Nephi provides a key to distinguishing between those who are true servants in God’s kingdom and those who are not.
“He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that 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. Behold, the Lord hath forbidden this thing; wherefore, the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love. And except they should have charity they were nothing. Wherefore, if they should have charity they would not suffer the laborer in Zion to perish. But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish.” (2 Nephi 26:29-31)
-How powerful is the allure of self-aggrandizement and material security?
-Does the pure love of God (which Nephi refers to as charity in the passage above) need to be nurtured and sought after if one is to serve in a way that is pleasing to God?
Jacob, around the years 559 to 545 B.C., teaches that Christ would come to earth among the only nation who would kill Him rather than repent.
“It must needs be that Christ…should come among the Jews, among those who are the more wicked part of the world; and they shall crucify him—for thus it behooveth our God, and there is none other nation on earth that would crucify their God. For should the mighty miracles be wrought among other nations they would repent, and know that he be their God. But because of priestcrafts and iniquities, they at Jerusalem will stiffen their necks against him, that he be crucified.” (2 Nephi 10:3-5)
-Is there a phenomenon where those who have truth and light from God and then do no live according to it fall into deeper spiritual darkness than those who never had such truth and light?
-Were there many in the Jewish nation that Christ was born into that had succumbed to such spiritual darkness?
-Were there also many Jews during that time who, despite the wickedness around them, showed exceptional spiritual strength and stayed close to God and His Spirit?
-What is priestcraft? And, why is its practice such a powerful source of evil?