The Lord Redeems His Covenant Children
Alma 1 -- Alma 44
Alma 30:2 After the Days of Fasting, and Mourning, and Prayer:
[See the commentary on 1 Nephi 16:35]
Alma 30:2 There Began to Be Continual Peace:
Alma reports that "in the sixteenth year of the reign of the judges . . . there began to be continual peace throughout all the land (Alma 30:2). Yet, the reader will soon find that there were "wars between the Nephites and the Lamanites in the eighteenth year" (Alma 43:4), a difference of only two years. One might wonder how two years could be considered "continual peace." Matthew Roper notes that here the Book of Mormon, just like the Bible, uses the term "continual peace" to specify an uninterrupted duration of time (in this instance, uninterrupted by strife and conflict). A similar use of the term "continual[ly]" can be found in Genesis where the flood waters "returned from off the earth continually" (for 150 days) and "decreased continually until the tenth month" (Genesis 8:3, 5). [Matthew Roper, Book Review in Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 4 1992, p. 90]
Alma 30:2 There Began to Be Continual Peace:
According to Brant Gardner, the phrase "continual peace" is characteristic of Mormon's abridgment, and is not found in the small plates material. While the general meaning is obvious, the duration of "continual" changes dramatically. For instance, in Mosiah 19:29, Limhi has "continual peace" for only two years. Here we have continual peace assigned to the sixteenth year, and then assigned to the seventeenth year. Therefore we might assume that "continual peace" applies to year periods and it is used when there is a lack of armed battle, or of internal contention. One should note that there will be two years of peace, and the next event that Mormon will list that disturbs that peace is the arrival of Korihor. For Mormon, Korihor appears to be a disruption of peace just as was a war. [Brant Gardner, Book of Mormon Commentary, http://www.highfiber.com/~nahualli/LDStopics/Alma/Alma30.htm, p. 3]
Alma 30:3 They Were Strict in Observing the Ordinances of God, according to the Law of Moses:
According to John Welch, the Nephites "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" (Alma 30:3). This statement draws special attention to the fact that the Nephites kept not only the commandments (the general ethical portions of the law, such as the Ten Commandments), but that they also observed "the ordinances of God." Most likely those "ordinances" were the "outward performances" of the laws of Moses, for on several occasions the writers of the Book of Mormon coupled the words "performances and ordinances" (2 Nephi 25:30; Mosiah 13:30; Alma 30:23; 4 Nephi 1:12), and those authors used these two words together to mean the "outward performances" of the law of Moses (Alma 25:15). Those ordinances were evidently the sacrifices and offerings that looked forward to and were fulfilled by and in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, for after the coming of Christ, the record states that the Nephites "did not walk any more after the performances and ordinances of the laws of Moses; but they did walk after the commandments" given by the Lord (4 Nephi 1:12). Thus, Welch concludes that the word "ordinances"120 in Alma 30:3 refers principally to the rules of blood sacrifices and burnt offerings that were expressly overruled by Jesus when he spoke from heaven in 3 Nephi 9:19. [John W. Welch, "The Temple in the Book of Mormon," in Temples of the Ancient World, pp. 304-305]
Alma 30:4 The People Did Have No Disturbance in the Sixteenth Year . . . And It Came to Pass in the Commencement of the Seventeenth Year:
According to Brant Gardner, it is interesting that Mormon makes note of a year in which there seems to be nothing worthy of abridging. He states, "the people did have no disturbance in the sixteenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi. And it came to pass that in the commencement of the seventeenth year of the reign of the judges, there was continual peace. As far as Mormon's use of these yearly chronicles is concerned, it is worthy of note that such a yearly scheme is known from the textual Anales de Cuauhtitlan, as well as being clearly indicated by the structure of the various Mesoamerican codices. Moreover, the Anales de Cuauhtitlan gives years during which nothing is recorded. Thus even in the absence of information, Mormon appears to be following a scheme that is known from at least one Mesoamerican historical document. [Brant Gardner, Book of Mormon Commentary, http://www.highfiber.com/~nahualli/LDStopics/Alma/Alma30.htm, p. 4]
Alma 30:6 There Came a Man [Korihor] into the Land of Zarahemla, and He Was Anti-Christ:
LaMar Garrard asks, Why would the Lord direct Mormon to devote an entire chapter to the details of the teachings and final destiny of Korihor when so many other things were written on the original plates? As we compare the teachings of this man and the beliefs of those today who advocate the philosophy of naturalism, we see a striking similarity. I believe that the Lord foresaw the adverse effects of naturalism on our modern world and therefore purposely directed Mormon to include the teachings of Korihor in his record.
Bertrand Russell was a renowned mathematician and philosopher who advocated the naturalistic viewpoint. He said the following:
Out of the work of the great men of the seventeenth century a new outlook on the world was developed . . . I think there were three ingredients in the scientific outlook of the eighteenth century that were specially important:
(1) Statements of fact should be based on observation, not on unsupported authority.
(2) The inanimate world is a self-acting, self-perpetuating system, in which all changes conform to natural laws.
