4: "Armed with Righteousness and with the Power of God" (Jan. 20–Jan. 26)
What do you immediately picture when you hear the phrase “the great and abominable church”? Hint, it’s not just one religion. In fact, there’s a lot that has been said on this topic, and it’s easy to become confused when it comes to answering these three basic questions: Who is the great and abominable church? Who founded it? And does its future look like? In this week’s Sunday on Monday study group, we’re going to tackle all of these questions and more as we study 1 Nephi 11–15.
Quote: Gerald N. Lund: “Take time to ponder and reflect. Get away from the bustle of life. Find a quiet place and take time to simply sit and think, to listen to your thoughts and feelings, to open yourself to the promptings of the Spirit. Note what the following prophets said they were doing prior to receiving important revelations. Nephi: ‘I sat pondering in my heart’ (1 Nephi 11:1). Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon: ‘While we meditated upon these things’ (D&C 76:19). Joseph F. Smith: ‘I sat in my room pondering over the scriptures; and reflecting’ (D&C 138:1–2). Joseph Smith: ‘My mind was called up to serious reflection. . . . I reflected . . . . again and again [upon the words of James]’ (JS—H 1:8, 12).
“Sometimes we must deliberately put aside the cares of the world, put aside the rush of our daily lives, and find a quiet place and a quiet time where we can sit and ponder and reflect and meditate—and listen for that still small voice that whispers” (Gerald N. Lund, “The Voice of the Lord” [Brigham Young University devotional, Dec. 2, 1997], 9–10, speeches.byu.edu).
Tammy: As a result of Nephi’s actions of desire, belief, and pondering, we now benefit from “Nephi’s vision.”
I taught the symbolism behind many of the items in Lehi’s vision in the last week's study group so we won’t go over that again. Instead, we are going to focus on what Nephi saw in addition to his father's vision.
- Nazareth would be the city of Christ's conception.
- The Savior's mother would be "a virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins."
- The virgin mother of the Son of God would be "carried away in the Spirit," conceiving and giving birth "after the manner of the flesh ."
- The child born to the virgin would be "the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!"
- The mother of this child would still be a virgin after the child was born .
- The birth, life, death, atonement, and resurrection of Christ (identified in Nephi's vision of the Tree of Life) were interrelated elements of the love of God shed "abroad in the hearts of the children of men," which was "the most desirable above all things[,] . . . the most joyous to the soul[,] . . . the greatest of all the gifts of God."
- Jesus would be baptized by John the Baptist, and the Holy Ghost would descend from the heavens in the form of a dove .
- Christ would minister "in power and great glory" among the children of men, many of whom would "fall down at his feet and worship him" even as a larger number would "cast him out from among them."
- Christ would choose "twelve others" to assist him, who would be called "apostles."
- Multitudes would gather. Christ would heal the sick and those "afflicted with all manner of diseases, and with devils and unclean spirits."
- The Lamb of God would be "taken by the people" and "judged of the world," culminating in his being "lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world."
- At the time of Christ's crucifixion, there would be (in the New World) lightning, thunder, earthquakes, a mist of darkness, and "all manner of tumultuous noises," with mountains falling, plains broken up, and cities burning and sinking into the sea."
- After the crucifixion, the Lamb of God would descend "out of heaven" and appear to people in "the land of promise."
- He would choose "twelve disciples" to minister to the seed of Lehi in the New World as subordinates to the twelve apostles in the Old World."
- The Nephite twelve would receive the Holy Ghost, be ordained, and have their garments "made white in his blood" because of their "faith in the Lamb of God."
- The Savior would promise to bring forth to the Gentiles in the latter days "much of [the] gospel" taught in the New World, which gospel would be "plain and precious."
- The Bible would, at its inception, contain "the fullness of the gospel" and be known as "the Book of the Lamb of God." Later its doctrinal integrity would be violated and many of its "plain and precious" doctrines lost.
- Christ's appearance and teachings in the New World would be recorded, hidden, and brought forth in the Book of Mormon, compensating (along with other latter-day revelations) for the loss of biblical truths.
- "Other books" would come forth by the power of the Lamb of God.
- These other latter-day records (the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price) would, with the Book of Mormon, establish the truth of the first (the Bible), all of which would "make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved."
- Those who would be saved must come "according to the words" of Christ, words that would be made known in the Book of Mormon and the Bible, both of which would be "established in one; for there is one God and one Shepherd over all the earth."
- In his first advent in the meridian of time, Christ and his message would be declared unto all nations, first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles. In his second coming in the last days, he would reverse that order, his appearance and message first going to the Gentiles and then to the Jews; thus "the last shall be first, and the first shall be last."
- To the Gentiles in the last days, Christ would "manifest himself unto them in word, . . . in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks."
- If the Gentiles would repent and harden not their hearts against the Lamb of God and the covenants he has made with his children, they would be "numbered among [adopted into] the house of Israel; and . . . be a blessed people upon the promised land forever . . . and . . . no more be confounded." Work by Christ among the Gentiles would be "a great and a marvelous work among the children of men," a work that would be "everlasting," leading to peace and eternal life on the one hand or to temporal and spiritual destruction on the other.
- In the last days there would be "save two churches only," the church of the Lamb of God and the church of the devil. Eventually, those who did not belong to Christ's church would, by choice or default, be claimed by the other.
- Although their numbers would be few and their dominions small, the members of the church of the Lamb of God, called "saints," would be found upon all the face of the earth.
- The "mother of abominations" would gather multitudes upon the face of the earth—all the nations of the Gentiles—"to fight against the Lamb of God."
- In response, the power of Christ would descend upon the members of his church, "the covenant people of the Lord," and they would be "armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory."
- Under the leadership of Christ, "the work of the Father" would commence "in preparing the way for the fulfilling of his covenants, which he hath made to his people who are of the house of Israel."
- That he would Condescend
Condescension: A voluntary descent from a position of rank or dignity. The condescension of God refers to Christ—he was a member of the Godhead (Elder Jeffrey R Holland, Christ and the New Covenant, Deseret Book, 1997, pp.38-41).
Question: Who is "the great and abominable church?
Answer: The great and abominable church isn't one church. It is any church or organization that leads away from God and His laws. It is anyone who “loves darkness more than light . . . including our own members (Stephen Robinson, Warring against the Saints of God, 34-39)
Question: Who is the founder of the great and abominable church?
Answer: According to 1 Nephi 13:6, the devil is the founder. In the November 1987 Ensign article "The Great Imitator," Elder James E. Faust said, “Satan is the great imitator, the master deceiver, the arch counterfeiter, and the great forger of all that is good and holy.”
