Insights: The Newsletter of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship

Article Title

Atonement and the Temple


Old Testament, Atonement, temple, Book of Mormon


In 1988 Hugh W. Nibley noted that the use of terms based on the word atone (atonement, atoning, atoned, etc.), while used in the Old Testament mostly in association with rites performed in the tabernacle of Moses, clearly tied the Nephites to preexilic Israel, that is, prior to the Babylonian captivity of the Jews in 587 bc. He found that most of the occurrences were “in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, where they explicitly describe the original rites of the tabernacle or temple on the Day of Atonement.”