Sometimes people suggest to me that because they don't see the temple ordinances described in the Book of Mormon, and the Book of Mormon claims to contain the entire gospel of Jesus Christ, the temple must not be an essential part of the gospel of Jesus Christ.The more I study the Book of Mormon the easier it is for me to see how false this way of thinking is.
Mercifully, the Lord does not lay out the fullness of His covenants in the book that will be used to judge the world. Instead, He allows us to prepare (through faith, repentance, baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and the sacrament) to receive the greater things until we are ready. What a blessing!
That does not mean we can't find evidence of the basic patterns of the temple in the Book of Mormon. Here's one I came across recently:
15 And thus did Alma and Amulek go forth, and also many more who had been chosen for the work, to preach the word throughout all the land. And the establishment of the church became general throughout the land, in all the region round about, among all the people of the Nephites.
16 And there was no inequality among them; the Lord did pour out his Spirit on all the face of the land to prepare the minds of the children of men, or to prepare their hearts to receive the word which should be taught among them at the time of his coming—
17 That they might not be hardened against the word, that they might not be unbelieving, and go on to destruction, but that they might receive the word with joy, and as a branch be grafted into the true vine, that they might enter into the rest of the Lord their God.
18 Now those priests who did go forth among the people did preach against all lyings, and deceivings, and envyings, and strifes, and malice, and revilings, and stealing, robbing, plundering, murdering, committing adultery, and all manner of lasciviousness, crying that these things ought not so to be—
19 Holding forth things which must shortly come; yea, holding forth the coming of the Son of God, his sufferings and death, and also the resurrection of the dead.
20 And many of the people did inquire concerning the place where the Son of God should come; and they were taught that he would appear unto them after his resurrection; and this the people did hear with great joy and gladness.
21 And now after the church had been established throughout all the land—having got the victory over the devil, and the word of God being preached in its purity in all the land, and the Lord pouring out his blessings upon the people—thus ended the fourteenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi. (Alma 16)
Notice the elements:
- The word is preached by messengers "who had been chosen for the work."
- There was no inequality among them. This is consecration, echoing Zion's "no poor among them."
- Through the Spirit, their hearts and minds were prepared to "receive the word which should be taught among them at the time of His coming."
- This preparation is done in order to allow them to "receive the word with joy, and as a branch grafted onto the true vine, that they might enter into the rest of the Lord their God." Here we find two obvious covenant metaphors.
- The priests preach against all wicked behavior, including chastity, and also preach of Christ's suffering, death, and resurrection.
- The people "did hear with great joy and gladness."