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Temples in the New World
Parent page: Temples
Nephi records that after their separation from the Lamanites, his people built a temple "after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things" (2 Nephi 5:16). Smaller temples patterned after the temple of Solomon existed in ancient Israel at the time of Lehi in areas distant from Jerusalem. Israeli archaeologist Avraham Negev commented on one of these temples: "The most remarkable discovery at Arad is the temple which occupied the north-western corner of the citadel. . . . Its orientation, general plan and contents, especially the tabernacle, are similar to the Temple of Solomon."4 In other words, Nephi's construction of a simpler version of Solomon's temple in a remote location once he had established his people in a permanent city was not a unique event in Jewish history, but rather an expected occurrence, a fact of which Joseph Smith and his contemporaries (including especially his critic Alexander Campbell), lacking the aid of modern archaeology, would certainly have been unaware.