Some notes from my personal scripture study this morning, following Lesson 21 in Book of Mormon Class Member Study Guide, (1999), 13–14
What had Nehor been teaching the people? (See Alma 1:3–4.)
3 And he had gone about among the people, preaching to them that which he termed to be the word of God, bearing down bagainst the church; declaring unto the people that
- every priest and teacher ought to become popular; and
- they ought not to labor with their hands, but
- that they ought to be supported by the people.
4 And he also testified unto the people that
- all mankind should be saved at the last day, and that
- they need not fear nor tremble, but that
- they might lift up their heads and rejoice; for
- the Lord had
- created all men, and had also
- redeemed all men; and,
- in the end, all men should have eternal life
“Testified,” above, is an interesting word; he feigned witness to a lie.
What was the effect of his teaching? (See Alma 1:5–6.)
5 And it came to pass that he did teach these things so much that
- many did believe on his words, even so many that
- they began to
- support him and
- give him money.
- he began
- to be lifted up in the pride of his heart, and
- to wear very costly apparel,
- yea, and even began to establish a church after the manner of his preaching.
In short, his teaching emboldened the apostasy and watered the roots of sin.
Why do you think Nehor’s teachings were appealing to so many people? Which of these same teachings have you heard in our day?
His teaching appealed to the natural man; without a firm testimony of the nature of God and our relationship to Him, viz. we are His children with intrinsic worth and divine potential–without a firm testimony of these truths, one stands vulnerable to feelings of decreased self worth. In the contemporary vernacular, “you don’t feel good about yourself.” Then, along comes a man who says, “Don’t worry about it; everything will be fine. You will be saved. You may feel crumy now, but just wait; God will save you. Repent? Oh, no, you don’t need to *do* anything; God loves you so much, He will save you with your sins. Don’t worry; God loves you.” Subtly, the truth is woven with lying threads. Superficially, the argument appears rational, logical. However, upon reflection, and with the essential perspective of gospel light, the deception is revealed, and the enemy in uncovered. If God were to save all men with their sins, would He be a just God? If Christ did save us from our sins, if He is the means of salvation, what then of His commandment to repent? Not alone did the prophets teach repentance, but the Master himself: “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17); and “… I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matt. 9:13; cf. Mark 2:17; Luke 5:32); also, “…the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). The Savior Himself preached repentance. The teachings of Nehor reject this fundamental principle of the gospel, claiming repentance is not needed, that one need do nothing, and he will be saved, for “the Lord had redeemed all men; and, in the end, all men should have eternal life” (Alma 1:4).
I know that if a man will “keep the commandments of God [he] shall be saved” (Mosiah 12:33). This salvation comes in and through the Savior Jesus Christ, and in no other way. I know this because I have tasted of the sweet fruit of His forgiveness, mercy, and love. I have felt a remission of my sins, which came only after humble repentance. I know the holy scriptures are true, they are the word of God. And I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s Kingdom here on earth, preparatory for His return. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.