The Trial and Death of Nehor

Nehor slays Gideon, probably in front of a lot of people, the people took him to Alma to be judged of his crimes.

Satan is all about not having control. Seems like he succeeded in lowering Nehor’s self control considerably. I mean he just killed a man for disagreeing with him. I wrote about at what point do you stop people who are teaching false doctrine while doing it according to their belief. I think the answer is right here. The point you draw the line is when their beliefs result in crimes. You can’t persecute someone for what they believe in, but you can prosecute crimes. Based off what happens with that, the false doctrine teaching may take care of itself once people realize that this is not something good. But like I said, only prosecute people for crimes, not religion.

Trial

Verse 11 says that Nehor pleaded for himself with much boldness. I would like to have sat in on this conversation. I take “pleaded with much boldness” to mean that he gave a very convincing case for why he should be let go. I’ve met people like this. They are scary good at it. They can take anything they have done wrong and spin it in a way to make it sound like they haven’t done anything. The reason I think they are able to convince people is because it’s so inviting. I think people are naturally inclined to listen to complex arguments and get caught up in the details. And that’s where the people get convinced. Because the person giving the detail and arguments knows them better than the listener. Because of that, If the listener follows, the arguer wins because the listener most likely can’t keep up. The way to overcome this issue is don’t get caught up in THEIR details. You know what they did. That’s enough. You have to keep your mind higher, more aloft, rather than descending down to their level of nitty-gritty twist and turn details.

I wonder if Alma was incredulous at hearing this guy talk. Here he is, just having killed a man, and now he is reasoning for his release. I wonder if Alma thought, “Does this guy really think he can walk away from this unscathed? Does he not realize he just killed a man?” I think Nehor’s answer would have been yes. He really did think he could walk away without punishment. Partly out of cockiness but also out of self-deception. he was aware that he had killed a man, but I don’t think that bothered him too much since he probably justified doing it in his head. To quote the Book of Mormon institute manual, Nehor was,   “A clever criminal who used his freedom to cloak his crimes.” That kind of goes along with what I was saying earlier. You wouldn’t relized that if you were caught up in his reasons for release. Have to lofty-minded. Alma recognized this and wasn’t fooled by his forked tongue. He tells him what he did. Doesn’t beat around the bush. Doesn’t acknowledge his argument. Just tells him how it is. I want to copy in what Alma’s reply is because it’s good.

“Behold, this is the first time that priestcraft has been introduced among this people. And behold, thou art not only guilty of priestcraft, but thou hast endeavored to enforce it by the sword; and were priestcraft to be enforced among this people it would prove their entire destruction. And thou hast shed the blood of a righteous man, yea, a man who has done much good among this people; and were we to spare thee his blood would come upon us for vengeance. Therefore thou art condemned to die, according to the law which has ben given us by Mosiah, our last king, and it has been acknowledged by this people; therefore his people must abide by his law.”

Straight to the point right? He doesn’t waste any time in telling him that he is guilty.

What is Priestcraft?

One thing I was trying to do yesterday was find the definition of priestcraft. Because I’m not sure what it means. I tried looking in my english dictionary and it’s not there. I tried looking under the subject index of the Book of Mormon and D&C institute manuals but it isn’t there either. Maybe it’s under something else? I’ll keep looking. It may be in the Bible Dictionary. I know there is a section on priestcraft in the topical guide. That may be my best bet. I looked through the author index of the Book of Mormon institute manual but there wasn’t anything in there on priestcraft. I thumbed through the Bible Dictionary as well for priestcraft or anything I though could be synonymous with it. I read the section on priests. While it was interesting, it didn’t say anything about priestcraft. I thought maybe priestcraft was the opposite of whatever a normal priest did. Or something that mocked priestly duties by false imitation. Last resort was the topical guide. I read the summaries of a lot of scriptures and I think I have an idea of what priestcrafts are now.

