27: "The Virtue of the Word of God" (July 6–12)
Have you ever had a hard time “likening” the scriptures to your life? Don’t worry, Tammy and her guests have got you covered. In this week’s study group, we dig into the story of the infamous Korihor in Alma 30–31, where we learn about the false teachings the people in the Book of Mormon faced, the way they withstood them, and how we can do the same.
President Ezra Taft Benson consistently taught us that the Book of Mormon was written for our day. He wrote this, quote, "The Nephites never had the book; neither did the Lamanites of ancient times. It was meant for us. Mormon wrote near the end of the Nephite civilization. Under the inspiration of God, who sees all things from the beginning, he abridged centuries of records, choosing the stories, speeches, and events that would be most helpful to us. If he saw our day, and chose those things which would be of greatest worth to us, is not that how we should study the Book of Mormon? We should constantly ask ourselves, 'Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Moroni or Alma) to include that in his record? What lesson can I learn from that to help me live in this day and age?'" (A Witness and a Warning, pp. 19-20.) Endquote.
And so today, you guys, we are going to do just that as we studied the story of Korihor in Alma chapters 30 through 31. And it might surprise us as we read the story to find out that these stories are more about us than for us.
Welcome to the Sunday on Monday Study Group, a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS+ original brought to you by LDS Living where we take the "Come, Follow Me" lesson for the week and we really dig into our scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall.
Now if you're new to our study group, we want to make sure that you know how to use this podcast. So this podcast is about an hour long and you can listen to the full study group discussion all at once, or you can also listen to this in segments — one segment per day as you study. They last about 10 to 12 minutes long and you'll hear a little bit of music at the end of each segment, which lets you know that you finished that segment. So listen for the music.
The other awesome thing about our study group that I love, this is my favorite part, is I get to invite two friends to come and join me. And so today the friends who are joining me are Robin and Carol McCulloch and I am so excited to get them on the podcast. They've been on my radar for quite some time. Hi friends.
They are from my ward. I met them when I first moved in, and I didn't have any friends, and Carol was one of my very first friends in the ward. I was this new mom and I didn't know anybody, and it was like the first day of kindergarten and I just remember how kind you were to me, Carol.
Oh, Tammy. Thank you. I didn't know that, but I do love you, I loved you from the moment I met you.
And I like to say this about the McCullochs, they are what I like to call low maintenance, high yield members of the Church. Steve Smith in our ward, you guys remember him, he taught me that phrase, and I have loved it ever since — "low maintenance, high yield."
That sounds kind of like a nuclear bomb, Tammy, I'm not sure about that.
That's an awesome statement.
You guys do come with a lot of punch, a lot of kaboom.
Thank you Tammy. That makes me feel so good coming from someone like you that I admire so much.
We're gonna have fun. You can find more information about my friends on our show notes at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. Okay, two chapters. That is all we're going to study today. And this may be the shortest scripture block ever, except for Moroni chapter 10, but that's at the very end and that's just one chapter. So friends, grab your scriptures and let's dig in.
Robin, a few years ago, I heard you say this, and it has struck me and it's never left, you said, quote, "Many Latter Day Saint parents think that the most important thing they will do is get their son on a mission. They're missing the mark. The most important thing they will do is to help their sons gain a testimony of Jesus Christ." Robin, tell me about that.
I think that sometimes we focus so much on the step, and there's a lot of steps that actually get us to that testimony of Christ or to eternal life, so to speak at the end of that, and sometimes we think that we have to actually step on every single one of those steps, you know, "We can't miss one. If we do, we'll never make it," etc, etc. That's really not the point. It's a process, the entire part of life and learning is a process. And so the whole point is to really make sure that we actually get that testimony of Christ embedded because that's what's going to take them all the way, make it to living with Heavenly Father again, and if they miss a step here or there, that's okay. Everybody has a challenge in their life and it's different for everybody.
I thought it was so powerful because your comment about that missing a step is a game changer, that it's okay because we're all still going in the same direction,
You know, which way are you facing? Tammy, that's really the issue. The Savior just wants us looking towards him. Are you facing him? Are you taking that step towards him?
Right. The reason why I thought of you in that quote for what we're studying today is that in these two chapters, we're studying entirely about people who are not truly converted to Christ, they were not walking on the steps towards him. They've completely turned and were going back down the stairs. And the point is for us to understand just how little tiny decisions can lead to bigger ones that cause us to turn the direction that we're facing, and so we're going to take a look at the first example of this, but before we do, I just want to catch up on a little bit of background and context for everyone who's listening.
Let's go right now into Alma chapter 30, and in verses two through four, here's what you need to know. That we just had a huge gigantic battle between the Nephites and Lamanites, and then peace has settled over the land for two years. So the people have been living in this peaceful situation for two years and then this happens. In Alma chapter 30, verse six. So Carol, will you read verse six for us please.
"But it came to pass in the latter end of the seventeenth year, there came a man into the land of Zarahemla, and he was Anti-Christ, for he began to preach unto the people against the prophecies which had been spoken by the prophets, concerning the coming of Christ."
Right at the end of the verse, just put "verse 12," and skip down to verse 12 and read that so we can get his name. Go ahead.
"And this Anti-Christ, whose name was Korihor, (and the law could have no hold upon him) began to preach unto the people that there should be no Christ. And after this manner did he preach, saying:"
Thank you. So we've got this guy named Korihor. What is the title he's given? What's his big grand title and reason for fame?
Yeah, let's mark that. It's important for us to understand exactly what this word means. We talked a little bit about it last time when we discussed the Anti-Nephi-Lehies. It's still the same definition. The definition of "anti" in Greek means "instead of, in place of, as a substitution for." So he will teach lots of different things that might be against Christ, but you have to remember that his goal is to become Christ.
So Tammy, so what's interesting to me right here that we've just read is that they were coming, they've had this great war from an enemy that they knew was their enemy, right? It's an outside source. They've been preparing for that. They understand that that's their enemy. They've had this continual peace, so now why would you want to give that up? Why would you want to change that behavior? You're living a good life it would seem, and now you have someone come in who's an enemy from within. Here's a new kind of enemy and they're harder to see, they're harder to discern because they deal in half truths. It's very fascinating that it's a new kind of enemy here.
Oh, I like that, Carol. That's great insight. So let's find out then in Alma chapter 30, what it is that Korihor taught the people. There are eight specific teachings, and we're going to just go through and number these in Alma, chapter 30. And Carol and Robin, as we talk about these, I want to know, in your opinion, what do you think of these teaching is maybe the most corrosive or destructive teachings? So we're going to go through this quickly. In verse six, put a number one next to that. And it says, "...he began to preach unto the people against the prophecies which had been spoken by the prophets, concerning the coming of Christ." That's his first teaching. Now go down to verse 12, and put a number two to the outside. And the number two teaching is, he "...began to preach unto the people that there should be no Christ."
Number three teaching is in verse 13. And then he says, "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." Teaching number four is found at the end of verse 14 when he says, "...which ye say are handed down by holy prophets, behold, they are foolish traditions of your fathers."
Verse 15 is teaching number five, when he says, "Behold, ye cannot know of things which ye do not see;" Verse 17 has teaching number six and number seven in it. Teaching number six is, "...telling them that there could be no atonement made for the sins of men, but every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature;" And then teaching number seven is, "...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." And then teaching number eight is at the end of verse 18, says, "...telling them that when a man was dead, that was the end thereof." So what do you think? What's the most corrosive or destructive in your opinion? Or maybe the most clever I don't know?
Well, for me, it's always that there is no Christ period because the whole Plan of Salvation is based on Christ, and if you don't have Christ, then there was no fall, there's no Plan of Salvation, there's no... I mean, why are we here? There's no purpose for growth. We're not going anywhere afterwards because we didn't get redeemed. So everything centers on Christ for me and the gospel and so for me to say that there is no Christ, or there never will be a Christ ties it all together. They're all really important. All eight of them, I think, are all part and parcel, but for me, it starts with no Christ.
