Lesson 65 - The Temple in the Land of Nephi

Lesson 65 - The Temple in the Land of Nephi

TitleLesson 65 - The Temple in the Land of Nephi
Publication TypeManual Lesson
Year of Publication1898
Corporate AuthorsDeseret Sunday School Union
Manual TitleDeseret Sunday School Union Leaflets
PublisherGeorge Q. Cannon & Sons Company
Place PublishedSalt Lake City
Keywords2 Nephi 5:16; Nephi (Polity); Scripture Study; Temple

As soon as possible after the arrival of Nephi and his people at their new home, which they called the Land of Nephi, they commenced to build a temple to the Most High God. This they were compelled to do, in order that they might observe the requirements of the law of Moses, as God had commanded them. For without a temple they could not offer the sacrifices and burnt offer­ings required by that law; and it was then in force to all the house of Israel, of which the Nephites were a branch, and so continued until the great sacri­fice was offered up on Mount Calvary, of which all others were but types. So to fulfill the law, temples were built by the Nephites in every land that they colonized; and in different parts of the Book of Mormon we read of temples being built by them in the lands of Nephi, Lehi-Nephi, Zarahemla, Bounti­ful and other places. Less than fifty years B. C. one historian states (Hela­man 3:14):

“But behold a hundredth part of the proceedings of this people, yea, the ac­count of the Lamanites, and of the Nephites, and their wars, and conten­tions, and dissensions, and their preach­ing, and their prophecies, and their shipping, and their building of ships, and their building of temples, and of synagogues, and their sanctuaries * * * cannot be contained in this work. ” That the Nephites by thus building temples in every land in which they dwelt were simply carrying out the commandments of God is proved by His word to His people in these days, wherein he says:

“Therefore, verily I say unto you, that your anointings, and your washings, and your baptisms for the dead, and your solemn assemblies, and your me­morials for your sacrifices, by the sons of Levi, and for your oracles in your most holy places, wherein you receive conversations, and your statutes and judgments, for the beginning of the revelations and foundation of Zion, and for the glory, honor, and endowment of all her municipals, are ordained by the ordinance of my holy house which my people are always commanded to build unto my holy name." (Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 124:39.)

The temple built in the land of Nephi was evidently patterned after that built by Solomon, for it was to be used for the same purposes; but, as the prin­ciples of the Gospel were taught to the Nephites as well as the Mosaic law, it is reasonable to suppose that many of the ordinances now administered in temples were also performed there. The most marked difference between the Temple of Solomon and that of Nephi was that the latter "was not built of so many precious things” as the former. We are also justified in believing, as it was built by a very small people, and was simply intended to meet their needs, that it was probably smaller than the temple at Jerusalem. To build one as large as that of Solomon would have been an almost impossible task for a people so few in numbers. Still this is but conjecture, as Nephi is entirely silent with regard to the dimensions of the building.

This temple was occasionally, if not ordinarily, used for the public gatherings of the Nephites. Jacob, the brother of Nephi, used it for such a purpose (Jacob 2:2). This was also the case with the one afterwards erected in the city of Zarahemla; when King Benjamin desired to give his last address to his people' and present his successor (his son, Mosiah II,) he directed that the people should be gathered at that temple to hear his words. (Mosiah 2:1).