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Painting Out the Messiah: The Theologies of Dissidents

TitlePainting Out the Messiah: The Theologies of Dissidents
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsClark, John L.
JournalJournal of Book of Mormon Studies
Pagination16-27, 107-108
KeywordsAmulonite; Antichrist; Apostasy; Doctrine; Law of Moses; Messiah; Nephi; Priests of Noah; Redeemer; Sherem; Theology

Despite the establishment of Christ’s church in the New World by the Book of Mormon prophet Nephi, many dissenters during its thousand-year history attempted to thwart the church and preach alternative theologies. This article first discusses the doctrine that Nephi taught to his people concerning Jesus Christ. Historical context then provides further understanding of the society in which Nephi and his descendants lived. Having come from Jerusalem in the Old World, the Nephites were still accustomed to the law of Moses, which certainly would have influenced their view of a Messiah. This, along with the political circumstances of the Nephite people, facilitated the dissension of many. The experiences of the Anti-Christ Sherem, the priests of Noah, and the Zarahemla dissidents demonstrate these points. Lastly, those who altered Nephi’s teachings appeared to do so for five specific reasons, which are discussed in this article, thus showing how the dissenters erased the doctrine of a Redeemer from their theologies.