Well, and the foolish traditions, the foolish traditions of who? Your parents, the people that you've known and trusted and loved. I mean, where are you getting those traditions from those kinds of people. And I think Satan is very good at what he does. That's such a powerful tool to take the next and upcoming generation and make it look like what your parents believed is old fashioned, then can twist all of that until you've gone a different direction.
I love that you pointed that out. Here's a fun quote. I thought this was interesting. I shouldn't say fun, it's actually kind of sad, but it's a good quote. It is by D. Kelly Ogden and Andrew C. Skinner, and it's in the book that I've been using to study with. Carol, will you read this quote for us?
“Korihor was the headmaster in the school of Satan’s curriculum. He represents religion as Karl Marx would nineteen hundred years later “the opiate of the masses” unworthy of sophisticated thinkers. (D. Kelly Odgen, Andrew C. Skinner “Verse by Verse the Book of Mormon, Volume Two, Alma 30-Moroni 10” DB 2011, 2)
Thank you. That just gives me chills.
Again, Korihor is always going to tell everybody really what they want to hear, and the Book of Mormon is all about today, right? So that's what we hear now. You know, "Just do it, just do what feels right. Don't..." You know, "There are no real consequences."
Yeah. "Whatever you're doing is no crime."
Yeah, I just want to do whatever I want to do, and that's so great, right? No, rules.
Thank you for sharing that. Thank you both Robin and Carol because in the next segment, we are going to learn how Korihor became this so called "School Master," and why Korihor tried to put himself in the place of Christ.
Segment 2 10:57
Carol and Robin, as you guys were reading Alma chapter 30, did you notice how many times that Korihor used the word "foolish?" Did that stand out to you at all?
I saw it. I didn't count them up, but it was multiple times. Oh Tammy, you counted them?
No I didn't. But it did stand out to me because I thought, "Now that's an interesting conversation to have." What is he trying to do by using that word?
He's trying to make you feel like you're not thinking correctly, that your thought process isn't good, that you're not seeing this thing logically or that kind of thing. Similar to, I mean, a million years ago when I was on a mission in Scotland and we'd have people come up to us and they'd say, "Well, you Mormons are foolish. You think the Book of Mormon is this..." or I mean, you know, "Well, you boys are diluted. You're just silly young men who don't really understand. And let me help you understand this better. You're so foolish. Let me point out to you how this really works." And so Korihor is going to do that for us, along with other people that we might meet. They're gonna say, "Well, you know, forget about what the spirit has told you or anything else. Let me let me explain to you why you're so foolish."
Well, it's nice of her to define that for us, right? Why we're going to be so foolish because we obviously can't figure that out for, you know, we can't figure it out. So he's gonna help us understand that.
Thanks, Korihor. We appreciate that. The irony in that, I love this scripture. Anywhere you want on Alma, chapter 30, I would write the word "foolish" at the top of the page and then this cross reference because I think this is a great cross reference. It's Psalms chapter 14, verse one, and we're going to go there and read that because here we're dealing with Korihor who's telling people not to believe in a Christ or a God. And then in Psalms chapter 14, verse one, this is what it says. I will read that.
"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good."
I just thought that was interesting, that the fool says in his heart, "There is no God." So who's the fool here? Right?
So when we go in on this story, this is what I love about the story. So here's Korihor and he's teaching the people in Zarahemla, and he's having success. He's doing pretty well for himself. Verse 18, says that "...thus he did preach unto them, leading away the hearts of many, causing them to lift up their heads in their wickedness..." He's doing pretty well, and so then he thinks, "You know what, let's go try a different city." And he moves on in verse 19 to where? What's he doing now?
Well, he's headed out to Jershon and he's gonna ply his trade in all the cities and get as many followers as he possibly can. And he hits Jershon with the people of Ammon, and this is a group, they've obviously been through the wringer and really have a solid testimony of who the Lord is, and I love the fact that when he shows up and starts with these teachings, this is an immediate kind of thing. This is like when, you know, Alma's told to go back to Ammonihah. It's like, they don't take a few days, they don't let him preach for a while, as soon as he hits, the people are like, "No this dude's way out of line here. We're gonna bind him up, we're tying him up, and we're taking them to the head guy because he's out of town. We don't put up with this kind of stuff in our group. We don't believe that, we don't want it. And this guy's the kind of corruptor that is offensive to us. Let's move him out of here."
Well, I love the fact that, it's interesting he's going to go to Jerson next. So it's the people of Ammon who have lived this, who understand what he's teaching, right? They know what the consequence is of what he's teaching is, and they don't want it. "Hey, dude, we've been there, done that. And that's just wrong. And we've made a change and we're never going back because our life is so much better where we're at now." So isn't that interesting that they've actually understand probably better than anybody what he's talking about.
Well, and what I loved about this was that it made me think back to Alma 27, verse 30, that said about these people, "They were a zealous and beloved people, a highly favored people of the Lord." And you can see why. These Anti-Nephi-Lehies who are now the people of Ammon, who are like, "Hit the road, dude, we don't want any part of your business and what you have to tell us." So he leaves, he goes to Gideon. Gideon doesn't like him. The people there, they bind him and then they deliver him to Alma. They go back to Zarahemla and then he starts to talk to Alma and they have this incredible conversation, and let's go into Alma chapter 30, verse 37.
The first thing that Korihor does is he starts to blame. He's pointing his finger at Alma and he's saying, "Listen, you've been glutting yourselves off the people. You're living off the people. And you know that's wrong." And Alma, he doesn't seem like much of a fighter, but you can kind of feel it a little bit when he's like, "Well, I gotta set the record straight." Like he doesn't let that go. So when he has a chance to speak, he says to Korihor, "You know, that's not true." And I love how he even says in verse 33, "I haven't even taken a senine."
That's the smallest amount of money you could possibly get. He's like, "I haven't even taken that from my people, so you know what you're saying is not true." And then we come to this point where he decides, "I'm just going to have a heart to heart with Korihor," and let's read verse 37. Robin, will you read verse 37 please?
"And then Alma said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God?"
That is the question of all questions. Why do missionaries in the Book of Mormon start with that question?
That's the beginning and the end of everything. That's the center of it all. And if there is no God, then there's no purpose. There's no purpose in being here or life I mean, it's everything.
Let's look at the answer Korihor gives. Continue reading verse 38 and 39.
"And he answered, Nay."
"Now Alma said unto him: Will ye deny again that there is a God, and also deny the Christ? For behold, I say unto you, I know there is a God, and also that Christ shall come."
Let's cross reference that verse with Alma, chapter four, verse 19. It's just good to have right there because we've studied this verse before, but in Alma chapter four, verse 19, that's clear back when Alma's mission starts, and he says that he will "bear down in pure testimony throughout his mission." And I just don't think it gets any more pure than that right there. It's so simple. It's just a statement of what I know. "I know there is a God and also that Christ shall come." That's it. That's what he says to Korihor, and now we're going to have this whole other part of the conversation and what happens to him. Robin, go ahead, you had a thought.
So the interesting thing to me is that when Alma starts this conversation with Korihor, he starts with a testimony, and we all know that when we start with a true testimony that that brings the spirit. So at the very beginning of this whole conversation, the one who's speaking truth, brings the Spirit in the whole conversation going forward and is guided by the Spirit because he set that precedent right up front. There's something that we can learn from that.
Oh 100%. Korihor has this conversation with Alma and they go back and forth. And it's interesting because in verse 42, Alma says to Korihor, "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."
I want us to read this quote. This is by Sister Janette C. Hales. This is such a great quote that sums up the whole experience between Alma and Korihor. Carol, go ahead and read that for us.
