I may choose to ignore anonymous comments. I consider this type of anonymity dishonest. Also, I don't post regularly. I post when I have something worth writing and something worth reading. I explain all this in: Don't Let Telling Tales Trip Up Your Truthfulness.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Antichrists in The Book of Mormon: Part 3: Nehor and Priestcraft

2 Nephi 26:29 gives us a definition of priestcraft:

He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.

The secular definition of priestcraft is a bit different.

Nehor is famous for priestcraft. I notice that Alma certainly knew about it and had a term for it. Usually, new phenomena require new terms. Alma did acknowledge this was the first time it had occurred amongst the Nephites, though.

We like to vilify the people who have instituted priestcraft, but surely they couldn't exist if people didn't believe them and support them. I think their audience is just as culpable as they are.

Priesthood is the antithesis of priestcraft. in Alma, chapter one we learn:

Nehor taught that church leaders should be popular and financially supported by the members and that everyone is saved regardless of how they behave in this life.

Nehor's success led him to to live high by wearing expensive clothing and to be proud of himself. He established his own church based on his teachings.

In the true priesthood, church leaders support themselves financially through their own labors. They do not sport expensive clothing but try and be neat an tidy. In the true gospel, leaders are no better than others and do not consider themselves so.

Repentance is crucial in the true gospel as is making right choices. In Nehor's view, none of that mattered. Nehor did not seem to acknowledge that sin existed.

There are plenty of modern day Nehors. The most obvious ones are the people that "call" themselves to the ministry, establish their own church and ask for money. A simple glance at all the televangelists will confirm this.

We'd be pretty blind if we couldn't identify these type of Nehors. However, I do think we might be taken in by the more subtle ones.

When I began this blog, I allowed advertising to be placed on it by Google. I was hoping that I would attract sufficient traffic to earn something from it. But, after careful thought and reflection, I removed it. I didn't want money to be my motivation. There were a host of other implications as well.

I decided it was unethical to make money off the Church, even if this was a personal blog. I didn't want my attempts at missionary service to hinge on money either.

The connection between making money off my religious blog and what Nehor did was just too close for my comfort.

Next week, I will discuss how other activities could be classified as priestcraft. The week after that, I'll discuss how we should avoid priestcraft in performing our church callings.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Antichrists in The Book of Mormon: Part 2: Nehor, the Man

If you are unfamiliar with the story of Nehor, please view the video above and read Alma 1:2-15.

First off, Nehor was "a man who was large, and was noted for his much strength."

Strength and stature have always appealed to people. If you examine any culture across the world and throughout time, you will see that no culture values wimps. But, we know that God judges differently. From 1 Samuel 16: 7.
But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
How much of Nehor's appeal was due to his physical appearance is hard to say. Nonetheless, it had an impact, or you can bet that the phrases would never have made it into the Book of Mormon.

Our modern culture celebrates physical appearance. Book of Mormon prophets are suggesting to us that we should not put undue value on it. Nehor slew Gideon who was an old man. Vanquishing a foe who is not your physical equal hardly evokes admiration, more likely contempt.

Besides, Gideon used words to contend with Nehor. Nehor resorted to physical attack instead of words. Nehor probably coud not have won a war of words with Gideon or anyone else. That is undoubtedly why he used other means. He did not fare well against Alma in a war of words.

There is a right and wrong way to respond to persecution. In Alma 1:22 we read
Nevertheless, there were many among them who began to be proud, and began to contend warmly with their adversaries, even unto blows; yea, they would smite one another with their fists.
No one should react to persecution, especially religious persecution, with physical force. If you do, then you are following Nehor's example.

Nehor's physical appearance should not have made his words appealing. His words should have been evaluated on their merit.

Ask yourself if you may judge others at church based on physical appearance.

Would you listen to an ugly Bishop as much as you would an attractive one? Do you tend to discount church guidance from individuals you find physically unappealing? If you do, unfortunately, you are not alone, however much you should be.

