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Question

 

Gramps,

What is to be considered the “great and abominable” church on the earth today? I have heard many references to this, and question whether it means a specific religion or not. Thank you.

Mary

 

Answer

 

Dear Mary,

We hear of the great and abominable church from First and Second Nephi in the Book of Mormon. I believe that we can get a rather clear idea of what is referred to by examining the scripture found in 1 Nephi 14:10-14.

First, in verse 10, we read,

And he said unto me: 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.

Here we learn that the Lord is dividing all humanity into two groups-one group belongs to the church of the Lamb of God, and all the rest of humanity belong to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. As the mother of abominations, we understand that reference is here being made to the great and abominable church. Since there are not just two, but many organized churches on the earth, it is obvious that reference is not being made to a particular man-made religious organization.

The question to ask is what is the church of the Lamb of God? Reading further in Chapter 14 we learn that the numbers of the church of the Lamb were few (verse 12). We also read in verse 12 that the church of the Lamb are the saints of God. Now we ask the question, exactly who are the saints of God? Since the official name of the MormonĀ  Church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we might assume that the church of the Lamb is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, reading further, in verse 14 the Lord gives us a specific definition of the saints of God.

And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord.

The word and in this sentence, connecting the church of the Lamb with the covenant people of the Lord, is not used in the sense of and also, but in the sense of and in other words, making that phrase a parallelism, an extremely common literary from in the Book of Mormon and in the Bible. So we see here that the church of the Lamb, or in other words the saints of God, are the covenant people of the Lord.

Now we ask, who are the covenant people of the Lord? They are those who make and keep sacred covenants with the Lord to obey His word and keep His commandments. The first official covenant that is made with the Lord is made through the ordinance of baptism. As a matter of fact, the rite of baptism is the sign that demonstrates the making of that covenant. The baptismal covenant may be considered to have three parts- those who are baptized by the proper priesthood authority promise to take upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ, to obey His commandments, and to remain true an faithful all the days of their lives. If one keeps that covenant by being faithful to the promises made therein he is assured by the Lord that he will be saved in the celestial kingdom of God. The other vital covenants that are made and kept by the saints of God, are made only in the Lord’s holy house, and the fulfilling of those covenants assures the participant of exaltation in the celestial kingdom.

Now we must recognize that not all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints obey and keep the covenants they have made, and therefore could not be considered members of the church of the Lamb. Thus, the church of the Lamb of God must exist as a sub-set of the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All others are defined in the scripture as being members of the great and abominable church. In other words, they are, to one degree or another, subject to the influence of the adversary.

If The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints per se would not be considered to be the Church of the Lamb, it is, nevertheless, the guardian of the covenants that are required of those who become members of the Church of the Lamb. No one can be a member of the Church of the Lamb of God without being a true and faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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