4 And it came to pass that I saw among the nations of the Gentiles the formation of a great church.
5 And the angel said unto me: Behold the formation of a church which is most abominable above all other churches, which slayeth the saints of God, yea, and tortureth them and bindeth them down, and yoketh them with a yoke of iron, and bringeth them down into captivity.
6 And it came to pass that I beheld this great and abominable church; and I saw the devil that he was the founder of it.
7 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.
8 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.
9 And also for the praise of the world do they destroy the saints of God, and bring them down into captivity.
When I first read this passage at the age of nine, I immediately thought of the Roman Catholic Church. After all, they have a relatively bloody early history, having launched crusades and inquisitions, and sold indulgences (come unto me and for your money I will forgive you of your sins). But history also shows that the Roman Catholic Church began to clean up its act after Martin Luther launched the Reformation, and today, with the exception of the pedophile priest scandal, the Roman Catholic Church is generally a force for good.
There's also another reason why I don't believe the Roman Catholic Church qualifies as The Great And Abominable Church. Verses in 1 Nephi 14 state there will be effectively only two churches in the latter days:
9 And it came to pass that he said unto me: Look, and behold that great and abominable church, which is the mother of abominations, whose founder is the devil.
10 And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the bother is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.
11 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 ball the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.
12 And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw.
13 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.
14 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.
15 And it came to pass that I beheld that the wrath of God was poured out upon that great and abominable church, insomuch that there were wars and rumors of wars among all the nations and kindreds of the earth.
In this case, "two churches" may be descriptive of two different worldwide socio-political systems preparing to clash head on. Verse 13 seems to refer to Joseph Smith's 1844 Prophecy, which implies a global invasion of the United States led by Russia and China. In addition, the "church of the Lamb of God" may not necessarily be exclusively Mormon; included in its ranks will be men and women of good will who worship differently, but they will share prevailing LDS values on marriage, sexuality, and culture.
The LDS Church takes no official position on the prospective identity of the "great and abominable church". Some early Saints such as Orson Pratt and Bruce R. McConkie opined that the Roman Catholic Church fit the description, but this reference was removed from the second edition of McConkie's Mormon Doctrine.
It appears that one component of the future "church of the devil" is manifesting itself right now. Israel has been battling this malevolent force since 1948. America was spectacularly victimized by this evil on September 11th, 2001. And right now, Nigeria is being victimized by this force. It's called Islam, and Satan is firmly in the driver's seat. Just as Communism was the great evil of the 20th century, so Islam is becoming the great evil of the 21st century. Whether it's Mali, Nigeria, Chechnya, wherever Islam goes, barbarity and death inevitably follow. Although not all Muslims are evil, Islam infrastructurally has become a cancer upon humanity. It's time to be truthful about Islam; we cannot effectively fight an enemy if we lie about it. Nigeria is the last straw.