Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Our Famous Family Pioneer- Susannah Stone Lloyd

In honor of Pioneer Day... 

 Autobiography of Susannah Stone Lloyd





I, Susanna Stone Lloyd, being impressed to make a sketch of my early life will endeavor to do so. I was born of honest parents, in the town of Bristle, England, December 24th, 1830. My father was William Stone, he was a master painter, born in London.   My mother was Diana Grant Stone, born in Glostershire, England.  My father's people belonged to the Church of England, mother's people to the Wesleyans. I attended the Wesleyan Sunday School. I used to read the scriptures and wished that I had lived in the days of Apostles and Prophets, not knowing then that the everlasting Gospel had been restored to the earth. When I heard it preached I hailed it with joy. I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about the year 1848; this caused my heart to rejoice. I have seen that the hand of the Lord has been over me for good from my earliest childhood and I know that His Holy Spirit has been my constant guide and companion. I never shall forget the many manifestations of the Lord's goodness and blessings unto me and mine. My parents, relatives and friends did all in their power to keep me from coming to America, but I had the spirit of gathering and the Lord opened up my way and I came to Utah in 1856 with the Hand Cart Company. Brother Willey was our Captain, Millen Atwood was his councilor. We were almost pioneers for we had to travel through sunflowers and sage brush for many miles.

The first part of our journey was pleasant, the weather being good. We left Liverpool in May on the Ship Thornton, landed in New York the latter part of June in a sailing vessel. While crossing the Atlantic, the peoples' galley or cook house took fire and burned down which caused great excitement. But through the blessings of the Lord we were saved.  After we landed we came up the Hudson River in Steam Boats and continued by railroad cars until we came to the frontiers which were called Iowa Camp Grounds. We stayed there several weeks, while our hand carts and tents were being finished.

Oxen drew the wagons that brought our provisions and tents, our clothing to last the journey, which was over one thousand miles, were brought on our hand carts. The rest was brought the next season by the Water Boys. After we had proceeded quite a ways on our journey we lost quite a number of our cattle which drew the provisions. Some supposed that they were stampeded by Indians going East to war. It was in the year 1856, when Colonel Babbitt was doing business with the United States Government.   (President Brigham Young being a Governor at that time.) He (Babbitt) and his teamsters were massacred, they were a day or two ahead of us with a train of goods which was seized by the Indians. We met a tribe of Indians with an interpreter, who told us all about the circumstances, but we were not discouraged. We traveled on and felt that the Lord would protect his saints and so He did, and although we passed through many trying scenes His protecting care was over us. After we left Iowa, we traveled about one hundred miles and came to Florence, Nebraska. By this time we had gotten more used to traveling and we made better headway, but through losing our cattle and having to camp on the plains for several weeks, it threw us late in the season and made our provisions short for the latter part of our journey. We left England, May the 2nd and got into Salt Lake Valley on November the 5th 1856.

I am thankful that I was counted worthy to be a pioneer and a Hand Cart Girl. It prepared me to stand hard times when I got here.

 I often think of the songs we used to sing to encourage us on our toilsome journey. It was hard to endure but the Lord gave us strength and courage. Yes, the Lord has multiplied blessings upon my head and I praise His Holy Name and pray that I may be worthy of the many blessings that is promised to the faithful. 

After we had traveled about seven hundred miles our provisions being short our Captain bought up all the biscuits and flour that he could get in Laramie. We had to live on short rations and it became very cold and a number of our older people died. Sixteen were buried at one time. Traveling as we were with scant clothing and lack of sufficient food we suffered greatly from the severe cold and snow. On account of the loss of Cattle it became necessary for each hand cart to take additional load, by each taking a share of the provisions that were left. We waded through the cold streams many times but we murmured not for our faith in God and our testimony of His work were supreme. And in the blizzards and falling snow we sat under our hand-carts and sang, "Come, Come Ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear but with joy wend your way, though hard to you this journey may appear, grace shall be as your day." 

