The Temple in 3 Nephi 11

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By Hollie Wells

3 Nephi 11 is a very special and often-discussed chapter in the Book of Mormon. It is most often Jesus’s visit starting in verse 8 that is known and discussed from this chapter. However, in my most recent study, the very first few verses stood out to me. This is one of many places in the Book of Mormon where the temple is mentioned. The people are gathered there after the disasters that have devastated the land, and verse one says, ”they were marveling and wondering one with another, and were showing one to another the great and marvelous change which had taken place.”  


This change the verse mentions is obviously the physical changes that the earth’s surface underwent. But when I read this, I could not help but think this applies to the change in the hearts, minds, and spirits of modern Saints and what we experience when Jesus Christ comes to us individually. What more fitting place to discuss this change of heart with our fellow disciples than the temple, the House of the Lord? Hopefully, through our covenants, we can also undergo a dramatic and lasting change that leaves us as unrecognizable as the newly-formed land to the native Nephites. 

In verse two, it says “they were also conversing about this Jesus Christ, of whom the sign had been given concerning his death.” I hope that when I am at the temple, I am also engaged in thought and conversation about Jesus Christ. 

I know that the temple is a quiet place with not much conversation within its walls, but we can discuss what we learn, feel, and experience outside: in our homes, on the grounds, with those learning about the church, at church, or in any gathering of fellow believers. 

When we go to the temple to be endowed, we get to have our own 3 Nephi 11 experience. Each covenant-maker or proxy approaches one by one to see and speak with Jesus Christ and feel the prints in His hands and thrust our hand into His side. This is a chapter worth studying in its entirety through a temple-lens.

1 comment

  • Jace

    Scholars both inside and outside the church have suggested that the Sermon on the Mount was ancient temple liturgy and it seems fitting that when Jesus came to the temple in Bountiful that he also repeated the things he taught at the Sermon on the Mount in his mortal ministry. D. John Butler just put out a book called In the Language of Adam that talks about this and also builds on the work of Margret Barker (non lds scholar), John Welch, and others. I find their deep dives into the scriptures to be very interesting.

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