(3) The earth is not the center of the universe, and probably Man is not its purpose (if any); moreover, "purpose" is a concept which is scientifically useless.121
People advocate the philosophy of naturalism (whether they realize it or not) when they no longer regard these statements as restricted outlooks to be taken only in scientific endeavors but shift to the following positions: (1) knowledge cannot be gained by any other means than by the use of the natural senses, (2) the universe is really an inanimate self-acting and self-perpetuating system, and (3) there is no real purpose in the existence of the universe.122
Korihor took the naturalistic viewpoint. He advocated that what the prophets say and have said (their recorded words, or scriptures) are foolish traditions since we cannot know of anything that does not come through the natural senses (things we cannot see). (see Alma 30:13-15)
Belief in a self-acting, self-perpetuating system in which all changes conform to natural law eliminates a belief that God has any power to direct or control matter. Yet Joseph Smith and the scriptures indicated that when God comands the elements, they obey his will. (Abraham 2:7; Moses 1:25; Helaman 12:7-17; D&C 133:23; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 197-98).123 Instead of believing that God is the author of all natural law and therefore ultimately controls all phenomena in the physical universe (theism), the naturalist believes that self-existing "Law" is the sovereign power in the universe and ultimately controls all phenomena." According to this view, all causation is material (according to natural law) rather than mental (originating in the mind of god or some other living creature). However, to Alma, God was not just a super scientist or super engineer who discovered and worked with self-existing natural laws; rather, he was the Great Creator, who authored the laws that man attempts to discover. Thus a description of how matter behaves would also be a description of the handiwork of God. This was the position of Alma when rebutting the position of Korihor. (see Alma 30:44)
In such a naturalistic universe as that advocated by Korihor, where there were no laws of God to break, there would be no sin nor spiritual death that results from sin. Instead of being motivated in their behavior by a fear or love of God, people's actions would be motivated by a survival of the fittest, both physically and mentally, which was no crime. Holding such naturalistic views would influence people to believe that they were not accountable to a higher power for their actions. As a result, they would be led away into sin. (see Alma 30:17-18)
Since Korihor's universe held no room for a God, God's laws, or certain effects resulting from the breaking of these laws, to be consistent Korihor would have to deny the fall of man which came as the result of the transgression of Adam and Eve. (see Alma 30:25) . . . . Thus Korihor would have had to deny a need for an atonement and of course a need for Christ to perform the atonement. (see Alma 30:17, 16, 26-27) Consequently, Korihor taught the people "that there should be no Christ (Alma 30:12), and that to look forward to the coming of Christ was to yoke themselves "under a foolish and a vain hope" (Alma 30:13).
If we accept the Book of Mormon as the word of God, the account of Korihor teaches us that the beliefs associated with the philosophy of naturalism are anti-Christ in nature. [LaMar Garrard, 'Korihor the Anti-Christ," in Studies in Scripture: Book of Mormon, Part 2, pp. 2-11] [A more detailed discussion on the shift from theism to naturalism is given by LaMar Garrard in "What Is Man?" Hearken O Ye People (Sandy, Utah: Randall Book Company, 1984), pp. 134-42.]
Alma 30:6 There Came a Man [Korihor] into the Land of Zarahemla, and He Was Anti-Christ:
In the 30th chapter of Alma we have a whole chapter on the doings of an anti-Christ, including a detailed summary of the false doctrine that he taught. With respect to this elaboration, Gerald Lund broaches the question, Why would Mormon take time to do that? Do we really need a summary of the teachings of evil men? What is it about Korihor that was so compelling to Mormon that he felt justified to give it four pages of textual treatment?
According to Lund, Korihor is a good example of a scriptural "foil." One of Webster's definitions of a foil is something that is used "to enhance by contrast." For example, a jeweler places diamonds on black velvet to provide a contrasting backdrop, or foil, for the gems. [Brilliance and hardness are thus contrasted with darkness and softness.] There are numerous places in the standard works where the scriptural writers use that same technique, placing two contrasting principles or examples side by side to show even more clearly what they were trying to teach. . . .
The Korihor story is an obvious foil in one sense and a subtle, but perhaps even more significant foil, in another sense. The obvious one is that we find a story of an "evil missionary," a man who seeks to preach false doctrine and proselytize people to his way of thinking, sandwiched right in between the account of the sons of Mosiah and their mission to the Lamanites, and Alma's great mission to the Zoramites.
There is, however, something more subtle than this. There is an interesting conceptual chain related to the "power of the word" that flows through this section of the Book of Mormon. As the account of the mission of the sons of Mosiah begins, Mormon notes that they had great success in bringing the Lamanites to the gospel because of "the power of their words" (Alma 17:4; emphasis added). The next ten chapters show just how true that statement is. But as we come to the end of their fourteen-year mission, what do we find again? In Alma 26, Ammon begins to review their tremendous successes. And what does he credit for this incredible conversion story? "The power of [God's] word which is in us" (Alma 26:13; emphasis added).
Chapters 27 and 28 finish out the account, and Mormon then chooses to insert Alma's prayer. And what does he pray for? Alma's prayer is that he might have even greater power to preach the word than he has hitherto had. [See the commentary on Alma 29:1]
This is what precedes the Korihor account. Let's see what follows. In chapter 31, Alma learns that the Zoramites are in a state of apostasy. . . . Mormon is careful to note why Alma chooses to begin his own mission to this apostate people: "And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just--yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them--therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virture of the word of God (Alma 31:5; emphasis added). In chapter 32, Alma begins to teach the Zoramite poor how to find God and uses a powerful analogy of a seed. Often in the Church, we refer to Alma 32 as being a great chapter on faith. This is not incorrect; but the seed Alma refers to is not faith, it is the word of God (see Alma 32:28).
Thus we see in one place after another in this section of the Book of Mormon, beginning in Alma 17 and going through Alma 33, that there is reference after reference to the power of the word. And what is placed right in the middle of this chain? Korihor! And therein lies the more subtle scriptural foil. Korihor himself is an example of the "power of the word," only this time it is a negative example. [Gerald N. Lund, "An Anti-Christ in the Book of Mormon--The Face May Be Strange, but the Voice Is Familiar," in The Book of Mormon: Alma, The Testimony of the Word, pp. 107-110]
Note* Sometimes the term "word" is used synonymously with "covenant." [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes] [See the commentary on Alma 44:5] [Christ is the "Word." See John 1:1]
Alma 30:6 [Korihor] began to preach unto the people against the prophecies . . . concerning to coming of Christ (Illustration): Three Diverse Nephite Opponents. [John W. Welch and Morgan Ashton, Charting the Book of Mormon, Packet 1, 1997]
Alma 30:6 There Came a Man into the Land of Zarahemla:
In Alma 30:6 it mentions that "there came a man into the land of Zarahemla." Where did this man come from? In view of the fact that in the verses following this one Mormon talks about this same man going to the land of Jershon (Alma 30:19) and the land of Gideon (Alma 30:21), which were local lands within the general land of Zarahemla, Mormon is probably saying in Alma 30:6 that "there came a man into the [local] land of Zarahemla. If this was the case, then Korihor came from somewhere in the general land of Zarahemla. Exactly where he came from is unknown. The name Korihor (Corihor) was apparently a Jaredite (Mulekite?) name (Ether 7:4-5). If that were the case, then because Jaredite (Mulekite) people had migrated from the land northward, then Korihor might have come from a land northward from the local land of Zarahemla. Previously, it was mentioned that the somewhat northerly city of Ammonihah was called a city of Nehors. The name Nehor has also been linked with the Jaredites (Ether 7:4-5). We might take a guess here and say that Korihor came from the area around Ammonihah. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]
Alma 30:12 Korihor:
According to Michael Hobby, the fact that the Mulekites were deeply involved in Jaredite culture is obvious . . . the fact that they spoke the Jaredite tongue is evidenced by their personal and city names, names of coinage, etc. One direct example is the name Korihor [Mulekite] in Alma 30:12. There is also a Corihor [Jaredite] mentioned in Ether 7:3-15, 13:17.
