(This article was adapted from my new book, The Three Pillars of Zion. Click here to receive a free sample.)
Through eyes of a seer, Moroni gazed into the future and saw our day in detail. He wrote, “Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.”
Then Moroni described latter-day Babylon as if he were a modern-day journalist:
And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts. For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.[i]
Moroni’s vision was essentially the same vision as that seen by Jesus, Paul, and John the Revelator. Moroni foresaw pervasive pride, attention to fashion, envy, strife, malice, persecution, iniquity, and polluted churches, which are actual religious institutions and the philosophies of men, all of which are worshipped and followed devoutly.
Saints will embrace in Babylon
Sadly, Moroni reported, these conditions would exist among the Saints, whose fascination with Babylon would defile the holy church of God:
O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world?”
Moreover, Moroni said that our embracing Babylon while professing Zion would serve to persecute, rank, alienate, and maltreat the less fortunate among us: “Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?”
Frighteningly, he noted that some Saints would adopt Babylon’s strategy of sinful secret dealings to get rich. Their selfish attitude toward money would hold the vulnerable and poor in captivity:
Yea, why do ye build up your secret abominations to get gain, and cause that widows should mourn before the Lord, and also orphans to mourn before the Lord, and also the blood of their fathers and their husbands to cry unto the Lord from the ground, for vengeance upon your heads?” Unless we Saints repent and flee Babylon, we will suffer her fate: “Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer.[ii]
A Day of Immense Wickedness and Contentions
Moroni described latter-day Babylon as “a day when the blood of saints shall cry unto the Lord, because of secret combinations and the works of darkness. Yea, it shall come in a day when the power of God shall be denied, and churches become defiled and be lifted up in the pride of their hearts; yea, even in a day when leaders of churches and teachers shall rise in the pride of their hearts, even to the envying of them who belong to their churches.”
Beyond the preponderance of latter-day secret combinations, denials of the power of God, and myriad competing churches and man-made philosophies that are built up to get gain, Babylon boasts one continual scene of natural disasters and war: “Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be heard of fires, and tempests, and vapors of smoke in foreign lands; and there shall also be heard of wars, rumors of wars, and earthquakes in divers places.”
Moreover, Babylon is a place and condition of “great pollutions,” both physical and spiritual: “Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth.” Every conceivable sin abounds: “There shall be murders, and robbing, and lying, and deceivings, and whoredoms [every form of sexual sin], and all manner of abominations.”
Babylon is a place and condition of apathy and lack of accountability to God: “Many . . . will say, Do this, or do that, and it mattereth not, for the Lord will uphold such at the last day. But wo unto such, for they are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity.”[iii]
Babylon as a Counter-religion
As we recall, the word church, in Babylonian terms, means both a religious institution and a worshipped philosophy of man, anything that we worship other than God, whose leaders and teachers are those to whom we give our allegiance in place of God. Therefore, for example, Moroni prophesied: “Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be churches built up that shall say: Come unto me, and for your money you shall be forgiven of your sins.”[iv]
Beyond spawning many corrupt religious institutions and man-made philosophies, Babylon promotes the attitude of entitlement, the doctrines that having money equals personal goodness, and that money exalts its owner above those of lesser fortunes. In the process, Zion’s equality, unity, and oneness become nonexistent.
To achieve her goals, Babylon first focuses her disciples on seeking riches for self-serving purposes; then she soothes their consciences with the lie that God will favor or at least wink at the rich (because they are rich, they warrant God’s favor, they are told), and eventually He will usher them into heaven where more riches await. This is false doctrine. Hugh Nibley notes, “God recognizes only one justification for seeking wealth, and that is with the express intent of helping the poor (Jacob 2:19).”[v]
Moroni offered no comfort to those who espouse such Babylonian attitudes: “O ye wicked and perverse and stiffnecked people, why have ye built up churches [worshipped philosophies] unto yourselves to get gain? Why have ye transfigured [reinvented] the holy word of God, that ye might bring damnation upon your souls?”[vi] Clearly, Babylon wants money so badly that she will ignore or wrest the scriptures to justify her actions.
The Fall of Babylon
Babylon is like a cancer: her presence is destructive to the system. She is an unwelcomed intruder that must be excised completely, or she will overwhelm and kill her host. Babylon can be neither converted nor saved. Total annihilation is the only answer. “We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.”[vii]
Other prophets have weighed in on Babylon and its future. For example, Nephi foresaw the absolute demise of latter-day Babylon (a.k.a., the great and abominable church): “Behold, that great and abominable church, the whore of all the earth, must tumble to the earth, and great must be the fall thereof. For the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance, or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger, and perish.”[viii] Unfortunately, many people who are aware of these scriptures will still choose to wait it out, then try to jump ship to Zion at the very last minute.
