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Come Follow Me Insights (Alma 30–31)
Come, Follow Me Class Insights – Alma 30-31
I'm Taylor, and I'm Tyler. This is Book of Mormon Central Come Follow Me Insights. Today, Alma 30-31 and as a reminder, Scripture Plus, you can find that on the Android store or the iOS store, a fabulous app full of resources that can enhance your scripture study help you to dig deeper and we hope help you to feel a deeper connection to the Lord and his gospel.
We're going to begin today with a short discussion about exaltation and actually how it connects with some of the themes that show up in Alma 30 to 31. First of all, we're going to spend some time talking about several words in English and then in Hebrew and how they show up in the scriptures and what that might mean, help us better understand various messages in the scriptures.
We'll start with the word exaltation. So I really enjoy skiing – I didn't grow up in Utah, I grew up in Minnesota, that's a lovely place, not a lot of awesome ski mountains in Minnesota. In fact, there's a funny joke where they show Ski Minnesota and it's a guy strapped to the back of a (cow?). So I love being in Utah because we have an awesome ski resort called Alta. It actually literally just means high or tall.
And it's interesting, it's related to this word exaltation. The ex actually means like out of this world. So instead of just being high or tall, exaltation is far beyond. And that's really what God is offering us. To take us far beyond our present circumstances. Exaltation is to take us out of what we know into his realm far beyond comprehension.
And by way, the word exaltation is also related to other words we use all the time in our language we often don’t even think about. The word Alta is related to the word elder. You can actually even hear it where the A becomes E, the L is still there, the T is a D. The word elder actually comes from the word older. And as a missionary people used to laugh at me like well you don't look very old. That's a title, of course, about spiritual wisdom. But you know as a missionary, I probably could have used much more wisdom.
So exaltation is this idea of being older and mature and being grown up and high, okay? How does this relate to some of the things we'll see in these chapters today? The Hebrew word ram actually means exaltation, or high, and lifted up. So as you're reading these chapters, and by the way, Tyler's going to teach you a whole bunch of other things to understand all the false doctrine that Korihor taught, how to avoid being led away by false doctrine.
So you might also want to look for these particular themes going on in these chapters. So let me actually lay out some names that you probably are familiar with and show you how they connect with the theme of being high or lifted up or even exaltation.
So the first name is Abram. So in the Old Testament our ancient forefather Abraham – his original name was Abram, and the name Ab means father, and ram, as you know, means exalted. So his name probably means Exalted Father. And it's probably referencing who Abraham or Abram was actually worshipping, but it also tells us something about what we all could become if we follow the gospel path. That we become exalted mothers and fathers.
Well then we have other names in the Book of Mormon like Zo-ram. Like the Zoramites. And again you see the word ram which is exalted or high or lifted up, and Zoram may mean he who is lifted up. And by the way, if you want more great meanings of names in the Book of Mormon, look for the scholarship of Dr. Matt Bowen from BYU Hawaii. A really amazing scholar and he's made a lot of these discoveries.
Now what's interesting, if the Zoramites, what do they do? They lift themselves up. They're prideful. They're self-exalting. And it's interesting. How do they do that? Let me just map out these words here, you can see them better. They build a high tower. Now what's the name of that high tower where they can lift themselves up? You got it. It's a ram - high tower – eumptom. Okay? So it's very interesting, in the name rameumptom we actually have the Hebrew word ram which means to be high or lifted up.
And so God wants to exalt us, but to think that we should do it on our own is a core problem. We cannot exalt ourselves. We can't. Doesn't matter how tall the tower is, the people of the Tower of Babel tried this. It just didn't work. That was the same thing. The Zoramites probably should have read their scriptures, that tall tower to get yourself into heaven, always ends in disaster and confusion.
One more name that I think is really fun is the word Hyrum. Now in ancient Hebrew this name was actually spelled quite differently as Hi – ram. Notice the word exaltation – high or lifted up, and actually in Hebrew you have this little little letter a in there, A-he-ram means my brother with a – his brother and the little i in there makes it my – my brother is exalted. I just love that Joseph Smith's brother's name is, my brother is exalted. A great witness for what God did for Joseph Smith because of his faithfulness.
