The tabernacle erected by Moses served as a portable temple for the Israelites in the wilderness. Later, Solomon constructed a more permanent edifice (see 2 Chronicles 2–5). The Book of Mormon also notes the building of temples (see 2 Nephi 5:16; Mosiah 1:18; 3 Nephi 11:1). Joseph Smith selected and dedicated sites for temples in Kirtland, Ohio; Independence and Far West, Missouri; and Nauvoo, Illinois. Only the Kirtland Temple was completed during Joseph's lifetime.
Like ancient prophets, Joseph Smith knew by revelation the form the temple should take. While some proposed a log or frame construction, Joseph said: "I have a better plan than that. I have a plan of the house of the Lord, given by himself" (quoted in Lucy Mack Smith, History of the Prophet Joseph , 204). Brigham Young testified that Joseph "received a pattern also, as did Moses for the Tabernacle, and Solomon for his Temple; for without a pattern he could not know what was wanting, having never seen one and not having experienced its use" (Deseret News, Apr. 16, 1853, 42).