What was the Raneumptom?
Did the Nephites truly practice freedom of religion?
Come Follow Me Podcast
As we begin Chapter 30, it has been about two years since the Lamanite converts left their own lands and followed Ammon and his brothers to Zarahemla, where the Nephites gave them the land of Jershon in which to settle. Remember, the unconverted Lamanites followed these Anti-Nephi-Lehies (or the people of Ammon) to the land of Zarahemla and a tremendous battle with the Nephites ensued. The year is approximately 74 BC. in the 16th and 17th year of the reign of judges, and the people in the Zarahemla area have now enjoyed a couple years of continual peace.
Alma 30:3 The people were keeping the commandments and observing the law of Moses.
Alma 30:5 In the 1830 edition page 305 the phrase “the commencement of” appears but was dropped in later editions.
Alma 30:6 “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 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.” This is the third “Anti-Christ” we’ve in encountered in the Book of Mormon. The other two being Sherem and Nehor. Though these other men are sometimes referred to as Anti-Christ figures, this is the first and only individual in the Book of Mormon actually, called an Anti-Christ. ^The phrase “to preach unto the people” is in Acts 10:42.
Alma 30:7 “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.” Discrimination according to belief was forbidden.
Alma 30:8 “For thus saith the scripture: Choose ye this day, whom ye shall serve.” Mormon is quoting a familiar passage from Joshua 24:15. No big deal, right? Wrong! It is a big deal because the book of Joshua was written in 550 BC. during the Babylonian Exile. Remember Lehi’s party left Jerusalem in 600 BC. just before Jerusalem was taken captive by the Babylonians. Thus, the book of Joshua would not have been in the Brass Plates of Laban. So, Mormon who is telling this story would not have had a copy of the book of Joshua to quote from. That is an obvious problem! ^The words “saith the scripture” are in Galatians 4:30.
Alma 30:9 “Now if a man desired to serve God, it was his privilege; or rather, if he believed in God it was his privilege to serve him; but if he did not believe in him there was no law to punish him.” They claimed to believe in and practiced religious freedom. But we will find out differently in this lesson. The words “believed in God” are in Titus 3:8 and, “Believe in him” are in Romans 10:14.
Alma 30:10 “But if he murdered he was punished unto death;
and if he robbed he was also punished; and if he stole he was also punished;
and if he committed adultery, he was also punished; yea, for all this
wickedness they were punished.” Today, we would consider all these punishable
crimes, except adultery.
Alma 30:11 “For there was a law that men should be judged according to their crimes. Nevertheless, there was no law against a man’s belief; therefore, a man was punished only for the crimes which he had done; therefore all men were on equal grounds.”
Alma 30:12 “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:” Like Nehor, the name Korihor sounds evil, doesn’t it? ^The words “preach, saying” are in Matthew 10:7.
Alma 30:13 Here are the emotionally charged powerful words of Korihor: “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.” In saying that no one can know the future, Korihor has just contradicted what he just said in Verse 12 where he claims to know the future enough to know that there will be no Christ!
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 “How do ye know of their surety? Behold, ye cannot know of things which ye do not see; therefore ye cannot know that there shall be a Christ.” Korihor can not defend this statement with reason or logic. For how can a person know there is no God unless he has the power of God to see everything and everywhere in the universe? From the world’s perspective, seeing is believing. From the gospel perspective, believing is seeing.
Alma 30:16 “Ye look forward and say that ye see a remission of your sins. But behold, it is the effect of a frenzied mind; and this derangement of your minds comes because of the traditions of your fathers, which lead you away into a belief of things which are not so.” In the 1830 edition page 350 it read “it is the effects of a phrensied mind.” In the 1964 edition “effects” was changed to “effect” and “phrensied” was changed to be spelled “frenzied.” ^The words “of the traditions of” are in Galatians 1:14.
Alma 30:17 Korihor tells them, there could be no atonement made for the sins of men. And taking his moral philosophy a little too far, he said there was no such thing as right and wrong, good and evil, and sin. ^The words “of the creature” are in Romans 8:19. In every case where the word “atonement” is used, it is pretty clear that the scene is not from an Old Testament setting of the “Day of Atonement” but rather from the teachings concerning Jesus Christ which are not found until the New Testament.
