Unit 18: Day 2, Alma 30

Book of Mormon Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students, (2012), 178–81


Introduction

Following a great battle with the Lamanites, peace settled over the land of Zarahemla. In the midst of this period of peace, a man named Korihor began to preach that there would be no Christ. His false teachings led those who believed him to sin. He spoke against the leaders of the Church, claiming they were teaching “foolish traditions” (Alma 30:27). Korihor was brought before Alma, who taught him that all things testify of Christ. Eventually, Korihor confessed that his actions were guided by the devil.

Alma 30:1–29

Korihor, an anti-Christ, ridicules the doctrine of Christ

Imagine that someone prepared a meal for you. It looked and smelled delicious, but when you ate it, you became extremely sick. Think for a moment how false teachings might be similar to being offered food that looks delicious but is secretly poisonous.

Previously you studied about the anti-Christs Sherem (see Jacob 7) and Nehor (see Alma 1). Remember that one definition of anti-Christ is “anyone or anything that counterfeits the true gospel plan of salvation and that openly or secretly opposes Christ” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Antichrist,” scriptures.lds.org). Today you will learn about another man who was an enemy of Christ and whose false teachings deceived others and led them to sin. Many in the world today use arguments similar to Korihor’s against those who express a belief in God.

Korihor began to preach among the Nephites. Read Alma 30:6, 12, and look for phrases that indicate Korihor was an anti-Christ.

Read Alma 30:12–18, and match the false teachings of Korihor with their implications.

Some False Teachings of Korihor, an Anti-Christ

Possible Interpretations and Implications of the False Teachings

  1. A.

    Unless you have physical evidence of religious truths, you should not believe in Jesus Christ or His gospel. There is no such thing as personal revelation through the Holy Ghost.

  1. ___ 2.

    Alma 30:15

  1. B.

    There is no such thing as sin. There is no universal standard of what is right or wrong.

  1. ___ 3.

    Alma 30:16

  1. C.

    People prosper by their own efforts alone. There is no need for God in the affairs of man.

  1. ___ 4.

    Alma 30:17 (“every man fared …”)

  1. D.

    The words of the prophets and scriptures are not true, so you should not believe their prophecies.

  1. ___ 5.

    Alma 30:17 (“whatsoever a man did …”)

  1. E.

    There is no such thing as remission of sins. There is no need to seek help through the Atonement because there is no such thing as an Atonement.

  1. ___ 6.

    Alma 30:18

  1. F.

    There is no life after death, so there is no need to worry about a judgment after this life.

(The answers to this matching exercise are found at the end of this lesson.)

Alma 30:18 teaches the principle: Satan uses false doctrines to entice us to commit sin.

President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught:

President Boyd K. Packer

“Our behavior is not totally controlled by natural impulses. Behavior begins with belief as well.

“Beliefs are born of philosophies, or doctrines. Doctrines can be spiritual or secular, wholesome or destructive, true or false. …

“True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior” (“Little Children,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 17).

  1. journal icon1.

    Choose two or more of the false teachings of Korihor listed in the matching exercise chart. In your scripture study journal, write what the true doctrines are and tell how knowing the truth affects your attitudes and behavior.

After his success in the land of Zarahemla, Korihor went to the land of Jershon to preach to the people of Ammon. Read Alma 30:19–20, and find out if they accepted his false teachings.

The people of Ammon “were more wise than many of the Nephites” and “caused that he should be carried out of the land” (Alma 30:20–21). From what you have learned about the people of Ammon, why do you think they did not believe Korihor’s false teachings?

Alma 30:21–29 tells how Korihor then went to the land of Gideon, “and here he did not have much success” (Alma 30:21). Some of Korihor’s arguments against the Church and its teachings are found in Alma 30:24, 27, two of which are: (1) those who believe in God are in bondage and (2) religion takes away freedoms. These arguments are still used by opponents to religion today.

President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency taught that our belief in God gives us freedom: “Korihor was arguing, as men and women have falsely argued from the beginning of time, that to take counsel from the servants of God is to surrender God-given rights of independence. But the argument is false because it misrepresents reality. When we reject the counsel which comes from God, we do not choose to be independent of outside influence. We choose another influence. We reject the protection of a perfectly loving, all-powerful, all-knowing Father in Heaven, whose whole purpose, as that of His Beloved Son, is to give us eternal life, to give us all that He has, and to bring us home again in families to the arms of His love. In rejecting His counsel, we choose the influence of another power, whose purpose is to make us miserable and whose motive is hatred. We have moral agency as a gift of God. Rather than the right to choose to be free of influence, it is the inalienable right to submit ourselves to whichever of those powers we choose” (“Finding Safety in Counsel,” Ensign, May 1997, 25).