The great and abominable church might just be his greatest work. Let’s look carefully at its symbols and meanings.
Whore: She is a woman. In scripture, the woman, (the bride, the unfaithful wife and the whore/harlot) is often a symbol for Christ’s church, his covenant people (i.e. Matthew 25:1-13, Hosea 3, Isaiah 23, Revelation 12:1-7, 17).
Michael Wilcox said: "Christ as the bridegroom and the Church as his bride are dominant symbols throughout Old and New Testaments as well as modern scripture” (Michael Wilcox, Who Shall be Able to Stand? Deseret Book, Salt Lake City UT.)
Harold B. Lee: ". . . the church must think of itself as a bride adorned for her husband. . . . adorned as a bride for the Lamb of God as her husband” (Harold B. Lee, “Strengthen the Stakes of Zion” Ensign, July 1973).
Marvin J. Ashton: “It can be properly and appropriately concluded that the ten virgins represent the people of the Church of Jesus Christ” (Marvin J. Ashton, “A Time of Urgency.” Ensign, May 1974, Spencer W. Kimball, Teachings of Spencer W Kimball, 183).
Whore/Harlots: As is the mother, so is her daughter (Ezek. 16:44). A whore or harlot has no covenant ties to one man, no one loyalty but many (called a whore in 14) or only loyalty herself.
She and her daughters are adorned in beauty and things of value. All hold symbolic meaning:
1. Gold: Gold also symbolizes the celestial, divine, or godly nature of a thing. Commentators make this connection partly because gold is pure, incorruptible, precious, and glorious.
Joseph Fielding McConkie wrote, "Gold is the color of the sun; it represents divine power, the splendor of enlightenment; radiance, and glory. Because of its great value, and its radiance, gold is known to us as the possession of kings and great kingdoms. It is a symbol common to scriptural descriptions of God and the heavenly kingdom."
Additionally, in antiquity, gold occasionally functioned as a symbol for wisdom—an appropriate symbol for heavenly things and beings.
2. Silver: Silver symbolized redemption and that the tabernacle, which stood on sockets of silver, was to be understood as the place of redemption. Along the same line, other scholars have noted that "silver, like gold, is of great value and hence is associated with Christ. Traditionally, it is associated with the idea of a Reconciler, Savior, and Redeemer."
In relation to the Mosaic tabernacle's use of silver (see Exodus 36:24), one theologian wrote: "In the sandy desert [of the Exodus], as well as in this wicked world, the sinner needs a sure foundation, a safe resting place. These sockets perhaps weighed one hundred pounds each. The board therefore rested on a solid foundation in the sand. . . . We do not read of silver being in heaven. No one in heaven needs to be redeemed."
It appears, then, that silver, as it pertains to the temple, signifies the source of redemption via saving ordinances performed under proper priesthood authority. Another source associates silver with the receipt of revelation and spiritual insight, which is another purpose of the temple. Indeed, the temple serves well as that "safe resting place" from this fallen and chaotic world, pointing our minds and our hearts to that "Sure Foundation," which is Christ (see 1 Corinthians 3:11; Jacob 4:16–17).
3. Scarlets: Most often in scripture, the colors red and scarlet represent sin or the blood of Christ that was shed because of sin. Red is occasionally associated with both life and death, resurrection and evil.
4. Fine twined linen: Linen is a garment of the righteousness of the saints. What the bride wears while she waits for the bridegroom, Christ (Rev. 19:7-9).
5. Flax is the crop from which linen is made, and was rarely worn as an everyday fabric. Flax or linen as a cloth was particularly associated with the holy tabernacle, temple accessories, and the sacred clothing of the priesthood. In the New Testament, linen is associated with heavenly beings and God. When the Savior returns, His people are described in the Book of Revelations wearing linen. They are pictured as a female—the bride, another example of a virtuous woman: “And to her [the covenant bride] was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (italics added, Rev. 19:8). To the covenant Israelite, linen represented righteousness; it was an emblem of spiritual life, holiness and redemption.
6. Silks: In biblical Hebrew, silk is translated to shesh, which is actually fine linen bleached and dyed white. It was this clothing that was used in the tabernacle and for the clothing of the temple priests. It is also a symbol of purity and silk (linen) is the symbol of the purifying and cleansing power over sin righteousness. Silk suggests that her garments have been made white in the blood of the Lamb because of her faith in Him (1 Nephi 12:11).
All the items are imitations of Christ and his atoning sacrifice.
Question: Who is apart of the house of Israel?
Answer: Every member who has been baptized into the Church.
The house of Israel will receive the Abrahamic covenant, which includes land, deliverance, seed (L. D. S.).
Quote: A proclamation issued by the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on April 6, 1845: “As this work progresses in its onward course, and becomes more and more an object of political and religious interest and excitement, no king, ruler, or subject, no community or individual, will stand neutral. All will at length be influenced by one spirit or the other; and will take sides either for or against the kingdom of God” (James R. Clark, Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , 1:257).
Question: How many times is "plain and precious" mentioned in 1 Nephi 13?
Answer: "Plain and precious" is mentioned nine times in 1 Nephi 13. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, p 327). Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible restored many of the plain and precious things that were lost.
Question: What is the purpose of the Book of Mormon?
Answer: The purpose of the Book of Mormon is to make known many of the lost plain and precious truths (1 Nephi 13:40).
Examples of lost plain and precious truths:
- Premortal life
- The need for baptism by immersion
- Eternal marriage
- Sealing of children to their parents
- The spirit world
- Baptisms for the dead
- The three kingdoms of glory
- Moses 1: 12-23
Elder Gary Stevenson's October 2015 conference address as a newly sustained apostle was short but very profound when it comes to the topic of plain and precious truths:
“As I agonized over my inadequacies this week, I received a distinct impression which both chastened and comforted me: to focus not on what I can’t do but rather on what I can do. I can testify of the plain and precious truths of the gospel.
"These are the words that I have shared hundreds of times with both those who belong to the Church and many who are not members: 'God is our [loving] Heavenly Father. We are His children. . . . He weeps with us when we suffer and rejoices when we do what is right. He wants to communicate with us, and we can communicate with Him through sincere prayer. . . .
'Heavenly Father has provided us, His children, with a way to . . . return to live in His presence. . . . Central to our [Heavenly] Father’s plan is Jesus Christ’s Atonement.5'
"Heavenly Father sent His Son to the earth to atone for the sins of all mankind. Of these plain and precious truths I bear my testimony, and I do so in the name of Jesus Christ, amen” (Elder Gary Stevenson, "Plain and Precious Truths," October 2015 general conference).
