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BYU Studies Quarterly Vol. 53 (2014)
What does the Book of Enoch say or not say about the temple, and to which Book of Enoch do I refer? Is it the text called 1 Enoch, or the one known as 2 Enoch, or the so-called 3 Enoch? And all of them discuss or, better, visualize the temple. I restrict myself here to 1 Enoch.
In this article, I will explore the notion of communal ascent to heaven in ancient Jewish and Christian literature and seek to answer the questions, Can an entire community ascend to heaven? and Do we see this theme in ancient texts, or is this a complete innovation on the part of Joseph Smith as he sought to unite his followers around an inspiring and unifying goal? To arrive at the answers to these questions, I will analyze a number of ancient Jewish and Christian religious texts that feature the ascent to heaven motif and suggest that not only did their authors envision an individual ascent, but they also imagined groups or communities raised up to the celestial realm.