Monday, October 23, 2006

1 Nephi 14

14: 10 – “Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.” When I read this scripture the other day, I immediately thought of classes in America. Before, it was the race and ethnic class where people treated you according to your race. Today, people treat you according to your class of learning or class of wealth. The news talks of upper-, middle- and lower-class America. You are either a one or two income family. However, in the Book of Mormon, Nephi has simply two classes. You are either a member of the Church of the Lamb of God or you are a member of the church of the devil. This class is very difficult to distinguish because you cannot see with the eye which class a person belongs to. But, if you look at what that person does, his manner of speech, what he reads, what he entertains himself with, what his habits are and so forth, you will begin to see what class he belongs to.

Now a word on church of the devil/Lamb. This is not a matter of one church is the true church (LDS), one church is the devil’s (Catholic) and the rest are in the gray. Nor is it a matter of the LDS church being the true church and the rest are of the church of the devil. The church of the devil or the whore is more of an idea than a real established church as we know it today. Stephen E. Robinson of BYU has written a wonderful article that addressed the issue of the great and abominable church. His article appears in the January 1988 Ensign, pages 34-39. I refer the reader to this article in order to gain a greater understanding of what Nephi is talking about.

I first read Robinson’s article about 10 years ago. Much of it was easy to understand, but in my mind I just didn’t quite see the world as being as wicked as was described in his article as well as in Nephi’s account. Now that I am 10 years wiser and have seen and heard and read a lot more about the World and it’s practices, I am surprised at my naivety. The World’s wickedness is so obvious that it is rather difficult to keep innocent eyes from becoming polluted.

“And it came to pass that I beheld that the wrath of God was poured out upon that great and abominable church, insomuch that there were wars and rumors of wars among all the nations and kindreds of the earth.
And as there began to be wars and rumors of wars among all the nations which belonged to the mother of abominations, the angel spake unto me, saying: Behold, the wrath of God is upon the mother of harlots; and behold, thou seest all these things—“

In these verses (15 & 16) we learn that the nations fight each other. I’ve often wondered what would cause these countless wars. Today, we are seeing more and more wars and rumors of wars. I’ve had a thought occur to me before and it occurred to me again tonight. I recall a line in the temple film after God declares to Satan, “I will put enmity between thee and the seed of the woman (and now I’m paraphrasing here) thou shalt have power to bruise his heal, but he shall have power to crush thy head.” Then Satan responds that he will take that enmity and create wars on the face of the earth. So many of the wars on the earth are caused by misunderstandings and miscommunications and by lack of respect for life and prosperity. The people of the Middle East hate our way of life. They think we are the great Satan. We think that they want to kill every Westerner and rule the world. Satan truly has taken our hate of him and has deceived us into directing that hate towards others.

Another tid-bit of information regarding this chapter is from a letter I received from my parents when we were serving missions for the Church. In 1 Nephi 14:11-14, Nephi talks about how the dominion of the church of the devil is great on all the Earth while the dominion of the saints of God is small. My parents wrote me a letter telling me how the branches are small in Prague and how the devil has a tremendous influence over the people. The same was true in Guatemala especially in Polochic where I was serving at the time. The branches were small and Satan’s influence was great. The saints of God will always be a minority on the Earth while Satan’s influence rages.


Lizzie said...

How were your parents serving in a mission? What did they do?

Don said...

They were Church Education System missionaries. They both taught seminary so many years, they ended up serving a CES mission in Prague.

Lizzie said...

That's cool.