Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2008, November 14

Book of Mormon: Nephi, Judges, and Irony in Helaman 8, 9

Book of Mormon: Nephi, Judges, and Irony in Helaman 8, 9
by grego

In Helaman, the judges are trying their best to put that troublesome prophet Nephi away, so they:

Helaman 9:19 …caused that Nephi should be taken and bound and brought before the multitude, and they began to question him in divers ways that they might cross him, that they might accuse him to death–
Helaman 9:20 Saying unto him: Thou art confederate; who is this man that hath done this murder? Now tell us, and acknowledge thy fault; saying, Behold here is money; and also we will grant unto thee thy life if thou wilt tell us, and acknowledge the agreement which thou hast made with him.

In other words: “You agreed with someone; who committed the murder?; tell us; say you did it.”

So, Nephi answers all their questions and demands:
*Who committed the murder: Helaman 9:34 And then shall ye say: Because of this fear and this paleness which has come upon your face, behold, we know that thou art guilty.
Helaman 9:35 And then shall greater fear come upon him; and then shall he confess unto you, and deny no more that he has done this murder.

*His part in the murder: Helaman 9:26 Behold I say unto you: Go to the house of Seantum, who is the brother of Seezoram, and say unto him–
Helaman 9:27 Has Nephi, the pretended prophet, who doth prophesy so much evil concerning this people, agreed with thee, in the which ye have murdered Seezoram, who is your brother?
Helaman 9:28 And behold, he shall say unto you, Nay.

*And acknowledges his participation (or lack thereof) in the matter: Helaman 9:36 And then shall he say unto you, that I, Nephi, know nothing concerning the matter save it were given unto me by the power of God. And then shall ye know that I am an honest man, and that I am sent unto you from God.

So Nephi proves that he is innocent by answering their questions as asked—which was *not* the purpose of their asking those questions, and not what they wanted to hear…

And the really ironic part?

The judges weren’t very bright. Somehow, they had all forgotten that Nephi *had* already told them who did it:
Helaman 8:27 Yea, behold it is now even at your doors; yea, go ye in unto the judgment-seat, and search; and behold, your judge is murdered, and he lieth in his blood; and he hath been murdered by his brother, who seeketh to sit in the judgment-seat.

Now, a smart judge would have colluded with the (chief) judge’s brother, and set Nephi up. Luckily, these judges weren’t up to it.

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2008, July 11

Book of Mormon: Korihor: Literary Devices 6: Irony

Book of Mormon: Korihor: Literary Devices 6: Irony

Korihor ironically got the same treatment that he accused the priests/ teachers of giving to the people:

Alma 30:23 Now the high priest’s name was Giddonah. And Korihor said unto him: Because I do not teach the foolish traditions of your fathers, and because I do not teach this people to *bind themselves down* under the foolish ordinances and performances which are laid down by ancient priests, to *usurp power and authority over them*, to keep them in ignorance, that they may *not lift up their heads*, but *be brought down according to thy words*.

Alma 30:24 Ye say that this people is a free people. Behold, I say *they are in bondage*. Ye say that those ancient prophecies are true. Behold, I say that ye do not know that they are true.

Like this:
Alma 30:20 But behold they were more wise than many of the Nephites; for they took him, and *bound him*, and *carried him* before Ammon, who was a high priest over that people.

Alma 30:21 And it came to pass that he caused that he should be *carried out* of the land. And he came over into the land of Gideon, and began to preach unto them also; and here he did not have much success, for he was taken and *bound and carried* before the high priest, and also the chief judge over the land.

Alma 30:29 Now when the high priest and the chief judge saw the hardness of his heart, yea, when they saw that he would revile even against God, they would not make any reply to his words; but they caused that he should be *bound*; and they delivered him up into the hands of the officers, and *sent* him to the land of Zarahemla, that he might be *brought before Alma (the high priest)*, and the chief judge who was governor over all the land.

Alma 30:59 And it came to pass that as he went forth among the people, yea, among a people who had separated themselves from the Nephites and called themselves Zoramites, being led by a man whose name was Zoram–and as he went forth amongst them, behold, he was run upon and *trodden down*, even until he was dead.

Alma 30:60 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.

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2008, July 10

Book of Mormon: Korihor: Literary Devices 4: Imagery and Irony

Book of Mormon: Korihor: Literary Devices 4: Imagery and Irony


Korihor accused the priests of glutting themselves on the work of the people, etc. Alma says that Korihor knew that Alma and the others in the church hadn’t. So how, whence would this accusation arise? Why would Korihor accuse the priests of that? I think it was with the law of Moses and the offerings that the priests ate according to the law. (I wonder if these priests were different than the priests that functioned as teachers in the church, and that is why Alma separated the accusation.)