Only once did my courage fail. One cold dreary afternoon my feet having been frosted I felt I could go no farther and withdrew from the little company and sat down to wait the end. Being somewhat in a stupor. After a time I was aroused by a voice, which seemed as audible as anything could be and which spoke to my very soul, of the promises and blessings I had received, and which should surely be fulfilled and that I had a mission to perform in Zion. I received strength and was filled with the spirit of the Lord and arose and traveled on with a light heart. As I reached camp I found a searching party ready to go back to find me dead or alive. I had no relatives but many dear and devoted friends and we did all we could to aid and encourage each other. My frosted feet gave me considerable trouble for many years but this was forgotten in the contemplation of the many blessings the Gospel has brought to me and mine.

A young man whom I had kept company with in England, but would not promise to marry, as I wanted to be free, died enroute and was buried on the plains with many others.

When we were within about one hundred miles from Salt Lake Valley, our Captain had a dream that a company was coming from Salt Lake Valley to meet us. Brigham Young ask a lot of our brethren to come and meet us with provisions, buffalo robes and blankets. You may guess the joy that was in camp the day they arrived. We were near Fort Bridger when they met us, and we rode in the wagons the rest of the way, but we had walked over one thousand miles. 

When we got near the city, we tried to make ourselves as presentable as we could to meet our friends. I had sold my little looking glass to the Indians for Buffalo meat, so I borrowed one and I shall never forget how I looked, some of my old friends did not know me. We were so weather beaten and tanned. When we got near Salt Lake Valley, President Young with a company of our brethren and sisters came out to meet us, and bade us welcome and when we got into the city we were made very comfortable until we met our friends and relatives. There were many things that happened on our journey that would be interesting if I could remember them in their proper order. While we were traveling through the United States the people tried to discourage us by telling us there was a famine in Utah, that the grasshoppers had eaten up everything and that there had been a grasshopper war, etc. but we traveled on trusting in God.

We raised good crops the next year. I had many chances to marry in England, but were advised to wait until we got to Zion. Among others who came to meet their friends was a handsome young man, Thomas Lloyd, who had immigrated the previous year, in 1855, from Wolver Hampton, England.  He had proven his integrity to his newly found faith by renouncing everything offered by a wealthy maiden aunt who had raised him, his parents having died when he was but two years old and he would have fallen heir to her fortune, but was cut off because he would not renounce Mormonism. He had learned a trade however, that of a saddle and harness maker which proved a great blessing in the new country. He had settled in Farmington, Davis County and had already a small cabin which served as home and work shop. We were both favorably impressed at our first meeting, he having received a very satisfactory recommendation from his Bishop and on advice of President Young we were soon married and the fulfillment of the blessings which had been pronounced upon my head in the generous posterity began to be realized and in the following year our first son Thomas W, Lloyd was born. 

The following year Johnston's Army came to Utah and we had to move South under very trying circumstances. After this scare was over we were glad to get back to our homes again. We remained in Farmington until about 1864 when It became necessary for us to procure more land to take care of our growing family. We lived in Forts when Wellsville, Cache County, was first settled to protect us from the Indians. The grasshoppers and crickets were very troublesome and ate up many of our crops but we managed by the help of the Lord to take care of our growing crops and by this time numerous family. We were blessed with ten sons and four daughters, all of whom are healthy and all members of the faith for which their parents had sacrificed so much, and this is a joy to me in my declining years.

As Cache Valley became more settled and the Lord blessed the land for our sakes and although we have suffered many hardships we have never murmured or felt to regret the sacrifice we made.

AS I read through this narrative again this morning I felt impressed to italicize the statements of faith and gratitude.  May we ever look at our own trials with the same fortitude as this sweet Pioneer Woman.  

Susanna Stone Lloyd is my husband's second great Grandmother.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mormons Having Doubts Because of the Internet



Earlier this week a friend sent me a link to a New York Times article called, “Some Mormons Search the Web and Find Doubt.” The article is based on an interview with a gentleman named Hans Mattsson who, as an “Area Authority” for the Church in Europe, faced a crisis of faith.  

Hans Mattsson and his wife courtesy of the New York Times

At first I was shocked to discover that his crisis began when he discovered that Joseph Smith had practiced polygamy.  My first thought was, how on earth can you be an Area Authority and not know that basic fact? Really?  That is what caused him to become confused?  As I thought about what we actually learn in Church, I guess not understanding doctrine, principles, the scriptures, or our history, could happen more than one might think. 

