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Alma 30

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapter 30
Previous page: Chapter 29                      Next page: Chapters 31-35


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Alma. The relationship of Chapter 30 to the rest of Alma is discussed at Alma.

Story. Chapter 30 consists of ___ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 30 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 30:7-10. Because these verses are the only place in the Book of Mormon where a specific legal rule is derived from a particular scriptural text they are an interesting place to gain insight into Nephite legal reasoning. In this case, the scriptural text is Josh 24:15, and the legal rule is that "if he [i.e. a man] did not believe in him [i.e. God] there was no law to punish him." This rule is contrasted with the prohibitions on murder, robbery, and adultery, all of which could be punished. (Note: The fact that adultery was punished gives lie to those who have attempted to interpret this as a libertarian proof text.)
Joshua 24 is sometimes referred to as the Shechem Covenant. It recounts how at the end of his life, Joshua gathered the Children of Israel at Shechem and rehearsed to them the history of God's dealing with them, how he brought them to the Promised Land and gave it to them. In Josh 24:15 (the verse relied on by the Nephite jurists), Joshua then asks the Children of Israel whether or not they will serve God. They reply in the affirmative, and Joshua then draws up an elaborate contract -- complete with legal formalities -- to make their promise binding.
The Shechem passage is interesting because it is one of the few places in the Old Testament where the Children of Israel are offered a choice of whether or not they will serve Yahweh rather than other gods. Elsewhere, the Children of Israel are chosen by God rather than vice versa. Hence, the passage is perhaps uniquely suited for providing a voluntarist justification for religious practice.
What is also interesting is that the Shechem passage contains explicitly legal materials, namely the covenant by Israel to follow God. Because of this, a more natural legal reading of the passage would be to construe the terms of this covenant as being binding upon all Israelites including, presumably, the Nephites. In that case, it would make sense to carefully analyze the terms of this contract to understand the resulting Nephite obligations. Instead however, the Nephites define their legal rule in reference to the Joshua passage as if they are themselves within the story having the same choice the Israelites there had.
  • Alma 30:10. This verse seems to be making a distinction between "stealing" and "robbery." Some have argued that this tracks a distinction in ancient Hebrew law between merely taking the property of someone else ("stealing") and attacking them on the highway and extracting property by threats of violence ("robbery").
  • Alma 30:41-42. We see over and over in the Book of Mormon that signs do not convert. Take Laman and Lemuel for instance. Over and over they experienced physical signs (i.e. visitations from angels, hearing the voice of the Lord, etc), however, they never became truly converted, and in the end they fell away from the truth.
In verses 41-42 Alma states that he knows these things are true, and that he knows that Korihor also knows the truth. One can picture Alma looking Korihor in the eye, feeling the Spirit witness the truth of what Alma has been teaching, and knowing that Korihor is also feeling the Spirit. Then in verse 44 Alma says 'Thou hast had signs enough...', listing all the various physical evidences, and in verse 46 he says '..that ye will still resist the spirit of the truth...' refering to the witness of the Spirit that Korihor is denying.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 30:2: Why didn't the Nephites number their dead?
  • Alma 30:2: Why was fasting and prayer necessary to the establishment of peace?
  • Alma 30:3: What ordinances of God are referred to here as being "according to the law of Moses"?
  • Alma 30:3: How does the Nephite understanding of the Law of Moses differ from that which you find in the Old Testament?
  • Alma 30:3: How does the Nephite understanding of the Law of Moses affect our understanding of doctrines in the church today that appear to be temporary?
  • Alma 30:6: Apparently Korihor is not from the land of Zarahemla, as here he is described as coming "into the land". Where did Korihor come from?
  • Alma 30:6: Anti. What is the exact meaning of the term "Anti"? We also see this term used in describing the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's who later became the people of Ammon.
  • Alma 30:27-28: Alma states in verse 32 that Korihor is wrong and knows he's wrong about church officials glutting themselves with the labors of the people. Why would Korihor make such a claim? Are similar arguments used to today to criticize religious teachings? If so, by whom?
  • Alma 30:44: Signs enough. If the prophets taught that "many signs" (Hel 14:6) would precede the Savior's birth, then how does this verse help us determine what is the appropriate or adequate number of signs for the Lord's people?
  • Alma 30:44: Tempt. What does Alma mean by using the word "tempt" here? Where else in LDS scripture is this term used, and what are the connotations? How does this word differ from the related (at least in Hebrew) words prove and try? How are these words used in similarly and differently in LDS scripture, and the Book of Mormon in particular? (Cf. lexical note for James 1:13.)
  • Alma 30:44: Your God. Did the use of this phrase by speakers in the scriptures always carry with it the presumption that there was only one God? Or does 2 Chr 32:14-15 offer an example of how this phrase could be used to refer to someone else's God? Why does this verse not follow the nearly consistent pattern in the Old Testament of referring to Jehovah as "the Lord your God"? How did Alma decide whether it was more appropriate to speak of "our God" or of "your God"?
  • Alma 30:44: Show me a sign. Was Alma unnecessarily repeating the request that Korihor had already made in the previous verse? Why did Alma use the future tense, since presumably it signaled that Korihor had not yet made the request? Or was Alma trying to say that Korihor did not need to make his request, because the answer was already before him?
  • Alma 30:44: Have the testimony. Was Alma echoing the language of John in Rev 12:17 and Rev 19:10? If so, was he implying that, at some level, Korihor already had a testimony?
  • Alma 30:44: Brethren and Prophets. Does Alma 20:15 provide a precedent for equating these two social groups? Or was Alma actually making a distinction between the inspired words of these two different groups?
  • Alma 30:44: Scriptures are laid before thee. Does Alma 18:36 provide evidence that Mormon edited this account to suggest that Korihor had literally read the scriptures? Or does JS-H 1:74 indicate this was more of a metaphorical statement on Alma's part?
  • Alma 30:44: All things denote there is a God. Is Alma saying that words will fail as irrefutable evidence of God's existence but that objects have a fixed meaning that signify God is alive? If the word "denote" means "to signify directly or literally," would it have been more accurate for Alma to have said simply that "all things signify there is a God," so that we would not be left wondering how the signifying is supposedly literal? Or did Alma choose not to water down his claim and use the word "connote," which is defined as "to signify indirectly, suggest or imply," because he sincerely believes that every object in the universe is a testament of its Creator?
  • Alma 30:44: Motion and Planets. How much knowledge did the Nephites have of other major objects in our galaxy and throughout the universe? Was the single mention of planets in the Old Testament 2 Kgs 23:5 sufficient to make them aware of extraterrestrial bodies? Or did they have astronomers, remnants of whose work can still be seen in Mesoamerica, who detected these heavenly bodies by careful study of the stars? Along with Hel 12:15, does this verse provide evidence that Nephite cosomology anticipated some of the findings of Copernicus' heliocentrism?
  • Alma 30:46: Resist the spirit of the truth. What does this mean? How does resisting the spirit of the truth relate to having a hard heart? How is it connected to seeking a sign? What is being resisted, and how? Is it a feeling Korihor is having, a feeling that what Alma says is factually correct? Is there a spirit that accompanies any declaration of truth (and what is truth) that one feels or detects in some way, and Korihor is pushing it away? What is happening here?
  • Alma 30:51: Why did the chief judge "write" to Korihor? Was Korihor struck deaf as well as dumb (v. 50)?
  • Alma 30:53: How is it possible for "the devil" to appear "in the form of an angel"? Was this devil Satan or some other evil spirit?
  • Alma 30:53: Why would Korihor believe an angel that said there was no God?
  • Alma 30:53: What is meant here by "an unknown God"?
  • Alma 30:53: How does this appearance of the devil as an angel compare with the appearance of an angel to Alma? What can we learn from this parallelism?
  • Alma 30:53: Korihor stated that the words of the devil "were pleasing unto the carnal mind". What does this teach us about how the devil works?
  • Alma 30:53: Korihor states that he "verily believed that [the words of the devil] were true" because he had "much success" teaching them. How does this compare with what Alma teaches about knowing that the word of God is true?
  • Alma 30:59: What does it mean that Korihor was "run upon and trodden down...until he was dead?" Does this mean that he was trampled, as if by British soccer fans? Or is this a reference to something else? In Mesoamerica, imagery shows that war captives were frequently stepped on by their captors before being sacrificed to their gods. Is this verse reference to a similar practice of human sacrifice among the Zoramites?
  • Alma 30:60: Why are Korihor's actions referred to as a perversion of the ways of the Lord, rather than an apostasy or turning away from those ways?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 29                      Next page: Chapters 31-35


Alma 30:1-5

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapter 30
Previous page: Chapter 29                      Next page: Chapters 31-35


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Alma. The relationship of Chapter 30 to the rest of Alma is discussed at Alma.

Story. Chapter 30 consists of ___ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 30 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 30:7-10. Because these verses are the only place in the Book of Mormon where a specific legal rule is derived from a particular scriptural text they are an interesting place to gain insight into Nephite legal reasoning. In this case, the scriptural text is Josh 24:15, and the legal rule is that "if he [i.e. a man] did not believe in him [i.e. God] there was no law to punish him." This rule is contrasted with the prohibitions on murder, robbery, and adultery, all of which could be punished. (Note: The fact that adultery was punished gives lie to those who have attempted to interpret this as a libertarian proof text.)
Joshua 24 is sometimes referred to as the Shechem Covenant. It recounts how at the end of his life, Joshua gathered the Children of Israel at Shechem and rehearsed to them the history of God's dealing with them, how he brought them to the Promised Land and gave it to them. In Josh 24:15 (the verse relied on by the Nephite jurists), Joshua then asks the Children of Israel whether or not they will serve God. They reply in the affirmative, and Joshua then draws up an elaborate contract -- complete with legal formalities -- to make their promise binding.
The Shechem passage is interesting because it is one of the few places in the Old Testament where the Children of Israel are offered a choice of whether or not they will serve Yahweh rather than other gods. Elsewhere, the Children of Israel are chosen by God rather than vice versa. Hence, the passage is perhaps uniquely suited for providing a voluntarist justification for religious practice.
What is also interesting is that the Shechem passage contains explicitly legal materials, namely the covenant by Israel to follow God. Because of this, a more natural legal reading of the passage would be to construe the terms of this covenant as being binding upon all Israelites including, presumably, the Nephites. In that case, it would make sense to carefully analyze the terms of this contract to understand the resulting Nephite obligations. Instead however, the Nephites define their legal rule in reference to the Joshua passage as if they are themselves within the story having the same choice the Israelites there had.
  • Alma 30:10. This verse seems to be making a distinction between "stealing" and "robbery." Some have argued that this tracks a distinction in ancient Hebrew law between merely taking the property of someone else ("stealing") and attacking them on the highway and extracting property by threats of violence ("robbery").
  • Alma 30:41-42. We see over and over in the Book of Mormon that signs do not convert. Take Laman and Lemuel for instance. Over and over they experienced physical signs (i.e. visitations from angels, hearing the voice of the Lord, etc), however, they never became truly converted, and in the end they fell away from the truth.
In verses 41-42 Alma states that he knows these things are true, and that he knows that Korihor also knows the truth. One can picture Alma looking Korihor in the eye, feeling the Spirit witness the truth of what Alma has been teaching, and knowing that Korihor is also feeling the Spirit. Then in verse 44 Alma says 'Thou hast had signs enough...', listing all the various physical evidences, and in verse 46 he says '..that ye will still resist the spirit of the truth...' refering to the witness of the Spirit that Korihor is denying.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 30:2: Why didn't the Nephites number their dead?
  • Alma 30:2: Why was fasting and prayer necessary to the establishment of peace?
  • Alma 30:3: What ordinances of God are referred to here as being "according to the law of Moses"?
  • Alma 30:3: How does the Nephite understanding of the Law of Moses differ from that which you find in the Old Testament?
  • Alma 30:3: How does the Nephite understanding of the Law of Moses affect our understanding of doctrines in the church today that appear to be temporary?
  • Alma 30:6: Apparently Korihor is not from the land of Zarahemla, as here he is described as coming "into the land". Where did Korihor come from?
  • Alma 30:6: Anti. What is the exact meaning of the term "Anti"? We also see this term used in describing the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's who later became the people of Ammon.
  • Alma 30:27-28: Alma states in verse 32 that Korihor is wrong and knows he's wrong about church officials glutting themselves with the labors of the people. Why would Korihor make such a claim? Are similar arguments used to today to criticize religious teachings? If so, by whom?
  • Alma 30:44: Signs enough. If the prophets taught that "many signs" (Hel 14:6) would precede the Savior's birth, then how does this verse help us determine what is the appropriate or adequate number of signs for the Lord's people?
  • Alma 30:44: Tempt. What does Alma mean by using the word "tempt" here? Where else in LDS scripture is this term used, and what are the connotations? How does this word differ from the related (at least in Hebrew) words prove and try? How are these words used in similarly and differently in LDS scripture, and the Book of Mormon in particular? (Cf. lexical note for James 1:13.)
  • Alma 30:44: Your God. Did the use of this phrase by speakers in the scriptures always carry with it the presumption that there was only one God? Or does 2 Chr 32:14-15 offer an example of how this phrase could be used to refer to someone else's God? Why does this verse not follow the nearly consistent pattern in the Old Testament of referring to Jehovah as "the Lord your God"? How did Alma decide whether it was more appropriate to speak of "our God" or of "your God"?
  • Alma 30:44: Show me a sign. Was Alma unnecessarily repeating the request that Korihor had already made in the previous verse? Why did Alma use the future tense, since presumably it signaled that Korihor had not yet made the request? Or was Alma trying to say that Korihor did not need to make his request, because the answer was already before him?
  • Alma 30:44: Have the testimony. Was Alma echoing the language of John in Rev 12:17 and Rev 19:10? If so, was he implying that, at some level, Korihor already had a testimony?
  • Alma 30:44: Brethren and Prophets. Does Alma 20:15 provide a precedent for equating these two social groups? Or was Alma actually making a distinction between the inspired words of these two different groups?
  • Alma 30:44: Scriptures are laid before thee. Does Alma 18:36 provide evidence that Mormon edited this account to suggest that Korihor had literally read the scriptures? Or does JS-H 1:74 indicate this was more of a metaphorical statement on Alma's part?
  • Alma 30:44: All things denote there is a God. Is Alma saying that words will fail as irrefutable evidence of God's existence but that objects have a fixed meaning that signify God is alive? If the word "denote" means "to signify directly or literally," would it have been more accurate for Alma to have said simply that "all things signify there is a God," so that we would not be left wondering how the signifying is supposedly literal? Or did Alma choose not to water down his claim and use the word "connote," which is defined as "to signify indirectly, suggest or imply," because he sincerely believes that every object in the universe is a testament of its Creator?
  • Alma 30:44: Motion and Planets. How much knowledge did the Nephites have of other major objects in our galaxy and throughout the universe? Was the single mention of planets in the Old Testament 2 Kgs 23:5 sufficient to make them aware of extraterrestrial bodies? Or did they have astronomers, remnants of whose work can still be seen in Mesoamerica, who detected these heavenly bodies by careful study of the stars? Along with Hel 12:15, does this verse provide evidence that Nephite cosomology anticipated some of the findings of Copernicus' heliocentrism?
  • Alma 30:46: Resist the spirit of the truth. What does this mean? How does resisting the spirit of the truth relate to having a hard heart? How is it connected to seeking a sign? What is being resisted, and how? Is it a feeling Korihor is having, a feeling that what Alma says is factually correct? Is there a spirit that accompanies any declaration of truth (and what is truth) that one feels or detects in some way, and Korihor is pushing it away? What is happening here?
  • Alma 30:51: Why did the chief judge "write" to Korihor? Was Korihor struck deaf as well as dumb (v. 50)?
  • Alma 30:53: How is it possible for "the devil" to appear "in the form of an angel"? Was this devil Satan or some other evil spirit?
  • Alma 30:53: Why would Korihor believe an angel that said there was no God?
  • Alma 30:53: What is meant here by "an unknown God"?
  • Alma 30:53: How does this appearance of the devil as an angel compare with the appearance of an angel to Alma? What can we learn from this parallelism?
  • Alma 30:53: Korihor stated that the words of the devil "were pleasing unto the carnal mind". What does this teach us about how the devil works?
  • Alma 30:53: Korihor states that he "verily believed that [the words of the devil] were true" because he had "much success" teaching them. How does this compare with what Alma teaches about knowing that the word of God is true?
  • Alma 30:59: What does it mean that Korihor was "run upon and trodden down...until he was dead?" Does this mean that he was trampled, as if by British soccer fans? Or is this a reference to something else? In Mesoamerica, imagery shows that war captives were frequently stepped on by their captors before being sacrificed to their gods. Is this verse reference to a similar practice of human sacrifice among the Zoramites?
  • Alma 30:60: Why are Korihor's actions referred to as a perversion of the ways of the Lord, rather than an apostasy or turning away from those ways?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 29                      Next page: Chapters 31-35

Alma 30:6-10

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapter 30
Previous page: Chapter 29                      Next page: Chapters 31-35


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Alma. The relationship of Chapter 30 to the rest of Alma is discussed at Alma.

Story. Chapter 30 consists of ___ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 30 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 30:7-10. Because these verses are the only place in the Book of Mormon where a specific legal rule is derived from a particular scriptural text they are an interesting place to gain insight into Nephite legal reasoning. In this case, the scriptural text is Josh 24:15, and the legal rule is that "if he [i.e. a man] did not believe in him [i.e. God] there was no law to punish him." This rule is contrasted with the prohibitions on murder, robbery, and adultery, all of which could be punished. (Note: The fact that adultery was punished gives lie to those who have attempted to interpret this as a libertarian proof text.)
Joshua 24 is sometimes referred to as the Shechem Covenant. It recounts how at the end of his life, Joshua gathered the Children of Israel at Shechem and rehearsed to them the history of God's dealing with them, how he brought them to the Promised Land and gave it to them. In Josh 24:15 (the verse relied on by the Nephite jurists), Joshua then asks the Children of Israel whether or not they will serve God. They reply in the affirmative, and Joshua then draws up an elaborate contract -- complete with legal formalities -- to make their promise binding.
The Shechem passage is interesting because it is one of the few places in the Old Testament where the Children of Israel are offered a choice of whether or not they will serve Yahweh rather than other gods. Elsewhere, the Children of Israel are chosen by God rather than vice versa. Hence, the passage is perhaps uniquely suited for providing a voluntarist justification for religious practice.
What is also interesting is that the Shechem passage contains explicitly legal materials, namely the covenant by Israel to follow God. Because of this, a more natural legal reading of the passage would be to construe the terms of this covenant as being binding upon all Israelites including, presumably, the Nephites. In that case, it would make sense to carefully analyze the terms of this contract to understand the resulting Nephite obligations. Instead however, the Nephites define their legal rule in reference to the Joshua passage as if they are themselves within the story having the same choice the Israelites there had.
  • Alma 30:10. This verse seems to be making a distinction between "stealing" and "robbery." Some have argued that this tracks a distinction in ancient Hebrew law between merely taking the property of someone else ("stealing") and attacking them on the highway and extracting property by threats of violence ("robbery").
  • Alma 30:41-42. We see over and over in the Book of Mormon that signs do not convert. Take Laman and Lemuel for instance. Over and over they experienced physical signs (i.e. visitations from angels, hearing the voice of the Lord, etc), however, they never became truly converted, and in the end they fell away from the truth.
In verses 41-42 Alma states that he knows these things are true, and that he knows that Korihor also knows the truth. One can picture Alma looking Korihor in the eye, feeling the Spirit witness the truth of what Alma has been teaching, and knowing that Korihor is also feeling the Spirit. Then in verse 44 Alma says 'Thou hast had signs enough...', listing all the various physical evidences, and in verse 46 he says '..that ye will still resist the spirit of the truth...' refering to the witness of the Spirit that Korihor is denying.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 30:2: Why didn't the Nephites number their dead?
  • Alma 30:2: Why was fasting and prayer necessary to the establishment of peace?
  • Alma 30:3: What ordinances of God are referred to here as being "according to the law of Moses"?
  • Alma 30:3: How does the Nephite understanding of the Law of Moses differ from that which you find in the Old Testament?
  • Alma 30:3: How does the Nephite understanding of the Law of Moses affect our understanding of doctrines in the church today that appear to be temporary?
  • Alma 30:6: Apparently Korihor is not from the land of Zarahemla, as here he is described as coming "into the land". Where did Korihor come from?
  • Alma 30:6: Anti. What is the exact meaning of the term "Anti"? We also see this term used in describing the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's who later became the people of Ammon.
  • Alma 30:27-28: Alma states in verse 32 that Korihor is wrong and knows he's wrong about church officials glutting themselves with the labors of the people. Why would Korihor make such a claim? Are similar arguments used to today to criticize religious teachings? If so, by whom?
  • Alma 30:44: Signs enough. If the prophets taught that "many signs" (Hel 14:6) would precede the Savior's birth, then how does this verse help us determine what is the appropriate or adequate number of signs for the Lord's people?
  • Alma 30:44: Tempt. What does Alma mean by using the word "tempt" here? Where else in LDS scripture is this term used, and what are the connotations? How does this word differ from the related (at least in Hebrew) words prove and try? How are these words used in similarly and differently in LDS scripture, and the Book of Mormon in particular? (Cf. lexical note for James 1:13.)
  • Alma 30:44: Your God. Did the use of this phrase by speakers in the scriptures always carry with it the presumption that there was only one God? Or does 2 Chr 32:14-15 offer an example of how this phrase could be used to refer to someone else's God? Why does this verse not follow the nearly consistent pattern in the Old Testament of referring to Jehovah as "the Lord your God"? How did Alma decide whether it was more appropriate to speak of "our God" or of "your God"?
  • Alma 30:44: Show me a sign. Was Alma unnecessarily repeating the request that Korihor had already made in the previous verse? Why did Alma use the future tense, since presumably it signaled that Korihor had not yet made the request? Or was Alma trying to say that Korihor did not need to make his request, because the answer was already before him?
  • Alma 30:44: Have the testimony. Was Alma echoing the language of John in Rev 12:17 and Rev 19:10? If so, was he implying that, at some level, Korihor already had a testimony?
  • Alma 30:44: Brethren and Prophets. Does Alma 20:15 provide a precedent for equating these two social groups? Or was Alma actually making a distinction between the inspired words of these two different groups?
  • Alma 30:44: Scriptures are laid before thee. Does Alma 18:36 provide evidence that Mormon edited this account to suggest that Korihor had literally read the scriptures? Or does JS-H 1:74 indicate this was more of a metaphorical statement on Alma's part?
  • Alma 30:44: All things denote there is a God. Is Alma saying that words will fail as irrefutable evidence of God's existence but that objects have a fixed meaning that signify God is alive? If the word "denote" means "to signify directly or literally," would it have been more accurate for Alma to have said simply that "all things signify there is a God," so that we would not be left wondering how the signifying is supposedly literal? Or did Alma choose not to water down his claim and use the word "connote," which is defined as "to signify indirectly, suggest or imply," because he sincerely believes that every object in the universe is a testament of its Creator?
  • Alma 30:44: Motion and Planets. How much knowledge did the Nephites have of other major objects in our galaxy and throughout the universe? Was the single mention of planets in the Old Testament 2 Kgs 23:5 sufficient to make them aware of extraterrestrial bodies? Or did they have astronomers, remnants of whose work can still be seen in Mesoamerica, who detected these heavenly bodies by careful study of the stars? Along with Hel 12:15, does this verse provide evidence that Nephite cosomology anticipated some of the findings of Copernicus' heliocentrism?
  • Alma 30:46: Resist the spirit of the truth. What does this mean? How does resisting the spirit of the truth relate to having a hard heart? How is it connected to seeking a sign? What is being resisted, and how? Is it a feeling Korihor is having, a feeling that what Alma says is factually correct? Is there a spirit that accompanies any declaration of truth (and what is truth) that one feels or detects in some way, and Korihor is pushing it away? What is happening here?
  • Alma 30:51: Why did the chief judge "write" to Korihor? Was Korihor struck deaf as well as dumb (v. 50)?
  • Alma 30:53: How is it possible for "the devil" to appear "in the form of an angel"? Was this devil Satan or some other evil spirit?
  • Alma 30:53: Why would Korihor believe an angel that said there was no God?
  • Alma 30:53: What is meant here by "an unknown God"?
  • Alma 30:53: How does this appearance of the devil as an angel compare with the appearance of an angel to Alma? What can we learn from this parallelism?
  • Alma 30:53: Korihor stated that the words of the devil "were pleasing unto the carnal mind". What does this teach us about how the devil works?
  • Alma 30:53: Korihor states that he "verily believed that [the words of the devil] were true" because he had "much success" teaching them. How does this compare with what Alma teaches about knowing that the word of God is true?
  • Alma 30:59: What does it mean that Korihor was "run upon and trodden down...until he was dead?" Does this mean that he was trampled, as if by British soccer fans? Or is this a reference to something else? In Mesoamerica, imagery shows that war captives were frequently stepped on by their captors before being sacrificed to their gods. Is this verse reference to a similar practice of human sacrifice among the Zoramites?
  • Alma 30:60: Why are Korihor's actions referred to as a perversion of the ways of the Lord, rather than an apostasy or turning away from those ways?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 29                      Next page: Chapters 31-35

Alma 30:11-15

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapter 30
Previous page: Chapter 29                      Next page: Chapters 31-35


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Alma. The relationship of Chapter 30 to the rest of Alma is discussed at Alma.

