“Chapter 29,” Book of Mormon Teacher Manual (2009), 101–5
“Chapter 29,” Book of Mormon Teacher Manual, 101–5
This scripture block will help students fortify their testimonies. As they study the tactics of the anti-Christ Korihor, they will learn to recognize the tactics and philosophies of modern anti-Christs. As they study Alma’s response to Korihor, they will be prepared to defend themselves and others against those who seek to destroy their faith.
Anti-Christs try to lead people away from God and His prophets (see Alma 30:12–18, 23–28).
A firm testimony of Jesus Christ and His prophets helps safeguard us from personal apostasy (see Alma 30:19–22, 29–44).
Disobedience leads to error and apostasy (see Alma 31:8–25).
Disciples of Jesus Christ love and serve others (see Alma 31:12–38).
How can studying the Book of Mormon protect us “against the evil designs, strategies, and doctrines of the devil in our day”?
During the lesson, encourage students to look for reasons why some of Alma’s people stayed faithful while others did not. Ask them to consider how the same principles apply to us today.
What affect can counterfeit money have on governments and individuals?
What does it mean to counterfeit the true gospel?
What are some modern-day counterfeits that pretend to offer salvation? (As you invite students to respond to this question, do not allow any discussion that is critical of other religions. Rather, ensure that the discussion helps students recognize the dangers of false philosophies and attitudes like Korihor’s.)
The Teachings and Tactics of Korihor
What True Doctrine Did Korihor Attack?
Discuss these verses by asking questions such as the following:
How are Korihor’s teachings like the false teachings in our day?
What are possible sources (such as people, institutions, or philosophies) of such false teachings today?
Explain that the first step in protecting ourselves against these teachings is to recognize them. By identifying Korihor’s teachings and tactics, we can more readily recognize their modern counterparts. Other portions of this chapter focus on ways to stay true to the restored gospel even when we face situations that try our faith.
Why is it difficult to respond to arguments like Korihor’s?
Explain that we can learn from the responses of the people Korihor tried to deceive. Write People of Ammon on the board. Invite students to read Alma 30:19–21 silently.
From what you know about the Ammonites, why do you think Korihor was unable to lead them astray? (Write students’ answers on the board next to People of Ammon.)
Write Giddonah on the board. Ask students to read Alma 30:21–23, 29.
How did Giddonah respond to Korihor’s arguments? (Write students’ answers on the board next to Giddonah.)
How can we tell if a person is sincerely seeking truth or just being contentious?
In what ways can we respond to someone who is asking difficult questions but sincerely seeking the truth? In what ways can we respond to someone who is being contentious?
Write Alma on the board. Invite students to read Alma 30:30–44.
How did Alma respond to Korihor’s arguments? (Write students’ answers on the board next to Alma.)
Alma bore strong testimony of God the Father and Jesus Christ. To emphasize the power of personal testimony, ask a student to read the statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland on page 217 in the student manual.
In what ways is a personal testimony a “timeless and ultimately undeniable weapon”?
Write the following question on the board: What experiences prepared Alma to deal with Korihor and his teachings? Assign one of the following scripture blocks to each group: Mosiah 27–29; Alma 1–3; Alma 4–7; Alma 8–16. Ask the groups to search the chapter headings in their assigned scripture blocks to help them recall Alma’s experiences.
When students have had enough time to study their assigned passages, ask each group to report their answers.
What experiences have you had that have strengthened your testimony and prepared you to defend your faith?
What can we do to prepare as Alma did?
Ask a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 46:13–14. Explain that the ability to believe others’ testimonies of the truth is a gift of the Spirit.
You may want to share the following statement by President Harold B. Lee (1899–1973), the 11th President of the Church:
“Some of you may not have a testimony, and so I have said to other groups like you, if you don’t have a testimony today, why don’t you cling to mine for a little while? Hold on to our testimonies, the testimonies of your bishops, your stake presidents, until you can develop it. If you can say nothing more today than I believe because my president, or my bishop, believes, I trust him, do this until you can get a testimony for yourselves; but I warn you that won’t stay with you unless you continue to cultivate it and live the teachings” (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, ed. Clyde J. Williams , 136).
How have other people’s testimonies strengthened your testimony?
Have a student read the following statement by Elder Donald L. Staheli of the Seventy:
“Personal, sincere involvement in the scriptures produces faith, hope, and solutions to our daily challenges. Frequently reading, pondering, and applying the lessons of the scriptures, combined with prayer, become an irreplaceable part of gaining and sustaining a strong, vibrant testimony” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2004, 40; or Ensign, Nov. 2004, 39).
