“Lesson 88: Alma 30,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2012)
“Lesson 88,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual
Following a great battle between the Nephites and the Lamanites, peace settled over the land. About two years later, a man named Korihor began to preach that God did not exist, that there would be no Christ, and that there was no sin. He reviled the leaders of the Church, claiming they were teaching foolish traditions. His false teachings led many people to commit serious sins. Korihor was brought before Alma, who testified of Jesus Christ and taught that all things testify of a Supreme Creator. Eventually Korihor was struck dumb by the power of God and was convinced of the truth. However, when he asked to have his voice restored to him, Alma denied his request, saying that he would teach false doctrine again if he regained his voice. Korihor spent the rest of his life begging for food until he was trampled to death by a group of Nephite dissenters called the Zoramites.
Before class begins, poke a small hole in the bottom of a soda can and allow the contents to drain out. Show the can to the class without revealing that it is empty. Ask who wants it and how much they would be willing to pay for it. Have a student step forward, examine the can, and tell the class what is inside. (Instead of a soda can, you could also use any empty box, a bag, or a wrapper that normally contains something students would like.)
How are false teachings like this soda can? (They are often enticing on the outside but empty on the inside.)
Explain that in today’s lesson, students will learn about a man named Korihor. As they study Alma 30, encourage them to consider how Korihor’s teachings left him and others spiritually empty.
Tell students that after a time of war against the Lamanites, the people of Ammon (the Anti-Nephi-Lehies) and the Nephites entered into a period of peace. Then Korihor interrupted their peace. Ask students to read Alma 30:6, 12, looking for a word that describes this man. (The word is Anti-Christ. Explain that one definition of this word is “anyone or anything that counterfeits the true gospel plan of salvation and that openly or secretly opposes Christ” [Guide to the Scriptures, “Antichrist,” scriptures.lds.org].)
Prepare the following exercise on a handout or on the board before class. If you put it on the board, ask students to copy it in notebooks or scripture study journals. It will help them see how Satan and those who serve him use false doctrines to entice us to commit sin.
a. You cannot know something is true unless you see it. Therefore, you cannot know that there will be a Christ.
2. Alma 30:15
b. There is no such thing as sin. There is no universal standard of what is right or wrong.
3. Alma 30:16
c. People prosper by their own efforts alone. There is no such thing as an atonement.
4. Alma 30:17 (beginning with “every man fared …”)
d. It is impossible to know about things that will happen in the future, so you should not believe in Christ or follow the words of people who say they are prophets.
5. Alma 30:17 (beginning with “whatsoever a man did …”)
e. Forgiveness of sin is a crazy idea that comes from false traditions.
6. Alma 30:18
f. There is no life after death, so there is no need to worry about a judgment after this life.
Divide students into pairs. Ask them to read Alma 30:12–18 together. Instruct them to match the false teachings of Korihor, which are on the left side of the exercise, with the messages of those teachings, which are on the right side. (Answers: 1–d, 2–a, 3–e, 4–c, 5–b, 6–f.)
To help students analyze Korihor’s teachings and apply what they learn, ask the following questions:
What teachings have you been exposed to that are similar to Korihor’s teachings?
According to Alma 30:18, what did Korihor’s teachings lead the people to do?
Why do you think these teachings lead people to give in to temptation?
What can we learn from these verses about the dangers of false doctrines? (Help students identify the following principle: Satan uses false doctrines to entice us to commit sin.)
Ask students to imagine themselves in the following situation:
A friend invites you to play a video game. When you arrive at your friend’s house, you realize that the game is violent and that it includes characters that are dressed immodestly. When you hesitate to play the game, your friend asks you to explain why you do not want to play it.
What would you say? (Students might explain that the game violates the standards of their faith.)
If your friend begins to criticize or your beliefs, saying that they limit your freedom, how might you respond?
Summarize Alma 30:19–30 by explaining that Korihor taught false doctrines in three different Nephite cities. Eventually, he was brought before the chief judge of the land and before Alma, who was the leader of the Church. You may want to point out that one of Korihor’s major arguments was that Church leaders held people in bondage—that their religion took freedom away from people. He also accused Church leaders of seeking personal gain from the labor of the people.
Ask students to read Alma 30:31 silently, looking for accusations Korihor made against Alma and other leaders of the Church.
Invite students to read Alma 30:32–35 to discover how Alma responded to Korihor.
How have you seen the truthfulness of Alma’s response in the lives of Church leaders?
Invite two students to come to the front of the class. Ask them to read Alma 30:37–45 aloud, with one reading the words of Alma and the other reading the words of Korihor. Invite the rest of the class to look for what Alma presented as evidence of God’s existence.
What evidences did Alma give for the existence of God? (As students respond, you may want to write their answers on the board. You may also want to encourage students to mark them in their scriptures. As part of this discussion, emphasize that all things testify of God.
Of the evidences Alma listed, which are especially powerful to you? Why?
Give students a few minutes to write. Ask them to list evidences they have seen that “denote there is a God” (Alma 30:44). Invite several students to share their lists with the class.
How do these evidences influence you? In what ways might they strengthen your faith and testimony?
Summarize Alma 30:46–50 by explaining that Korihor, still not accepting the signs he had been given, demanded that Alma show him a sign of God’s existence. In response, Korihor was struck dumb by the power of God. Convinced of God’s power, Korihor wrote about why he had been preaching against God the Father and Jesus Christ. Invite a student to read aloud Korihor’s explanation in Alma 30:51–53.
What do you think Korihor meant when he said that he taught things that were “pleasing unto the carnal mind”? (You may need to explain that Korihor’s teachings appealed to people’s unrighteous physical desires rather than their righteous spiritual desires.)
Summarize Alma 30:54–59 by explaining that Korihor asked Alma to pray so the curse could be removed from him. Alma refused, saying that if Korihor received the ability to speak, he would again teach false doctrine to the people. Korihor was cast out and went from house to house, begging for food. Eventually he went to the Zoramites, who had separated from the Nephites, and was trampled to death.
Ask students to read Alma 30:60 silently, looking for the principle Mormon teaches.
What principle does Mormon teach in this verse?
Make sure students understand that “the devil will not support his children [his followers] at the last day.”
How is this different from the way Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ care for us? (As students discuss this question, you may want to have them read Alma 36:3.)
Testify of the truths that you and the students have discussed in this lesson.