In all, as much as 30-40 percent of all Nephite/Mulekite names may have been Jaredite or contained one or more Jaredite elements. This could hardly have resulted from reading the record of a fallen people (see Mosiah 28:11-13). [Michael M. Hobby, The Mulekite Connection, pp. 21-22]
Alma 30:12 This Anti-Christ, whose name was Korihor (Illustration): Chart: Three Diverse Nephite Opponents. [John W. Welch and Morgan A. Ashton, "Charting the Book of Mormon," Packet 1, F.A.R.M.S.]
Alma 30:12 After This Manner Did [Korihor] Preach:
Korihor, an anti-Christ, convinced many Nephites that they should not believe in Jesus Christ or his coming atonement. He taught them instead various philosophies. According to the research of Miriam Horwinski, in Korihor's phrases and arguments, modern readers can find parallels to many schools of thought. The chart below lists each of the doctrines taught by Korihor in Alma 30 and a modern or standard philosophical counterpart. (Source: Miriam Horwinski, teaching assistant of John W. Welch, Book of Mormon 121H, Brigham Young University, fall 1997) [John W. Welch and J. Gregory Welch, Charting the Book of Mormon: Visual Aids for Personal Study and Teaching, F.A.R.M.S., commentary for Chart 78]
Alma 30:12 After this manner did [Korihor] preach (Illustration): Chart: The Teachings of Korihor in Alma 30. [John W. Welch and J. Gregory Welch, Charting the Book of Mormon: Visual Aids for Personal Study and Teaching, F.A.R.M.S., Chart 78]
Alma 30:15 Ye Cannot Know of Things Which Ye Do Not See:
In a commentary dealing in part with the philosophies of Korihor, Daniel Peterson first quotes Stephen Robinson, who had the following to say:
The problem with scholarly religion, religion that has been carefully trimmed so that it conflicts with no empirical data, is that it inevitably makes scholarship the religion. . . . In the Church of the Scholars religion can make no claim unsupported by or contradicted by empirical evidence ("ye cannot know of things which ye do not see," Alma 30:15). But in what sense can this be called religion at all? As both the scriptures and the philosophers know, genuine faith is belief in the absence of evidence or even belief that contradicts the evidence. The Church of the Scholars is not a faith at all, but merely intellectual acquiescence to the prevailing scholarly winds. [It] proposes the ultimate oxymoron--empirical religion, a faith-less faith. (Stephen E. Robinson, Review of Dan Vogel, ed., The Word of God: Essays on Mormon Scriptures, in Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 3, 1991, p. 316)
According to Peterson, professor Robinson is correct when he reports the scriptural teaching to be that "genuine faith is belief in the absence of evidence or even belief that contradicts the evidence." "Let no man deceive himself," wrote Paul. "If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God" (1 Corinthians 3:18-19). "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14). As every reader of the Bible should know, "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1; compare Ether 12:5). "Faith," Alma taught the impoverished Zoramites, "is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen which are true" (Alma 32:21). In this life, "we walk by faith, not by sight" (1 Corinthians 5:7). This is a truth recognized by most, if not all, serious religious thinkers. "Philosophical theology," says Mortimer Adler, "may carry one's mind to the edge of religious belief, but that is the near edge of a chasm that can only be crossed to the far edge by a leap of faith that transcends reason."124 And salvation is to be obtained only on the chasm's far side. God removed the sins of Enos in the Book of Mormon "because of [his] faith in Christ, whom [he had] never before heard nor seen" (Enos 1:8). When the brother of Jared saw the pre-mortal Savior, "he had faith no longer, for he knew, nothing doubting" (Ether 3:19). "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known" (1 Corinthians 13:12).
But can faith sometimes actually contradict the available evidence? Certainly it can. And, often, it should. Apart from human questions, concerns, and interpretations, "evidence," as such, does not exist.125 Its recognition depends upon human minds. Its marshalling into arguments is inevitably the act of human personalities that may or may not be stable or disinterested or competent, personalities inescapably immersed in the assumptions of a given time and place. What counts as relevant data and conclusive reasoning varies, within limits, according to many factors, including cultural prejudice and personal psychology. This is true even of fields like mathematics and logic, to say nothing of areas less susceptible to definitive demonstration like philosophy, religion, and history.126 It is only with great care and with appropriate humility that we should identify and weigh the data on the most important questions. In Shakespeare's great play, part of Othello's problem is that, confronted with apparent "evidence," he surrenders his intuitively certain knowledge of Desdemona's character. Tragically, he learns only too late that the "evidence had misrepresented reality, and that Iago, the "friend" who had simply put the "facts" together and let them speak for themselves, was neither unbiased nor honest. Thus, under certain circumstances it may be rational and entirely right to believe against the seeming "evidence." . . .