In what ways have the scriptures and the words of latter-day prophets strengthened your testimony?
Ask a student to read the statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley on page 218 in the student manual.
In what ways do the earth and heavens testify of God?
“Korihor is described … as an antichrist, but I’m not sure that he started out that way. Have you ever thought that possibly Korihor started out … with lots of questions? Although his questioning may have begun honestly, he made two really bad mistakes. First, he denied his faith. He denied the Light of Christ that had been given to him. Second, he started to preach false doctrine to others. Alma, his leader, bore his testimony to Korihor, and then Korihor made another mistake. Rather than listening to his leader and listening and relying on the Spirit, he defended his position with logic and became more argumentative. He demanded that he be given a sign. Korihor was given a sign. He was struck dumb. He didn’t perhaps intend for the sign to have such an effect on him personally, but often the consequences of our mistakes do affect us personally.
“Verses 52 and 53 of chapter 30 are most important, I believe. Korihor acknowledges, ‘I always knew that there was a God. But behold, the devil hath deceived me’ (Alma 30:52–53). Isn’t that interesting? ‘I always knew.’ He had the Light of Christ in him, but Satan deceived him” (“Lessons That Have Helped Me,” in Brigham Young University 1992–93 Devotional and Fireside Speeches , 89).
According to Sister Hales, what were Korihor’s mistakes?
Why do you think someone in Korihor’s position might become defensive and argumentative rather than follow a leader’s counsel?
Why is it unwise to become defensive and argumentative when we have questions or doubts?
Why is it important to learn the doctrines of the gospel? (See D&C 84:85.)
Why is it important to study the doctrine on our own and not to simply hear it spoken at church?
Ask a student to read Alma 31:5.
What gives the word of God power to change our lives? (Make sure students understand that one reason the word is powerful is that it invites the Holy Spirit into our lives.)
Invite a student to read the statement by President Ezra Taft Benson on pages 219–20 in the student manual. Ask students to list the blessings President Benson described that come from studying the scriptures.
In what ways does disobedience influence our testimonies?
How does obedience influence our testimonies?
Invite students to quickly review Alma 31:1–25 and list characteristics of the Zoramites and their worship habits. (Students’ lists could include that the Zoramites said repetitious prayers, had one set place to pray, worshipped only once a week, believed that God had elected only them to be saved, were materialistic, and looked down on the poor.) Invite a few students to share their lists with the class. (You might consider drawing a parallel between the Zoramites’ actions and some of our modern-day tendencies, such as saying repetitious prayers, worshipping only once a week, feeling that we are chosen and better than others, and becoming materialistic.)
Through the following questions and discussion, help students understand that active involvement in the gospel, such as temple work, family home evening, service projects, and activities through our branches and wards, helps us stay close to the Lord. Such activities help us invite the Holy Spirit into our lives throughout the week, not just on the Sabbath. As the Spirit becomes part of our daily life, we are able to withstand the anti-Christs of our day and stay faithful to Jesus Christ.
Alma 31:10 says that the Zoramites refused to observe the “performances of the church.” What are some “performances of the church” today? (Answers may include priesthood ordinances, opportunities to serve in the Church, family responsibilities such as family home evening, personal prayer, scripture study, and temple and family history work.)
How do these performances help us avoid entering into temptation?
How do these performances invite the Spirit into our lives?
Why is the word daily in verse 10 important in our efforts to keep the Spirit in our lives? (See 2 Corinthians 4:16; Helaman 3:36. Note that since pride can “grow upon [us] day to day,” we need to be “renewed day by day.”)
What do you think motivated Alma to serve? (Answers might include his testimony, his love of God, and his love for other people.)
Help students understand that a testimony of Jesus Christ leads us to love and serve others. Read the following statement by Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (1915–1994):
“When we truly become converted to Jesus Christ, committed to Him, an interesting thing happens: our attention turns to the welfare of our fellowmen, and the way we treat others becomes increasingly filled with patience, kindness, a gentle acceptance, and a desire to play a positive role in their lives. This is the beginning of true conversion” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1992, 26; or Ensign, May 1992, 20).
What did Alma ask because he loved the people? (See Alma 31:34–35.)
In what ways can we apply Alma’s example in our lives?