Story. Chapter 30 consists of ___ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 30 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 30:7-10. Because these verses are the only place in the Book of Mormon where a specific legal rule is derived from a particular scriptural text they are an interesting place to gain insight into Nephite legal reasoning. In this case, the scriptural text is Josh 24:15, and the legal rule is that "if he [i.e. a man] did not believe in him [i.e. God] there was no law to punish him." This rule is contrasted with the prohibitions on murder, robbery, and adultery, all of which could be punished. (Note: The fact that adultery was punished gives lie to those who have attempted to interpret this as a libertarian proof text.)
Joshua 24 is sometimes referred to as the Shechem Covenant. It recounts how at the end of his life, Joshua gathered the Children of Israel at Shechem and rehearsed to them the history of God's dealing with them, how he brought them to the Promised Land and gave it to them. In Josh 24:15 (the verse relied on by the Nephite jurists), Joshua then asks the Children of Israel whether or not they will serve God. They reply in the affirmative, and Joshua then draws up an elaborate contract -- complete with legal formalities -- to make their promise binding.
The Shechem passage is interesting because it is one of the few places in the Old Testament where the Children of Israel are offered a choice of whether or not they will serve Yahweh rather than other gods. Elsewhere, the Children of Israel are chosen by God rather than vice versa. Hence, the passage is perhaps uniquely suited for providing a voluntarist justification for religious practice.
What is also interesting is that the Shechem passage contains explicitly legal materials, namely the covenant by Israel to follow God. Because of this, a more natural legal reading of the passage would be to construe the terms of this covenant as being binding upon all Israelites including, presumably, the Nephites. In that case, it would make sense to carefully analyze the terms of this contract to understand the resulting Nephite obligations. Instead however, the Nephites define their legal rule in reference to the Joshua passage as if they are themselves within the story having the same choice the Israelites there had.
  • Alma 30:10. This verse seems to be making a distinction between "stealing" and "robbery." Some have argued that this tracks a distinction in ancient Hebrew law between merely taking the property of someone else ("stealing") and attacking them on the highway and extracting property by threats of violence ("robbery").
  • Alma 30:41-42. We see over and over in the Book of Mormon that signs do not convert. Take Laman and Lemuel for instance. Over and over they experienced physical signs (i.e. visitations from angels, hearing the voice of the Lord, etc), however, they never became truly converted, and in the end they fell away from the truth.
In verses 41-42 Alma states that he knows these things are true, and that he knows that Korihor also knows the truth. One can picture Alma looking Korihor in the eye, feeling the Spirit witness the truth of what Alma has been teaching, and knowing that Korihor is also feeling the Spirit. Then in verse 44 Alma says 'Thou hast had signs enough...', listing all the various physical evidences, and in verse 46 he says '..that ye will still resist the spirit of the truth...' refering to the witness of the Spirit that Korihor is denying.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 30:2: Why didn't the Nephites number their dead?
  • Alma 30:2: Why was fasting and prayer necessary to the establishment of peace?
  • Alma 30:3: What ordinances of God are referred to here as being "according to the law of Moses"?
  • Alma 30:3: How does the Nephite understanding of the Law of Moses differ from that which you find in the Old Testament?
  • Alma 30:3: How does the Nephite understanding of the Law of Moses affect our understanding of doctrines in the church today that appear to be temporary?
  • Alma 30:6: Apparently Korihor is not from the land of Zarahemla, as here he is described as coming "into the land". Where did Korihor come from?
  • Alma 30:6: Anti. What is the exact meaning of the term "Anti"? We also see this term used in describing the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's who later became the people of Ammon.
  • Alma 30:27-28: Alma states in verse 32 that Korihor is wrong and knows he's wrong about church officials glutting themselves with the labors of the people. Why would Korihor make such a claim? Are similar arguments used to today to criticize religious teachings? If so, by whom?
  • Alma 30:44: Signs enough. If the prophets taught that "many signs" (Hel 14:6) would precede the Savior's birth, then how does this verse help us determine what is the appropriate or adequate number of signs for the Lord's people?
  • Alma 30:44: Tempt. What does Alma mean by using the word "tempt" here? Where else in LDS scripture is this term used, and what are the connotations? How does this word differ from the related (at least in Hebrew) words prove and try? How are these words used in similarly and differently in LDS scripture, and the Book of Mormon in particular? (Cf. lexical note for James 1:13.)
  • Alma 30:44: Your God. Did the use of this phrase by speakers in the scriptures always carry with it the presumption that there was only one God? Or does 2 Chr 32:14-15 offer an example of how this phrase could be used to refer to someone else's God? Why does this verse not follow the nearly consistent pattern in the Old Testament of referring to Jehovah as "the Lord your God"? How did Alma decide whether it was more appropriate to speak of "our God" or of "your God"?
  • Alma 30:44: Show me a sign. Was Alma unnecessarily repeating the request that Korihor had already made in the previous verse? Why did Alma use the future tense, since presumably it signaled that Korihor had not yet made the request? Or was Alma trying to say that Korihor did not need to make his request, because the answer was already before him?
  • Alma 30:44: Have the testimony. Was Alma echoing the language of John in Rev 12:17 and Rev 19:10? If so, was he implying that, at some level, Korihor already had a testimony?
  • Alma 30:44: Brethren and Prophets. Does Alma 20:15 provide a precedent for equating these two social groups? Or was Alma actually making a distinction between the inspired words of these two different groups?
  • Alma 30:44: Scriptures are laid before thee. Does Alma 18:36 provide evidence that Mormon edited this account to suggest that Korihor had literally read the scriptures? Or does JS-H 1:74 indicate this was more of a metaphorical statement on Alma's part?
  • Alma 30:44: All things denote there is a God. Is Alma saying that words will fail as irrefutable evidence of God's existence but that objects have a fixed meaning that signify God is alive? If the word "denote" means "to signify directly or literally," would it have been more accurate for Alma to have said simply that "all things signify there is a God," so that we would not be left wondering how the signifying is supposedly literal? Or did Alma choose not to water down his claim and use the word "connote," which is defined as "to signify indirectly, suggest or imply," because he sincerely believes that every object in the universe is a testament of its Creator?
  • Alma 30:44: Motion and Planets. How much knowledge did the Nephites have of other major objects in our galaxy and throughout the universe? Was the single mention of planets in the Old Testament 2 Kgs 23:5 sufficient to make them aware of extraterrestrial bodies? Or did they have astronomers, remnants of whose work can still be seen in Mesoamerica, who detected these heavenly bodies by careful study of the stars? Along with Hel 12:15, does this verse provide evidence that Nephite cosomology anticipated some of the findings of Copernicus' heliocentrism?
  • Alma 30:46: Resist the spirit of the truth. What does this mean? How does resisting the spirit of the truth relate to having a hard heart? How is it connected to seeking a sign? What is being resisted, and how? Is it a feeling Korihor is having, a feeling that what Alma says is factually correct? Is there a spirit that accompanies any declaration of truth (and what is truth) that one feels or detects in some way, and Korihor is pushing it away? What is happening here?
  • Alma 30:51: Why did the chief judge "write" to Korihor? Was Korihor struck deaf as well as dumb (v. 50)?
  • Alma 30:53: How is it possible for "the devil" to appear "in the form of an angel"? Was this devil Satan or some other evil spirit?
  • Alma 30:53: Why would Korihor believe an angel that said there was no God?
  • Alma 30:53: What is meant here by "an unknown God"?
  • Alma 30:53: How does this appearance of the devil as an angel compare with the appearance of an angel to Alma? What can we learn from this parallelism?
  • Alma 30:53: Korihor stated that the words of the devil "were pleasing unto the carnal mind". What does this teach us about how the devil works?
  • Alma 30:53: Korihor states that he "verily believed that [the words of the devil] were true" because he had "much success" teaching them. How does this compare with what Alma teaches about knowing that the word of God is true?
  • Alma 30:59: What does it mean that Korihor was "run upon and trodden down...until he was dead?" Does this mean that he was trampled, as if by British soccer fans? Or is this a reference to something else? In Mesoamerica, imagery shows that war captives were frequently stepped on by their captors before being sacrificed to their gods. Is this verse reference to a similar practice of human sacrifice among the Zoramites?
  • Alma 30:60: Why are Korihor's actions referred to as a perversion of the ways of the Lord, rather than an apostasy or turning away from those ways?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 29                      Next page: Chapters 31-35

Alma 30:16-20

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapter 30
Previous page: Chapter 29                      Next page: Chapters 31-35


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Alma. The relationship of Chapter 30 to the rest of Alma is discussed at Alma.

Story. Chapter 30 consists of ___ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 30 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 30:7-10. Because these verses are the only place in the Book of Mormon where a specific legal rule is derived from a particular scriptural text they are an interesting place to gain insight into Nephite legal reasoning. In this case, the scriptural text is Josh 24:15, and the legal rule is that "if he [i.e. a man] did not believe in him [i.e. God] there was no law to punish him." This rule is contrasted with the prohibitions on murder, robbery, and adultery, all of which could be punished. (Note: The fact that adultery was punished gives lie to those who have attempted to interpret this as a libertarian proof text.)
Joshua 24 is sometimes referred to as the Shechem Covenant. It recounts how at the end of his life, Joshua gathered the Children of Israel at Shechem and rehearsed to them the history of God's dealing with them, how he brought them to the Promised Land and gave it to them. In Josh 24:15 (the verse relied on by the Nephite jurists), Joshua then asks the Children of Israel whether or not they will serve God. They reply in the affirmative, and Joshua then draws up an elaborate contract -- complete with legal formalities -- to make their promise binding.
The Shechem passage is interesting because it is one of the few places in the Old Testament where the Children of Israel are offered a choice of whether or not they will serve Yahweh rather than other gods. Elsewhere, the Children of Israel are chosen by God rather than vice versa. Hence, the passage is perhaps uniquely suited for providing a voluntarist justification for religious practice.
What is also interesting is that the Shechem passage contains explicitly legal materials, namely the covenant by Israel to follow God. Because of this, a more natural legal reading of the passage would be to construe the terms of this covenant as being binding upon all Israelites including, presumably, the Nephites. In that case, it would make sense to carefully analyze the terms of this contract to understand the resulting Nephite obligations. Instead however, the Nephites define their legal rule in reference to the Joshua passage as if they are themselves within the story having the same choice the Israelites there had.
  • Alma 30:10. This verse seems to be making a distinction between "stealing" and "robbery." Some have argued that this tracks a distinction in ancient Hebrew law between merely taking the property of someone else ("stealing") and attacking them on the highway and extracting property by threats of violence ("robbery").
  • Alma 30:41-42. We see over and over in the Book of Mormon that signs do not convert. Take Laman and Lemuel for instance. Over and over they experienced physical signs (i.e. visitations from angels, hearing the voice of the Lord, etc), however, they never became truly converted, and in the end they fell away from the truth.
In verses 41-42 Alma states that he knows these things are true, and that he knows that Korihor also knows the truth. One can picture Alma looking Korihor in the eye, feeling the Spirit witness the truth of what Alma has been teaching, and knowing that Korihor is also feeling the Spirit. Then in verse 44 Alma says 'Thou hast had signs enough...', listing all the various physical evidences, and in verse 46 he says '..that ye will still resist the spirit of the truth...' refering to the witness of the Spirit that Korihor is denying.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 30:2: Why didn't the Nephites number their dead?
  • Alma 30:2: Why was fasting and prayer necessary to the establishment of peace?
  • Alma 30:3: What ordinances of God are referred to here as being "according to the law of Moses"?
  • Alma 30:3: How does the Nephite understanding of the Law of Moses differ from that which you find in the Old Testament?
  • Alma 30:3: How does the Nephite understanding of the Law of Moses affect our understanding of doctrines in the church today that appear to be temporary?
  • Alma 30:6: Apparently Korihor is not from the land of Zarahemla, as here he is described as coming "into the land". Where did Korihor come from?
  • Alma 30:6: Anti. What is the exact meaning of the term "Anti"? We also see this term used in describing the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's who later became the people of Ammon.
  • Alma 30:27-28: Alma states in verse 32 that Korihor is wrong and knows he's wrong about church officials glutting themselves with the labors of the people. Why would Korihor make such a claim? Are similar arguments used to today to criticize religious teachings? If so, by whom?
  • Alma 30:44: Signs enough. If the prophets taught that "many signs" (Hel 14:6) would precede the Savior's birth, then how does this verse help us determine what is the appropriate or adequate number of signs for the Lord's people?
  • Alma 30:44: Tempt. What does Alma mean by using the word "tempt" here? Where else in LDS scripture is this term used, and what are the connotations? How does this word differ from the related (at least in Hebrew) words prove and try? How are these words used in similarly and differently in LDS scripture, and the Book of Mormon in particular? (Cf. lexical note for James 1:13.)
  • Alma 30:44: Your God. Did the use of this phrase by speakers in the scriptures always carry with it the presumption that there was only one God? Or does 2 Chr 32:14-15 offer an example of how this phrase could be used to refer to someone else's God? Why does this verse not follow the nearly consistent pattern in the Old Testament of referring to Jehovah as "the Lord your God"? How did Alma decide whether it was more appropriate to speak of "our God" or of "your God"?
  • Alma 30:44: Show me a sign. Was Alma unnecessarily repeating the request that Korihor had already made in the previous verse? Why did Alma use the future tense, since presumably it signaled that Korihor had not yet made the request? Or was Alma trying to say that Korihor did not need to make his request, because the answer was already before him?
  • Alma 30:44: Have the testimony. Was Alma echoing the language of John in Rev 12:17 and Rev 19:10? If so, was he implying that, at some level, Korihor already had a testimony?
  • Alma 30:44: Brethren and Prophets. Does Alma 20:15 provide a precedent for equating these two social groups? Or was Alma actually making a distinction between the inspired words of these two different groups?
  • Alma 30:44: Scriptures are laid before thee. Does Alma 18:36 provide evidence that Mormon edited this account to suggest that Korihor had literally read the scriptures? Or does JS-H 1:74 indicate this was more of a metaphorical statement on Alma's part?
  • Alma 30:44: All things denote there is a God. Is Alma saying that words will fail as irrefutable evidence of God's existence but that objects have a fixed meaning that signify God is alive? If the word "denote" means "to signify directly or literally," would it have been more accurate for Alma to have said simply that "all things signify there is a God," so that we would not be left wondering how the signifying is supposedly literal? Or did Alma choose not to water down his claim and use the word "connote," which is defined as "to signify indirectly, suggest or imply," because he sincerely believes that every object in the universe is a testament of its Creator?
  • Alma 30:44: Motion and Planets. How much knowledge did the Nephites have of other major objects in our galaxy and throughout the universe? Was the single mention of planets in the Old Testament 2 Kgs 23:5 sufficient to make them aware of extraterrestrial bodies? Or did they have astronomers, remnants of whose work can still be seen in Mesoamerica, who detected these heavenly bodies by careful study of the stars? Along with Hel 12:15, does this verse provide evidence that Nephite cosomology anticipated some of the findings of Copernicus' heliocentrism?
  • Alma 30:46: Resist the spirit of the truth. What does this mean? How does resisting the spirit of the truth relate to having a hard heart? How is it connected to seeking a sign? What is being resisted, and how? Is it a feeling Korihor is having, a feeling that what Alma says is factually correct? Is there a spirit that accompanies any declaration of truth (and what is truth) that one feels or detects in some way, and Korihor is pushing it away? What is happening here?
  • Alma 30:51: Why did the chief judge "write" to Korihor? Was Korihor struck deaf as well as dumb (v. 50)?
  • Alma 30:53: How is it possible for "the devil" to appear "in the form of an angel"? Was this devil Satan or some other evil spirit?
  • Alma 30:53: Why would Korihor believe an angel that said there was no God?
  • Alma 30:53: What is meant here by "an unknown God"?
  • Alma 30:53: How does this appearance of the devil as an angel compare with the appearance of an angel to Alma? What can we learn from this parallelism?
  • Alma 30:53: Korihor stated that the words of the devil "were pleasing unto the carnal mind". What does this teach us about how the devil works?
  • Alma 30:53: Korihor states that he "verily believed that [the words of the devil] were true" because he had "much success" teaching them. How does this compare with what Alma teaches about knowing that the word of God is true?
  • Alma 30:59: What does it mean that Korihor was "run upon and trodden down...until he was dead?" Does this mean that he was trampled, as if by British soccer fans? Or is this a reference to something else? In Mesoamerica, imagery shows that war captives were frequently stepped on by their captors before being sacrificed to their gods. Is this verse reference to a similar practice of human sacrifice among the Zoramites?
  • Alma 30:60: Why are Korihor's actions referred to as a perversion of the ways of the Lord, rather than an apostasy or turning away from those ways?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 29                      Next page: Chapters 31-35

Alma 30:21-25

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapter 30
Previous page: Chapter 29                      Next page: Chapters 31-35


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Alma. The relationship of Chapter 30 to the rest of Alma is discussed at Alma.

Story. Chapter 30 consists of ___ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 30 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 30:7-10. Because these verses are the only place in the Book of Mormon where a specific legal rule is derived from a particular scriptural text they are an interesting place to gain insight into Nephite legal reasoning. In this case, the scriptural text is Josh 24:15, and the legal rule is that "if he [i.e. a man] did not believe in him [i.e. God] there was no law to punish him." This rule is contrasted with the prohibitions on murder, robbery, and adultery, all of which could be punished. (Note: The fact that adultery was punished gives lie to those who have attempted to interpret this as a libertarian proof text.)
Joshua 24 is sometimes referred to as the Shechem Covenant. It recounts how at the end of his life, Joshua gathered the Children of Israel at Shechem and rehearsed to them the history of God's dealing with them, how he brought them to the Promised Land and gave it to them. In Josh 24:15 (the verse relied on by the Nephite jurists), Joshua then asks the Children of Israel whether or not they will serve God. They reply in the affirmative, and Joshua then draws up an elaborate contract -- complete with legal formalities -- to make their promise binding.
The Shechem passage is interesting because it is one of the few places in the Old Testament where the Children of Israel are offered a choice of whether or not they will serve Yahweh rather than other gods. Elsewhere, the Children of Israel are chosen by God rather than vice versa. Hence, the passage is perhaps uniquely suited for providing a voluntarist justification for religious practice.
What is also interesting is that the Shechem passage contains explicitly legal materials, namely the covenant by Israel to follow God. Because of this, a more natural legal reading of the passage would be to construe the terms of this covenant as being binding upon all Israelites including, presumably, the Nephites. In that case, it would make sense to carefully analyze the terms of this contract to understand the resulting Nephite obligations. Instead however, the Nephites define their legal rule in reference to the Joshua passage as if they are themselves within the story having the same choice the Israelites there had.
  • Alma 30:10. This verse seems to be making a distinction between "stealing" and "robbery." Some have argued that this tracks a distinction in ancient Hebrew law between merely taking the property of someone else ("stealing") and attacking them on the highway and extracting property by threats of violence ("robbery").
  • Alma 30:41-42. We see over and over in the Book of Mormon that signs do not convert. Take Laman and Lemuel for instance. Over and over they experienced physical signs (i.e. visitations from angels, hearing the voice of the Lord, etc), however, they never became truly converted, and in the end they fell away from the truth.
In verses 41-42 Alma states that he knows these things are true, and that he knows that Korihor also knows the truth. One can picture Alma looking Korihor in the eye, feeling the Spirit witness the truth of what Alma has been teaching, and knowing that Korihor is also feeling the Spirit. Then in verse 44 Alma says 'Thou hast had signs enough...', listing all the various physical evidences, and in verse 46 he says '..that ye will still resist the spirit of the truth...' refering to the witness of the Spirit that Korihor is denying.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 30:2: Why didn't the Nephites number their dead?
  • Alma 30:2: Why was fasting and prayer necessary to the establishment of peace?
  • Alma 30:3: What ordinances of God are referred to here as being "according to the law of Moses"?
  • Alma 30:3: How does the Nephite understanding of the Law of Moses differ from that which you find in the Old Testament?
  • Alma 30:3: How does the Nephite understanding of the Law of Moses affect our understanding of doctrines in the church today that appear to be temporary?
  • Alma 30:6: Apparently Korihor is not from the land of Zarahemla, as here he is described as coming "into the land". Where did Korihor come from?
  • Alma 30:6: Anti. What is the exact meaning of the term "Anti"? We also see this term used in describing the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's who later became the people of Ammon.
  • Alma 30:27-28: Alma states in verse 32 that Korihor is wrong and knows he's wrong about church officials glutting themselves with the labors of the people. Why would Korihor make such a claim? Are similar arguments used to today to criticize religious teachings? If so, by whom?
  • Alma 30:44: Signs enough. If the prophets taught that "many signs" (Hel 14:6) would precede the Savior's birth, then how does this verse help us determine what is the appropriate or adequate number of signs for the Lord's people?
  • Alma 30:44: Tempt. What does Alma mean by using the word "tempt" here? Where else in LDS scripture is this term used, and what are the connotations? How does this word differ from the related (at least in Hebrew) words prove and try? How are these words used in similarly and differently in LDS scripture, and the Book of Mormon in particular? (Cf. lexical note for James 1:13.)
  • Alma 30:44: Your God. Did the use of this phrase by speakers in the scriptures always carry with it the presumption that there was only one God? Or does 2 Chr 32:14-15 offer an example of how this phrase could be used to refer to someone else's God? Why does this verse not follow the nearly consistent pattern in the Old Testament of referring to Jehovah as "the Lord your God"? How did Alma decide whether it was more appropriate to speak of "our God" or of "your God"?
  • Alma 30:44: Show me a sign. Was Alma unnecessarily repeating the request that Korihor had already made in the previous verse? Why did Alma use the future tense, since presumably it signaled that Korihor had not yet made the request? Or was Alma trying to say that Korihor did not need to make his request, because the answer was already before him?
  • Alma 30:44: Have the testimony. Was Alma echoing the language of John in Rev 12:17 and Rev 19:10? If so, was he implying that, at some level, Korihor already had a testimony?
  • Alma 30:44: Brethren and Prophets. Does Alma 20:15 provide a precedent for equating these two social groups? Or was Alma actually making a distinction between the inspired words of these two different groups?
  • Alma 30:44: Scriptures are laid before thee. Does Alma 18:36 provide evidence that Mormon edited this account to suggest that Korihor had literally read the scriptures? Or does JS-H 1:74 indicate this was more of a metaphorical statement on Alma's part?
  • Alma 30:44: All things denote there is a God. Is Alma saying that words will fail as irrefutable evidence of God's existence but that objects have a fixed meaning that signify God is alive? If the word "denote" means "to signify directly or literally," would it have been more accurate for Alma to have said simply that "all things signify there is a God," so that we would not be left wondering how the signifying is supposedly literal? Or did Alma choose not to water down his claim and use the word "connote," which is defined as "to signify indirectly, suggest or imply," because he sincerely believes that every object in the universe is a testament of its Creator?
  • Alma 30:44: Motion and Planets. How much knowledge did the Nephites have of other major objects in our galaxy and throughout the universe? Was the single mention of planets in the Old Testament 2 Kgs 23:5 sufficient to make them aware of extraterrestrial bodies? Or did they have astronomers, remnants of whose work can still be seen in Mesoamerica, who detected these heavenly bodies by careful study of the stars? Along with Hel 12:15, does this verse provide evidence that Nephite cosomology anticipated some of the findings of Copernicus' heliocentrism?
  • Alma 30:46: Resist the spirit of the truth. What does this mean? How does resisting the spirit of the truth relate to having a hard heart? How is it connected to seeking a sign? What is being resisted, and how? Is it a feeling Korihor is having, a feeling that what Alma says is factually correct? Is there a spirit that accompanies any declaration of truth (and what is truth) that one feels or detects in some way, and Korihor is pushing it away? What is happening here?
  • Alma 30:51: Why did the chief judge "write" to Korihor? Was Korihor struck deaf as well as dumb (v. 50)?
  • Alma 30:53: How is it possible for "the devil" to appear "in the form of an angel"? Was this devil Satan or some other evil spirit?
  • Alma 30:53: Why would Korihor believe an angel that said there was no God?
  • Alma 30:53: What is meant here by "an unknown God"?
  • Alma 30:53: How does this appearance of the devil as an angel compare with the appearance of an angel to Alma? What can we learn from this parallelism?
  • Alma 30:53: Korihor stated that the words of the devil "were pleasing unto the carnal mind". What does this teach us about how the devil works?
  • Alma 30:53: Korihor states that he "verily believed that [the words of the devil] were true" because he had "much success" teaching them. How does this compare with what Alma teaches about knowing that the word of God is true?
  • Alma 30:59: What does it mean that Korihor was "run upon and trodden down...until he was dead?" Does this mean that he was trampled, as if by British soccer fans? Or is this a reference to something else? In Mesoamerica, imagery shows that war captives were frequently stepped on by their captors before being sacrificed to their gods. Is this verse reference to a similar practice of human sacrifice among the Zoramites?
  • Alma 30:60: Why are Korihor's actions referred to as a perversion of the ways of the Lord, rather than an apostasy or turning away from those ways?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 29                      Next page: Chapters 31-35

Alma 30:26-30

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapter 30
Previous page: Chapter 29                      Next page: Chapters 31-35


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Alma. The relationship of Chapter 30 to the rest of Alma is discussed at Alma.