Scriptural faith must sometimes go beyond the apparent evidence. "Ye receive no witness, " wrote Moroni, "until after the trail of your faith" (Ether 12:6). Job, for instance, had abundant reason to doubt the goodness of God, but declared, "though he slay me, yet will I trust in him" (Job 13:15). This is the same faith that millions of devout Christians and Jews have felt when, against all the evidence of wars and concentration camps and sickness and injustice and premature death, they have nonetheless affirmed the existence of a benevolent God. When Peter began to sink into the Sea of Galilee, the Savior not only caught him by the hand but rebuked him: "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" (Matthew 14:31). But Peter had good reason for doubt. People simply do not walk on water; the evidence is, overwhelmingly, against it. So, too, Abraham, "the father of the faithful," acted not only against his general beliefs but against the specific earlier promises of God when asked to do so by divine revelation: "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son" (Hebrews 11:17). And how many believers in the resurrection have actually seen a dead human body arise from the grave, alive again? . . . True religion, therefore, has always involved something of a Kierkegaardian "leap of faith." "If we must not act save on a certainty," Pascal [said], "we ought not to act on religion, for it is not certain. [Daniel C. Peterson, "Editors Introduction: Questions to Legal Answers" in Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 4, F.A.R.M.S., 1992, pp. lxiv-lxix]
Alma 30:18 Causing Them to Lift up Their Heads in Their Wickedness:
According to Richard Gudmundsen, Friedreich Nietzsche (1844-1900) was the German philosopher who most influenced the arch-criminal Adolph Hitler. Nietzche held that Jesus Christ and his entire body of teachings was a diabolical plot formulated by the Jews to take vengeance on the human race. In his book "The Genealogy of Morals: An Attack" (1887), he wrote:
Nobody, up to now, has doubted that the "good" man represents a higher value than the "evil", in terms of promoting and benefiting mankind generally, even taking the long view. But what if the "good" man represents not merely a retrogression, but even a danger, a temptation, a narcotic drug enabling the present to live at the expense of the future? More comfortable, less hazardous, perhaps, but also baser, more petty--so that morality itself would be responsible for man, as a species, failing to reach the peak of magnificence of which he is capable? What if morality should turn out to be the danger of dangers? . . . Whatever else has been done to damage the powerful and great of this earth seems trivial compared with what the Jews have done, that priestly people who succeeded in avenging themselves on their enemies and oppressors by radically inverting all their values, that is, by an act of the most spiritual vengeance . . . dared to invert the aristocratic value equations good/noble/powerful/beautiful/happy/favored-of-the-gods and maintain, with the furious hatred of the underprivileged and impotent, that "only the poor, the powerless, are good."
Clearly here was an eloquent but misguided man who saw the evils of the current "Christian" sects and came to a doctrine of "truth" which is totally inverted. As a result, a terrible chapter of history was affected by his writings. [Richard A. Gudmundsen, Scientific Inquiry Applied to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, p. 54]
Alma 30:19 [Korihor] Went over to the Land of Jershon:
From the local land of Zarahemla, Korihor "went over to the land of Jershon" (Alma 30:19). This might mean that between the local land of Zarahemla and the land of Jershon there were some mountains or hills if elevation is implied. The term "over" might also refer to a body of water. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]
Alma 30:21 (Korihor) Came over into the Land of Gideon:
From the local land of Jershon, Korihor now came "over into the land of Gideon" (Alma 30:21). The Book of Mormon geography student should always keep in mind the words "came," "went," "over," and "into" in relation to movements and geographical locations. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]
Alma 30:21 He Caused That [Korihor] Should Be Carried out of the Land . . . [Korihor] Was Taken and Bound:
Brant Gardner notes that Mormon has told his readers two important pieces of information about the Nephite legal system. The first is that the realm of law did not attempt to restrict belief: "Now there was no law against a man's belief; for it was strictly contrary to the commands of God that there should be a law which should bring men on to unequal grounds." (Alma 30:7) The second piece of information is that the law of the land was related to a scriptural basis: "For thus saith the scripture: Choose ye this day whom ye will serve" (Alma 30:8).
Now this Nephite law certainly applied to Korihor, but when Korihor preached in both Jershon and Gideon he was bound and brought before the judge. Isn't this a contradiction? Doesn't it appear that in these two cities they acted illegally?
While we do not understand the particulars of the Nephite law, there is a principle here that we can understand. While Korihor had the right to preach, the people of Gideon and Jershon had the right not to listen. It is quite probable that there was no law against the removal of a person from their midst. This would have been the legal implication of taking Korihor before the high priest and also the chief judge over the land. There was no apparent threat of punishment for Korihor's beliefs, but there was an apparently legal ability of the people to remove an unwanted influence from their community. The reader should note that the judge does not question, nor apparently concern himself with what Korihor believes. What the judge does ask is why Korihor is preaching these things. This is a subtle difference, which Korihor chooses to ignore in his response. The difference focuses not on the belief, but upon the actions to persuade others to adopt that belief. The Nephite law protects belief, but not the potential socially disruptive effects of preaching dissident ideas with the idea of fomenting fission in the society. [Brant Gardner, Book of Mormon Commentary, http://www.highfiber.com/~nahualli/LDStopics/Alma/Alma30.htm, pp. 14-15]
Alma 30:23 I Do Not Teach . . . Foolish Ordinances and Performances Which Are Laid Down by Ancient Priests:
According to John Welch, the idea that the Nephites continued to observe the ritual ordinances and ceremonial performances of the law of Moses down to the coming of Christ is supported by one of Korihor's allegations. Alma 30 tells how Korihor accused the Nephite church of teaching (and presumably observing) what he considered to be "foolish ordinances and performances which are laid down by ancient priests, to usurp power and authority over them" (Alma 30:23). Korihor's derision is evidence that the Nephites observed the full range of ancient ordinances taught from the time of Adam to Moses, along with the priestly sacrificial portions of the law of Moses, which Korihor would have considered to be among the most "foolish" parts of Alma's ancient traditions. Korihor's words were probably critical of the higher mysteries taught by Alma according to the holy order of the Son of God (see Alma 12:9; 13:1-13), as well as of the sacrificial laws of the Pentateuch. [John W. Welch, "The Temple in the Book of Mormon," in Temples of the Ancient World, p. 305]
Alma 30:28 Have Brought Us to Believe by Their . . . Their . . .Their . . .Their:
