“The Churches”

Brant Gardner

Having prophesied that the Book of Mormon will have power to bring the apostate Jews and Gentiles to their Messiah, Nephi now describes religious conditions at the time of the Book of Mormon’s coming forth. From our historical perspective, verses 3–5 seem most indicative of the Gentiles, but this passage may actually be describing the Jews. Nephi used “churches” more broadly than modern definitions, so his “churches” very easily encompass divisions among the Jews as well as among the Gentiles. Nephi is describing a state of general apostasy in which human understandings, however well-intentioned, substitute for Yahweh’s dictates.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 2