17 Evidences of the Devil’s Church
By: Michael Flournoy
One of the most intriguing topics The Book of Mormon covers is the church of the devil. There has been some speculation from LDS leaders in the past over what constitutes this abominable church and guesses have ranged from the government to Catholicism. However, the current LDS position is the church of Satan is any doctrine or organization that fights against their church.
George Q. Cannon said,
“And to-day, those who are inciting mobs against this people; those who go to Congress, and incite persecutions against us; those who fulminate threats and frame petitions; those who meet together in conventions; those who gather together in conferences, are those who belong to this ‘mother of abominations,’ this ‘whore of all the earth,’ and it is through the influence of that accursed whore, that they gather together and marshal their forces in every land against the Latter-day Saints, the Church of the living God.”
(George Q. Cannon, “PREDICTIONS IN THE BOOK OF MORMON, etc.,” (April 6, 1884) Journal of Discourses 25:128.)
However, if you read the passages in the Standard Works that deal with this subject, they’re too specific to account for every anti-Mormon movement or false religion. As I’ve studied the abominable church and pieced together the signs, The Book of Mormon seems to point to a specific organization, one that is thriving at this very moment.
The Book of Mormon draws a parallel between the church of the devil and the secret society of Gadianton, since both are founded by the Devil. The Pearl of Great Price explains that Satan created this organization at the very beginning (see Moses 5:51). Its presence is evidence of a culture that is ripe for destruction.
Surely the world we live in today is a conducive environment for such an organization. So ask yourself, what would the church of the devil look like if it was here right now? Would it blatantly refer to itself as The Church of Satan, or would it mimic Christianity? Would its members be hateful and barbaric, or successful and articulate?
Thankfully, The Book of Mormon has given 17 clues to assist in our endeavor to identify the abominable church. So grab your magnifying glass and join me as I solve the mystery: who is the devil’s church?
#1. It emerges from the Gentile nations.
In 1 Nephi 13:4 we read:
“And it came to pass that I saw among the nations of the Gentiles the formation of a great church.”
Could The Book of Mormon be hinting at the Protestant reformation that started in Germany with Martin Luther and spread to France with John Calvin?
Or perhaps another modern organization fits the bill, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses or Scientology that had their beginnings in the United States?
The brush here is so large that it could even include the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since it started in the U.S. and spread to England and Canada. In fact, the only thing we can definitively say is what the abominable church isn’t, and that’s Judaism. Let’s move on.
#2. Its Members Will Be Well Dressed
1 Nephi 13:7-8 says:
“And I also saw gold, and silver, and silks, and scarlets, and fine-twined linen, and all manner of precious clothing; and I saw many harlots.
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.”
If there’s one thing this passage makes clear, the great and abominable church is not some casual, sandal-wearing Evangelical church. Its members will be known for their fashionable attire. They will probably wear dress shoes, skirts, and suits to church.
#3. It Will Be Widespread
1 Nephi 14:11 has this to say about the cursed church:
“And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.”
This is not some obscure faith, secluded in the mountains of Tibet. The religion the text refers to will be known throughout the world. It will penetrate every continent, visit every clime, and sweep every country.
#4. It Will Speak In All Tongues
The Book of Mormon teaches that the church of the devil will have dominion over every tongue and people. To do that, they will need to spread their message in every language.
Their missionaries will have special training in learning new languages. Their scriptures and pamphlets will also be translated into innumerable languages.
#5. It Will Have Political Power
For this organization to have dominion, they will need political prowess. Like the Gadianton Robbers, their members will sit in high ranking government seats.
When we think of a political church, Catholicism immediately comes to mind since it used to reign over entire nations. However, smaller churches can have great influence too. This link details the political victories of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
#6. It Will Be Wealthy
According to The Book of Mormon, this church will have its heart set on silver and gold (1 Nephi 13:7-8). It is likely that this organization will have millions, if not billions of dollars stashed away.
#7. It Will Have False Prophets and Apostles
Matthew 24:24 (NKJV) says:
“For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (NKJV) expounds on this, calling these false authorities Satan’s ministers:
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.”