Richard Bushman is quoted in the article explaining how that was possible:

   “You would be amazed at the number of Mormons who don’t think Joseph Smith practiced polygamy. It just wasn’t talked about. It was never mentioned in church periodicals. That was policy.”

In the last 10 or 15 years, he said, “the church has come to realize that transparency and candor and historical accuracy are really the only way to go.” The church has released seven volumes of the papers of Joseph Smith and published an essay on one of the most shameful events in church history, the Mountain Meadows massacre, in which church leaders plotted the slaughter of people in a wagon train in 1857.

But the church has not actively disseminated most of these documents, so when members come across them on Web sites or in books, Mr. Bushman said, “it’s just excruciating.”
“Sometimes people are furious because they feel they haven’t been told the truth growing up,” he said. “They feel like they were tricked or betrayed.”

In an apologetic fashion a great follow up article was written by John W. Welch, trying to show how the Church has not covered any of this information up and how it is readily available if you desired to know.  This knowledge however must be actively sought out.  

Herein lies a problem, I believe our talks in Sacrament meeting and classes at Church have become more “personal experience” based and less scriptural.  They focus more on “feelings”, but when the “feelings” are not based on the message of the scriptures they are not “feelings” that last.  I have been to Church more times than I care to admit when the scriptures are not even referenced.  I have thought about this for a very long time.  

I understand the job of the Church is to teach the first four principles of the gospel, which are:  faith, repentance, baptism, and receiving the Holy Ghost. I understand it is the Spirit, or Holy Ghost, who then teaches you everything else you need to know to get back into the presence of the Father.  I believe it is through the scriptures that you hear the voice of the Lord and the Spirit then adds his witness. This fulfills the law of witnesses beautifully.  

Let’s face it…It annoys me to be taught about your Aunt Jenny who baked the bread for her sick neighbors, who miraculously were healed from the “gluten free” nourishment, who then in turn decided to join the church because they just felt of Aunt Jenny’s love for them. Forget the scriptures! They felt the spirit! 

I believe it is this type of careless teaching that we are receiving within the walls of our own Church that creates the “Area Authority” who doesn’t even know that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy. 

When will we realize that we need to open up the “source”, which are the scriptures, and have better dialog regarding them? Only when we search the scriptures, analyze them, then internally apply them, will we gain that solid faith that can conquer all doubt. And as far as doubt goes, why can’t we have conversations about that too? 

 I loved how Brother Mattson closed his interview.

“My hope is that the Church will grow larger in its acceptance that you are allowed to have doubts, because I think a doubter is a seeker.  I mean, you can go to Joseph Smith, why did he pray? He was asking what to do. So he was a doubter, wasn’t he?  I think that’s great.  You find answers.”

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Origin

I have been on a long hiatus from Blogging on this Blog. 
Perhaps I was feeling somewhat confused.
This brought me back to the right perspective.
Thank you.

video

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Gentiles- 1 Nephi 13


As Nephi’s vision continues I believe it is important to remember that the emphasis of the information he receives is placed on what happens to his posterity.  Everything else he sees in that vision is in some way relating to how it affected them then, and in their future.  Remember, Nephi was promised way back in Chapter 2, that those of his seed would ultimately be blessed because of his obedience, similar to Abraham of old, with the promise that “inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper”


With that thought in mind, in Chapter 13 we are introduced to a new group of people and see the role they will play regarding the Nephites, or “remnant” of them. (Don’t forget we have already seen a scattering occur in both Jerusalem and the Americas in Chapter 11 and 12.)  


Look for who this new group of people are:


1 Nephi 13:1 And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me, saying: Look! And I looked and beheld many nations and kingdoms.

 2And the angel said unto me: What beholdest thou? And I said: I behold many nations and kingdoms.

 3And he said unto me: These are the nations and kingdoms of the Gentiles.


Who this “Gentile” group is, is easily defined by what Nephi is shown.  He sees right off that the “great and abominable church” is formed among the nations of the Gentiles, destroying the saints of God, and bringing them down into captivity. He also sees where the Gentiles come from.

1 Nephi 13: 10 And it came to pass that I looked and beheld many waters; and they divided the Gentiles from the seed of my brethren.


In my opinion it is pretty easy to see who these “Gentiles” are. They are the people from the European lands.
Ultimately these Gentiles are allowed to come to the America’s, or “promised land”, but it is interesting to see why.


