Today I was thinking about Solomon’s Temple in relation to the workforce it took to build the temple in 7.5 years and what the author of the Book of Mormon was thinking when he claimed Nephi built a temple much like Solomon’s.
In light of that here are some statistics to think about! We see in scripture there were 153,600 men used to build Solomon’s temple. By the time you add in the people supplying the food, replacing people who died or got hurt, and all the other extras, it’s been estimated that over 200,000 people were involved with building God’s holy temple. (2 Chron. 2:2, 1 Kings 5:13-18, 6:2-3)
I Kings 5:13-18; “And king Solomon raised a levy out of all Israel; and the levy was thirty thousand men. 14 And he sent them to Lebanon, ten thousand a month by courses: a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home: and Adoniram was over the levy. 15 And Solomon had threescore and ten thousand that bare burdens, and fourscore thousand hewers in the mountains; 16 Beside the chief of Solomon’s officers which were over the work, three thousand and three hundred, which ruled over the people that wrought in the work. 17 And the king commanded, and they brought great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones, to lay the foundation of the house. 18 And Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders did hew them, and the stonesquarers: so they prepared timber and stones to build the house.”
Now let’s go to the Book of Mormon and take a look at those statistics shall we?
2 Nephi 5:15-17; “And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon’s temple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine.”
At the time Nephi built his temple, it had been seven years from the time they’d left Jerusalem. Nephi and company consisted of his wife, four sons, four daughters-in-law, and a few friends of the family.
How did a dozen or so people build a temple that was kind of like Solomon’s? No tools, no product, no people, no time…you get the idea I’m sure.
No matter what story the Church tries to spin about this scenario it just doesn’t fit. It’s after the manner of Solomon’s temple, but it couldn’t be built like Solomon’s temple. Hmmm…this sounds like Smith didn’t have anything else to say so he just filled the pages with more confusing “inspiration”. And if it was nothing like Solomon’s temple then why compare it to the biblical standard? The mention of a temple in BC 570 got me to wondering…
Did they make sure the stones were hewn away from the temple so no noise could be heard in the temple?
Who were the priests?
What were the walls made of if the temple was built “exceedingly fine”?
What did the interior of the temple look like?
How many rooms were there and how big was each room?
How long did it take to construct?
What were the dimensions of the temple and how many people did it serve?
Were there any celebrations after construction was completed and if so how many people attended?
What animals were sacrificed at this temple, how many and how often?
When did sacrifices begin after the temple was built?
Where was a replica of the Ark of the Covenant? What did it look like?
Where was the Mercy Seat?
Where was the Bud of Aaron?
Where was the Tablet of Stone?
Did it have a Molten Sea?
What about the Table of Show Bread? What materials were used to build this and what were its dimensions?
Where did they get acacia wood?
What material was used for the Veil?
Was the temple one or two stories?
What did the clothing of the priests look like?
Where were the Gibeonites?
Where did they get manna?
As you can imagine the list could keep going and going. Temples in the Old Testament era were built to the exact specifications God gave to the people. Each item inside the temple down to the candlesticks and the thread used to hang the Veil had an exact purpose that represented either God, the future Messiah (Jesus), God’s relationship with man, and/or the salvation He provided to His people. It wasn’t put together by what the people thought should go in there, but what God specifically told them to do. And if Nephi really was Jewish and followed the Laws of God as the Book of Mormon claims, he wouldn’t be able to rest without making sure everything was perfect for God.
Sadly, we see no hint of anything resembling Solomon’s temple, indicating this temple probably didn’t exist.
The reason the temple was so important in OT times is because that is where God resided. This was where the people came to get direction from God and to perform sacrifices for sin, for remembrance, and for thanksgiving. The temple and feasts were essential in the BC era and is what the people lived and structured their lives after.
Little to no information about the temple in the Book of Mormon is suspicious.