What do you immediately think of when you hear, "The Great and Abominable Church?" There's a lot of things to discuss on this topic and we want to understand a couple things, who it is, where it came from, why it exists and what its future looks like. We're going to do that today. Welcome to the Sunday on Monday Study Group, a Desert Bookshelf plus original brought to you by LDS Living, where we take the Come Follow Me Lesson for the week and really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall. But before we get too far into the discussion, if you're new to this podcast study group, I have to tell you something that's pretty cool and how you can use it. With most podcasts, you can just sit and listen to it all the way through, which you can do with this one, but here's what's cool, this one is also broken up into six different segments that are around 10 to 12 minutes for each segment. And so you can basically study your scriptures for 10 minutes a day and call it good, which I think is so cool. Then go and mark your scriptures, mark things in your journal, whatever you want, and come back the next day and listen to the next segment. Another thing that's fun about this podcast is I get to have my friends join me and we get to talk about the scriptures. That's my favorite thing to do, which sometimes bores my friends, but I really like it. And each week we're going to have different friends with different perspectives, which makes the discussion so much fun. Today, my friends are Rebecca Dowdell and Haley Lundberg.
It's good to be here.
Well, it's good to have you here. It's always good to have friends in the room with me because then we get to discuss and have fun and kind of joke like we normally do. So I told my friends, I'm like, "Just pretend we're sitting at the kitchen table eating Chick-fil-A talking about the scriptures." Because that happens often, doesn't it Becky?
It does. Yeah.
So just pretend were at your kitchen and your little one's running around and your dog who you love more than anything is by your side. Love your dog so much. Okay, Haley, do you have any pets?
I do have a cat.
Oh I'm so sorry.
I love him, and that's okay. You don't have to love cats.
I married a widower with two kids and two cats and I don't know which was the bigger deal breaker.
Did you get rid of the cats?
No the kids, no I'm just kidding. No we kept all four of them. The cats did pass away though. May they rest in peace.
What's the name of your cat?
Rufio, and he super lives up to his name. He is like a wild tiger of a cat. But we love him.
You always love cats?
I will say cat's the best animal to have because they clean themselves, you don't have to walk them, they just take care of when they need to eat, which I didn't know and I thought they were hungry every time they finish their bowl. So I was feeding our cat about seven times a day and he got a weight problem. And we took it in and they're like, "Your cat's overly obese." And I'm like, "I don't know why." Anyway. Okay, so these are my friends, Becky and Haley. We're so glad to have you guys here. So to give you guys a little bit of background, last week we talked about dreams and visions. And this week we're going to explore Nephi's vision in first Nephi chapters 11 through 15. So grab your scriptures and let's dig in. Okay, listen, I'm kind of trying to make that my catchphrase, you guys like that?
Yeah. I think it's perfect.
Was it catchy Haley?
Oh, that delay. I'm gonna have to come up with something differen. Let's screen the scriptures. I don't know. I'm gonna come up with something. I'm a seminary teacher. Okay, so let's go into first Nephi chapter 11 and immediately I want you guys to think about receiving answers to your prayers. How do you guys go about receiving answers to your prayers? What does that look like in your daily life? Is there something you do or do you just pray? Maybe you don't pray, like what are we talking about?
That's a really good question.
When you have a question you want asked, what do you do Becky?
Well, so even just today I was pondering about a personal medical question, "Should I do this or should I not?" And the pros and the cons, and I was super confused and stressed and immediately had the thought, "You know, you can Pray about this." But I didn't.
I don't know why I didn't. I think in the back of my mind, I think, "Well, maybe it doesn't matter either way." But I do know if it's important to me, it's important to him. So I do believe that but maybe I actually don't believe that because I didn't, I don't know.
Interesting. I'm gonna come back to your answer. What about you, Haley?
I've got my patriarchal blessing on my phone and I was trying to find the exact phrase but one thing that I've tried to do better and I'm not perfect at it yet, but it says in my patriarchal blessing that you will be like a led to find answers. It's not that you will be given answers, but that you will be led to the right sources, whether that's through like studying the scriptures, or like listening to the advice of friends or family, like, for me personally, like it's not a voice. It's not a feeling. It's through some other source that I get my answers which, again, I'm not perfect at it, but even just being aware of that has been super helpful for me.
Those are both really good answers. Because I think our example of Nephi he was definitely led. And in first Nephi chapter 11, what's so cool is that he uses a word that you just said, Becky, and we're going to look at that. Let's just read first Nephi chapter 11, and it's just verse one, there are three things, three components to receiving answers to prayers, and beck, will you read verse one for us?
And as you read this and following along, see if you can pick out what three things we have to do or what Nephi is trying to teach us when it comes to receiving answers. So go ahead.
Sure, "For it came to pass, after I had desired to know the things that my father had seen, and believing that the Lord was able to make them known to me. As I sat pondering in my heart, I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceedingly high mountain, which I never had before seen, and upon which I never had before set my foot."
What word stood out to you?
The first word I noticed was "pondering."
Mmhmm, I think that's an important one.
"Caught away, caught away in the spirit."
Start in the very first beginning.
Yeah, he desired to know, didn't he? He's like, "First of all, I have a desire." And Becky you started out with that, "I desired to know this answer to my problem." And then you said, "I've been pondering on this." And the idea there then believing. Like I felt like your answer kind of encapsulated all three words cause you're like, "I believe he cares. But does he really?" Like that was so good because Nephi is saying, "I desired, I believed, and then I pondered," and so many great examples in scripture have come because of those three words. And when we talk about what Nephi is about to experience, I want you to think about what that looks like for you in your everyday life. Like do we take the time to desire, then believe and then ponder? I feel like sometimes for me, I'm missing one of those, like, maybe I, do I desire? Or the pondering. I think, I don't know. Of all the three, which one's the hardest?
Desire, ponder, or believe?
Sometimes pondering is hard.
I was gonna say ponder is probably the hardest. Yeah.
Cause our time. Right? We're bogged down and we're, everything's fuzzy and filled and noisy.
I don't have time to ponder.
Yeah, no, I gotta play two dots on my phone, while watching 90 day fiance. Two things, they overlap
Exactly. Like, can I ponder while I'm playing a game? I'll just sit and think about it. The idea of pondering. This is an interesting thing because the word pondering down below if you look at your footnote for chapter 11, verse one.
Why'd you say, "oh?"
I think in my, somewhere in my brain, I probably could have connected those two but it's not, that's not an obvious connection. Because I think about meditation and I think about it in today's sense, like pondering just seems like such an old biblical word, like what does that mean? What even is, what does pondering look like? It sounds like being quiet and sitting and but meditation is like, there's some brain work involved in meditation. It's not just sitting.
Do you meditate?
A little bit. I should do it more because I love it when I do it.