1 Nephi 13: 11 And it came to pass that the angel said unto me: Behold the wrath of God is upon the seed of thy brethren.

12 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.

 13 And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters.

 14 And it came to pass that 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.


Nephi is shown that because the “wrath of God” was upon his seed due to their disobedience, and the “Spirit of God wrought” upon not only one particular man, but on many other Gentiles as well, the Gentiles were led to the Americas and became a tool for scattering his seed.  This concept reinforces what he was taught by the Lord back in Chapter 2 regarding the “seed of his brethren”, and how they would become a tool in hand of the Lord to “stir” his posterity up in the ways of remembrance of the covenants they had entered into.


1 Nephi 2:23 For behold, in that day that they (the seed of thy brethren) shall rebel against me, I will curse them (the seed of thy brethren) even with a sore curse, and they (the seed of thy brethren) shall have no power over thy seed except they (thy seed) shall rebel against me also.

 24 And if it so be that they (thy seed) rebel against me, they (the seed of thy brethren) shall be a scourge unto thy seed, to stir them up in the ways of remembrance.


SO basically, Nephi is promised this land as his inheritance.  The Gentiles are brought here by the Lord because they are a tool He can use to help Nephi’s seed, or “remnant” of them, remember the covenants that they made with The Father. Don't be dismayed however because you may be a descendant of a Gentile.. there is great promise for you too, even though you are a tool.  You will see....


These simple definitions of the following terms, with regards to the Book of Mormon, are important to remember:

  • Remnant- Indigenous people on the American continent
  • Gentiles- Those who emigrated from the European nations
For a more in depth study of the “remnant” Denver Snuffer has discussed it beautifully in a series of Blog posts on his Blog starting with this post.  We will cover it here too.  I believe it is impossible to study  The Book of Mormon without understanding who we are individually and collectively and what role we are to play.

Just so you know… The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is considered the gentile church… more to come!

Oh yeah… knowing these terms now, who do you think the man is that is mentioned in verse 12?



Monday, June 20, 2011

There Are Only Two Churches- 1 Nephi 14

I had an interesting conversation with my number one son about the formation of the “great and abominable” church this weekend.  He boldly stated that it was “Christianity”.  I guess after taking into consideration the information provided by Stephen E. Robinson, from my last post, my belief that “he is one smart cookie” was reinforced. I, however, would add more to his definition by calling it “Historic Christianity”.

About the same time, another friend shared a definition he found from one of my favorite authors, Denver Snuffer, for the term “abomination”.  Snuffer explains that “iniquity” is general evil practice, but an “abomination” involves the religious justification of wrongdoing.  My friend’s response was merely, “Interesting!” I responded with a resounding...."Interesting!"





So what exactly  is a definition of Historic Christianity?

Perhaps one of the easiest, “in a nutshell”, explanations of “Historic Christianity” to be found is one given by Snuffer. Taken from his Blog, it is as follows:

Christianity became diverse quite early on.  Almost immediately after the closing of the New Testament, the diversity began to metastasize.

There were those who viewed Christ as a normal man, who had been "adopted" by the Father at the time of His baptism.  These were called "Adoptionists."

There were those who believed that Christ was just a normal man, but that He had a divine spirit inhabit Him temporarily from the time of His baptism until the time of His crucifixion, at which time the divine spirit left.  It was incomprehensible to them that God would suffer and die.  Therefore, they developed a theory in which He did not.

There were those who believed that Christ was a transcendent spirit, and never corporeal as other men were.  They believed that He manifested Himself as if he were a mortal, but never truly was mortal.  They did not believe it possible for God to become incarnate.

There were those who believed that Christ taught a secret Gospel to His insiders, and that the public teachings were misleading. It was the private "gnosis" that would save you.

There were those who believed that Christ was a separate and distinct being from God the Father, and that the result was that there were two gods and not one.

There were those who argued that if they were separate then it violated the idea of "monotheism" and therefore, God the Father, Christ and the Holy Ghost had to be one, single person.  However incomprehensible that may be, there was only one being, manifesting itself in three forms.

