To help class members learn how to recognize and refute false teachings and stay true to their testimonies of Jesus Christ.
Read, ponder, and pray about the following scriptures:
Alma 30:1–18. Korihor, an anti-Christ, leads away the hearts of many in Zarahemla by preaching that “there should be no Christ” and that “whatsoever a man did was no crime.”
Alma 30:19–60. Korihor attempts to preach in the lands of Jershon and Gideon. The people refuse to listen, and they take him before their leaders. Korihor is then taken before Alma, who bears testimony of Christ’s coming and the existence of God. Korihor demands a sign and is struck dumb.
Alma 31. Alma leads a mission to reclaim the apostate Zoramites, who have adopted false beliefs and a prideful form of worship.
Suggestions for Lesson Development
As appropriate, use the following activity or one of your own to begin the lesson.
Ask class members to think of a place that exists but that they have never visited.
Why do you believe that this place exists?
Explain that this lesson discusses a man who claimed that we cannot know of things we have not seen. Korihor argued that a person who had not seen God could not know of His existence. But just as we have others’ accounts to help us know of places we have not seen, we have the testimony of prophets, the scriptures, and the gift of the Holy Ghost to help us know that God does exist and that His gospel is true.
Point out that the teachings of Korihor are common in the world today. Understanding how the people responded to his falsehoods can help us when we are faced with similar false philosophies and ideas.
Scripture Discussion and Application
Prayerfully select the scripture passages, questions, and other lesson material that will best meet class members’ needs. Discuss how the selected scriptures apply to daily life. Encourage class members to share appropriate experiences that relate to the scriptural principles.
1. Korihor leads away the hearts of many in Zarahemla.
Discuss Alma 30:1–18. Invite class members to read selected verses aloud. Explain that after establishing the people of Ammon in the land of Jershon and driving the warring Lamanites out of the land, the Nephites lived in peace during the 16th year of the reign of the judges and most of the 17th year.
What happened near the end of the 17th year to disrupt the peace of the people? (See Alma 30:6, 12.) What is an anti-Christ? (See Bible Dictionary, “Antichrist,” 609, which says that an anti-Christ is “anyone or anything that counterfeits the true gospel or plan of salvation and that openly or secretly is set up in opposition to Christ.”)
What were some of the false teachings Korihor spread among the people of Zarahemla? (Have class members read Alma 30:12–18 to find answers to this question. Some answers are shown below.)
There will be “no Christ. … Ye cannot know of things which ye do not see; therefore ye cannot know that there shall be a Christ” (Alma 30:12–15). If you used the attention activity, refer to it and briefly discuss some things that we know exist but that we may not have seen.
“No man can know of anything which is to come” (Alma 30:13). Point out that it was contradictory for Korihor to say that no one could know of things to come but also to declare that there would be no Christ.
Belief in the Atonement “is the effect of a frenzied mind” (Alma 30:16).
“Every man prosper[s] according to his genius, and … every man conquer[s] according to his strength” (Alma 30:17).
“Whatsoever a man [does is] no crime” (Alma 30:17).
“When a man [is] dead, that [is] the end thereof” (Alma 30:18).
How did Korihor’s teachings affect the people who listened to him? (See Alma 30:18.) Why would these teachings lead people to sin? In what ways are our daily choices influenced by our knowledge of Jesus Christ, the Atonement, and life after death?
2. Korihor is taken before Alma, who testifies of Christ’s coming.
Read and discuss selected verses from Alma 30:19–60. Explain that after spreading his false teachings in Zarahemla, Korihor attempted to preach the same things among the people in Jershon and Gideon. Unlike the people in Zarahemla, however, these people provided good examples of how we should respond when we are confronted by people like Korihor. Write on the chalkboard the heading Dealing with Modern-Day Korihors. List underneath it the ideas provided in this section as you discuss them.
What did the people of Ammon do when Korihor tried to spread his false teachings among them? (See Alma 30:19–21.) How did their actions demonstrate that they were “more wise” than the Nephites in Zarahemla? (The people of Zarahemla listened to Korihor’s false teachings; the people of Ammon and the people in Gideon would not.) How can we be wise and use discernment in similar situations? (Under the heading on the chalkboard, write Be wise.)
What false accusations did Korihor make against the Church leaders? (See Alma 30:23–24, 27–28, 31.) Why do you think he did this? How does obeying our Church leaders actually help make us free rather than bring us into bondage, as Korihor claimed?
How did Alma respond to Korihor’s accusations against Church leaders? (See Alma 30:32–35. Write on the chalkboard Know the truth.) How can knowing the truth help us when we are confronted with false teachings?