“Alma, his leader, bore his testimony to Korihor, and then Korihor made a mistake. Rather than listening to his leader and relying on the Spirit, he defended his position with logic and became more argumentative. He demanded that he be given a sign. Korihor was given a sign. He was struck dumb. He didn’t perhaps intend for the sign to have such an effect on him personally, but often the consequences of our mistakes do affect us personally."
“Verses 52 and 53 of chapter 30 are most important, I believe. Korihor acknowledges, ‘I always knew that there was a God. But behold, the devil hath deceived me’ (Alma 30:52–53). Isn’t that interesting? ‘I always knew.’ He had the Light of Christ in him, but Satan deceived him” (“Lessons That Have Helped Me,” in Brigham Young University 1992–93 Devotional and Fireside Speeches, Pg. 89).
So, Carol and Robin, how do you think this can happen to someone who has the light of Christ in them?
Well, you know, it always starts with the basics, Tammy. I mean, it's always the basics. Years ago, when I served as a bishop, I had a lot of people come in to me with a variety of different things. And so some of the leading questions were always, "Well, so how are your personal prayers? How's that going?"
"Well... you know, it's kind of hit or miss and I don't do it that often."
"Well is your scripture study...?"
"Well, they kind of put me to sleep. I don't get the opportunity to do that that much."
"And how's church attendance going? You know, I haven't seen you in church a lot."
"Well, there's always..." you know, a little list for that going on. And it was interesting that they used to feel like I was really super inspired because I'd say, "Okay, well, let's start with our personal prayer, scriptures, and attending all your church meetings." And a couple of weeks later, they'd say, "I can't believe the difference in my life. You're amazing, you know that you've come up with this."
Like, "Well, no, I'm not that special to be honest with you. Certainly, hopefully, the spirit was guiding me in some of these conversations," but really, it's about staying close with the Lord. And the only way to keep that relationship are through those very basic principles. I mean, that's for me, that's the easiest answer.
Absolutely, it is the basics. I've learned that in my own life, definitely. Korihor wasn't only tricked, but let's look at verse 53 real quick. Go to verse 53, and I brought this up when we studied the word "anti" and here's where this anti comes in.
Verse 53 says, "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..." Circle the word "reclaim" right there. I think this is so fascinating because the word "reclaim" means to "call back from error, wandering, or transgression." Isn't that interesting that the devil would then teach and trick Korihor to thinking that everyone was in transgression, and that they needed to learn what he knew. So "...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 so there he is, reclaiming people like the Savior is for us. He wants to be the savior to these people. He wants to reclaim them from their lives. And as a result of doing this, he loved the gain. He loved what he got out of it, but he didn't like being dumb, and so he begged Alma to remove the curse. So in the next segment, we're going to find out what happens to Korihor.
Segment 3 22:05
We're just going to jump right in so we can cover it all. Now Korihor, he has foolishly asked for a sign and he was given one, and now he's dumb, which means he is mute, silent, and not able to speak. That's what that word means. Now in chapter 30, verses 54 through 55, Korihor begs for the curse to be removed and Alma fears that if he gets the ability to talk again, that he's just gonna keep telling lies and teaching false doctrine. So Alma's like, "I'm not gonna remove the curse. I don't think it's gonna work, it's not gonna happen." And then look at verses 56 and 57. He goes from house to house, Korihor does, just begging for food from everybody in Zarahemla, and he's not finding much success at all. And everyone is convinced of his wickedness so he leaves to see if he can find sympathy among another group of people. Let's read about that in Alma chapter 30, verses 59 and 60. Robin, will you read those two verses, please?
"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."
"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."
Okay, there's so many things to talk about with these two verses. First of all, who did he go to thinking that he would get help?
His own kind of people. I mean, all the other people have heard his song and dance, they've seen what happened, they saw where it went, you know, that's not really great. The Zoramites, they've already separated themselves. He was certainly separating himself and he goes from having a lot of people behind him, people giving him money, they're thrilled with what they're telling him, he's gained supporters, to dumb and a beggar and nothing in a very short order. I mean, the devil really puts him in the tank real quick there. So I think, you know, that's a dramatic change in life circumstances for Korihor, and now he ends up back with people who are separating himself, "Maybe they'll have some pity on me, and help me out here."
Right. And we'll learn more about Zoramites in the next segment, but he does not get any pity from them. And this has always kind of intrigued me and I've been thinking a lot about these words. At the end of verse 59. It says, "...he went forth amongst them, behold, he was run upon and trodden down, even until he was dead." And those words, I have been thinking about them a lot lately as I was reading this and preparing for it, and I wondered, "Like there's no mention of horses, yet." And I thought, "Run upon and trodden down by the people? Like, are we talking about a group of people so far removed from the gospel of Jesus Christ that they're going to run upon and trodden him down until he dies? Or were there horses?" I don't really know. I think this might be a great, you know, in the big seminary in Heaven a question I can ask.
And here's what I want you to do in your scriptures. In verse 60, highlight and mark, "And thus we see." Every time you see that phrase, "and thus we see," this is Mormon's lesson defining introductory phase throughout the Book of Mormon. So when you read that phrase, "and thus we see," your ears should perk and you should think, "Oh wait, this is Mormon taking a moment to teach me something." This is the lesson that Mormon wants us to learn, and so we have to look at it one more time. "...the end of him who perverteth the ways of the Lord; and thus we see..." another one, "...that the devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell." True or false?
Absolutely true. He's not going to support them. Down they go. But for a while, while they're having success and stuff, I feel like he does, you know, he's right in there because the more souls he can drag down he will.
You know, I honestly, I believe that most people really kind of, I mean, they know, they know when they're telling lies, they know when they're not telling the truth. Korihor knew he was lying, but because of what he was getting out of it, he just kept going down the road. And then when he's finally confronted, and the signs given, he's like, "Oh, no, I got caught. Now, what do I do? Well, let me out. Let me out. Let me out."
"Oh, no, because you're just going to take more people, that's not going to work. We can't let you do that." And now he pays that ultimate consequence, which probably is the best possible thing for him is to go back to the Lord and let him sort it out. Right?
Do you think he knows Carol?
Oh, yeah, I know he knows. I mean, we've met people that know it. They know it in their heart when they're teaching other things. They've had that light. They know they know it. And pretty soon it's like Robin said, they want to believe the lie and so they do. It's easy to believe at some point what is gaining you all of those things, right? And mostly it's fame and gain, right? Those two things are a huge drawing force I guess for us as humans, and that's very appealing to him. But I also think it's fascinating that he's gonna back up and say to Alma, "Whoa, whoa, yeah, guess what? I always knew, darn it. I've been deceived. Now, can you just take this from me?" This was a huge miracle, right? We'll call it a miracle. And he'll call it you know, being struck down, whatever they want to call it, but for the people, it's a miracle. And he knows that he's dumb. He knows that this happened to him. Only the power of God could do it.
But it goes back to the point that miracles aren't what changed the person. It's not miracles that make faith, right? That does not promote, that's not what faith is made from. Miracles don't change people. I've had that experience in my own life with a wonderful son of mine who has stepped away a little bit from the Church, and he was on his way to Cedar City to go to school to start college and he was very nervous and worried about it a little bit. And we were driving down together and his car was just in the red, it was gonna burn up, blow up, I don't know. So we kept stopping and stopping, and we'd let it cool down. And it just wasn't working for us, and finally, he was so upset, and I knew he had already told us after he graduated, that he kind of wanted to step away from the Church, he didn't know that he believed those things. But I knew that he needed to know that Heavenly Father loved him, that his Heavenly Father knew who he was.
