Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2011, May 17

“Book of Mormon: Alma 31-35: Are the Zoramites a Nephite Version of the Pharisees?” by grego

Book of Mormon: Alma 31-35: Are the Zoramites a Nephite Version of the Pharisees?


I used to think that the Zoramites were a type of Calvinists or such, with a few differences, adn that is what most anti-Mormons try to prove: that Joseph Smith stuck this in the Book of Mormon as a type of thrust against foreordained-to-salvation religions.

The more I keep reviewing these chapters, however, the more I am impressed that the Zoramites—especially the priests—are more similar to the Pharisees in Jerusalem. That seemed weird at first, but in retrospect, it shouldn’t. I wished I could bring a lot more to the topic, and perhaps with lots and lots of research I could, but… I believe that just the instances of the Pharisees in the Bible, and the comments about the Jews at the time of Jesus in the Book of Mormon and elsewhere, show more than enough to get it started.

[Jesus was not against the law of Moses, nor “Judaism”, nor the believing Jews; He was against the leaders of the religion who had corrupted it (not that that had never happened before—which the Pharisees themselves testified of) and would leave it corrupted for about 2,000 years, until He would come again; at which time, the teachings and influence of the Pharisees would disappear in an instant, and reunion and reconciliation between the Lord and the Jews would occur.]

So, let’s look at the Zoramites:
–they originally had the truth, but left it.
–they worshiped idols.
–they stopped obeying the law of Moses.
–they didn’t follow the church.
–gather in the synagogues to pray an egotistical rote prayer in a proud place (“the holy stand”).
–pray to be heard of men.
–they don’t pray or have faith, or any personal relationship with God; no revelation.
–separated from the wicked because they (Zoramites) are righteous.
–(righteous because?) they are elected/ chosen by God; a holy people.
–no belief in Christ, the Condescension, repentance, humility, etc.
–the truth is “childishness”, “foolish traditions”.
–Christ leads away from God, not towards.
–hearts set on riches, honors of men.
–infidelity, adultery/ fornication.
–looked down on the poor; the priests especially.
–used the poor for their own means.
–used religion for non-religious purposes/ for “craft”.
–religious and secular leaders and judgments were the same.
–can’t let go, even when it’s over.

What happens when the holy, righteous, elected people become poor? They become unholy, unrighteous, and unelected; kicked out of the synagogues; and retribution is sought if they actually repent and turn to the truth!

Interestingly, in a great teaching session proving that the law of Moses and the church are necessary for salvation because of Jesus Christ and His atonement, it’s interesting that Alma and Amulek use two not-in-the-Old-Testament and unknown-to-present-day-people “Old Testament” prophets (Zenos and Zenock), and then Moses, to support the atonement of the son of God, Jesus Christ.

(I don’t wonder that if certain people were trying to “rewrite” the Old Testament, it would have been easier just to leave these two clear prophets out than to try to delete a few parts, etc.)