We should take to heart these prophecies. Babylon and Zion do not mix. Zion merged with even a little bit of Babylon is no longer Zion. For Zion to be Zion—a Zion person, a Zion family, or a Zion priesthood community—there can be no hint of Babylon. Hugh Nibley writes:
Zion is pure, which means ‘not mixed with any impurities, unalloyed’; it is all Zion and nothing else. . . . It is all pure—it is a society, a community, and an environment into which no unclean thing can enter. ‘Henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean’ (3 Nephi 20:36). It is not even pure people in a dirty environment, or pure people with a few impure ones among them; it is the perfectly pure in a perfectly pure environment.[ix]
If we partake of Babylon or embrace her teachings in any degree, we are not Zion, and we will suffer Babylon’s fate.
John’s Prophecy of Babylon’s Fall
In the chapter 18 of the Revelation of John, the apostle saw a powerful angel descend from heaven, “and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils.” John lists five reasons for Babylon’s fall:
- Illicit relationships, interactions, and transactions that bring power and wealth. Described as “fornication,” these universally accepted things stand contrary to the Covenant.
- The intolerable sin of wealth-seeking: “and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies”
- Pride: “How much she hath glorified herself”
- Excess and selfishness: “[Babylon] lived deliciously”
- Ignoring the underprivileged: “I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.” But enough is too much: “her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.”
The first angel’s voice is now joined by a voice from heaven, which is directed at the Saints: “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” This merciful warning is dire; the Lord has undertaken to judge Babylon, and neither she nor the people who remain in her will be able to withstand his judgment: “Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.”
The reference to a sudden and astonishing fall is repeated throughout the prophecy:
- “…in one day”
- “Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come”
- “For in one hour so great riches is come to nought”
- “…in one hour is she made desolate.”
Babylon’s fall will be violent and permanent: “Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.”
The wicked, who have loved Babylon, will greatly miss her; their reaction will be widespread mourning: “And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for the fear of her torment.”
The world’s economy will collapse, and those who have bought and sold will never recover: “And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more.”
John then records the words of a voice from heaven, as if it were speaking directly to Babylon, saying, “All things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.” Then viewing the merchants, the voice adds, “The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, and saying, Alas, alas.”
But the merchants are not the only ones to mourn. The fall of Babylon is lamented by everyone who has remained within her precincts:
And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, and cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What [city is] like unto this great city! And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.
Then a mighty angel assesses the extent of the destruction:
And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; and the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee.
No more of the world’s music and art; no more worldly crafts; no more worldly manufacturing. Babylon’s light has been snuffed out forever, and the world mourns, “For thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.”
But Zion’s hour has come at last. While the people of Babylon mourn, the people of Zion rejoice. “Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.” Clearly, we have a choice: we can remain in Babylon, suffer her plagues and mourn, or we can come to Zion, obtain safety in the Covenant, and rejoice.
Nephi’s Vision of Babylon’s Fall
According to Nephi, the fall of Babylon will be “exceedingly great.”[x] Babylon will be destroyed “speedily; . . . it shall be at an instant, suddenly.”[xi] Lehi’s foundationless “great and spacious building” that “stood as it were in the air, high above the earth” will collapse, to the astonishment and fear of the world. Then a voice from heaven will be heard: “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit.”[xii]
Moreover, when Babylon, “the glory of kingdoms,” falls, it “shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.” That is, Babylon will be so fully eradicated that “it shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation; . . . her time is near to come, and her day shall not be prolonged. For I will destroy her speedily; yea, for I will be merciful unto my people, but the wicked shall perish.”[xiii]
Joseph Smith’s Revelation on the Fall of Babylon
Speaking to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord said,
Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord. And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord; first among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord.
The Saints are not exempt. Those Saints who hold to Babylon and its philosophies will suffer the consequences of Babylon’s fall. Either we must decide to be safe in Zion or defenseless in Babylon. To the extent that we dabble with Babylon we are vulnerable.
Given the mountain of irrefutable evidence that the foundation of Babylon is cracking, we would be well served to reconsider our allegiance to the principles Zion and flock to her safety.
This article was adapted from my new book, The Three Pillars of Zion. Click here to receive a free sample. Use the code Meridian to receive a 20% discount.
[i] Mormon 8:35–37.
[ii] Mormon 8:38–41; emphasis added.
[iii] Mormon 8:27–31.
[iv] Mormon 8:32.
[v] Nibley, Approaching Zion, 53.
[vi] Mormon 8:33.
[vii] Jeremiah 51:9.
[viii] 2 Nephi 28:18–19.
[ix] Nibley, Approaching Zion, 26–27.
[x] 1 Nephi 11:35–36; 12:18.
[xi] 2 Nephi 26:18.
[xii] Revelation 18:2.
[xiii] 2 Nephi 23:19–22.
[xiv] D&C 112:24–26.