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NEPHI GREW UP IN JERUSALEM IN TIME OF SOLOMON'S TEMPLE

The English word "temple" comes from the Latin templum. the equivalent Hebrew term is Beth Elohim, which literally means "the House of the Lord."

As a boy and young man, Nephi had lived in Jerusalem where Solomon's Temple, built more than 300 years before (about 952 B.C.), had a vital role in daily worship and had been a center of teaching and exhortation.Prophets often went to the temple to prophesy. Among prophets in Jerusalem during Nephi's youth was his father, Lehi, a contemporary of Jeremiah.

The Prophet Jeremiah had been commanded to "stand in the gate of the Lord's house" (Jer. 7:2) to proclaim Jehovah's word.

Perhaps Lehi also went to the temple - or at least was in close proximity to it - when he "began to prophesy and to declare unto them [the people] concerning the things which he had both seen and heard . . ." (1 Ne. 1:18-19.)

During their wilderness travels and the early years in their new land, Lehi and his people were unable to enjoy the presence of a temple. While the Old Testament has numerous references to Lehi's Israelite ancestors have the Tabernacle, or a portable sanctuary, the Book of Mormon makes no mention of such a temporary substitute for a temple in the New World.

An interesting observation is that the Israelites, soon upon their deliverance from Egyptian bondage and during their wilderness wandering, prepared a sanctuary wherein the Lord would manifest His presence and make known His will as their accepted Lord and King.

Likewise, within a few years of their arrival in the land of promise after their own wilderness experience, the children of Lehi - or, in this case, the Nephites - erected a temple in the new hemisphere for the same purpose.