What role does the Ark of the Covenant play in the Mormon faith?
The ark of the covenant was constructed while the children of Israel were wandering in the desert after their escape from the Egyptians. It held the things that were sacred to people at the time, including the two tablets of stone that Moses brought down from the mountain. The tribe of Levi was commissioned to the care of the ark. After the construction of Solomon’s Temple, it was placed there, in the Holy of Holies. Later it was captured by the Philistines, who held it for seven months before it was returned to the Israelites. The House of Judah was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar and carried way into Babylon in 589 B.C. They were permitted to return to Jerusalem in 519 B.C., when they immediately set about to build another temple, which was called the Temple of Zerubbabel.
We learn from James E. Talmage, that in the Temple of Zerubbabel the Most Holy Place was empty, “for the Ark of the Covenant had not been known after the people had gone into captivity” (The House of the Lord, p.42). So, we can only imagine that the ark of the covenant was taken by the Babylonians at the capture of Jerusalem, and has never been heard from since. So naturally, it plays no active role in the Mormon Church.