There is a revealing contrast between how Nephi answer’s the spirit’s query “what desirest thou?” and the description of the desires of the great and abominable church and those in it.
Nephi’s desire is to see the things that his father saw. He wants to know divine truth and seek righteousness. Twice in his narrative, he has described praying and seeing confirmation of the truth of what his father taught him. He wanted to “see, and hear, and know . . . by the power of the Holy Ghost.” Nephi’s overwhelming desire was thus to know the will of God. Nephi’s pursuit of righteousness and knowledge are shown to be at the core of his righteous behavior.
In contrast, the abominable church and its members desire gold and silver, precious clothing and harlots. In other words, the chief desires of the those who find their way to the great and spacious building are the pleasurable things of the world. Likewise, they desire “the praise of the world” which is what turns them to persecuting the members of the Church of God. These twin desires of pleasure and prestige are at the core of the wickedness of the Church. These desires corrupt and drive individuals away from the true church and into the arms of the whore of Babylon.
Nephi’s dream thus illustrates the importance of the spirit’s question. What we desire ultimately dictates what we receive and where we end up. If must truly desire the things of God more than the things of the world, or else the allure of the great and spacious building with its offer of pleasure and prestige will leave us stuck in Babylon.