Sherem, an anti-Christ whom Jacob described as a "learned" man who had "a perfect knowledge of the language of the people," went among the Nephites preaching "there should be no Christ." (Jacob 7:1-2, 4.) He used flattery, and labored diligently that he "might lead away the hearts of the people." (Jacob 7:2-3.) He professed concern for the people, and perverted the scriptures as he quoted them while accusing Jacob of blasphemy. (Jacob 7:7.)
In his October 1981 general conference address, Elder Carlos E. Asay of the Presidency of the Seventy said that anti-Christs of the Book of Mormon sought openly to destroy the church of God, and their patterns of deceit were similar:"They taught false doctrines, spread lies, referred to prophecies as foolish traditions, accused Church leaders of perverting the right way of God, and baited the people by referring to their faith as a foolish and vain hope. (See Jacob 7, Alma 1 and Alma 30.)
"When we read about the anti-Christs of former days, we marvel at how perverted their thinking became, and we marvel at how successful they were in deceiving men and women. We also wonder why some of the people were so gullible - so easily misled. And with all this marveling and wondering, we tend to niche the anti-Christs in some corner of ancient history and go about our unguarded ways. This is dangerous. It could result in loss of faith; and, in a spiritual sense, it could put us out of existence."
Elder Asay said that since the spring of 1820, Lucifer has led a relentless attack against the Latter-day Saints and their leaders. "A parade of anti-Christs, anti-Mormons, and apostate groups have appeared on the scene," he noted. "Many are still among us and have released new floods of lies and false accusations. These faith-killers and testimony-thieves use personal contacts, the printed word, electronic media and other means of communication to sow doubts and to disturb the peace of true believers."
Elder Asay suggested some ways to avoid the traps of the anti-Christs:
- Avoid those who would tear down one's faith.
- Keep the commandments.
- Follow the living prophets.
- Do not contend or debate over points of doctrine.
- Search the scriptures.
- Do not be swayed or diverted from the mission of the Church.
- Pray for one's enemies.
- Practice "pure religion."
- Remember that there may be many questions for which we have no answers and that some things have to be accepted simply on faith.