23 September 2010

1 Nephi 13 revisited: Satan founded the Catholic church, God blessed America (and cursed the Native Americans) , and the BoM fixed the Bible

It’s easy to get distracted by the strange words and phrases in the Book of Mormon and thereby miss the even stranger messages that lurk therein. That’s what happened to me the first time I read chapter 13 of 1 Nephi. (And that's why I'm revising my original post for this chapter. I'm trying to deal with it a little more thoroughly than I did in my first blogging attempt.)

And chapter 13 has some strange phrases. There are eleven “And it came to passes", four “I, Nephis", three “exceedinglys" and one “dwindle in unbelief.” But there’s a lot more to it than that.

I must say, though, that I’d never have understood this chapter without the help of Mormon guides. Luckily I found several sources that reveal the meaning of the angel’s words. (I found this one particularly helpful.)

So I’m going to go through the chapter verse by verse, trying to figure it out as I go along. Let me know if I miss anything.

The angel begins by showing Nephi the "great and abominable church" (the Catholic church) and its founder, the devil.

And the angel said unto me: Behold the … most abominable above all other churches … And it came to pass that I beheld this great and abominable church; and I saw the devil that he was the founder of it. And I also saw gold, and silver, and silks, and scarlets, and fine-twined linen, and all manner of precious clothing; and I saw many harlots. 1 Nephi 13:5-7

Mormons don’t like to talk about this one. The anti-Catholic bigotry is too obvious; it seems more like something an American Protestant might say in the early 19th century that an angel in 600 BCE.

Next, the angel gives Nephi a geography lesson, showing him a Google Earth view of the Old and New Worlds and the “many waters” (Atlantic Ocean) between them. Nephi and his brethren will live on one side of the “many waters” and the “Gentiles” on the other.

I looked and beheld many waters; and they divided the Gentiles from the seed of my brethren 1 Nephi 13:10

The angel told Nephi that “the wrath of God” is upon the seed of his brethren.

The angel said unto me: Behold the wrath of God is upon the seed of thy brethren.1 Nephi 13:11

But Nephi already knew this, since the angel told him in the last chapter that God would darken the skin of some of his brethren (those that became the Native Americans) and make them a dark, loathsome, filthy, idle, and abominable people.

The angel told Nephi that God would select one of the “Gentiles” and send him across the “many waters” to visit his brethren in the “promised land” (America). The Mormons say that the “Gentile” here is Christopher Columbus.

And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.1 Nephi 13:12

After Columbus other “Gentiles” will cross the "many waters" – which the Mormons say refers to the Pilgrims arriving at Plymouth Rock in 1620.

I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters. "1 Nephi 13:13

The angel said that many more Gentiles (Europeans) would cross the ocean to smite Nephi’s brethren (the Native Americans).

I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise; and I beheld the wrath of God, that it was upon the seed of my brethren; and they were scattered before the Gentiles and were smitten.1 Nephi 13:14

God would inspire the Europeans (who "were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful" just like Nephi's descendants before the evil, dark-skinned Lamanites killed them all) to slaughter the Native Americans.

So that’s what happened. God inspired the Europeans to slaughter the Native Americans. And “the Gentiles ... did humble themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was with them.”

The Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the Gentiles, and they did prosper and obtain the land for their inheritance; and I beheld that they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people before they were slain. … The Gentiles ... did humble themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was with them.1 Nephi 13:15-16

Later the “mother Gentiles” (the British) would cross the ocean to fight against the Gentiles that God favored in the American Revolutionary War.

Their mother Gentiles were gathered together upon the waters, and upon the land also, to battle against them1 Nephi 13:17

The power of God was, of course, with the American colonists and his wrath was on the British.

The power of God was with them, and also that the wrath of God was upon all those that were gathered together against them to battle.1 Nephi 13:18

And it has happened just like that in every war since then. God helped the USA win all of its wars. (Except maybe Vietnam.)

The Gentiles that had gone out of captivity were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations. 1 Nephi 13:19

Then the angel showed Nephi a book that "procedeth out of the mouth of a Jew" (the Bible, which was a lot like the brass plates). The good American white people that God liked so much carried this book around with them.

I beheld a book, and it was carried forth among them ... And he said: Behold it proceedeth out of the mouth of a Jew ... like unto the engravings which are upon the plates of brass. 1 Nephi 13:20-23

The angel told Nephi that the "great and abominable church" (the Catholics) ruined the Bibe by deleting the "plan and most precious parts."

A great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away. 1 Nephi 13:26

God favors the Americans above everyone else on earth and has made them the most powerful nation on earth, but he will not allow them to completely destroy Nephi's evil brethren (the Native Americans).

