livy111us wrote:1. They set themselves up as a "light" (thus, they were called by God or through proper priesthood channels)
2. They do so for the purpose of getting worldly gain and praise
3. And, they do not seek the welfare of Zion
This is very close, IMO. Except I would define setting themselves up as a "light" means that they set themselves up as "the Christ", or in other words, "the Messiah", literally the one "anointed with oil". And what do they think they are "anointed" to do? They are "anointed" to deliver the people from their sins through their teachings and "make" the people better. They do this because the desire of their heart is to be exalted above their brethren and to be admired and supported by others at the expense of others
- therefore it is said they do not seek the welfare of Zion, but seek for the praise of the world. The attitude of the priestcrafter is to flatter the people by teaching them vain doctrines, to blind their eyes by teaching them foolish and vain philosophies, and to harden their hearts by leading them by degrees into decadence and wickedness. The desire of the priestcrafter is to remake his adherent after the whims and lusts of his own hearts; to remake the world in his own image, which is one of degradation.
Lucifer was the first guilty of priestcraft in the pre-existence, where he angered at being rejected as the Messiah and drew many with him (Abraham 3:28, Moses 4:1).
In other words, anyone who preaches anything termed to be the word of God or a "better way" of life and takes the glory to himself, and does not give it to God, is guilty of priestcraft. I believe this definition is entirely in line with 2 Nephi 26:29. Many modern philosophers- atheists, Christians, and non-Christians theists all alike- and spiritual teachers are guilty of priestcraft. In fact, I believe very few are not
guilty of this in some degree.
The priests of the time of Christ had separated into parties that had strong religious and political ties, and perverted the Law of Moses to fit their preconceived nationalistic ambitions and notions. They blinded the minds of the people like the lawyers did in Ammonihah, so that the people were lifted up in the pride of their hearts and blindness of their minds, so that they could not recognize the real Messiah when he came among them working miracles. Note that the Pharisees, a particularly popular group, enlarged their phylacteries and made great shows of piousness while rejecting the Holy One of Israel in their hearts and in their deeds.
Prominent BoM priestcrafters: Sherem (Jacob 7), Nehor (Alma 1), the residents of Ammonihah (Alma 9-16), Korihor (Alma 30), the Zoramites (Alma 31-35). This is far from a comprehensive list, but big enough for our purposes.
One major, common thread between all of these mentioned priestcrafters is that they preached their doctrine (which always denied the Christ) and gained followers. IIRC, in the case of the Zoramites, the 'founder' of their religion is not named (we can assume it was a man named Zoram) but the result- a community of religious adherents- is still there. The people of Ammonihah were all of the "profession
of Nehor" (Alma 16:11).
Other common threads:
-The antichrists denied the Christ and taught that either there was no sin or all men would be redeemed.
-Their adherents reviled the poor and believers, going so far as to drive them out and kill them.
-The antichrists all met public deaths, or their deaths were voiced abroad. All of their deaths were terrible.
-The adherents all sought to overthrow the just law of the Nephites- either through intrigue or joining with the Lamanites.
Also of note are two other community of priestcrafters- the Amalekites and Amulonites, who were of the "order of Nehors" (Alma 21:4)- who were living in Lamanite territory at the time of the mission of the sons of Mosiah. From those communities, there was only one convert, and the rest "hardened the hearts" of the Lamanites they lived around (Alma 21:3, 23:14). After the conversion of the Anti-Nephi-Lehites, it was the Amalekites and Amulonites who led the Lamanites first to rebel against the converted king (Alma 24:2), but also into the subsequent battles against the A-N-L's by stirring the Lamanites up to anger (Alma 24:1).
The Book of Mormon is full of examples and the results of priestcraft. You say you only want to know what the definition of priestcraft in the Book of Mormon is, but there is more than just a plain definition- the entire book testifies against it.