“The Formation of a Church Which Is Most Abominable Above All Other Churches”

D. Kelly Ogden, Andrew C. Skinner

Regarding the formation of the great and abominable church described in these verses, we note Joseph Smith’s axiom: “In relation to the kingdom of God, the devil always sets up his kingdom at the very same time in opposition to God.” 31 Is it any wonder, then, that godless humanistic philosophies would surface in the same century as the restoration of the kingdom of God on earth?

Former dean of religion at Brigham Young University David H. Yarn Jr. wrote: “There has never been a single century like the nineteenth in the history of thought when so many ideas, concepts, and systems of thought have emerged which are destructive to faith and righteousness. In addition to the discipline of Biblical Criticism came the atheistic philosophies of Schopenhauer, Comte, Darwin, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud. Aside from any positive value that might be attributed to any or all of them, the collective force of their materialism, naturalism, humanism, and atheism has burst upon the twentieth century and its fruit—the hellish immoralities of our time—seem to be all but omnipresent in our contemporary world. As regards the testimony of Jesus Christ, perhaps Nietzsche might appropriately be chosen as the spokesman for that faith-destroying coterie. He impudently boasted, ‘I am the Antichrist’ (Nietzsche, Ecce Homo, “Why I Write Such Excellent Books,” paragraph 2).” 32

The great and abominable church is always set up to oppose the great and marvelous work the Lord establishes. The great and abominable church is plainly defined in Nephi’s writings:

The devil is the founder of it; it is otherwise called “the mother of harlots”; it has caused people to stumble because of plain and precious parts of the gospel which it kept back. “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” (1 Nephi 14:10). “All churches which are built up to get gain, and all those who are built up to get power over the flesh, and those who are built up to become popular in the eyes of the world, and those who seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world, and to do all manner of iniquity … [are] those who belong to the kingdom of the devil” (1 Nephi 22:23). “He that fighteth against Zion, both Jew and Gentile, both bond and free, both male and female, shall perish; for they are they who are the whore of all the earth” (2 Nephi 10:16).

Verse by Verse: The Book of Mormon: Vol. 1