Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2008, July 14

Book of Mormon: Korihor–Struck Dumb, and…?

Book of Mormon: Korihor–Struck Dumb, and…?

(c) 2008

I always wondered about Korihor–struck dumb, and couldn’t talk. I could get that, but I couldn’t get what that would have to do with his begging from house to house for food, just because he couldn’t talk. And I couldn’t understand why a person could be trampled to death because he couldn’t talk.

Last night I realized, maybe it wasn’t *just* that he couldn’t talk.

Korihor had been preaching, had great success, was on top of the world, got arrested and thrown out of a land, got arrested and had “pre-trial interview” or such; got arrested and went to trial, got strongly challenged, wouldn’t repent, and finally… at the end, was struck dumb. (Sherem follows a loosely similar course.) He later had to go house to house begging for food, and was then trampled to death.

Of course it’s very possible that God’s miracle was a pure miracle, such as just making Korihor’s vocal chords disappear, for example. Just that God often uses natural ways to accomplish his work and miracles, too. What could be the loss of speech? I consider two possibilities.

Neurological disorders come on because of trauma/ heavy stress, some of which are autoimmune disorders; some can strike quickly and be extremely debilitating. I’ve known people who go to bed fine, and wake up somewhat paralyzed, more or less. (Then there’s also stroke, though I don’t know how well it fits here.) It also manifests in paralysis, shaking, loss of control, numbness, extreme fatigue, etc.

Another possibility would be a stroke. Research suggests that strokes are helped set off by anger/ stress/ emotion a short time before they happen:

“The study found that people who had strokes were more likely to have experienced anger or negative emotions in the two hours prior to the stroke than at the same time the day before the stroke. They were also more likely to have reacted quickly to a startling event, such as getting out of bed suddenly after hearing a grandchild fall down and cry or standing up from a chair quickly after hearing an unexpected loud noise…”
“Approximately 30 percent of patients reported exposure to anger, negative emotions such as fear, irritability, or nervousness, or sudden changes in body position in response to a startling event during the two hours before the stroke. According to the study, exposure to a potential trigger could increase the risk of stroke by as much as 14 times during the two-hour period immediately following exposure.”
(Source: American Academy Of Neurology Date: December 21, 2004)

Korihor had quite a few triggers going off, too. He had a reputation to uphold. He been going on most excitedly and vehemently for a while before it happened, especially with Alma, who was the epitome of “enemy” for him. And he knew he was deliberately lying and being hypocritical, when Alma then showed that Korihor was falsely accusing the priests. Korihor might have felt angry about losing the case and kept digging a bigger and bigger hole. I imagine he must have been thinking about receiving punishment for his crimes and the effect it would have had on his future as a preacher. All that could add up to a whole lot of stress.

I imagine that Korihor could have had something like that happen; that the “dumb” part was particularly mentioned as the religious-connected part of the whole sickness, and that Korihor couldn’t work/ had to beg because of the sickness, and was trampled because of not being able to get out of the way because of the sickness.

If it was just being dumb, why didn’t Korihor work instead of beg? Surely he depended on his voice for his sustenance: no voice, no work, no pay. But would picking up a new work have been so difficult? Notwithstanding Korihor was a criminal and the stigma of hiring or doing business with one, note that there were always unbelievers among the Nephites, and Korihor could have always gone over to the Lamanites to work instead of beg. Without a voice, he still could have done work such as: swing a hammer, pick, or ax; pick grapes or melons; garden; tend flocks; all kinds of work that doesn’t require (much) speaking.

Then there’s writing (we know he wrote, as he answered the chief judge in writing), so he could have done copy work, maybe a short detective novel or such. That’s the part that set up a more plausible answer to the situation for me.

Yet, he begs. And begging would have been a much bigger blow to the ego and his reputation than anything else, so I’m sure he would have avoided at all cost, if possible.

It’s possible that Korihor was deaf, too, not just dumb, as the chief judge writes to him. Alma talks to Korihor after the curse, so his hearing might have been fine:
Alma 30:55 But Alma said unto him: If this curse should be taken from thee thou wouldst again lead away the hearts of this people; therefore, it shall be unto thee even as the Lord will.

So what other reason might the judge have been writing to him instead of speaking? It could also be that the chief judge was writing a record or the result of the case and his decision, and/ or getting/ taking a written confession.

And what trampled Korihor, sheep, pigs…?? Ok, I know it could have been something bigger and faster and more dangerous, maybe tapirs or such, but I always wondered about that trampling part, too–it seems a little strange to have to worry about oxen running through the city or so. However, were Korihor sick with a neurological disorder or stroke, one misstep and even sheep or pigs could have done it.

It would have been true poetic justice to a man that preached:
Alma 30:17 “… every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength; and whatsoever a man did was no crime.”

Extreme poetic justice–not just struck dumb, but incapacitated, unable to manage his creature; little genius, little strength; not able to do anything except beg. Dragging himself around, one shaky step every five seconds, falling down and having to get up without help, trying to hold his bowl without spilling the food/ drink, seeing the herd running at him, caught in the middle of the road; getting flattened and not being able to do anything about it, not being able to roll out of the way; etc.

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