So I said to him, "We're going to stop and I'm going to get in on the other side, and I'm going to drive, but we're going to stop and we're going to have a prayer, and Heavenly Father is going to take care of us, and I want you to know this, he's going to do that for us." And so I said a prayer and it came into my mind that what I needed to do was keep the car at 60 miles an hour. Don't go faster than 60 miles an hour. That's what came into my mind. It had not been out of the red since we started that trip mostly. As we hit Nephi, and it hadn't been out of the red since Nephi, we had one more long pole into cedar, and that car never even got close to the red. We drove right into cedar, and it was a beautiful, beautiful miracle. But that has not brought him back to the Church, Tammy. It didn't do it. Right? But what did it do for me, was solidify that my Heavenly Father is there, and that he knows who my son is, and that he's still taking care of him regardless of where he is right? He cares about him and he can use me to be able to help my son understand that, but I recognize the fact that it's not the miracle that changes the soul, it's faith. It's wanting and having that desire to know who the Savior is.
Wow, Carol, thank you for sharing that story because I gotta be honest, it did not end like I thought it would. I was expecting you to say, "And then my son woke up and he became a full active member of the Church," but he didn't. And what's interesting is that just like you said, that the miracles don't convert people, the miracles confirm people, it confirms our faith. And that's the story. When we go into Korihor, you know, we don't really know what Korihor was going through, but it doesn't seem like the Zoramites really wanted to help him. Let's learn a little bit about what they were like. Go into Alma chapter 31, and we're going to look at verse one. There's a specific word that teaches us a lot about these people and where their thinking came from. And let's see, Robin, will you read that verse for us, please?
"Now it came to pass that after the end of Korihor, Alma having received tidings that 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, his heart again began to sicken because of the iniquity of the people."
Right there in that verse, the "Zoramites were perverting the ways of Lord," highlight that. That's what's going on here. They have taken their beliefs, they've taken the truth, and they have perverted it. And you're thinking like, "In what way? How could they have possibly perverted it?" And I like that the scriptures are going to tell us how they perverted the truth. In Alma, Chapter 31, we're going to look at verses 11 through 14, and find the ways that they were perverting the truth. We're going to read through these. I'm going to read them, and as I do, Robin and Carol, I want you to highlight and mark some of the perversions that the Zoramites were practicing. Here we go, in verses 11 through 14.
"Yea, in fine, they did pervert the ways of the Lord in very many instances; therefore, for this cause, Alma and his brethren went into the land to preach the word unto them."
"Now, when they had come into the land, behold, to their astonishment they found that 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; and they did worship after a manner which Alma and his brethren had never beheld;"
"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."
"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:"
Okay pause there. And then let's go to verses 20 through 23.
"For behold, every man did go forth and offer up these same prayers. Now the place was called by them Rameumptom, which, being interpreted, is the holy stand."
"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."
"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, to offer up thanks after their manner."
What did you mark? What are some of their perversions?
Well, it's nice to know that they are the chosen people, right? If you were all wondering who it was, it's sort of like they're the chosen one, and nobody else, right? So only us. There's no other way for anybody else to be redeemed but us, and to shout out their prayer, and to only ever mention God wants ever, just during that prayer, never more during the weakness, "I'll never think about him again, and then we'll come back to him, and because we've already been saved, right? We've already been and we don't really need him because we've already been redeemed. So we just really need to offer up this prayer every now and then so it knows that we're connected a little."
Yes. It just seems like, Tammy, that it's super convenient. Right? I mean, I don't want to spend that much time with the Lord or have to worry about him that much. And because, you know, we're sure that we're the best on the planet and that we're greatly blessed. I mean, "This is like a five minute deal, and I'm done for the week. Whatever we do is okay because we're the blessed people. So we're not listening to what the Lord has to tell us is right."
That's exactly right. So here we have some of their beliefs and ideas they're practicing that are perverse. In the next segment, we are going to read their prayer, their specific prayer that is so perverse and filled with such grievous lies that you can't even believe that these are the beliefs of the Zoramites.
Segment 4 34:27
Robin and Carol, you have raised, in my opinion because I watched you raise them, three incredible boys. Like I love your boys so much. All three of them are wonderful. I was Jarrett's primary teacher, very intimidated every Sunday because that kid knew his stuff. I will tell you that right now. At eight years old, I remember teaching him and one time he folded his arms and he was like, "You're gonna need to explain that to me," and I was like, "You're eight." He wanted to know everything about the Second Coming. It was one of my favorite lessons because all the others kids sat there dumbfounded and Jarett was like, "And what about this? And what about..?" Like, it was such a great moment he wanted to know everything. So here's my question to you about raising three boys or kids in general, how do you teach them about prayer? Or is there a specific prayer story you have in your family?
I think always by example, right? Always, always, always. When we ask my kids about prayer, they will say that above all else, we were very consistent. That we always had family prayer, we always, you know, morning, night. You've got to send them out the door with some armor, right? So when they come home, we're gonna welcome them in, and then we always would kneel at their bedside and have them say their own prayers, and it was just what we did. I think they grew up knowing that that's what we did. And it's interesting that as they get older, and they see us do that, and they do that with us still as adults, I think it's very comforting for them to know that things don't change. That that's always very important that that will always be very important. And they understand that and recognize that because I know that they've recognized the blessings from some of those prayers in their lives.
And I also think that we rotated so everybody in the family got to, you know, have an opportunity to say a prayer, but every prayer is acceptable, right? There was never any criticism over a young person's prayer, an adult's prayer, I mean, whatever their feelings are and whatever they're expressing in their heart is fine. It doesn't have to match or be anything like our prayer. And even though, you know, our youngest son now, isn't attending church, if we ask him to pray, he's happy to do it. And we enjoy his prayers and we're not critical of anything he might or might not say. We want him to know that he's loved, not only by us, but by the Savior and by our Heavenly Father. And that those prayers, are our connection to that person who loves him.
You know what, Robin? I really like that. I like that you just gave everyone in your family a chance to pray and that you accepted their supplications. Because as you were saying that, I was thinking, you know, here's something I found interesting as you were talking, the Hebrew word for "prayer," or "to pray" is "Tefilah" and the way I remember that is to "feel a prayer." So there you go. Now you'll always remember it. It's just interesting to me, though, that the root word for prayer stems from the word "palal," which means "to intervene, to interpose, and to make supplication." And your story just beautifully demonstrated how anyone can do that. Your son who's just no longer active, still prays. He's still making supplications with the Lord, and I just I love your example in the story that you gave.
But you know, back in the scripture story, this isn't exactly what the Zoramites are doing in their prayers. They're not asking for supplication. They're not asking the Lord to intervene. You know, their prayers are very self centered, and we talked in the last segment about how they only prayed once a week. I mean, can you imagine what that would be like? Just once a week you're going to pray. Let's go into Alma chapter 31, verses 15 through 18 because I want to read the Zoramites prayer, and just see how far they stray from supplication in their prayers. So let's go into Alma chapter 31 and we're going to read verses 15 through 18. Highlight all of those verses. This is the prayer that every single Zoramite prayed. The same prayer on the Rameumptom, once a week, and we're going to read those, and as we do, see how many false beliefs that you can mark or find in these verses. When it comes to this same prayer they always prayed. So verses 15 through 18, and Carol, will you read that for us?
"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."
"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."
"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."
"And again we thank thee, O God, that we are a chosen and a holy people. Amen."
I mean, you can't even amend that.
Okay, tell me about this prayer. Go on, start talking. I mean, I remember when it first starts, I'm like, not a bad start. "Holy, holy God; we believe that thou art God, and we believe that thou art holy..." and then we just right there, we nosedive.
I mean, but it's like everything, right? Let's mix a little bit of truth in with a lot of misinformation.
Yeah. The thought of "thou art the same yesterday, today, and forever." True. But that "thou hast elected us," I mean, verse 17 made me giggle a little bit. That everyone else is gonna burn but us. That verse was very funny to me.
