can testify that nothing brings the Spirit into a seminary classroom faster than a good Three Nephite story. I teach 5 lessons a week, and I usually go with Three Nephite stories on Mondays and Wednesdays, signs of the times in the last days Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Seminary Science on Fridays where we talk about the age of the earth and evil-lution as outlined in the scriptures in order to counter all that satanic drivel the kids are hearing in their biology and geology classes at the high school.

    By taking careful notes in testimony meeting over the years, I have accumulated a large collection of Three Nephite stories. I have first person accounts of them assisting faithful, active church members in the following circumstances: curing gout, assisting with the rotation of food storage, smiting the neighbors for watching R-rated movies, helping a cub scout win the pinewood derby, making phone calls for prop 8, giving directions to a lost family on vacation, and cheering for BYU football. Does that list not give you goosebumps? I am so, so blessed to have the privilege of building testimonies among the youth of Zion in this manner.

    Turning to the question of Goldilox, I think you are really on to something here. Obviously, when paired with the Nephites, Goldilox is a reference to the gold plates. We see this by the well-know prefix “gold”. It is a bit more difficult to account for the suffix “ilox”, but if we are willing to see with our spiritual eyes and set aside our prideful, worldly learning, the truth becomes very plain and simple. During the North Sanpete sound shift, we lost the beginning P, which was replaced with an I. When we put the P back where it should be, we see the word is Plox, and now we can easily recognize that OX is the feminine plural form of ATES. When we look at the word PILATES, we see how closely it is related to PLATES. We also see that when you drop the first letter and frenchify the ending you wind up changing PLATES to ILOX. When I diagrammed this on the board in Seminary yesterday, some of my students were astonished.

    I have submitted this analysis to a scholarly linguistics journal. Of course, because they have been blinded by the cunning and craftiness of men they are unable to see what is so plain to those of us who are righteous enough to have the spirit. Truly, the wicked taketh the truth to be hard.

  5. Those who might be tempted to swallow the nonsense masquerading as argument in #6 should be aware that all reputable scholars have rejected the so-called North Sanpete sound shift. A much more credible argument can be found in last month’s edition of the Journal of Goldilox Studies, which quite persuasively argues that “Goldilox” has nothing to do with plates of any sort. But there is evidence that in many ancient languages “lox” is actually a term for “ball.” Might Goldilox have something to do with the Liahona? She who has ears to hear . . .

  6. I beg your pardon, Ms. Student, but anyone who has ever heard anyone from North Sanpete utter a single sentence is well aware that the N.S. sound shift is real. Perhaps you are referring to the middle high N.S. sound shift, which is much harder to pin down.

    Lox is clearly a plural noun, and therefore cannot refer to the Liahona. Consider the following words: beaux, amigos, toes. Do you agree that these are all plurals? Of course you do. And even though they are spelled differently, they all sound the same. Now consider how we pronounce the first syllable in AUXILIARY, as in auxiliary to The Priesthood. Do you see how aux sounds just like lox? And do you see how aux also forms the last part of the word beaux? It must needs be that we recognize that Goldilox is another form of Gold Plates and as such constitutes yet another proof of the truthfulness of the Nephite record. I advise you to refrain from kicking against the pricks, or I will have to adjust your grade downwards.

  7. Brother Jargenson, I was a bit disappointed to see how quickly you skipped over the PILATES bit of your discussion. I wonder if perhaps the hidden wisdom linking Goldilox and the Three Nephites is that Pilates is the secret to their extreme longevity. Either that or they’re eating lox laced with gold flakes.

  8. If I may be permitted a (semi)-serious question, how did the wives of the Three Nephites feel about their request? When President Hinckley died, at least we could take comfort in the idea that he was back with his wife, who he clearly missed. But what about the Three Nephites? Their wives have to hang out and wait for them for thousands of years? It doesn’t seem quite fair.

    Perhaps this is where Goldilox becomes relevant. Maybe the Three Nephites’ true motive in wanting to tarry as mortals was to avoid their wives for a long time after they had had a spat. So the first Nephite said to his wife, “If I don’t see you until the Second Coming, that will be too soon!” The second said to his wife, “If I don’t see you until the Second Coming, that will be too long.” And the third said to his wife, “If I don’t see you until the Second Coming, that will be just right.” But to make things simpler, Jesus let them all tarry for the same amount of time.

  9. Nephite # 1: “My wife is toooo cold!”

    Nephite # 2: “My wife is toooo hot!”

    Naw, let’s not go down that road.

  10. …Papa bear said, “Someone’s been sleeping in my bed!”
    Mama bear said, “Someone’s been sleeping in my bed!
    Then baby bear said, someone’s been sleeping in my bed, and she’s still there!

    Just then Goldilox opened her eyes to see three very angry bears closing in on her.

    Suddenly! An arrow went right through Papa bear’s head, Mama bear fell over with a axe sticking out of her back, and baby bear took a sword to the heart. Goldilox looked at the three strange men in grateful awe at their hunting prowess. She loved each of them for saving her, and so left the LDS church to join break away sect that allowed polyandry, and they lived happily ever after.

  11. My whole sordid tale is a well-known element in youth chastity lessons everywhere.

    On my date with the first Nephite my clothes were toooo skimpy.

    On my date with the second Nephite my clothes were toooo frumpy.

    On my date with the third Nephite he served porridge that was neither cold nor hot, and I spewed it out of my mouth.


Comments are closed.