THE BOOK OF ALMA
The Anti-Christ comes to Zarahemla--His name is Korihor--Korihor tells the people that there is no God or afterlife, and that
Christ will not come--Korihor is arrested and brought before the high priest--The high priest sends Korihor to Alma--Korihor tells Alma
that he will not believe unless God gives him a sign--Alma tell him that God will give him a sign by striking him dumb--God strikes Korihor
dumb--Korihor repents, believes, and begs Alma for mercy--Alma refuses to remove the curse--Korihor begs for food and is trampled to death
Version - Chapter 27: Korihor
|30:1 bBehold, now ait came to pass that after the people of Ammon were established in the
land of Jershon, yyea, and also after the Lamanites were driven out of the land, and their dead were buried by the people
of the land -- ||
(30:1-5) "Now their dead were not numbered."|
Remember back in Chapter 28, when the Lamanites attacked the people of Ammon in the land of Jershon, and the armies of the Nephites
rushed to their defense? Well, after the countless dead were buried from that battle, things were peaceful again for a few years.
|30:2 Now their dead were not numbered because of the greatness of their
numbers; neither were the dead of
the Nephites numbered -- but ait came to pass after they had buried their dead, and also after the days of fasting, and
mourning, and prayer, (and it was in the sixteenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi) there
began to be continual peace throughout all the land.
|30:3 yYea, and the people did observe to keep the commandments of the Lord; and they were strict in observing
the ordinances of God, according to the law of Moses; for they were taught to keep the law of Moses until it should be
|30:4 And thus the people did have no disturbance in all the sixteenth year of the reign of the judges over
the people of Nephi. ||
|30:5 aAnd it came to pass that in the commencement of the seventeenth year of the
reign of the judges, there was continual peace. ||
(30:6) He was Anti-Christ.|
In the 17th year of the Judges, the Anti-Christ came into Zarahemla! He started preaching to the
people, telling them that their priests were liars, and that all of their prophecies about Christ were wrong.
|30:6 But ait came to pass in the latter end of the seventeenth year,
there came a man into the land of
Zarahemla, and he was Anti-Christ, for he began to preach unto the people against the prophecies which had been
spoken by the prophets, concerning the coming of Christ.
|30:7 Now there was no law against a man's belief; for it was strictly contrary to
the commands of God that there should be a law which should bring men on to unequal grounds. ||
(30:7-11) Now there was no law against a man's belief.|
And the church couldn't do anything about it! You see, even back then they had freedom of religion laws. Which, as it turns out,
are kind of a pain when you are trying to silence any opposition to the established religion in the land.
|30:8 For thus saith the scripture: Choose ye this day, whom ye will serve.
|30:9 Now if a man desired to serve God, it was his privilege; or rather, if he believed in God it was
his privilege to serve him; but if he did not believe in him there was no law to punish him.
|30:10 But if he murdered he was punished unto death; and if he robbed he was also punished; and if he stole
he was also punished; and if he committed adultery he was also punished; byea, for all this wickedness they were
|30:11 For there was a law that men should be judged according to their crimes.
Nevertheless, there was no law against a man's belief; therefore, a man was punished only for the crimes which he had done; therefore
all men were on equal grounds. ||
|30:12 And this Anti-Christ, whose name was Korihor, (and the law could have no hold upon him)
began to preach unto the people that there should be no Christ. And after this manner did he preach, saying:
(30:12-16) This Anti-Christ, whose name was Korihor ... began to preach. |
So the Anti-Christ (his name was Korihor) was free to go around and question the beliefs of the church, which he did pretty effectively.
He said that they couldn't be sure of things they can't see, and that they were just believing in the "foolish traditions of their fathers"
because they had "frenzied minds."
(30:13) Why do ye look for a Christ? For no man can know of anything which is to come.
(30:14) These things which ye call prophecies ... are foolish traditions of your fathers.
(30:15) Ye cannot know of things which ye
do not see; therefore ye cannot know that there shall be a Christ.