What does it look like for you? How do you meditate?
A lot of it has to do with my breathing, like just focusing on my breathing and focusing on my emotions like how am I feeling in this moment? Or are my shoulders crazy tense or listening to my body and what my emotions are doing to my body? Letting my mind wander a little bit. And I think that's where you're going to get some answers probably when your mind wanders a little bit because the Spirit can be involved in that, question mark?
Well section 138 is proof of that. And and we, you look at that, and he says, while I was meditating over this first, just one little verse, I got the whole section 138. For me, I think my meditating and pondering happens in the shower. Because this one I don't have kids because they go to school and I can just be alone. Are you the same way?
No, I don't shower much these days.
Yeah. When do you ponder? Do you meditate, do you ponder?
You know, sometimes I try to, at red lights just take a deep breath because I realized I took a meditation course and the instructor said red lights is a great time to do that just to take a deep breath, and I realized how shallow I breathe. It's always very shallow. It's not deep.
And rushed, like yeah. In context of this verse in first Nephi chapter 11 verse one, put, first Nephi chapter one, verse 15. We're not going to go there right now. But it's worthy noting that after all divisions are seen, Laman and Lemual are complaining. And Nephi says to them, "Will have you even desired? Have you tried to ask God if any of these things our Dad has said is true?" And Laman and Lemual are like, "No, because God hasn't made anything known to us. He hasn't made any of these things known." And Nephi is like, "You just have to ask. It's like that simple." They didn't even have any desire to believe, to ponder, anything, which is so important as we start to study Nephi's vision. So let's go there.
So let's go into Nephi's vision then. And so in first Nephi, Chapter 11 verse six, Nephi says, and when I had spoken these words, the spirit cried with a loud voice saying, "Hosanna," highlight that word, "Hosanna," in your scriptures, because the translation of the word Hosanna is, "Save, oh God, save we pray." Anytime you say that word, "Hosanna," or hear it, that's what you're saying, "Save, oh God, save we pray." And you want him to save you. And so we get introduced to this, Hosanna, who's going to save his people. And then right away, the spirit in verse eight says, "Look!" with an exclamation point. Anytime I see that in scriptures I'm like, "Oh okay, this might be important. Go ahead and look." So in the book called "Christ in the New Covenant," it's written by Elder Holland. He points out there 30 teachings in Nephi's vision.
Right? 30 things and we don't have time to go over all of them, but we can put them in our show notes. But one that's worthy of noting, you're going to find this in first Nephi chapter 11, verse 16, it's really short, and it says, "Knowest thou the condescension of God." What do you guys know about that word? When you hear that word, "Condescension of God?"
That's a lot.
I always assumed it meant coming to earth like, Noah saw the condescension of God, what do you know about the Savior coming to the world?
Yeah, this is kind of cool. So this is the definition that we found in this book. It says, "It's a voluntary descent from a position of rank or dignity." So nobody forced him to come down. The condescension of God refers to Christ because he was a member of the Godhead, and knowing that he did that, just thinking voluntarily coming down to this earth. I want you to think about what you know about Jesus Christ and when you think about him, and then you apply the word, "Condescend," does that have any effect on it?
I was just gonna say it kind of brings up the verse that like , "Art thou greater than he," like he suffered everything, "Art thou greater than he," and the idea that he descended below all condescension, thinking about descending below all things, suffering all things, coming to this Earth was so below his divine potential. I mean, it needed to happen, but like, it's so below who he is and what he means to us, and everything that he did here and everything that he suffered.
This is a loaded question, Becky, I want you to tell me what you believe about Jesus.
Well, it's hard for my mind to comprehend the atonement, but at the same time, it's personal to me. Him being willing to come for me personally.
For Becky Dowdell.
Do you believe he came just for you?
Not just for me, but me included in everyone else. You know? I don't think just for me, I mean, I've never thought of it that way, just for me, but I do think for all of us.
How have you felt him in your life?
You know, different times in my life, I felt it differently. I don't I don't know. I mean, going through teenage years, I felt that differently than I do now. As a mother, daily, needing him, leaning in towards him, relying on him, and trying to be like him as I raise my children and can't stand most seconds of it. And with forgiveness, I mean, needing forgiveness, all of it. I mean, thrilled to me but hard to vocalize I guess.
Thank you for sharing that. From my experience and being your friend, I know that you have one of the strongest testimonies of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in action, which is powerful. But like you said, it's hard to verbalize.
Yeah. Haley, what are your thoughts?
Something that you said, Tammy, just kind of got me thinking. You know, you were asking Rebecca, "Do you believe that he came for you?" And she said, "Yes." And you said, "Well, do you believe that he would have come just for you?" You know, in my mind, I can say, "Well, yeah, sure, he would have come just for me," but like that's a big deal. Verse 17 is my favorite verse, and has gotten me through a lot of hard things. It just says, "And I said unto him, I know that he loveth his children. Nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things." And just the idea that there's gonna be a lot in this life that we don't get and doesn't make sense. But if we can just hold on to even if it's like a pinky finger, just hold on to the fact that he loves us. He loved us so much that he would come and atone just for me, or just for one person is a huge, huge deal.
It's a beautiful verse to follow up that question. Just like you've said, I don't know how to answer that. Good thing we have tissues, huh? We are crying. Because I think like Becky said, I don't know how to explain it. And I don't think Nephi did either, and it's like, but I just know that God loves all of us. Thank you, both of you for sharing, that was really beautiful. Everything you said and the spirit is so it's just powerful. Anytime you talk about truth about Jesus Christ, how can it not be, right? So Christ is our Redeemer and he is our Savior. Through Him we are given salvation. Now we know from scripture that Satan has been vying for this power and recognition. And his solid effort of this is seen in the vision of the great and abominable church, and we're going to talk about this, we introduced it earlier, "Who is this church? What's the purpose? Where's it going? So we're going to study a little bit about that in our next section.
I remember as a kid hearing, "Great and Abominable church," and in my mind I'm like, "It's the Catholics." Like I didn't even know anything at all. I thought the whole world was Mormon than just FYI. When I was at my parents are trying to decide if they were gonna vote for Jimmy Carter or Ronald Reagan. And I said to my mom, "Duh, vote for the Mormon one." And she was like, "Neither are Mormon," and I thought, "You can't run for president and not be Mormon." Cause I grew up in Utah and everyone... That's a true story. Everyone was Mormon, or Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Back then it was Mormon. It's fine.
Yeah. So in my mind, I only knew two churches, Mormon and Catholics. So I just assumed, clearly the Catholics.
I remember that being taught at some point.
I do too.
Because I'm like, why is that even in my head? Which is ridiculous.
