The first 8 entries in this Sunday School series can be found here. Having survived the encounter with 13 chapters of Isaiah plunked down in the middle of 2 Nephi, we come to chapter 28, where Nephi in 600 BC describes at length the false Christian churches of our day. Well, what we actually see in 2 Nephi 28 is a description of the churches of New York in the 1820s. The best summary of 2 Nephi 28 is found at JS-H 1:6, where in the wake of spirited revival preaching a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued--priest contending against priest, and convert against convert; so that all their good feelings one for another, if they ever had any, were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions. But times have changed exceedingly; little of the 20th century is apparent in 2 Nephi 28. Evolution, fundamentalism, ecumenicism, religious apathy and secularism, Zen religion and spirituality, the decline of denominations, megachurches, televangelism--none of this shows up in 2 Nephi 28, which seems transfixed on the early 19th century.
In 28:4-5 it says the churches and priests shall contend with each other and deny the Holy Ghost. In the 20th century, ecumenicism reigns and churches and priests are now quite friendly with one another. Fundamentalists, Evangelicals, Pentacostals, and even charismatic Catholics fall all over themselves affirming the Spirit (praise the Lord!) and how it moves them, not denying it.
In 28:6 it says the churches will deny miracles and preach a God who "is not a God of miracles." These days there is all kinds of charismatic healing going on. If you can't make it to Pastor Gary's Healing Crusade in person, there is no doubt a prayer line or televangelist (put your hands on the screen) to assist you. Plenty of miracle preaching going on.
In 28:7 it says that "many" will preach "Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us." Well there might be a few churches that get carried away in dispensing forgiveness, but I don't know of any that preach apathy or resignation. "Eat, drink, and be merry" describes the freshman year at your average state university, not what any churches preach.
In 28:9-14 there's a real diatribe, labeling churches as false, vain, puffed up, corrupted, proud, avaricious, wicked, and whorish. This all seems a bit over the top. It's not just a caricature, it's a false caricature. Does anyone think this passage actually describes real churches, either in Joseph's day or our own?
Let's end with the only positive verse in the chapter, 28:30, a pleasant, encouraging verse:
I will give unto the children of men
line upon line, precept upon precept,
here a little and there a little;
and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts,
and lend an ear unto my counsel,
for they shall learn wisdom.
I can't help but hum that Saturday's Warrior tune every time I read that verse.