Alma 30 to 31 – “The Virtue of the Word of God”

July 6, 2020 to July 12, 2020

Alma counters Korihor’s philosophy by logic and by an appeal to the power of God’s word.

“Is Not This Real?,” Joseph M. Spencer, BYU Studies
The question at the heart of the exchange between Korihor and ALma in the Book of Mormon concerns knowledge, what Alma calls the real. This essay probes Korihor’s appraisal of the Nephite’s Christian devotion, sorting out the basic stakes of his argument, and then looks at how Alma slowly and belatedly develops a full response to Korihor. Deviating from traditional interpretations of the parable of the seed of faith, Spencer illustrates that ALma effectively displaces knowledge as a core value, arguing that faith not only is not lesser than knowledge but also goes beyond knowledge and produces something of infinitely more value. Although one can know the truth of Christ and know it perfectly, faith continues beyond knowledge because faith aims not at acquiring knowledge, but at eternal life.

“Countering Korihor’s Philosophy,” Gerald N. Lund, Ensign, July 1992
Lund approaches the story of Korihor from a philosophical angle in this Ensign article. He explains various fields of philosophy and shows how those different philosophies come out in Korihor’s theology. He also uses this discussion as a springboard into how we see these same philosophies at work in the world today, and how one can stay faithful in the gospel.

Chart 78: “The Teachings of Korihor in Alma 30” Charting the Book of Mormon
A summary of Korihor’s philosophy.

Chart 122: “Three Diverse Opponents of the Nephites” Charting the Book of Mormon
A chart summarizing the philosophies of Sherem, Nehor, and Korihor.

“An Anti-Christ in the Book of Mormon–The Face May Be Strange, but the Voice Is Familiar,” Gerald N. Lund, The Book of Mormon: Alma, the Testimony of the Word
Korihor’s teachings start with an epistemology based on strong empiricism, and perhaps Mormon included this section on an anti-Christ specifically for our benefit.

“The Trial of Korihor,” John W. Welch, Legal Cases in the Book of Mormon
The story of Korihor may be initially confusing for some readers, because it seems that Korihor is wrongfully being denied his freedom of speech when he is convicted. However, the trial of Korihor aligns well with ancient Israelite legal practices.

“Comparing Sherem, Nehor, and Korihor,” John W. Welch, Legal Cases in the Book of Mormon
Although the cases of Sherem, Nehor, and Korihor share certain features with one another, these three actions involving Nephite dissenters have less in common than one might assume.

“Cursing a Litigant with Speechlessness,” John W. Welch, Pressing Forward with the Book of Mormon: The FARMS Updates of the 1990s
The story of Korihor finds resonance with not only Mesoamerican culture, but also Greek culture.

“‘All Things Denote There is a God’: Seeing Christ in the Creation,” Bruce A. Roundy, Robert J. Norman, Religious Educator 6, no. 2
Using Alma 30:44 as a springboard, the authors dive into a discussion on how all things in the earth and in nature can be seen symbolically in testifying of God. Through the symbols of rocks, light, water, and vegetation, one can see how God has employed these powerful images throughout scripture to testify of his greatness and glory.

“Notes on Korihor and Language,” Robert E. Clark, Pressing Forward with the Book of Mormon: The FARMS Updates of the 1990s
Korihor artfully uses language to not declare what he believes as truth, but rather to epistomologically tear down the arguments of Alma.

“Nephite Insights into Israelite Worship Practices before the Babylonian Captivity,” A. Keith Thompson, Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 3
The Book of Mormon speaks of synagogues, sanctuaries, and places of worship in a manner which suggests that Lehi and his party brought some form of synagogal worship with them when they left Jerusalem around 600 BC.

“The Zoramites and Costly Apparel: Symbolism and Irony,” Shon Hopkin, Parrish Brady, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 22, no. 1
The Zoramite narratives of Alma 31–35 and Alma 43–44 are richly symbolic accounts woven with many subtle details regarding the importance of costly apparel and riches as an outward evidence of pride. This literary analysis focuses on how Mormon as editor structured the Zoramite narrative and used clothing as a metaphor to show the dangers of pride and the blessings afforded by humble adherence to God’s teachings and covenants.