So ridiculous. So let's figure out who it is. You guys excited for this?
Okay. Okay. So let's get into this. It's in first Nephi, chapters 13. So here's what I want you guys to do. When you hear the term, "Great and Abominable Church," what do you think of?
The Abominable Snowman? I mean, I don't know, I think of people who are going against God. I don't think of a specific church. I don't think, I think of people who are just going against him.
Did you read my lesson?
Becky. Because that's exactly what it is.
Yes, very good. So let's go to first Nephi and we're going to start in chapter 13. And well verse four talks about, "And I saw among the nations of the Gentiles a formation of a great church." So that's the way we're first introduced to it. Verse five says, "The angel said unto me, Behold the formation of a church, which is most abominable, of all other churches." Now, here's what the church does, " It slayeth the Saints of God, and tortureth them, and bindeth them down, and yoke at them with the yoke of iron, and bringeth them down into captivity." We need to understand this, that it's not any one church or any one organization. So Stephen Robinson in a book that he wrote called "Warring Against the Saints of God," he says, "That the Great and Abominable Church, it's not just one church or one organization, it's any church or any organization that leads away from God and His laws." And I like this, "Anyone who loves darkness more than light, including our own members," so we know who the great and abominable church is, and now we need to find out where this church came from. The founder of the Great and Abominable Church is the devil. His goal is to lead people away and Elder Faust gave a talk in general conference called the "Great Imitator," and in that he says that, "Satan is the great imitator, the master deceiver, the arch counterfeiter, the great forger of all that is good and holy." And so he is going to create this Great and Abominable Church that looks like the Savior's church. And in the book of Revelation, this church is called, "a whore," and the, "whorehouse harlots."
I don't like that kind of talk, Tammy.
I know, I know you don't. But it's fascinating that Satan has it looking like well in the scriptures have it looking like a whore, a woman, because a woman is also a symbol of Christ's people. In the book of Revelation it says, "I saw church," and then the proverb of a virtuous woman that is Christ people. So here we have Satan going, "Alright, I'm going to make it look the same."
I was just gonna say what? When you say Satan is creating this church that looks like the Church of Christ? What does that mean? Does it like physically look like the Church of God? Or like, are they organized in you know, the same way, in like wards and stakes and like, what does that mean?
Okay, such a good question. Because, first of all, and I like how Becky said, I don't like that kind of talk. Because when you hear the word, "whore," and "harlots," what do you think of?
Yeah, prostitute. Not super uh classy situations.
I like that. Not really classy. It's interesting because the reasoning for using this imagery is she has no covenant ties to one man. Yeah, it's to anyone. So we're going to see some opposition here. We're going to see who we are as believers and who the false church, the Great Abominable Church is. So the Great and Abominable Church is called a whore or a harlot. There's no covenant ties to any one man. Right? Does that make sense?
What's irritating about that word is that it's just to women. What's the word for a man that that sleeps around?
Sonjolly? Um I don't know.
But Casanova is a good word. Yeah, like, Oh, he's so handsome.
Absolutely. And this is where we get into the archetype of women in Scripture. She's the prostitute, the whore, the virgin, the good woman, and so when you are able to acknowledge that and then when you go, "Oh, she's good," in Christ sense, it's Christ people Christ's Church, then it makes sense that Satan would be like, then let me choose a whore the complete opposite of goodness."
I understand the...
The historicity of why it's a women.
A little bit, yeah. It doesn't bother me as much because if the ideal, if Christ Church is a woman, that's pretty flattering to me. I mean, I love that that is a woman in that sense and the symbolism, and it makes sense to me that the opposite symbol would be, you know, a whore or a harlot or.
Well, because, like you said, Becky, there wasn't an equivalent for men back then. Like, take the woman who got caught in adultery. Where was the guy? Like, we're just gonna take her? Yeah, so you can see why in history, why we're using women as an example, even though it doesn't fit in with our own culture today and the way we talk about this, so if it's unnerving to you, knowing the historicity behind it goes, "Oh, okay." That's why we're comparing it to women. And we're picking such outlandish diverse horror versus wholesome or virgin even. Right? So in first Nephi, Chapter 13, I want you to look at verse seven and eight and start scanning your eyes and just tell me the words that he sees her dressed in. And this is where the symbolism gets so rich in its description when you understand the symbols and you go, "Oh, this makes sense." Go.
Yeah, linen, scarlet, twine, linen, precious clothing. I feel like jewels should be in here somewhere, but I don't see it.
And in the book of Revelation, it's going to say jewels and pearls, which is also symbolic. And so you look at that you go, "Oh, she's super fancy and rich," but each word has a specific symbol. For instance, gold if you want to mark these in your scriptures, gold symbolizes the celestial or the divine. In fact, I like that the idea of gold is appropriate for heavenly things and beings. So here's this whore dressed in gold. Now the next thing: silver, silver is a symbol of redemption. And the tabernacle when they were in the wilderness for 40 years, they would set posts and heavy silver to give the tabernacle stability. Isn't that interesting? And then there's silver associated with this whore. Scarlets, anytime you read the color Scarlet or red in scripture, it is a symbol of the atonement, the sacrifice that was made by the Savior. Fine twine linen. This is interesting. Linen was only used in the tabernacle, and it was only used for clothing worn by the priests who would go in and perform temple rights. You didn't wear linen on an everyday occurrence. And so the linen is represented symbolic of holy clothing, priesthood clothing, isn't that kind of cool? Holiness and redemption? The word silk, that's an interesting word because in Hebrew, when you look at the word silk, it's actually sheshe, and it means fine linen. So those words can be used interchangeably, but it means the silks would be dyed white, to be completely pure, free of any blemish or any stain. Can you see all of the, like, wait a minute, that's Jesus, that's Christ. And so then I think what I like is if you go into the book of Revelation, and it will say that she also has jewels and pearls specifically, and you look at the word Pearl, and you think, wait, now that that's interesting, because well, in the book of Revelation, it talks about the streets will be paved with gold, and there will be pearls everywhere. And then you think of the word Pearl of Great Price. And we've often associated that with scripture, but it's also us. We are his Pearl of Great Price, that the fisherman when he found would give up everything and that's what Christ did for you. Yeah, you're his Pearl of Great Price.
Does it also tie into like casting your pearls before swine?
Is that part of? okay.
The symbol is that idea of the pearl. Now, why is she dressed in all of that if she's the Great and Abominable Church, what's she trying to do?
She's trying to look like Christ's Church, or like, a follower of Christ, or someone that can offer people everything that's the Savior says he can offer, dressed in all of that, she's like, I can offer you stability. I I can offer you redemption. I can offer you by all these colors and gold and everything that she has on her. She's alluring to the person looking or going, "Oh, I can get it there." Why do I need it here? Does that make sense? Give me some more of your thoughts.