So actually here, as you're looking through the scriptures, you're looking for messages for how God will exalt us and how we can avoid the devil's trap of trying to self-exalt. And partly what we're seeing here in Alma 30 to 31 is a group of people led by a man who exalts himself and puts his entire religion around self-exaltation. And what we learn is that that is a disaster. But it's not a disaster when we let God exalt us through his Son Jesus Christ who truly is the exalted one.
Okay, let's dive right in. This is an amazing block of scripture where we see some incredible truths regarding the doctrine of Korihor and it's interesting to see how much air time Mormon gives to this cheap Anti-Christ in the Book of Mormon. Now before we dive into Korihor, look closely at Alma chapter 30 verse 4 and 5. Let's start there: "And thus the people did have no disturbance in all the sixteenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi. And it came to pass that in the commencement of the seventeenth year of the reign of the judges, there was continual peace."
Now many of us would read that and think, you know, why can't we just have every verse in the Book of Mormon be like that? That there was goodness and there was peace and there was righteousness and there was hope and everybody was happy and serving each other? Wouldn't the Book of Mormon be a lot more uplifting if that's all it had? Some have wondered why so much evil? Why so much from people like Korihor, this Anti-Christ?
And why so much war in Alma and Helaman and 3rd Nephi? The question here is, what would happen if our Book of Mormon only focused on just the positive and totally ignored the negative? I want to share a little concept with you really quick just to prove this point of why we have so much badness in the Book of Mormon. There is an educational philosophy out there, Taylor has talked about this in a previous episode, the idea that we as learners don't fully grasp a concept if all we ever see are the positive examples of that concept. In order to truly understand it, you have to see and be able to distinguish the difference between the positive and the negative examples.
So let me demonstrate – totally made up concept, you can't find this if you Google it or anything, it doesn't exist, so it's just a made up concept to teach this principle. We'll call it the Concept of the Zots, okay? I'm going to show you multiple examples of what Zot is. Okay, you ready? Here we go. Really fast. This is zot, this is zot, this is zot, this is zot, this is zot, this is zot, this is zot, this is zot. This is zot, this is zot, this is zot, this is zot, this is zot and this is zot. This is zot. There, I just showed you, I don't know, a dozen or so examples of what zot is. And my guess is, that you are sitting there really confused wondering what in the world I just did because it made no sense.
And quite frankly, you have very little idea of what Zot really is. Now watch what happens when you see what Zot is not. This is Zot, that is not Zot. This is Zot, but this is not Zot. This is clearly not Zot, this is Zot, oh, no it isn't, it's not Zot. You get the idea. That Zot is any writing, any marking on the board that doesn't touch the borders. It only took two or three non-examples for all of the positive examples to all of a sudden make more sense.
If our Book of Mormon only had Nephi and Abinadi and King Benjamin and Samuel and Alma, but we didn't have all of the stories involving Laman and Lemuel and King Noah and Amalekiah and Korihor and Nehor and Sherem, our understanding of faith, of goodness, of hope, of obedience, of covenant path discipleship, of connection with the Lord, it would be greatly limited.
The fact that the doctrines of the gospel, the Lord chose to give them to us in a story form and in speeches and in these interactions where he's giving both the good and the bad right next to each other, it enhances our understanding of both and we can more clearly understand those doctrines.
Now, with that foundation, let's dive into Korihor's doctrine because when we understand Korihor's doctrine, we understand the person who inspired Korihor to teach that doctrine and understanding where the devil's doctrine is coming from and what it's trying to do, then I believe, from my own experience, that it then enhances our ability to understand better the true doctrines that are coming to us from the Lord Jesus Christ as we move forward on that covenant path in the faith.
So we pick up verse 4 and 5 again, there was all this continual peace and it doesn't just keep going because then there's verse 6: "But it 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," so here they are, peace and prosperity and it doesn't get to just keep going as peace and prosperity. Here comes some major opposition in the form of a man who is Anti-Christ.