The Gentiles who have gone forth out of captivity, and have been lifted up by the power of God above all other nations, upon the face of the land which is choice above all other lands ... The Lord God hath covenanted with thy father that his seed should have for the land of their inheritance; wherefore ... God will not suffer that the Gentiles will utterly destroy the mixture of thy seed.1 Nephi 13:30

The chapter finally ends with the angel explaining how the Book of Mormon and other Mormon scriptures will restore the “plain and precious things” in the Bible that were removed by Satan’s Catholic church. Only by believing in both (Bible and Mormon scriptures) can a person be saved.

These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, 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 that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.1 Nephi 13:40

Blogging the Book of Mormon
Next episode -- 1 Nephi 14: There are only two churches - the church of God (the Mormons) and the church of the devil (everyone else)


twillight said...

I feel someone commited anacronysm here...

John said...

And it came to pass that you seem exceedingly angry today Stevi. I know it can't be the weather out there...it looks perfect. What beholdest thou?

Every time I, Johni, for Johni is my name, think of "Mormon", I can't help but recall The Motel's one hit, "Take the L".

Any thoughts on what Joseph was under the influence of during 'translation'? Each copy of the book should come with it's own supply taped to the inside cover.

Looking forward to Chapter 14. Have a great weekend.

Steve Wells said...

Sorry, Johni, for sounding angry.

I guess I am getting a bit tired of Nephi's angel. Oh well, only one more chapter and we can get on with the story. (At least there is a story in the BoM. The Quran just repeats the same three bad ideas over and over again.)

In any case, angel or no angel, I'll try to lighten up a bit in chapter 14.

John said...

Glad to hear it is only the angel, Steve. It too, shall pass. Keep up the good work.

Matthew Blanchette said...

Really, the "mother Gentiles"? People believe this crap? Even the Bible was vague enough in its prophecies so that it could be interpreted any which way, but this... :-/

Xaratherus said...

I'm fairly certain that the Mormon church must have secretly supported L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology - not because they believe it to be true, but so they could shift the burden of "what the f***?" from themselves.

Unknown said...

I don't know where to start. Before my deconversion from Christianity, I spent 7 years in the Messianic movement. I learned alot.

The first thing I noticed is that The Book of Mormon was supposedly written in 600 BCE. Okay, but the word "church" was not in use then, especially by God or his messengers. From the Christian perspective, which I assume includes Mormons, "God" here refers to the god of the old testament. "Church" wasn't one of the ways God referred to his people.

Also, since the "this great and abominable church" wouldn't exist for another 900 years, what was the angel talking about?

Another thing, if Nephi was one of God's people sent to the western hemisphere, Nephi, by definition, was a Jew. "God's people" in the OT sense are always Jews.

As for Christopher Columbus being the Gentile selected to go across many waters; there is a fairly common belief (debatable, but interesting belief) amongst Jews that Christopher Columbus was Jewish and fled Spain at The Edict Of Expulsion in 1492. So God chose a Jew to do a Gentile's job?

Individually any of these points wouldn't mean much, but taken together, one can see that there is no way The Book Of Mormon was written when claimed or is inspired.

Unknown said...

Great stuff Steve. You nailed it and I should know, I grew up in a very staunch LDS household. You are right on in your analysis.

nazani said...

Claiming that the Bible is just a poorly edited remnant of some original doctrine is pretty slick. A good way to rope in some people who noticed how inconsistent it is.

Alex Winder said...

You really shouldn't be doing your own edits of the Book of Mormon. It's not sanctioned by the church. Everything that is written in the Book of Mormon is in their for a reason, whether you or anyone understands it our not. Not condemning you, and your not doing this to discredit the Book of Mormon, but just understand that it really is not sanctioned by the church. Check out the list of Church policies in Handbook 2 to see what I mean.

Unknown said...

Mormon leaders, esp. of today (not so much of the past) are reticent in specifically-stating that the "Catholic Church/Vatican" is the likely or SOLE interpretation of the "Church of the Devil" that is mentioned in the Book of Mormon (and in the Bible).

In my unbiased viewpoints -at the very least in 'antiquity' (BEFORE Joseph Smith's day or BEFORE the present time) the "Church of the Devil" can ONLY refer to the Vatican. Biblical and Book of Mormon prophecies describe the Vatican and Catholic church in antiquity so perfectly, that there IS NO OTHER organization or church that it CAN be referring to.

Perhaps the MODERN church of the devil 'DIFFERS' from the one in ANTIQUITY (Catholic) but BoM scriptures and other prophecies indicate that the same one in ANTIQUITY will be and is the same in the LAST DAYS as well........