Yeah, it was a lot to take in. Yeah, I was going down a different road of thinking that this whore is has the atonement has, you know? Has redemption.
Has the appearance of it.
Okay, because see, that's what I was confused on. And I'm trying to figure out where like, Where do I see that in the world today?
Now, that's a great question.
Tha t's what I'm trying to wrap my head around like, I don't exactly know...
What offers us fake redemption, what offers us fake security.
Money, I was gonna say security would definitely be money.
It's interesting because in verse nine, it says, "And also she does this for the praise of the world. And for the praise of the world do they destroy the Saints of God," but look, again, what her purpose is, "To slay the saints of God, to torture them, to bring them down, to bring them into captivity." That's ultimately what she will do to all of us. Do we see that in the world today? How do we see the world today?
Addictions and things that just can distract you. Easily numb it for you, you know?
I think that's probably where, at least in my life and in the circles that I'm in, where I see that the most is in things that aren't necessarily bad, but just distracting and just not useful, not helpful, not helping you grow in any way, but just getting you a little off course.
Yeah. I was reeling from it for days when I'm thinking about, "Wow, Satan is the great imitator, and he will use everything he can to distract and deceive us. In fact, in the next segment, we're going to move on and talk about why his church is great and abominable and why it exists. We're going to also talk about Nephi's vision and what the purpose of this great abominable church is.
Let's go to first Nephi chapter 14. Okay, and first Nephi chapter 14 Nephi is going to tell us why this church exists and it's found in verse three. And can I have a volunteer read that? Just kidding, Haley? You can not say that as a seminary teacher because you're not allowed to ask someone to read in case they can't read.
Side note, anyone teaching a class always asked for a volunteer because some people aren't comfortable reading.
I'm really glad that you brought that up. Yeah, I'm gonna remember that.
Alright, Haley, why don't you read verse three?
Yeah, I can do that.
Now, as you read this, it's a pretty long verse, so grab your scripture markers and just kind of mark. I found three things. There might be more, but three reasons why this church exists.
Okay, so verse three says, "And that great pit, which has been digged for them by that great and abominable church, which was founded by the devil and his children, that he might lead away the souls of men down to hell, yea, that great pit which has been digged for the destruction of men shall be filled by those who digged it, to their utter destruction, say if the Lamb of God; not the destruction of the soul, save it be the casting of it into that hell which has no end."
What's the main reason for this church?
The distrution of men, I think.
To lead away...
And lead the souls of men down to hell.
When you hear that, what do you think?
Do we have to be so dramatic?
Drag them down to hell.
I was also going to say the imagery of the pit being filled by those who digged it is like, a little bit alarming and a little bit graphic like, "Oh my gosh, there's gonna be a pit full of bodies. I don't like thinking about that. It's intense.
Not at all. And when we find out that the whole purpose of that is just to bring us down and to destroy us, one of the things that's interesting is that there's a way to fight that. So let's go to first Nephi, chapter 14, verses one and two. And I love to number my scriptures, anytime there's a list of things, I'm in a number 1,2,3, whatever it is. And this is important to know because there's an "if and then" statement in here. Anytime you're reading scriptures, and you see the word "if" look for a "then" because that is a challenge with a promise. So Beck, can you please read first Nephi chapter 14, verse one?
"And it shall come to pass, that if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks."
So circle the word "if" in that first line. "It shall come to pass that if." If what?
If the Gentiles shall hearken and, you know, follow Jesus.
Yep, there's our "if." Now, there's a couple of things in here of the "ifs." So the first if is if number one, the Gentiles hearken unto the Lamb of God. That's our number one. So I just put a number one right next to that. The number two thing is, in verse two, "and harden not their hearts against the Lamb of God." Now, after that word, God put a little equal sign. That's the second thing, that second part of the if because it says they shall be numbered, but that's the "then" they or then. So now we're going to have hearken unto the Lamb of God, then shall, no these are kind of cool, the four things you're going to get. And Beck, keep reading that, then what?
"They shall be numbered among the seed of thy father."
That's number one. Number two.
"They shall be numbered among the house of Israel." Which, what's the house of Israel? I don't know what that is.
That's such a good question. It's my favorite thing to explain to my students. So Abraham had a son and his son that he was supposed to sacrifice his name is?
And then Isaac had his son and his name is?
Jacob. And then Jacob's name in the scripture gets changed to Israel in the Old Testament. But Jacob has 12 sons, and that's important for us to know and they are Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, and Joseph and Benjamin. How do you like that? And Dinah, let's not forget their sister because that's a great story too.
So right there, I always draw this on a board, and I have the names of the brothers. And then I turn it into a house. And I say, "This is the house of Israel, Jacob's name was changed to Israel. This is the house of Israel." Now, when you get baptized as a member of the Church, you're automatically adopted into the house of Israel. When you go get your patriarchal blessing, the whole purpose of that blessing is to find out what tribe you're from. What tribe are you from?
What's the most known one?
Yeah, there you go.
I'm from Ephraim. So you get adopted in the house, you're assigned one of those tribes, you're part of the house of Israel. Now, why is that important? Because you get the Abrahamic covenant, and the Abrahamic covenant, there's a great acronym for it, it's called L.D.S. It stands for land, deliverance, and seed, you will get to have your lands of inheritance. Now Abraham thought that meant literally land on the earth, which he never actually saw. This is talking about becoming like our Heavenly Father and creating worlds, land. Deliverance, Abraham thought it was deliverance from his enemies, and it could have very well been. But for us, it's deliverance from the enemy, Satan. And seed, Abraham had two kids, two boys, right? He was told his seed would outnumber the sands of the seashore, and ours surely will when we become like our Heavenly Father. Those are the promises we get for being in the house of Israel. So when you read house of Israel, you should immediately think, "Oh, it's about me. This is me."
But when the Prophet has been saying, "The gathering of Israel," then that's just bringing people to Christ. Is that what we're saying?
That's exactly it.
Because they've been saying that a lot and I'm like, "Yeah, I really don't know what he's saying."
Now you know, it's missionary work. It's finding people and having them get baptized so they can receive those Abrahamic covenants and promises that they get by being part of the house of Israel. So yes, when we've been asking these sweet teenagers to be a part of God's battalion, right, to go out and to bring people back to the house of Israel, it's so exciting.
I feel like there's got to be an easier way to say it. I can't be the only one who doesn't understand what they're saying. I act like I do.
You're like oh, yeah, yeah.
"Did you guys know you're supposed to do that? I don't know what it means..." So does that help now you know what it means? Now read it again and see if it changes.