So Korihor comes along and we are going to play a little game with Korihor. We're going to play dominoes. And by the way, for any of you who have ever spent any time setting up dominoes and then knocking them down, you understand a reality that it takes a lot longer to establish and to set up dominoes than it does to knock them down. So it is with faith. You can spend a lifetime building up faith and if you choose to do things that are inappropriate or unwise, you can knock down years of building efforts in a very short period of time when it comes to faith and testimony and conversion.
So Korihor comes along and these prophets and these people have been spending this time trying to establish some dominoes of faith and he's going to start knocking them down. Now watch closely at what the first domino is that Korihor attacks. Look at verse 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." Notice that the first domino he's going to attack is there will be no Christ.
Now if you knock over that domino, it's going to knock down a whole series of dominoes downstream. If there's really no Christ, look what follows: verse 13: "O ye that are bound down under a foolish and a vain hope," that's his way of saying there is no such thing as true hope. You have no hope and the hope that you think you have, it's foolish and it's vain. It's a total waste of your time. There is no hope.
Look at verse thirteen's conclusion: "Why do you look for a Christ? For no man can know of anything which is to come." There is no such thing as prophecy. You can't know what's coming in the future. By the way, you'll notice that with - Sherem did this as well back in Jacob chapter 7, they say no man can know anything which is to come in the future, and then they turn right around and say, now let me tell you what isn't going to be in the future.
There is not going to be a Christ anywhere in the future. The contradiction, the logical fallacy there is quite remarkable but sometimes we miss that – the fact that they're telling you you can't know the future but then they're telling you the future. There is no Christ in the future for him.
Look at verse 14: "Behold these things which ye call prophecies, which ye say are handed down by holy prophets, behold, they are foolish traditions of your fathers." There's no such thing as past wisdom to be gained from the prophets in the past. Anything that they pass down that they claim to be prophecy, it's all foolishness. It's just a tradition of your fathers. There is nothing to be gained from the past.
Hmm. That's interesting. Here we stand in the present, and what does Korihor in essence do? I learned this from a dear friend and an amazing mentor, Brother Rex Reeve. He showed this to me. That Korihor, or the devil, is doing everything he can to cut us completely off from the past and to blind us and cut us off from the future, leaving us with me, here, now.
When Satan can help us or cause us to be cut off from the past and the future, the ability that he has to tempt us in such a way that we fall, the odds go through the roof and that's exactly what's happening here. Now, before I go any further down the domino line, before we play any more of this domino game with Korihor, I need to stop and make something very clear here.
It's not just that Korihor is teaching these doctrines to try to get people convinced to go out and sin. There's something – there's a reason why I think I believe that God inspired Mormon to put so much of Korihor's doctrine in here. There's a lot. He opened up the playbook of the devil here, right before our very eyes in Alma chapter 30 as well as anywhere I know in all scripture. You're getting a glimpse into doctrines of devils and what they teach. But even more than that, I believe the Lord inspired this because what's happening here is the Lord is revealing what it's like for people that followed the devil in the pre-mortal council and for sons of perdition, some day.
In other words, is there a group of people who have no Christ? Is there a group of people who really do have no hope, who have no spirit of prophecy and who don't benefit at all from any past wisdom? And the answer is, yes, there are people, they live in hell with the devil. What Korihor is doing is he's revealing on a silver platter to you exactly what it would be like to be a devil. You have no claim on Christ, and because you have no claim on Christ, you have none of these things.
And the Book of Mormon taught us earlier on, misery likes company in essence. He seeks that all may be miserable like unto himself. So if you want the true definitions of misery, you just keep playing this game with Korihor and watch these dominoes fall. So go to verse 15: "How do ye know of their surety? Behold, ye cannot know of things which ye do not see; therefore ye cannot know that there shall be a Christ." You can't know that which you can't see; there's no such thing as faith and believing until you can see something.
Verse 16: "Ye look forward and say that ye see a remission of your sins…."that's the effect of a frenzied mind," there's no such thing as forgiveness. Look at 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."
