The influence of the spirit of the world and the moral and mental condition of the Nephites at this time are forcibly depicted in the story of Sherem. This agitator appeared among the people and boldly declared that the doctrine of a divine Christ, or Messiah, was false. He was learned and eloquent, brazen and shrewd, as agents of Satan often are. In an interview with Jacob, he declared himself to be a believer in the Law of Moses, while at the same time, he denounced the doctrine of Christ as blasphemy. He understood how to hide his atheism under a mask of religion, as he knew how to gain adherents by menas of flattery and I dare say so, by false promises.
Jacob refuted him and rebuked him, and when Sherem challenged Jacob to give him a sign of the power of the Holy Ghost, the prophet appealed this request to the Lord, saying, "Thy will, O Lord, be done and not mine." Immediately the blaspheming atheist was struck and fell to the earth. He had, evidently, a paralytic stroke in the sight of all present.