"They shall be numbered among the seed of thy father; yea, they shall be numbered among the house of Israel.
And then the next one.
And they shall be a blessed people upon the promised land forever; they shall be no more brought down into captivity; and the house of Israel shall no more be confounded."
Confounded. Oh my gosh. There's four things in there. You'll be numbered among the sead of the Father. Number two, be numbered among the house of Israel. That means you get the blessings, the Abrahamic promise. Number three, you'll be blessed people upon the promised land. Number four, you will be no more brought down into captivity. And number five, the house of Israel will be no more confounded. And then the last one is six, and you will be able to overcome the pit, the greatest abominable church.
Yeah, I actually have a question. The number five, I think, on the list that house of Israel shall no more be confounded. In my mind, the house of Israel, that's people that have already accepted and understand and know Christ. Why would they be confounded?
So I've marked in my scriptures the word confounded and I drew a line to the outside of my scriptures and the definition is, "Mixed with other people so that their identity can no longer be distinguished." Basically, meaning God will know his people. He will know you, and He will recognize you and He will love you. It's a great question.
Okay. I'm also curious about one of the items from the list, "That they shall be no more brought down into captivity," just because there's all kinds of people that have, you know, members of the Church or people that have embraced the Savior and have been in captivity, and whether that's in a literal sense or figurative sense. What does that mean?
That's a wonderful question because what does that, what could the word captivity there mean to us? Sometimes by their no fault of their own, there are believers in Christ who are held captive, right? Any other thoughts? No longer in captivity?
I don't know, no longer held back from something. Something that's holding you.
Captive to life, earth life.
And maybe it just means that you can maybe mentally overcome your captivity. Like you might still be in literal captivity, but the idea that your physical body might be in captivity, but your spirit and your testimony can still grow.
Yes, captive to sin. It's very good. I like that. So this this idea of this great and abominable church then, let's talk about what its future looks like then, and where it's going. Okay, so we're going to talk about that next.
In the vision of Nephi, we're still in first Nephi chapter 14. And here's what we're introduced to the word "whore." Becky, did you want to say that?
Okay, so this is where it all comes together. We're going to read about what the future of the great and abominable church looks like in first Nephi chapter 14, verses 11 through 14. Haley, would you read that for us?
Okay. "And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindred tongues, and people."
Stop, highlight the word "waters" because the reason why it uses the word waters is because it's pervasive. It's everywhere. This great and abominable church, when you think about there's more water on the earth than land, right? That's the imagery it's giving you. So this great and abominable church is everywhere, unrelenting, go.
Okay. "And it came to pass that I be held the Church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters."
Stop. What did you just say about Christ's Church?
There's few, not very many. Just compared to, you know, the membership of the church is growing, but it's, we're still outnumbered.
Exactly. And let's make sure we understand that because we're talking about The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints, but we can't be narrow enough to not believe that it's also anyone who believes in Jesus Christ as well. And we know that when Christ comes again, it's not just the members of The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints who are going to get saved. It just isn't.
It's good people.
Yes, anyone living a life of a terrestrial lifestyle or higher is what the scriptures tell us.
I was just gonna say that makes me sad that in this vision, there's so few good people. I want there to be, I want everybody to be a good person. But clearly that's, you know.
Just so few people who believe in Jesus.
Yeah, that's really hard. Okay, sorry. "Nevertheless, I be held that the Church of the Lamb who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw."
You can see her influence, right? In chapter 14, verses 13 through 14, we learn the final end of this great and abominable church and what its future looks like. Becky, do you want to read those verses for us?
"And it came to pass that I'd be held that the great mother of abominations did gather together multitudes upon the face of all the earth, among all the nations of the Gentiles, to fight against the Lamb 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, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory."
Thank you, cross reference the end of that verse 14 with Doctrine and Covenants section 45, verse 57, and that is how we are armed with righteousness and with the power of God. I want to read verse 56, and 57. "And at that day when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I speak concerning the 10 virgins, for they that are wise." And again, I like to number scriptures, here we go, have number one, "received the truth." Number two, "have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide." And number three, "have not been deceived, verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire but shall abide the day." And when you think about the goal again of the great and abominable church, Satan is to absolutely have us be deceived, and to have us not receive the truth, right? So going back to first Nephi then in the vision, where it says that we will be armed, this idea of being armed with righteousness. What does that look like? Becky, what are you armed with?
You know, we've been talking about that with my little ones. I have a 12 year old, nine year old, and six year old. And so we've talked about that, being armed as we go out and what that is. And prayer and, you know, the Spirit and yada, yada, which is all great. For me, it's personal revelation. And one of my spiritual gifts is I have a closeness to the Spirit. And whether I go against it or not, I mean, thousands of times I felt it and chosen the other way. The amazing thing is I haven't lost that gift because of it. It's still mine. But I have that every day and I have little revelations that will come to my head. And I've learned that because I also have anxiety if it's a good thought then it's the Holy Ghost because I got I have a lot of bad thoughts. And a lot of "dun, dun, dun," thoughts.
Well, and I think definitely one of your gifts, I've known you, is you have the gift of belief. Like I can tell you something, you're like, "Oh, that sounds right. I believe that." So readily. Sometimes I remember thinking that Satan wanted me to think that wasn't a gift. Like, "You fool. Can't just believe you got to figure it out." But Gosh, Sam believed. Zoram believed. We know it's a gift. It's in the list of spiritual gifts.
Yeah, that is totally one of my spiritual gifts. But I also feel like that's held me back a little. Because I just am a believer that I don't study the scriptures. Probably also because of a touch of ADD. Because I just believe it.
Well this has been some really heavy stuff to talk about. And I love that you guys have been able to join me on this journey as we've talked about the great and abominable church. So let's go to something a little more light, a little more plain, a little more precious. Like how I worked those words in? That is what we're talking about next are some things that were lost, some plain and precious things due to the hand of man or the great abominable church taking things out of scripture. So let's go there.
When you hear the words "plain and precious," what do you think of? Because I think it precious moments.
Plain and precious.
I think a little bit of "Little House on the Prairie," the plain and precious things of life, a simpler way. Like cotton and water, it's plain, it's precious. You know, you need it.
Like when you make cookies, I thought of a cookie recipe because I was never a good bake ever. And when I got married, certainly I have learned to hone in those skills. But I remember the first batch of cookies I made. They were bad. They were so bad. Because if you leave out one ingredient, all the ingredients on their own are pretty plain. But combined, they are so precious. Because if you forget salt, or baking soda, based losely on a true story. That's going to be a pretty bad cookie, am I right?