If we add the New Testament account to what The Book of Mormon says (3 Nephi 14:15), we see that the church of the devil will not overtly appear evil. It will mimic Christianity and will seem righteous to the outside world.
It will even boast prophets and apostles who hold the power to perform miracles. Because they seem like agents of light, many will be deceived into obeying them.
#8. It Will Have Ornate Buildings
In 1 Nephi 8, Nephi sees a vision of an iron rod leading people to the tree of life. In verses 26-27 he records:
“And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth.
And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit.”
It could be argued that the great and spacious building is merely metaphorical, but since the fine material worn by the devil’s minions is literal, we can argue that the great and spacious building is literal as well.
After all, the members of this great church care deeply about appearances, so why wouldn’t they worship in grand structures? Since the building rests above the earth, it could symbolize a construct that the members consider holy.
#9. They Will Have Secret Signs and Tokens
Helaman 6:22 has this to say about the Gadianton Robbers:
“And it came to pass that they did have their signs, yea, their secret signs, and their secret words; and this that they might distinguish a brother who had entered into the covenant, that whatsoever wickedness his brother should do he should not be injured by his brother, nor by those who did belong to his band, who had taken this covenant.”
Since the Gadianton Robbers had secret tokens and words, so will the church of the devil. An example of a token could be a special handshake. Secret words could be new names or a whole phrase like, “Health in the navel, marrow to the bones.”
#10. They Will Make Oaths and Covenants
Regarding the secret society of Gadianton, Helaman 6:21 states:
“But behold, Satan did stir up the hearts of the more part of the Nephites, insomuch that they did unite with those bands of robbers, and did enter into their covenants and their oaths, that they would protect and preserve one another in whatsoever difficult circumstances they should be placed, that they should not suffer for their murders, and their plunderings, and their stealings.”
The church of the devil will be a covenant people. One covenant they make will be to protect one another. This is strikingly similar to the covenant Latter-day Saints make in temples, where they vow to give everything to the defense of the church, even their own lives if necessary.
#11. It Will Have Demonic Influences
Since the devil is the founder of this church (1 Nephi 13:6), there will be evidence of demonic influences. Occult items like Ouija boards, tarot cards, and seer stones might be part of its history or Satanic symbols could be hidden in its architecture.
Its scripture will be like the whisper of a familiar spirit, or in other words, a demon. Interestingly enough, The Book of Mormon makes this claim about itself in 2 Nephi 26:16, which says:
“For those who shall be destroyed shall speak unto them out of the ground, and their speech shall be low out of the dust, and their voice shall be as one that hath a familiar spirit; for the Lord God will give unto him power, that he may whisper concerning them, even as it were out of the ground; and their speech shall whisper out of the dust.”
#12. It Will Practice Priestcraft
Just the mention of priestcraft gives Latter-day Saints a feeling of foreboding. They inherently believe that requiring payment to hear the gospel is Satanic even though scripture never actually lists it as a practice of the devil’s church.
2 Nephi 10:5 claims that Jesus was crucified because of priestcraft. If that’s true, it doesn’t get any more evil than that. There can be no doubt that the abominable church would institute such a practice.
Surely the LDS church wouldn’t engage in priestcraft, right?
Actually, it would. And it has. In 2017 the MormonLeaks website released pay stubs for Henry B. Eyering, one of the twelve apostles.
Gordon B. Hinkley, when explaining the stipend given to leaders, made it clear that it does not come from tithing funds. He said,
“Merchandising interests are an outgrowth of the cooperative movement which existed among our people in pioneer times. The Church has maintained certain real estate holdings, particularly those contiguous to Temple Square, to help preserve the beauty and the integrity of the core of the city. All of these commercial properties are tax-paying entities.
I repeat, the combined income from all of these business interests is relatively small and would not keep the work going for longer than a very brief period.
I should like to add, parenthetically for your information, that the living allowances given the General Authorities, which are very modest in comparison with executive compensation in industry and the professions, come from this business income and not from the tithing of the people.”
