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Nephi explained that priestcraft occurs when men “set themselves up for a light unto the world” (2 Nephi 26:29). In contrast, Jesus taught the Nephites, “I am the light which ye shall hold up” (3 Nephi 18:24).

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles added that priestcraft can occur both in the Church and from enemies to the Church: “Therefore, let us beware of false prophets and false teachers, both men and women, who are self-appointed declarers of the doctrines of the Church and who seek to spread their false gospel and attract followers by sponsoring symposia, books, and journals whose contents challenge fundamental doctrines of the Church. Beware of those who speak and publish in opposition to God’s true prophets and who actively proselyte others with reckless disregard for the eternal well-being of those whom they seduce. Like Nehor and Korihor in the Book of Mormon, they rely on sophistry to deceive and entice others to their views. They ‘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’ (2 Nephi 26:29)” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1999, 78; or Ensign, Nov. 1999, 63).

Book of Mormon Student Manual (2009 Edition)