“And He Doth Not Dwell in Unholy Temples”

Brant Gardner

Perhaps the cultural context of “unholy temples” created even stronger connotations for Alma’s audience than it does for us. Mesoamerican religion sponsored numerous temples dedicated to a variety of gods. In Nephite terms, they would be “unholy temples.” My analysis of the social pressures experienced by the Nephites assumes the presence of these other cultures, including their “unholy temples.”

Alma notes that the filthiness (worldly ideas) which contaminates the collective Nephite soul can be literally washed away by repentance and baptism. Neglecting these duties means facing the judgment in a “filthy” state.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 4