  • Deal falsely
  • Profane
  • Walking in false priesthoods saying they will prophesy
  • Divine for money
  • Kill people
  • Build up churches to get gain
  • Men that gain the praise of the world.

Based off the topical guide scriptures, this is what I came up with for priestcraft. How many did Nehor do? We know he did at least 5,6, and 7. One of the scriptures towards the end said that priestcrafts would be common among the Gentiles at the last day. How true is that? Look around at other churches. They get donations from their people to build bigger and more glorious chapels. They have pastors that go to school and become favorites of the people based on how they talk and what they say. But it doesn’t have to be on a church level. It could be on an individual level  as well. People divining for money. Dealing falsely with others. Profaning God and making a mockery of Him. That sort of thing.

The Death of Nehor

Nehor is taken to the hill Manti and there he acknowledged between the heavens and earth that what he taught was contrary to the word of God and is put to death. Why is it that his name isn’t mentioned till the verse that it says he dies? These plates were abridged by Mormon but taken from the account of Alma. Was the name Nehor just not used a lot? Maybe because it had a bad connotation so they didn’t say it or write it? Maybe Nehor is just really long to write in reformed egyptian?

Ignominious means humiliating or disgraceful. Hanged? Shot? Beheaded? Lethal injection? Whatever it was, it was humiliating. Do you think there were a lot of people there? Maybe it was a private affair. I think if he was acknowledging the wrongs he did, he would be having to talk to someone other than the people doing the deed. It said he was “caused” but is followed by an “or rather,” which in my mind means a mess up. You can’t erase engravings on a plate so you have to put an “or rather.” I don’t think they forced him to acknowledge what he did was wrong. They probably asked him if he had any last words because death was imminent. Then, at the which point, he said the things he did. This marks one of the first tests of the reign of the judges. Another is coming up quick. This is the second anti-Christ to come among the Nephites. The first being Sherem, who contended with Nephi’s younger brother, Jacob. After we finish the next anti-Christ story, I’ll go into a big thing on anti-Christs.

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5 thoughts on “The Trial and Death of Nehor

  1. I was just studying priestcraft as well. I found a definition in Webster’s 1828 dictionary. You’re right on with your deduction but here’s the definition from the dictionary:

    The stratagems and frauds of priests; fraud or imposition in religious concerns; management of selfish and ambitious priests to gain wealth and power, or to impose on the credulity of others.

    I also think in one way or another “priestcraft” involves denying or diminishing the atonement in some way: Whether it’s denying the need for a Savior or teaching that Christ will “save” everyone (usually implying that there are no consequences to one’s actions).

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    • Serena,

      Thanks for the reply! And I appreciate that you provided the definition from the 1828 dictionary. I really liked what you said about how priestcraft involves denying or diminishing the Atonement. For me, that puts a new spin on evaluating my actions and beliefs. Am I doing things that diminish my belief in the Atonement? Or do I hold on to beliefs that deny the Atonement? People today probably aren’t going to be doing priestcraft like they did back in Book of Mormon times. Perhaps a modern version of that is people have priestcraft beliefs?

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  2. Good discussion on anti-Christs, Nehor, etc. My understanding of priestcraft was preaching for the purpose of getting gain (money, power, influence, praise of men, etc) only, devoid of any desire to actually help people come to Christ. The BofM scriptures in the Topical Guide you mentioned pretty well outline it and you’ve listed the defining characteristics.

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  3. Gpa,

    Thanks for the comment! I think you’ve summed it up well. One of the definition of “anti” in the 1828 dictionary is “in place of.” So an “anti-Christ” would be someone who is trying to replace him. In the case of Nehor, he wasn’t trying to replace Christ as savior but rather trying to replace the fact that we need a savior. Hence his teachings about getting gain. Essentially, he promoted everything that Christ wouldn’t. What Christ would want is for all to come to him. Like you said, Nehor was preaching things that were devoid of bettering Christ following characteristics.

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  4. Pingback: Alma and Amulek’s Arrival in Sidom | Towards a Greater Light

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