Not everyone in the Book of Mormon has a reputation of good. Nehor most certainly is not a person the authors of the Book of Mormon desire us to model our life after.
We get our introduction to Nehor in Alma 1 starting with verses 2-6:
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.
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.
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.
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.
6 And he began to be lifted up in the pride of his heart, and to wear very costly apparel, yea, and even began to establish a church after the manner of his preaching.Alma 2:2-6
In the end of the story of the life of Nehor, he murdered a man over a religious dispute and was put to death by the law for this murder of Gideon. However, in spite of the end of his life, this was not the end of his story as the religion he was promoting continued to be a force among the people.
In Alma Chapter 2, Amlici creates an insurrection with the intent of establishing the religion of Nehor over the people. He lost the battle over Zarahemla. In the battle, the Amlicites (a new name given to the followers of Amlici) and the Lamanites who joined with Amlici were either killed or fled into the wilderness with much death in the Land Hermounts. No further references are given regarding the followers of Amlici – unless they are the same group which is mentioned later in the Book of Alma known as the Amaleketes.
The first reference to the Amalekites is given in Alma 21:4.
And it came to pass that Aaron came to the city of Jerusalem, and first began to preach to the Amalekites. And he began to preach to them in their synagogues, for they had built synagogues after the order of the Nehors; for many of the Amalekites and the Amulonites were after the order of the Nehors.Alma 21:4
The origin of the Amalekites is unknown, unless they are the same as the Amlicites — which is a theory put forth by Royal Skousan as referenced in this wikipedia article. Whether they be the same group or a different group is only important for students of history and for now, I assume that we do not know the answer to that question. But what is clear is that this group of Amalekites and the Amulonites — a remnant of the priests of Noah from the Book of Mosiah — had taken up the religion of Nehor.
We also know that the Amalekites were well armed, fought like dragons, were able to smite in two the headplates, and pierce the breastplates of the Nephites. They were also hardened against the religion of the Nephites – for they did not believe in the coming of the Messiah. (Alma 43:20, 44 and Alma 23:14)
The Name Nehor
What exactly was the religion of Nehor is actually found in the name Nehor. To me, recognizing this religion only came after a serious study of the artifacts from North America. The artifacts I am referencing are the artifacts of Michigan and the artifacts of Indiana / Illinois found in the John White Collection. It is the religion of the Egyptians – Namely Horus.
Deciphering the Name
The historian Herodotus tells us of King Necho who ordered the circumnavigation of Africa with the help of the Phoenicians (https://www.livius.org/sources/content/herodotus/herodotus-on-the-first-circumnavigation-of-africa/). The name Necho is found in his cartouche, which derives his name from the Egyptian N (a line) followed by the Bull which is pronounced Kau ( I know – sounds English but it is correct per the Chicago Demotic Dictionary). That is how they get Necho. The cartouche has a bull’s leg and an owl at the forefront – this means “Repeated” and in this case “the 2nd”. The bottom is a line (N) and the line is above the bull. This means “To the Bull”. Bulls were a sacred animal in these ancient religions – and to the Egyptians was often a reference to Isis.
Nehor begins the same with the letter N representing the proposition “To”. Hor is short for Horus. Even today when people write about the Book of Breathings, it is sometimes spelled out the Book of Hor as Hor is the name of the Priest who wrote a version of it and Hor is short for Horus. You can see the connection at this link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breathing_Permit_of_H%C3%B4r
Nehor literally means “With Horus”.
Artifacts depicting Horus and the Egyptian / Phoenician Religion are actually quite plentiful. Some of the Artifacts depict the idol of Horus and some depict a “Book of the Dead” style of ordinances with Horus. Some artifacts depict Tanit the Pheonician God or consort to Baal Hammond. Without giving the long explanation, the religion of the Egyptians, the Greeks, The Romans and the Phoenicians (Baalism), are actually all one in the same. E. Wallis Budge in his book on the Egyptian Religion goes into great detail describing the stories of the Greek and the Roman Gods pointing out that all of the same imagery found in the Greek and Roman records are found in the inscriptions on the Egyptian temples. Even the Phoenician God and Goddess Melqart and Astarte are part of the story of the Resurrection of Osiris. All four cultures practiced the same religion with subtle differences. The greatest differences between them were the names. Yet it seems they were all derived from the same Pagan stories.
Artifacts from Michigan Depicting Horus
Artifacts from Illinois/Indiana Depicting Tanit and Horus
When I first studied the artifacts of Michigan, I saw the Egyptian Religion being practiced, but did not understand how it got there. One academic did point out to me that they are not doing it right. But as I began to learn more about the Phoenicians and their role in bringing the People of Zarahamla to this land, it began to make sense that the Egyptian/Phoenician Religion was brought by the Phoenicians and by the Jews who came with them to establish Zarahemla. Most likely, many of these Jews were practicing Baalism. After seeing the excessive amount of Baalism displayed in the John White collection, and seeing that they were of a different nation than the YHW people, a new understanding was given to me.
My belief is that the people depicted in the John White Collection are the Amalekites. Whether they are also the Amlicites, I do not know. For more images from the John White collection, go to https://burrowscave.io/collections/. For more images of the artifacts from Michigan, go here.
When the people of King Mosiah joined with the people of Zarahamla, there was a great merging of cultures. When King Benjamin ended his reign, there was a mass conversion to Christianity. But this conversion did not hold forever. The internal struggle in the Book of Mormon to keep the people on the path turned toward Jesus Christ is a central theme of the book. Yet only recently have I learned that the religious struggle within the Nephites was focused on Jesus Christ verses Baal and Horus.
All of this is another subtle demonstration of the legitimacy of the Book of Mormon as a true historical record.