In the Come, Follow Me studies for this week, I studied about an Anti-Christ who was named Korihor. He entered Jershon and began to teach the people of Ammon that “there should be no Christ” (Alma 30:12). He asked them why they continued to look for a Christ and told them that “no man can know of anything which is to come” (Alma 30:13). He called the prophecies “foolish traditions of your fathers (Alma 30: 14), and he told them that they “cannot know that there shall be a Christ” because “ye cannot know of things which ye do not see” (Alma 30:15).
Korihor told the people that their desire to have their sins remitted was “the effect of a frenzied mind” that came from “the traditions of your fathers” (Alma 30:16). He continued by teaching that whatever people obtained in this life came because of their abilities, intelligence, and strength (Alma 30:17), and that they need not worry about the next life because “when a man was dead, that was the end thereof” (Alma 30:18).
The people of Ammon cast him out of their land, and he went to the land of Gideon. He told the people there that “they are in bondage” because they believed the ancient prophecies (Alma 30:24) and that “a child is not guilty because of its parents” (Alma 30:25). He told the high priest Giddonah that “ye do not know that there shall be a Christ” who would “be slain for the sins of the world” (Alma 30:26) and that he kept the people in bondage “to glut yourselves with the labors of their hands” (Alma 30:27). Korihor said that Giddonah and the other priests did this so that they would not “offend some unknown being … a being who never has been seen or known, who never was nor ever will be” (Alma 30:28).
Giddonah and the other priests understood that Korihor would not listen to them, so they stopped trying to reason with him and took him to Zarahemla to be tried by Alma and the high priest. Alma began to question Korihor, and he answered with “great swelling words” and began to “revile against the priests and teachers” (Alma 30:31). Then Alma gave an example of how we can deal with anti-Christs in our day.
37 And then Alma said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God?
38 And he answered, Nay.
39 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. [Alma testified or bore witness that he knew there is a God and that Christ would come.]
40 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 world only. [Alma shifted the burden of proof to the non-believer where it belongs: show me your evidence that there is no God or that Christ will not come.]
41 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? ? [Alma bore witness that all things testify there is a God.]
Korihor demanded that Alma show him a sign to prove that there is a God, and then he would be convinced. Alma refused to show him a sign.
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.
Korihor continued to deny that there is a God and to demand a sign. Alma finally realized that Korihor would not listen: “if thou shalt deny again, behold God shall smite thee, that thou shalt become dumb” (Alma 30:47). Korihor said, “I do not deny the existence of a God, but I do not believe that there is a God … except ye show me a sign, I will not believe” (Alma 30:48).
Alma said, “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” (Alma 30:49). Korihor became dumb and could not speak. He wrote a note, “I always knew that there was a God.) He continued with his explanation.
53 But behold, the devil hath deceive me; for he appeared unto me in the form of an angel, and said unto me: God 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.
Korihor begged Alma to remove the curse, but Alma refused, telling him that he would once again lead the people astray. However, “it shall be unto thee even as the Lord will” (Alma 30:55). The curse was not removed, and Korihor was cast out and went about begging for his food. He died after being “run upon and trodden down, even until he was dead” (Alma 30:59).
The knowledge of what happened to Korihor spread throughout the area, and the people who had followed him repented of their sins and were converted to the Lord. The story of Korihor reminds us that Satan will not support those that he uses to pervert the ways of the Lord.
There are anti-Christs teaching false doctrines in our day, and the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ can help us to resist their influence. President Ezra Taft Benson taught how the Book of Mormon reveals and can fortify us against Satan.
[The Book of Mormon reveals] 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 false educational, political, religious, and philosophical concepts of our time (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson , 132).
President Benson is not the only latter-day prophet to use the story of Korihor as a warning and a lesson of how to respond to an anti-Christ. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wrote the following information.
Korihor ridiculed the “foolish … [and] silly traditions” of believing in a Christ who should come.
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. Angry that Korihor and his like were essentially against happiness, [Giddonah, the high priest] asked, “Why do you teach this people that there shall be no Christ, to interrupt their rejoicings?” [Alma 30:22]. “I know there is a God” (Christ and the New Covenant , 121).
Alma and Giddonah could testify of their knowledge that there is a God because the Holy Ghost had borne witness to them – after much fasting and prayer -- of God and His Son, Jesus Christ. They understood that the universe and everything in it testifies of a Supreme Being – the planets revolve around the sun in the same unvarying pattern, spring follows winter every year, the sun rises and sets every day, and the patterns continue. Korihor could do no more than to demand a sign because he had no proof that God does not exist. How can one prove a negative? In the end, Korihor was forced to admit that he had knowledge of God but had been deceived by Satan.
I join with Alma, Giddonah, President Benson, Elder Holland, and millions of other people in testifying that there is a God and that Jesus Christ will come. I know this because the Holy Ghost bore witness of its truthfulness. I do not know all the details, but I know that I can put my trust in God.