According to David Wright, one distinctive feature of the Book of Mormon narrative is listing. This may be termed a type of parallelism. Korihor describes the means by which the church leaders have oppressed the people:
"and have brought them to believe by
and their dreams,
and their whims,
and their visions
and their pretended mysteries
The repetitive structure is clear whether one sees it visually listed as here or reads it in customary verse-paragraph form. One of the effects of this list is to halt the reader in the middle of Korihor's criticism and hear more emphatically the anti-Christ's criticisms. They become drum beats accentuating his charges. The reader becomes more aware of this negative character hearing plainly his sacrilegious mixing of the pure forms of religious knowledge, i..e., traditions, dreams, and visions, with impure forms, i.e., whims and pretended mysteries. [David P. Wright, "Review of Wade Brown, The God-Inspired Language of the Book of Mormon: Structuring and Commentary," in Review of Books of the Book of Mormon, Vol. 1, 1989, pp. 13-14]
Alma 30:30 [Korihor] was brought before Alma and the chief judge (Illustration): Confrontation between Alma and Korihor. Artist: Robert F. Barrett. [L.D.S., The Ensign, December 1989, p. 6]
Alma 30:30 He [Korihor] was brought before Alma and the chief judge (Illustration): Alma and Korihor [Robert T. Barrett, Verse Markers, Book of Mormon, Vol. 1, p. 6]
Alma 30:30 He [Korihor] was brought before alma and the chief judge (Illustration): Alma and Korihor [Robert t. Barrett,Verse Markers, Book of Mormon, Vol. 1, p 6
Alma 30:30 [Korihor] was brought before Alma and the chief judge (Illustration): Confrontation between Alma and Korihor. Alma defended the Church and its leaders. Artist: Robert T. Barrett. [Thomas R. Valletta ed., The Book of Mormon for Latter-day Saint Families, 1999, p. 352]
Alma 30:41 I Have All Things As a Testimony That These Things Are True:
In response to the anti-Christ Korihor's allegations, Alma made the following response:
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 30:41)
Hugh Nibley asks, Is your main interest in the Book of Mormon proving that it is true, that it is a real history? Some might say, "No, I don't think so." Then what is your main interest in the Book of Mormon? "Learning more about its message" is their response. That's the point. People have that same response about the Bible. "Whether it's true or not whether it's a myth or not, it has great lessons for us." they say that. Well, the Book of Mormon certainly has great lessons, but it has always been the main issue whether it's true. . . . Unless the Bible is true and those stories are true, what is it doing? Philosophy teaches those things. . . . Most people today, including most ministers, say that the Bible teaches us morals, ethics, aesthetics, principles, spiritual things, and beautiful stories. It teaches love, affection, family--all those things. But you don't have to go to the Bible [for them]. You don't have to have angels come to tell you that. "It needs no ghost come from the dead, my lord, to tell us that," as Horatio says. We have thousands of books on that subject. The whole fourth floor [of the BYU library] is taken up with books that will tell you about humanity, love, morals, human nature, and all that sort of thing. No, the only purpose of religion is to answer one question . . . it's called the terrible question that nobody could answer . . . The question is: Is this all there is? If this is the whole show, then your whole way of life is going to be arranged differently, isn't it? Remember what Korihor teaches in the Book of Mormon? When a man dies that is the end thereof. Therefore, they lifted up their heads and rejoiced. They could sin all they wanted to; there would be no reckoning or anything like that. . . . Pure fantasy can teach us wisdom, morals, kindness, courage, forgiveness, and other moral things. We tell stories in Sunday School from [fictional stories]. . . . The mere reality of the Book of Mormon puts everything in a different light. [Hugh W. Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Semester 3, pp. 48-50]
Alma 30:44 All Things Denote There Is a God; Yea, Even the Earth and All Things That Are upon the Face of It:
In an article in The Daily Herald, William Hamblin & Daniel Peterson note that in his 1997 book, The Science of God, Israeli-American physicist Gerald Schroeder seeks to harmonize science and biblical religion, but does so without expecting either side to yield much territory. Schroeder contends that science itself refutes extreme evolutionists' faith in an aimless universe. Did life emerge from random, undirected processes? Not a chance, he says.
He points, for example, to the astonishing commonness of carbon, the indispensable basis of all known life. Given the way it forms, it should be extraordinarily rare. Furthermore, if one of the "constants" involved in the energy of the "big bang" that began our universe were different by one part in 10 to the 120th power--that is, by a fraction with a numerator of 1 over a denominator of 1 followed by 120 zeroes, no life would exist anywhere. As University of Chicago astrophysicist Michael Turner says, "The precision is as if one could throw a dart across the entire universe and hit a bulls-eye one millimeter in diameter on the other side."
Schroeder does not dispute evolution, however using Einstein's relativity theory and its predications of the compression and dilation of time, Schroeder says that everything depends on whether our perspective is from the earth or that of the cosmos as a whole. "When one asks if six days or fifteen billion years passed before the appearance of humankind," he declares, "the correct answer is 'yes.'" And he is able to correlate the six days of Genesis with the sequence of events accepted by contemporary science.
For many years advocates of "purposeless chance" took vague refuge in "lots and lots of time." Whatever seemed mysterious, impossible to explain or to demonstrate, simply must have happened over billions and billions of years. In particular, they said, life gradually emerged from random processes in a primordial inorganic soup. Yet we know now that single-celled life began almost instantly after the earth cooled and water appeared, 3.8 billion years ago. There simply wasn't time for amino acids to combine randomly.
But then, unexpectedly, 3.2 billion years passed, during which life remained confined to single-cell organisms. Nothing suggests the gradual development that Darwin imagined. One is reminded, instead, of the way one soldier described war: "Long periods of boredom, punctuated by brief moments of sheer terror."
The basic anatomies common to all living creatures appeared only 530 million years ago, simultaneously, with no hint from earlier fossils. (The evidence for this so-called "Cambrian explosion" was found in 1909, but effectively suppressed and forgotten until the 1980s.) Since then, no new phyla or basic anatomical structures have appeared. Even developments within phyla occur without warning. Wingless creatures suddenly disappear from the fossil record, and are replaced by creatures with fully developed large wings--in some cases, 30 centimeters across. The Jurassic marine reptile ichthyosaurus appears completely formed, with a fish-like body, fins, paddles, and bill. After a hundred million years, at its extinction, it is identical.
Current theories suggest that our ancestors were separated from their ape kin by the tectonic shift that created the Afro-Syrian rift eight million years ago. Did humans really originate thereafter by random genetic mutations? Impossible, says Schroeder, who calculates that such changes would require at least forty million generations.
