“All Things Denote There Is a God”
Taught By Jeff Stone
July 27, 2008
In this lesson, there are two major people we are dealing with who are in dire need of repentance. The first is actually just one person, The AntiChrist, Korihor. The second is the people of Zoram. In chapters 30 and 31, we read a record of Alma’s and Ammon’s dealings with these people.
The “Teachings” of Korihor:
First let’s address what Korihor was telling the people; then we’ll look at Alma’s response. The account of Korihor is found in Alma 30. Because there was no law against not belonging to the church or preaching against the church, Korihor had the ability to go about the land and preach against God and Christ.
Korihor falsely Preached the following ideas in verses 12-18:
- There is no Christ
- No Man can know the anything which is to come
- A frenzied mind was the cause of belief in The Atonement
- Everyone prospers by his/her own genius and strength
- There is no crime
- When you die, it’s over; There is no afterlife.
Many were taken in by this and believed these false preachings in the Land of Zarahemla. Many men and women, according to verse 18, were led to do many whoredoms and wickedness.
Once the damage was done in Zarahemla, Korihor headed off to Jershon where the people of Ammon lived. He began preaching the same false principles to The Ammonites. However they were much wiser than those in Zarahemla and they knew he was full of garbage. They bound him and took him to Ammon who was the high priest of Jershon. Then they kicked him out of the city.
He then heads out to Gideon and has a similar lack of success and is bound again and taken to the high priest, Giddonah. Giddonah questions Korihor as to why he is leading people astray. Korihor comes back with more false teachings.
Korihor falsely Preached the following ideas in verses 23-28:
- The traditions of their fathers are foolish
- Obedience to God is bondage and slavery
- Christ will not come
There were many more false things explained by Korihor. He accused the priests and judges of abusing the people and using them to get financial gain. After all was said and done, Giddonah realized just how tainted and hardened Korihor truly was. So they, again, bound him. This time they took him to Alma who was the Chief judge over all the land.
Are You Sure You Want Me to Show You a Sign:
Once in the presence of Alma, Korihor went on as he had in Gideon. Alma explained that the judges make no money off of the work of the people, as Korihor accused, and that Alma himself worked side by side with the people. They labor together for The Lord.
Alma asked Korihor if he believed in a God or Christ. Korihor said that he did not. In verse 40, Alma gives a wonderful response. He asks Korihor what evidence he has that God does not exist?
Korihor asks for a sign. Alma goes on to say that “All Things Denote There is a God.” He testifies that the Earth, all that is within and without it, the planets and the Universe are evidence of God. Korihor then denies God again and asks, again, for a sign.
Alma says that if Korihor asks one more time for a sign, that he will receive a sign. The sign will be that God will strike him dumb. Korihor foolishly asks a third time for the sign, and he is struck dumb. Korihor began communicating by writing and asked for the curse to be removed and that he would repent. However, Alma knew his heart and did not allow the curse to be lifted.
Korihor spent his days begging for food from the people. He eventually ended up in Antionum where hie was trampled to death by the Zoramites. Mormon wraps up this account of Korihor nicely with commentary in verse 60 regarding the fact that The Lord removed the man who perverted The Lord’s ways, and that Satan will not “be there” for those who follow him.
I mentioned this in class today, but I just thought it worth mentioning again because it seems kind of funny. The impression I got when reading chapter 31 is that Alma was just on a “mission” to purge the evil. He first takes care of Korihor, checks that off of his list then heads over to Antionum to deal with the Zoramites
“Ok Korihor’s done… next!”
The people of Zoram are worshiping “dumb idols” and placing themselves above everyone else, both spiritually and literally physically. There was a fear among the people of Nephi that the Zoramites would band together with the Lamnanites and destroy the Nephites.
So Alma decided to take Ammon, Aaron, Omner, Amulek, Zeezrom and two of his sons, Shiblon and Corianton. The group of them headed off to Antionum.
The Zoramites were descendants of Nephi, and they, at one time, had the gospel. They had since perverted it greatly. They took on the attitude of being the chosen people and put themselves above everyone else.
When Alma and company arrived, they witnessed the Zoramites “day of worship.” It was something that Alma had never before seen. The Zoramites had build a tall tower called the Rameumptom which means Holy Stand.
The Zoramites would each, in turn, one at a time, climb to the top of the tower, raise their hands to God and recite a prayer to God. The exact prayer is found in chapter 31:15-18. The gist of the prayer was that they would shout to God how grateful they were that they were better than everyone else and how they (Zoramites) will be saved and everyone else will go to hell.
Alma and his brethren were absolutely astonished at this. Alma is struck with grief and sorrow for the Zoramites and he prays to God. In verse 27, he makes a comment very similar to what Moroni tells Joseph about the preachers of Joseph’s day. Alma states that they cry to God, but their hearts are far from Him.
Alma prays for help and guidance in the next several verses. Alma’s prayer is found in chapter 31:27-35. Below is a comparison of Alma’s attitude in prayer to that of the Zoramites attitude in prayer:
Zoramites’ Attitude in Prayer:
- 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).
Alma’s Attitude in Prayer:
- “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).
We can see a complete difference in the attitude. The irony is that Alma was a chosen one who would be taken above the “others” and exalted, yet he was completely humble and recognized The Lord’s hand in his life. Take a good look at the next to last bullet-point for Alma. He has the Christ-like love and humility to recognize that the Zoramites are precious. That’s the kind of humility we can all learn from. Talk about praying for your enemies… wow!
Alma’s heart was that of a man who truly wanted to help and serve his brethren (The Zoramites) and The Lord.
The Power of God:
After Alma offered his prayer, he placed his hands upon those with him (Ammon, Aaron, Omner, Amulek, Zeezrom and two of his sons, Shiblon), and they were all filled with The Spirit. They then separated amongst the people, relying entirely on The Lord to keep them from Thirst and Hunger and Affliction.
This is one of the most moving and powerful examples of faith in the scriptures. Their faith absolutely sustained them, and they took “…no thought for themselves, what they should eat, or what they should drink, or what they should put on. 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 31:37–38.
In next week’s lesson we’ll learn what happened as they spread out among the Zoramites. Until then…