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Korihor

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Alma Confronts Korihor in Book of Mormon
Korihor is an important character in the Book of Mormon whose rise and fall happen in about 74 B.C. and whose entire story is told in Alma chapter 30. Korihor is introduced as Anti-Christ because he preached against the prophecies of the coming of Christ.

Korihor's heretical teachings give Mormon an opportunity to describe how the laws of the Nephites allowed all men to worship how they choose. In this context, Mormon reaffirms the scripture "Choose ye this day whom ye will serve" (Alma 30:7-12).

The record gives some sense of Korihor's basic teachings including "no man can know of anything which is to come”, and “ye cannot know of things which ye do not see”. He ridicules belief in God as “the effect of a frenzied mind”. He teaches against Christ and denies the atonement. He further states that every man prospers according to his genius and conquers according to his strength, and that whatever anyone does is no crime. He also preached that there is no further existence after this life. He evidently had some success, leading many to commit wickedness (Alma 30:13-18)

Many of the wiser people reject his words and ask him to account before the high priests. He is eventually taken before Alma the Younger where Korihor accuses church leaders of being lazy at the expense of the members of the church and further denies the Christ. Alma states that all work for the church is free of compensation and testifies of the truth of Christ. Alma states he has “all things as a testimony” that the doctrine of Christ and related principles are true. He specifically calls on the testimony of the holy prophets, the testimony of the people of the church, and the scriptures. He also notes the grand order in the universe as evidence of a Supreme Creator (Alma 30:19-44).

Korihor persists with his blasphemy and asks Alma for a sign to prove the things Alma has testified of. Alma eventually consents and states that Korihor will be struck dumb, and Korihor immediately looses the ability to speak. Korihor then acknowledges that it is the power of God which has brought the curse upon him. He further acknowledges that he always knew there was a God, that the devil appeared unto him and deceived him and had taught him what to say, that he taught the devil’s words because they were pleasing unto the carnal mind, and that he taught his words until he believed they were true (Alma 30:45-53).

Korihor asks Alma to remove the curse, but this is denied because Alma knows Korihor would again deceive the people. A proclamation is sent out describing what has happened to Korihor and those who believed his words repent and are converted again to the Lord. A short time later, Korihor is killed by a rogue offshoot group. Mormon then draws a spiritual lesson from the story stating that “the devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell" (Alma 30:54-60).

This story offers opportunity to liken the scriptures to ourselves in noting that many of the same arguments and mockery Korihor used are still used today by those who would thwart the work of God. We can draw strength in that we have the same witnesses of God which Alma invoked in his defense of the truth.