"Our universe," he says, "tuned so accurately for the needs of intelligent life, indeed ticks to the beat of a very skillful Watchmaker." William Hamblin & Daniel Peterson, "Staggering Limitations Indicate Higher Being in Charge," in The Daily Herald, 1999
Alma 30:44 The Earth, and All things That Are upon the Face of It . . . Also All the Planets Which Move in Their Regular Form Do Witness That There Is a Supreme Creator:
In response to the challenge of Korihor to "show me a sign," Alma responded, "Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? . . . all things denote there is a God; yea, even 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)
Trent Stephens and Jeffrey Meldrum note that today most people recognize Earth's place within the immensity of space and time. Even at 25,000 miles per hour, astronauts must travel several days to reach the moon. At the same speed, they would have to travel 80,000 years to reach the nearest star outside our solar system. And there are 100 billion stars organized into the great pinwheel stellar system we call the Milky Way galaxy. As vast as our own galaxy is, there are billions of other galaxies hurtling through space at the very limits of the most powerful telescopes and beyond reach of the fastest spaceships. Even if humans could travel at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second), it would take four years to reach the nearest star, and 100,000 years to travel across our own galaxy.
Carl Sagan stated, "If we were randomly inserted into the Cosmos, the chance that we would find ourselves on or near a planet would be less than one in a billion trillion trillion (1 X 1033, a one followed by thirty-three zeros)."127 [Trent D. Stephens, D. Jeffrey Meldrum; with Forrest B. Peterson, Evolution and Mormonism: A Quest for Understanding, pp. 2, 75]]
Alma 30:44 All the Planets Which Move in Their Regular Form Do Witness That There Is a Supreme Creator:
In reply to Korihor's request for a sign, Alma said unto him:
Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even 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)
According to Hollis Johnson, a noted LDS astronomer, while we Mormons believe God has revealed himself and his plans anew in our day, others may or may not accept the wonders of nature as proving the existence of God, and they will likely continue to argue about it for a long time.
Consider the incredible panorama of our universe, one that is billions of light years in extent and has been billions of years in the making! Giant clouds of hydrogen and helium (proto-galaxies) formed within a billion years after the Big Bang. Stars then formed in these clouds, and as they lit up the heavens, the stars also fabricated heavier atoms from the original hydrogen and helium when the stars died in mild or titanic explosions, they dispersed these atoms into galactic space. Thus, the Milky Way Galaxy and all galaxies became slowly enriched in heavier elements with time. Atoms of these heavier elements became associated into molecules, as seen in abundance in interstellar space. When newer stellar systems, such as the Solar System, were later formed (about 4.6 billion years ago), they contained a load of these heavier elements, which formed complex molecules. From these complex molecules, living cells and then larger plants and animals, including man, could be created.
Where does God fit into this remarkable picture? The non-believer might say this spectacular caravan of events happened by chance or by the action of natural processes and laws. Every step is describable by mathematical equations. Some might even say the equations themselves are the Final Answer. The believer might maintain that when one views the whole picture, a pattern clearly emerges. There is a direction and a goal indicative of design and intelligence. The discussion will likely go on for a long time! [Hollis R. Johnson, "Atoms, Stars, and Us" in Of Heaven and Earth: Reconciling Scientific Thought with LDS Theology, pp. 120-121]
Alma 30:47 It Is Better That Thy Soul Should Be Lost Than That Thou Shouldst Be the Means of Bringing Many Souls down to Destruction:
In Alma 30:47 Alma warns Korihor that "it is better that thy soul should be lost than that thou shouldst be the means of bringing many souls down to destruction." According to Kelly Ogden, the reader should compare this statement with the warning of the angel to Nephi: "it is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief" (1 Nephi 4:13). [D. Kelly Ogden, "Answering the Lord's Call," in Studies in Scripture: Book of Mormon, Part 1, pp. 28, 33]
Alma 30:47 It Is Better That Thy Soul Should Be Lost Than . . . Bringing Many Souls Down to Destruction:
According to John Welch and Heidi Parker, in subjecting the anti-Christ Korihor to divine punishment, Alma invoked some legal justification termed the "one for many" principle:
But behold, it is better that thy soul should be lost than that thou shouldst be the means of bringing many souls down to destruction, by thy lying and by thy flattering words . . . (Alma 30:47)
Interestingly, this "one for many" principle had precedence in Nephite history. When Nephi was constrained by the Spirit to slay Laban, the Spirit gave the justification that "it is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief" (1 Nephi 4:13).
During New Testament times, Caiaphas ironically invoked this principle in arguing for Jesus' death (see John 11:49-50).
More important to the validity of the Book of Mormon, however, we find this "one for many" principle in 2 Samuel 20, and in Jewish oral tradition regarding events in 2 Chronicles 36. This would have been both before and during the lifetime of Nephi and the opening scenes of the Book of Mormon narrative. Thus, Alma's comments were based on very firm cultural and legal precedent. [See the commentary on 1 Nephi 4:13]. [John W. Welch and Heidi H. Parker, "Better That One Man Perish," in FARMS Update: A Report on Research in Progress, Number 118, in Insights, June 1998]
Alma 30:47 If . . . Behold . . . That . . . That . . . That:
According to David Wright, one of the Book of Mormon's formal literary characteristics is embedding, where each phrase in a series of phrases is grammatically or logically dependent upon the phrase just before it, thus forming a chain of linked phrases. For example in Alma's description of Korihor's curse (Alma 30:47) we find a five-member embedded structure:
a. Therefore, if thou shalt deny again,
b. behold, God shall smite thee,
c. that thou shalt become dumb,
d. that thou shalt never open thy mouth any more,
e. that thou shalt not deceive this people any more.