(Gordon B. Hinckley, “Questions and Answers,” Ensign (November 1985), 49.)
Why does it matter if their pay comes from tithing? Quite simply, that crosses the line into priestcraft. Would it surprise you to find that LDS leaders were at one point paid with tithing?
Historian D. Michael Quinn stated,
“In the nineteenth-century West, local officers of the LDS church obtained their support from the tithing they collected. As early as 1859, Brigham Young wondered “whether a Stake would not be better governed when none of the officers were paid for their services.” During Brigham Young’s presidency, ward bishops drew at will from the primarily non-cash tithing Mormons donated. President Young complained at the October 1860 general conference “against a principle in many of the Bishops to use up all the tithing they could for their own families.”
Even full-time missionaries benefited from tithing funds in the nineteenth century. The senior president of the First Council of Seventy commented in 1879 that the families of married missionaries should be supported from tithing funds. However, at best that practice barely kept struggling wives and children out of abject poverty while their husbands and fathers served two-year missions.
“In 1884, Church President John Taylor limited bishops to 8 percent of the tithing they collected (now primarily cash), while stake presidents got 2 percent of the tithing collected by all the bishops of the stake. In 1888, Wilford Woodruff established set salaries for stake presidents, and provided that a stake committee would apportion 10 percent of collected tithing between the bishops and the stake tithing clerk. At the April 1896 general conference, the First Presidency announced the end of salaries for local officers, in response to the decision of the temple meeting ‘to not pay Salaries to any one but the twelve.'”
(D. Michael Quinn, “LDS Church Finances from the 1830’s to the 1990’s”, Sunstone Magazine, June 1996, p.21; audio presentation January 1, 1992)
But perhaps the LDS definition of priestcraft is too small. 1 Nephi 13:8 lists silver and gold among the desires of the church of the devil. One must ask in light of this why the Mormon church seems so adamant about making money.
The LDS church even built the City Creek Center, a 1.6 billion dollar investment. It’s commonplace for churches to build schools, orphanages, and hospitals, but why does a church build a mall, unless its heart is set on riches?
According to the Wall Street Journal, the LDS church has amassed a whopping 100 billion dollars and has stock in Apple, Chevron, Visa, JPMorgan Chase, Home Depot, Amazon, and Google.
#13. It Will Oppress the Poor
Helaman 6:39 says:
“And thus they did obtain the sole management of the government, insomuch that they did trample under their feet and smite and rend and turn their backs upon the poor and the meek, and the humble followers of God.”
We can be certain that the LDS church would never sink this low. Well, not overtly. Like many false religions, it demands “tithing” from its members, teaching that it’s a commandment from God. But watch televangelist Kenneth Copeland demand tithing from his members, and it becomes clear that false preachers have no problem swindling their members for money under the banner of tithing.
Would the church of the devil institute tithing to hide their money laundering behind a facade of obedience? Without a doubt. This giving would have a sense of urgency. Leadership would follow up with the members to make sure they were paying. It would be mandatory, no matter what the finances of the members looked like. This coercive church would also avoid transparency about its finances.
Elder Valeri V. Cordón of the Seventy said,
“After some events related to a civil war in Central America, my father’s business went bankrupt. He went from about 200 full-time employees to fewer than five sewing operators who worked as needed in the garage of our home. One day during those difficult times, I heard my parents discussing whether they should pay tithing or buy food for the children.”
(Elder Valeri V. Cordón, April 2017 Conference, “The Language of the Gospel.”)
How is this even a question? A better question is, does a good organization emphasize paying tithing at the cost of your children’s lives? Does it make tithing a requirement to enter the temple to receive saving ordinances? This use of tithing can only amount to one thing: priestcraft at the expense of the poor.
This isn’t the only instance of Latter-day Saints turning their backs on the poor. In 2013 a bishop named David Musselman went to his ward disguised as a homeless man.
He stood outside the church building wishing congregants a happy Thanksgiving, and while some were polite, he was approached by a number of members who told him this was not the place for charity, and demanded that he leave.