Remember Nehor's example the next time you dismiss someone because they are physically repugnant to you. Remember Nehor's example the next time you are swayed by physical strength or stature.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Antichrists in The Book of Mormon: Part 1: Introduction

In 1 John 2:22 we read:
Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
This series will examine the three antichrists in The Book of Mormon: Nehor, Korihor and Sherem.

We know that The Book of Mormon is an abridgment of more lengthy writings geared toward teaching us what we need to know for our day. It was written for us and our problems. In addition, since engraving was difficult, and no duplication was necessary for an abridgment, we have to conclude two important things.

First, the three antichrist's in The Book of Mormon are separate and distinct types of antichrists. Second, they may share the label of Anti-Christs but there are probably distinct lessons from all three. Otherwise Mormon wouldn't have included them all in his abridgment.

From the Bible Dictionary:
In a broader sense it is anyone or anything that counterfeits the true gospel or plan of salvation and that openly or secretly is set up in opposition to Christ. The great antichrist is Lucifer, but he has many assistants both as spirit beings and as mortals.
We normally think of antichrists as openly in opposition to Christ. However, it is possible to be secretly against Christ. I think one of The Book of Mormon antichrist's fits this definition as I will make plain in later posts.

Until next week . . .

Monday, November 7, 2011

Good Grief, I'm Un-Marriageable?!

People like to tell me I'm different, not the "typical" Mormon, whatever that is. I was typical, up until the time that most women were married and I wasn't. I think it was about age 24.

Until then, I fit all the stereotypes and I didn't stand out much. When I didn't marry young, I continued in school. Now, that made me different. And, it continues to make me different. I've got more formal schooling that anybody really needs. This is hard to admit, given how much money I've paid for it all.

Anyway, this posting isn't about all that though. It is simply a gripe. I thought I was doing exactly what Heavenly Father wanted me to but it ended up making me un-marriageable. By increasing my knowledge, skills and abilities I was less attractive to men.

I was above average in looks, so my un-marriageability cannot be blamed on physical attractiveness.

Most men don't want a highly educated, intelligent female. Well, at least they don't want that the first time around. The second time around General Authorities generally choose exactly that. But, we won't go there right now. Back to my own experience.

I think Church leaders had a responsibility to tell me that if I did all these things, I would become un-marriageable. It was my choice to do them, certainly.

I figure I deserved a warning, that's all.

In the Church, I don't think we do a good enough job of encouraging the young men to value what we are telling the young women to become.

I found my man, though. And, he LIKES strong, competent women, always has. He is proud of me, my education, and everything I know and do. But, he's a rare bird. Most women cannot bank on finding such a gem.

I'm glad I did though.

Note: I was 35 years old when I did get married.

Update: Okay, I can't resist. Apparently, I am the topic of conversation on Zionlist. It is pretty amusing to read all the comments and speculation about ME and not about the point I was trying to make.

My main point is:  I don't think we do a good enough job of encouraging the young men to value what we are telling the young women to become.

I would suggest that the people discussing my post on Zionlist or elsewhere stop speculating about me and simply examine my statement for truth or falsehood.

The comment can stand on it's own. Examining who said it isn't really relevant to whether or not the statement itself is accurate.

But, in the interests of full disclosure I will reveal a little bit more about myself and where I'm coming from by telling a small story.

I graduated in August with my B.A. from BYU. Three weeks later I started graduate school and became a "graduate student." I was astonished at the effect this had upon men. All of a sudden I was getting very different reactions from them socially and the difference in me was only three weeks. This and other experiences have reinforced the statement I made.

Formal education was always Plan B for me. No one that knew me as single ever thought I was intentionally postponing marriage. This assumption only surfaced in people after I got married.

My hubby didn't serve a mission on the moon. He's a convert. He would never pose for underwear ads. I think he is smarter than me although I have more formal schooling.

He valued smart, competent women before he ever became Mormon. He intentionally dated them when he was young and after he got divorced.