Story. Chapter 30 consists of ___ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 30 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 30:7-10. Because these verses are the only place in the Book of Mormon where a specific legal rule is derived from a particular scriptural text they are an interesting place to gain insight into Nephite legal reasoning. In this case, the scriptural text is Josh 24:15, and the legal rule is that "if he [i.e. a man] did not believe in him [i.e. God] there was no law to punish him." This rule is contrasted with the prohibitions on murder, robbery, and adultery, all of which could be punished. (Note: The fact that adultery was punished gives lie to those who have attempted to interpret this as a libertarian proof text.)
Joshua 24 is sometimes referred to as the Shechem Covenant. It recounts how at the end of his life, Joshua gathered the Children of Israel at Shechem and rehearsed to them the history of God's dealing with them, how he brought them to the Promised Land and gave it to them. In Josh 24:15 (the verse relied on by the Nephite jurists), Joshua then asks the Children of Israel whether or not they will serve God. They reply in the affirmative, and Joshua then draws up an elaborate contract -- complete with legal formalities -- to make their promise binding.
The Shechem passage is interesting because it is one of the few places in the Old Testament where the Children of Israel are offered a choice of whether or not they will serve Yahweh rather than other gods. Elsewhere, the Children of Israel are chosen by God rather than vice versa. Hence, the passage is perhaps uniquely suited for providing a voluntarist justification for religious practice.
What is also interesting is that the Shechem passage contains explicitly legal materials, namely the covenant by Israel to follow God. Because of this, a more natural legal reading of the passage would be to construe the terms of this covenant as being binding upon all Israelites including, presumably, the Nephites. In that case, it would make sense to carefully analyze the terms of this contract to understand the resulting Nephite obligations. Instead however, the Nephites define their legal rule in reference to the Joshua passage as if they are themselves within the story having the same choice the Israelites there had.
  • Alma 30:10. This verse seems to be making a distinction between "stealing" and "robbery." Some have argued that this tracks a distinction in ancient Hebrew law between merely taking the property of someone else ("stealing") and attacking them on the highway and extracting property by threats of violence ("robbery").
  • Alma 30:41-42. We see over and over in the Book of Mormon that signs do not convert. Take Laman and Lemuel for instance. Over and over they experienced physical signs (i.e. visitations from angels, hearing the voice of the Lord, etc), however, they never became truly converted, and in the end they fell away from the truth.
In verses 41-42 Alma states that he knows these things are true, and that he knows that Korihor also knows the truth. One can picture Alma looking Korihor in the eye, feeling the Spirit witness the truth of what Alma has been teaching, and knowing that Korihor is also feeling the Spirit. Then in verse 44 Alma says 'Thou hast had signs enough...', listing all the various physical evidences, and in verse 46 he says '..that ye will still resist the spirit of the truth...' refering to the witness of the Spirit that Korihor is denying.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 30:2: Why didn't the Nephites number their dead?
  • Alma 30:2: Why was fasting and prayer necessary to the establishment of peace?
  • Alma 30:3: What ordinances of God are referred to here as being "according to the law of Moses"?
  • Alma 30:3: How does the Nephite understanding of the Law of Moses differ from that which you find in the Old Testament?
  • Alma 30:3: How does the Nephite understanding of the Law of Moses affect our understanding of doctrines in the church today that appear to be temporary?
  • Alma 30:6: Apparently Korihor is not from the land of Zarahemla, as here he is described as coming "into the land". Where did Korihor come from?
  • Alma 30:6: Anti. What is the exact meaning of the term "Anti"? We also see this term used in describing the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's who later became the people of Ammon.
  • Alma 30:27-28: Alma states in verse 32 that Korihor is wrong and knows he's wrong about church officials glutting themselves with the labors of the people. Why would Korihor make such a claim? Are similar arguments used to today to criticize religious teachings? If so, by whom?
  • Alma 30:44: Signs enough. If the prophets taught that "many signs" (Hel 14:6) would precede the Savior's birth, then how does this verse help us determine what is the appropriate or adequate number of signs for the Lord's people?
  • Alma 30:44: Tempt. What does Alma mean by using the word "tempt" here? Where else in LDS scripture is this term used, and what are the connotations? How does this word differ from the related (at least in Hebrew) words prove and try? How are these words used in similarly and differently in LDS scripture, and the Book of Mormon in particular? (Cf. lexical note for James 1:13.)
  • Alma 30:44: Your God. Did the use of this phrase by speakers in the scriptures always carry with it the presumption that there was only one God? Or does 2 Chr 32:14-15 offer an example of how this phrase could be used to refer to someone else's God? Why does this verse not follow the nearly consistent pattern in the Old Testament of referring to Jehovah as "the Lord your God"? How did Alma decide whether it was more appropriate to speak of "our God" or of "your God"?
  • Alma 30:44: Show me a sign. Was Alma unnecessarily repeating the request that Korihor had already made in the previous verse? Why did Alma use the future tense, since presumably it signaled that Korihor had not yet made the request? Or was Alma trying to say that Korihor did not need to make his request, because the answer was already before him?
  • Alma 30:44: Have the testimony. Was Alma echoing the language of John in Rev 12:17 and Rev 19:10? If so, was he implying that, at some level, Korihor already had a testimony?
  • Alma 30:44: Brethren and Prophets. Does Alma 20:15 provide a precedent for equating these two social groups? Or was Alma actually making a distinction between the inspired words of these two different groups?
  • Alma 30:44: Scriptures are laid before thee. Does Alma 18:36 provide evidence that Mormon edited this account to suggest that Korihor had literally read the scriptures? Or does JS-H 1:74 indicate this was more of a metaphorical statement on Alma's part?
  • Alma 30:44: All things denote there is a God. Is Alma saying that words will fail as irrefutable evidence of God's existence but that objects have a fixed meaning that signify God is alive? If the word "denote" means "to signify directly or literally," would it have been more accurate for Alma to have said simply that "all things signify there is a God," so that we would not be left wondering how the signifying is supposedly literal? Or did Alma choose not to water down his claim and use the word "connote," which is defined as "to signify indirectly, suggest or imply," because he sincerely believes that every object in the universe is a testament of its Creator?
  • Alma 30:44: Motion and Planets. How much knowledge did the Nephites have of other major objects in our galaxy and throughout the universe? Was the single mention of planets in the Old Testament 2 Kgs 23:5 sufficient to make them aware of extraterrestrial bodies? Or did they have astronomers, remnants of whose work can still be seen in Mesoamerica, who detected these heavenly bodies by careful study of the stars? Along with Hel 12:15, does this verse provide evidence that Nephite cosomology anticipated some of the findings of Copernicus' heliocentrism?
  • Alma 30:46: Resist the spirit of the truth. What does this mean? How does resisting the spirit of the truth relate to having a hard heart? How is it connected to seeking a sign? What is being resisted, and how? Is it a feeling Korihor is having, a feeling that what Alma says is factually correct? Is there a spirit that accompanies any declaration of truth (and what is truth) that one feels or detects in some way, and Korihor is pushing it away? What is happening here?
  • Alma 30:51: Why did the chief judge "write" to Korihor? Was Korihor struck deaf as well as dumb (v. 50)?
  • Alma 30:53: How is it possible for "the devil" to appear "in the form of an angel"? Was this devil Satan or some other evil spirit?
  • Alma 30:53: Why would Korihor believe an angel that said there was no God?
  • Alma 30:53: What is meant here by "an unknown God"?
  • Alma 30:53: How does this appearance of the devil as an angel compare with the appearance of an angel to Alma? What can we learn from this parallelism?
  • Alma 30:53: Korihor stated that the words of the devil "were pleasing unto the carnal mind". What does this teach us about how the devil works?
  • Alma 30:53: Korihor states that he "verily believed that [the words of the devil] were true" because he had "much success" teaching them. How does this compare with what Alma teaches about knowing that the word of God is true?
  • Alma 30:59: What does it mean that Korihor was "run upon and trodden down...until he was dead?" Does this mean that he was trampled, as if by British soccer fans? Or is this a reference to something else? In Mesoamerica, imagery shows that war captives were frequently stepped on by their captors before being sacrificed to their gods. Is this verse reference to a similar practice of human sacrifice among the Zoramites?
  • Alma 30:60: Why are Korihor's actions referred to as a perversion of the ways of the Lord, rather than an apostasy or turning away from those ways?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 29                      Next page: Chapters 31-35

Alma 30:31-35

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapter 30
Previous page: Chapter 29                      Next page: Chapters 31-35


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Alma. The relationship of Chapter 30 to the rest of Alma is discussed at Alma.

Story. Chapter 30 consists of ___ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 30 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 30:7-10. Because these verses are the only place in the Book of Mormon where a specific legal rule is derived from a particular scriptural text they are an interesting place to gain insight into Nephite legal reasoning. In this case, the scriptural text is Josh 24:15, and the legal rule is that "if he [i.e. a man] did not believe in him [i.e. God] there was no law to punish him." This rule is contrasted with the prohibitions on murder, robbery, and adultery, all of which could be punished. (Note: The fact that adultery was punished gives lie to those who have attempted to interpret this as a libertarian proof text.)
Joshua 24 is sometimes referred to as the Shechem Covenant. It recounts how at the end of his life, Joshua gathered the Children of Israel at Shechem and rehearsed to them the history of God's dealing with them, how he brought them to the Promised Land and gave it to them. In Josh 24:15 (the verse relied on by the Nephite jurists), Joshua then asks the Children of Israel whether or not they will serve God. They reply in the affirmative, and Joshua then draws up an elaborate contract -- complete with legal formalities -- to make their promise binding.
The Shechem passage is interesting because it is one of the few places in the Old Testament where the Children of Israel are offered a choice of whether or not they will serve Yahweh rather than other gods. Elsewhere, the Children of Israel are chosen by God rather than vice versa. Hence, the passage is perhaps uniquely suited for providing a voluntarist justification for religious practice.
What is also interesting is that the Shechem passage contains explicitly legal materials, namely the covenant by Israel to follow God. Because of this, a more natural legal reading of the passage would be to construe the terms of this covenant as being binding upon all Israelites including, presumably, the Nephites. In that case, it would make sense to carefully analyze the terms of this contract to understand the resulting Nephite obligations. Instead however, the Nephites define their legal rule in reference to the Joshua passage as if they are themselves within the story having the same choice the Israelites there had.
  • Alma 30:10. This verse seems to be making a distinction between "stealing" and "robbery." Some have argued that this tracks a distinction in ancient Hebrew law between merely taking the property of someone else ("stealing") and attacking them on the highway and extracting property by threats of violence ("robbery").
  • Alma 30:41-42. We see over and over in the Book of Mormon that signs do not convert. Take Laman and Lemuel for instance. Over and over they experienced physical signs (i.e. visitations from angels, hearing the voice of the Lord, etc), however, they never became truly converted, and in the end they fell away from the truth.
In verses 41-42 Alma states that he knows these things are true, and that he knows that Korihor also knows the truth. One can picture Alma looking Korihor in the eye, feeling the Spirit witness the truth of what Alma has been teaching, and knowing that Korihor is also feeling the Spirit. Then in verse 44 Alma says 'Thou hast had signs enough...', listing all the various physical evidences, and in verse 46 he says '..that ye will still resist the spirit of the truth...' refering to the witness of the Spirit that Korihor is denying.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 30:2: Why didn't the Nephites number their dead?
  • Alma 30:2: Why was fasting and prayer necessary to the establishment of peace?
  • Alma 30:3: What ordinances of God are referred to here as being "according to the law of Moses"?
  • Alma 30:3: How does the Nephite understanding of the Law of Moses differ from that which you find in the Old Testament?
  • Alma 30:3: How does the Nephite understanding of the Law of Moses affect our understanding of doctrines in the church today that appear to be temporary?
  • Alma 30:6: Apparently Korihor is not from the land of Zarahemla, as here he is described as coming "into the land". Where did Korihor come from?
  • Alma 30:6: Anti. What is the exact meaning of the term "Anti"? We also see this term used in describing the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's who later became the people of Ammon.
  • Alma 30:27-28: Alma states in verse 32 that Korihor is wrong and knows he's wrong about church officials glutting themselves with the labors of the people. Why would Korihor make such a claim? Are similar arguments used to today to criticize religious teachings? If so, by whom?
  • Alma 30:44: Signs enough. If the prophets taught that "many signs" (Hel 14:6) would precede the Savior's birth, then how does this verse help us determine what is the appropriate or adequate number of signs for the Lord's people?
  • Alma 30:44: Tempt. What does Alma mean by using the word "tempt" here? Where else in LDS scripture is this term used, and what are the connotations? How does this word differ from the related (at least in Hebrew) words prove and try? How are these words used in similarly and differently in LDS scripture, and the Book of Mormon in particular? (Cf. lexical note for James 1:13.)
  • Alma 30:44: Your God. Did the use of this phrase by speakers in the scriptures always carry with it the presumption that there was only one God? Or does 2 Chr 32:14-15 offer an example of how this phrase could be used to refer to someone else's God? Why does this verse not follow the nearly consistent pattern in the Old Testament of referring to Jehovah as "the Lord your God"? How did Alma decide whether it was more appropriate to speak of "our God" or of "your God"?
  • Alma 30:44: Show me a sign. Was Alma unnecessarily repeating the request that Korihor had already made in the previous verse? Why did Alma use the future tense, since presumably it signaled that Korihor had not yet made the request? Or was Alma trying to say that Korihor did not need to make his request, because the answer was already before him?
  • Alma 30:44: Have the testimony. Was Alma echoing the language of John in Rev 12:17 and Rev 19:10? If so, was he implying that, at some level, Korihor already had a testimony?
  • Alma 30:44: Brethren and Prophets. Does Alma 20:15 provide a precedent for equating these two social groups? Or was Alma actually making a distinction between the inspired words of these two different groups?
  • Alma 30:44: Scriptures are laid before thee. Does Alma 18:36 provide evidence that Mormon edited this account to suggest that Korihor had literally read the scriptures? Or does JS-H 1:74 indicate this was more of a metaphorical statement on Alma's part?
  • Alma 30:44: All things denote there is a God. Is Alma saying that words will fail as irrefutable evidence of God's existence but that objects have a fixed meaning that signify God is alive? If the word "denote" means "to signify directly or literally," would it have been more accurate for Alma to have said simply that "all things signify there is a God," so that we would not be left wondering how the signifying is supposedly literal? Or did Alma choose not to water down his claim and use the word "connote," which is defined as "to signify indirectly, suggest or imply," because he sincerely believes that every object in the universe is a testament of its Creator?
  • Alma 30:44: Motion and Planets. How much knowledge did the Nephites have of other major objects in our galaxy and throughout the universe? Was the single mention of planets in the Old Testament 2 Kgs 23:5 sufficient to make them aware of extraterrestrial bodies? Or did they have astronomers, remnants of whose work can still be seen in Mesoamerica, who detected these heavenly bodies by careful study of the stars? Along with Hel 12:15, does this verse provide evidence that Nephite cosomology anticipated some of the findings of Copernicus' heliocentrism?
  • Alma 30:46: Resist the spirit of the truth. What does this mean? How does resisting the spirit of the truth relate to having a hard heart? How is it connected to seeking a sign? What is being resisted, and how? Is it a feeling Korihor is having, a feeling that what Alma says is factually correct? Is there a spirit that accompanies any declaration of truth (and what is truth) that one feels or detects in some way, and Korihor is pushing it away? What is happening here?
  • Alma 30:51: Why did the chief judge "write" to Korihor? Was Korihor struck deaf as well as dumb (v. 50)?
  • Alma 30:53: How is it possible for "the devil" to appear "in the form of an angel"? Was this devil Satan or some other evil spirit?
  • Alma 30:53: Why would Korihor believe an angel that said there was no God?
  • Alma 30:53: What is meant here by "an unknown God"?
  • Alma 30:53: How does this appearance of the devil as an angel compare with the appearance of an angel to Alma? What can we learn from this parallelism?
  • Alma 30:53: Korihor stated that the words of the devil "were pleasing unto the carnal mind". What does this teach us about how the devil works?
  • Alma 30:53: Korihor states that he "verily believed that [the words of the devil] were true" because he had "much success" teaching them. How does this compare with what Alma teaches about knowing that the word of God is true?
  • Alma 30:59: What does it mean that Korihor was "run upon and trodden down...until he was dead?" Does this mean that he was trampled, as if by British soccer fans? Or is this a reference to something else? In Mesoamerica, imagery shows that war captives were frequently stepped on by their captors before being sacrificed to their gods. Is this verse reference to a similar practice of human sacrifice among the Zoramites?
  • Alma 30:60: Why are Korihor's actions referred to as a perversion of the ways of the Lord, rather than an apostasy or turning away from those ways?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 29                      Next page: Chapters 31-35

Alma 30:36-40

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapter 30
Previous page: Chapter 29                      Next page: Chapters 31-35


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Alma. The relationship of Chapter 30 to the rest of Alma is discussed at Alma.

Story. Chapter 30 consists of ___ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 30 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 30:7-10. Because these verses are the only place in the Book of Mormon where a specific legal rule is derived from a particular scriptural text they are an interesting place to gain insight into Nephite legal reasoning. In this case, the scriptural text is Josh 24:15, and the legal rule is that "if he [i.e. a man] did not believe in him [i.e. God] there was no law to punish him." This rule is contrasted with the prohibitions on murder, robbery, and adultery, all of which could be punished. (Note: The fact that adultery was punished gives lie to those who have attempted to interpret this as a libertarian proof text.)
Joshua 24 is sometimes referred to as the Shechem Covenant. It recounts how at the end of his life, Joshua gathered the Children of Israel at Shechem and rehearsed to them the history of God's dealing with them, how he brought them to the Promised Land and gave it to them. In Josh 24:15 (the verse relied on by the Nephite jurists), Joshua then asks the Children of Israel whether or not they will serve God. They reply in the affirmative, and Joshua then draws up an elaborate contract -- complete with legal formalities -- to make their promise binding.
The Shechem passage is interesting because it is one of the few places in the Old Testament where the Children of Israel are offered a choice of whether or not they will serve Yahweh rather than other gods. Elsewhere, the Children of Israel are chosen by God rather than vice versa. Hence, the passage is perhaps uniquely suited for providing a voluntarist justification for religious practice.
What is also interesting is that the Shechem passage contains explicitly legal materials, namely the covenant by Israel to follow God. Because of this, a more natural legal reading of the passage would be to construe the terms of this covenant as being binding upon all Israelites including, presumably, the Nephites. In that case, it would make sense to carefully analyze the terms of this contract to understand the resulting Nephite obligations. Instead however, the Nephites define their legal rule in reference to the Joshua passage as if they are themselves within the story having the same choice the Israelites there had.
  • Alma 30:10. This verse seems to be making a distinction between "stealing" and "robbery." Some have argued that this tracks a distinction in ancient Hebrew law between merely taking the property of someone else ("stealing") and attacking them on the highway and extracting property by threats of violence ("robbery").
  • Alma 30:41-42. We see over and over in the Book of Mormon that signs do not convert. Take Laman and Lemuel for instance. Over and over they experienced physical signs (i.e. visitations from angels, hearing the voice of the Lord, etc), however, they never became truly converted, and in the end they fell away from the truth.
In verses 41-42 Alma states that he knows these things are true, and that he knows that Korihor also knows the truth. One can picture Alma looking Korihor in the eye, feeling the Spirit witness the truth of what Alma has been teaching, and knowing that Korihor is also feeling the Spirit. Then in verse 44 Alma says 'Thou hast had signs enough...', listing all the various physical evidences, and in verse 46 he says '..that ye will still resist the spirit of the truth...' refering to the witness of the Spirit that Korihor is denying.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 30:2: Why didn't the Nephites number their dead?
  • Alma 30:2: Why was fasting and prayer necessary to the establishment of peace?
  • Alma 30:3: What ordinances of God are referred to here as being "according to the law of Moses"?
  • Alma 30:3: How does the Nephite understanding of the Law of Moses differ from that which you find in the Old Testament?
  • Alma 30:3: How does the Nephite understanding of the Law of Moses affect our understanding of doctrines in the church today that appear to be temporary?
  • Alma 30:6: Apparently Korihor is not from the land of Zarahemla, as here he is described as coming "into the land". Where did Korihor come from?
  • Alma 30:6: Anti. What is the exact meaning of the term "Anti"? We also see this term used in describing the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's who later became the people of Ammon.
  • Alma 30:27-28: Alma states in verse 32 that Korihor is wrong and knows he's wrong about church officials glutting themselves with the labors of the people. Why would Korihor make such a claim? Are similar arguments used to today to criticize religious teachings? If so, by whom?
  • Alma 30:44: Signs enough. If the prophets taught that "many signs" (Hel 14:6) would precede the Savior's birth, then how does this verse help us determine what is the appropriate or adequate number of signs for the Lord's people?
  • Alma 30:44: Tempt. What does Alma mean by using the word "tempt" here? Where else in LDS scripture is this term used, and what are the connotations? How does this word differ from the related (at least in Hebrew) words prove and try? How are these words used in similarly and differently in LDS scripture, and the Book of Mormon in particular? (Cf. lexical note for James 1:13.)
  • Alma 30:44: Your God. Did the use of this phrase by speakers in the scriptures always carry with it the presumption that there was only one God? Or does 2 Chr 32:14-15 offer an example of how this phrase could be used to refer to someone else's God? Why does this verse not follow the nearly consistent pattern in the Old Testament of referring to Jehovah as "the Lord your God"? How did Alma decide whether it was more appropriate to speak of "our God" or of "your God"?
  • Alma 30:44: Show me a sign. Was Alma unnecessarily repeating the request that Korihor had already made in the previous verse? Why did Alma use the future tense, since presumably it signaled that Korihor had not yet made the request? Or was Alma trying to say that Korihor did not need to make his request, because the answer was already before him?
  • Alma 30:44: Have the testimony. Was Alma echoing the language of John in Rev 12:17 and Rev 19:10? If so, was he implying that, at some level, Korihor already had a testimony?
  • Alma 30:44: Brethren and Prophets. Does Alma 20:15 provide a precedent for equating these two social groups? Or was Alma actually making a distinction between the inspired words of these two different groups?
  • Alma 30:44: Scriptures are laid before thee. Does Alma 18:36 provide evidence that Mormon edited this account to suggest that Korihor had literally read the scriptures? Or does JS-H 1:74 indicate this was more of a metaphorical statement on Alma's part?
  • Alma 30:44: All things denote there is a God. Is Alma saying that words will fail as irrefutable evidence of God's existence but that objects have a fixed meaning that signify God is alive? If the word "denote" means "to signify directly or literally," would it have been more accurate for Alma to have said simply that "all things signify there is a God," so that we would not be left wondering how the signifying is supposedly literal? Or did Alma choose not to water down his claim and use the word "connote," which is defined as "to signify indirectly, suggest or imply," because he sincerely believes that every object in the universe is a testament of its Creator?
  • Alma 30:44: Motion and Planets. How much knowledge did the Nephites have of other major objects in our galaxy and throughout the universe? Was the single mention of planets in the Old Testament 2 Kgs 23:5 sufficient to make them aware of extraterrestrial bodies? Or did they have astronomers, remnants of whose work can still be seen in Mesoamerica, who detected these heavenly bodies by careful study of the stars? Along with Hel 12:15, does this verse provide evidence that Nephite cosomology anticipated some of the findings of Copernicus' heliocentrism?
  • Alma 30:46: Resist the spirit of the truth. What does this mean? How does resisting the spirit of the truth relate to having a hard heart? How is it connected to seeking a sign? What is being resisted, and how? Is it a feeling Korihor is having, a feeling that what Alma says is factually correct? Is there a spirit that accompanies any declaration of truth (and what is truth) that one feels or detects in some way, and Korihor is pushing it away? What is happening here?
  • Alma 30:51: Why did the chief judge "write" to Korihor? Was Korihor struck deaf as well as dumb (v. 50)?
  • Alma 30:53: How is it possible for "the devil" to appear "in the form of an angel"? Was this devil Satan or some other evil spirit?
  • Alma 30:53: Why would Korihor believe an angel that said there was no God?
  • Alma 30:53: What is meant here by "an unknown God"?
  • Alma 30:53: How does this appearance of the devil as an angel compare with the appearance of an angel to Alma? What can we learn from this parallelism?
  • Alma 30:53: Korihor stated that the words of the devil "were pleasing unto the carnal mind". What does this teach us about how the devil works?
  • Alma 30:53: Korihor states that he "verily believed that [the words of the devil] were true" because he had "much success" teaching them. How does this compare with what Alma teaches about knowing that the word of God is true?
  • Alma 30:59: What does it mean that Korihor was "run upon and trodden down...until he was dead?" Does this mean that he was trampled, as if by British soccer fans? Or is this a reference to something else? In Mesoamerica, imagery shows that war captives were frequently stepped on by their captors before being sacrificed to their gods. Is this verse reference to a similar practice of human sacrifice among the Zoramites?
  • Alma 30:60: Why are Korihor's actions referred to as a perversion of the ways of the Lord, rather than an apostasy or turning away from those ways?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 29                      Next page: Chapters 31-35

Alma 30:41-45

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapter 30
Previous page: Chapter 29                      Next page: Chapters 31-35


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Alma. The relationship of Chapter 30 to the rest of Alma is discussed at Alma.

