Sunday, January 6, 2019

Were There Two Temples in the City of Nephi? – Part II

Continued from the previous post, regarding the temples indicated in the city of Nephi, and the meaning of temples as found among archaeological sites in the Americas.
    In 1828, Noah Webster wrote following the word “temple” that it was “a public edifice erected in honor of some deity. Among pagans, a building erected to some pretended deity, and in which the people assembled to worship. Originally, temples were open places, as the Stonehenge in England. In Rome, some of the temples were open, and called sacella; others were roofed, and called oedes. The most celebrated of the ancient pagan temples were that of Belus in Babylon, that of Vulcan at Memphis, that of Jupiter at Thebes, that of Diana at Ephesus, that of Apollo in Miletus, that of Jupiter Olympus in Athens, and that of Apollo at Delphi. The most celebrated and magnificent temple erected to the true God, was that built by Solomon in Jerusalem.”
    Thus we see that the word “temple” had to do with either celebrating ancient pagan gods, or the God, and his Son. In the case of pagan gods, several temples were erected, some in separate cities, sometimes several in one city, such as those in Rome. On the other hand, in the case of the Jews, there was only one temple in their entire nation, tough it being just a small country of territory, and that was in Jerusalem.
The three temples specifically mentioned in the scriptural record. The world “temples” in the plural is also mentioned in a few places, but it is not known if that is meant to be more than this three or not

Again, while we know of only three temples clearly stated in the Book of Mormon, the term “temples” is used regarding the Land Northward: “And the people who were in the land northward did dwell in tents, and in houses of cement, and they did suffer whatsoever tree should spring up upon the face of the land that it should grow up, that in time they might have timber to build their houses, yea, their cities, and their temples, and their synagogues, and their sanctuaries, and all manner of their buildings” (Helaman 3:9, emphasis added).
    The plural is also used in: “But behold, a hundredth part of the proceedings of this people, yea, the account of the Lamanites and of the Nephites, and their wars, and contentions, and dissensions, and their preaching, and their prophecies, and their shipping and their building of ships, and their building of temples, and of synagogues and their sanctuaries, and their righteousness, and their wickedness…cannot be contained in this work” (Helaman 3:14).
    It should also be noted that these two scriptural references indicate both “synagogues,” and “sanctuaries” in the plural. Therefore, we must conclude that within the Land of Promise, there were numerous places of worship. We also know that a synagogue is not a temple, for it is “a building where a Jewish assembly or congregation meets for religious worship and instruction,” much like our Ward buildings and Stake Centers today. The term “sanctuary” is both a “house consecrated to the worship of God, a place where divine service is performed” (Psalms 73:17), and a place of refuge or protection.
    The term “sanctuary” is taken from the Latin “sanctus,” meaning “sacred.” Therefore, the Nephites built many structures used for religious worship, instruction, and asylum—the latter meaning a place of refuge from illegal seizure and prosecution (in the pagan world, it was a place where criminals, even the vilest ones, were protected).
Pachacamac sits on the top of a hill overlooking the ocean to the west and the larger complex to the east and southeast
In addition, Mosiah’s words seem to suggest that the temple in Zarahemla was built at a higher elevation than the rest of the city. This is from his statement: “proclaimed unto all the people who were in the land of Zarahemla that thereby they might gather themselves together, to go up to the temple to hear the words which his father should speak unto them" (Mosiah 1:18, emphasis added). That is, "to go up (to the temple)" is generally used to signify higher ground or elevation. Since one can only go up from a valley onto a hill or higher ground, in Cuzco that would eliminate a temple in the valley itself. Thus, if this was the same pattern in the city of Nephi, then that temple would have been on a hill, the only higher elevation around the city of Nephi. In Cuzco, that would be Sacsayhuaman, which sits on a hill overlooking the valley and the city below.
    It might also be understood that king Noah, not a righteous king, but an evil ruler, built himself a spacious palace, and a throne in the midst thereof, ornamented with gold and silver and with precious things” (Mosiah 11:9); he also might have built another or different temple—this one, perhaps, in the valley, which religious protocol of temple building would not have been important to him. When it is stated of him, that he "caused his workmen should work all manner of fine work within the walls of the temple" (Mosiah 11:10), it doesn't say specifically that he built a temple, on the other hand, it does not say it wasn’t a new temple when describing the walls within it.
He built himself a spacious palace, and a throne in the midst of it

