Alma 1:1 -1:5
Alma 1:1 Now it came to pass that in the first year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, from this time forward, king Mosiah having gone the way of all the earth, having warred a good warfare, walking uprightly before God, leaving none to reign in his stead; nevertheless he had established laws, and they were acknowledged by the people; therefore they were obliged to abide by the laws which he had made.
Mormon gives us an introductory verse to the Book of Alma. He points out that King Mosiah is now dead. There was none to succeeded him as his sons were all on missions in the Land of Nephi and probably could not be reached in any case. In addition, they would have probably turned down the kingship anyway.
King Mosiah is praised by Mormon for his unwavering faithfulness by ruling the people with righteous principles and especially for the establishing a new form of government over the Nephites. He could have, perhaps, got someone else to be king, but he encouraged the establishment of a system of judges instead. The judges would rule using the laws established by King Mosiah that had been agreed on by common consent of the people by popular volt.
Alma 1:2 And it came to pass that in the first year of the reign of Alma in the judgment-seat, there was a man brought before him to be judged, a man who was large, and was noted for his much strength.
During the last years of King Mosiah’s life a man had been going about trying to change things in the church. He was described as a large individual and was known for his great bodily strength. He was brought before Alma, who was now the chief judge over all the land. The charged against this man, named Nebor, was murder.
Alma 1:3 And he had gone about among the people, preaching to them that which he termed to be the word of God, bearing down against the church; declaring unto the people that every priest and teacher ought to become popular; and they ought not to labor with their hands, but that they ought to be supported by the people.
What lead up to this situation was that Nehor had been going about preaching that priests in the Church should not have to work for a living but be supported by the people; that they should be held in high esteem by the church members and given money for their efforts in the ministry. Apparently, Nehor was a very dynamic speaker and had a large number of people agreeing with him. Nehor based this concept on what he said was in the scriptures.
Alma 1:4 And he also testified unto the people that all mankind should be saved at the last day, and that they need not fear nor tremble, but that they might lift up their heads and rejoice; for the Lord had created all men, and had also redeemed all men; and, in the end, all men should have eternal life.
The most popular part of his so called teaching was that no one need fear the future state of their souls. In the end all would be saved and there was no need to be concerned about their eternal welfare. One way or another, all of God’s children would have eternal life.
[The inference was that there was no need for repentance of sins and whatever a person did in this life would be forgiven at the judgment day.]
Alma 1:5 And it came to pass that he did teach these things so much that many did believe on his words, even so many that they began to support him and give him money.
Apparently, Nehor was having much success and he was indeed receiving money for his preaching’s.
[It is much like what we see on TV with the so called evangelists who preach their concepts of the gospel all day long asking for money to keep their ministry on the air. This will be referred to as “priestcraft”]