Book of Mormon
“All Things Denote There Is a God”
Korihor leads away the hearts of many in Zarahemla.
Korihor is taken before Alma, who testifies of Christ's coming.
Alma leads a mission to reclaim the apostate Zoramites.
A study of this lesson will help us learn how to recognize and refute false
teachings and stay true to our testimonies of Jesus Christ.
Scripture references for study:
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 27 Handout (PDF)
President Ezra Taft Benson: "The Book of Mormon
exposes the enemies of Christ. It confounds false doctrines and lays
down contention. It fortifies the humble followers of Christ against
the evil designs, strategies, and doctrines of the devil in our day. The type of apostates in the Book of Mormon are similar to the type we
have today. God, with his infinite foreknowledge, so molded the Book
of Mormon that we might see the error and know how to combat philosophical
concepts of our time." (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson,
The Anti-Nephi-Lehis left their homeland for safety among the Nephites
and took up residence in the land of Jershon.
They were called the people of Ammon.
A great battle between the Lamanites and Nephites followed and thousands were
After this great battle a period of peace and righteousness spread throughout
Sometime later Korihor came into the land preaching against the prophecies
of the coming of Christ.
Brother LaMar Garrard wrote about the importance of this chapter: "As we compare
the teachings of this man [Korihor] and the beliefs of those today who
advocate the philosophy of naturalism, we see a striking similarity. I believe the Lord foresaw the adverse effects of naturalism on our modern
world and therefore purposely directed Mormon to include the teachings
of Korihor in his record. Those who read and accept the Book of Mormon
are thereby warned against accepting the philosophical assumptions of naturalism. What one believes about the universe is important because it affects one's
behavior, for 'as [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he'." (Studies in Scripture, 8:2)
The Rise of Naturalism.
Korihor was an advocate of a philosophy that is very similar to the modern
philosophy of Naturalism.
WHAT IS NATURALISM?
We have discussed this philosophy in past lessons. Bertrand Russell,
a renowned mathematician and philosopher, advocated this philosophy. Mr. Russell listed three key ingredients of this philosophy that were derived
from the scientific method:
Statements of fact should be based on observation, not on unsupported authority.
The inanimate world is a self-acting, self-perpetuating system, in which
all changes conform to natural laws.
The earth is not the center of the universe, and probably Man is not its
purpose (if any); moreover, "purpose" is a concept which is scientifically
Naturalistic Methods of Gaining Knowledge.
Russell's statement: Statements of fact should be based on observation,
not on unsupported authority.
Science has been successful in predicting, controlling, and explaining
many natural events.
The scientific method = all conclusions must be based upon public, repeatable
observations using the natural senses.
The scientific method is useful in the progress of science, but:
If we utilize this as the only means for obtaining knowledge, we automatically
eliminate knowledge coming to us from God through the living prophets,
the scriptures, or personal revelation.
Korihor's naturalistic approach:
WHAT DID KORIHOR SAY THAT IS SIMILAR TO MODERN NATURALISM?
"For no man can know of anything which is to come"
The prophecies are "foolish traditions of your
"Ye cannot know of things which ye cannot see"
Korihor's philosophy: One can only believe in that which can be observed.
Therefore, he claimed that we cannot know that there is a God.
"Yea, 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."
Alma asked Korihor if he believed there was a God. Korihor
responded by saying "Nay" (v37-38).
Korihor then asked Alma for evidence: "If thou
wilt show 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" (v43).
Korihor was asking Alma for observable evidence.
WHAT DID ALMA TEACH ABOUT THE SOURCE OF TRUTH AND KNOWLEDGE?
- Alma told Korihor that he had put off the Spirit of God. (v42)
- He had the testimony of his brethren. (v44)
- The testimony of the holy prophets. (v44)
- The testimony of the scriptures. (v44)
"...and all things denote there is a God; yea,
even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its
motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form
do witness that there is a Supreme Creator" (v44).
The Nature of the Universe.
Russell's statement: The inanimate world is a self-acting, self-perpetuating
system, in which all changes conform to natural laws.
This philosophy eliminates the concept that God has any power to direct or
Alma testified that observation of the natural world is a
testimony of God and his hand in the natural world. (v44)
The Nature of Humanity.
In Russell's second statement he advocated a universe that was inanimate.
Such a philosophy would relegate man to control by natural law, leaving
no room for a spirit within the physical body to interact with the body
and influence its actions.
In other words, NO AGENCY. Where did this concept begin?
Korihor taught this false doctrine:
He taught the people
that there was nothing wrong with living in wickedness. Why? "...when
a man was dead, that was the end thereof" (v18).
According to this philosophy, one could feel free in committing sin because
all existence ended with death. There was no spirit to continue on
after the death of the body.
In such a mechanical universe, as advocated by Korihor, there could be
no place for such things as God's law given by holy prophets.
The Effects of Korihor's Naturalistic Doctrine.
In such a naturalistic universe, where there were no laws of God to break,
there would be no sin or spiritual death.
Motivating influence in a naturalistic universe:
Survival of the fittest, both physically and mentally.
Motivation would not come from a fear and love of God.
Korihor states there is no need for an Atonement to provide remission for
sins or to overcome the effects of the fall of Adam and Eve.
Thus not needing an atonement he denies the necessity of Christ.
"And ye also say that Christ shall come. But behold, 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-- And thus ye lead away this people after the
foolish traditions of your fathers, and according to your own desires"
Korihor taught that there "should be no Christ" (v12) and that the people are "bound down under a foolish and a vain hope"
Was Korihor An Anti-Christ?
WHY WAS KORIHOR AN ANTI-CHRIST?
He was denying the truth of those doctrines that teach the necessity of a
Christ is the God of this world. The naturalistic philosophy taught
by Korihor denied the hand of God in the creation and continued operation
of this world.