Are you noticing this? He is attacking every core doctrine that you can imagine. There is no atonement. There's no need for it even because why? There's no crime. Remember Satan's plan in the beginning: I will save all of them; I will lose none of them. You can see echoes of that coming through Korihor's doctrine here.
Look at verse 18: "And thus he did preach unto them, leading away the hearts of many, causing them to lift up their heads in their wickedness," to glory in their wickedness, basically. "Yea, leading away many women, and also men, to commit whoredoms – telling that when a man was dead, that was the end thereof." There is no life after death and after this life. It's done. So just live it up. Enjoy what you've got. Take advantage of it.
These dominoes, they fall in succession, but brothers and sisters, it's really critical to note again, to come back to the beginning, it's all rooted in Jesus Christ because quite frankly and very honestly, if you take Jesus Christ out of the picture, what Korihor taught is accurate. If there is no Christ, then you and I have no hope for any of these things – the remaining dominoes. And so you'll notice that prophets, both ancient and modern, their number one goal is to testify of Jesus Christ and to get us to believe in Christ and to come unto Christ and be perfected in him because once you put him in place, all of these other dominoes can be set up, so the contrast in the Book of Mormon, that Zot – not Zot's idea, here we're getting not Zots, but all of the prophets in the Book of Mormon are trying to teach us the opposite which is the positive side which is, to come to know Christ.
And when we come to know Christ, when we really know him, then we will really know hope and then we will really know about prophecy and know about the past wisdom and gain more from it and so on and so forth down the line of the dominoes until we come to the knowing all about the atonement because we've experienced the Savior's infinite mercy and power and grace in our own life and in the life of our family.
So before we move forward into the rest of Korihor's story, we need to make this very clear, that this isn't just about an Anti-Christ. This is simply revealing the doctrine of devils and the attributes of devils so that we can better understand what's going on when prophets stand up and preach the truth and we can then make better sense when we find ourselves in the moments of temptation, realizing who it is that's really tempting us and what he's trying to do and what's happening with us.
Now, moving on. Look at verse 20. He goes to the people in the Land of Jershon, the people that Ammon, Aaron, Omner and Himni and their companions had taught – of the Lamanites. They didn't buy his doctrine. They kicked him out. He went to Gideon, they don't really buy his doctrine and then they take him to the high priest over all the land, the story gets really, really fun when we find this interesting scenario between Alma the Younger and Korihor.
Here's the reality. Alma the Younger, of all of our Book of Mormon prophets, I can't think of a better person to have in this interaction with Korihor because of Alma the Younger's past. Alma the Younger knows what teaching this doctrine is like because he spent some of his lifetime doing it when he was younger, and he knows very well where Korihor's coming from. But Korihor doesn't have a clue about where Alma's coming from. And that's the reality of good and evil. Good – goodness knows an awful lot about goodness and badness, but badness doesn't know very much about either one. That's a C. S. Lewis concept and I like that.
So before we now go into the interaction between Alma and Korihor, I want to point out something else here. Korihor is teaching these doctrines, our other Anti-Christs in the Book of Mormon – so we have Sherem – he's back in Jacob chapter 7 - Sherem's doctrine is also Anti-Christ but he says that God lives, he doesn't believe in a God – at least at this point, hold that thought, we'll get to it later – he says, Sherem says that the Law of Moses will save you, and he is really frustrated because the people are going after worshipping this Christ that will come and he says you can't know the future and there is no Christ.
That's how you are saved, keep the Law of Moses, the law will save you. So his Anti-Christ doctrine is very different, totally different flavor from Korihor's. Then you get Nehor in Alma chapter 1, and his doctrine is different as well. In fact, we've mentioned it before, he never even mentions Christ, but we call him Anti-Christ because he says that God doesn't just live, but God will save all. He will save everyone, and it doesn't matter what you do or what you don't do, you're going to be saved.
So can you see that if you were to put Korihor, Sherem and Nehor on a debate stage, they would not agree with each other. Now they would agree on certain points, but they, across the board, are coming from totally different extreme angles, but they're all inspired by the same guy. That's probably why they call it doctrines of devils. And we call it the doctrine of Christ because he doesn't change his doctrine.
