“He Spake Plainly Unto Them and Denied the Things Which He Had Taught Them”

Brant Gardner

While we do not know what happened to Sherem while he was in his smitten state, the later experience of Alma2 suggests that his sins became clear to him. Probably, like Alma, he was given the chance to repent. This public confession may very well be a public manifestation of a required penitence, to assist in purging his soul.

Sherem first acknowledges that he taught falsely, a statement that is not only a personal confession, but also vindication for Jacob. Sherem had come to reduce Jacob’s influence but reaffirms Jacob’s identity as a prophet. Yahweh has turned this attack into a strength for the people.

Sherem also testifies to the power of the Holy Ghost and the ministering of angels, almost certainly an allusion to his experiences during the time when he lay under the influence of the Spirit. Assuming that it also parallels Alma2’s experience, such ministering was for Sherem’s salvation (Mosiah 27:24–27). Part of his experience clearly showed him both sides of the path to God, salvation and damnation, and highlighted his previous approach to damnation. However, the ministering of angels suggests that Sherem’s confession is expiation for his unbelief and that he is therefore acting for the salvation for his soul.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 2