After Nephi explains that the problem lies generally in the false teaching that men should rely on their own wisdom rather than on God (2 Ne. 28: 4), he makes this claim as the significant defect in latter-day churches:
“[B]ehold, there is no God today, for his work, and he hath given his power unto men.” (2 Ne. 28: 5.)
The idea that the Redeemer no longer works directly with mankind is denounced. In its place we have men who pretend they have authority to replace the Redeemer, and to become the new, vicarious light to which men should look for their salvation.
When men have God’s power, and therefore can open or shut the doors of salvation for others, then men wielding this power command respect, power, wealth, political influence, and this world’s goods. Men desiring to have salvation will give everything, even their own souls into slavery, to men who hold such power.
Nephi lists this problem as the first great lie taught by latter-day gentile churches because it is so very pernicious. It kills those who believe it. They move their love of God to a worship of men.
Only the deceived will believe the Redeemer of mankind has given His power unto men. But, based on Nephi’s warnings, this false idea will control latter-day churches as one of the most successful deceptions.