(30:16) It is the effect
of a frenzied mind; and this derangement of your minds comes because of the traditions of your fathers, which lead
you away into a belief of things which are not so.
|30:13 O ye that are bound down under a foolish and a vain hope, why do ye yoke yourselves with such foolish
things? Why do ye look for a Christ? For no man can know of anything which is to come.
|30:14 bBehold, these things which ye call prophecies,
which ye say are handed down by holy prophets, bbehold,
they are foolish traditions of your fathers.
|30:15 How do ye know of their surety? bBehold, ye cannot know of things which ye
do not see; therefore ye cannot know that there shall be a Christ.
|30:16 Ye look forward and say that ye see a remission of your sins. But bbehold,
it is the effect
of a frenzied mind; and this derangement of your minds comes because of the traditions of your fathers, which lead
you away into a belief of things which are not so.
|30:17 And many more such things did he say unto them, telling them that there could be no atonement made
for the sins of men, but every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every
man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength;
and whatsoever a man did was no crime. ||
(30:17) Whatsoever a man did was no crime.|
Korihor is one of my favorite characters in the Book of Mormon. But I will admit that he took his moral philosophy a little far. In verse 17,
he claims that "Every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conqured according to his strength, and whatsoever a man did
was no crime." I'm not sure exactly what he means by that last part, but it seems like he's a bit of an anarchist (which probably sounds like
a pretty good option after living in Zarahemla for a while).
(30:18) When a man was dead, that was the end thereof.
But whatever his political beliefs were, his preaching was pretty darn successful, leading many of the people away from the church.
He caused many of the women and the men to commit whoredoms, because he convinced them that there was no life (or punishment) after death.
|30:18 And thus he did preach unto them, leading away the hearts of many, causing them to lift up their
heads in their wickedness, byea, leading away many women, and also men, to commit whoredoms -- telling them that
when a man was dead, that was the end thereof.
|30:19 Now this man went over to the land of Jershon also, to preach these things among the people of
Ammon, who were once the people of the Lamanites.
|30:20 But bbehold they were more wise than many of the Nephites; for they took him, and bound him, and
carried him before Ammon, who was a high priest over that people. ||
|30:21 aAnd it came to pass that he caused that he should be carried out of the
land. And he came over into the land of Gideon, and began to preach unto them also; and here
he did not have
much success, for he was taken and bound and carried before the high priest, and also the chief judge over the
(30:21) He did not have much success.|
When Korihor went to Jershon to preach, though, he didn't have as much success. They were wiser (according to the BOM anyway)
than the people in Zarahemla that Korihor was preaching to earlier. The Jershonites arrested him and brought him before their
high priest. What happened to all of that talk about freedom of religion?
|30:22 aAnd it came to pass that
the high priest said unto him: Why do ye go about
perverting the ways of the Lord? Why do ye teach this people that there shall be no Christ, to interrupt their
rejoicings? Why do ye speak against all the prophecies of the holy prophets? ||
(30:22-28) the high priest said unto him ... Why do ye teach this people that there shall be no Christ, to interrupt their rejoicings?|
The high priest asked Korihor why he was questioning the teachings of the church, and he answers in a beautiful little speech about skepticism,
evidence, and morals. One particularly nice part is verse 25, where he says that "A child is not guilty because of its parents." The rest of his
speech pretty much just says: "You say that these ancient prophecies are true. But you don't know any better than the rest of us if they
are true or not. You are just using your authority to manipulate and maintain control over people."
(30:23) I do not teach the foolish traditions of your fathers ... to keep them in ignorance.
(30:24) Ye say that this people is a free people. Behold, I say they are in bondage. Ye say that those ancient prophecies are true.
Behold, I say that ye do not know that they are true.
(30:25) Ye say that this people is a guilty and a fallen people, because of the transgression of a parent.
Behold, I say that a child is not guilty because of its parents.
(30:26) Ye also say that Christ shall come. But behold, I say that ye do not know that there shall be a Christ.
(30:27) Ye lead away this people after the foolish traditions of your fathers.
