In this chapter, we hit the first mention of the "great and abominable church." It claims that this church is "abominable above all other churches," that one of its chief motivations is riches and that it's formed following Christ's death. Historical clues might lead you to believe that this refers to the Catholic church, but I was taught in seminary that it's not referring to any specific church. The great and abominable church represents any and all churches that preach falsehood, persecute the LDS, or have impure motives. So really, Mormons don't dislike Catholics any more than any other church, since they all contain the incomplete gospel and preach falsehoods.
Ironically, however, the Mormon church preaches falsehood, persecutes its own members and has impure motives.
The Divinely-Inspired Mistake
Take a look at verse 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.That's saying that Christopher Columbus was inspired by the Holy Ghost to discover the Americas. Interesting, because later on in the Book of Mormon, Moroni tells us that "by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." Except, it would appear, in Columbus' case, when the Spirit inspired him with a little white lie ("There's a shortcut to India if you sail west!").
Genocide is Just Another Word for the Wrath of God
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.Oh, so all the atrocities committed by the Europeans against the Native Americans are cool because it was just God getting his vengeance against the Lamanites for wiping out the pretty white Nephites. Joseph Smith's alternate history of the early Americas seems more and more to be simply an excuse for hating the Native Americans.
And if the Lamanites wiped out the Nephites a little after 400 AD, why would God wait more than a thousand years to punish them for it? It's not like any of the actual perpetrators of the crime were still alive.
See if you can follow verse 29:
And after these plain and precious things were taken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles; and after it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles, yeah, even across the many waters which thou has seen with the Gentiles which have gone forth out of captivity, thou seest--because of the many plain and precious things which have been taken out of the book, which were plain unto the understanding of the children of men, according to the plainness which is the Lamb of God--because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them.That's a lot of repetition, and it sounds to me like Joseph Smith is trying a little too hard to use chiasmus to bolster the historical accuracy of his writing. Only it doesn't break down like chiasmus at all. It doesn't work out to any kind of symmetrical construct. Instead, it goes deeper and deeper into a more complicated structure that never gets back to the first phrase to resolve itself.
Instead of going so far out of his way to try and create some convoluted parallelism to support his claim of the Book of Mormon's historical legitimacy, Smith probably could have just written the verse in a more straightforward fashion and avoided suspicions that the Book was simply written by a bad writer trying to recapture the style of the Bible:
And after these plain and precious things were taken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles; and because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them.There. That makes the same point that verse 29 made, only in less than half the time and without the confusion. And it illustrates more evidence that the Book of Mormon was poorly written instead of divinely inspired.