Story. Chapter 30 consists of ___ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 30 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 30:7-10. Because these verses are the only place in the Book of Mormon where a specific legal rule is derived from a particular scriptural text they are an interesting place to gain insight into Nephite legal reasoning. In this case, the scriptural text is Josh 24:15, and the legal rule is that "if he [i.e. a man] did not believe in him [i.e. God] there was no law to punish him." This rule is contrasted with the prohibitions on murder, robbery, and adultery, all of which could be punished. (Note: The fact that adultery was punished gives lie to those who have attempted to interpret this as a libertarian proof text.)
Joshua 24 is sometimes referred to as the Shechem Covenant. It recounts how at the end of his life, Joshua gathered the Children of Israel at Shechem and rehearsed to them the history of God's dealing with them, how he brought them to the Promised Land and gave it to them. In Josh 24:15 (the verse relied on by the Nephite jurists), Joshua then asks the Children of Israel whether or not they will serve God. They reply in the affirmative, and Joshua then draws up an elaborate contract -- complete with legal formalities -- to make their promise binding.
The Shechem passage is interesting because it is one of the few places in the Old Testament where the Children of Israel are offered a choice of whether or not they will serve Yahweh rather than other gods. Elsewhere, the Children of Israel are chosen by God rather than vice versa. Hence, the passage is perhaps uniquely suited for providing a voluntarist justification for religious practice.
What is also interesting is that the Shechem passage contains explicitly legal materials, namely the covenant by Israel to follow God. Because of this, a more natural legal reading of the passage would be to construe the terms of this covenant as being binding upon all Israelites including, presumably, the Nephites. In that case, it would make sense to carefully analyze the terms of this contract to understand the resulting Nephite obligations. Instead however, the Nephites define their legal rule in reference to the Joshua passage as if they are themselves within the story having the same choice the Israelites there had.
  • Alma 30:10. This verse seems to be making a distinction between "stealing" and "robbery." Some have argued that this tracks a distinction in ancient Hebrew law between merely taking the property of someone else ("stealing") and attacking them on the highway and extracting property by threats of violence ("robbery").
  • Alma 30:41-42. We see over and over in the Book of Mormon that signs do not convert. Take Laman and Lemuel for instance. Over and over they experienced physical signs (i.e. visitations from angels, hearing the voice of the Lord, etc), however, they never became truly converted, and in the end they fell away from the truth.
In verses 41-42 Alma states that he knows these things are true, and that he knows that Korihor also knows the truth. One can picture Alma looking Korihor in the eye, feeling the Spirit witness the truth of what Alma has been teaching, and knowing that Korihor is also feeling the Spirit. Then in verse 44 Alma says 'Thou hast had signs enough...', listing all the various physical evidences, and in verse 46 he says '..that ye will still resist the spirit of the truth...' refering to the witness of the Spirit that Korihor is denying.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 30:2: Why didn't the Nephites number their dead?
  • Alma 30:2: Why was fasting and prayer necessary to the establishment of peace?
  • Alma 30:3: What ordinances of God are referred to here as being "according to the law of Moses"?
  • Alma 30:3: How does the Nephite understanding of the Law of Moses differ from that which you find in the Old Testament?
  • Alma 30:3: How does the Nephite understanding of the Law of Moses affect our understanding of doctrines in the church today that appear to be temporary?
  • Alma 30:6: Apparently Korihor is not from the land of Zarahemla, as here he is described as coming "into the land". Where did Korihor come from?
  • Alma 30:6: Anti. What is the exact meaning of the term "Anti"? We also see this term used in describing the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's who later became the people of Ammon.
  • Alma 30:27-28: Alma states in verse 32 that Korihor is wrong and knows he's wrong about church officials glutting themselves with the labors of the people. Why would Korihor make such a claim? Are similar arguments used to today to criticize religious teachings? If so, by whom?
  • Alma 30:44: Signs enough. If the prophets taught that "many signs" (Hel 14:6) would precede the Savior's birth, then how does this verse help us determine what is the appropriate or adequate number of signs for the Lord's people?
  • Alma 30:44: Tempt. What does Alma mean by using the word "tempt" here? Where else in LDS scripture is this term used, and what are the connotations? How does this word differ from the related (at least in Hebrew) words prove and try? How are these words used in similarly and differently in LDS scripture, and the Book of Mormon in particular? (Cf. lexical note for James 1:13.)
  • Alma 30:44: Your God. Did the use of this phrase by speakers in the scriptures always carry with it the presumption that there was only one God? Or does 2 Chr 32:14-15 offer an example of how this phrase could be used to refer to someone else's God? Why does this verse not follow the nearly consistent pattern in the Old Testament of referring to Jehovah as "the Lord your God"? How did Alma decide whether it was more appropriate to speak of "our God" or of "your God"?
  • Alma 30:44: Show me a sign. Was Alma unnecessarily repeating the request that Korihor had already made in the previous verse? Why did Alma use the future tense, since presumably it signaled that Korihor had not yet made the request? Or was Alma trying to say that Korihor did not need to make his request, because the answer was already before him?
  • Alma 30:44: Have the testimony. Was Alma echoing the language of John in Rev 12:17 and Rev 19:10? If so, was he implying that, at some level, Korihor already had a testimony?
  • Alma 30:44: Brethren and Prophets. Does Alma 20:15 provide a precedent for equating these two social groups? Or was Alma actually making a distinction between the inspired words of these two different groups?
  • Alma 30:44: Scriptures are laid before thee. Does Alma 18:36 provide evidence that Mormon edited this account to suggest that Korihor had literally read the scriptures? Or does JS-H 1:74 indicate this was more of a metaphorical statement on Alma's part?
  • Alma 30:44: All things denote there is a God. Is Alma saying that words will fail as irrefutable evidence of God's existence but that objects have a fixed meaning that signify God is alive? If the word "denote" means "to signify directly or literally," would it have been more accurate for Alma to have said simply that "all things signify there is a God," so that we would not be left wondering how the signifying is supposedly literal? Or did Alma choose not to water down his claim and use the word "connote," which is defined as "to signify indirectly, suggest or imply," because he sincerely believes that every object in the universe is a testament of its Creator?
  • Alma 30:44: Motion and Planets. How much knowledge did the Nephites have of other major objects in our galaxy and throughout the universe? Was the single mention of planets in the Old Testament 2 Kgs 23:5 sufficient to make them aware of extraterrestrial bodies? Or did they have astronomers, remnants of whose work can still be seen in Mesoamerica, who detected these heavenly bodies by careful study of the stars? Along with Hel 12:15, does this verse provide evidence that Nephite cosomology anticipated some of the findings of Copernicus' heliocentrism?
  • Alma 30:46: Resist the spirit of the truth. What does this mean? How does resisting the spirit of the truth relate to having a hard heart? How is it connected to seeking a sign? What is being resisted, and how? Is it a feeling Korihor is having, a feeling that what Alma says is factually correct? Is there a spirit that accompanies any declaration of truth (and what is truth) that one feels or detects in some way, and Korihor is pushing it away? What is happening here?
  • Alma 30:51: Why did the chief judge "write" to Korihor? Was Korihor struck deaf as well as dumb (v. 50)?
  • Alma 30:53: How is it possible for "the devil" to appear "in the form of an angel"? Was this devil Satan or some other evil spirit?
  • Alma 30:53: Why would Korihor believe an angel that said there was no God?
  • Alma 30:53: What is meant here by "an unknown God"?
  • Alma 30:53: How does this appearance of the devil as an angel compare with the appearance of an angel to Alma? What can we learn from this parallelism?
  • Alma 30:53: Korihor stated that the words of the devil "were pleasing unto the carnal mind". What does this teach us about how the devil works?
  • Alma 30:53: Korihor states that he "verily believed that [the words of the devil] were true" because he had "much success" teaching them. How does this compare with what Alma teaches about knowing that the word of God is true?
  • Alma 30:59: What does it mean that Korihor was "run upon and trodden down...until he was dead?" Does this mean that he was trampled, as if by British soccer fans? Or is this a reference to something else? In Mesoamerica, imagery shows that war captives were frequently stepped on by their captors before being sacrificed to their gods. Is this verse reference to a similar practice of human sacrifice among the Zoramites?
  • Alma 30:60: Why are Korihor's actions referred to as a perversion of the ways of the Lord, rather than an apostasy or turning away from those ways?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 29                      Next page: Chapters 31-35

Alma 30:46-50

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapter 30
Previous page: Chapter 29                      Next page: Chapters 31-35


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Alma. The relationship of Chapter 30 to the rest of Alma is discussed at Alma.

Story. Chapter 30 consists of ___ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 30 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 30:7-10. Because these verses are the only place in the Book of Mormon where a specific legal rule is derived from a particular scriptural text they are an interesting place to gain insight into Nephite legal reasoning. In this case, the scriptural text is Josh 24:15, and the legal rule is that "if he [i.e. a man] did not believe in him [i.e. God] there was no law to punish him." This rule is contrasted with the prohibitions on murder, robbery, and adultery, all of which could be punished. (Note: The fact that adultery was punished gives lie to those who have attempted to interpret this as a libertarian proof text.)
Joshua 24 is sometimes referred to as the Shechem Covenant. It recounts how at the end of his life, Joshua gathered the Children of Israel at Shechem and rehearsed to them the history of God's dealing with them, how he brought them to the Promised Land and gave it to them. In Josh 24:15 (the verse relied on by the Nephite jurists), Joshua then asks the Children of Israel whether or not they will serve God. They reply in the affirmative, and Joshua then draws up an elaborate contract -- complete with legal formalities -- to make their promise binding.
The Shechem passage is interesting because it is one of the few places in the Old Testament where the Children of Israel are offered a choice of whether or not they will serve Yahweh rather than other gods. Elsewhere, the Children of Israel are chosen by God rather than vice versa. Hence, the passage is perhaps uniquely suited for providing a voluntarist justification for religious practice.
What is also interesting is that the Shechem passage contains explicitly legal materials, namely the covenant by Israel to follow God. Because of this, a more natural legal reading of the passage would be to construe the terms of this covenant as being binding upon all Israelites including, presumably, the Nephites. In that case, it would make sense to carefully analyze the terms of this contract to understand the resulting Nephite obligations. Instead however, the Nephites define their legal rule in reference to the Joshua passage as if they are themselves within the story having the same choice the Israelites there had.
  • Alma 30:10. This verse seems to be making a distinction between "stealing" and "robbery." Some have argued that this tracks a distinction in ancient Hebrew law between merely taking the property of someone else ("stealing") and attacking them on the highway and extracting property by threats of violence ("robbery").
  • Alma 30:41-42. We see over and over in the Book of Mormon that signs do not convert. Take Laman and Lemuel for instance. Over and over they experienced physical signs (i.e. visitations from angels, hearing the voice of the Lord, etc), however, they never became truly converted, and in the end they fell away from the truth.
In verses 41-42 Alma states that he knows these things are true, and that he knows that Korihor also knows the truth. One can picture Alma looking Korihor in the eye, feeling the Spirit witness the truth of what Alma has been teaching, and knowing that Korihor is also feeling the Spirit. Then in verse 44 Alma says 'Thou hast had signs enough...', listing all the various physical evidences, and in verse 46 he says '..that ye will still resist the spirit of the truth...' refering to the witness of the Spirit that Korihor is denying.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 30:2: Why didn't the Nephites number their dead?
  • Alma 30:2: Why was fasting and prayer necessary to the establishment of peace?
  • Alma 30:3: What ordinances of God are referred to here as being "according to the law of Moses"?
  • Alma 30:3: How does the Nephite understanding of the Law of Moses differ from that which you find in the Old Testament?
  • Alma 30:3: How does the Nephite understanding of the Law of Moses affect our understanding of doctrines in the church today that appear to be temporary?
  • Alma 30:6: Apparently Korihor is not from the land of Zarahemla, as here he is described as coming "into the land". Where did Korihor come from?
  • Alma 30:6: Anti. What is the exact meaning of the term "Anti"? We also see this term used in describing the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's who later became the people of Ammon.
  • Alma 30:27-28: Alma states in verse 32 that Korihor is wrong and knows he's wrong about church officials glutting themselves with the labors of the people. Why would Korihor make such a claim? Are similar arguments used to today to criticize religious teachings? If so, by whom?
  • Alma 30:44: Signs enough. If the prophets taught that "many signs" (Hel 14:6) would precede the Savior's birth, then how does this verse help us determine what is the appropriate or adequate number of signs for the Lord's people?
  • Alma 30:44: Tempt. What does Alma mean by using the word "tempt" here? Where else in LDS scripture is this term used, and what are the connotations? How does this word differ from the related (at least in Hebrew) words prove and try? How are these words used in similarly and differently in LDS scripture, and the Book of Mormon in particular? (Cf. lexical note for James 1:13.)
  • Alma 30:44: Your God. Did the use of this phrase by speakers in the scriptures always carry with it the presumption that there was only one God? Or does 2 Chr 32:14-15 offer an example of how this phrase could be used to refer to someone else's God? Why does this verse not follow the nearly consistent pattern in the Old Testament of referring to Jehovah as "the Lord your God"? How did Alma decide whether it was more appropriate to speak of "our God" or of "your God"?
  • Alma 30:44: Show me a sign. Was Alma unnecessarily repeating the request that Korihor had already made in the previous verse? Why did Alma use the future tense, since presumably it signaled that Korihor had not yet made the request? Or was Alma trying to say that Korihor did not need to make his request, because the answer was already before him?
  • Alma 30:44: Have the testimony. Was Alma echoing the language of John in Rev 12:17 and Rev 19:10? If so, was he implying that, at some level, Korihor already had a testimony?
  • Alma 30:44: Brethren and Prophets. Does Alma 20:15 provide a precedent for equating these two social groups? Or was Alma actually making a distinction between the inspired words of these two different groups?
  • Alma 30:44: Scriptures are laid before thee. Does Alma 18:36 provide evidence that Mormon edited this account to suggest that Korihor had literally read the scriptures? Or does JS-H 1:74 indicate this was more of a metaphorical statement on Alma's part?
  • Alma 30:44: All things denote there is a God. Is Alma saying that words will fail as irrefutable evidence of God's existence but that objects have a fixed meaning that signify God is alive? If the word "denote" means "to signify directly or literally," would it have been more accurate for Alma to have said simply that "all things signify there is a God," so that we would not be left wondering how the signifying is supposedly literal? Or did Alma choose not to water down his claim and use the word "connote," which is defined as "to signify indirectly, suggest or imply," because he sincerely believes that every object in the universe is a testament of its Creator?
  • Alma 30:44: Motion and Planets. How much knowledge did the Nephites have of other major objects in our galaxy and throughout the universe? Was the single mention of planets in the Old Testament 2 Kgs 23:5 sufficient to make them aware of extraterrestrial bodies? Or did they have astronomers, remnants of whose work can still be seen in Mesoamerica, who detected these heavenly bodies by careful study of the stars? Along with Hel 12:15, does this verse provide evidence that Nephite cosomology anticipated some of the findings of Copernicus' heliocentrism?
  • Alma 30:46: Resist the spirit of the truth. What does this mean? How does resisting the spirit of the truth relate to having a hard heart? How is it connected to seeking a sign? What is being resisted, and how? Is it a feeling Korihor is having, a feeling that what Alma says is factually correct? Is there a spirit that accompanies any declaration of truth (and what is truth) that one feels or detects in some way, and Korihor is pushing it away? What is happening here?
  • Alma 30:51: Why did the chief judge "write" to Korihor? Was Korihor struck deaf as well as dumb (v. 50)?
  • Alma 30:53: How is it possible for "the devil" to appear "in the form of an angel"? Was this devil Satan or some other evil spirit?
  • Alma 30:53: Why would Korihor believe an angel that said there was no God?
  • Alma 30:53: What is meant here by "an unknown God"?
  • Alma 30:53: How does this appearance of the devil as an angel compare with the appearance of an angel to Alma? What can we learn from this parallelism?
  • Alma 30:53: Korihor stated that the words of the devil "were pleasing unto the carnal mind". What does this teach us about how the devil works?
  • Alma 30:53: Korihor states that he "verily believed that [the words of the devil] were true" because he had "much success" teaching them. How does this compare with what Alma teaches about knowing that the word of God is true?
  • Alma 30:59: What does it mean that Korihor was "run upon and trodden down...until he was dead?" Does this mean that he was trampled, as if by British soccer fans? Or is this a reference to something else? In Mesoamerica, imagery shows that war captives were frequently stepped on by their captors before being sacrificed to their gods. Is this verse reference to a similar practice of human sacrifice among the Zoramites?
  • Alma 30:60: Why are Korihor's actions referred to as a perversion of the ways of the Lord, rather than an apostasy or turning away from those ways?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 29                      Next page: Chapters 31-35

Alma 30:51-55

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapter 30
Previous page: Chapter 29                      Next page: Chapters 31-35


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Alma. The relationship of Chapter 30 to the rest of Alma is discussed at Alma.

Story. Chapter 30 consists of ___ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 30 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 30:7-10. Because these verses are the only place in the Book of Mormon where a specific legal rule is derived from a particular scriptural text they are an interesting place to gain insight into Nephite legal reasoning. In this case, the scriptural text is Josh 24:15, and the legal rule is that "if he [i.e. a man] did not believe in him [i.e. God] there was no law to punish him." This rule is contrasted with the prohibitions on murder, robbery, and adultery, all of which could be punished. (Note: The fact that adultery was punished gives lie to those who have attempted to interpret this as a libertarian proof text.)
Joshua 24 is sometimes referred to as the Shechem Covenant. It recounts how at the end of his life, Joshua gathered the Children of Israel at Shechem and rehearsed to them the history of God's dealing with them, how he brought them to the Promised Land and gave it to them. In Josh 24:15 (the verse relied on by the Nephite jurists), Joshua then asks the Children of Israel whether or not they will serve God. They reply in the affirmative, and Joshua then draws up an elaborate contract -- complete with legal formalities -- to make their promise binding.
The Shechem passage is interesting because it is one of the few places in the Old Testament where the Children of Israel are offered a choice of whether or not they will serve Yahweh rather than other gods. Elsewhere, the Children of Israel are chosen by God rather than vice versa. Hence, the passage is perhaps uniquely suited for providing a voluntarist justification for religious practice.
What is also interesting is that the Shechem passage contains explicitly legal materials, namely the covenant by Israel to follow God. Because of this, a more natural legal reading of the passage would be to construe the terms of this covenant as being binding upon all Israelites including, presumably, the Nephites. In that case, it would make sense to carefully analyze the terms of this contract to understand the resulting Nephite obligations. Instead however, the Nephites define their legal rule in reference to the Joshua passage as if they are themselves within the story having the same choice the Israelites there had.
  • Alma 30:10. This verse seems to be making a distinction between "stealing" and "robbery." Some have argued that this tracks a distinction in ancient Hebrew law between merely taking the property of someone else ("stealing") and attacking them on the highway and extracting property by threats of violence ("robbery").
  • Alma 30:41-42. We see over and over in the Book of Mormon that signs do not convert. Take Laman and Lemuel for instance. Over and over they experienced physical signs (i.e. visitations from angels, hearing the voice of the Lord, etc), however, they never became truly converted, and in the end they fell away from the truth.
In verses 41-42 Alma states that he knows these things are true, and that he knows that Korihor also knows the truth. One can picture Alma looking Korihor in the eye, feeling the Spirit witness the truth of what Alma has been teaching, and knowing that Korihor is also feeling the Spirit. Then in verse 44 Alma says 'Thou hast had signs enough...', listing all the various physical evidences, and in verse 46 he says '..that ye will still resist the spirit of the truth...' refering to the witness of the Spirit that Korihor is denying.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 30:2: Why didn't the Nephites number their dead?
  • Alma 30:2: Why was fasting and prayer necessary to the establishment of peace?
  • Alma 30:3: What ordinances of God are referred to here as being "according to the law of Moses"?
  • Alma 30:3: How does the Nephite understanding of the Law of Moses differ from that which you find in the Old Testament?
  • Alma 30:3: How does the Nephite understanding of the Law of Moses affect our understanding of doctrines in the church today that appear to be temporary?
  • Alma 30:6: Apparently Korihor is not from the land of Zarahemla, as here he is described as coming "into the land". Where did Korihor come from?
  • Alma 30:6: Anti. What is the exact meaning of the term "Anti"? We also see this term used in describing the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's who later became the people of Ammon.
  • Alma 30:27-28: Alma states in verse 32 that Korihor is wrong and knows he's wrong about church officials glutting themselves with the labors of the people. Why would Korihor make such a claim? Are similar arguments used to today to criticize religious teachings? If so, by whom?
  • Alma 30:44: Signs enough. If the prophets taught that "many signs" (Hel 14:6) would precede the Savior's birth, then how does this verse help us determine what is the appropriate or adequate number of signs for the Lord's people?
  • Alma 30:44: Tempt. What does Alma mean by using the word "tempt" here? Where else in LDS scripture is this term used, and what are the connotations? How does this word differ from the related (at least in Hebrew) words prove and try? How are these words used in similarly and differently in LDS scripture, and the Book of Mormon in particular? (Cf. lexical note for James 1:13.)
  • Alma 30:44: Your God. Did the use of this phrase by speakers in the scriptures always carry with it the presumption that there was only one God? Or does 2 Chr 32:14-15 offer an example of how this phrase could be used to refer to someone else's God? Why does this verse not follow the nearly consistent pattern in the Old Testament of referring to Jehovah as "the Lord your God"? How did Alma decide whether it was more appropriate to speak of "our God" or of "your God"?
  • Alma 30:44: Show me a sign. Was Alma unnecessarily repeating the request that Korihor had already made in the previous verse? Why did Alma use the future tense, since presumably it signaled that Korihor had not yet made the request? Or was Alma trying to say that Korihor did not need to make his request, because the answer was already before him?
  • Alma 30:44: Have the testimony. Was Alma echoing the language of John in Rev 12:17 and Rev 19:10? If so, was he implying that, at some level, Korihor already had a testimony?
  • Alma 30:44: Brethren and Prophets. Does Alma 20:15 provide a precedent for equating these two social groups? Or was Alma actually making a distinction between the inspired words of these two different groups?
  • Alma 30:44: Scriptures are laid before thee. Does Alma 18:36 provide evidence that Mormon edited this account to suggest that Korihor had literally read the scriptures? Or does JS-H 1:74 indicate this was more of a metaphorical statement on Alma's part?
  • Alma 30:44: All things denote there is a God. Is Alma saying that words will fail as irrefutable evidence of God's existence but that objects have a fixed meaning that signify God is alive? If the word "denote" means "to signify directly or literally," would it have been more accurate for Alma to have said simply that "all things signify there is a God," so that we would not be left wondering how the signifying is supposedly literal? Or did Alma choose not to water down his claim and use the word "connote," which is defined as "to signify indirectly, suggest or imply," because he sincerely believes that every object in the universe is a testament of its Creator?
  • Alma 30:44: Motion and Planets. How much knowledge did the Nephites have of other major objects in our galaxy and throughout the universe? Was the single mention of planets in the Old Testament 2 Kgs 23:5 sufficient to make them aware of extraterrestrial bodies? Or did they have astronomers, remnants of whose work can still be seen in Mesoamerica, who detected these heavenly bodies by careful study of the stars? Along with Hel 12:15, does this verse provide evidence that Nephite cosomology anticipated some of the findings of Copernicus' heliocentrism?
  • Alma 30:46: Resist the spirit of the truth. What does this mean? How does resisting the spirit of the truth relate to having a hard heart? How is it connected to seeking a sign? What is being resisted, and how? Is it a feeling Korihor is having, a feeling that what Alma says is factually correct? Is there a spirit that accompanies any declaration of truth (and what is truth) that one feels or detects in some way, and Korihor is pushing it away? What is happening here?
  • Alma 30:51: Why did the chief judge "write" to Korihor? Was Korihor struck deaf as well as dumb (v. 50)?
  • Alma 30:53: How is it possible for "the devil" to appear "in the form of an angel"? Was this devil Satan or some other evil spirit?
  • Alma 30:53: Why would Korihor believe an angel that said there was no God?
  • Alma 30:53: What is meant here by "an unknown God"?
  • Alma 30:53: How does this appearance of the devil as an angel compare with the appearance of an angel to Alma? What can we learn from this parallelism?
  • Alma 30:53: Korihor stated that the words of the devil "were pleasing unto the carnal mind". What does this teach us about how the devil works?
  • Alma 30:53: Korihor states that he "verily believed that [the words of the devil] were true" because he had "much success" teaching them. How does this compare with what Alma teaches about knowing that the word of God is true?
  • Alma 30:59: What does it mean that Korihor was "run upon and trodden down...until he was dead?" Does this mean that he was trampled, as if by British soccer fans? Or is this a reference to something else? In Mesoamerica, imagery shows that war captives were frequently stepped on by their captors before being sacrificed to their gods. Is this verse reference to a similar practice of human sacrifice among the Zoramites?
  • Alma 30:60: Why are Korihor's actions referred to as a perversion of the ways of the Lord, rather than an apostasy or turning away from those ways?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 29                      Next page: Chapters 31-35

Alma 30:56-60

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapter 30
Previous page: Chapter 29                      Next page: Chapters 31-35


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Alma. The relationship of Chapter 30 to the rest of Alma is discussed at Alma.