(30:28) Priests .. have brought them to believe, by their traditions and their dreams and their whims and their visions and their
pretended mysteries, that they should, if they did not do according to their words, offend some unknown being, who they say is God --
a being who never has been seen or known, who never was nor ever will be.
|30:23 Now the high priest's name was Giddonah. And Korihor said unto
him: Because I do not teach the foolish traditions of your fathers, and because I do not teach this people to bind themselves down under the
foolish ordinances and performances which are laid down by ancient priests, to usurp power and authority over
them, to keep them in ignorance, that they may not lift up their heads, but be brought down according to thy
|30:24 Ye say that this people is a free people. bBehold, I say they are in bondage. Ye say that those
ancient prophecies are true. bBehold, I say that ye do not know that they are true.
|30:25 Ye say that this people is a guilty and a fallen people, because of the
transgression of a parent. bBehold, I say that a child is not guilty because of its parents.
|30:26 And ye also say that Christ shall come. But bbehold, I say that
ye do not know that there shall be a Christ. And ye say also that he shall be slain for the sins of the world --
|30:27 And thus ye lead away this people after the foolish traditions of your fathers, and according to
your own desires; and ye keep them down, even as it were in bondage, that ye may glut yourselves with the labors
of their hands, that they durst not look up with boldness, and that they durst not enjoy their rights and
|30:28 yYea, they durst not make use of that which is their own lest they should offend
their priests, who do yoke them according to their desires, and have brought them to believe, by their traditions and
their dreams and
their whims and their visions and their pretended mysteries, that they should, if they did not do according to their
words, offend some unknown being, who they say is God -- a being who never has been seen or known, who never was
nor ever will be.
|30:29 Now when the high priest and the chief judge saw the hardness of his heart,
byea, when they saw
that he would revile even against God, they would not make any reply to his words; but they caused that he should
be bound; and they delivered him up into the hands of the officers, and sent him to the land of Zarahemla, that
he might be brought before Alma, and the chief judge who was governor over all the land. ||
(30:29) The high priest and the chief judge ... sent him to the land of Zarahemla,
that he might be brought before Alma.|
The high priest tied Korihor up, and sent him off to Zarahemla for Alma to deal with.
Alma was the chief judge and governor over all the land, so he would have to decide what to do with this troublemaker.
|30:30 aAnd it came to pass that when he was brought before Alma and the chief judge,
he did go on in the same manner as he did in the land of Gideon; byea, he went on to blaspheme. ||
(30:30) When he was brought before Alma ... he went on to blaspheme.|
The high priest of the land of Gideon didn't know what to do with Korihor. So he decided to send him to Alma, the chief judge over all the land.
When Korihor arrived at Alma's court, he continued to "blaspheme".
|30:31 And he did rise up in great swelling words before Alma, and did revile
against the priests and teachers, accusing them of leading away the people after the silly traditions of
for the sake of glutting on the labors of the people. ||
(30:31-34) He did rise up in great swelling words before Alma ... accusing them of leading away the people after the
silly traditions of their fathers.|
He was a little more specific with his cricisims of Alma, though. In addition to accusing the church of being wrong about their prophecies, Jesus,
the afterlife, etc., he also accused the church leadership of enriching themselves off of the members of the church. Alma was quick
to defend himself against this charge. And I have to admit, the Book of Mormon makes this very clear: the church leaders were not paid for
their work. It was an all-volunteer operation, except a small per-diem payment to judges (1 senine of gold, or a senum of silver per day in court).
|30:32 Now Alma said unto him: Thou knowest that we do not glut ourselves upon the labors of this
people; for bbehold I have labored even from the commencement of the reign of the judges until now, with mine
own hands for my support, notwithstanding my many travels round about the land to declare the word of God unto
|30:33 And notwithstanding the many labors which I have performed in the church, I have never received
so much as even one senine for my labor; neither has any of my brethren, save it were in the judgment-seat; and
then we have received only according to law for our time. ||
|30:34 And now, if we do not receive anything for our labors in the church, what doth it profit us to labor
in the church save it were to declare the truth, that we may have rejoicings in the joy of our brethren? ||
|30:35 Then why sayest thou that we preach unto this people to get gain, when thou, of thyself, knowest
that we receive no gain? And now, believest thou that we deceive this people, that causes such joy in their
|30:36 And Korihor answered him, yYea. ||
|30:37 And then Alma said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God? ||
(30:37-39) Believest thou that there is a God? And he answered, Nay.|
Alma then pivots to the more pressing issue of the existence of God. Korihor denies that God exists, and then Alma says, "Will you deny it
again? I'm telling you, God exists, bro."
|30:38 And he answered, Nay.
|30:39 Now Alma said unto him: Will ye deny again that there
is a God, and also deny the Christ? For bbehold, I say unto you, I know there is a God, and also that Christ shall
|30:40 And now what evidence have ye that there is no God, or that Christ cometh not? I say unto you that
ye have none, save it be your word only. ||
(30:40-42) What evidence have ye that there is no God, or that Christ cometh not?|
Alma then asks Korihor to provide evidence that God doesn't exist. After all, he had the
testimonies of others. Alma also accused Korihor of being possesed by the devil, just for good measure.
