Three of Nibley's important essays on the fate of the primitive Christian church and its institutions and beliefs are reprinted in When the Lights Went Out since the issues remain relevant. In The Passing of the Primitive Church, Nibley presents forty striking and often neglected facets of church history. The Forty-Day Mission of Christ deals with the historical relevance of Acts 1:3, which claims that after Christ's resurrection, he was seen of them forty days, and [spoke] of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
Nibley discusses the implications of the loss of the temple during the fall of Jerusalem in his Christian Envy of the
Temple. Each of these three articles appeared separately in scholarly journals, 1959-66.
They were published together by Deseret Book in 1970 under the title When the Lights Went
Out. Each of them appeared again in the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, vol. 4,Mormonism and Early Christianity.