I decided to type the word “temple” into BibleGateway.com to see what would come up in the New Testament. The results are listed below. I left out historic references to the Jerusalem temple listed in the Gospels and the book of Acts. I also left out references in the Revelation of John which are always references to God’s Heavenly Temple. So these are all text with Christian instruction on the word “temple”.
For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
1 Corinthians 3:15-17
If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.
1 Corinthians 6:18-20
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
1 Corinthians 9: 9, 12-14
For it is written in the Law of Moses . . .
But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ. Don’t you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-4
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for (that day will not come) until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
1 Peter 2: 4-5
As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Most of these verses point to the Christians temple being the body of believers or the body of a believer. I Cornithians is considered the first New Testament writing (about 15 years after the crucifixion) and you can see how many times in that letter alone that Paul calls the believer the temple of God (rather than direct believers toward a temple).
There are two passages here that may cause a problem with this overall trend. The first is I Corinthians 9. But given the context, Paul is citing the Law’s provision that priest are to eat from the meat that is sacrificed in the Jewish temple., So it’s a historic reference rather than a contemporary teaching. His teaching in the passage is not about temples but rather about Gospel preachers being paid for their work (that is a discussion for another time).
The other passage is 2 Thessalonians which is an end times prophecy about the Anti-Christ. It could be considered ambiguous if he is talking about the Jewish temple, a Christian temple or God’s heavenly temple as described in Revelation . But there seems to be only one temple that the Anti-Christ can set himself up in.
Given the weight of all the passages together it seems abundantly clear that Paul and Peter were not out setting up new Christian temples but rather telling Christians everywhere that they are the temple.
How do LDS incorporate these passages into their teachings on temples?