Was Korihor a Zoramite? Am I Sometimes a Zoramite?

Here are some interesting things that I thought of while studying Alma chapters 30 and 31 in the Book of Mormon for LDS Sunday School class last week.

It's interesting that Alma 30 and 31 find themselves next to each other in the Book of Mormon. I don't think that's coincidental. The Zoramites were a very haughty people, and, although I don't think we can be sure, it seems rather likely that Korihor, who came among the Nephites telling them that they ought to become better than their neighbor, was himself a Zoramite.

Where did the Zoramites come from? It's not an easy thing to think of, but it's clear that their somewhat Christian version of religion didn't come from the native Mesoamerican culture that they grew up in. The Zoramites were dissidents and religious apostates from the Nephites, but had set themselves apart as better than the Nephites. This is a good lesson for us to remember when he get the urge to think that we are better than others, including those of our own faith.

Alma 31:5 talks about the importance of using the word of God to convince someone of the error of their ways rather than bearing down in military violence against them. In this specific case, it was doubly important--because the Zoramites lived in somewhat of a buffer zone on the edge of Lamanite territory and had only recently begun to become in league with the Lamanites, trying to stir them up in anger against the rest of the Nephites. Interestingly, Amalickiah and his brother Ammoron, who would later dissent to the Lamanites and foment a military attack on the Nephites, were Zoramites (Alma 48:5; Alma 54:23).

When Korihor was trampled to death by the Zoramites it was proably easy for Alma and other Nephites to say good riddance, he had it coming. But not only is this an unchristlike attitude, it belies the idea that only in self-defense is violence appropriate.

When Korihor came to preach to the Christians(the Nephites and the Anti-Nephi-Lehies), he told them that their religion was indicative that they had "frenizied mind[s]" (Alma 30:16) due to the silly traditions of their fathers. A fair number of people in the land of Zarahemla began to believe Korihor's words--perhaps some out of fear that he might be right, but also likely because his ideas appeared to their carnal nature. Interestingly though, when he came to Jershon, which is the land given for the inheritance of the newly converted Anti-Nephi-Lehies, he had zero success there, because they had all within the past two years become aware of the gospel and atonement of Jesus Christ (see Alma 24), which helped them escape from the frenzied traditions of their Meso-american forefathers, which likely included human sacrifice.


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