If this is an implication that Noah did build the temple of whose walls his workman adorned in gold and silver, and it is mentioned in connection with the palace and throne and other building projects, one might suggest that Noah had a temple built in addition to the one that Nephi built. If that is the case, and it would seem that Sacsayhuaman was built earlier, both in age and in style, then Noah's temple might have been one in the valley. However, this cannot be surmised other than in speculation. it would seem, however, the temple Noah built, described with all the gold, silver and other precious things, might well match Garsilaso's description of the temple with all its gold, and fine things.
    There is another important matter, in determining the temple or temples in Cuzco. First of all, the Temple of the Sun, is in reality called Inti Manqus wasi, which is translated by archaeologists, etc, as “Sun Temple” and, in fact, the word “inti” has become synonymous with “sun,” however, Inti is the name used to depict the all-powerful god in Quechua, the son of Viracocha (Wiraqucha). Literally, Inti means “Son of Viracocha, or Son of God, and when applied to the temple, The Temple of the Son. In fact, there is an annual festival in Peru called Inti Raymi, today meaning "sun festival," but this event dates far  back in time to the extravagant celebration then known as the Inti Raymi'rata, or "festival of the Son," and was oriented to being thankful to God for the abundant harvest and plead for the next year's crop to also be abundant.
   Obviously, since archaeology and anthropology cannot accept that “the Son of God” was part of any ancient religion in the Americas, the Temple of the Son has become the Temple of the Sun or Sun Temple. It is also likely that by Inca times, Inti, a god of the ancient cultures and adopted by the Inca after numerous conquests of other cultures, became “sun” rather than “son.”
    In the pantheon of gods in ancient Andean Peru, Viracocha (sometimes called Apu), was the “Supreme Inti” (Supreme God), God the Father, higher in status than Inti or any other, though He usually remained in the background of worldly affairs and allowed Inti to actually govern the world. Churi Inti or Son Inti, who represents the Son of Viracocha, was referred to as Daylight—he was a benevolent and generous god who looked after his people, but also capable of anger; there was also a third member of this pantheon or Godhead called Inti Wawqi, or Into Brother; also spelled Inti-Guauqui or Inti-Huaoqui.
    On the lower level (or mortality), was Villac Umu, meaning the High Priest of the Son, who presided over rites in honor of Inti, assisted by priests. By the time “Inti” became “inti” meanng sun, rather than Son, the temple became the Temple of the Sun, and the gods became suns, and the Villac Umu was the High Priest of the Sun.
Viracocha, the great creator god in ancient Peruvian mythology, whose image was carved into the top center of the Gateway of the Sun in Tiwanaku, long before the Inca came upon the scene, and which god the Inca adopted

However, when Inti was portrayed anciently in art, he was always depicted as a gold statue, a personage or head with the sun’s rays behind him. Gold, of course, was the most precious metal and depicted the brilliance of the sun—or more appropriately the greatest light in the heavens. Even today in modern times, the sun is depicted as representing the Celestial Kingdom, with the moon the Terrestrial and the stars as the Telestial—the three brightest heavenly symbols to represent the heavenly kingdoms.
Left: The image of a sun on the Nauvoo Temple, representing the Celestial Kingdom; Right; The ancient Inca God Viracocha, the Creator God and Father of Inti

Gold obviously commonly associated with God in art to show majestic deity. When God was relegated to a non-living symbol of worship, gold continued to represent the so-called power of objects and images Whilst the worship of Inti is no longer as widespread as it once was, the image of him as a flaming sun can still be seen in the current flags of two South American nations, namely those of Argentina and Uruguay. ­


  1. Your posts are very interesting.I always follow you.I believe that Pachacamac was the Zarahemla's temple.Thanks