Story. Chapter 30 consists of ___ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 30 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 30:7-10. Because these verses are the only place in the Book of Mormon where a specific legal rule is derived from a particular scriptural text they are an interesting place to gain insight into Nephite legal reasoning. In this case, the scriptural text is Josh 24:15, and the legal rule is that "if he [i.e. a man] did not believe in him [i.e. God] there was no law to punish him." This rule is contrasted with the prohibitions on murder, robbery, and adultery, all of which could be punished. (Note: The fact that adultery was punished gives lie to those who have attempted to interpret this as a libertarian proof text.)
Joshua 24 is sometimes referred to as the Shechem Covenant. It recounts how at the end of his life, Joshua gathered the Children of Israel at Shechem and rehearsed to them the history of God's dealing with them, how he brought them to the Promised Land and gave it to them. In Josh 24:15 (the verse relied on by the Nephite jurists), Joshua then asks the Children of Israel whether or not they will serve God. They reply in the affirmative, and Joshua then draws up an elaborate contract -- complete with legal formalities -- to make their promise binding.
The Shechem passage is interesting because it is one of the few places in the Old Testament where the Children of Israel are offered a choice of whether or not they will serve Yahweh rather than other gods. Elsewhere, the Children of Israel are chosen by God rather than vice versa. Hence, the passage is perhaps uniquely suited for providing a voluntarist justification for religious practice.
What is also interesting is that the Shechem passage contains explicitly legal materials, namely the covenant by Israel to follow God. Because of this, a more natural legal reading of the passage would be to construe the terms of this covenant as being binding upon all Israelites including, presumably, the Nephites. In that case, it would make sense to carefully analyze the terms of this contract to understand the resulting Nephite obligations. Instead however, the Nephites define their legal rule in reference to the Joshua passage as if they are themselves within the story having the same choice the Israelites there had.
  • Alma 30:10. This verse seems to be making a distinction between "stealing" and "robbery." Some have argued that this tracks a distinction in ancient Hebrew law between merely taking the property of someone else ("stealing") and attacking them on the highway and extracting property by threats of violence ("robbery").
  • Alma 30:41-42. We see over and over in the Book of Mormon that signs do not convert. Take Laman and Lemuel for instance. Over and over they experienced physical signs (i.e. visitations from angels, hearing the voice of the Lord, etc), however, they never became truly converted, and in the end they fell away from the truth.
In verses 41-42 Alma states that he knows these things are true, and that he knows that Korihor also knows the truth. One can picture Alma looking Korihor in the eye, feeling the Spirit witness the truth of what Alma has been teaching, and knowing that Korihor is also feeling the Spirit. Then in verse 44 Alma says 'Thou hast had signs enough...', listing all the various physical evidences, and in verse 46 he says '..that ye will still resist the spirit of the truth...' refering to the witness of the Spirit that Korihor is denying.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 30:2: Why didn't the Nephites number their dead?
  • Alma 30:2: Why was fasting and prayer necessary to the establishment of peace?
  • Alma 30:3: What ordinances of God are referred to here as being "according to the law of Moses"?
  • Alma 30:3: How does the Nephite understanding of the Law of Moses differ from that which you find in the Old Testament?
  • Alma 30:3: How does the Nephite understanding of the Law of Moses affect our understanding of doctrines in the church today that appear to be temporary?
  • Alma 30:6: Apparently Korihor is not from the land of Zarahemla, as here he is described as coming "into the land". Where did Korihor come from?
  • Alma 30:6: Anti. What is the exact meaning of the term "Anti"? We also see this term used in describing the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's who later became the people of Ammon.
  • Alma 30:27-28: Alma states in verse 32 that Korihor is wrong and knows he's wrong about church officials glutting themselves with the labors of the people. Why would Korihor make such a claim? Are similar arguments used to today to criticize religious teachings? If so, by whom?
  • Alma 30:44: Signs enough. If the prophets taught that "many signs" (Hel 14:6) would precede the Savior's birth, then how does this verse help us determine what is the appropriate or adequate number of signs for the Lord's people?
  • Alma 30:44: Tempt. What does Alma mean by using the word "tempt" here? Where else in LDS scripture is this term used, and what are the connotations? How does this word differ from the related (at least in Hebrew) words prove and try? How are these words used in similarly and differently in LDS scripture, and the Book of Mormon in particular? (Cf. lexical note for James 1:13.)
  • Alma 30:44: Your God. Did the use of this phrase by speakers in the scriptures always carry with it the presumption that there was only one God? Or does 2 Chr 32:14-15 offer an example of how this phrase could be used to refer to someone else's God? Why does this verse not follow the nearly consistent pattern in the Old Testament of referring to Jehovah as "the Lord your God"? How did Alma decide whether it was more appropriate to speak of "our God" or of "your God"?
  • Alma 30:44: Show me a sign. Was Alma unnecessarily repeating the request that Korihor had already made in the previous verse? Why did Alma use the future tense, since presumably it signaled that Korihor had not yet made the request? Or was Alma trying to say that Korihor did not need to make his request, because the answer was already before him?
  • Alma 30:44: Have the testimony. Was Alma echoing the language of John in Rev 12:17 and Rev 19:10? If so, was he implying that, at some level, Korihor already had a testimony?
  • Alma 30:44: Brethren and Prophets. Does Alma 20:15 provide a precedent for equating these two social groups? Or was Alma actually making a distinction between the inspired words of these two different groups?
  • Alma 30:44: Scriptures are laid before thee. Does Alma 18:36 provide evidence that Mormon edited this account to suggest that Korihor had literally read the scriptures? Or does JS-H 1:74 indicate this was more of a metaphorical statement on Alma's part?
  • Alma 30:44: All things denote there is a God. Is Alma saying that words will fail as irrefutable evidence of God's existence but that objects have a fixed meaning that signify God is alive? If the word "denote" means "to signify directly or literally," would it have been more accurate for Alma to have said simply that "all things signify there is a God," so that we would not be left wondering how the signifying is supposedly literal? Or did Alma choose not to water down his claim and use the word "connote," which is defined as "to signify indirectly, suggest or imply," because he sincerely believes that every object in the universe is a testament of its Creator?
  • Alma 30:44: Motion and Planets. How much knowledge did the Nephites have of other major objects in our galaxy and throughout the universe? Was the single mention of planets in the Old Testament 2 Kgs 23:5 sufficient to make them aware of extraterrestrial bodies? Or did they have astronomers, remnants of whose work can still be seen in Mesoamerica, who detected these heavenly bodies by careful study of the stars? Along with Hel 12:15, does this verse provide evidence that Nephite cosomology anticipated some of the findings of Copernicus' heliocentrism?
  • Alma 30:46: Resist the spirit of the truth. What does this mean? How does resisting the spirit of the truth relate to having a hard heart? How is it connected to seeking a sign? What is being resisted, and how? Is it a feeling Korihor is having, a feeling that what Alma says is factually correct? Is there a spirit that accompanies any declaration of truth (and what is truth) that one feels or detects in some way, and Korihor is pushing it away? What is happening here?
  • Alma 30:51: Why did the chief judge "write" to Korihor? Was Korihor struck deaf as well as dumb (v. 50)?
  • Alma 30:53: How is it possible for "the devil" to appear "in the form of an angel"? Was this devil Satan or some other evil spirit?
  • Alma 30:53: Why would Korihor believe an angel that said there was no God?
  • Alma 30:53: What is meant here by "an unknown God"?
  • Alma 30:53: How does this appearance of the devil as an angel compare with the appearance of an angel to Alma? What can we learn from this parallelism?
  • Alma 30:53: Korihor stated that the words of the devil "were pleasing unto the carnal mind". What does this teach us about how the devil works?
  • Alma 30:53: Korihor states that he "verily believed that [the words of the devil] were true" because he had "much success" teaching them. How does this compare with what Alma teaches about knowing that the word of God is true?
  • Alma 30:59: What does it mean that Korihor was "run upon and trodden down...until he was dead?" Does this mean that he was trampled, as if by British soccer fans? Or is this a reference to something else? In Mesoamerica, imagery shows that war captives were frequently stepped on by their captors before being sacrificed to their gods. Is this verse reference to a similar practice of human sacrifice among the Zoramites?
  • Alma 30:60: Why are Korihor's actions referred to as a perversion of the ways of the Lord, rather than an apostasy or turning away from those ways?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 29                      Next page: Chapters 31-35


Alma 31-35

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 31-35

Subpages: Chapter 31 Chapter 32 Chapter 33 Chapters 34-35

Previous page: Chapter 30                      Next page: Chapter 31


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Alma. The relationship of Chapters 31-35 to the rest of Alma is discussed at Alma.

Story. Chapters 31-35 consists of ___ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapters 31-35 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 30                      Next page: Chapter 31


Alma 31:1-5

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 31-35 > Chapter 31
Previous page: Chapters 31-35                      Next page: Chapter 32


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 31-35. The relationship of Chapter 31 to the rest of Chapters 31-35 is discussed at Chapters 31-35.

Story. Chapter 31 consists of ___ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 31 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 31:4. The correspondence with the Lamanites which Alma and his brethren feared might come to pass, eventually did Alma 35:10; Alma 43:4, but the work they did influenced many Zoramites to the point that Zoram cast them out of his land to dwell with the Nephites in Jershon, see Alma 35:6.
  • Alma 31:16: Elected. Interestingly, this is the only passage in the Book of Mormon that uses any form of the word elect. The word chosen is used many times in the Book of Mormon in a way that seems very similar to the meaning of the word elected (cf. bachiyr in Hebrew and eklectos in Greek). The reason this word is used here, and only here in the Book of Mormon, might be related to the theological connotations the word had to Joseph Smith's ears at the time of translation when, for example, a Pauline doctrine of election might have been heavily discussed, though more research on this would have to be done to give this idea anything more than a purely speculative basis.
  • Alma 31:17: The same yesterday, today, and forever. It seems this is a true teaching that the Zoramites were familiar with (cf. 1 Ne 10:18; 2 Ne 2:4; 2 Ne 27:23), but had perhaps twisted to mean that, strictly and technically speaking, if God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then he would remain without a physical, bodily presence in this world. So this phrase seems to more closely link the idea in verse 15 that God is a spirit, and "wilt be forever," to their conclusion that there would be no Christ. However, this seems a bit inconsistent with the idea that God elected the Zoramites: if God is literally and technically taken to be the same yesterday, today, and forever, how can God elect a people who were split off from the Nephites? Is this election of a new people a new action on the part of God?

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 31:1: Why are we told that the Zoramites were "perverting" the ways of the Lord? In the last verse of chapter 30, we are told that Korihor had perverted the ways of the Lord. What connections are there between Korihor and the Zoramites? How were their perversions similar? How were they different?
  • Alma 31:1: Who is this Zoram that is the leader of the Zoramites? Is it the same military leader Zoram that we read about in Alma 16? If so, is there a connection between his military success and the pride of his followers?
  • Alma 31:1: Idols. Idols are mentioned here, but are not mentioned again in relation to the Zoramites. Why not? What is the point in mentioning the idols here?
  • Alma 31:1: What does it mean to "bow down" to idols?
  • Alma 31:1: Why are the idols referred to as "dumb"? Is there a connection between the "dumb" idols and Korihor who was stricken dumb?
  • Alma 31:2: Separation: cause or result? Was the Zoramites' separation a cause of their subsequent pride and apostacy, the result, or both? Why is Alma sorrowful about this separation? (Cf. the word dissenters in verse 8.)
  • Alma 31:3: What is the land Antionum? Is this land named after an original settler, as was mentioned previously as traditional Nephite practice? Or does the name have some other significance?
  • Alma 31:3: What is the significance of the geographical location of the Zoramites? What is important about their position between Lamanite lands and the Lamanite converts in the land of Jershon?
  • Alma 31:4: Double standard on correspondence/separation? Here the Nephites "feared that the Zoramites would enter into correspondence with the Lamanites." Why would this be a bad thing? In chapter 31 we read about the Zoramite rich separating themselves from the poor. It seems that implicitly the Nephites are doing the right thing in remaining separate from the Lamanites but the Zoramite rich are doing the wrong thing by separating themselves from the Zoramite poor. When is separation a good thing and when is it a bad thing?
  • Alma 31:5: The sword. What does the reference here to "the sword" mean here? Is it related to the "correspondence with the Lamanites" referred to in verse 4? How? What effect can the sword have "upon the minds of the people"? Are there episodes in Nephite history that illustrate this?
  • Alma 31:5: If these Zoramites are followers of the military hero Zoram mentioned in Alma 16, what would that say about how they might perceive the sword? Could the sword have had a tendency to lead them away from that which was just, as opposed to the word, which leads to righteousness? Is this whole episode with the Zoramites a warning of a potential pitfall of pride that comes from military success--of taking that success as a sign of chosen-ness?
  • Alma 31:6: Here we have the formation of a missionary "dream team" to go to the Zoramites. Is there any significance to the number (eight) of missionaries selected? Why do we never hear about the missionary work of Omner? Why was Himni left in Zarahemla? Why do we never hear any more about him? Why pull in the former Ammonihah residents Amulek and Zeezrom from the land of Melek?
  • Alma 31:7: Helaman later becomes the leader of the Church. Why didn't Alma take him on this big mission to the Zoramites?
  • Alma 31:7: What significance does the name Helaman have? Any connection to the Helaman who was the son of King Benjamin and uncle to the sons of Mosiah? Does this indicate that Alma may have married a daughter of that Helaman?
  • Alma 31:8: Therefore. If the Zoramites had not been dissenters, would the word of God not need to be preached? Is the focus here on the need that dissenters have for preaching or for the word of God?
  • Alma 31:9: But. The use of the contrasting word but seems a bit curious here since the previous verse has just described the Nephites as "dissenters," which seems a parallel idea to falling into error, not a contrasting idea. So it seems that the contrast is with the phrase in verse 8 "they had the word of God preached unto them." If this is correct, then the but here seems to underscore a separation between these two clauses in verse 8. Does this imply that the errors being described here occurred after the word of God was preached unto them? If not, what is going on here?
  • Alma 31:9: Observe to keep. In today's parlance, we typically talk of "observing the commandments" or "keeping the commandments," so this phrase incorporating both terms seems somewhat odd. What is the meaning and significance of this phrase?
  • Alma 31:9: Why might the Zoramites reject the law of Moses?
  • Alma 31:10: Why might the Zoramites reject the practice of daily prayer?
  • Alma 31:10: What is the importance of daily prayer? How can daily prayer help avoid temptation?
  • Alma 31:10: What does it mean to "enter into" temptation?
  • Alma 31:11: What does it mean to "pervert the ways of the Lord"? What is meant by "the ways of the Lord"? Does that just mean the teachings of how we are to relate to God? The gospel? Or something else?
  • Alma 31:12: What exactly did Alma and the others find so astonishing? The synagogues? Their prayers? The towers?
  • Alma 31:12: There seem to be more than one synagogue indicated here. How big was the land? How many Zoramites were there? Who exactly were these people who had followed Zoram?
  • Alma 31:12: What is meant here by synagogue? Why would that word be used in our English translation of the Book of Alma?
  • Alma 31:13: What is the nature of this prayer stand? Why would it be elevated "high above the head"? Why only room for one person on the top of the stand?
  • Alma 31:13: What did this synagogue look like, with a stand in the center? Where were the other worshipers during the prayers. Were they surrounding the stand in the middle? How did this work?
  • Alma 31:13: Did these synagogues have a ceiling? If so, how high was the ceiling? How big were these synagogues? Where did the labor and materials come from to build such apparently large buildings with tall ceilings?
  • Alma 31:14: Is there something wrong with raising the hands to heaven and addressing God in a loud voice?
  • Alma 31:15: Unlike Korihor, the Zoramites believe in God. What do they mean when they say they believe that God is holy?
  • Alma 31:15: What is the significance of the Zoramites believing God to be a spirit, and that he will "be a spirit forever"? Why would they emphasize this?
  • Alma 31:16: Why would the Zoramites believe that God had separated them from their "brethren"? Who do they mean by brethren--the other Nephites?
  • Alma 31:16: What do they mean by being separated? Geographically? Theologically?
  • Alma 31:16: What do the Zoramites mean when they claim that the tradition of their brethren "was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers"? Why the term "childishness"?
  • Alma 31:16: What do the Zoramites mean by their doctrine of election? What do they mean by "holy children" of God? Where did this doctrine come from? Is this a misreading of King Benjamin's sermon?
  • Alma 31:16: How could these people believe that God had manifested unto them that there should be no Christ?
  • Alma 31:17: Why would the Zoramites use a doctrine of unchangeableness to discount a doctrine of a Christ?
  • Alma 31:17: Where would the Zoramites get a doctrine of election to damnation in hell?
  • Alma 31:17: Why would the Zoramites consider belief in Christ to "bind them down" or to lead their hearts away from God?
  • Alma 31:18: Why don't the Zoramite prayers include any pleas, but only offerings of thanks? Is this a manifestation of their pride, that they don't think they need God in their daily lives?
  • Alma 31:19: For Alma and the others to hear these prayers, they would presumably have to be in a Zoramite worship service in a synagogue. Why might they attend such a service before trying to teach the people?
  • Alma 31:19: Why would these prayers astonish the missionaries "beyond all measure"? What is so astonishing about them?
  • Alma 31:20: Was it merely the rote nature of these prayers that caused the missionaries such astonishment?
  • Alma 31:20: When we are told that "every man" did offer the same prayers, is this deliberately gender specific? Were only men allowed on the prayer stand?
  • Alma 31:21: Rameumptom. Why bother giving us the name of this prayer stand? Why is it called holy? Is this some twisted doctrine of standing in holy places?
  • Alma 31:22: Why would they consider their hearts "stolen away" by a doctrine of a future Christ?
  • Alma 31:22: Why would they deny the spirit of prophecy?
  • Alma 31:23-24: Why are we told that the Zoramites only spoke of God when gathered together to give thanks to him from their holy stand? Why is that important to know? What is there about this practice that might be considered "wicked" and "perverse"?
  • Alma 31:24: Why was Alma's heart grieved? What does it mean for him to grieve in his heart?
  • Alma 31:24: Here it seems like Alma is more upset with what he saw--the orientation of the hearts of the people--than with what he heard from their prayers. What is more wicked--their prayers or their focus on material goods?
  • Alma 31:25: What does it mean for a heart to be "lifted up unto great boasting"?
  • Alma 31:25: What is the connection between the pride, desire for riches, and prayers of the people?
  • Alma 31:26: Why are we told that Alma "lifted up his voice to heaven"? Does that just mean he prayed, or is this a specific type of prayer?
  • Alma 31:26: Why are the works of the Zoramites considered "gross wickedness"?
  • Alma 31:27: What does it mean to "cry" unto the Lord?
  • Alma 31:27: What is the problem with crying unto God while having pride or being "puffed up"?
  • Alma 31:27: What does it mean to be "puffed up, even to greatness"?
  • Alma 31:28: What is so wrong about wearing finery to call upon God?
  • Alma 31:28: What is the bigger problem--the "costly apparel" or the claim to being a "chosen people"? What is the connection between the two?
  • Alma 31:28: Where did this idea of being chosen, while others perish come from? Is this related to all of the destruction that happened in Alma 28? Were the Zoramites perhaps spared from destruction, while Nephites in other lands were slaughtered?
  • Alma 31:29: Why would the Zoramites claim revelation saying that there shall be no Christ?
  • Alma 31:30: What does Alma mean by "infidelity"?
  • Alma 31:30: Why should the Zoramites practices pain Alma's soul? Are they really all that different from various religious teachings we see in our modern day? Are we too accepting of religious differences?
  • Alma 31:35: Why are only "many of them ...our brethren" and not "all" of them?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapters 31-35                      Next page: Chapter 32

Alma 31:6-10

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 31-35 > Chapter 31
Previous page: Chapters 31-35                      Next page: Chapter 32


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 31-35. The relationship of Chapter 31 to the rest of Chapters 31-35 is discussed at Chapters 31-35.

Story. Chapter 31 consists of ___ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 31 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 31:4. The correspondence with the Lamanites which Alma and his brethren feared might come to pass, eventually did Alma 35:10; Alma 43:4, but the work they did influenced many Zoramites to the point that Zoram cast them out of his land to dwell with the Nephites in Jershon, see Alma 35:6.
  • Alma 31:16: Elected. Interestingly, this is the only passage in the Book of Mormon that uses any form of the word elect. The word chosen is used many times in the Book of Mormon in a way that seems very similar to the meaning of the word elected (cf. bachiyr in Hebrew and eklectos in Greek). The reason this word is used here, and only here in the Book of Mormon, might be related to the theological connotations the word had to Joseph Smith's ears at the time of translation when, for example, a Pauline doctrine of election might have been heavily discussed, though more research on this would have to be done to give this idea anything more than a purely speculative basis.
  • Alma 31:17: The same yesterday, today, and forever. It seems this is a true teaching that the Zoramites were familiar with (cf. 1 Ne 10:18; 2 Ne 2:4; 2 Ne 27:23), but had perhaps twisted to mean that, strictly and technically speaking, if God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then he would remain without a physical, bodily presence in this world. So this phrase seems to more closely link the idea in verse 15 that God is a spirit, and "wilt be forever," to their conclusion that there would be no Christ. However, this seems a bit inconsistent with the idea that God elected the Zoramites: if God is literally and technically taken to be the same yesterday, today, and forever, how can God elect a people who were split off from the Nephites? Is this election of a new people a new action on the part of God?

