Spiritual Wickedness In High Places

December 28, 2007

In my last post I reviewed some of what the prophets have taught about “churches” and the fact that ultimately there are only two: the church of Jesus Christ, and the church of the devil. Today, I would like to add what I consider to be a related scripture from the New Testament. I think it is especially pertinent today because of the primary campaigns being waged here in the USA by both the Republicans and the Democrats who are vying for the office of President of the United States.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)

This is the Apostle Paul, of course. But what was he writing about, and how is it relevant to our day? Is it relevant? On the official Church website, this verse is cross referenced in the Topical Guide to Darkness, Spiritual; Secret Combinations, Governments, and Wickedness among others. Does Paul imply by this that governments are or can be a threat to the gospel of Jesus Christ? Is the Church in danger from such threats around the world? How about here at home? What can we learn from Church History? I personally feel it likely that our national elections are very much influenced by the machinations of evil men combined to get power over the people. What to do about it is much less clear to me. But I am weary of our elected leaders obviously serving someone else rather than those who voted for them and put them in office.

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There Are Only Two Churches

December 26, 2007

In 1 Nephi 14:10 we read this passage in the Book of Mormon.  It is fascinating and rings true, but it is difficult for many to understand. It is difficult for me to understand.  I am pondering it this morning and wondering what it means.  Does it relate in any way to political campaigns in general?  Does it relate in any way to the campaign currently going on in the United States.

  10 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.

At the official Church website, in the Guide to the Scriptures it says this:

The church of the devil: Every evil and worldly organization on earth that perverts the pure and perfect gospel and fights against the Lamb of God.

In Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie which is maligned by many and loved by me, this is what he says:

Church of the Devil

See APOSTASY, BABYLON, DEVIL, KINGDOM OF THE DEVIL, SECOND COMING OF CHRIST, WORLD. The titles church of the devil and great and abominable church are used to identify all churches or organizations of whatever name or nature — whether political, philosophical, educational, economic social, fraternal, civic, or religious — which are designed to take men on a course that leads away from God and his laws and thus from salvation in the kingdom of God.

Salvation is in Christ, is revealed by him from age to age, and is available only to those who keep his commandments and obey his ordinances. These commandments are taught in, and these ordinances are administered by, his Church. There is no salvation outside this one true Church, the Church of Jesus Christ. There is one Christ, one Church, one gospel, one plan of salvation, one set of saving ordinances, one group of legal administrators, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” (Eph. 4:5.)

Any church or organization of any kind whatever which satisfies the innate religious longings of man and keeps him from coming to the saving truths of Christ and his gospel is therefore not of God.

Hence we find our Lord saying, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” (Matt. 12:30.) And hence we find Alma inviting the wicked to repent and join the true Church of Christ and become the sheep of the Good Shepherd. “And now if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd of what fold are ye?” he asks. “Behold, I say unto you, that the devil is your shepherd and ye are of his fold; and now, who can deny this? Behold, I say unto you, whosoever denieth this is a liar and a child of the devil.” (Alma 5:39; Jos. Smith 2:19.)

Iniquitous conditions in the various branches of the great and abominable church in the last days are powerfully described in the Book of Mormon. (2 Ne. 28; Morm. 8:28, 32-33, 36-38; D. & C. 10:56.) Nephi saw the “church which is most abominable above all other churches” in vision. He “saw the devil that he was the foundation of it”; and also the murders, wealth, harlotry, persecutions, and evil desires that are part of this organization. (1 Ne. 13:1-10.)

He saw that this church took away from the gospel of the Lamb many covenants and many plain and precious parts; that it perverted the right ways of the Lord; that it deleted many teachings from the Bible; that it was “the mother of harlots”; and finally that the Lord would again restore the gospel of salvation. (1 Ne. 13:24-42.)

Similar visions were given to John as recorded in the 17th and 18th chapter’s of Revelation. He saw this evil church as a whole ruling over peoples, multitudes, nations and tongues; as being full of blasphemy abominations, filthiness, and fornication; as having the name, “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH”; as drunken with the blood of the saints; as revelling in wealth and the delicacies of the earth; as making merchandise of all costly items and of “slaves, and souls of men.” And then John, as did Nephi, saw the fall and utter destruction of this great church whose foundation is the devil.

In this world of carnality and sensuousness, the great and abominable church will continue its destructive course. But there will be an eventual future day when evil shall end, “and the great and abominable church, which is the whore of all the earth, shall be cast down by devouring fire.” (D. & C. 29:21; Ezek. 38; 39; 1 Ne. 22:23; Rev. 18.) Before that day, however, desolations will sweep through the earth and the various branches of the great and abominable church “shall war among themselves, and the sword of their own hands shall fall upon their own heads, and they shall be drunken with their own blood.” (1 Ne. 22:13-14; 14:3.)

The resurrected Christ gave to the Nephites this test whereby they might distinguish the true Church from any other: 1. It would be called in his name, for “how be it my church save it be called in my name?” he said. 2. It would be built upon his gospel, that is, the eternal plan of salvation with all its saving powers and graces would be had in it. 3. The Father would show forth his works in it, meaning that miracles, righteousness, and every good fruit would abound in it. 4. It would not be hewn down and cast into the fire as must surely come to pass with the great and abominable church. “If it be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence there is no return.” (3 Ne. 27:4-12.)

I testify that these are true teachings. We are living in the last days. Many of the organizations that influence our lives are from evil. They are part of this great, evil church. We need to be aware of this as we work to promote the various political parties that are vying for power here in the United States during this campaign. Which of these organizations is going to take this nation toward the light? Which of them is going to drag us down? Or are they both going to drag us down? And if so, what should we do about it? The voters of the USA are not without power, are they? To what church do we belong?

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