Well, I mean, "We don't want to say any of the bad stuff about us, certainly if we're going to say the same prayer every week. Let's make sure it's all good."
Well, and it's interesting that they believe there's a God, here's a God, "but we don't believe in Christ. We don't believe in your son, but we believe in you." It's interesting half truths there that they're fouled up and twisted around.
And how that must make Heavenly Father's heart hurt. When you read that, my heart did sink a little like, "Oh, you don't believe in Him? That's the whole purpose."
But then, "How can you understand how much I love you if you don't believe in my son." I feel like that's key, right? "Then you can't understand how I love you and who I am if you don't understand that I have this son that has done this for you."
And all those foolish traditions, I mean, all these old guys, these old prophets and stuff that have been telling you things, I mean, that's just foolish. They're old. They're not with it. I mean, you know, "Your prophet is in his 90s. How could he possibly understand what's happening today, when he's in his 90s?" They don't specifically state that in that burst, but I'm sure that's what they're talking about. The foolish traditions of our brethren, well, if we expand brethren then that's all the prophets and apostles that are trying to help us understand our relationship with Christ. Yeah, they're just foolish that's again for the word foolish, right?
Yes, that word and that they're talking about the traditions of their brethren, the nephites, who they broke off from is what we've read in chapter 31. In fact, go back to verse nine because you know, if you're thinking, "Well, maybe this Zoramites didn't know better, maybe they were taught wrong." One word tells us quite a bit about them, it says, "But they had fallen into great errors." Like that that word that they had "fallen from what they knew," they had fallen from some truth, so they knew they had the truth, they were believers at one point, and then it goes back to this idea, Robin, where you said, "It's just little things." It's the little things that they stopped doing. I want us to read this quote about the little things. It's by Rulon G. Craven, he served as a member of the Seventy and this is what he said, and let's see, Robin, will you read that for us.
Elder Rulon G. Craven who served as a member of the 70 said this: “During the past years I have at times been asked by the Brethren to meet with repentant members of the Church and interview them for the restoration of their temple blessings. This has always been a spiritually moving experience to restore the blessings of those wonderful people who have repented. I have asked some of them the question, ‘What happened in your life that caused you to temporarily lose your membership in the Church?’ With tear-filled eyes they answered: ‘I didn’t obey the basic principles of the gospel: prayer, attending church regularly, serving in church and studying the gospel. I then gave in to temptations and lost the guidance of the Holy Spirit’” (Rulon G. Craven, “Temptation,” Ensign, May 1996, 76).
Thank you, Robin. We can see how this is like horror horror, it's the Zoramites. Now Robin and Carol, you both serve in a singles ward right now, and I gotta be honest, I'll tell you, I did some solid time in the singles ward. I was there for a while, and you know, I'll be honest, when I was going to all of the singles activities and temple nights and all sorts of things, there were times when I would have these thoughts pop into my head, which I'm sure was from Satan telling me things like, "You know, if God really loved you, you'd be married by now because you're doing everything you've been asked." It just seemed like Satan was really good at telling us these little lies. And so I'm just curious to know, from the people that you work with, are there lies that Satan is telling people this age? And what are some of those half truths that he's putting in their heads?
This particular age in their life, there's a ton of stuff going on that is unknown. The unknown is scary and fear replaces faith, right? So it bumps the faith out and the fear comes in. Well, I don't have the right job. I don't know what my career is. I can't seem to get married. I can't find the right person to marry. And then consequently, you get the fear of the unknown of all that, and then that draws in and they go, "And Gee, I've been going to church. I've been doing the stuff I'm supposed to do, and why am I not getting this answer from the Lord." And then on top of that, "Man, my friends are all getting married, and they've got good jobs. They all seem to know exactly what they're doing with their life. I'm the only one. I'm the only one who doesn't know."
"And I'm tired of doing the right thing. I'm not going to one more family home evening to play broom hockey anymore until I get married. I'm sick of it."
"It's not doing any good. I'm not I'm not getting the answers I was expecting. So why would I go play broom hockey?"
Yeah and then you downward spirl into, "God doesn't love me. That's it."
And the anxiety of I mean, right now the anxiety of life with COVID and protests, and I mean, we all get it in real time. You look on your phone every second and see the worst possible disasters that are going on in the world. And it's like, "Wow, how do I fit into this and where's God?"
Yeah, "Where is God in all of this?" Yeah, Carol, tell me some of your thoughts because I know you work directly with a lot of these kids and callings.
I feel like our young kids today and our singles all of this new rising generation are very, very bright intellectual people, they're coming that way with the capacity to know and learn and want to know and learn. When they can't find their answers right away or when they get caught up in the noise of all the answers that they can't get or won't get maybe in this lifetime, it really throws them and then they start looking other places to find the answers that maybe the Lord's not ready to give us yet. And since they aren't finding it in their scriptures, and they want to go to the internet, and pretty soon, they're not ever in their scriptures anymore. They're only on the internet or other places that may take them away from where they really need to be. If we can get our kids to understand that and not get caught up in the noise and stay right there in the basics of the gospel, they're going to be just fine.
The answers will come, just believe that God loves you. Thank you for sharing that Carol. As I read chapter 31, one of the things I enjoyed doing was looking for all of the words that described the way Alma was feeling when he was among the Zoramites. He was sorrowful, he was sad, he was astonished that he could not believe what he was seeing, and he knew he had to do something different. So in the next segment, we're going to read one verse of scripture and spend so much time on it because it's one of my favorite verses that's going to tell us what Alma the Younger decided to do to help the Zoramites.
Segment 5 47:26
Okay you guys, I have so much to say about this specific verse of scripture because Alma is "astonished exceedingly" it says. He's so sad about what he's seeing among the Zoramites that he has a decision. He's like, "Here's what we're gonna do. I have a plan. I know how we're going to help these people," and the plan is found in Alma, Chapter 31, verse five, and we're just going to read this one verse, this is it. So let's read this verse, and Robin, will you please read that for us?
Yes, I will. Verse five: "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 virtue of the word of God."
Okay, highlight and mark the word "virtue." Circle it, color it, right "virtue" on the page, whatever you want. This word means so much to me. This word is the reason that I even began studying Hebrew. It changed everything for me when I found out what it means. So the word "virtue" in Latin, in Hebrew, and in Greek, all mean the same thing, and it means "strength" or "power." And that's it. So I want you to look back at this verse because it does not say, "Therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the modesty of the Word of God, or the chastity of the Word of God." Like sometimes we automatically connect the word virtue with modesty, chastity and women, and it's not. Virtue right here, they are going to try the power or strength of the Word of God. And if you want to know more about this, oh my gosh, I mean, just now when you put this into context of the proverb of a virtuous woman, in Proverbs chapter 31, now this proverb is about a woman with power. A woman with strength. Who can find a powerful, strong woman.
Elder Christofferson said that the only way we can get that power is through covenants. And I thought that was a pretty incredible statement that he made, that it's through Jesus Christ that we get this power. And Alma knew that because look at this verse again. After the word virtue, it says, "They should try the power or strength of the Word of God," highlight that word, "word." And I'm going to give you a cross reference. Put John, chapter one, verses one through four, and let's go there. That's Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. And if you read in these verses, next to that verse of scripture that I gave you, you're going to put a name. So in John chapter one verses one through four, and Carol, will you read those for us?
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
"The same was in the beginning with God."
"All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."
"In him was life; and the life was the light of men."
"And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not."
Who is "the word?"
Yeah, the Savior. Put "the Savior" next to that. So this goes back to how we started our whole conversation, Robin and Carol, if he's going to try the power and strength of the Word of God, then he's bringing them Christ, he knows that they need Jesus Christ. And it comes back to what you had said earlier, Robin, that they need a testimony of Jesus Christ. So my question to you both is this. How exactly is this done? How can we help others gain a testimony of Jesus Christ? Or how can we help ourselves gain a testimony of Jesus Christ, what are some steps?