Alma 30:18 “And thus he did preach unto them, leading away the hearts of many, causing them to life up their heads in their wickedness, yea, leading away many women, and also men, to commit whoredoms – telling them that when a man was dead, that was the end thereof.” Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we shall die! He taught Nihilism – that there is no life after death, therefore, no ultimate accountability.
Alma 30:19-20 Korihor traveled to the land of Jershon to preach but was arrested, bound, and taken to Ammon the high priest. What happened to all that talk about freedom of religion back in Verse 9?
Alma 30:21-22 Korihor was kicked out of the land of Jershon and went to the land of Gideon to preach. Once again, he was arrested and taken before the high priest and chief judge, who wanted to know why Korihor was teaching his people that there will be no Christ, and speaking against the prophecies of the holy prophets?
Alma 30:22 ^The words “perverting the” are in Luke 23:2.
Alma 30:23 “Now the high priest’s name was Giddonah. And Korihor said unto him: Because I do not teach the foolish traditions of your fathers, and because I do not teach this people to bind themselves down under the foolish ordinances and performances which are laid down by ancient priests, to usurp power and authority over them, to keep them in ignorance, that they may not lift up their heads, but be brought down according to their words.” This is the way people are controlled and kept in religious bondage by those claiming to have authority over them. What “foolish ordinances” were they accused of performing? Did any of them have to do with temple ordinances?
Alma 30:24 “Ye say that this people is a free people. Behold, I say they are in bondage. Ye say that those ancient prophecies are true. Behold, I say that ye do not know that they are true.”
Alma 30:25 “Ye say that this people is guilty and a fallen people, because of the transgression of a parent. Behold, I say that a child is not guilty because of its parents.” I don’t think the people believed in the traditional Christian view of the Fall of Adam, as Korihor states here. Then he basically quotes the LDS, Second Article of Faith: “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.”
Alma 30:26 “And ye also say that Christ shall come. But behold, I say that ye do not know that there shall be a Christ. And ye say also that he shall be slain for the sins of the world.” The phrase “the sins of the world” is from John 1:29.
Alma 30:27 Korihor goes on to accuse the church leaders of keeping the people in bondage, in order to financially benefit from them. They are kept so busy playing church and keeping the laws and ordinances that they cannot enjoy life. The phrase “that they durst not” is from Luke 20:40 and, “with boldness” is in Acts 4:31.
Alma 30:28 If the people should think for themselves they might “offend some unknown being, who they say is God – a being who never has been seen or known, who never was nor ever will be.”
Alma 30:29 When the high priest and chief judge were done listening to Korihor, they bound him and sent him off to Alma in the land of Zarahemla, who was governor over all the land. ^The phrase “Now when the high priest and the” is from Acts 5:24.
Alma 30:30 Korihor was not deterred and even turned it up a notch by blaspheming in front of Alma.
Alma 30:31 “And he did rise up in great swelling words before Alma, and did revile against the priests and teachers, accusing them of leading away the people after the silly traditions of their fathers, for the sake of glutting on the labors of the people.” The phrase “great swelling words” is from 2 Peter 2:18.
Alma 30:32-35 Alma now replies to the false claims of Korihor, who accuses the church leadership of enriching themselves off the members of the church. Alma defends himself and his brethren by saying they have never received anything for serving in the church and traveling around to preach the word. He asks, why have you lied about this? I have, to admit the Book of Mormon makes it very, clear that church leaders were to support themselves. As we have already covered in previous lessons, this same policy does not apply to the current 15 apostles and prophets in the LDS Church. They all receive at least six-figure annual salaries as well as travel expenses and many more perks. (see MormonLeaks.io Links are in the description.)
Alma 30:33 ^The words “in the church” are in 1 Corinthians 14:19.
Alma 30:34 ^The phrase “what doth it profit” is in James 2:16.
Alma 30:35 ^The words “thou of thyself” are in John 1:22.
Alma 30:37 “And then Alma said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God?
Alma 30:38 “And he said, Nay.” Korihor denies that God exists. He is a professed atheist. But, by the time we get to Verse 48, he will change his mind and become an agnostic – which is one who claims no one can know whether or, not there is a God.
