Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

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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