  1. journal icon2.

    Write in your scripture study journal what you would recommend a person do to protect herself or himself from believing false doctrines like those taught by Korihor.

Alma 30:30–60

Korihor demands a sign from Alma and is struck dumb by the power of God

Eventually, Korihor was brought before Alma. Read Alma 30:30–31, and look for the accusations Korihor made against Alma and other Church leaders. “Glutting on the labors of the people” implies that Alma and others grew rich because of their Church service. Think about the answers to the following questions:

  • From your experience with your Church leaders, why are these accusations false?

  • How do you think you would have responded to Korihor’s accusations if you were Alma?

Read Alma 30:32–35, and discover Alma’s response to Korihor. Think about how you have seen the truthfulness of Alma’s response in the lives of those who lead your ward or branch or of other Church members you admire.

If possible, invite a friend or family member to read Alma 30:37–45 with you. One of you read the words of Alma, and the other the words of Korihor. As the two of you read, look for what Alma stated as evidence of God’s existence. (If it is not possible to have someone read with you, imagine the exchange going on between the two men as you read.)

  1. journal icon3.

    Complete the following assignments in your scripture study journal:

    1. a.

      Write down which one of the evidences Alma cited is an especially meaningful witness to you of the existence of God and why it is such a strong witness of His existence.

    2. b.

      Write down at least three other evidences you have seen in your life that “denote that there is a God” (Alma 30:44), and explain briefly how each one has strengthened your belief in God.

One doctrine found in the verses you studied is: All things testify of God as Supreme Creator. Consider what happens to your faith when you choose to look for and remember these witnesses and testimonies.

Notice what the prophet Alma did as he interacted with Korihor: he corrected the false teachings (see Alma 30:32–35), he testified of truth (see Alma 30:37–39), he shifted the burden of proof to Korihor (see Alma 30:40–42), and he gave evidences of God’s existence (see Alma 30:44). What can you learn from Alma’s example about how to deal with those who argue against the truth?

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Sometimes the only defense we have against those who attack our faith is to share our testimony of the truth. There is no embarrassment in taking this approach—Alma, a prophet of God, used this approach with Korihor. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained: “Korihor’s arguments sound very contemporary to the modern reader, but Alma used a timeless and ultimately undeniable weapon in response—the power of personal testimony” (Christ and the New Covenant [1997], 121).

Alma and Korihor

Despite the many evidences, or signs, that Alma shared with Korihor to prove God’s existence, Korihor asked for another sign and was struck dumb (meaning he could not speak; see Alma 30:45–50). Read Alma 30:51–53, looking for why Korihor said he taught what he did.

When Korihor could no longer teach false doctrines, he admitted that he had taught his false ideas “because they were pleasing unto the carnal mind” (Alma 30:53). Having a “carnal mind” refers to being focused on worldly pleasures or satisfying the lusts of the body. Those who believed Korihor’s teachings thought they could indulge in physical pleasures and material things and there would be no consequences. These ideas led to a life of sin (see Alma 30:18).

Alma 30:54–59 tells that Korihor was cast out, went from house to house begging for food, and eventually was trampled to death. Read Alma 30:60, and look for an important truth about what eventually happens to those who choose to follow Satan. Mark the following phrase in your scriptures: “The devil will not support his children [his followers] at the last day.” (In this verse, children means followers.)

  1. journal icon4.

    Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. a.

      How was the truth you marked in Alma 30:60 manifested in Korihor’s life?

    2. b.

      Compare Alma 30:60 with Alma 36:3. What evidence have you seen in your life or in the lives of others that shows God will continue to support those who strive to follow His commandments?

Review the true principles and doctrines you have studied today. Think of ways you can avoid being deceived by false teachings, such as those of Korihor.

  1. journal icon5.

    Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

    I have studied Alma 30 and completed this lesson on (date).

    Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher:

Answers to the matching activity: (1) D, (2) A, (3) E, (4) C, (5) B, (6) F.