Our family read part of 1 Nephi 13. We discussed Nephi’s account of his vision and what he saw. Some of the children were alert and others were hardly awake until we started talking about the great and abominable church. Nephi foretells that this awful and destroying organization is formed among the nations of the Gentiles. The devil is the founder of it. 1 Nephi 13:4-6
The children marveled that the devil would be the leader of this church throughout the world and have such tremendous influence over the children of men. It’s frightening that so many people are deceived. They accept and join the church of the devil and claim it to be the true church of God. As we read about the desires, motivations, and characteristics of this great and abominable church, little eyes began to open.
“And I also saw gold, and silver, and silks, and scarlets, and fine-twined linen, and all manner of precious clothing; and I saw many harlots. And the angel spake unto me, saying: Behold the gold, and the silver, and the silks, and the scarlets, and the fine-twined linen, and the precious clothing, and the harlots, are the desires of this great and abominable church. And also for the praise of the world do they destroy the saints of God, and bring them down into captivity.” 1 Nephi 13:7-9
Satan uses the things of this world to manipulate the children of men. Jesus taught, “And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” Mark 4:19 Cares of the world, riches, and lusts can have a compelling and powerful effect on most mortals. I have heard that you can buy anything in this world with money. Satan knows it and therefore uses the things of this world to lure and catch his prey.
We also searched and discussed the definition of abomination. We came to the general conclusion that iniquity is one thing and abomination is another. Iniquity seems to be an evil practice without church endorsement or religious authorization, but abomination involves church validation of wrongdoing. Abomination occurs when a religious body or organization justifies sin, error, or corruption.
What is the great and abominable church, anyway? It sounds like a very large, all encompassing, monstrous establishment that stretches across the nations of the world. It is a church or organization that sits upon many waters and compels individuals from all walks of life 1 Nephi 14:11. What is the significance of the whore of all the earth sitting upon many waters?
"If you were an English freeman in the 17th and 18th centuries and decided to sign on as a shipmate to sail the seven seas, you would have understood that you were also signing away your rights as a free man upon the land. Once at sea you could no longer claim any of the basic rights that naturally accrued to you as a citizen of the crown." What is the Law of the Land? Welcome Aboard, Matey! Just Stow Yer Rights At The Dock!
Waters are very unstable and unpredictable. When the storm comes would you rather be standing on the rock of our Redeemer? Helaman 5:12 Or would you like to be tossed to and fro upon the waters being "carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive" Ephesians 4:14.
What does an abominable church look like? One of the characteristics of this great and abominable church is revealed in Nephi’s vision. This awful organization takes many precious parts and essential covenants away from the gospel of the Lamb. It is done to pervert the right ways of the Lord, blind the eyes of the people, and harden the hearts of the children of men. 1 Nephi 13:24-27
What? The church holds back both “plain” and “precious” parts? Is truth purposely hidden, tainted, or taken out? Are covenants of the Lord purposely changed, altered, or discarded? Why? These plain and most precious parts are needed to regain our vision and rescue us from our awful state of blindness.
Nephi said that the gentile people (us) are in an awful state of blindness because we do not have the gospel as a whole, in its fullness, or in a complete form. The plain and most precious parts of the gospel of the Lamb have been kept back by that great and abominable church Nephi 13:32.
What makes a certain church more abominable than the rest of the churches? What covenants of the Lord did they take away? Who originally had the covenants? 1 Nephi 13:26 So, what are these “plain and most precious” parts of the gospel that were removed? Who plays the deceiving roles in the great and abominable church? What parties are involved in Satan’s deceptive arrangement? Can you think of any organizations or groups that keep back the plain and precious parts? Are there any that distort the doctrine of Christ, yet claim His name?
How about any religious organizations that alter, change, or take away the precious covenants of the Lord from among the people? How about groups that rework, modify, or abandon the sacred ordinances of God? Isaiah 24:5 Do the churches who stifle, discard, or reject truth automatically become part of the abominable church?
By definition, are these many mega-churches who rob the poor, teach false and vain and foolish doctrines, and pervert the right ways of God, part of the great and abominable church? Will these religious leaders who have gone astray and are leading many others off course continue being unchecked and unrestrained?
Or will these wise, learned, rich, influential, and selected leaders that are corrupt, puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and falsely claiming God’s authority, be thrust down to hell? 2 Nephi 28:9-15 When will things give? When will people have eyes to see and ears to hear? Jeremiah 5:21