Nephi, the son of Lehi, had warned his people against the evils of priestcraft, which he defined as "men preach and 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.) The warning of Nephi concerning the evils of priestcraft is amply demonstrated by Nehor, who taught that "every priest and teacher ought to become popular; and they ought not to labor with their hands, but . . . they ought to be supported by the people." (Alma 1:3.)
Alma the younger, the chief judge of the people, accuses Nehor not only of being guilty of preaching priestcraft but also of endeavoring to enforce it by the sword. Furthermore, he warns the Nephites that if priestcraft were to be enforced among them "it would prove their entire destruction." (Alma 1:12.) Alma was very concerned about this matter because the Lord had warned the Nephites they were to keep the commandments of the Lord or they would be destroyed.