For me, it comes back to the basics again. We kind of keep going in the circle, but the basics are really, really important for us. If we're not spending time with someone, we can't create a relationship or know who they are. So if we're not praying, if we're not studying our scriptures, then we're losing that opportunity to get to know who the Savior is, and then we're missing out on him speaking back to us, and we're not praying at all, or wanting to know what he's saying back. And he's talking to us through the Scriptures and he's also talking to us in our minds and in our hearts and through revelation and inspiration. So it's really key to do some of those basics.
And I think Tammy, the first thing is, you have to want it. You got to want to know I mean to start with, and sometimes, you know, "By their fruits, ye shall know them." So sometimes it requires you trying a lot, you know. "Hey, I don't like broccoli. Well, let's taste it and see what it tastes like and see if I can figure out a way to, you know, get to understand what this really is." And so when it comes to the Savior, "What if I try some of the things that he taught? Let's see, does that make me feel better? When I serve other people, do I feel more comfortable? When I do the things that he teaches, do I feel like a better person? Do I feel more fulfilled as a person?" So I think that's a great way. I mean, but you have to have somewhere you have to kind of get that desire. If you never have any desire, then why would you ever do anything with it anyway? So.
It was interesting. So we have a sweet nephew who has also kind of exited the Church, and one night he was with us and we were having a conversation about Book of Mormon, which he brought up. It's always fascinating to me when they're the ones that want to talk about it and then I'm all happy to join in, but he was talking to me about experimenting on the word and he had kind of read through some of that. And I said, "And did you experiment? Did you try it?" And he said, "Nah. That's probably why I don't believe it, ah I never try it." So I thought it was an interesting comment that he didn't ever try. Like Robin was saying we just got to try it, right? And he just didn't do it. So he was happy to tell me that... at least he was honest, right?
I love that he's willing to acknowledge it. "Nah, no I'm not really gonna try it because it would probably work." I remember a turning point for me when it came to my relationship with Jesus Christ, and it was just recently, and I learned it. It was a great lesson that I learned from my friend Tamu, we've had her on a couple of times, and I remember I was traveling with Tamu and we woke up Sunday morning to go to church and right before our plane left, and I didn't think she would come with me to church because she has kids and she could sleep in, and I don't know, I just thought maybe she'll take a break. So I went down in the lobby to go to church, and she was coming as fast as she could. She got the elevator, ran towards me, and I said, "Tamu, oh my gosh, I'm so glad you could, I just thought you were gonna sleep in and take a break, which no judgement you totally probably should have." And I'll never forget what she said, she looks at me and she goes, "I'm not sleeping in on Jesus. I'll sleep in on my family before I sleep in on Jesus."
And I just love that because and then she's like, "I love Jesus. Of course, I'm going to church." And I remember at that moment, I thought, "I need to speak of him more. I need to work him into my conversations, I need to give credit to him for everything, for everything that I have." And I've tried to kind of make that a little bit of a goal with my kids. When we pray for things, and we get our prayers answered that we stop what we're doing, even if it was recently to find something my daughter had lost. Those are my favorite prayers. "Let's pray to ask Heavenly Father to help us find it. Ask Jesus for help, and then the minute we found it, now we have to say 'thank you.'" There's two prayers involved in those moments. And I just, I want to be able to speak of him more, and I think that that is something that I could definitely do to include him in my conversations every day, and remember him.
Now Alma knew that that's what the people were missing, and so he decides he's going to try the virtue of the Word of God. He's going to try the strength and power of Jesus Christ. Alma chapter 31, verses 26 through 35 is a prayer that Alma says. He is going to pray to have help with these people, but I want us to focus specifically on the end of his prayer. Look what he prays for in verses 34 and 35. And Carol, will you read those two verses for us?
"O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ."
"Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee."
I just love the way he ends that prayer. So teaching and testifying about Jesus Christ, it's the only goal of Alma and his companions. And so at the very beginning, I mentioned that these stories are more about us than for us. And I wonder, could it be that we have more in common with the Zoramites than we actually realize. In the next segment, we're going to talk about just how close this story is to our lives.
Segment 6 56:03
Let's go right into Alma chapter 31 verse 21. We've read this verse already, but I just love saying this word. And we're going back to the Zoramites, we've talked about the prayer that they pray, and we talked about some of their perversions, but the specific one that seems so silly, is found in verse 21.
"Now the place was called by them Rameumptom, which, being interpreted, is the holy stand."
I just have to say a little funny story about this. When I was going to BYU, I was asked to be on "Battle of the Bands" judge, and there were five of us as judges, and the band that won was the band that wrote the song "Rameumptom of Love." Any of you listening who wrote that song, I'm just gonna say it right now, that's why you won "Battle of the Bands" at BYU. Get on the stand and proclaim your love to the person that you have these feelings for. Anyway, we have this Rameumptom, which just seems so silly, right? We've talked about this, like, come on who really does this? And then I thought of this talk by Elder Cook and I realized, "Oh my gosh, we all do this, like we are so guilty of Rameumptom's everywhere." I'm going to start with this quote by Elder Cook, and Robin, will you read this for us, please?
“Unfortunately, in our day in almost every segment of society, we see self-importance and arrogance flaunted while humility and accountability to God are denigrated. Much of society has lost its moorings and does not understand why we are on this earth” (Elder Cook “The Eternal Everyday” General Conference, October, 2017).
I think the Zoramites kind of maybe forgot why they were here. Let's go into this, I want us to go into Alma chapter 31 because I want us to see what Alma saw. Go to verses 25 through 28. This is kind of where Alma begins his prayers but I just think the way Alma describes the people to God when he begs for help to teach them, I think it's beautifully written and very descriptive. So we'll start in Alma chapter 31, verses 25 through 28. And I will read those. And Carol and Robin, tell me what stands out to you when we read about who these people are.
"Yea, and he also saw that their hearts were lifted up unto great boasting, in their pride."
"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 among the children of men?"
"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."
"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."
What stood out to you?
Guilt for all the mall time I've spent over the years trying to ornament myself and decorate myself, and you know...
Oh you should feel bad, Carol. Nooo. No but why is he using these descriptive words though? So what's he trying to help us understand about these people by saying that because it's not bad to wear jewelry, right?
No, of course not, but when it causes you to be better than someone else because of what you've done to, you know, whatever you're wearing, or whatever you're doing or saying, if that puts you above someone else then down we go, right? I mean, we're walking on dangerous waters at that point.
Well, and when you just said right now, it made me think of this, when we stand up above people. In your scriptures, go back to verse 21, where we have the word Rameumptom, I want to teach you this word really quickly because the Semitic root word of this is "Ram." So mark "R, a, m." And what that word really means is a "high place." And the verse says Rameumptom means the "holy stand, but "Ram" translates as a "high place" and it's also the alternate names. This is kind of interesting, the root word "ram." For the Hill Cumorah, which is "Ramah," and that's found in Ether chapter 15, verse 11. That hill, Hill Cumorah is a high place. And so here they are standing on this very high place, one at a time, offering these prayers, wearing their best, to be above everyone. Carol, I want you to read this quote and give me your thoughts about it.
