“Entire Destruction”

Alan C. Miner

The reader should note that this Nehor doctrine is exactly the same approach which Satan took in the premortal existence saying:

Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost . . . Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down. (Moses 4:1,3)

According to Tom Cherrington, a significant point to ponder here is that this destructive Nehor/Satan philosophy not only would prove the "destruction" of the Lord's people here on earth, but it would have proved the "entire destruction" (Alma 1:12) of the people. How is this so? Simply put, the priestcraft philosophy would prove the entire destruction of the Lord's eternal plan--"the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39). Had Satan's (Nehor's) plan been accepted in the premortal existence, it would have negated all the varying degrees of progression that had been attained up to that point in man's premortal existence. Thus, there would have been no "noble and great ones" because all the laws upon which they were judged to be "noble and great" would have been made void. There would have been no allowance for birthright blessings which would accompany man into his earthly existence. There would be no reward for righteousness on the highest level during earthly existence, for Satan would save everybody. But in order to do that, just like Nehor, he would have made himself popular by lowering the standards, thus negating the Lord's plan which had been in existence from the beginning. "To bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man," is to raise man to the Lord's level of eternal life--to become like God. Satan's plan would have destroyed the agency of man in premortal existence. It would have removed accountability by making it of no effect. It wasn't so much that Satan was going to force people to do good, it was that Satan was going to alter God's standards so that God's children would not have any accountability, which in effect is damnation. [Adapted from personal communication with Tom Cherrington]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary