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Alma Chapter 1 really starts off with the saddest realities of being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and that is the trial of overcoming false doctrine and priestcraft.
In Alma Chapter 1, Nehor starts preaching to the Nephites false doctrines, priestcraft, and even establishes a church in the land. Nehor's reign however ended when he killed Gideon, a servant of God, and was sentenced to death by Alma. Before Nehor died, he acknowledged that everything that he had taught was wrong and "contrary to the word of God" (verse 15), however "this did not put an end to the spreading of priestcraft through the land (verse 16).
Why did the Nephites continue to believe in this priestcraft? In verse 16 is says:
"For there were many who loved the vain things of the world, and they went forth preaching false doctrines; and this they did for the sake of riches and honor."
In the Book of Mormon Made Easier, David Ridges talks about how priestcraft and false doctrine effects are lives in these modern days.
"Whenever we attend inappropriate concerts, buy or rent unwholesome videos, buy or support any media that promote values that are contrary to the lifestyle of the Saints of God, we are, in effect, supporting Satan and giving him money, just as these people did for Nehor."
"In the next verses, we are taught the dangers of “priestcraft” or preaching what people want to hear instead of what they need to hear, in order to make money. We often think of priestcraft as having to do with ministers and evangelists who study what people desire to hear and then teach it, becoming powerful and wealthy in the process. But to limit it to professed teachers of religion is too narrow. In a broad sense, it applies to Hollywood, television, and any media producers who study what people want to hear, which is opposite God’s laws, and then produce and sell their wares in order to become popular and gain wealth."
"The Book of Mormon teaches us much about cause and effect in the rise and fall of nations and societies. It is the Lord’s classroom for His people. There seems to be a warning for us in these verses about what happens when prideful and self-serving people begin abusing righteous laws of civil government in order to promote their own selfish and evil agendas. They subtly or obviously hide behind constitutional guarantees and rights in order to persecute those who are trying to follow God."