Elder cook: “In today’s world, there is an increased emphasis on pride, self-aggrandizement, and so-called “authenticity,” which sometimes leads to a lack of true humility. Some suggest the moral values for happiness today include “be real, be strong, be productive—and most important, don’t rely on other people … because your fate is … in your own hands.” The scriptures advocate a different approach. They suggest that we should be true disciples of Jesus Christ. This entails establishing a powerful feeling of accountability to God and a humble approach to life. The modern internet creates challenges to avoiding pride. Two examples are the self-indulgent “look at me” approach or attacking others by ranting on social media. One more example is the “humble brag.” It is defined as “an ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement [or picture] whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud.” The prophets have always warned about pride and emphasizing the vain things of the world. (Elder Cook “The Eternal Everyday” General Conference October, 2017. )
I have to say that as I was thinking about this, a lot of what the Zoramites are, right, is self righteous. You feel that a lot since they're the chosen people, and as I thought about this, I had to be really honest. And I have to say that sometimes it's easy for us to look at someone else and say, "Wow, I can't believe they'd go to that movie or I can't believe they'd wear that, or I can't believe they do this or do that," or whatever it is, right? And I feel like it's easy to slip into that and we don't even know that we're doing it. And sometimes we say things not realizing how it's affecting other people. And I just had my son tell me that he has had friends tell him and people that are not members of our faith, that they felt like people have said things that make it sound like we're better than they are. "We have the truth, you don't. We have this, you don't have that." Whatever it is, they feel like they're not important or what they have to say, or their views aren't important because we have it all, right?
And I said to him, "That makes me so sad. I know that's not the meaning and intent behind those words, but sometimes how we say things gets taken a different direction. And it sounds like we as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are better than other people. And I'm for sure we would never want that to be the case. That was the opposite of Christ in his humble state that we would never be that, but sometimes we can go there and not realize it."
And thank you, Carol, for saying that because as I was studying this, the thing that kept coming to me is, "What is my Rameumptom then?" And I asked you guys this before we even got ready to record because that was something that kept coming up in our conversation was how Rameumptoms are pervasive. They are everywhere. I am 100% guilty of the humble brag. Absolutely. When Instagram first started, that was me because I'm like, "I like to be funny. I want to make people laugh. So I'm going to put this on here, but I know everyone's gonna say how great I am, and I could really use that." So, the humble brag totally was my Rameumptom, when all of this started, and then I got called out, and I was like, "You're right." I'm very careful to check myself with this Elder Cook talk. What are some other ideas or thoughts you guys have had about this? The Rameumptom's of our time.
Robin, I've been chatting a lot, you go ahead there.
I think Rameumptom's are, I mean, it can be whatever your hobby is, it can be your workplace, it can be any of those things that raise you, in your own mind to a different spot. Again, Rameumptom — higher, "I'm better, I'm higher." I think a Rameumptom's almost anything that becomes your main focus and makes you all that. And I mean for all of us it's different and I think that every single one of us struggles in controlling that. That how do we make sure that we don't end up at the very top of this Rameumptom screaming to the world, you know, "I'm the greatest." Somewhere along that line, the only way to temper that and to get myself back into balance is to say, "Well, okay, I better read my scriptures. I better pray. I better go to church and here's some good things that will kind of help." And if I stick with those basics, I have the opportunity to have the Savior pull me back into balance a little bit.
Yeah. And as I'm thinking about the Rameumptom and the way it was described in the Scriptures, when you do get to the top, you're alone. And that's what's so fascinating about it to me is that you're the only one at the top, you're by yourself up there to do whatever it is you went up there to do or say. The quote that Carol read, and I went back to this quote, and I realized, maybe it's anything that keeps us from being, and this is the quote, I think a Rameumptom is anything that keeps us from being true disciples of Jesus Christ. "This entails establishing a powerful feeling of accountability to God and a humble approach to life." And it's in line with what both of you have shared today. And when we talk about and when you think about in your own life, what is your Rameumptom? How close are we to being like the Zoramites?
Do we think we're better than other people? Maybe. I think sometimes our, you know, our verbiage, our vernacular might be a little bit like that and it's a great check. These two chapters are a great check for every single one of us to ask ourselves, "Are we teaching about Christ in all that we say and in all that we do?" And especially in the world we live in right now, is he on the forefront of your mind? Is he in all of your language and conversations that you're having? And if he is, you're doing it right. I really think that. So thank you, Robin and Carol. Thanks for being with us today. I appreciate everything you said. This is so fun.
That was great. Thanks Tammy.
Thanks Tammy. Super fun. Enjoyed it. We love you.
Oh, I love you guys, and thanks for being my friend, Carol, because I was friendless.
Oh I'm honored.
Tammy friendless... I'm not sure I'm going for that one.
Yeah that's a humble brag, isn't it? There's no way she's friendless.
All right, well, we would love to... Oh, sorry. Oh my gosh, I almost forgot. At the end of every episode, we ask our guests what their big takeaway was. What's something that stood out to you? Or something that maybe was re-taught? I don't know, anything that stood out to you. Share with us what your takeaway was from today's episode.
For me, the takeaway is that I need to always be watching what I'm doing, where my priorities are, am I including the Savior in my life always, and then be willing to bear testimony to others so that they can start having their own testimony of the Savior because that will bring the spirit, that will change lives, there is power in the Word of God and it is through bearing pure testimony to others.
And mine falls into the same category. The focus in my life really needs to be about the Savior. I have to keep that in the forefront, and that's going to come through the basics of how I operate in my life and what I do in the basics of the gospel, and if I don't do that, I won't keep the Savior in the forefront. And that's going to be my downfall, that's going to be the problem if I don't do that, that's what's gonna keep me in balance. That's gonna keep my testimony and keep me straight.
My takeaway was, Carol, your story about your son and that your prayer is answered, and I just loved that it didn't end the way I thought it would. And that he said still struggles, but that the miracle was for you, and it strengthened your faith. So thank you for sharing that, for being vulnerable enough to share it because that touched me. I loved that. That was my takeaway from this episode.
For those of you listening, we would love to hear what your big takeaway was from this episode. And we really enjoyed the discussions and questions on the Facebook group. Right now, we're having so much fun. Everyone has some of the best questions and the takeaways are incredible. And if you haven't already joined us over there, I want you to follow us on Instagram and Facebook. It's a great place to ask questions as you study and I try to answer anything I can throughout the week, and every week at the very end, usually on a Sunday, we post a call for your big takeaway. I read every single one and I truly love hearing what you were learning, whether it was something you heard on the podcast or just something you got from your own personal study.
You can get to both our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode on LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. And it's not a bad idea to go there anyway because that's where we have the links to all the references as well as the transcript of this whole entire discussion, so you should check it out. The Sunday on Monday Study Group is a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS+ original brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall, and today our incredible study group participants were Robin and Carol McCulloch. You guys are seriously the best. This is so great.
You can find more information about these friends at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. Our podcast is produced by KaRyn Lay with post production and editing by Erika Free and Emily Abel. It is mixed and mastered by Mix at Six Studios and our Executive Producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here. We'll see you next week, and remember, no matter who you are, you are God's favorite.
Quote: "The Nephites never had the book; neither did the Lamanites of ancient times. It was meant for us. Mormon wrote near the end of the Nephite civilization. Under the inspiration of God, who sees all things from the beginning, he abridged centuries of records, choosing the stories, speeches, and events that would be most helpful to us. If he saw our day, and chose those things which would be of greatest worth to us, is not that how we should study the Book of Mormon? We should constantly ask ourselves, 'Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Moroni or Alma) to include that in his record? What lesson can I learn from that to help me live in this day and age?'" (President Ezra Taft Benson, A Witness and a Warning: A Modern Day Prophet Testifies of the Book of Mormon, Pg. 19-20).
Following a great battle between the Nephites and the Lamanites, peace settled over the land for 2 years (Alma 30:2-4).
What happens that disturbs their peace?
"6 But it came to pass in the latter end of the seventeenth year, there came a man into the land of Zarahemla, and he was aAnti-Christ, for he began to preach unto the people bagainst the prophecies which had been spoken by the prophets, concerning the coming of Christ.
"12 And this aAnti-Christ, whose name was Korihor, (and the law could have no hold upon him) began to preach unto the people that there should be bno Christ. And after this manner did he preach, saying:" (Alma 30: 6, 12).