There were those who believed priesthood authority was immutable, and once conferred it could not be lost no matter what the conduct of the person ordained.  That is, authority was not dependent at all upon righteous behavior, and even a thoroughly wicked man, once ordained, held priesthood authority no matter what he did.

There were those who believed that priesthood authority was entirely dependent upon faithful living, and that a failure to live according to God's will terminated the authority of that man.  This movement was named after a North African priest named Arius who remained devoted during the persecutions and was blinded and crippled by those who were seeking to destroy the Christian faith.

Well, by 324 AD the whole thing had become riddled with controversies and sects.  Therefore, when King Constantine, who had battled his way into sole ownership of the Roman Emperor's seat, determined to adopt a state religion (he chose Christianity as that state religion) he presumed he was taking a harmonious, consistent faith.  Upon learning that there were strong internal Christian disputes, some of which led to violence between professors of the various beliefs, he decided that he needed to put down the disputations.
In a fit of practicality, King Constantine convened the great council at Nicea, and summoned all the Bishops of Christianity to a single gathering.  At the gathering he demanded they come to an agreement on what the Christian faith believed.  He could not tolerate disputes leading to violence in the newly adopted Roman state religion.

This council at Nicea was the first attempt at correlation.  The result had little to do with the truth.  It had to do with peace for the Roman state.  Constantine himself did not believe in the doctrine. He believed in the effectiveness of the faith as a basis for political power, domestic security and ease of ruling a diverse population scattered about on three continents.  When the results were achieved, he then exiled the handful of dissenters and 'voila, Historic Christianity began.  That Historic Christianity remained correlated and of a singular view until the split between Constantinople and Rome at about 1000 AD.  It became further uncorrelated in the 1500's with Martin Luther.

Once you start letting doctrinal disputes develop you wind up with a split empire, and internal loss of government. The original effort was imposed at the tip of a sword.  When there were dissenters, they were exiled, or eventually made "heretic." When the final step was taken, and the intellectual buttress supplied by Bishop Ambrose's arguments, it at last became possible for "heresy" or "heretics" to be snubbed out by murder.  The persecuted became the persecutors. They were justified by the change, having a correlated promise that the faith ratified the reasons that allowed you to persecute, torture and kill those who strayed from the "one true, Catholic faith."  After all, if you could reclaim them merely by torture of the body, how much better than allowing them to lapse into eternal torment by being consigned to hell.  An endless "Hell" also being an invention of the Historic Christian faith.  So it was really good to do that burning, racking, thumb-dislocating, flaying, stuff after all.  All in a day's work to convert the wayward soul back to Christ.




I find it quite interesting that as  members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter –day Saints we are continually accused as not being “Christian”.  The accusations lie in the fact that we do not conform to the liturgy of Historic Christianity which was formed by such documents as the Nicene Creed. We do however claim to be a restoration of Primitive Christianity, denouncing the “philosophies of men mingled with scripture”, while laying claim to following the original teachings of Jesus Christ, as found in the scriptures.

With this in mind view the information  the angel told Nephi during his dream:

1 Nephi 14:10 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.

I know, this teaching is far from being “politically correct” but correct it is none the less. 


Notice how Joseph Smith was taught this same concept:  

Joseph Smith History 1:18 My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.

 19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

 20 He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time.


So, by in large,  if we as Latter-day Saints, or more commonly known as "Mormons", are accused of being different, or not part of main stream Historic Christianity, in my opinion, that would be a good thing.  The distinction has already been made. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Great and Abominable Church -1 Nephi 13

As the vision given to Nephi of the destruction, or scattering, of his posterity closes, another one is open to his view.  In 1 Nephi, Chapter 13, Nephi begins to be shown, by the angel, many nations and kingdoms.  It is in this chapter that Nephi learns of the role that the Gentiles play in regards to his posterity, and how the Lord uses them for a wise purpose in fulfilling the covenants that were made with him because of his obedience. 

It is important to remember that Nephi is part of the House of Israel, and as such is entitled to the blessings of the covenants made with his fathers, the Abrahamic Covenant. 


Something to ponder… when are the Gentiles allowed those same blessings?  Who are the Gentiles according to the Book of Mormon?

Right at first Nephi sees among the Gentiles the formation of a great church.

Look for who is the founder of that church:
1 Nephi 13:5 And the angel said unto me: Behold the formation of a church which is most abominable above all other churches, which slayeth the saints of God, yea, and tortureth them and bindeth them down, and yoketh them with a yoke of iron, and bringeth them down into captivity.
 6 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.

Now notice the desires that are attached to this “church”:
1 Nephi 13: 8 And the angel spake unto me, saying: Behold the gold, and the silver, and the silks, and the scarlets, and the fine-twined linen, and the precious clothing, and the harlots, are the desires of this great and abominable church.
 9 And also for the praise of the world do they destroy the saints of God, and bring them down into captivity.

Although this institution is first introduced here, it is also discussed in 1 Nephi Chapter 14 as well.  Because it is referred to as “most abominable above all other churches”, it appears to be one institution, given in a historical context.  Later in chapter 14 when we are given the explanation that there are really only two churches, “one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil”; the great and abominable church becomes more of a type, or symbol, rather than an actual institution.  


A good explanation of this concept is found in an article written, in the January 1988 Ensign, by Stephen E. Robinson, titled “Warring against the Saints of God.”

From the article:
Once we understand that the term great and abominable church has two uses, the one open (inclusive and archetypical), the other closed (exclusive and historical), the rest becomes easier.

Apocalyptic literature is dualistic. Since it deals with types, everything boils down to opposing principles: love and hate, good and evil, light and dark. There are no gray areas in apocalyptic writing. In this sense, there are only two categories in the realm of religion: religion that will save and religion that won’t. The former is the church of the Lamb, and the latter, no matter how well intentioned, is a counterfeit.

In the historical sense, though, only one entity can be the great and abominable church. Well-intentioned churches would thus not qualify as the mother of abominations described in 1 Nephi 13. They do not slay the saints of God nor seek to control civil governments nor pursue wealth, luxury, and sexual immorality.

In either the apocalyptic sense or the historical sense, individual orientation to the Church of the Lamb or to the great and abominable church is not by membership but by loyalty. Just as there Latter-day Saints who belong to the great and abominable church because of their loyalty to Satan and his life-style, so there are members of other churches who belong to the Lamb because of their loyalty to him and his life-style. Membership is based more on who has your heart than on who has your records.

The author further warns against assigning a specific denomination to “the great and abominable church". He suggests that some have speculated it to be Judiasm, or Catholicism, which he regards both as historically incorrect.


Robinson explains:
Actually, no single known historical church, denomination, or set of believers meets all the requirements for the great and abominable church: it must have formed among the Gentiles; it must have edited and controlled the distribution of the scriptures; it must have slain the Saints of God, including the Apostles and prophets; it must be in league with civil governments and use their police power to enforce its religious views; it must have dominion over all the earth; it must pursue great wealth and sexual immorality; and it must last until close to the end of the world. No single denomination or system of beliefs fits the entire description. Rather, the role of Babylon has been played by many different agencies, ideologies, and churches in many different times. It should be clear that the great and abominable church that Nephi described in chapter 13 is not the same historical entity that crucified the Savior or that martyred Joseph and Hyrum.

It would be an error to blame some modern denomination for the activities of an ancient great and abominable church. The other error is to go too far the other way, dehistoricizing the abominable church altogether. The term then becomes merely a vague symbol for all the disassociated evil in the world. We cannot, in the face of the scriptural evidence, accept this view. For if we do, we shall not be able to recognize the categories and know who is playing the role of Babylon in our own times or in times to come. Thus, we must, on the one hand, avoid the temptation to identify the role of the great and abominable church so completely with one particular entity that we do not recognize the part when it is played by some other entity. At the same time, we must remember that the role will be played by some entity or coalition, and we must be able to tell by their characteristic fruits which is Zion and which is Babylon.

Robinson goes on in the article to explain that he would like to term the great and abominable church as “Hellenized Christianity”.  Make sure to read the article here and see if you agree.

More importantly for me, this great and abominable church should still be seen as a tool in the Lord’s hands, as was Babylon a tool in scattering the House of Israel,  to bring to pass his wise purpose.  It is the scourging agent that is used to provoke humility and continued reliance on Him, stirring those in need to the remembrance of their covenants made with Him.  It provides the opposition required to exercise agency which is needed for progression.

Seen in that context it is something that we know will not prevail.