Alma 30:39 Alma testifies to him that he knows there is a God and that Christ will come. The phrase “I say unto you, I know” is in Matthew 25:12.
Alma 30:40 Alma asks Korihor what evidence does he have that there is no God and that Christ will not come? All he only has is his word. The words “that Christ cometh” are in John 7:42.
Alma 30:41 “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?” In other words, there is far more evidence all around us in support of the existence of God than there is supposed evidence against the fact.
Alma 30:42 Alma is now going to discern what is happening in the mind of 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.” Alma believes Korihor knows the truth about God but cannot help himself because he is possessed of the devil. ^The phrase “ye have put off the” are in Colossians 3:9 and, “have no place in you” is similar, to John 8:37.
Alma 30:43 Korihor said, show me a sign and I will be convinced there is a God. ^The words “convinced of the” are in James 2:9.
Alma 30:44 “But 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 30:45 Korihor says he still wants a sign. In other words, it is up to God to prove to him that He exists.
Alma 30:46-47 Alma warns Korihor that if he keeps denying God and asking for a sign, God will smite him dumb, and he will never speak again.
Alma 30:47 The words “flattering words” are in 1 Thessalonians 2:5 and, “shall deny” are in Luke 22:61 and, “God shall smite thee” in Acts 23:3 and, “thou shalt never” in John 13:8.
Alma 30:48 Korihor begins to back-pedal a bit. “Now Korihor said unto him: I do not deny the existence of a God, but I do not believe that there is a God; and I say also, that ye do not know that there is a God; and except ye show me a sign, I will not believe.” ^The words “of a god” are in Acts 12:22 and, “I will not believe” in John 20:25.
Alma 30:49 “Now Alma said unto him: This will I give unto thee for a sign, that thou shalt be struck dumb, according to my words; and I say, that in the name of God, ye shall be struck dumb, that ye shall no more have utterance.”
Alma 30:50 Immediately, Korihor was struck dumb and could not speak.
Alma 30:51 It seems that Korihor was not only struck dumb, but this verse indicates he was also deaf. “And now when the chief judge saw this, he 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?” I’m curious about their language. When Alma wrote this note, was it in Reformed Egyptian, Hebrew, Yiddish, or Kings English? In the 1830 edition page 309 it read “Art thou convinced of the power of a God?” In later editions the word “a” was deleted. ^The words “of the power of God” are in Luke 22:69.
Alma 30:52 Korihor now admits he was lying and writes a confession. “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.” In the 1830 edition page 309 it read “and I also knew that there was a God.” In later editions the word “also” was changed to now read “always.” ^The words “upon me; yea” are in 1 Corinthians 9:16.
Alma 30:53 Korihor had been teaching that there is no God nor, is there an afterlife. Yet, we learn next, that Satan in the form of an angel, appeared to him from an unseen world and in effect told him there is no such thing as an unseen world. “But behold, the devil hath deceived me; for he appeared unto me in the form of an angel, and said unto me: Go and reclaim this people, for they have all gone astray after an unknown God. And he said unto me: There is no God; yea, and he taught me that which I should say. And I have taught his words; and I taught them because they were pleasing unto the carnal mind; and I taught them, even until I had much success, insomuch that I verily believed that they were true; and for this cause I withstood the truth, even until I have brought this great curse upon me.” Korihor had lied long enough that he began to believe his own lies. The words “he appeared unto” are in Mark 16:14 and, “in the form of” are in Philippians 2:6 and, “unknown God” in Acts 17:23 and, “the carnal mind” in Romans 8:7 and “I withstood” in Galatians 2:11.
Alma 30:54-55 Korihor requested that Alma ask God to remove the curse. But without asking God, Alma simply said no. Because Alma did not think Korihor had sufficiently repented and would return to leading people astray again. So, instead Alma turned Korihor out to a life of begging for food – serving as a sign to all the people. Sounds like the Christian thing to do, Right?
Alma 30:54 ^The words “besought that” are in Acts 13:42.
Alma 30:56 Korihor was cast out and became a beggar from that point on. The phrase “he was cast out” is in Acts 7:21.