How did Alma respond to Korihor’s claim that there is no God? (See Alma 30:39. Write on the chalkboard Bear personal testimony.) How are we blessed when we bear testimony of Jesus Christ?
When Korihor asked for a sign of God’s existence, what signs did Alma put forth as evidence that God lives? (See Alma 30:44. Alma cited the testimony of “all these thy brethren,” the prophets, the scriptures, and “all things.” Write on the chalkboard Teach the truth from the prophets and the scriptures.) How have these evidences helped strengthen your faith?
Even after Alma’s testimony, Korihor continued to demand to be shown a sign (Alma 30:45). What sign did Korihor receive? (See Alma 30:49–50.) Why was this sign given? (See Alma 30:47.) After Korihor acknowledged that he had been deceived, what did he say was the reason he had followed the devil? (See Alma 30:53.)
What finally happened to Korihor? (See Alma 30:54–56, 58–59.) Why do you think Mormon included the account of Korihor in his abridgment of the plates? What does this account teach us about the fate of those who pervert the ways of the Lord? (See Alma 30:60.)
3. Alma leads a mission to reclaim the apostate Zoramites.
Read and discuss selected verses from Alma 31.
Why did Alma decide to go on a mission to reclaim the Zoramites? (See Alma 31:1–6. He was grieved by their idol worship. In addition, the Nephites were concerned that the Zoramites would join with the Lamanites.) Why did Alma believe that he and his brethren should preach the word of God? (See Alma 31:5.) How have you seen the word of God bring about change in people’s lives?
The Zoramites had been members of the Church, but they had “fallen into great errors” (Alma 31:8–9). Why did they fall into apostasy? (See Alma 31:9–11.) What can we do to guard against individual apostasy?
What did Alma and his brethren learn about the Zoramites’ manner of worship? (See Alma 31:12–23. You may want to point out that in addition to having a perverse form of worship, the Zoramites “returned to their homes, never speaking of their God again until they had assembled themselves together again.”) How did Alma and his brethren respond when they witnessed this false worship? (See Alma 31:19, 24.)
Explain that chapter 31 contains two prayers—one by the Zoramites and one by Alma. Have the assigned class members read these prayers (see “Preparation,” item 2). Ask class members to think about the differences between the two prayers as they are read. Some of the main points of each prayer are listed on the next page.
God was, is, and always will be a spirit (Alma 31:15).
“We do not believe in the tradition of our brethren” (Alma 31:16).
“There shall be no Christ” (Alma 31:16).
“We shall be saved,” but everyone else will be “cast … to hell” (Alma 31:17).
Others are bound by “foolish traditions” (Alma 31:17).
“We are a chosen and a holy people” (Alma 31:18).
“Give me strength, that I may bear with mine infirmities” (Alma 31:30).
“Wilt thou comfort my soul in Christ” (Alma 31:31).
“Give unto me success, and also my fellow laborers” (Alma 31:32).
“Wilt thou comfort [my fellow laborers’] souls in Christ” (Alma 31:32).
Help us bring the Zoramites “unto thee” (Alma 31:34–35).
“[The Zoramites’] souls are precious” (Alma 31:35).
“Give unto us … power and wisdom” (Alma 31:35).
How was Alma’s prayer different from the Zoramites’ prayer? (You may want to contrast the pride, selfishness, and unbelief of the Zoramites with Alma’s humility, love for others, and faith.)
What attitudes of the Zoramites were the greatest barriers to their having faith in Christ? (See Alma 31:24–29.) How does pride affect our worship? (See Alma 15:17; 34:38; D&C 59:21.) Why is pride an obstacle to salvation?
Alma’s “heart was grieved” because of the Zoramites’ wickedness. He prayed earnestly that he and his brethren might bring them “again unto … Christ” (Alma 31:24, 34). What responsibility do we have today to help those who have strayed from the teachings of Jesus Christ? (See 3 Nephi 18:32.) How can prayer help us when we serve a mission or as we perform our various callings?
How were Alma and his brethren blessed? (See Alma 31:38.) How will the Lord help us if we pray in faith for that which is right? (Invite class members to share experiences in which the Lord blessed them when they prayed in faith.)
Point out that the philosophies of Korihor and the Zoramites are prevalent today. From the classroom to the workplace, in the media, in books, and sometimes in the home, there are those who preach the false doctrines of Korihor to “interrupt [our] rejoicings” (Alma 30:22). Also, like the Zoramites, many today set their hearts on “the vain things of the world” (Alma 31:27). Encourage class members to fortify themselves through diligent study of the Book of Mormon, daily prayer, and continued obedience to the commandments of God.
As directed by the Spirit, testify of the truths discussed during the lesson.