Now we change practices in the Church and policies and procedures. But the doctrine doesn't change. The doctrine of Christ is, there is none other way nor means whereby we can be saved, only in and through the coming of the Son of God because God sent him into the world to suffer the infinite atonement for us and then we keep the laws and ordinances and the principles of his gospel in order to continually accept and access his grace. There's only one path. There's only one doctrine that's going to save us or exalt us.
In this case, there are three major variations and extremes on ways to sink our souls into any state other than salvation. So as we move forward, recognize Satan doesn't care which doctrine you fall for. He just doesn't want you to follow the doctrine of Christ. He wants you to fall for one of his tactics and he's got many. These are just three of many ways that Satan will try to destroy us.
So now he comes in front of Alma and the showdown begins in verse 31. Notice, "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 their fathers, for the sake of glutting on the labors of the people." It's so interesting that a person inspired by the devil would throw that accusation, the being who doesn't want to do any work but wants all of the benefit. That's Satan. He wasn't willing to sacrifice his life for us like Jesus was, but he wanted us to do all the work and him to get all the glory and all of the benefit. The irony is thick.
The conversation goes on in this initial phase. Now look at verse 39: "Now Alma said unto him,: Will ye deny again that there is a God, and also deny the Christ? For behold, I say unto you, I know there is a God, and also that Christ shall come." So he bears his testimony very firmly, very resolutely to Korihor here. And then verse 40 is beautiful: "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." It's interesting that in this case, Korihor is laying the burden of proof at the feet of Alma saying basically, prove it. We're going to see that here in a minute.
You can't prove that there isn't a God. In fact, it was Elder Gerald Lund years and years ago in an Ensign article who talked about this. He said, in order to prove that there isn't a God, you would have to be able to go into all parts of the vast universe looking for him and find no evidence of divinity. And then he said, the only problem is, is by the time you get through looking through all parts of the universe, God could have moved, so he said to really prove that there is no God, what you have to do is have your mind be able to contemplate every square cubic inch of the vast expanse of the universe in an instant. And only a God can do that.
Brothers and sisters, the existence of God is not intended to be something proved by scientific inquiry or by scientific evidence. It's a matter of faith and I love the fact that here Alma is saying, look at verse 41: "Behold, 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 you will ye deny them? He's saying, look, everywhere I look I'm seeing signs of a God and you're seeing signs of non-existence of a God but you can't prove it. Nor can I prove to you, but I can bear my testimony to you and I can explain the witnesses that I've seen.
At this point, Korihor shifts the discussion. Look at verse 43: "Now Korihor said unto Alma; If thou wilt show unto me a sign, that I may be convinced that there is a God, yea, show unto me that he hath power, and then will I be convinced of the truth of thy words." Alma, let's make this really simple. Show me a sign. Prove it. Prove that God lives, then I'll believe. Let me see it then I will believe it.
That whole doctrine or that foundation of seeking truth is a wonderful one when it comes to scientific inquiry, when it comes to things of the earth, physical laws, that is wonderful to use that scientific method of I've got to see it then I'll believe it. I personally don't want to get onto an airplane of somebody who has just fasted and prayed but who has no scientific experimentation or built on laws of nature and lots of tests and trials and errors to discover how to best make an airplane – I don't want to get on an airplane built by faith alone. I just don't.
So the – let me see it then believe it is a wonderful way to seek truth when it comes to things of the physical, natural world in which we live, but it's not a good way to seek truth with things of eternity. The Book of Mormon later on is going to teach us that we receive no witness until after the trial of our faith, which means, we have to believe first and then see second. It's only after the trial that we get the witness.
So now watch what happens with this sign seeking. If you'll show me a sign, then I'll believe. It was Jesus who taught the doctrine that it is a wicked and an adulterous generation that seeketh after signs. Joseph Smith repeated that doctrine once when he said, sign seekers are adulterers, basically, is the concept that he taught. That's odd. What does sign seeking and adultery have in common that would make them so connected in the mind of the Savior that he would teach that, a wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after signs.
