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Obviously it's describing "churches" in the quote-unquote churches sense--anything set up to enthrone a false god. Thus we have "churches" of, say, psychology, with the factions that follow Freud, or Jung, or this "prophet" or that "prophet." Most modern social sciences are little more than modern churches with the God-figure removed.

The real "Great and Abominable Church, the Whore of All the Earth" isn't the Catholic church, or this church, or any other church. The great and abominable church is actually the same as the great and spacious building.

Rather than being influenced by the churches at the time of Joseph Smith, the atmosphere among churches started the misreading of those verses that's persisted to this day.

If we think of the "churches" not as religious dennominations, but as wings of the great and spacious building, Nephi's account seems far more accurate than if we try to attribute those qualities to other denominations.

I'm not saying there wasn't a sentiment against other religions in early church history, even in the early revelations. There was. But that correctly softened up, as the real "enemy" of the church shifted from being the ignorance of other Christians to being the disdain of humanists who are fighting all Christians.

The best Book of Mormon example for the types of direct threats against religion we see today appear in Alma, in the character of Korihor, as opposed to the Rameumtums or "He will justify us in a little sin" attitude that was previlent in Joseph Smith's day (and still has its share of subscribers).

Doc, those are interesting thoughts. I would be very interested in visiting a Church of Psychology congregation in my area some Sunday.

Seriously, I'll grant that the "two churches only" discussion in 1 Nephi 13 is open to the ideology view of "church." But other uses of the term such as 1 Nephi 4:26 ("the brethren of the church") or 3 Nephi 27:3 ("tell us the name whereby we shall call this church") seem to indicate an institutional church, as does the story of the Nephite Church established by Alma the Elder (Mosiah 29:47, "Alma, who was the founder of their church").

I suppose each reader of 2 Nephi 28 will have to decide for themselves whether either, neither, or both of those alternatives fit the references in that chapter.

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