“Thou Hast Shed the Blood of a Righteous Man, And, What is the First Time, Priestcraft Has Been Introduced Among This People”

George Reynolds, Janne M. Sjodahl

Alma, apparently shaken by the effrontery of Nehor and his justification of the intentional and reprehensible act of which he was accused, found him guilty not only of slaying Gideon, who was a man without blameworthiness, but also, of criminal responsibility in introducing priestcraft "among this people," and of attempting to enforce it "by the sword." Alma concluded this part of his decision by stating that if such a procedure was allowed to continue it would be the source of great contention among the people and that if they were coerced or compelled to uphold any pretender like Nehor with their worldly goods as well as to believe their teachings, they might, themselves, take up arms. This would, in the end, destroy the entire people because there were those who, under no circumstance, would deny the holy prophets. If death was the reward of faithful observance of God's laws, there were many among them ready and willing to accept it. They would prefer it to denying the teachings of His revealed Truth.

Priestcraft means, not only crafty and wicked ruses to lead others astray, but also the making of religion a profession in which the aim is to obtain worldly honor, gold and silver, and the plaudits of men.

The Lord, through the Prophet Nephi, the son of Lehi, said, "There shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they might get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion." (II Nephi 26:29, also See COMMENTARY ON THE BOOK OF MORMON, Volume I, p. 313)

Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 3