Interestingly, seemingly out of place in the same chapter, just a little before the Korihor part, we find this:
Alma 30:3 Yea, and the people did observe to keep the commandments of the Lord; and they were strict in observing the ordinances of God, according to the law of Moses; for they were taught to keep the law of Moses until it should be fulfilled.


Interestingly, Korihor uses wonderful animal imagery in his preaching, and it also shows up in the commentary and in the manner of Korihor’s death. He uses it to connect the similarity between the animals that the priests are sacrificing and glutting off the labors of the people with, and the people who believe.

Korihor spoke to the people about their being yoked and led, looking down and being submissive, being foolish, being worked to support the priests/ teachers:

Alma 30:13 O ye that are *bound* down under a foolish and a vain hope, why do ye *yoke yourselves* with such foolish things? Why do ye look for a Christ? For no man can know of anything which is to come.

Alma 30:16 Ye look forward and say that ye see a remission of your sins. But behold, it is the effect of a *frenzied mind*; and this *derangement of your minds* comes because of the traditions of your fathers, which *lead* you away into a belief of things which are not so.

Alma 30:27 And thus ye *lead away this people* after the foolish traditions of your fathers, and according to your own desires; and ye *keep them down*, even as it were *in bondage*, that ye may *glut yourselves with the labors of their hands*, that they *durst not look up with boldness*, and that they *durst not enjoy their rights and privileges*.

Alma 30:28 Yea, they *durst not make use of that which is their own* lest they should offend their priests, who do *yoke them* according to their desires, and have *brought them* to believe, by their traditions and their dreams and their whims and their visions and their pretended mysteries, that they should, if they did not do according to their words, offend some unknown being, who they say is God–a being who never has been seen or known, who never was nor ever will be.

Alma 30:31 And he did rise up in great swelling words before Alma, and did revile against the priests and teachers, accusing them of *leading away the people* after the silly traditions of their fathers, for the sake of *glutting on the labors of the people*.

In other words, he accused the people of being like the dumb (double entendre intended) animals they were sacrificing (according to the law of Moses), and the priests were like the owners, yoking them, leading them, keeping them domesticated and docile, and using them to perform labors they didn’t want/ couldn’t do themselves. Was Korihor preaching “be your own animal”–wild, free, etc.?

The commentary in Alma 30 says:

Alma 30:18 And thus he did preach unto them, *leading away the hearts of many*, *causing them to lift up their heads* in their wickedness, yea, leading away many women, and also men, to commit whoredoms–telling them that when a man was dead, that was the end thereof.

Alma use the same imagery with Korihor, but now it’s either Korihor is the false shepherd leading the people to spiritual slaughter, or it’s Korihor the animal led by his master, Satan.

Alma 30:42 Behold, I know that thou believest, but thou art 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*, and *he doth carry you about*, working devices that he may destroy the children of God.

Alma 30:45 And yet do ye go about, *leading away the hearts of this people*, testifying unto them there is no God? …

And Korihor even continues the imagery (having an eery familiarity with Isaiah and his sheep):
Alma 30:53 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. And he said unto me: There is no God; yea, and he taught me that which I should say. 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; and for this cause I *withstood* the truth, even until I have *brought* this great curse *upon* me.

And there at the end, Korihor admits that he, like an ornery mule, disobeyed his master.

But Korihor is like an old dog that won’t learn new tricks:

Alma 30:54 Now when he had said this, he besought that Alma should pray unto God, that the curse might be taken from him.

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.

It is now Korihor who suffers his accusatory preaching, like a domesticated animal that refuses his master, bites the hand the feeds him, and goes wild:

Alma 30:56
And it came to pass that the curse was not taken off of Korihor; but he was *cast out*, and went about from house to house *begging for his food*.

And is it perhaps dumb animals that trod him down, and kill him? Docile, easily yoked ones like the people he preached against; or the type that he was?

Alma 30:59
And it came to pass that as he went forth among the people, yea, among a people who had separated themselves from the Nephites and called themselves Zoramites, being led by a man whose name was Zoram–and as he went forth amongst them, behold, he was *run upon* and *trodden down*, even until he was dead.

Alma 30:60
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*.

Ahhh, no pasture for Korihor–looks like it’s straight to the slaughterhouse…

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