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 31:1: Why are we told that the Zoramites were "perverting" the ways of the Lord? In the last verse of chapter 30, we are told that Korihor had perverted the ways of the Lord. What connections are there between Korihor and the Zoramites? How were their perversions similar? How were they different?
  • Alma 31:1: Who is this Zoram that is the leader of the Zoramites? Is it the same military leader Zoram that we read about in Alma 16? If so, is there a connection between his military success and the pride of his followers?
  • Alma 31:1: Idols. Idols are mentioned here, but are not mentioned again in relation to the Zoramites. Why not? What is the point in mentioning the idols here?
  • Alma 31:1: What does it mean to "bow down" to idols?
  • Alma 31:1: Why are the idols referred to as "dumb"? Is there a connection between the "dumb" idols and Korihor who was stricken dumb?
  • Alma 31:2: Separation: cause or result? Was the Zoramites' separation a cause of their subsequent pride and apostacy, the result, or both? Why is Alma sorrowful about this separation? (Cf. the word dissenters in verse 8.)
  • Alma 31:3: What is the land Antionum? Is this land named after an original settler, as was mentioned previously as traditional Nephite practice? Or does the name have some other significance?
  • Alma 31:3: What is the significance of the geographical location of the Zoramites? What is important about their position between Lamanite lands and the Lamanite converts in the land of Jershon?
  • Alma 31:4: Double standard on correspondence/separation? Here the Nephites "feared that the Zoramites would enter into correspondence with the Lamanites." Why would this be a bad thing? In chapter 31 we read about the Zoramite rich separating themselves from the poor. It seems that implicitly the Nephites are doing the right thing in remaining separate from the Lamanites but the Zoramite rich are doing the wrong thing by separating themselves from the Zoramite poor. When is separation a good thing and when is it a bad thing?
  • Alma 31:5: The sword. What does the reference here to "the sword" mean here? Is it related to the "correspondence with the Lamanites" referred to in verse 4? How? What effect can the sword have "upon the minds of the people"? Are there episodes in Nephite history that illustrate this?
  • Alma 31:5: If these Zoramites are followers of the military hero Zoram mentioned in Alma 16, what would that say about how they might perceive the sword? Could the sword have had a tendency to lead them away from that which was just, as opposed to the word, which leads to righteousness? Is this whole episode with the Zoramites a warning of a potential pitfall of pride that comes from military success--of taking that success as a sign of chosen-ness?
  • Alma 31:6: Here we have the formation of a missionary "dream team" to go to the Zoramites. Is there any significance to the number (eight) of missionaries selected? Why do we never hear about the missionary work of Omner? Why was Himni left in Zarahemla? Why do we never hear any more about him? Why pull in the former Ammonihah residents Amulek and Zeezrom from the land of Melek?
  • Alma 31:7: Helaman later becomes the leader of the Church. Why didn't Alma take him on this big mission to the Zoramites?
  • Alma 31:7: What significance does the name Helaman have? Any connection to the Helaman who was the son of King Benjamin and uncle to the sons of Mosiah? Does this indicate that Alma may have married a daughter of that Helaman?
  • Alma 31:8: Therefore. If the Zoramites had not been dissenters, would the word of God not need to be preached? Is the focus here on the need that dissenters have for preaching or for the word of God?
  • Alma 31:9: But. The use of the contrasting word but seems a bit curious here since the previous verse has just described the Nephites as "dissenters," which seems a parallel idea to falling into error, not a contrasting idea. So it seems that the contrast is with the phrase in verse 8 "they had the word of God preached unto them." If this is correct, then the but here seems to underscore a separation between these two clauses in verse 8. Does this imply that the errors being described here occurred after the word of God was preached unto them? If not, what is going on here?
  • Alma 31:9: Observe to keep. In today's parlance, we typically talk of "observing the commandments" or "keeping the commandments," so this phrase incorporating both terms seems somewhat odd. What is the meaning and significance of this phrase?
  • Alma 31:9: Why might the Zoramites reject the law of Moses?
  • Alma 31:10: Why might the Zoramites reject the practice of daily prayer?
  • Alma 31:10: What is the importance of daily prayer? How can daily prayer help avoid temptation?
  • Alma 31:10: What does it mean to "enter into" temptation?
  • Alma 31:11: What does it mean to "pervert the ways of the Lord"? What is meant by "the ways of the Lord"? Does that just mean the teachings of how we are to relate to God? The gospel? Or something else?
  • Alma 31:12: What exactly did Alma and the others find so astonishing? The synagogues? Their prayers? The towers?
  • Alma 31:12: There seem to be more than one synagogue indicated here. How big was the land? How many Zoramites were there? Who exactly were these people who had followed Zoram?
  • Alma 31:12: What is meant here by synagogue? Why would that word be used in our English translation of the Book of Alma?
  • Alma 31:13: What is the nature of this prayer stand? Why would it be elevated "high above the head"? Why only room for one person on the top of the stand?
  • Alma 31:13: What did this synagogue look like, with a stand in the center? Where were the other worshipers during the prayers. Were they surrounding the stand in the middle? How did this work?
  • Alma 31:13: Did these synagogues have a ceiling? If so, how high was the ceiling? How big were these synagogues? Where did the labor and materials come from to build such apparently large buildings with tall ceilings?
  • Alma 31:14: Is there something wrong with raising the hands to heaven and addressing God in a loud voice?
  • Alma 31:15: Unlike Korihor, the Zoramites believe in God. What do they mean when they say they believe that God is holy?
  • Alma 31:15: What is the significance of the Zoramites believing God to be a spirit, and that he will "be a spirit forever"? Why would they emphasize this?
  • Alma 31:16: Why would the Zoramites believe that God had separated them from their "brethren"? Who do they mean by brethren--the other Nephites?
  • Alma 31:16: What do they mean by being separated? Geographically? Theologically?
  • Alma 31:16: What do the Zoramites mean when they claim that the tradition of their brethren "was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers"? Why the term "childishness"?
  • Alma 31:16: What do the Zoramites mean by their doctrine of election? What do they mean by "holy children" of God? Where did this doctrine come from? Is this a misreading of King Benjamin's sermon?
  • Alma 31:16: How could these people believe that God had manifested unto them that there should be no Christ?
  • Alma 31:17: Why would the Zoramites use a doctrine of unchangeableness to discount a doctrine of a Christ?
  • Alma 31:17: Where would the Zoramites get a doctrine of election to damnation in hell?
  • Alma 31:17: Why would the Zoramites consider belief in Christ to "bind them down" or to lead their hearts away from God?
  • Alma 31:18: Why don't the Zoramite prayers include any pleas, but only offerings of thanks? Is this a manifestation of their pride, that they don't think they need God in their daily lives?
  • Alma 31:19: For Alma and the others to hear these prayers, they would presumably have to be in a Zoramite worship service in a synagogue. Why might they attend such a service before trying to teach the people?
  • Alma 31:19: Why would these prayers astonish the missionaries "beyond all measure"? What is so astonishing about them?
  • Alma 31:20: Was it merely the rote nature of these prayers that caused the missionaries such astonishment?
  • Alma 31:20: When we are told that "every man" did offer the same prayers, is this deliberately gender specific? Were only men allowed on the prayer stand?
  • Alma 31:21: Rameumptom. Why bother giving us the name of this prayer stand? Why is it called holy? Is this some twisted doctrine of standing in holy places?
  • Alma 31:22: Why would they consider their hearts "stolen away" by a doctrine of a future Christ?
  • Alma 31:22: Why would they deny the spirit of prophecy?
  • Alma 31:23-24: Why are we told that the Zoramites only spoke of God when gathered together to give thanks to him from their holy stand? Why is that important to know? What is there about this practice that might be considered "wicked" and "perverse"?
  • Alma 31:24: Why was Alma's heart grieved? What does it mean for him to grieve in his heart?
  • Alma 31:24: Here it seems like Alma is more upset with what he saw--the orientation of the hearts of the people--than with what he heard from their prayers. What is more wicked--their prayers or their focus on material goods?
  • Alma 31:25: What does it mean for a heart to be "lifted up unto great boasting"?
  • Alma 31:25: What is the connection between the pride, desire for riches, and prayers of the people?
  • Alma 31:26: Why are we told that Alma "lifted up his voice to heaven"? Does that just mean he prayed, or is this a specific type of prayer?
  • Alma 31:26: Why are the works of the Zoramites considered "gross wickedness"?
  • Alma 31:27: What does it mean to "cry" unto the Lord?
  • Alma 31:27: What is the problem with crying unto God while having pride or being "puffed up"?
  • Alma 31:27: What does it mean to be "puffed up, even to greatness"?
  • Alma 31:28: What is so wrong about wearing finery to call upon God?
  • Alma 31:28: What is the bigger problem--the "costly apparel" or the claim to being a "chosen people"? What is the connection between the two?
  • Alma 31:28: Where did this idea of being chosen, while others perish come from? Is this related to all of the destruction that happened in Alma 28? Were the Zoramites perhaps spared from destruction, while Nephites in other lands were slaughtered?
  • Alma 31:29: Why would the Zoramites claim revelation saying that there shall be no Christ?
  • Alma 31:30: What does Alma mean by "infidelity"?
  • Alma 31:30: Why should the Zoramites practices pain Alma's soul? Are they really all that different from various religious teachings we see in our modern day? Are we too accepting of religious differences?
  • Alma 31:35: Why are only "many of them ...our brethren" and not "all" of them?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapters 31-35                      Next page: Chapter 32

Alma 31:11-15

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 31-35 > Chapter 31
Previous page: Chapters 31-35                      Next page: Chapter 32


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 31-35. The relationship of Chapter 31 to the rest of Chapters 31-35 is discussed at Chapters 31-35.

Story. Chapter 31 consists of ___ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 31 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 31:4. The correspondence with the Lamanites which Alma and his brethren feared might come to pass, eventually did Alma 35:10; Alma 43:4, but the work they did influenced many Zoramites to the point that Zoram cast them out of his land to dwell with the Nephites in Jershon, see Alma 35:6.
  • Alma 31:16: Elected. Interestingly, this is the only passage in the Book of Mormon that uses any form of the word elect. The word chosen is used many times in the Book of Mormon in a way that seems very similar to the meaning of the word elected (cf. bachiyr in Hebrew and eklectos in Greek). The reason this word is used here, and only here in the Book of Mormon, might be related to the theological connotations the word had to Joseph Smith's ears at the time of translation when, for example, a Pauline doctrine of election might have been heavily discussed, though more research on this would have to be done to give this idea anything more than a purely speculative basis.
  • Alma 31:17: The same yesterday, today, and forever. It seems this is a true teaching that the Zoramites were familiar with (cf. 1 Ne 10:18; 2 Ne 2:4; 2 Ne 27:23), but had perhaps twisted to mean that, strictly and technically speaking, if God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then he would remain without a physical, bodily presence in this world. So this phrase seems to more closely link the idea in verse 15 that God is a spirit, and "wilt be forever," to their conclusion that there would be no Christ. However, this seems a bit inconsistent with the idea that God elected the Zoramites: if God is literally and technically taken to be the same yesterday, today, and forever, how can God elect a people who were split off from the Nephites? Is this election of a new people a new action on the part of God?

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 31:1: Why are we told that the Zoramites were "perverting" the ways of the Lord? In the last verse of chapter 30, we are told that Korihor had perverted the ways of the Lord. What connections are there between Korihor and the Zoramites? How were their perversions similar? How were they different?
  • Alma 31:1: Who is this Zoram that is the leader of the Zoramites? Is it the same military leader Zoram that we read about in Alma 16? If so, is there a connection between his military success and the pride of his followers?
  • Alma 31:1: Idols. Idols are mentioned here, but are not mentioned again in relation to the Zoramites. Why not? What is the point in mentioning the idols here?
  • Alma 31:1: What does it mean to "bow down" to idols?
  • Alma 31:1: Why are the idols referred to as "dumb"? Is there a connection between the "dumb" idols and Korihor who was stricken dumb?
  • Alma 31:2: Separation: cause or result? Was the Zoramites' separation a cause of their subsequent pride and apostacy, the result, or both? Why is Alma sorrowful about this separation? (Cf. the word dissenters in verse 8.)
  • Alma 31:3: What is the land Antionum? Is this land named after an original settler, as was mentioned previously as traditional Nephite practice? Or does the name have some other significance?
  • Alma 31:3: What is the significance of the geographical location of the Zoramites? What is important about their position between Lamanite lands and the Lamanite converts in the land of Jershon?
  • Alma 31:4: Double standard on correspondence/separation? Here the Nephites "feared that the Zoramites would enter into correspondence with the Lamanites." Why would this be a bad thing? In chapter 31 we read about the Zoramite rich separating themselves from the poor. It seems that implicitly the Nephites are doing the right thing in remaining separate from the Lamanites but the Zoramite rich are doing the wrong thing by separating themselves from the Zoramite poor. When is separation a good thing and when is it a bad thing?
  • Alma 31:5: The sword. What does the reference here to "the sword" mean here? Is it related to the "correspondence with the Lamanites" referred to in verse 4? How? What effect can the sword have "upon the minds of the people"? Are there episodes in Nephite history that illustrate this?
  • Alma 31:5: If these Zoramites are followers of the military hero Zoram mentioned in Alma 16, what would that say about how they might perceive the sword? Could the sword have had a tendency to lead them away from that which was just, as opposed to the word, which leads to righteousness? Is this whole episode with the Zoramites a warning of a potential pitfall of pride that comes from military success--of taking that success as a sign of chosen-ness?
  • Alma 31:6: Here we have the formation of a missionary "dream team" to go to the Zoramites. Is there any significance to the number (eight) of missionaries selected? Why do we never hear about the missionary work of Omner? Why was Himni left in Zarahemla? Why do we never hear any more about him? Why pull in the former Ammonihah residents Amulek and Zeezrom from the land of Melek?
  • Alma 31:7: Helaman later becomes the leader of the Church. Why didn't Alma take him on this big mission to the Zoramites?
  • Alma 31:7: What significance does the name Helaman have? Any connection to the Helaman who was the son of King Benjamin and uncle to the sons of Mosiah? Does this indicate that Alma may have married a daughter of that Helaman?
  • Alma 31:8: Therefore. If the Zoramites had not been dissenters, would the word of God not need to be preached? Is the focus here on the need that dissenters have for preaching or for the word of God?
  • Alma 31:9: But. The use of the contrasting word but seems a bit curious here since the previous verse has just described the Nephites as "dissenters," which seems a parallel idea to falling into error, not a contrasting idea. So it seems that the contrast is with the phrase in verse 8 "they had the word of God preached unto them." If this is correct, then the but here seems to underscore a separation between these two clauses in verse 8. Does this imply that the errors being described here occurred after the word of God was preached unto them? If not, what is going on here?
  • Alma 31:9: Observe to keep. In today's parlance, we typically talk of "observing the commandments" or "keeping the commandments," so this phrase incorporating both terms seems somewhat odd. What is the meaning and significance of this phrase?
  • Alma 31:9: Why might the Zoramites reject the law of Moses?
  • Alma 31:10: Why might the Zoramites reject the practice of daily prayer?
  • Alma 31:10: What is the importance of daily prayer? How can daily prayer help avoid temptation?
  • Alma 31:10: What does it mean to "enter into" temptation?
  • Alma 31:11: What does it mean to "pervert the ways of the Lord"? What is meant by "the ways of the Lord"? Does that just mean the teachings of how we are to relate to God? The gospel? Or something else?
  • Alma 31:12: What exactly did Alma and the others find so astonishing? The synagogues? Their prayers? The towers?
  • Alma 31:12: There seem to be more than one synagogue indicated here. How big was the land? How many Zoramites were there? Who exactly were these people who had followed Zoram?
  • Alma 31:12: What is meant here by synagogue? Why would that word be used in our English translation of the Book of Alma?
  • Alma 31:13: What is the nature of this prayer stand? Why would it be elevated "high above the head"? Why only room for one person on the top of the stand?
  • Alma 31:13: What did this synagogue look like, with a stand in the center? Where were the other worshipers during the prayers. Were they surrounding the stand in the middle? How did this work?
  • Alma 31:13: Did these synagogues have a ceiling? If so, how high was the ceiling? How big were these synagogues? Where did the labor and materials come from to build such apparently large buildings with tall ceilings?
  • Alma 31:14: Is there something wrong with raising the hands to heaven and addressing God in a loud voice?
  • Alma 31:15: Unlike Korihor, the Zoramites believe in God. What do they mean when they say they believe that God is holy?
  • Alma 31:15: What is the significance of the Zoramites believing God to be a spirit, and that he will "be a spirit forever"? Why would they emphasize this?
  • Alma 31:16: Why would the Zoramites believe that God had separated them from their "brethren"? Who do they mean by brethren--the other Nephites?
  • Alma 31:16: What do they mean by being separated? Geographically? Theologically?
  • Alma 31:16: What do the Zoramites mean when they claim that the tradition of their brethren "was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers"? Why the term "childishness"?
  • Alma 31:16: What do the Zoramites mean by their doctrine of election? What do they mean by "holy children" of God? Where did this doctrine come from? Is this a misreading of King Benjamin's sermon?
  • Alma 31:16: How could these people believe that God had manifested unto them that there should be no Christ?
  • Alma 31:17: Why would the Zoramites use a doctrine of unchangeableness to discount a doctrine of a Christ?
  • Alma 31:17: Where would the Zoramites get a doctrine of election to damnation in hell?
  • Alma 31:17: Why would the Zoramites consider belief in Christ to "bind them down" or to lead their hearts away from God?
  • Alma 31:18: Why don't the Zoramite prayers include any pleas, but only offerings of thanks? Is this a manifestation of their pride, that they don't think they need God in their daily lives?
  • Alma 31:19: For Alma and the others to hear these prayers, they would presumably have to be in a Zoramite worship service in a synagogue. Why might they attend such a service before trying to teach the people?
  • Alma 31:19: Why would these prayers astonish the missionaries "beyond all measure"? What is so astonishing about them?
  • Alma 31:20: Was it merely the rote nature of these prayers that caused the missionaries such astonishment?
  • Alma 31:20: When we are told that "every man" did offer the same prayers, is this deliberately gender specific? Were only men allowed on the prayer stand?
  • Alma 31:21: Rameumptom. Why bother giving us the name of this prayer stand? Why is it called holy? Is this some twisted doctrine of standing in holy places?
  • Alma 31:22: Why would they consider their hearts "stolen away" by a doctrine of a future Christ?
  • Alma 31:22: Why would they deny the spirit of prophecy?
  • Alma 31:23-24: Why are we told that the Zoramites only spoke of God when gathered together to give thanks to him from their holy stand? Why is that important to know? What is there about this practice that might be considered "wicked" and "perverse"?
  • Alma 31:24: Why was Alma's heart grieved? What does it mean for him to grieve in his heart?
  • Alma 31:24: Here it seems like Alma is more upset with what he saw--the orientation of the hearts of the people--than with what he heard from their prayers. What is more wicked--their prayers or their focus on material goods?
  • Alma 31:25: What does it mean for a heart to be "lifted up unto great boasting"?
  • Alma 31:25: What is the connection between the pride, desire for riches, and prayers of the people?
  • Alma 31:26: Why are we told that Alma "lifted up his voice to heaven"? Does that just mean he prayed, or is this a specific type of prayer?
  • Alma 31:26: Why are the works of the Zoramites considered "gross wickedness"?
  • Alma 31:27: What does it mean to "cry" unto the Lord?
  • Alma 31:27: What is the problem with crying unto God while having pride or being "puffed up"?
  • Alma 31:27: What does it mean to be "puffed up, even to greatness"?
  • Alma 31:28: What is so wrong about wearing finery to call upon God?
  • Alma 31:28: What is the bigger problem--the "costly apparel" or the claim to being a "chosen people"? What is the connection between the two?
  • Alma 31:28: Where did this idea of being chosen, while others perish come from? Is this related to all of the destruction that happened in Alma 28? Were the Zoramites perhaps spared from destruction, while Nephites in other lands were slaughtered?
  • Alma 31:29: Why would the Zoramites claim revelation saying that there shall be no Christ?
  • Alma 31:30: What does Alma mean by "infidelity"?
  • Alma 31:30: Why should the Zoramites practices pain Alma's soul? Are they really all that different from various religious teachings we see in our modern day? Are we too accepting of religious differences?
  • Alma 31:35: Why are only "many of them ...our brethren" and not "all" of them?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapters 31-35                      Next page: Chapter 32

Alma 31:16-20

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 31-35 > Chapter 31
Previous page: Chapters 31-35                      Next page: Chapter 32


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 31-35. The relationship of Chapter 31 to the rest of Chapters 31-35 is discussed at Chapters 31-35.

Story. Chapter 31 consists of ___ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 31 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 31:4. The correspondence with the Lamanites which Alma and his brethren feared might come to pass, eventually did Alma 35:10; Alma 43:4, but the work they did influenced many Zoramites to the point that Zoram cast them out of his land to dwell with the Nephites in Jershon, see Alma 35:6.
  • Alma 31:16: Elected. Interestingly, this is the only passage in the Book of Mormon that uses any form of the word elect. The word chosen is used many times in the Book of Mormon in a way that seems very similar to the meaning of the word elected (cf. bachiyr in Hebrew and eklectos in Greek). The reason this word is used here, and only here in the Book of Mormon, might be related to the theological connotations the word had to Joseph Smith's ears at the time of translation when, for example, a Pauline doctrine of election might have been heavily discussed, though more research on this would have to be done to give this idea anything more than a purely speculative basis.
  • Alma 31:17: The same yesterday, today, and forever. It seems this is a true teaching that the Zoramites were familiar with (cf. 1 Ne 10:18; 2 Ne 2:4; 2 Ne 27:23), but had perhaps twisted to mean that, strictly and technically speaking, if God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then he would remain without a physical, bodily presence in this world. So this phrase seems to more closely link the idea in verse 15 that God is a spirit, and "wilt be forever," to their conclusion that there would be no Christ. However, this seems a bit inconsistent with the idea that God elected the Zoramites: if God is literally and technically taken to be the same yesterday, today, and forever, how can God elect a people who were split off from the Nephites? Is this election of a new people a new action on the part of God?