Think about what an adulterer wants and what they're willing to do. An adulterer is not willing to work and to pay the price to go through a long phase of dating and courtship and engagement and marriage in order to enjoy those particular aspects of married life. They don't want to go to all the work, they just want what they want right here, right now, and they don't care what it costs because they want that passion or that desire fed in the immediate present.
What is sign seeking? I don't want to have to go to the work of reading the scriptures and praying and fasting and going to church and serving and paying tithing and struggling to gain a testimony of these things, I want what I want and I want it right now but I don't want to have to work for it. So just show me a sign, let's cut to the chase, let me just see what I want to see, and then I'll believe at that point. Done. It didn't cost me anything. I didn't have to put anything into this but I get all of the benefit with none of the pain or none of the labor leading up to it.
Notice that Alma tells him, you've had signs enough, verse 44 and he continues to press Korihor on this saying you know more, you know better, and are you going to keep denying, you're going to do this? Look at verse 48: "Now Korihor said unto him: I do not deny the existence of a God but I do not believe 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."
Hmm, that's odd. Our thief atheist in the Book of Mormon who didn't believe in the existence of God and in the existence of Christ, he doesn't really say that as much, but everything he's talking about – there's no life after this life, there's nothing to be gained from the past, everything he's describing is Godless, it's atheistic. But now, in verse 48 he shifts and he becomes fully agnostic, an agnostic saying I don't know and I don’t think you know and I don't think anyone can know.
Well, watch this. Look at verse 49: "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." And at that point, Korihor is struck dumb. He can't speak anymore.
So look at verse 52. First thing he writes, "Korihor put forth his hand and wrote, saying: I know that I am dumb, for I cannot speak; and I know," he's bearing testimony now as he writes this, " I know that nothing save it were the power of God could bring this upon me; yea, and I always knew that there was a God." "I always knew that there is a God." Turns out he's a theist all along. "I always knew.” So your question for Korihor at this point would be, uh – really? Then why did you do what you did? Why did you teach what you taught?
He answers it before we even ask the question. Look at verse 53, "But behold, 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." Now at that point – pause – you would want Korihor to ask a few questions of that angel wouldn't you? Wouldn't you want him to say something like, really? If there's no God then where did you come from? Who sent you? And why did you care to come? And if there really is no God, then what difference does it make what anybody believes?
Really, at the end of the day, nothing matters. And why do you care so much angel if there is no God? But Korihor didn't ask any of those questions. Look what he says: "I 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 they were true." Because they pleased the carnal mind and so many people seemed to follow and believe them true, as well I believed that they were true.
And so then you're thinking to yourself, okay, well, if you show me a sign, then I will be able to believe. So now he's had his sign, now he should be able to believe, right? But his declaration was, I've always believed. I didn't need Alma to show me a sign to believe in God because I always knew there was a God. I've just been teaching these things because they were so pleasing and so many people liked them. But that was a good lesson for me. I've learned it now let's move on, I'm ready to be a good guy now.
Look at verse 54: "Now when he had said this, he besought that Alma should pray unto God that the curse might be taken from him." Brothers and sisters, verse 54, for me, is one of the saddest verses in this entire chapter because what it tells me is that nothing has changed. Korihor hasn't really changed. He just doesn't like the consequence that he's now experiencing but his heart is no different than it was before because he's doing the same thing as he was before.
He's turning to somebody else to do all of the work for him so that he can get the rewards and the fruits and the benefits of that labor. I don't know. I have no authority for these things, but I believe with all my heart that if verse 54 had said, and it came to pass that Korihor fell to the ground and he poured out his whole soul and his heart to God, pleading for a remission of his sins and his iniquities and for all that he had done to lead away so many hearts away from Christ, pleading to know what God would have him to do to be forgiven of his sins, I think we would have had a different ending to the story.
I think we would have seen a changed heart turning to God asking direction on what God would have him do and he would be willing to do it meekly, and then I think the next verse might have said, and it came to pass that Korihor was passed out for three days because that seems to always be the pattern when people are making this kind of a transition, but we don't see that, because Korihor's heart doesn't seem to have changed. He's turning to Alma saying, you take this away from me because I've learned my lesson. I'm a good boy now.