(40:41) I have all things as a testimony that these things are true.
(40:42) I know that thou believest, but thou art possessed with a lying spirit ... the devil has power over you.
|30:41 But, bbehold, I have all things as a testimony that these
things are true;
and ye also have all things as a testimony unto you that they are true; and will ye deny them? Believest thou that these things are
|30:42 bBehold, I know that thou believest, but thou art possessed
with a lying spirit, and ye have put
off the Spirit of God that it may have no place in you; but the devil has power over you, and he doth carry you
about, working devices that he may destroy the children of God.
|30:43 And now Korihor said unto Alma: If thou wilt
show me a sign,
that I may be convinced that there is a God, byea, show unto me that he hath power, and then will I be convinced of the
truth of thy words. ||
Korihor asked Alma for a sign, and that then he would believe in God. But Alma wasn't having it. Weren't the testimonies of his brethren
and the holy prophets enough for Korihor? Even the motion of the earth and the animals on it prove that there is a God. What else do you need?
(30:43) Show me a sign.
(30:44) Thou has had signs enough.
|30:44 But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show
unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The
scriptures are laid before thee, byea, and all things denote there is a God; byea, even the earth, and all
things that are upon the face of it, byea, and its motion, byea, and also all the planets which move in their
regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.
|30:45 And yet do ye go about, leading away the hearts of this people, testifying unto them there is
no God? And yet will ye deny against all these witnesses? And he said: yYea, I will deny, except ye shall show
me a sign. ||
(30:45) Will ye deny against all these witnesses? And he said: Yea, I will deny, except ye shall show me a sign. |
Korihor sticks to his guns. He wants a sign, or he will continue to lead people away from the church.
|30:46 aAnd now it came to pass that Alma said unto him: bBehold,
I am pgrieved because of the hardness of your heart, byea, that ye will
still resist the spirit of the truth, that thy soul may be destroyed. ||
If thou shalt deny again, behold God shall smite thee, that thou shalt become dumb.
Alma warns Korihor that if he keeps denying God and asking for a sign,
then he'll get a sign all right: God will strike him dumb, and he will never speak again.
|30:47 But bbehold, it is better that thy soul should be lost than that thou shouldst
be the means of bringing many souls down to destruction, by thy lying and by thy flattering words; therefore
if thou shalt deny
again, bbehold God shall smite thee, that thou shalt become dumb, that thou shalt never open thy mouth any more,
that thou shalt not deceive this people any more.
|30:48 Now Korihor said unto him:
I do not deny the existence of a God, but I do not believe that
there is a God; and I say also, that ye do not know that there is a God; and except ye show me a sign, I will
not believe. ||
(30:48-50) Korihor quickly clarifies his position: he's not denying the existence of a god, but he doesn't believe that there is one, and won't
believe unless he is shown a
sign. This seems pretty reasonable, but it's enough for Alma to curse him in the name of God. So Korihor got his sign, after all!
(30:48) I do not deny the existence of a God, but I do not believe that there is a God; and I say also that ye do not know that there is a God;
and except ye show me a sign, I will not believe.
I give unto thee for a sign, that thou shalt be struck dumb.
(30:50) Korihor was struck dumb.
|30:49 Now Alma said unto him: This will
I give unto thee for a sign, that thou shalt be struck
dumb, according to my words; and I say, that in the name of God, ye shall be struck dumb, that ye shall no
more have utterance.
|30:50 Now when Alma had said these words, Korihor was struck dumb,
that he could not have utterance, according to the words of Alma.
|30:51 And now when the chief judge saw this, he put forth his hand
and wrote unto Korihor, saying: Art thou convinced of the power of God? In whom did ye desire that Alma should show
forth his sign? Would ye that he should afflict others, to show unto thee a sign? bBehold, he has showed unto you a
sign; and now will ye dispute more? ||
(30:51) Behold, he has showed unto you a sign; and now will ye dispute more?|
Then Alma taunts him a bit. "What do you think about God, now? Huh? Do you have any doubts anymore? Can you speak up a bit, I can't hear you...