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 31:1: Why are we told that the Zoramites were "perverting" the ways of the Lord? In the last verse of chapter 30, we are told that Korihor had perverted the ways of the Lord. What connections are there between Korihor and the Zoramites? How were their perversions similar? How were they different?
  • Alma 31:1: Who is this Zoram that is the leader of the Zoramites? Is it the same military leader Zoram that we read about in Alma 16? If so, is there a connection between his military success and the pride of his followers?
  • Alma 31:1: Idols. Idols are mentioned here, but are not mentioned again in relation to the Zoramites. Why not? What is the point in mentioning the idols here?
  • Alma 31:1: What does it mean to "bow down" to idols?
  • Alma 31:1: Why are the idols referred to as "dumb"? Is there a connection between the "dumb" idols and Korihor who was stricken dumb?
  • Alma 31:2: Separation: cause or result? Was the Zoramites' separation a cause of their subsequent pride and apostacy, the result, or both? Why is Alma sorrowful about this separation? (Cf. the word dissenters in verse 8.)
  • Alma 31:3: What is the land Antionum? Is this land named after an original settler, as was mentioned previously as traditional Nephite practice? Or does the name have some other significance?
  • Alma 31:3: What is the significance of the geographical location of the Zoramites? What is important about their position between Lamanite lands and the Lamanite converts in the land of Jershon?
  • Alma 31:4: Double standard on correspondence/separation? Here the Nephites "feared that the Zoramites would enter into correspondence with the Lamanites." Why would this be a bad thing? In chapter 31 we read about the Zoramite rich separating themselves from the poor. It seems that implicitly the Nephites are doing the right thing in remaining separate from the Lamanites but the Zoramite rich are doing the wrong thing by separating themselves from the Zoramite poor. When is separation a good thing and when is it a bad thing?
  • Alma 31:5: The sword. What does the reference here to "the sword" mean here? Is it related to the "correspondence with the Lamanites" referred to in verse 4? How? What effect can the sword have "upon the minds of the people"? Are there episodes in Nephite history that illustrate this?
  • Alma 31:5: If these Zoramites are followers of the military hero Zoram mentioned in Alma 16, what would that say about how they might perceive the sword? Could the sword have had a tendency to lead them away from that which was just, as opposed to the word, which leads to righteousness? Is this whole episode with the Zoramites a warning of a potential pitfall of pride that comes from military success--of taking that success as a sign of chosen-ness?
  • Alma 31:6: Here we have the formation of a missionary "dream team" to go to the Zoramites. Is there any significance to the number (eight) of missionaries selected? Why do we never hear about the missionary work of Omner? Why was Himni left in Zarahemla? Why do we never hear any more about him? Why pull in the former Ammonihah residents Amulek and Zeezrom from the land of Melek?
  • Alma 31:7: Helaman later becomes the leader of the Church. Why didn't Alma take him on this big mission to the Zoramites?
  • Alma 31:7: What significance does the name Helaman have? Any connection to the Helaman who was the son of King Benjamin and uncle to the sons of Mosiah? Does this indicate that Alma may have married a daughter of that Helaman?
  • Alma 31:8: Therefore. If the Zoramites had not been dissenters, would the word of God not need to be preached? Is the focus here on the need that dissenters have for preaching or for the word of God?
  • Alma 31:9: But. The use of the contrasting word but seems a bit curious here since the previous verse has just described the Nephites as "dissenters," which seems a parallel idea to falling into error, not a contrasting idea. So it seems that the contrast is with the phrase in verse 8 "they had the word of God preached unto them." If this is correct, then the but here seems to underscore a separation between these two clauses in verse 8. Does this imply that the errors being described here occurred after the word of God was preached unto them? If not, what is going on here?
  • Alma 31:9: Observe to keep. In today's parlance, we typically talk of "observing the commandments" or "keeping the commandments," so this phrase incorporating both terms seems somewhat odd. What is the meaning and significance of this phrase?
  • Alma 31:9: Why might the Zoramites reject the law of Moses?
  • Alma 31:10: Why might the Zoramites reject the practice of daily prayer?
  • Alma 31:10: What is the importance of daily prayer? How can daily prayer help avoid temptation?
  • Alma 31:10: What does it mean to "enter into" temptation?
  • Alma 31:11: What does it mean to "pervert the ways of the Lord"? What is meant by "the ways of the Lord"? Does that just mean the teachings of how we are to relate to God? The gospel? Or something else?
  • Alma 31:12: What exactly did Alma and the others find so astonishing? The synagogues? Their prayers? The towers?
  • Alma 31:12: There seem to be more than one synagogue indicated here. How big was the land? How many Zoramites were there? Who exactly were these people who had followed Zoram?
  • Alma 31:12: What is meant here by synagogue? Why would that word be used in our English translation of the Book of Alma?
  • Alma 31:13: What is the nature of this prayer stand? Why would it be elevated "high above the head"? Why only room for one person on the top of the stand?
  • Alma 31:13: What did this synagogue look like, with a stand in the center? Where were the other worshipers during the prayers. Were they surrounding the stand in the middle? How did this work?
  • Alma 31:13: Did these synagogues have a ceiling? If so, how high was the ceiling? How big were these synagogues? Where did the labor and materials come from to build such apparently large buildings with tall ceilings?
  • Alma 31:14: Is there something wrong with raising the hands to heaven and addressing God in a loud voice?
  • Alma 31:15: Unlike Korihor, the Zoramites believe in God. What do they mean when they say they believe that God is holy?
  • Alma 31:15: What is the significance of the Zoramites believing God to be a spirit, and that he will "be a spirit forever"? Why would they emphasize this?
  • Alma 31:16: Why would the Zoramites believe that God had separated them from their "brethren"? Who do they mean by brethren--the other Nephites?
  • Alma 31:16: What do they mean by being separated? Geographically? Theologically?
  • Alma 31:16: What do the Zoramites mean when they claim that the tradition of their brethren "was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers"? Why the term "childishness"?
  • Alma 31:16: What do the Zoramites mean by their doctrine of election? What do they mean by "holy children" of God? Where did this doctrine come from? Is this a misreading of King Benjamin's sermon?
  • Alma 31:16: How could these people believe that God had manifested unto them that there should be no Christ?
  • Alma 31:17: Why would the Zoramites use a doctrine of unchangeableness to discount a doctrine of a Christ?
  • Alma 31:17: Where would the Zoramites get a doctrine of election to damnation in hell?
  • Alma 31:17: Why would the Zoramites consider belief in Christ to "bind them down" or to lead their hearts away from God?
  • Alma 31:18: Why don't the Zoramite prayers include any pleas, but only offerings of thanks? Is this a manifestation of their pride, that they don't think they need God in their daily lives?
  • Alma 31:19: For Alma and the others to hear these prayers, they would presumably have to be in a Zoramite worship service in a synagogue. Why might they attend such a service before trying to teach the people?
  • Alma 31:19: Why would these prayers astonish the missionaries "beyond all measure"? What is so astonishing about them?
  • Alma 31:20: Was it merely the rote nature of these prayers that caused the missionaries such astonishment?
  • Alma 31:20: When we are told that "every man" did offer the same prayers, is this deliberately gender specific? Were only men allowed on the prayer stand?
  • Alma 31:21: Rameumptom. Why bother giving us the name of this prayer stand? Why is it called holy? Is this some twisted doctrine of standing in holy places?
  • Alma 31:22: Why would they consider their hearts "stolen away" by a doctrine of a future Christ?
  • Alma 31:22: Why would they deny the spirit of prophecy?
  • Alma 31:23-24: Why are we told that the Zoramites only spoke of God when gathered together to give thanks to him from their holy stand? Why is that important to know? What is there about this practice that might be considered "wicked" and "perverse"?
  • Alma 31:24: Why was Alma's heart grieved? What does it mean for him to grieve in his heart?
  • Alma 31:24: Here it seems like Alma is more upset with what he saw--the orientation of the hearts of the people--than with what he heard from their prayers. What is more wicked--their prayers or their focus on material goods?
  • Alma 31:25: What does it mean for a heart to be "lifted up unto great boasting"?
  • Alma 31:25: What is the connection between the pride, desire for riches, and prayers of the people?
  • Alma 31:26: Why are we told that Alma "lifted up his voice to heaven"? Does that just mean he prayed, or is this a specific type of prayer?
  • Alma 31:26: Why are the works of the Zoramites considered "gross wickedness"?
  • Alma 31:27: What does it mean to "cry" unto the Lord?
  • Alma 31:27: What is the problem with crying unto God while having pride or being "puffed up"?
  • Alma 31:27: What does it mean to be "puffed up, even to greatness"?
  • Alma 31:28: What is so wrong about wearing finery to call upon God?
  • Alma 31:28: What is the bigger problem--the "costly apparel" or the claim to being a "chosen people"? What is the connection between the two?
  • Alma 31:28: Where did this idea of being chosen, while others perish come from? Is this related to all of the destruction that happened in Alma 28? Were the Zoramites perhaps spared from destruction, while Nephites in other lands were slaughtered?
  • Alma 31:29: Why would the Zoramites claim revelation saying that there shall be no Christ?
  • Alma 31:30: What does Alma mean by "infidelity"?
  • Alma 31:30: Why should the Zoramites practices pain Alma's soul? Are they really all that different from various religious teachings we see in our modern day? Are we too accepting of religious differences?
  • Alma 31:35: Why are only "many of them ...our brethren" and not "all" of them?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapters 31-35                      Next page: Chapter 32

Alma 31:21-25

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 31-35 > Chapter 31
Previous page: Chapters 31-35                      Next page: Chapter 32


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 31-35. The relationship of Chapter 31 to the rest of Chapters 31-35 is discussed at Chapters 31-35.

Story. Chapter 31 consists of ___ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 31 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 31:4. The correspondence with the Lamanites which Alma and his brethren feared might come to pass, eventually did Alma 35:10; Alma 43:4, but the work they did influenced many Zoramites to the point that Zoram cast them out of his land to dwell with the Nephites in Jershon, see Alma 35:6.
  • Alma 31:16: Elected. Interestingly, this is the only passage in the Book of Mormon that uses any form of the word elect. The word chosen is used many times in the Book of Mormon in a way that seems very similar to the meaning of the word elected (cf. bachiyr in Hebrew and eklectos in Greek). The reason this word is used here, and only here in the Book of Mormon, might be related to the theological connotations the word had to Joseph Smith's ears at the time of translation when, for example, a Pauline doctrine of election might have been heavily discussed, though more research on this would have to be done to give this idea anything more than a purely speculative basis.
  • Alma 31:17: The same yesterday, today, and forever. It seems this is a true teaching that the Zoramites were familiar with (cf. 1 Ne 10:18; 2 Ne 2:4; 2 Ne 27:23), but had perhaps twisted to mean that, strictly and technically speaking, if God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then he would remain without a physical, bodily presence in this world. So this phrase seems to more closely link the idea in verse 15 that God is a spirit, and "wilt be forever," to their conclusion that there would be no Christ. However, this seems a bit inconsistent with the idea that God elected the Zoramites: if God is literally and technically taken to be the same yesterday, today, and forever, how can God elect a people who were split off from the Nephites? Is this election of a new people a new action on the part of God?

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 31:1: Why are we told that the Zoramites were "perverting" the ways of the Lord? In the last verse of chapter 30, we are told that Korihor had perverted the ways of the Lord. What connections are there between Korihor and the Zoramites? How were their perversions similar? How were they different?
  • Alma 31:1: Who is this Zoram that is the leader of the Zoramites? Is it the same military leader Zoram that we read about in Alma 16? If so, is there a connection between his military success and the pride of his followers?
  • Alma 31:1: Idols. Idols are mentioned here, but are not mentioned again in relation to the Zoramites. Why not? What is the point in mentioning the idols here?
  • Alma 31:1: What does it mean to "bow down" to idols?
  • Alma 31:1: Why are the idols referred to as "dumb"? Is there a connection between the "dumb" idols and Korihor who was stricken dumb?
  • Alma 31:2: Separation: cause or result? Was the Zoramites' separation a cause of their subsequent pride and apostacy, the result, or both? Why is Alma sorrowful about this separation? (Cf. the word dissenters in verse 8.)
  • Alma 31:3: What is the land Antionum? Is this land named after an original settler, as was mentioned previously as traditional Nephite practice? Or does the name have some other significance?
  • Alma 31:3: What is the significance of the geographical location of the Zoramites? What is important about their position between Lamanite lands and the Lamanite converts in the land of Jershon?
  • Alma 31:4: Double standard on correspondence/separation? Here the Nephites "feared that the Zoramites would enter into correspondence with the Lamanites." Why would this be a bad thing? In chapter 31 we read about the Zoramite rich separating themselves from the poor. It seems that implicitly the Nephites are doing the right thing in remaining separate from the Lamanites but the Zoramite rich are doing the wrong thing by separating themselves from the Zoramite poor. When is separation a good thing and when is it a bad thing?
  • Alma 31:5: The sword. What does the reference here to "the sword" mean here? Is it related to the "correspondence with the Lamanites" referred to in verse 4? How? What effect can the sword have "upon the minds of the people"? Are there episodes in Nephite history that illustrate this?
  • Alma 31:5: If these Zoramites are followers of the military hero Zoram mentioned in Alma 16, what would that say about how they might perceive the sword? Could the sword have had a tendency to lead them away from that which was just, as opposed to the word, which leads to righteousness? Is this whole episode with the Zoramites a warning of a potential pitfall of pride that comes from military success--of taking that success as a sign of chosen-ness?
  • Alma 31:6: Here we have the formation of a missionary "dream team" to go to the Zoramites. Is there any significance to the number (eight) of missionaries selected? Why do we never hear about the missionary work of Omner? Why was Himni left in Zarahemla? Why do we never hear any more about him? Why pull in the former Ammonihah residents Amulek and Zeezrom from the land of Melek?
  • Alma 31:7: Helaman later becomes the leader of the Church. Why didn't Alma take him on this big mission to the Zoramites?
  • Alma 31:7: What significance does the name Helaman have? Any connection to the Helaman who was the son of King Benjamin and uncle to the sons of Mosiah? Does this indicate that Alma may have married a daughter of that Helaman?
  • Alma 31:8: Therefore. If the Zoramites had not been dissenters, would the word of God not need to be preached? Is the focus here on the need that dissenters have for preaching or for the word of God?
  • Alma 31:9: But. The use of the contrasting word but seems a bit curious here since the previous verse has just described the Nephites as "dissenters," which seems a parallel idea to falling into error, not a contrasting idea. So it seems that the contrast is with the phrase in verse 8 "they had the word of God preached unto them." If this is correct, then the but here seems to underscore a separation between these two clauses in verse 8. Does this imply that the errors being described here occurred after the word of God was preached unto them? If not, what is going on here?
  • Alma 31:9: Observe to keep. In today's parlance, we typically talk of "observing the commandments" or "keeping the commandments," so this phrase incorporating both terms seems somewhat odd. What is the meaning and significance of this phrase?
  • Alma 31:9: Why might the Zoramites reject the law of Moses?
  • Alma 31:10: Why might the Zoramites reject the practice of daily prayer?
  • Alma 31:10: What is the importance of daily prayer? How can daily prayer help avoid temptation?
  • Alma 31:10: What does it mean to "enter into" temptation?
  • Alma 31:11: What does it mean to "pervert the ways of the Lord"? What is meant by "the ways of the Lord"? Does that just mean the teachings of how we are to relate to God? The gospel? Or something else?
  • Alma 31:12: What exactly did Alma and the others find so astonishing? The synagogues? Their prayers? The towers?
  • Alma 31:12: There seem to be more than one synagogue indicated here. How big was the land? How many Zoramites were there? Who exactly were these people who had followed Zoram?
  • Alma 31:12: What is meant here by synagogue? Why would that word be used in our English translation of the Book of Alma?
  • Alma 31:13: What is the nature of this prayer stand? Why would it be elevated "high above the head"? Why only room for one person on the top of the stand?
  • Alma 31:13: What did this synagogue look like, with a stand in the center? Where were the other worshipers during the prayers. Were they surrounding the stand in the middle? How did this work?
  • Alma 31:13: Did these synagogues have a ceiling? If so, how high was the ceiling? How big were these synagogues? Where did the labor and materials come from to build such apparently large buildings with tall ceilings?
  • Alma 31:14: Is there something wrong with raising the hands to heaven and addressing God in a loud voice?
  • Alma 31:15: Unlike Korihor, the Zoramites believe in God. What do they mean when they say they believe that God is holy?
  • Alma 31:15: What is the significance of the Zoramites believing God to be a spirit, and that he will "be a spirit forever"? Why would they emphasize this?
  • Alma 31:16: Why would the Zoramites believe that God had separated them from their "brethren"? Who do they mean by brethren--the other Nephites?
  • Alma 31:16: What do they mean by being separated? Geographically? Theologically?
  • Alma 31:16: What do the Zoramites mean when they claim that the tradition of their brethren "was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers"? Why the term "childishness"?
  • Alma 31:16: What do the Zoramites mean by their doctrine of election? What do they mean by "holy children" of God? Where did this doctrine come from? Is this a misreading of King Benjamin's sermon?
  • Alma 31:16: How could these people believe that God had manifested unto them that there should be no Christ?
  • Alma 31:17: Why would the Zoramites use a doctrine of unchangeableness to discount a doctrine of a Christ?
  • Alma 31:17: Where would the Zoramites get a doctrine of election to damnation in hell?
  • Alma 31:17: Why would the Zoramites consider belief in Christ to "bind them down" or to lead their hearts away from God?
  • Alma 31:18: Why don't the Zoramite prayers include any pleas, but only offerings of thanks? Is this a manifestation of their pride, that they don't think they need God in their daily lives?
  • Alma 31:19: For Alma and the others to hear these prayers, they would presumably have to be in a Zoramite worship service in a synagogue. Why might they attend such a service before trying to teach the people?
  • Alma 31:19: Why would these prayers astonish the missionaries "beyond all measure"? What is so astonishing about them?
  • Alma 31:20: Was it merely the rote nature of these prayers that caused the missionaries such astonishment?
  • Alma 31:20: When we are told that "every man" did offer the same prayers, is this deliberately gender specific? Were only men allowed on the prayer stand?
  • Alma 31:21: Rameumptom. Why bother giving us the name of this prayer stand? Why is it called holy? Is this some twisted doctrine of standing in holy places?
  • Alma 31:22: Why would they consider their hearts "stolen away" by a doctrine of a future Christ?
  • Alma 31:22: Why would they deny the spirit of prophecy?
  • Alma 31:23-24: Why are we told that the Zoramites only spoke of God when gathered together to give thanks to him from their holy stand? Why is that important to know? What is there about this practice that might be considered "wicked" and "perverse"?
  • Alma 31:24: Why was Alma's heart grieved? What does it mean for him to grieve in his heart?
  • Alma 31:24: Here it seems like Alma is more upset with what he saw--the orientation of the hearts of the people--than with what he heard from their prayers. What is more wicked--their prayers or their focus on material goods?
  • Alma 31:25: What does it mean for a heart to be "lifted up unto great boasting"?
  • Alma 31:25: What is the connection between the pride, desire for riches, and prayers of the people?
  • Alma 31:26: Why are we told that Alma "lifted up his voice to heaven"? Does that just mean he prayed, or is this a specific type of prayer?
  • Alma 31:26: Why are the works of the Zoramites considered "gross wickedness"?
  • Alma 31:27: What does it mean to "cry" unto the Lord?
  • Alma 31:27: What is the problem with crying unto God while having pride or being "puffed up"?
  • Alma 31:27: What does it mean to be "puffed up, even to greatness"?
  • Alma 31:28: What is so wrong about wearing finery to call upon God?
  • Alma 31:28: What is the bigger problem--the "costly apparel" or the claim to being a "chosen people"? What is the connection between the two?
  • Alma 31:28: Where did this idea of being chosen, while others perish come from? Is this related to all of the destruction that happened in Alma 28? Were the Zoramites perhaps spared from destruction, while Nephites in other lands were slaughtered?
  • Alma 31:29: Why would the Zoramites claim revelation saying that there shall be no Christ?
  • Alma 31:30: What does Alma mean by "infidelity"?
  • Alma 31:30: Why should the Zoramites practices pain Alma's soul? Are they really all that different from various religious teachings we see in our modern day? Are we too accepting of religious differences?
  • Alma 31:35: Why are only "many of them ...our brethren" and not "all" of them?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapters 31-35                      Next page: Chapter 32

Alma 31:26-30

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 31-35 > Chapter 31
Previous page: Chapters 31-35                      Next page: Chapter 32


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 31-35. The relationship of Chapter 31 to the rest of Chapters 31-35 is discussed at Chapters 31-35.

Story. Chapter 31 consists of ___ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 31 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 31:4. The correspondence with the Lamanites which Alma and his brethren feared might come to pass, eventually did Alma 35:10; Alma 43:4, but the work they did influenced many Zoramites to the point that Zoram cast them out of his land to dwell with the Nephites in Jershon, see Alma 35:6.
  • Alma 31:16: Elected. Interestingly, this is the only passage in the Book of Mormon that uses any form of the word elect. The word chosen is used many times in the Book of Mormon in a way that seems very similar to the meaning of the word elected (cf. bachiyr in Hebrew and eklectos in Greek). The reason this word is used here, and only here in the Book of Mormon, might be related to the theological connotations the word had to Joseph Smith's ears at the time of translation when, for example, a Pauline doctrine of election might have been heavily discussed, though more research on this would have to be done to give this idea anything more than a purely speculative basis.
  • Alma 31:17: The same yesterday, today, and forever. It seems this is a true teaching that the Zoramites were familiar with (cf. 1 Ne 10:18; 2 Ne 2:4; 2 Ne 27:23), but had perhaps twisted to mean that, strictly and technically speaking, if God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then he would remain without a physical, bodily presence in this world. So this phrase seems to more closely link the idea in verse 15 that God is a spirit, and "wilt be forever," to their conclusion that there would be no Christ. However, this seems a bit inconsistent with the idea that God elected the Zoramites: if God is literally and technically taken to be the same yesterday, today, and forever, how can God elect a people who were split off from the Nephites? Is this election of a new people a new action on the part of God?

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 31:1: Why are we told that the Zoramites were "perverting" the ways of the Lord? In the last verse of chapter 30, we are told that Korihor had perverted the ways of the Lord. What connections are there between Korihor and the Zoramites? How were their perversions similar? How were they different?
  • Alma 31:1: Who is this Zoram that is the leader of the Zoramites? Is it the same military leader Zoram that we read about in Alma 16? If so, is there a connection between his military success and the pride of his followers?
  • Alma 31:1: Idols. Idols are mentioned here, but are not mentioned again in relation to the Zoramites. Why not? What is the point in mentioning the idols here?
  • Alma 31:1: What does it mean to "bow down" to idols?
  • Alma 31:1: Why are the idols referred to as "dumb"? Is there a connection between the "dumb" idols and Korihor who was stricken dumb?
  • Alma 31:2: Separation: cause or result? Was the Zoramites' separation a cause of their subsequent pride and apostacy, the result, or both? Why is Alma sorrowful about this separation? (Cf. the word dissenters in verse 8.)
  • Alma 31:3: What is the land Antionum? Is this land named after an original settler, as was mentioned previously as traditional Nephite practice? Or does the name have some other significance?
  • Alma 31:3: What is the significance of the geographical location of the Zoramites? What is important about their position between Lamanite lands and the Lamanite converts in the land of Jershon?
  • Alma 31:4: Double standard on correspondence/separation? Here the Nephites "feared that the Zoramites would enter into correspondence with the Lamanites." Why would this be a bad thing? In chapter 31 we read about the Zoramite rich separating themselves from the poor. It seems that implicitly the Nephites are doing the right thing in remaining separate from the Lamanites but the Zoramite rich are doing the wrong thing by separating themselves from the Zoramite poor. When is separation a good thing and when is it a bad thing?
  • Alma 31:5: The sword. What does the reference here to "the sword" mean here? Is it related to the "correspondence with the Lamanites" referred to in verse 4? How? What effect can the sword have "upon the minds of the people"? Are there episodes in Nephite history that illustrate this?
  • Alma 31:5: If these Zoramites are followers of the military hero Zoram mentioned in Alma 16, what would that say about how they might perceive the sword? Could the sword have had a tendency to lead them away from that which was just, as opposed to the word, which leads to righteousness? Is this whole episode with the Zoramites a warning of a potential pitfall of pride that comes from military success--of taking that success as a sign of chosen-ness?
  • Alma 31:6: Here we have the formation of a missionary "dream team" to go to the Zoramites. Is there any significance to the number (eight) of missionaries selected? Why do we never hear about the missionary work of Omner? Why was Himni left in Zarahemla? Why do we never hear any more about him? Why pull in the former Ammonihah residents Amulek and Zeezrom from the land of Melek?
  • Alma 31:7: Helaman later becomes the leader of the Church. Why didn't Alma take him on this big mission to the Zoramites?
  • Alma 31:7: What significance does the name Helaman have? Any connection to the Helaman who was the son of King Benjamin and uncle to the sons of Mosiah? Does this indicate that Alma may have married a daughter of that Helaman?
  • Alma 31:8: Therefore. If the Zoramites had not been dissenters, would the word of God not need to be preached? Is the focus here on the need that dissenters have for preaching or for the word of God?
  • Alma 31:9: But. The use of the contrasting word but seems a bit curious here since the previous verse has just described the Nephites as "dissenters," which seems a parallel idea to falling into error, not a contrasting idea. So it seems that the contrast is with the phrase in verse 8 "they had the word of God preached unto them." If this is correct, then the but here seems to underscore a separation between these two clauses in verse 8. Does this imply that the errors being described here occurred after the word of God was preached unto them? If not, what is going on here?
  • Alma 31:9: Observe to keep. In today's parlance, we typically talk of "observing the commandments" or "keeping the commandments," so this phrase incorporating both terms seems somewhat odd. What is the meaning and significance of this phrase?
  • Alma 31:9: Why might the Zoramites reject the law of Moses?
  • Alma 31:10: Why might the Zoramites reject the practice of daily prayer?
  • Alma 31:10: What is the importance of daily prayer? How can daily prayer help avoid temptation?
  • Alma 31:10: What does it mean to "enter into" temptation?
  • Alma 31:11: What does it mean to "pervert the ways of the Lord"? What is meant by "the ways of the Lord"? Does that just mean the teachings of how we are to relate to God? The gospel? Or something else?
  • Alma 31:12: What exactly did Alma and the others find so astonishing? The synagogues? Their prayers? The towers?
  • Alma 31:12: There seem to be more than one synagogue indicated here. How big was the land? How many Zoramites were there? Who exactly were these people who had followed Zoram?
  • Alma 31:12: What is meant here by synagogue? Why would that word be used in our English translation of the Book of Alma?
  • Alma 31:13: What is the nature of this prayer stand? Why would it be elevated "high above the head"? Why only room for one person on the top of the stand?
  • Alma 31:13: What did this synagogue look like, with a stand in the center? Where were the other worshipers during the prayers. Were they surrounding the stand in the middle? How did this work?
  • Alma 31:13: Did these synagogues have a ceiling? If so, how high was the ceiling? How big were these synagogues? Where did the labor and materials come from to build such apparently large buildings with tall ceilings?
  • Alma 31:14: Is there something wrong with raising the hands to heaven and addressing God in a loud voice?
  • Alma 31:15: Unlike Korihor, the Zoramites believe in God. What do they mean when they say they believe that God is holy?
  • Alma 31:15: What is the significance of the Zoramites believing God to be a spirit, and that he will "be a spirit forever"? Why would they emphasize this?
  • Alma 31:16: Why would the Zoramites believe that God had separated them from their "brethren"? Who do they mean by brethren--the other Nephites?
  • Alma 31:16: What do they mean by being separated? Geographically? Theologically?
  • Alma 31:16: What do the Zoramites mean when they claim that the tradition of their brethren "was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers"? Why the term "childishness"?
  • Alma 31:16: What do the Zoramites mean by their doctrine of election? What do they mean by "holy children" of God? Where did this doctrine come from? Is this a misreading of King Benjamin's sermon?
  • Alma 31:16: How could these people believe that God had manifested unto them that there should be no Christ?
  • Alma 31:17: Why would the Zoramites use a doctrine of unchangeableness to discount a doctrine of a Christ?
  • Alma 31:17: Where would the Zoramites get a doctrine of election to damnation in hell?
  • Alma 31:17: Why would the Zoramites consider belief in Christ to "bind them down" or to lead their hearts away from God?
  • Alma 31:18: Why don't the Zoramite prayers include any pleas, but only offerings of thanks? Is this a manifestation of their pride, that they don't think they need God in their daily lives?
  • Alma 31:19: For Alma and the others to hear these prayers, they would presumably have to be in a Zoramite worship service in a synagogue. Why might they attend such a service before trying to teach the people?
  • Alma 31:19: Why would these prayers astonish the missionaries "beyond all measure"? What is so astonishing about them?
  • Alma 31:20: Was it merely the rote nature of these prayers that caused the missionaries such astonishment?
  • Alma 31:20: When we are told that "every man" did offer the same prayers, is this deliberately gender specific? Were only men allowed on the prayer stand?
  • Alma 31:21: Rameumptom. Why bother giving us the name of this prayer stand? Why is it called holy? Is this some twisted doctrine of standing in holy places?
  • Alma 31:22: Why would they consider their hearts "stolen away" by a doctrine of a future Christ?
  • Alma 31:22: Why would they deny the spirit of prophecy?
  • Alma 31:23-24: Why are we told that the Zoramites only spoke of God when gathered together to give thanks to him from their holy stand? Why is that important to know? What is there about this practice that might be considered "wicked" and "perverse"?
  • Alma 31:24: Why was Alma's heart grieved? What does it mean for him to grieve in his heart?
  • Alma 31:24: Here it seems like Alma is more upset with what he saw--the orientation of the hearts of the people--than with what he heard from their prayers. What is more wicked--their prayers or their focus on material goods?
  • Alma 31:25: What does it mean for a heart to be "lifted up unto great boasting"?
  • Alma 31:25: What is the connection between the pride, desire for riches, and prayers of the people?
  • Alma 31:26: Why are we told that Alma "lifted up his voice to heaven"? Does that just mean he prayed, or is this a specific type of prayer?
  • Alma 31:26: Why are the works of the Zoramites considered "gross wickedness"?
  • Alma 31:27: What does it mean to "cry" unto the Lord?
  • Alma 31:27: What is the problem with crying unto God while having pride or being "puffed up"?
  • Alma 31:27: What does it mean to be "puffed up, even to greatness"?
  • Alma 31:28: What is so wrong about wearing finery to call upon God?
  • Alma 31:28: What is the bigger problem--the "costly apparel" or the claim to being a "chosen people"? What is the connection between the two?
  • Alma 31:28: Where did this idea of being chosen, while others perish come from? Is this related to all of the destruction that happened in Alma 28? Were the Zoramites perhaps spared from destruction, while Nephites in other lands were slaughtered?
  • Alma 31:29: Why would the Zoramites claim revelation saying that there shall be no Christ?
  • Alma 31:30: What does Alma mean by "infidelity"?
  • Alma 31:30: Why should the Zoramites practices pain Alma's soul? Are they really all that different from various religious teachings we see in our modern day? Are we too accepting of religious differences?
  • Alma 31:35: Why are only "many of them ...our brethren" and not "all" of them?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapters 31-35                      Next page: Chapter 32

Alma 31:31-35

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 31-35 > Chapter 31
Previous page: Chapters 31-35                      Next page: Chapter 32


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 31-35. The relationship of Chapter 31 to the rest of Chapters 31-35 is discussed at Chapters 31-35.

