19 November 2014

Alma 30: Korihor (part 2)

This post picks up where the last one leaves off.  If you remember, Korihor, (the Anti-Christ!) was arrested for criticizing the church, and brought before the high priest of the land of Gideon, who, after interrogating him, didn't really know what to do with him. He decided to send him to Alma, the chief judge over all the land.

And it came to pass that when he was brought before Alma and the chief judge. Alma 30.30a
When Korihor arrived, he continued to "blaspheme" just like he did before.
...he did go on in the same manner as he did in the land of Gideon; yea, he went on to blaspheme. 30.30b
He was a little more specific with his criticisms of Alma, though. In addition to accusing the church of being wrong about their prophecies, the afterlife, etc., he also accused the church leadership of enriching themselves off of the members of the church. Alma was quick to defend himself against this charge. And I have to admit, the Book of Mormon makes this very clear: the church leaders were not paid for their work. It was an all-volunteer operation, except a small per-diem payment to judges (1 senine of gold, or a senum of silver per day in court).

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. 30.31
Now Alma said unto him: Thou knowest that we do not glut ourselves upon the labors of this people; for behold I have labored even from the commencement of the reign of the judges until now, with mine own hands for my support, notwithstanding my many travels round about the land to declare the word of God unto my people. 30.32 
And notwithstanding the many labors which I have performed in the church, I have never received so much as even one senine for my labor; neither has any of my brethren, save it were in the judgment-seat; and then we have received only according to law for our time. 30.33 
And now, if we do not receive anything for our labors in the church, what doth it profit us to labor in the church save it were to declare the truth, that we may have rejoicings in the joy of our brethren? 30.34
Alma then pivots to the more pressing issue of the existence of God. Korihor denies that God exists, and then Alma says, "Will you deny it again? I'm telling you, God exists, bro."
 And then Alma said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God? 30.37 
 And he answered, Nay. 30.38 
 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. 30.39

Alma then uses the oldest trick in the book: shifting the burden of proof. He asks Korihor to provide evidence that God doesn't exist.  After all, he had the testimonies of others. Alma also accused Korihor of being possessed by the devil, just for good measure.

And 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. 30.40
But, 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 will ye deny them? Believest thou that these things are true? 30.41
Behold, I know that thou believest, but thou art possessed with a lying spirit, and ye have put off the Spirit of God that it may have no place in you; but the devil has power over you, and he doth carry you about, working devices that he may destroy the children of God. 30.42
Korihor asked Alma for a sign, and that then he would believe in God. But Alma wasn't having it. Weren't the testimonies of his brethren and the holy prophets enough for Korihor? Even the motion of the earth and the animals on it prove that there is a God. What else do you need?

 43 And now Korihor said unto Alma: 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. 30.43 

 44 But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, 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. 30.44

Korihor sticks to his guns. He wants a sign, or he will continue to lead people away from the church.
And yet do ye go about, leading away the hearts of this people, testifying unto them there is no God? And yet will ye deny against all these witnesses? And he said: Yea, I will deny, except ye shall show me a sign. 30.45

Alma warns Korihor that if he continues down this path, that he will "lose his soul". (Stop asking for a sign, man! Don't you know that God doesn't like that?) Alma warns Korihor that if he keeps denying God and asking for a sign, then he'll get a sign all right: God will strike him dumb, and he will never speak again.

And now it came to pass that Alma said unto him: Behold, I am grieved because of the hardness of your heart, yea, that ye will still resist the spirit of the truth, that thy soul may be destroyed. 30.46
But behold, it is better that thy soul should be lost than that thou shouldst be the means of bringing many souls down to destruction, by thy lying and by thy flattering words; therefore if thou shalt deny again, behold God shall smite thee, that thou shalt become dumb, that thou shalt never open thy mouth any more, that thou shalt not deceive this people any more. 30.47
Korihor quickly clarifies his position, that he's not denying the existence of a god, but he doesn't believe that there is one, until he is shown a sign. This seems pretty reasonable, but it's enough for Alma to curse him in the name of God. So Korihor got his sign, after all!

Now Korihor said unto him: I do not deny the existence of a God, but I do not believe that 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. 30.48
Now 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. 30.49
Now when Alma had said these words, Korihor was struck dumb, that he could not have utterance, according to the words of Alma. 30.50
Then Alma taunts him a bit. "What do you think about God, now? Huh? Do you have any doubts anymore? Can you speak up a bit, I can't hear you... What's the matter, cat-got-your-tongue?"
And now when the chief judge saw this, he put forth his hand and wrote unto Korihor, saying: Art thou convinced of the power of God? In whom did ye desire that Alma should show forth his sign? Would ye that he should afflict others, to show unto thee a sign? Behold, he has showed unto you a sign; and now will ye dispute more? 30.51
Korihor grabs a notebook or something* and writes a quick note to Alma, explaining how he now believes in God, and how the devil made him deny God's existence, and everything else that Alma wanted to hear. He pleaded with him to make the curse go away, but Alma told him that he wasn't going to, because then he would continue to lead people away from the church.
And Korihor put forth his hand and wrote, saying: I know that I am dumb, for I cannot speak; and 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. 30.52
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; yea, and he taught me that which I should say. And I have 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 that they were true; and for this cause I withstood the truth, even until I have brought this great curse upon me. 30.53
Now when he had said this, he besought that Alma should pray unto God, that the curse might be taken from him. 30.54
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 thee even as the Lord will. 30.55

Korihor became a beggar from that point on.

And it came to pass that the curse was not taken off of Korihor; but he was cast out, and went about from house to house begging for his food. 30.56
Then something really interesting happened. The story of Korihor spread like wildfire, but that wasn't enough for Alma. Alma make a proclamation throughout the land, threatening all of the other unbelievers that God would strike them dumb too, if the didn't "speedily repent". So much for freedom of religion!
Now the knowledge of what had happened unto Korihor was immediately published throughout all the land; yea, the proclamation was sent forth by the chief judge to all the people in the land, declaring unto those who had believed in the words of Korihor that they must speedily repent, lest the same judgments would come unto them. 30.57
So everybody repented. And Korihor continued begging. Obviously.
 58 And it came to pass that they were all convinced of the wickedness of Korihor; therefore they were all converted again unto the Lord; and this put an end to the iniquity after the manner of Korihor. And Korihor did go about from house to house, begging food for his support. 30.58

Eventually he tried to beg from the Zoramites, and he was killed. I guess they had very strict laws against panhandling over there.
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. 30.59
And 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. 30.60

*I wonder what Korihor was writing on. You'd think that if they had paper, then all of their records wouldn't be chiseled onto golden plates... And how many people back then were literate?

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