The first two phrases are members of a conditional ("if-then") phrase. Phrase c develops b with a result clause conjoined with the word "that" describing the effect of the smiting; phrase d develops c, also with a result clause similarly conjoined, describing or defining the effect of being dumb; and finally he concludes with another similar result clause describing what happens when one cannot open one's mouth. One of the literary effects of this particular embedded structure is a feeling of focusing. From the general condition of denial one moves to the specific result of being smitten. This is then defined further as becoming dumb. Temporal limits are then set for the curse: Korihor will never open his mouth any more. The final clause fleshes out the description by giving the ultimate rationale for the curse. [David P. Wright, "Review of Wade Brown, The God-Inspired Language of the Book of Mormon: Structuring and Commentary," in Review of Books of the Book of Mormon, Vol. 1, 1989, p. 13]
Alma 30:48 Except Ye Show Me a Sign, I Will Not Believe:
It is interesting that in the two recorded instances of people who demanded a sign from God (Sherem -- Jacob 7:13, and Korihor -- Alma 30:43,48) both the men who made the demands suffered death. Additionally, "many" of the Zoramites were alluded to as asking for a sign (see Alma 32:17). These Zoramites not only died spiritually (they became Lamanites), but many were probably killed in the insuing war. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]
Alma 30:49 In the Name of God, Ye Shall Be Struck Dumb, That Ye Shall No More Have Utterance:
According to John Welch, Alma's curse on Korihor, "In the name of God, ye shall be struck dumb, that ye shall no more have utterance" (Alma 30:49), resembles an ancient Greek practice of cursing a litigant with speechlessness. When the curse materialized, divine disapproval was so clear that Korihor was compelled to yield the case.
Such curses were common in the ancient Mediterranean world (the earliest findings to date go back to the fifth century B.C.). These spells were known as defixiones because their words and powers were intended to "defix" (restrain or hinder) an opponent. The largest body of Greek binding spells deals with litigation, with sixty-seven different defixiones invoking curses on legal opponents. Eleven of them ask the gods to bind the tongue of a legal opponent. [John W. Welch, "Cursing a Litigant with Speechlessness," in Pressing Forward with the Book of Mormon, pp. 154-155]
Note* One can thus postulate that with a little cultural extension back in time, Lehi's group (or Mulek's group) might have been culturally exposed to this practice and carried it with them to the Americas. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]
Alma 30:51 [The Chief Judge] Put Forth His Hand and Wrote unto Korihor:
Though Alma tried to convince Korihor of the error of his ways, Korihor insisted three times on having a sign or he would not believe. Three times he denied the existence of God. On the third denial he received his sign. He was struck dumb, according to the words of Alma, that he might have no more utterance. At this point the chief judge put forth his hand and wrote unto Korihor, saying: "Art thou convinced of the power of God? In whom did ye desire that Alma should show forth his sign? Would ye that he should afflict others, to show unto thee a sign? Behold, he has showed unto you a sign; and now will ye dispute more?" (Alma 30:51). One might ask, Why did the chief judge write the message to Korihor when the record says that Korihor only lost his power of speech?
According to Peggy Feagins, while the record says Korihor lost his power of speech, one does not necessarily have to assume that he lost his hearing as well. It is true these two afflictions often go hand in hand, but was this the case? Some believe that Korihor lost his hearing because of what happened to him afterwards. He was reduced to begging for his living, and as he went among the Zoramites, "he was run upon, and trodden down, even until he was dead" (Alma 30:59). But does this indicate that he was run over because he couldn't hear something coming behind him? Possibly, but it is also possible that the chief judge knew exactly what he was doing when he put forth his hand and wrote.
In putting forth his hand and writing unto Korihor, the chief judge was probably preparing a legal document--a signed confession. In his preface, the chief judge mentioned three times the sign that had been given. He twice asked Korihor if he now believed. When the chief judge handed Korihor the written document, Korihor probably completed it with his own hand, confessing that he knew all along there was a God, that he admitted teaching the people the words of Satan because they were pleasing to the carnal mind, and that he acknowledged that it was the power of God that had taken away his speech.
With a signed document, Alma and the chief judge now had tangible evidence--a valuable tool to use in reclaiming those who had strayed after Korihor's false doctrine. "The knowledge of what had happened to Korihor was immediately published throughout all the land." In fact, the chief judge sent out a proclamation to all the people, calling on the followers of Korihor to repent "lest the same judgments come upon them" (Alma 30:57). Although the story did not end happily for Korihor, it did end happily for the people who had been influenced by him as they were all converted. (Alma 30:58)
It is interesting that when approached on this issue, a paralegal secretary said that Korihor's written document bears a similarity to what is today called a deposition. Webster's definition of a deposition is either "a testifying, especially before a court; or a "declaration, specifically a testimony taken down in writing under oath." Today this deposition might be videotaped and transcribed by a secretary and prepared for a signature. [Peggy Feagins, "He Put Forth His Hand and Wrote," in The Witness, #103 March 2002, p. 7]
Alma 30:51 Put Forth His Hand:
Wade Brown writes:
As I pondered the Book of Mormon, I began thinking . . . I wondered if the prophets had phrases which could identify them in their written speech. . . . In order to compare the word combinations of different authors it is necessary to isolate and identify which parts of the Book of Mormon were written by specific authors. If the Book of Mormon is divided by author or speaker wherein an author contributes at least 250 words, it is divided into about 124 sections. For example, Mormon wrote 47 separate sections, Alma is quoted in 10, Jesus is quoted in 7, Nephi wrote 6, Moroni wrote 4, Isaiah is quoted in 4 and Lehi is quoted in 3. . . .Viewed this way, there are about 28 major contributors to the Book of Mormon. . . .
Dividing the Book of Mormon in this manner can help us understand the differences between authors. How does it help as to the use of word combinations? Consider how an ancient prophet might describe the action of a person lifting or raising up his hand or arm away from his body. Nephi expressed it this way: "lifted up his hand" (1 Nephi 19:10).
But Isaiah, quoted by Nephi and others from the Old Testament, often used a different expression. Isaiah said, "his hand is stretched out." Isaiah wrote "his hand is stretched out" six times (2 Nephi 15:25; 19:12, 17, 21; 20:4, 27). But no one else used Isaiah's combination of words. In the Book of Mormon "his hand is stretched out" is a phrase unique to Isaiah.
King Benjamin never said "lifted up his hand" or "his hand is stretched out." He used the word combination "extended his arm" (Mosiah 1:14). . . .