Story. Chapter 31 consists of ___ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 31 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 31:4. The correspondence with the Lamanites which Alma and his brethren feared might come to pass, eventually did Alma 35:10; Alma 43:4, but the work they did influenced many Zoramites to the point that Zoram cast them out of his land to dwell with the Nephites in Jershon, see Alma 35:6.
  • Alma 31:16: Elected. Interestingly, this is the only passage in the Book of Mormon that uses any form of the word elect. The word chosen is used many times in the Book of Mormon in a way that seems very similar to the meaning of the word elected (cf. bachiyr in Hebrew and eklectos in Greek). The reason this word is used here, and only here in the Book of Mormon, might be related to the theological connotations the word had to Joseph Smith's ears at the time of translation when, for example, a Pauline doctrine of election might have been heavily discussed, though more research on this would have to be done to give this idea anything more than a purely speculative basis.
  • Alma 31:17: The same yesterday, today, and forever. It seems this is a true teaching that the Zoramites were familiar with (cf. 1 Ne 10:18; 2 Ne 2:4; 2 Ne 27:23), but had perhaps twisted to mean that, strictly and technically speaking, if God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then he would remain without a physical, bodily presence in this world. So this phrase seems to more closely link the idea in verse 15 that God is a spirit, and "wilt be forever," to their conclusion that there would be no Christ. However, this seems a bit inconsistent with the idea that God elected the Zoramites: if God is literally and technically taken to be the same yesterday, today, and forever, how can God elect a people who were split off from the Nephites? Is this election of a new people a new action on the part of God?

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 31:1: Why are we told that the Zoramites were "perverting" the ways of the Lord? In the last verse of chapter 30, we are told that Korihor had perverted the ways of the Lord. What connections are there between Korihor and the Zoramites? How were their perversions similar? How were they different?
  • Alma 31:1: Who is this Zoram that is the leader of the Zoramites? Is it the same military leader Zoram that we read about in Alma 16? If so, is there a connection between his military success and the pride of his followers?
  • Alma 31:1: Idols. Idols are mentioned here, but are not mentioned again in relation to the Zoramites. Why not? What is the point in mentioning the idols here?
  • Alma 31:1: What does it mean to "bow down" to idols?
  • Alma 31:1: Why are the idols referred to as "dumb"? Is there a connection between the "dumb" idols and Korihor who was stricken dumb?
  • Alma 31:2: Separation: cause or result? Was the Zoramites' separation a cause of their subsequent pride and apostacy, the result, or both? Why is Alma sorrowful about this separation? (Cf. the word dissenters in verse 8.)
  • Alma 31:3: What is the land Antionum? Is this land named after an original settler, as was mentioned previously as traditional Nephite practice? Or does the name have some other significance?
  • Alma 31:3: What is the significance of the geographical location of the Zoramites? What is important about their position between Lamanite lands and the Lamanite converts in the land of Jershon?
  • Alma 31:4: Double standard on correspondence/separation? Here the Nephites "feared that the Zoramites would enter into correspondence with the Lamanites." Why would this be a bad thing? In chapter 31 we read about the Zoramite rich separating themselves from the poor. It seems that implicitly the Nephites are doing the right thing in remaining separate from the Lamanites but the Zoramite rich are doing the wrong thing by separating themselves from the Zoramite poor. When is separation a good thing and when is it a bad thing?
  • Alma 31:5: The sword. What does the reference here to "the sword" mean here? Is it related to the "correspondence with the Lamanites" referred to in verse 4? How? What effect can the sword have "upon the minds of the people"? Are there episodes in Nephite history that illustrate this?
  • Alma 31:5: If these Zoramites are followers of the military hero Zoram mentioned in Alma 16, what would that say about how they might perceive the sword? Could the sword have had a tendency to lead them away from that which was just, as opposed to the word, which leads to righteousness? Is this whole episode with the Zoramites a warning of a potential pitfall of pride that comes from military success--of taking that success as a sign of chosen-ness?
  • Alma 31:6: Here we have the formation of a missionary "dream team" to go to the Zoramites. Is there any significance to the number (eight) of missionaries selected? Why do we never hear about the missionary work of Omner? Why was Himni left in Zarahemla? Why do we never hear any more about him? Why pull in the former Ammonihah residents Amulek and Zeezrom from the land of Melek?
  • Alma 31:7: Helaman later becomes the leader of the Church. Why didn't Alma take him on this big mission to the Zoramites?
  • Alma 31:7: What significance does the name Helaman have? Any connection to the Helaman who was the son of King Benjamin and uncle to the sons of Mosiah? Does this indicate that Alma may have married a daughter of that Helaman?
  • Alma 31:8: Therefore. If the Zoramites had not been dissenters, would the word of God not need to be preached? Is the focus here on the need that dissenters have for preaching or for the word of God?
  • Alma 31:9: But. The use of the contrasting word but seems a bit curious here since the previous verse has just described the Nephites as "dissenters," which seems a parallel idea to falling into error, not a contrasting idea. So it seems that the contrast is with the phrase in verse 8 "they had the word of God preached unto them." If this is correct, then the but here seems to underscore a separation between these two clauses in verse 8. Does this imply that the errors being described here occurred after the word of God was preached unto them? If not, what is going on here?
  • Alma 31:9: Observe to keep. In today's parlance, we typically talk of "observing the commandments" or "keeping the commandments," so this phrase incorporating both terms seems somewhat odd. What is the meaning and significance of this phrase?
  • Alma 31:9: Why might the Zoramites reject the law of Moses?
  • Alma 31:10: Why might the Zoramites reject the practice of daily prayer?
  • Alma 31:10: What is the importance of daily prayer? How can daily prayer help avoid temptation?
  • Alma 31:10: What does it mean to "enter into" temptation?
  • Alma 31:11: What does it mean to "pervert the ways of the Lord"? What is meant by "the ways of the Lord"? Does that just mean the teachings of how we are to relate to God? The gospel? Or something else?
  • Alma 31:12: What exactly did Alma and the others find so astonishing? The synagogues? Their prayers? The towers?
  • Alma 31:12: There seem to be more than one synagogue indicated here. How big was the land? How many Zoramites were there? Who exactly were these people who had followed Zoram?
  • Alma 31:12: What is meant here by synagogue? Why would that word be used in our English translation of the Book of Alma?
  • Alma 31:13: What is the nature of this prayer stand? Why would it be elevated "high above the head"? Why only room for one person on the top of the stand?
  • Alma 31:13: What did this synagogue look like, with a stand in the center? Where were the other worshipers during the prayers. Were they surrounding the stand in the middle? How did this work?
  • Alma 31:13: Did these synagogues have a ceiling? If so, how high was the ceiling? How big were these synagogues? Where did the labor and materials come from to build such apparently large buildings with tall ceilings?
  • Alma 31:14: Is there something wrong with raising the hands to heaven and addressing God in a loud voice?
  • Alma 31:15: Unlike Korihor, the Zoramites believe in God. What do they mean when they say they believe that God is holy?
  • Alma 31:15: What is the significance of the Zoramites believing God to be a spirit, and that he will "be a spirit forever"? Why would they emphasize this?
  • Alma 31:16: Why would the Zoramites believe that God had separated them from their "brethren"? Who do they mean by brethren--the other Nephites?
  • Alma 31:16: What do they mean by being separated? Geographically? Theologically?
  • Alma 31:16: What do the Zoramites mean when they claim that the tradition of their brethren "was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers"? Why the term "childishness"?
  • Alma 31:16: What do the Zoramites mean by their doctrine of election? What do they mean by "holy children" of God? Where did this doctrine come from? Is this a misreading of King Benjamin's sermon?
  • Alma 31:16: How could these people believe that God had manifested unto them that there should be no Christ?
  • Alma 31:17: Why would the Zoramites use a doctrine of unchangeableness to discount a doctrine of a Christ?
  • Alma 31:17: Where would the Zoramites get a doctrine of election to damnation in hell?
  • Alma 31:17: Why would the Zoramites consider belief in Christ to "bind them down" or to lead their hearts away from God?
  • Alma 31:18: Why don't the Zoramite prayers include any pleas, but only offerings of thanks? Is this a manifestation of their pride, that they don't think they need God in their daily lives?
  • Alma 31:19: For Alma and the others to hear these prayers, they would presumably have to be in a Zoramite worship service in a synagogue. Why might they attend such a service before trying to teach the people?
  • Alma 31:19: Why would these prayers astonish the missionaries "beyond all measure"? What is so astonishing about them?
  • Alma 31:20: Was it merely the rote nature of these prayers that caused the missionaries such astonishment?
  • Alma 31:20: When we are told that "every man" did offer the same prayers, is this deliberately gender specific? Were only men allowed on the prayer stand?
  • Alma 31:21: Rameumptom. Why bother giving us the name of this prayer stand? Why is it called holy? Is this some twisted doctrine of standing in holy places?
  • Alma 31:22: Why would they consider their hearts "stolen away" by a doctrine of a future Christ?
  • Alma 31:22: Why would they deny the spirit of prophecy?
  • Alma 31:23-24: Why are we told that the Zoramites only spoke of God when gathered together to give thanks to him from their holy stand? Why is that important to know? What is there about this practice that might be considered "wicked" and "perverse"?
  • Alma 31:24: Why was Alma's heart grieved? What does it mean for him to grieve in his heart?
  • Alma 31:24: Here it seems like Alma is more upset with what he saw--the orientation of the hearts of the people--than with what he heard from their prayers. What is more wicked--their prayers or their focus on material goods?
  • Alma 31:25: What does it mean for a heart to be "lifted up unto great boasting"?
  • Alma 31:25: What is the connection between the pride, desire for riches, and prayers of the people?
  • Alma 31:26: Why are we told that Alma "lifted up his voice to heaven"? Does that just mean he prayed, or is this a specific type of prayer?
  • Alma 31:26: Why are the works of the Zoramites considered "gross wickedness"?
  • Alma 31:27: What does it mean to "cry" unto the Lord?
  • Alma 31:27: What is the problem with crying unto God while having pride or being "puffed up"?
  • Alma 31:27: What does it mean to be "puffed up, even to greatness"?
  • Alma 31:28: What is so wrong about wearing finery to call upon God?
  • Alma 31:28: What is the bigger problem--the "costly apparel" or the claim to being a "chosen people"? What is the connection between the two?
  • Alma 31:28: Where did this idea of being chosen, while others perish come from? Is this related to all of the destruction that happened in Alma 28? Were the Zoramites perhaps spared from destruction, while Nephites in other lands were slaughtered?
  • Alma 31:29: Why would the Zoramites claim revelation saying that there shall be no Christ?
  • Alma 31:30: What does Alma mean by "infidelity"?
  • Alma 31:30: Why should the Zoramites practices pain Alma's soul? Are they really all that different from various religious teachings we see in our modern day? Are we too accepting of religious differences?
  • Alma 31:35: Why are only "many of them ...our brethren" and not "all" of them?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapters 31-35                      Next page: Chapter 32

Alma 31:36-38

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 31-35 > Chapter 31
Previous page: Chapters 31-35                      Next page: Chapter 32


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 31-35. The relationship of Chapter 31 to the rest of Chapters 31-35 is discussed at Chapters 31-35.

Story. Chapter 31 consists of ___ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 31 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 31:4. The correspondence with the Lamanites which Alma and his brethren feared might come to pass, eventually did Alma 35:10; Alma 43:4, but the work they did influenced many Zoramites to the point that Zoram cast them out of his land to dwell with the Nephites in Jershon, see Alma 35:6.
  • Alma 31:16: Elected. Interestingly, this is the only passage in the Book of Mormon that uses any form of the word elect. The word chosen is used many times in the Book of Mormon in a way that seems very similar to the meaning of the word elected (cf. bachiyr in Hebrew and eklectos in Greek). The reason this word is used here, and only here in the Book of Mormon, might be related to the theological connotations the word had to Joseph Smith's ears at the time of translation when, for example, a Pauline doctrine of election might have been heavily discussed, though more research on this would have to be done to give this idea anything more than a purely speculative basis.
  • Alma 31:17: The same yesterday, today, and forever. It seems this is a true teaching that the Zoramites were familiar with (cf. 1 Ne 10:18; 2 Ne 2:4; 2 Ne 27:23), but had perhaps twisted to mean that, strictly and technically speaking, if God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then he would remain without a physical, bodily presence in this world. So this phrase seems to more closely link the idea in verse 15 that God is a spirit, and "wilt be forever," to their conclusion that there would be no Christ. However, this seems a bit inconsistent with the idea that God elected the Zoramites: if God is literally and technically taken to be the same yesterday, today, and forever, how can God elect a people who were split off from the Nephites? Is this election of a new people a new action on the part of God?

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 31:1: Why are we told that the Zoramites were "perverting" the ways of the Lord? In the last verse of chapter 30, we are told that Korihor had perverted the ways of the Lord. What connections are there between Korihor and the Zoramites? How were their perversions similar? How were they different?
  • Alma 31:1: Who is this Zoram that is the leader of the Zoramites? Is it the same military leader Zoram that we read about in Alma 16? If so, is there a connection between his military success and the pride of his followers?
  • Alma 31:1: Idols. Idols are mentioned here, but are not mentioned again in relation to the Zoramites. Why not? What is the point in mentioning the idols here?
  • Alma 31:1: What does it mean to "bow down" to idols?
  • Alma 31:1: Why are the idols referred to as "dumb"? Is there a connection between the "dumb" idols and Korihor who was stricken dumb?
  • Alma 31:2: Separation: cause or result? Was the Zoramites' separation a cause of their subsequent pride and apostacy, the result, or both? Why is Alma sorrowful about this separation? (Cf. the word dissenters in verse 8.)
  • Alma 31:3: What is the land Antionum? Is this land named after an original settler, as was mentioned previously as traditional Nephite practice? Or does the name have some other significance?
  • Alma 31:3: What is the significance of the geographical location of the Zoramites? What is important about their position between Lamanite lands and the Lamanite converts in the land of Jershon?
  • Alma 31:4: Double standard on correspondence/separation? Here the Nephites "feared that the Zoramites would enter into correspondence with the Lamanites." Why would this be a bad thing? In chapter 31 we read about the Zoramite rich separating themselves from the poor. It seems that implicitly the Nephites are doing the right thing in remaining separate from the Lamanites but the Zoramite rich are doing the wrong thing by separating themselves from the Zoramite poor. When is separation a good thing and when is it a bad thing?
  • Alma 31:5: The sword. What does the reference here to "the sword" mean here? Is it related to the "correspondence with the Lamanites" referred to in verse 4? How? What effect can the sword have "upon the minds of the people"? Are there episodes in Nephite history that illustrate this?
  • Alma 31:5: If these Zoramites are followers of the military hero Zoram mentioned in Alma 16, what would that say about how they might perceive the sword? Could the sword have had a tendency to lead them away from that which was just, as opposed to the word, which leads to righteousness? Is this whole episode with the Zoramites a warning of a potential pitfall of pride that comes from military success--of taking that success as a sign of chosen-ness?
  • Alma 31:6: Here we have the formation of a missionary "dream team" to go to the Zoramites. Is there any significance to the number (eight) of missionaries selected? Why do we never hear about the missionary work of Omner? Why was Himni left in Zarahemla? Why do we never hear any more about him? Why pull in the former Ammonihah residents Amulek and Zeezrom from the land of Melek?
  • Alma 31:7: Helaman later becomes the leader of the Church. Why didn't Alma take him on this big mission to the Zoramites?
  • Alma 31:7: What significance does the name Helaman have? Any connection to the Helaman who was the son of King Benjamin and uncle to the sons of Mosiah? Does this indicate that Alma may have married a daughter of that Helaman?
  • Alma 31:8: Therefore. If the Zoramites had not been dissenters, would the word of God not need to be preached? Is the focus here on the need that dissenters have for preaching or for the word of God?
  • Alma 31:9: But. The use of the contrasting word but seems a bit curious here since the previous verse has just described the Nephites as "dissenters," which seems a parallel idea to falling into error, not a contrasting idea. So it seems that the contrast is with the phrase in verse 8 "they had the word of God preached unto them." If this is correct, then the but here seems to underscore a separation between these two clauses in verse 8. Does this imply that the errors being described here occurred after the word of God was preached unto them? If not, what is going on here?
  • Alma 31:9: Observe to keep. In today's parlance, we typically talk of "observing the commandments" or "keeping the commandments," so this phrase incorporating both terms seems somewhat odd. What is the meaning and significance of this phrase?
  • Alma 31:9: Why might the Zoramites reject the law of Moses?
  • Alma 31:10: Why might the Zoramites reject the practice of daily prayer?
  • Alma 31:10: What is the importance of daily prayer? How can daily prayer help avoid temptation?
  • Alma 31:10: What does it mean to "enter into" temptation?
  • Alma 31:11: What does it mean to "pervert the ways of the Lord"? What is meant by "the ways of the Lord"? Does that just mean the teachings of how we are to relate to God? The gospel? Or something else?
  • Alma 31:12: What exactly did Alma and the others find so astonishing? The synagogues? Their prayers? The towers?
  • Alma 31:12: There seem to be more than one synagogue indicated here. How big was the land? How many Zoramites were there? Who exactly were these people who had followed Zoram?
  • Alma 31:12: What is meant here by synagogue? Why would that word be used in our English translation of the Book of Alma?
  • Alma 31:13: What is the nature of this prayer stand? Why would it be elevated "high above the head"? Why only room for one person on the top of the stand?
  • Alma 31:13: What did this synagogue look like, with a stand in the center? Where were the other worshipers during the prayers. Were they surrounding the stand in the middle? How did this work?
  • Alma 31:13: Did these synagogues have a ceiling? If so, how high was the ceiling? How big were these synagogues? Where did the labor and materials come from to build such apparently large buildings with tall ceilings?
  • Alma 31:14: Is there something wrong with raising the hands to heaven and addressing God in a loud voice?
  • Alma 31:15: Unlike Korihor, the Zoramites believe in God. What do they mean when they say they believe that God is holy?
  • Alma 31:15: What is the significance of the Zoramites believing God to be a spirit, and that he will "be a spirit forever"? Why would they emphasize this?
  • Alma 31:16: Why would the Zoramites believe that God had separated them from their "brethren"? Who do they mean by brethren--the other Nephites?
  • Alma 31:16: What do they mean by being separated? Geographically? Theologically?
  • Alma 31:16: What do the Zoramites mean when they claim that the tradition of their brethren "was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers"? Why the term "childishness"?
  • Alma 31:16: What do the Zoramites mean by their doctrine of election? What do they mean by "holy children" of God? Where did this doctrine come from? Is this a misreading of King Benjamin's sermon?
  • Alma 31:16: How could these people believe that God had manifested unto them that there should be no Christ?
  • Alma 31:17: Why would the Zoramites use a doctrine of unchangeableness to discount a doctrine of a Christ?
  • Alma 31:17: Where would the Zoramites get a doctrine of election to damnation in hell?
  • Alma 31:17: Why would the Zoramites consider belief in Christ to "bind them down" or to lead their hearts away from God?
  • Alma 31:18: Why don't the Zoramite prayers include any pleas, but only offerings of thanks? Is this a manifestation of their pride, that they don't think they need God in their daily lives?
  • Alma 31:19: For Alma and the others to hear these prayers, they would presumably have to be in a Zoramite worship service in a synagogue. Why might they attend such a service before trying to teach the people?
  • Alma 31:19: Why would these prayers astonish the missionaries "beyond all measure"? What is so astonishing about them?
  • Alma 31:20: Was it merely the rote nature of these prayers that caused the missionaries such astonishment?
  • Alma 31:20: When we are told that "every man" did offer the same prayers, is this deliberately gender specific? Were only men allowed on the prayer stand?
  • Alma 31:21: Rameumptom. Why bother giving us the name of this prayer stand? Why is it called holy? Is this some twisted doctrine of standing in holy places?
  • Alma 31:22: Why would they consider their hearts "stolen away" by a doctrine of a future Christ?
  • Alma 31:22: Why would they deny the spirit of prophecy?
  • Alma 31:23-24: Why are we told that the Zoramites only spoke of God when gathered together to give thanks to him from their holy stand? Why is that important to know? What is there about this practice that might be considered "wicked" and "perverse"?
  • Alma 31:24: Why was Alma's heart grieved? What does it mean for him to grieve in his heart?
  • Alma 31:24: Here it seems like Alma is more upset with what he saw--the orientation of the hearts of the people--than with what he heard from their prayers. What is more wicked--their prayers or their focus on material goods?
  • Alma 31:25: What does it mean for a heart to be "lifted up unto great boasting"?
  • Alma 31:25: What is the connection between the pride, desire for riches, and prayers of the people?
  • Alma 31:26: Why are we told that Alma "lifted up his voice to heaven"? Does that just mean he prayed, or is this a specific type of prayer?
  • Alma 31:26: Why are the works of the Zoramites considered "gross wickedness"?
  • Alma 31:27: What does it mean to "cry" unto the Lord?
  • Alma 31:27: What is the problem with crying unto God while having pride or being "puffed up"?
  • Alma 31:27: What does it mean to be "puffed up, even to greatness"?
  • Alma 31:28: What is so wrong about wearing finery to call upon God?
  • Alma 31:28: What is the bigger problem--the "costly apparel" or the claim to being a "chosen people"? What is the connection between the two?
  • Alma 31:28: Where did this idea of being chosen, while others perish come from? Is this related to all of the destruction that happened in Alma 28? Were the Zoramites perhaps spared from destruction, while Nephites in other lands were slaughtered?
  • Alma 31:29: Why would the Zoramites claim revelation saying that there shall be no Christ?
  • Alma 31:30: What does Alma mean by "infidelity"?
  • Alma 31:30: Why should the Zoramites practices pain Alma's soul? Are they really all that different from various religious teachings we see in our modern day? Are we too accepting of religious differences?
  • Alma 31:35: Why are only "many of them ...our brethren" and not "all" of them?

Resources[edit]

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Notes[edit]

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