The People Gather at the Bountiful Temple

John W. Welch

There are two focal points that act as grand interchanges and moments of revelation and organization in the Book of Mormon. One of them is King Benjamin’s speech at the temple in Zarahemla, and the other is the Savior’s visitation at the temple in Bountiful. Interestingly, but not unexpectedly, they both took place at a temple.

King Benjamin had the families—men, women, and children—gathered at the temple for the coronation of his first son. In 3 Nephi, men, women and children were all there, in effect, for the coronation of Jesus, the Eternal Son of God, in their midst.

In both cases, a sacred covenant was entered into, first in Mosiah 5 and in a new form in 3 Nephi 18. The stipulations and nature of that covenant were explained both at the temple in Zarahemla and then at the temple in Bountiful. These two most important occasions are major points of intersection through which almost everything, not only in the Book of Mormon but in the whole gospel of Jesus Christ, sooner or later runs.

Both King Benjamin at the Zarahemla temple and the Savior at Bountiful offered a clear and specific culminating invitation. The words were slightly different but, if accepted, they achieve the same ends. King Benjamin’s invitation was very forthright:

Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend. And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them (Mosiah 4:9–10).

Jesus extended a similar invitation when he stated:

Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day. Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do; Therefore, if ye do these things blessed are ye, for ye shall be lifted up at the last day. (3 Nephi 27:20–22)

Both of these inviting statements contain important elements of application for us and to all people everywhere. To quote Jesus’s injunction following his telling of the parable of the Good Samaritan, “Go, and do thou likewise” (Luke 10:37).

Further Reading

John W. Welch, “The Temple Context and Unity of the Sermon at the Temple,” in Illuminating the Sermon at the Temple and Sermon on the Mount (Provo, Ut: FARMS, 1999), 23–46.

John W. Welch Notes