Go to first Nephi. And we're going to look at this in chapter 13. Nephi uses the term "plain and precious" nine times in this chapter. And he's talking about plain and precious things that were lost. There's a quote by Joseph Smith, and we're going to read this. So who wants to read, who's next to read?
Might be me.
Go ahead and read this quote.
It says, "I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors."
I love when I read the Bible and I look down below at the footnotes. It will tell us, according to the JST, what the word meant or what should have been in there that was taken out.
Go to first Nephi, chapter 13, verse 40. Let's look at that. We have the purpose of the Book of Mormon right here in this verse. And he says, "The angel spake unto me, saying: These last records which thou has seen among the Gentiles shall establish the truth of the first." He's saying the Book of Mormon will establish the truth of the Bible, "and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them, and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people that the Lamb of God is the son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world." And so the Book of Mormon will reestablish who Jesus Christ is in our life. And when we think about some of the plain and precious things that have been taken out of the Bible, this is an interesting list, and we're going to put these in our show notes.
Becky, will you please read this list of plain and precious truths that have been brought back to us because of the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. These are truths that were lost in the Bible as Joseph Smith stated earlier.
Premortal life, the need for baptism by immersion, eternal marriage, sealing of children to their parents, the spirit world, baptisms for the dead, the three kingdoms of glory.
Some of these are also plain and precious truths that have been added through the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great price. And so Moses one, oh my gosh, that's such a good one, because it's the only time in all of scripture that proves that man can overcome Satan. And in that verse of scripture, at the end after he casts Satan out, it says, "This story is not had in other scripture because of the wickedness of men." So isn't it fascinating that a story about Moses in the Old Testament isn't in there because Satan doesn't want anyone to know that we have power to cast him out. And in fact, in the New Testament, no man ever does that except Christ.
Becky, tell me why that's interesting?
That's interesting because I grew up knowing that I had that power. I was a very skittish child and very scared all the time. And I mean, I remember thinking, "Well, all I have to do is raise my hand to square cast it out and everything has to leave."
So how would your life be different if you didn't know about plain and precious truth, if that hadn't been brought back?
I don't know. I guess I wouldn't feel empowered, I guess, or stronger than Satan. But somewhere it says he has the power to prick our heel, but we have the power to
Crush his head.
To crush his head, right? Where's that?
That's also in the Pearl of Great Price and in the creation.
Hey, and so that's another place then?
I think that's interesting that you bring that up because when we were just talking about the great abominable church, and how we will win by being armed with power, you just showed your power. That you were armed with as a little kid because of a plain and precious truth.
So here's what I want us to read. This is a plain and precious truth that will resonate with many of us. Elder Gary Stevenson, when he was put in as a member of the Quorum of the Tweleve Apostles, he got up to share a quick testimony. He was in October 2015 conference, he just gets put in, he's asked to come up and share some of his thoughts and feelings. So he gets up to the podium and he starts to talk about how inadequate he has been feeling by being put in as a member of the Quorum of the Tweleve, which I'm sure we all get. Am I right?
Yeah. Agonized is right.
He's like I don't know how many even do this or what I could possibly bring to the table. But here's what's interesting is that he has this distinct impression that he says both chastened and comforted him, that he was supposed to not focus on what he can't do, but on rather what he can do. And he thought, I know what I can do. He says this, "I can testify of the plain and precious truth of the gospel."
Becky, will you read these next few paragraphs because here are what the plain and precious truths are to him.
"These are the words which I have shared hundreds of times with both those who belong to the Church, and many who are not members. God is our loving Heavenly Father. We are his children. He weeps with us when we suffer and rejoices when we do what's right. He wants to communicate with us. And we can communicate with him through sincere prayer. Heavenly Father has provided us, His children, with a way to return to live in His presence. Central to our Heavenly Father's plan is Jesus Christ's atonement. Heavenly Father sent His Son to the earth to atone for the sins of all mankind of these plain and precious truths I bear my testimony. And I do so in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
Was there a plain and precious truth that stood out to you of his?
Yeah, he weeps with us when we suffer, and rejoices when we do what's, what is right. Because lots of the time, I think about that a lot like, "Oh, I've disappointed him, I've disappointed everyone." But I don't think much about him rejoicing with us when we do what's right.
And I really like too that he wants to communicate with us and we can communicate with him. Prayer is not meant to be one sided, and I forget that daily. But like he wants to give us guidance in our life and answer our questions and give us comfort and whatever that might look like, and we need that to survive life. Yeah, I love that.
And a lot of what he said is stuff we've all known, but it is plain and precious. It is both those things.
And I love that these are the things, like, I want to spend a day on each of these phrases. The fact that this phrase made it in Elder Stevenson's list of plain and precious truths, like, what does that look like for me specifically in my life? Why is that important to him and why should that be important to me?
I like, I'm going to do that. That is such a great idea.
Okay, so we've just finished studying first Nephi chapter 11 through vlah.
Oh, my gosh, you guys were so awesome. So here's what I want you to do. Tell me what your takeaway is, what did you learn today?
I think my takeaway is just that the great and abominable church isn't a church or an organization and it does, it's going to look very similar to the Church of Christ. I think that's really fascinating. And I want to dive, we did a great dive here, but I want to dive more into that.
I think the biggest thing that I took from this that I didn't know, were the power that we have, I guess. I didn't know that that was lost that that was nowhere else. I didn't know that that wasn't in the Bible.
But it was lost and brought back.
Because you always knew it.
That's impactful, huh?
I think my takeaway was, when I was studying about the the great whore, the great and abominable church, it's the nerd in me, but when I was starting to figure out what silver means and gold means, I was like, "Wow, he is the master deceiver. His whole purpose is to look like Jesus and offer everybody the same thing that the Savior does." That was impactful for me because I've always believed that, "Oh, she just has really costly things that she's learning people with jewels and fancy stuff. But when I looked at what everything means, it was very powerful for me.
So symbolism, I love symbolism and scripture. I love it. So that that was my takeaway this time. And then how to beat her. How to beat it, I guess we should say.
Well, Rebecca and Haley, thank you. I'm so glad you guys are here today. It was a fun day and it was so much. But yeah, thank you for being with us. And as we've discovered and digged in, dug in, whatever you want to say, to the scriptures.
And for those of you listening, tell us, what was your big takeaway this week? I really want to know because every Sunday we're going to ask what your takeaway was on our Instagram and Facebook page, and I can't wait to read what your responses will be. I really want to know what you learned and I love hearing from you. Go to our show notes on ldsliving.com/sundayonmonday and find our social media links to join the conversation. And if you've liked the study group, do me a favor, go to deseretbook.com, search Sunday on Monday, and leave us a rating and a review. See you next week. And remember, you're God's favorite.