(Note: This paper reminds me of a midterm that I wrote for this class about the Church of the Lamb of God. I can’t wait to post that paper – it was really long, so I might have to post it in parts. While reading the part where I say Heavenly Father “will give His children many opportunities to accept [the gospel]” I was reminded of something a friend of mine said during a Relief Society lesson. She said that before the judgment day “Each person will be taught the gospel in a way that they perfectly understand what they are accepting or rejecting.” I think that is pretty true, and kind of what I was saying in this paper.)
Nephi received a vision of many prophesies of the latter days. In these prophesies Nephi was shown the loss of many plain and precious parts of the gospel through the formation of a great an abominable church. Nephi was also shown the restoration of the gospel to the earth and the work that would spread the gospel to the world. The Lord also taught Nephi that some of the children of men would not accept the gospel. If the Lord knew who would accept the gospel and who would not, why did He not judge those He knew would not accept the gospel? Not only is the Lord merciful in that He will give His children many opportunities to accept and come unto Him, it is expedient that He should provide a way to test and try the children of men so that He may prove us – whether as followers of Him or followers of the “great and abominable church.”
The Lord told Nephi that “because of these things [the plain and precious parts of the gospel] which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, and exceedingly many do stumble…insomuch that Satan hath great power over them.” (1 Nephi 13:29) This may seem like a hopeless situation for those who never receive the plain and precious parts of the gospel. However, the Lord also states that He will be merciful unto the Gentiles and “bring forth unto them, in mine own power, much of my gospel.” (1 Nephi 13:34) The Lord goes on to describe to Nephi the restoration of the gospel. The Lord wants His children to know of His gospel and would not let them perish in ignorance.
However, as more knowledge is revealed to the children of men, they have a much more crucial responsibility. The Lord said to Nephi that He would “work a marvelous work among the children of men.” (1 Nephi 14:7) This work is to be “everlasting” – or to be an eternal judgment. The Lord’s purpose in bringing forth the gospel in the latter days is to prove the children of men, either to convince them “unto peace and life eternal” or “unto their bringing brought down into captivity.” (1 Nephi 14:7). “Who’s on the Lord’s side, who? Now is the time to show!” (Hymn No. 260) The Lord has revealed His gospel in the latter days to prove the children of men and to separate them into those on His side and those against. The Lord has said that “whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations.” (1 Nephi 14:10).
Although the Lord is merciful and wishes all of His children to return to live with Him again, there stands the eternal truth that “the kingdom of God is not filthy, and there cannot any unclean thing enter into the kingdom of God.” (1 Nephi 15:34) Therefore, the Lord has prepared a way to prove the children of men and judge them according to their hearts by bringing forth the gospel in the latter day, requiring man to choose between “liberty and eternal life…or captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil.” (2 Nephi 2:27)
What things do you learn about from the revelations that were given to Nephi? Do you think each child of God will have every opportunity to accept the gospel? What is the great and abominable church? What is the Church of the Lamb of God?