Supporting verses:
Alma 31:
1 …the Zoramites were perverting the ways of the Lord, and that Zoram, who was their leader, was leading the hearts of the people to bow down to dumb idols…
8 Now the Zoramites were dissenters from the Nephites; therefore they had had the word of God preached unto them.
9 …they would not observe to keep the commandments of God, and his statutes, according to the law of Moses.
10 Neither would they observe the performances of the church, to continue in prayer and supplication to God daily, that they might not enter into temptation.
11 Yea, in fine, they did pervert the ways of the Lord in very many instances…
12 …the Zoramites had built synagogues, and that they did gather themselves together on one day of the week, which day they did call the day of the Lord…
13 For they had a place built up in the center of their synagogue, a place for standing, which was high above the head; and the top thereof would only admit one person.
14 Therefore, whosoever desired to worship must go forth and stand upon the top thereof, and stretch forth his hands towards heaven, and cry with a loud voice, saying:
15 Holy, holy God; we believe that thou art God, and we believe that thou art holy, and that thou wast a spirit, and that thou art a spirit, and that thou wilt be a spirit forever.
16 Holy God, we believe that thou hast separated us from our brethren; and we do not believe in the tradition of our brethren, which was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers; but we believe that thou hast elected us to be thy holy children; and also thou hast made it known unto us that there shall be no Christ.
17 But thou art the same yesterday, today, and forever; and thou hast elected us that we shall be saved, whilst all around us are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell; for the which holiness, O God, we thank thee; and we also thank thee that thou hast elected us, that we may not be led away after the foolish traditions of our brethren, which doth bind them down to a belief of Christ, which doth lead their hearts to wander far from thee, our God.
18 And again we thank thee, O God, that we are a chosen and a holy people. Amen.
20 For behold, every man did go forth and offer up these same prayers.
21 Now the place was called …the holy stand.
22 Now, from this stand they did offer up, every man, the selfsame prayer unto God, thanking their God that they were chosen of him, and that he did not lead them away after the tradition of their brethren, and that their hearts were not stolen away to believe in things to come, which they knew nothing about.
23 Now, after the people had all offered up thanks after this manner, they returned to their homes, never speaking of their God again until they had assembled themselves together again to the holy stand…
24 Now when Alma saw this his heart was grieved; for he saw that they were a wicked and a perverse people; yea, he saw that their hearts were set upon gold, and upon silver, and upon all manner of fine goods.
25 Yea, and he also saw that their hearts were lifted up unto great boasting, in their pride.
26 And he lifted up his voice to heaven, and cried, saying: O, how long, O Lord, wilt thou suffer that thy servants shall dwell here below in the flesh, to behold such gross wickedness…?
27 Behold, O God, they cry unto thee, and yet their hearts are swallowed up in their pride. Behold, O God, they cry unto thee with their mouths, while they are puffed up, even to greatness, with the vain things of the world.
28 Behold, O my God, their costly apparel, and their ringlets, and their bracelets, and their ornaments of gold, and all their precious things which they are ornamented with; and behold, their hearts are set upon them, and yet they cry unto thee and say—We thank thee, O God, for we are a chosen people unto thee, while others shall perish.
29 Yea, and they say that thou hast made it known unto them that there shall be no Christ.
30 O Lord God, how long wilt thou suffer that such wickedness and infidelity shall be among this people?…
31 … O Lord, wilt thou grant unto me that I may have strength, that I may suffer with patience these afflictions which shall come upon me, because of the iniquity of this people.

Alma 32:2 …the poor class of people; for behold, they were cast out of the synagogues because of the coarseness of their apparel—
3 Therefore they were not permitted to enter into their synagogues to worship God, being esteemed as filthiness; therefore they were poor; yea, they were esteemed by their brethren as dross; therefore they were poor as to things of the world; and also they were poor in heart.
5 And they came unto Alma; and the one who was the foremost among them said unto him: Behold, what shall these my brethren do, for they are despised of all men because of their poverty, yea, and more especially by our priests; for they have cast us out of our synagogues which we have labored abundantly to build with our own hands; and they have cast us out because of our exceeding poverty; and we have no place to worship our God; and behold, what shall we do?

Alma 35:3 And it came to pass that after the more popular part of the Zoramites had consulted together concerning the words which had been preached unto them, they were angry because of the word, for it did destroy their craft; therefore they would not hearken unto the words.
4 And they sent and gathered together throughout all the land all the people, and consulted with them concerning the words which had been spoken.
5 Now their rulers and their priests and their teachers did not let the people know concerning their desires; therefore they found out privily the minds of all the people.
6 And it came to pass that after they had found out the minds of all the people, those who were in favor of the words which had been spoken by Alma and his brethren were cast out of the land…
8 Now the people of the Zoramites were angry with the people of Ammon who were in Jershon, and the chief ruler of the Zoramites, being a very wicked man, sent over unto the people of Ammon desiring them that they should cast out of their land all those who came over from them into their land.
9 And he breathed out many threatenings against them. And now the people of Ammon did not fear their words; therefore they did not cast them out, but they did [help them]…
10 Now this did stir up the Zoramites to anger against the people of Ammon, and they began to mix with the Lamanites and to stir them up also to anger against them.
11 And thus the Zoramites and the Lamanites began to make preparations for war against the people of Ammon, and also against the Nephites.


  1. Good points. I would add that the Zoramites reaction to their poor being received by others and provided for was much the same as the Pharisees’ reaction when Jesus received sinners–outrage and murmuring. The Zoramites took it one further though; they issued threats, joined the enemy, and went to war.

    Comment by Michaela Stephens — 2011, May 17 @ 3:14 pm

  2. Yes! Thanks for adding and filling out what I leave out or don’t develop–it adds much to the content, especially with what people read.

    Comment by grego — 2011, May 18 @ 2:05 pm

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