I teach young people from the Book of Mormon on a regular basis. When I was a young person, anti-Mormon literature was difficult to come by. Today, in the age of the internet, even a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints who is innocently preparing a lesson or talk is bound to come across modern day Korihors on the internet, it is bound to happen.
For this reason, it is vital that young people know the tactics of the Korihors of our day and know how to be prepared for these “faith shakers” when they work to destroy us. I find the commentary by Jacob insightful as we work to arm the youth in preparation for these faith shakers. Jacob was confronted by a faith shaker. When he was attacked by this man, he said, “he had hope to shake me from the faith, notwithstanding the many revelations and the many things which I had seen concerning these things; for I truly had seen angels, and they had ministered unto me. And also, I had heard the voice of the Lord speaking unto me in very word, from time to time; wherefore, I could not be shaken” (Jacob 7:5). It is vital that the youth of the Church have opportunities to have spiritual experiences, and to reflect on these. Sharing their experiences with others will also be beneficial, because as they share these, the Holy Ghost will bear witness to them as well as those that they testify to that God is real, and that Jesus is the Christ.
Whenever I am teaching this chapter I like to outline the teachings of Korihor on the board with students so that we see his approach, for these same arguments are used to destroy faith in Jesus Christ and the Restoration today.
Korihor’s first set of arguments are outlined by Mormon in Alma 30:13-17. He states that
No man can know the future – v. 13
Believing in Christ is foolish –v. 14
Christian belief is a mental illness –v. 16
Might makes right –v. 17
There is no absolute morality –v.17
It is interesting to note that Mormon tells us what Korihor’s goals were. He says, “thus he did preach unto them, leading away the hearts of many, causing them to lift up their heads in their wickedness, yea, leading away many women, and also men, to commit whoredoms – telling them that when a man was dead, that was the end thereof” (Alma 30:18).
His second set of arguments are outlined in Alma 30:23-28
The priests wanted to exert control over the people of the Church – v. 23
Believers are ignorant –v.23
Those that believe in Christ are in bondage –v.24
Korihor tells a half truth regarding the Fall of Adam –v.25
The priests make money off the believers – v.27
God never has been and never will be –v. 28
Alma refutes the idea that the priests make money from the believers right away in verse 34 when he says, “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…”
His next argument is powerful. He states, “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” (Alma 30:40).
This is usually the argument of the opposition. They say that we cannot produce evidence that God exists. By turning the tables on this Anti-Christ, Alma asks a question that cannot be refuted.
Finally, Alma states, “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 all 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” (Alma 30:44).
Alma gives four evidences that God exists:
- The testimony of “all these thy brethren”
- The testimony of all the holy prophets
- The testimony of the scriptures
- The order of the universe itself
I spent some time asking young people to think of times when they have experienced the power of the Divine in their lives. When young people have time to think and reflect, and write of their experiences, I believe that the Holy Ghost has the opportunity to testify to them of the truth of these things. As young people experience revelation, they will naturally be empowered to stand fast in their faith of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of the gospel.
This is a principle of revelation: remembering past revelation invites more revelation. Indeed, the Lord said to Oliver Cowdery, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things. Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?” (D&C 6:22-23)