Some might argue that this was just one ward. However, this random sampling constitutes 100% of the wards it has been tried in. To sweep it under the rug is to ignore what is certainly a widespread issue.
#14. It Yokes the Saints With Iron
1 Nephi 13:5 explains that the abominable church binds the saints with a yoke of iron. What does that look like? Lots of hard work? Salvation dependent on obedience?
Let me paint a picture of an iron yoke for you. An iron yoke is believing that God can’t save you in your sins. It’s believing that you must constantly repent and be better than you were the day before. It’s being so tied down with meetings that you never see your family. It’s a full-time ministry that you don’t get paid a cent for.
An iron yoke is having to find whole mornings or afternoons to go to the temple. It’s being told you can only wear one set of earrings and you can’t drink beer, coffee, or tea. It’s being told your dress can’t show your shoulders, and if men lust after you it’s your fault.
It’s being told where to go to church, and when. It’s being so steeped in family tradition that when it’s time to go on a mission, you don’t have a choice. Then, when you go on the mission the rules are so strict that they include when to wake up and go to bed. What you read and watch is restricted to a handful of church promotion materials.
It’s being told it’s unacceptable to criticize the leaders, even when the criticism is true. An iron yoke is having to do genealogy for your dead ancestors and not being able to shop or get lunch on Sundays.
When a musical number is done during worship and you can’t make a sound afterwards, that’s an example of a church that muzzles its members and yokes them in iron.
#15. It Diminishes the Gospel
1 Nephi 13:26-27 says:
And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of that great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away.
And all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men.
In context, this passage is talking about the devil’s church tampering with the Holy Bible. While Latter-day Saints haven’t physically removed parts from the Bible, they’ve diminished it in other ways.
The most obvious of these is the addition of new scripture. Every time the canon grows the Bible becomes diluted, in the same way a pitcher of lemonade is diluted when water is added.
A Mormon would argue that they are adding lemonade to the pitcher of lemonade, but that’s not true, since what’s added contradicts the Bible.
For example, John 4:24 says God is spirit, but Doctrine and Covenants 130:22 says the Father and Son have bodies of flesh and bone. Ephesians 2:8 says grace is a gift from God, but Doctrine and Covenants 130:20-21 says all blessings must be earned through obedience. Romans 4:5 says God justifies the ungodly, but the Joseph Smith Translation changes the verse to say God justifies not the ungodly.
If that wasn’t bad enough, The Book of Mormon claims that the Bible is so corrupted that “an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them.” (1 Nephi 13:29)
This essentially makes the Bible a tool of Satan. This may not constitute a physical removal of plain and precious doctrines, but it’s just as bad, if not worse. LDS scripture and leadership are seen as a fix to the Bible so it can’t be trusted to speak for itself.
#16. It Employs Deceit
Ether 8:16 says, among other things, that the Gadianton Robbers would lie. It’s not surprising that an organization founded by the devil would use deception and it’s safe to assume the abominable church would behave the same way.
Unfortunately, lying runs rampant in the LDS church. As a Mormon missionary I was taught to teach line upon line and precept upon precept, but actually I was just withholding information that would scare investigators away.
BYU professor Robert Millett instructed a class of future missionaries to avoid antagonistic questions. He said, among other things, “Don’t answer the question they ask, answer the question they should have asked.”
There has been a growing tendency for Mormons to mimic Protestant Christianity by using the same words but meaning different things. For example, the LDS will say they believe they’re saved by grace. But to them “saved” means resurrected and grace is an enabling power. They’ll speak of heaven but forgo explanation that there are three degrees of heaven in their theology.
The ploy to seem like any other Christian church is an attempt to get unsuspecting victims to lower their guard so they can slowly be inoculated with LDS doctrine. According to 2 Nephi 26:21-23, this is exactly how the devil operates:
“And there are many churches built up which cause envyings, and strifes, and malice.
And there are also secret combinations, even as in times of old, according to the combinations of the devil, for he is the founder of all these things; yea, the founder of murder, and works of darkness; yea, and he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever.
For behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you that the Lord God worketh not in darkness.”
#17. It Fights Against the Lamb of God
1 Nephi 14:13 claims that the abominable church will fight against Christ. It says:
“And it came to pass that I beheld that the great mother of abominations did gather together multitudes upon the face of all the earth, among all the nations of the Gentiles, to fight against the Lamb of God.”
While the LDS church isn’t physically persecuting Christians, many of its leaders have taken to the podium to speak out against Jesus, His atonement, and His followers.
It all started with Joseph Smith’s first vision. He claimed he was visited by God the Father and Jesus as he prayed in a grove of trees. When he asked which Christian sect to join he “was answered that [he] must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed [him] 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.'” (Joseph Smith- History 1:19)
The LDS church teaches that the church Jesus established fell into a complete apostasy and needed to be restored. But that’s not what the Bible teaches.
In Matthew 16:17-18 (NKJV), when Peter confesses that Jesus is the Christ, the Lord replies,
“Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”
It should be noted that Jesus remains the subject throughout the passage. When He says, “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you”, He’s referring to Peter’s proclamation that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God. A moment later when he says “on this rock I will build my church,” He is still referring to Himself, and the proof comes when he affirms that the church will not be prevailed against. If the church was balanced on the decaying rock of man’s priesthood, it would have crumbled apart. But Jesus can confidently say Hades will not prevail, because the rock He speaks of is unmovable.
This is why the doctrine of an apostasy is so insidious. To claim the church fell away is to assert that Jesus is not the Christ.
Spencer W. Kimball, an LDS prophet, wrote the following:
“One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation. Along with all the other works necessary for man’s exaltation in the kingdom of God this could rule out the need for repentance. It could give license for sin and, since it does not require man to work out his salvation, could accept instead lip service, death-bed ‘repentance,’ and shallow, meaningless confession of sin.”
(Spencer W. Kimball, “The Miracle of Forgiveness, P. 101, 1969)
Again, this is contrary to what the Bible actually teaches. Romans 4:3-5 (NKJV) states:
“For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV) goes on to say:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
The Bible clearly teaches that grace is a gift from God that justifies us freely despite our ungodliness. Could this doctrine really have originated with Satan? No. We must conclude that Mormonism promotes a false Christ and rejects the Biblical Jesus.
Russell M. Nelson, the current LDS prophet, had this to say about the atonement:
“Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all mankind, even as many as will, shall be redeemed. The Savior began shedding His blood for all mankind, not on the cross but in the Garden of Gethsemane. There He took upon Himself the weight of the sins of all who would ever live. Under that heavy load, He bled at every pore”
(Russell M. Nelson, “The Message: His Mission and Ministry,” New Era magazine, December 1999, pp. 4, 6).
This statement subtly siphons away the power of the cross. This attitude is prevalent among Latter-day Saints. They view the cross as a barbaric murder weapon, or a necessary evil that merely falls under the shadow of Gethsemane’s glory.
However, in John 10:17-18 (NKJV) Jesus says,
“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”
In other words, Jesus wasn’t murdered. He went to the cross of His own volition, in obedience to His Father. Paul explains further in Colossians 1:19-20 (NKJV):
“For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”
It was on the cross that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins and imputed His righteousness to the faithful. To teach anything else is to promote a false gospel.
After examining The Book of Mormon’s claims about the devil’s church, there is only one religion that fits all 17 points, and that is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
If you’re a Latter-day Saint reading this, you’re probably shaking your head or your fists, thinking the author is anti and it only proves your church is true. However, my conclusions didn’t emerge from my biases, but from your scripture. All I did was share facts showing your church matches the description of the church of the devil.
If you want to discredit me, that’s fine. But I implore you to examine your church more carefully. Truth isn’t afraid to challenge itself. If you love the truth, you will set aside your feelings and look deeper.
If you won’t examine your church with an open mind, you can’t claim to care about truth. If you make an excuse or dismiss my points out of hand, you’re no different from a cultist. Either way, you confirm everything I’ve said.