So if you manage to make it through the Allegory of the Olive Tree, you’ll come to the story of Sherem in Jacob 7.
Sherem “came among the people of Nephi,” (v. 1) perhaps suggesting he was not himself a Nephite. He begins to preach in a flattering manner to the effect that there should be no Christ. (v. 2) He succeeded in leading many of the people away, and sought an audience with Jacob himself. (v. 3) He was learned, had a strong knowledge of the Nephite language, and had the capacity to use the power of speech “according to the power of the devil.”
Sherem wanted to speak directly to Jacob in the hope of shaking his conviction concerning the Christ. (v. 5) In v. 6, the sought after confrontation finally happens, and in v. 7 Sherem lays out his case against Jacob (text broken up for ease of parsing):
they pervert the right way of God,
and keep not the law of Moses which is the right way;
and convert the law of Moses into the worship of a being which ye say shall come many hundred years hence.
And now behold, I, Sherem, declare unto you that this is blasphemy;
for no man knoweth of such things;
for he cannot tell of things to come.
And after this manner did Sherem contend against me.
Jacob for his part rhetorically asks him “Deniest thou the Christ who should come?” (v. 9) to which Sherem replies “If there should be a Christ, I would not deny him; but I know that there is no Christ, neither has been, nor ever will be.”
Then Jacob makes an appeal to the scriptures: “Behold, I say unto you that none of the prophets have written, nor prophesied, save they have spoken concerning this Christ.” (v.11) Jacob continues in v. 12: “And this is not all—it has been made manifest unto me, for I have heard and seen; and it also has been made manifest unto me by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, I know if there should be no atonement made all mankind must be lost.”
Having come to an impasse, Sherem asks Jacob for a sign (v. 13) so that the deity may resolve the issue. The Lord does indeed smite Sherem, and he was incapacitated for the space of many days. (v 15) He calls a meeting on the morrow, and then makes an eloquent confession that he (obviously in light of the Lord’s action towards him) had been wrong, after which he died. (v. 20) That’s the story in a nutshell.
Now here’s the thing. I actually have a fair amount of sympathy for Sherem and his point of view.
Sherem’s point of view is essentially what the Israelite view would have been back home. We live the law of Moses; we already have a God; who is this other God we’re supposed to worship, who’s supposed to come along hundreds of years from now?
This is easy for us to accept, because this other God already came–2,000 years ago from our perspective–and his life and ministry is a fait accompli. And I for one grew up in a Christian home (well, the Mormon version of Christian, anyway), in a largely Christian nation. So it is a natural belief for us. But this is five centuries before the coming of this Christ.
Imagine for a moment that President Monson gets up in General Conference and announces that on April 6, 2516 the God Vanu will come, and so we are to worship him now. That to me is a very hard ask.
Jacob claims that the scriptures thoroughly testify of this other god, but that point of view is reliant on Christian reinterpretation of the Hebrew scriptures. For example, as Christians (and fans of Handel) we read Isaiah 7:14 as a clear messianic prophecy “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” To us, that’s a slam dunk prophecy of the Christ. But in its immediate context it only makes sense if the sign is going to come within a year or two; the application to Christ 700 years in the future is only something that Christians came up with in retrospect and is secondary to the historical, contextual meaning.
So yes, I’m a Christian, but that notwithstanding I have some pretty significant sympathy for Sherem. I’m not at all sure that were I in his shoes, not knowing what I know now, that I wouldn’t take exactly the same position he did.
 Jack Welch has a lucid discussion of this episode in his Legal Cases of the Book of Mormon, 107-38. Jack points out that “the devil” would be ha-satan, and could possibly have the original connotation of the adversarial skill of a (divine) prosecuting attorney.