Mormon never wrote "lifted up his hand," "his hand is stretched out," or "extended his arm." Mormon's expression was "stretched forth his hand" and he wrote it eight times in six separate sections (Mosiah 16:1, Alma 10:25; 13:21; 15:5; 19:12; 20:20; 32:7; Helaman 13:4; 3 Nephi 11:9; 12:1).128 The only other writer to use the phrase "stretched forth his hand" was Mormon's son Moroni who used it just once (see Ether 3:6).129 Moroni's speech patterns are very close to his father's, as would be expected from their relationship as father and son, fellow military leaders, authors and prophets.
Alma never wrote lifted up his hand," "his hand is stretched out," or "extended his arm." Instead he used "put forth his hand" (Alma 22:22; 30:51, 52; 42:3, 5) No one else used the same phrase.130
As mentioned, Moroni followed the pattern of his father, saying "stretched forth his hand" (Ether 3:6). He used the phrase while narrating the Jaredite history.
Each of these authors had his own unique word combination for describing the same action of raising a hand or arm.
[C. Wade Brown, The First Page of the Golden Plates, pp. 23-27]
Alma 30:51 Put forth his hand (Illustration): Sections of the Book of Mormon Divided according to Major Author. [C. Wade Brown, The First Page of the Golden Plates, p. 33]
Alma 30:52 I Know That Nothing Save It Were the Power of God Could Bring This upon Me:
According to John Welch, the speechlessness of Korihor (and to an extent the stunning of Sherem -- see Jacob 7:13-15) was precisely the kind of sign or restraint that people in the ancient Mediterranean world [and by extension the Nephite world] expected a god to manifest in a judicial setting when false accusations or unfair ploys placed an opponent at a distinct disadvantage [see the commentary on Alma 30:49].
What is interesting, in comparing this Mediterranean cultural practice with what is recorded in the Book of Mormon, is that stricken litigants often erected confession stelae. The inscriptions apparently were "a confession of guilt, to which the author has been forced by the punishing intervention of the deity, often manifested by illness or accident"131 In hopes of appeasing the offended god, a punished litigant would inscribe on the stela a clear profession of his newly admitted faith in the deity and would warn others not to disdain the gods.
The trial of Korihor (and that of Sherem) shows these same trends of confession. Korihor's confession acknowledged the power of God:
And Korihor put forth his hand and wrote, saying: I know that I am dumb, for I cannot speak; and I know that nothing save it were the power of God could bring this upon me; yea, and I always knew that there was a God. But behold, the devil hath deceived me . . . (Alma 30:52-53)
Sherem also acknowledged the power of God:
And it came to pass that on the morrow the multitude were gathered together; and he [Sherem] spake plainly unto them and denied the things which he had taught them, and confessed the Christ, and the power of the Holy Ghost, and the ministering of angels. And he spake plainly unto them, that he had been deceived by the power of the devil. And he spake of hell, and of eternity, and of eternal punishment. (Jacob 7:17-18)
[John W. Welch, "Cursing a Litigant with Speechlessness," in Pressing Forward with the Book of Mormon, p. 155]
Alma 30:56 He . . . went about from house to house begging for his food (Illustration): Thatched-roof huts are still the norm in Mexico and Central America. With the exception of the extension built on this house, which has been constructed of sawed boards, this hut near Izapa, Chiapas, would be nearly identical to a commoner's house two millennia or more ago. John Sorenson notes that nothing is said directly in the Book of Mormon about the houses of the Nephites, but a few inferences shed some light. That the city of Zarahemla "did take fire" (3 Nephi 8:8) from lightning (see 3 Nephi 8:7) confirms their perishable nature, especially of the roofs, no doubt made of thatch.132 [John L. Sorenson, Images of Ancient America, p. 60]
Alma 30:56 He . . . went about from house to house begging for his food (Illustration): A sketch of a house built in Yucatan sixty years ago shows the inside, with the roof omitted by the artist for the sake of visibility. It also demonstrates that the ancient custom of using little furniture has persisted even through centuries of Spanish influence. [John L. Sorenson, Images of Ancient America, p. 62]
Alma 30:59 As (Korihor) Went Forth . . . among a People Who Had Separated Themselves from the Nephites:
In Alma 30:59 we find that Korihor went forth among "a people who had separated themselves from the Nephites and called themselves Zoramites, being led by a man whose name was Zoram." As the reader will soon find, this separation of the Zoramites was not only geographical (Alma 31:3) and spiritual (Alma 31:8-11), but political as well (Alma 31:4). Therefore, the land of Antionum (where the Zoramites lived) might have been located outside the general land of Zarahemla, although within the control at this time of the Nephites. Going to this land might have symbolically been the farthest that Korihor could distance himself from Alma (or the Lord), and yet he was still run over and trampled by these people who thought themselves better than anyone else. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]
Geographical Theory Map: Alma 30:6-59 Korihor Travels among the Nephites (17th Year)
Alma 30:59 They Called Themselves Zoramites:
One might ask, Were the "Zoramites" (Alma 30:59) in some way associated with or descendants of Zoram, the original servant of Laban? And were they associated with military service, as was the original Zoram, and also their former chief commander of all the Nephite armies (Alma 16:5) who had just recently been replaced by a 25 year-old Moroni? The reader should note that when the people of Ammon settled in the land of Jershon, the Nephites agreed to "set [their] armies between the land Jershon and the land Nephi" (Alma 27:23). The reader will find that the Zoramites lived "in a land which they called Antionum, which was east of the land of Zarahemla, which lay nearly bordering upon the seashore, which was south of the land of Jershon, which also bordered upon the wilderness south, which wilderness was full of the Lamanites" (Alma 31:3). [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes] [See the commentary on Alma 43:17]
Alma 30:59 He Was Run Upon and Trodden Down:
The fact that Korihor was "run upon and trodden down, even until he was dead" (Alma 30:59) seems like a strange demise. Whether this was according to ancient custom or law is unknown. The symbolism is very apparent. Joseph McConkie and Donald Parry state that the Lord's covenant people are called the "salt of the earth" and the "savor of men." Those who break the covenant, however, are like the salt that loses its savor, and are "good for nothing only to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men" (D&C 101:39-40; Matthew 5:13). [Joseph F. McConkie and Donald W. Parry, A Guide to Scriptural Symbols, p. 96]