Christ reveals his word to the prophets. Korihor says, "...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" (v16).
Christ is the Savior or Redeemer. Korihor denied the necessity of
a redeemer and thus denied Christ.
Bruce R. McConkie: "An antichrist is an opponent
of Christ; he is one who is in opposition to the true gospel, the true
Church, and the true plan of salvation. He is one who offers salvation
to men on some other terms than those laid down by Christ. Sherem, Nehor, and Korihor were antichrists who spread their delusions among the
Nephites." (Mormon Doctrine, p39)
HOW CAN WE RECOGNIZE ANTI-CHRIST'S TODAY?
HOW DID THE PEOPLE OF AMMON AND THE PEOPLE IN THE LAND OF GIDEON RESPOND
TO KORIHOR'S FALSE TEACHINGS?
See Alma 30:19-21.
They would not tolerate his teachings and threw him out of town.
HOW SHOULD WE COMBAT FALSE TEACHINGS TODAY?
We cannot bind up such false teachers and throw them out of the land. Yet,
is not the crime they commit as serious as one who takes another human
life? Rather than kill the body, these false teachers seek to kill
the soul and thus affect the eternity of their listeners.
We can bear testimony to the truth.
We must be diligent in our prayers and scripture study.
Use the Book of Mormon: Consider President Benson's statement.
WHAT WAS THE SOURCE OF KORIHOR'S PHILOSOPHY?
ALMA 30:50-53. Korihor had asked for a sign of
God's power and he was struck dumb.
- It is interesting to note that it appears that Korihor did not necessarily
believe these things to begin with, but taught them because they were pleasing
to the "carnal mind." Eventually, Korihor began to accept these teachings
as truth. This should be a solemn warning to avoid exposure to false
teachings. They may be tantalizing at first, but eventually may lead us down the
If we accept the Book of Mormon as the word of God, the account of Korihor
teaches us that the beliefs associated with the philosophy of naturalism
are anti-Christ in nature.
This does not make scientific methodology anti-Christ, as long as it is
only applied to the things that can be observed through the natural senses.
LaMar Garrard: "...if we seek and gain a confirmation through
the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true, we can use
the contents of that book as a guide in detecting the beliefs of our modern
generation that are anti-Christ in nature. It is our responsibility
to not 'put off the Spirit of God' as did Korihor so that we may not 'be
seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of
men; for some are of men, and others of devils." (Studies in Scripture, 8:11)
After the episode with Korihor, Alma received word that the Zoramites were
perverting the ways of the Lord.
The Zoramites separated themselves from the Nephites and gathered to
the land of Antionum under the leadership of a man named Zoram.
WHY DID ALMA MAKE A MISSION TO THE ZORAMITES?
To correct their false teachings.
There was fear that the Zoramites would begin correspondence with the Lamanites
and create an alliance that would be detrimental to the defense of the Nephite nation.
HOW CAN THE WORD OF GOD BE MORE POWERFUL "THAN THE SWORD, OR ANYTHING ELSE"?
WHAT DOES THIS SUGGEST ABOUT WHAT WE SHOULD STUDY AND TEACH?
- Elder Boyd K. Packer: "True doctrine, understood
changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will
improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior."
(CR, October 1986, p20)
HOW CAN THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST HELP US RESOLVE:
HOW HAD THE ZORAMITES PERVERTED THE WAYS OF THE LORD?
See Alma 31:9-18.
They did not observe the law of Moses (v9).
They had forsaken daily prayer (v10).
They perverted the ways of the Lord (v11).
They built synagogues for the purpose of worshipping one day a week (v12).
It would appear that this day was the only time they practiced their religion.
They built a prayer stand from which they all offered the same prayer (v13-18).
Brother Daniel Ludlow wrote this about the prayer stand: "The
name of the holy stand of the apostate Zoramites, upon which they stood
when they offered their weekly prayer, was the 'Rameumpton.' Although
this name may look strange in English, it has appropriate Semitic roots
recognizable to students of Semitic languages. The preface 'ram'
is frequently used to indicate a high place. For example, later in
the Book of Mormon we read of the hill Ramah. Also in modern Israel
are the town of Ramallah (located in the tops of the Judean hills just
north of Jerusalem) and Rameem (which literally means 'the heights' and
is located on the top of the hills near the Lebanese border)."
(Companion To Your Study of The Book of Mormon, p213)
They believed God was and would always be a spirit (v15).
They believed the fundamental beliefs of the Nephites were false (v16).
They believed there would be no Christ (v16).
They believed they were chosen to be the elect of God (v16-17).
HOW MIGHT PRIDE AND VANITY AFFECT OUR WORSHIP?
HOW ARE PRIDE AND VANITY OBSTACLES TO SALVATION?
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE PRAYER THAT ALMA OFFERED AFTER SEEING THE WICKEDNESS
OF THE ZORAMITES?
He prayed for strength to heal his own soul, for their wickedness caused
He prayed for patience to deal with these afflictions.
He prayed for the success of this mission.
"And the Lord provided for them
that they should hunger not, neither should they thirst; yea, and he also
gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save
it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ. Now this was according to the
prayer of Alma; and this because he prayed in faith." (Alma
HOW HAVE YOUR AFFLICTIONS BEEN "SWALLOWED UP IN THE JOY OF CHRIST"?
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
Record your thoughts on the discussion between Alma and Korihor. How does the
Book of Mormon fortify you "against the evil designs, strategies, and
doctrines of the devil"?
Resources Used In This Lesson
Companion To Your Study of The Book of Mormon by Daniel H. Ludlow.
Conference Reports (CR).
Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie.
Studies In Scripture, Volume 8, edited by Kent P. Jackson.
Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
16 May 2016