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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.


1 comment:

  1. I've become leery of doing anything for the sole purpose of making money. You really can't serve two masters.

    I read an old Anglican prayer for "deliverance from the service of Mammon" and realized I should be praying for a better understanding of what "having enough" means. I'm having a hard time learning that lesson, though.

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