In today’s post, I’ll focus on Korihor’s motives and end results from his pact with the devil. Korihor, with all his false doctrines, goes to the land of Jershon, where the Lamanite refugees are living. These people didn’t put up with his falsehoods or tempt themselves by listening to him and letting him manipulate them with words. Remember, they had buried their weapons of rebellion deep in the earth. So, these shallow doctrines don’t deceive them. They believe wholeheartedly in Christ, their Redeemer.
…they were more wise than many of the Nephites; for they took him [Korihor]and bound him, and carried him before Ammon, who was a high priest over that people.”Alma 30:20
Ammon sends him out of the land.
Korihor next preaches to the people in Gideon, but they take him to stand before their chief judge as well, who is named Giddonah. He asks him:
Why do ye go about perverting the ways of the Lord? Why do ye teach this people that there shall be no Christ, to interrupt their rejoicings? Why do ye speak against all the prophecies of the holy prophets?”Alma 30:22
Korihor goes on a blaspheming rant, spewing “great swelling words” (31) and lies that he knows aren’t true, as we will soon see. He is bullying the people to convince them to follow him. He has the Anything Goes mentality we learned about in the last post. Those who subscribe to that philosophy don’t distinguish between truth and error. They use whatever truth or error suits them at the moment to get what they want.
He is eventually taken before the chief judge and high priest of all Nephite lands, Alma. After listening to Korihor rant about how their leaders have bound the people down under the doctrine of Christ to glut themselves on the common man’s labor, Alma gives a rebuttal.
Thou knowest that we do not glut ourselves upon the labor of this people, for behold I have labored even from the commencement of the reign of the judges until now, with mine own hands for my support, not withstanding my many travels round about the land to declare the word of God unto my people.Alma 30:32
Alma asks Korihor if he will deny God. And Korihor answers in the affirmative, that there is no God. Alma gives him this testimony:
And now what evidence have ye that there is no God, or that Christ cometh not? I say unto you that ye have none, save it be your word only.
But behold, I have ALL things as a testimony that these things are true; and ye also have all things as a testimony unto you that they are true; and will ye deny them? Believest thou that these things are true?Alma 30:40-41
Alma is trying to give Korihor the key to repentance and enhanced spiritual vision. He points out that there are witnesses of God’s existence, power, and mercy all over in the world, if we will just open our eyes to see them. All things we see are a testimony of God’s love for us.
Do I open my eyes to see all the blessings God has given to me each day?
Alma knows that Korihor believes these things, but is “possessed with a lying spirit, and ye have put off the Spirit of God that it may have no place in you; but the devil has power over you…” (42)
What a sad state to be in. Do I ever put off the Spirit of God, making room for the devil to influence my life?
If so, there is a quick remedy. Repentance—turning to the Lord Jesus Christ and relying on His tender mercies.
But Korihor doesn’t do this. His stubborn pride makes him demand a sign from God to convince him that Alma’s words are true. This is always a dangerous thing to do.
The faithful never demand signs from God. But rebels often do, saying they will only believe AFTER seeing a sign.
God doesn’t work that way though. He is a God of miracles, but good miracles come AFTER a show of faith. Bad miracles, like what is going to happen to Korihor soon, happen to those with no faith, but who still demand things of God, as if they are His master.
Alma says: “Thou hast had signs enough (the testimony he has heard that day along with that of all the holy prophets); will ye tempt your God?” (44)
…The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even all the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.Alma 30:44
This time, Alma spells out the witnesses, since Korihor can’t see them for himself. He also gives him another chance to humble himself, asking if he still demands a sign after all the evidences before him.
Prideful Korihor answers: “Yea, I will deny, except ye shall show me a sign.” (45)
This grieves Alma that Korihor keeps resisting the spirit of truth, that his “soul may be destroyed.” (46)
So many warnings
One last time, Alma gives Korihor the chance to back out of his wicked demand, even telling him what the sign will be—
God shall smite thee, that thou shalt never open thy mouth any more, that thou shalt not deceive this people any more.”Alma 40:47
Still, Korihor refuses to withdraw his demand. “Except ye show me a sign, I will not believe.” (48)
Korihor has been given multiple chances to change his ways and humble himself before God. Even if he hadn’t humbled himself, he could have still withdrawn his request for a sign and gone away unharmed, especially since Alma has already told him what that sign will be.
But, Korihor resists the Spirit clear to the bitter end. And so the heavenly drumroll begins…
And in the name of God, Alma strikes this evil man dumb, as he had warned.
After this miracle takes place, the chief judge asks Korihor if he believes now. He says,
In whom did ye desire that Alma would show unto thee a sign? Would ye that he should afflict others, to show unto thee a sign?”Alma 30:51
The subtlety of Satan
Korihor writes that he does believe. Then he gives insight into how the devil works and treats his subjects.
But behold, the devil hath deceived me; for he appeared unto me in the form of an angel, and said unto me: Go and reclaim this people, for they have all gone astray after an unknown God.Alma 30:53
The devil will tempt us to have jurisdiction where we have none. Korihor didn’t have authority to receive revelation for others, besides himself and his family (if he had one). Yet, the devil flattered him that he was wiser than everyone else and needed to save them.
The devil loves to flatter our pride.
And he said unto me: There is no God; yea, and he taught me that which I should say.Alma 30:53
The devil is very convincing. He even gave Korihor the flattering words he needed to build himself up in the eyes of men, that he could gain power over them and recruit many followers.
That is not courage.
Courage takes strength to be mocked, unfriended, ridiculed and persecuted and STILL stay true to our convictions.
Pleasing to the mind
And I have taught his words; and I taught them because they were pleasing unto the carnal mind; and I taught them, even until I had much success, insomuch that I verily believed that they were true;Alma 30:53
This is scary. It shows that when we follow Satan, at first we might know his path is wrong, but after a while, those flattering, pleasing worldly doctrines become easy to accept and come to believe, as if we had believed them all our life. Indeed, like Korihor, we start to believe they are true, wiping out all our spiritual history beforehand.
…and for this cause I withstood the truth, even until I have brought this great curse upon me.”Alma 30:53
The devil is subtle in how he traps us. He uses small steps, small deviations at first, until we bring God’s curses upon us eventually. This pleases the devil, because he is the biggest HATER the world has ever known and seeks only for our misery.
Don’t be deceived or flattered away by him!
That’s why the Book of Mormon is such a treasure. It sheds light on the devil’s evil plans and helps us discern truth from error, so we won’t be deceived and led away.
Reaping what you sow
Korihor asks that the curse be lifted, but Alma says if it was, he would again fall back into his wicked ways. Nevertheless, he says let God’s will be done.
And the curse isn’t lifted. God’s will is made manifest.
The devil had too strong a hold on him, or Korihor had not an ounce of humility to lead to a softening of his heart. He’s just upset that he can’t speak anymore.
Korihor goes from being a popular preacher with tons of followers to being “cast out, and went about from house to house begging for his food.” (56)
The chief judge proclaims the wickedness and deceit of Korihor, and those who believed him repent. And Korihor’s evil hold on the people comes to an abrupt end.
Korihor goes about begging until he lands himself among the Zoramites, who are separate and more hardened than the Nephites. And “he was run upon and trodden down, even until he was dead.” (59)
Mormon inserts his wisdom and sober insight for us to learn from.
And thus we see the end of him who perverteth the ways of the Lord; and thus we see that the devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell.”Alma 30:60
This chapter shows in sharp, painful detail what the end results are for those who make a pact with the devil. It never works out good for anyone but the devil.