What's the matter, cat-got-your-tongue?"
|30:52 And Korihor put forth his hand and wrote, saying: I know that I am dumb, for I cannot speak; and
I know that nothing save it were the power of God could bring this upon me; byea,
and I always knew that there was
a God. ||
(30:52-55) Korihor writes a quick note to Alma, explaining how he now believes in God,
and how the devil made him deny God's existence, and everything else that Alma wanted to hear. He pleaded with
him to make the curse go away, but Alma told him that he wasn't going to, because then he would continue to lead people away from the church.
(30:52) Korihor ... wrote, saying: I know that I am dumb ... and I always knew that there was a God.
(30:53) Behold, the devil hath deceived me; for he appeared unto me in the form of an angel.
|30:53 But bbehold, the devil hath deceived me; for he appeared unto me in the form of an angel, and said
unto me: Go and reclaim this people, for they have all gone astray after an unknown God. And he said unto me:
There is no God; byea, and he taught me that which I should say. And I have taught his words; and I taught them
because they were pleasing unto the carnal mind; and I taught them, even until I had much success, insomuch that
I verily believed that they were true; and for this cause I withstood the truth, even until I have brought this
great curse upon me.
|30:54 Now when he had said this,
he besought that Alma should pray unto God, that the curse might be
taken from him. ||
(30:54) He besought that Alma should pray unto God, that the curse might be taken from him.
|30:55 But Alma said unto him: If this curse should be taken from thee thou wouldst again lead away the
hearts of this people; therefore, it shall be unto thee even as the Lord will. ||
(30:55) If this curse should be taken from thee thou wouldst again lead away the hearts of this people.
|30:56 aAnd it came to pass that the curse was
not taken off of Korihor; but he was cast out, and went about from house to house begging for his food. ||
(30:56) The curse was
not taken off of Korihor; but he was cast out, and went about from house to house begging for his food.|
Korihor became a beggar from that point on.
|30:57 Now the knowledge of what had happened unto Korihor was immediately published
throughout all the land; byea, the proclamation was sent forth by the chief judge to all the people in the land,
declaring unto those who had believed in the words of Korihor that they must speedily repent, lest the same judgments
would come unto them. ||
Those who had believed in the words of Korihor ...must speedily repent, lest the same judgments
would come unto them.
Alma made a proclamation, threatening all of the other unbelievers that God would strike them dumb too, if the didn't
"speedily repent". So much for freedom of religion!
|30:58 aAnd it came to pass that they were all convinced of the wickedness of
Korihor; therefore they were all converted again unto the Lord; and this put an end to the iniquity after the
manner of Korihor. And Korihor did go about from house to house, begging food for his support. ||
(30:58) They were all converted ... And Korihor did go about from house to house, begging.|
So everybody repented and Korihor continued begging.
Eventually he tried to beg from the Zoramites, where he was trampled to death. The chapter ends by revealing the moral to the story of Korihor: The devil
will not support his children, but, rather, drags them down to hell. Or something like that.
(30:59) He was run upon and trodden down, even until he was dead.
(30:60) Thus we see that the devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell.
|30:59 aAnd it came to pass that as he went forth among the people,
a people who had separated themselves from the Nephites and called themselves Zoramites, being led by a man
whose name was Zoram -- and as he went forth amongst them, bbehold, he was run upon and trodden down, even until
he was dead.
|30:60 And thus we see the end of him who perverteth the ways of the Lord; and thus we see that the
devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell. ||
And it came to pass (30:1, 2, 5,
22, 30, 46, 56, 58, 59)
Behold [30:1, 14(2), 15, 16, 20,
24(2), 25, 26, 32, 39, 41,
42, 46, 47(2), 51, 53, 59]
Yea [30:1, 3, 10, 18, 28,
29, 30, 36, 43, 44(4), 45,
46, 52,53, 57, 59]
(30:9, 29) Was everyone free to believe or disbelieve?
(30:46) Being grieved for the hardness of their hearts Mark 3:5