Look at verse 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 even as the Lord will." So he's saying, look, I'm not going to it away because I think you're going to keep leading people astray. But if God wants to take it away, I'll let him. God doesn't.
Now Korihor goes down among the Zoramites in Antionum. This is the one place among the Nephites where people should have embraced him and celebrated him. But notice what happens. Bottom of verse 58: "Korihor did go about from house to house, begging food for his support." His doctrine isn't going very well now. He told us before that every man prospers according to his genius, every dog for himself, right? Well now it's not going very well for him because he's begging.
"And it came to pass that as he went forth among the people, yea, among 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, behold he was run upon and trodden down, even until he was dead." Mormon couldn't hold himself back. He has to jump in and say, did you get it? Did you see the message?
Look at this, it comes to us in two thus we sees in verse 60: "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." You'll notice a little (contrast?) on your scripture page there, if you have your physical scriptures open, you could circle the word drag because that's what Satan does, he drags people down to hell. Look at the contrast over in chapter 31 verse 5, just right next to it on the page, "Now as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just." Contrast Zot with not Zot. Contrast good with evil. Christ with Satan.
Satan drags, Christ leads. He will never force anyone into heaven. He will never reach into your heart and squeeze you and say you will love me. That is not his way. He will lead you with kindness, gentleness, meekness, persuasion and love unfeigned, all of those beautiful things in section 121 that he describes. That's how God does his work.
Now, as we say farewell to Korihor and turn our attention to chapter 31 with the Zoramites, just know that his doctrine is appealing. There is a part of our being that would very much like to have his doctrine be true if we let it go, but brothers and sisters, there is no happiness in following that doctrine or allowing those dominoes to keep falling and thinking we're going to somehow find lasting or enduring joy. It doesn't exist. That will only lead us to be bound more and more with more flaxen cords from the devil allowing him to drag us more and more against our will versus turning to the Lord saying, I want thee to be my God, and I want to be thy people and moving forward in faith.
Now we shift our attention to chapter 31. After the Korihor incident, Alma is really concerned because down there, if you look at the map of the land northward in Zarahemla, you have the capital in the center of the land, it always talks about it as the capital city, that's where this event with Korihor probably happened and Antionum is clear down here on the bottom right-hand side.
It's one of the few entry points between the Lamanites and the Nephite lands over here in Antionum. The Zoramites have separated themselves from the Nephites and Alma is very, very concerned and you can see strategically on the map why that would be a concern for him. He does not want these Zoramites becoming friendly with the Lamanites because then you've got that flank opened up for the enemy to be able to get into your lands.
So he decides to take a group of missionaries, perhaps called the dream team of missionaries to go down there and teach these people. Why? Look closely at 31 verse 5: "Now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency," now notice he's had some experiences in other cities and realizes that it doesn't always work, but it "had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just, yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else which had happened unto them – therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God," or the power of the word of God.
He's saying, let's go and teach. So he takes this dream team with him described in verse 6, Ammon, Aaron, Omner and Amulek and Zeezrom, don't you love the fact that Zeezrom is on the team with the missionaries now? This lawyer from Ammonihah who had previously been trying to destroy them? I love that. And he also takes – he doesn't take Helaman, but he took with him Shiblon and Corianton and we go on this mission down here to the Zoramites.
Now when we get there, there's this fascinating thing that they discover. The Zoramites have built synagogues and they're worshipping on the Sabbath day. He said oh, maybe we're good, so they go into the synagogue with them to see what they're doing. Lo and behold, they'd built some very, very interesting structures inside – an interesting structure inside of the synagogue. Taylor's speaking about this whole symbolism of the rameumptom and what it means.
Now look closely at the wording of the prayer offered on top of the rameumptom and you tell me in your mind, who inspired this prayer? Or to whom are they really praying, whether they know it or not? Look at verse 15: "Holy Holy God, we believe that thou art God and we believe that thou art holy, and that thou wast a spirit, and that thou art a spirit, and that thou wilt be a spirit forever."
