A Dictionary of the Book of Mormon/Nehor

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

NEHOR. Could our readers have taken a glimpse at the fair capital of the Nephites in the first year of the Judges (B. C. 91), they might have noticed in its principal street a portly, handsome man, manifesting in his carriage the evidences of great bodily strength, combined with vanity, self-sufficiency and subtlety. They might have observed that his raiment was made of the finest fabrics that the looms of Zarahemla could produce, lavishly embroidered and ornamented with the labors of the cunning workman in silk, in feathers and the precious metals, while at his side hung a richly decorated sword. This man was no king, no governor, no general of the armies of Israel; he was simply Nehor, the successful religious charlatan of the hour, to whom the unstable listened and the weak-minded flocked.

Nehor's teachings had at any rate the interest of novelty to the Nephites, yet some of his theories were older than Idumea. They had been rejected in the counsels of heaven before Lucifer, the Son of the Morning, fell. He would save all men in their sins and with their sins; he abolished hell, established a paid order of priests, and taught doctrines so liberal that every man could be a member of his church and yet continue to gratify every vice his nature inclined to. For this liberality of doctrine, Nehor expected in return liberality of support for himself and assistants, in which anticipation he was not disappointed. Many adopted his heresies; his success fired his zeal, and developed his vanity. He was so used to the sycophancy of his converts that he was restive under contradiction, and when Gideon, the aged patriot and teacher in the true Church, one day met him in the streets of Zarahemla and upbraided him for his wicked course, neither respecting his great age nor his many virtues, Nehor drew his sword and smote him till he died. For this wilful and unprovoked crime, the murderer was tried, convicted and afterwards executed. His execution took place on the hill Manti. and, from the way in which his death is spoken of, we imagine that he was hanged.

Though Nehor's shameful life was thus ended, unfortunately his doctrine did not die with him. It was too pleasant to those who desired to gain heaven by a life of sin. Consequently it spread widely through the teachings of his followers. In later year the traitorous Amlicites, the apostate Amalekites, the bloodthirsty Amulonites and Ammonihahites, were all believers in his soul-destroying doctrines. The bloodshed, the misery produced, the treasure expended through the wickedness and folly of these base creatures, cannot be computed.