"Anti" in Greek means in place of, or as a substitute for, see biblehub.com. Antichrist would be either one who puts himself in place of, or the enemy of Christ.
What are the 8 teachings of Korihor in Alma Chapter 30?
- Alma 30:6 "He began to preach unto the people bagainst the prophecies which had been spoken by the prophets, concerning the coming of Christ."
- Alma 30:12 "Korihor, (and the law could have no hold upon him) began to preach unto the people that there should be bno Christ."
- Alma 30:13 "Why do ye yoke yourselves with such foolish things? Why do ye look for a Christ? For no man can bknow of anything which is to come."
- Alma 30:14 "Behold, these things which ye call prophecies, which ye say are handed down by holy prophets, behold, they are foolish traditions of your fathers."
- Alma 30:15 "Behold, ye cannot know of things which ye do not asee; therefore ye cannot know that there shall be a Christ."
- Alma 30:17 "...telling them that there could be no atonement made for the sins of men, but every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature;"
- Alma 30:17 "...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."
- Alma 30:18 "Telling them that when a man was dead, that was the end thereof."
Quote: “Korihor was the headmaster in the school of Satan’s curriculum. He represents religion as Karl Marx would nineteen hundred years later “the opiate of the masses” unworthy of sophisticated thinkers" (D. Kelly Odgen and Andrew C. Skinner, Verse by Verse the Book of Mormon, Volume Two: Alma 30 - Moroni, Pg. 2)
How did the people of Jershon respond to Korihor?
(Alma 30:19) Korihor goes to teach the people of Ammon in the land of Jershon.
(Alma 30:20) The people of Ammon bound Korihor and sent him out of the land.
Cross reference: A scripture that described what the people of Ammon were like: Alma 27:30.
Korhior is delivered to Alma and they have a conversation:
- (Alma 30:33) Alma clears his name, explaining he does not receive money for his labors with the church.
- (Alma 30:37) Alma asks Korihor whether he believes in a God.
- (Alma 30:38-39) Korihor states that he does not believe in God, Alma asks Korihor if he is going to deny God and Christ again, and then bears his testimony (cross reference Alma 4:19 when Alma states that he will bear down in pure testimony).
- (Alma 30:42) Alma tells Korihor that he is possessed with a lying spirit, and the spirit of God has no place in him.
What did Korihor intend to do?
"But behold, the devil hath adeceived me; for he bappeared unto me in the cform 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 dno 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 ecarnal 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 fcurse upon me" (Alma 30:53).
Quote: “Alma, his leader, bore his testimony to Korihor, and then Korihor made a mistake. Rather than listening to his leader and relying on the Spirit, he defended his position with logic and became more argumentative. He demanded that he be given a sign. Korihor was given a sign. He was struck dumb. He didn’t perhaps intend for the sign to have such an effect on him personally, but often the consequences of our mistakes do affect us personally. Verses 52 and 53 of chapter 30 are most important, I believe. Korihor acknowledges, ‘I always knew that there was a God. But behold, the devil hath deceived me’ (Alma 30:52–53). Isn’t that interesting? ‘I always knew.’ He had the Light of Christ in him, but Satan deceived him” (Janette C. Hales Beckham, “Lessons That Have Helped Me,” BYU Devotional 1993).
What happens to Korihor?
- (Alma 30:54-55) Korihor begs for the curse to be removed, but Alma fears that if he gets the ability to talk again, he will keep telling lies and teaching false doctrine.
- (Alma 30:56-57) The curse is not removed, Korihor goes from house to house begging for food.
Korihor goes to the Zoramites to try to find help:
"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 aZoramites, 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 bdead.
"60 And thus we see the end of him who aperverteth the ways of the Lord; and thus we see that the devil will not bsupport his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to chell" (Alma 30:59-60, cross reference: Mormon 4:5).
*Mormon uses the phrase "And thus we see. . . " when he is going to summarize a lesson from the story.
What were the Zoramites like?
"Now it came to pass that after the end of Korihor, Alma having received tidings that the Zoramites were perverting the ways of the Lord, and that Zoram, who was their leader, was leading the hearts of the people to abow down to dumb bidols, his heart again began to csicken because of the iniquity of the people" (Alma 31:1).
How did the Zoramites “pervert the ways of the Lord”?
The Hebrew word for "prayer" or "to pray" is Tefilah (תפילה, see biblehub.com). The root word for prayer stems from the word "palal" which means to intervene, to interpose, to make supplication (see biblehub.com).
The Zoramites prayer:
"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 aelected us to be thy bholy children; and also thou hast made it known unto us that cthere shall be dno Christ.
"17 But thou art the same yesterday, today, and forever; and thou hast aelected 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 bbind 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" (Alma 31:15-18).
The Zoramites had "fallen," implying that they used to know, they were not ignorant of the truth: Alma 31:9
Quote: “During the past years I have at times been asked by the Brethren to meet with repentant members of the Church and interview them for the restoration of their temple blessings. This has always been a spiritually moving experience to restore the blessings of those wonderful people who have repented. I have asked some of them the question, ‘What happened in your life that caused you to temporarily lose your membership in the Church?’ With tear-filled eyes they answered: ‘I didn’t obey the basic principles of the gospel: prayer, attending church regularly, serving in church and studying the gospel. I then gave in to temptations and lost the guidance of the Holy Spirit’” (Elder Rulon G. Craven, “Temptation,” General Conference, April 1996).
What is Alma’s plan to help the Zoramites?
"And now, as the apreaching of the bword had a great tendency to clead 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 virtue of the word of God" (Alma 31:5).
What (or who) is the “word’?
What is Alma's prayer to God?
"35 Behold, O Lord, their asouls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee" (Alma 31:34-35).
What is the "Rameumptom"?
"Now the place was called by them Rameumptom, which, being interpreted, is the holy stand" (Alma 31:21).
Quote: “Unfortunately, in our day in almost every segment of society, we see self-importance and arrogance flaunted while humility and accountability to God are denigrated. Much of society has lost its moorings and does not understand why we are on this earth” (Elder Cook “The Eternal Everyday,” General Conference, October, 2017).
What did Alma pray to God about the Zoramites?
"26 And he lifted up his voice to heaven, and acried, saying: O, how long, O Lord, wilt thou suffer that thy servants shall dwell here below in the flesh, to behold such gross wickedness among the children of men?
"27 Behold, O God, they acry 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 bpuffed up, even to greatness, with the vain things of the cworld.
"28 Behold, O my God, their costly apparel, and their ringlets, and their abracelets, 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" (Alma 31:25-28).
The Semetic root word ram means “high place” (see entry "rwm" in ahbdictionary.com), as in the alternate name for the Hill Cumorah. The Hill Cumorah is a "high place."
Hill Cumorah referenced as "Ramah" in Ether:
"And it came to pass that the army of Coriantumr did pitch their tents by the hill Ramah; and it was that same hill where my father Mormon did ahide up the records unto the Lord, which were sacred" (Ether 15:11).
Quote: “In today’s world, there is an increased emphasis on pride, self-aggrandizement, and so-called “authenticity,” which sometimes leads to a lack of true humility. Some suggest the moral values for happiness today include “be real, be strong, be productive—and most important, don’t rely on other people … because your fate is … in your own hands.”
The scriptures advocate a different approach. They suggest that we should be true disciples of Jesus Christ. This entails establishing a powerful feeling of accountability to God and a humble approach to life.
The modern internet creates challenges to avoiding pride. Two examples are the self-indulgent “look at me” approach or attacking others by ranting on social media. One more example is the “humblebrag.” It is defined as “an ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement [or picture] whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud.” The prophets have always warned about pride and emphasizing the vain things of the world. (Elder Cook “The Eternal Everyday,” General Conference, October 2017).