Hmm, who fits that description? And if you're thinking through all the words literally, you're saying, well nobody does. There's no holy, holy God who has been a spirit, is a spirit and will be a spirit forever. The reality is that Satan is really, really good at identity theft so he's taken attributes of God's holiness and he's declaring that for himself, but his identity is, I've always been a spirit, always will be a spirit, there is no hope for a body - for him - in the future, and look at verse 16:
"Holy God we believe that thou hast separated us from our brethren and we do not believe the tradition of our brethren, which was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers; but we believe that thou hast elected us to be thy holy children and also thou hast made it known unto us that there shall be no Christ." Sounds a lot like Korihor's doctrine now coming through. You've elected us to be your holy children and there will be no Christ.
Look at verse 17, you're "the same yesterday, today, and forever." You see how he's stealing attributes of God? "Thou hast elected us that we shall be saved, whilst all around us are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell, for which holiness, Oh God, we thank thee…that thou hast elected us." What does their salvation cost them? What faith, what trust, what hope do they have to have?
You'll notice after they finish the prayer and get off the rameumptom in verse 21, they go home and they never think about or talk about God until the following week when they get back up on the Rameumptom. Their covenant, their discipleship cost them nothing. Their salvation is given to them but everybody around them is not going to be saved. That sounds very similar to the devil's doctrine up in heaven. Sounds very similar in ways to Nehor's doctrine, we know these guys are after the order of the Nehors as well.
So the finishing of this is in verse 24: "Now when Alma saw this his heart was grieved; for he saw that they were a wicked and a perverse people; yea, he saw that their hearts were set upon gold, and upon silver, and upon all manner of fine goods." But if you were to interview any one of them walking out of the Synagogue on a given Sabbath day and say, how are you doing on the righteousness scale? They'd be saying I'm good. I'm going to be saved. I'm great.
But here's a prophet of God saying, oh no, we have our work cut out for us. Now you have an apostate prayer on page 286, this is the Zoramite rameumptom prayer, so isn't it interesting that Mormon would choose to give us Alma's prophetic prayer on the very next page. You get a prayer to the devil with deceptive identity theft going on, and then you get a prophet's true prayer and you see pleading and you see what it costs him and what he's willing to put on the altar in this work.
Look at the phrasing here, verse 26: "He lifted up his voice to heaven, and cried, saying: O, how long, O Lord, wilt thou suffer that thy servants shall dwell here below in the flesh, to behold such gross wickedness among the children of men? Behold, O God, they cry unto thee," and he goes on and on and on. Now look towards the end, 32: "O Lord, wilt thou comfort my soul, and give unto me success, and also my fellow laborers who are with me….yea, wilt thou comfort their souls in Christ," there at the end of the verse.
Why? He's asking for comfort so that they can be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to establish those correct dominoes – again – for the people, to put things back in place for the Zoramites to be able to believe and to understand. And at the end, notice verse 36, "It came to pass that when Alma had said these words that he clapped his hands upon all them who were with him. And behold, as he clapped his hands upon them, they were filled with the Holy Spirit."
Now, as we come to the end of this, next week's lesson we're going to get into chapter 32, 33, 34 which are the teachings of Alma and Amulek and Zeezrom and these other missionaries among the Zoramites and where they have success and where they don't have success.
In closing, brothers and sisters, nothing that we've spent time talking about today, and I mean nothing that we've talked about today matters at all if there isn't a Christ and if there isn't a God. But I'm here to tell you everything we've talked about today does matter because there is a God and there is a Christ and there is his infinite atonement and there is past wisdom to be gained from the scriptures and from our ancestors and those who have gone before us and from our own lives in the past.
There's great power in that, and there's great power in looking into the future and there's great power in believing in things which we can't yet see and in strengthening our faith to the point where we have deep trust in God to move forward based on what we do know, on the covenant path following Christ back to that place where he intends us to go which is into the presence of our loving heavenly parents. So in closing, know that God lives, know that Jesus is the Christ and know that you are loved. And I leave that with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
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