Alma 30:57 “Now the knowledge of what had happened unto Korihor was immediately published throughout all the land; yea, the proclamation was sent forth by the chief judge to all the people in the land, declaring unto those who had believed in the words of Korihor that they must speedily repent, lest the same judgments would come unto them.” So much for freedom of religion! Threatening people to repent like that does not seem to be in accordance to the loving ways of a righteous God. It sounds a bit coercive.
Alma 30:58 “And it came to pass that they were all convinced of the wickedness of Korihor; therefore they were all converted again unto the Lord; and this put an end to the iniquity after the manner of Korihor. And Korihor did go about from house to house, begging food for his support.” ^The words “convinced of the” are in James 2:9.
Alma 30:59 We are now introduced to the Zoramites. Speaking of Korihor, “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.” Korihor was trampled to death by the Zoramites. The phrase “a man whose name was” is in Luke 1:27.
Alma 30:60 The chapter ends by revealing the moral of the story of Korihor. “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.”
In Mormonism it is taught that we are the literal spirit children of God. But there is no reference in the Book of Mormon to confirm that idea or, that we all lived with God in a pre-mortal life. Apparently, the Nephites had absolutely no idea about that, and it did not form part of their “fulness of the gospel.” However, here in Verse 60 it does clearly teaches the concept that the devil has children. I doubt the LDS Church wishes to take too literally the idea that Satan actually, has children. I am sure they prefer the concept that it is purely a figurative expression, and children here means “followers”. Nevertheless, it does say “children”.
Alma 31:1 “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.” The Zoramites were idol-worshippers. We are told nothing more about this man, Zoram. ^The words “perverting the” are in Luke 23:2.
Alma 31:2 Alma was distressed because the Zoramites had separated themselves both spiritually and physically from the Nephites, which could lead to trouble.
Alma 31:3-4 The Zoramites lived in the land of Antionum bordering next to the wilderness which was full of Lamanites. This could pose as a threat to the national security of Alma’s people if the Zoramites were ever to enter into an alliance with the Lamanites.
Alma 31:5 “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.” After considering his options, Alma decided that preaching to the Zoramites would be better than fighting them. The phrase “it was expedient that” is in John 18:14 and, “of the word of God” is in Revelation 1:2.
Alma 31:6-7 Alma gathered, together his “dream team” of missionaries which consisted of Ammon, Aaron, Omner, Amulek, and Zeezrom. Alma also took two of his three sons, Shiblon and Corianton. He left behind Himni and Alma’s oldest son, Helaman to hold down the fort in Zarahemla.
Alma 31:8 “Now the Zoramites were dissenters from the Nephites; therefore they had had the word of God preached unto them.” They knew the gospel but had rejected it. They were apostates.
Alma 31:9-11 Moroni who is telling this story says that the Zoramites were a bunch of commandment breakers. They refused to perform in the rites and rituals of the church. Shame on them! In the 1830 edition page 310 it read “But they had fell into great errors.” In the 1964 edition the word “fell” was changed to “fallen.”
Alma 31:10 The words “continue in prayer, and” are in Colossians 4:2 and, “enter into temptation” are in Mark 14:28.
Alma 31:11 An entire line in this verse was lifted from Paul’s remarks in Acts 13:10. The phrase “wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?”
Alma 31:12 “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 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.” Does not sound like the Nephites had much diversity of religion in their country. To see someone worshipping differently was quite a surprise to them.
How could the Zoramites know how to, build synagogues when the Jews were not building them before Lehi left for the new world in 600 BC? But, a writer in the early 19th century who was able to read all of the Bible would indeed know. The term “synagogue” (including the plural) occurs 25 times in the Book of Mormon. Beginning in 2 Nephi 26:26, about 550 BC. Most Bible scholars believe that synagogues did not come into existence until the Babylonian captivity, which was after Lehi had left Jerusalem and Solomon’s temple had been destroyed.
Alma 31:13 “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.”
Alma 31:14 “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:”
Alma 31:15 “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 thou wilt be a spirit forever.” Latter-day Saints sometimes argue that because the context of Verse 15 speaks of the false doctrines of the Zoramites who denied Christ and required their people to pray rote prayers, they assume that this statement regarding God being “a spirit forever” was also another false doctrine of the Zoramites. Yet, if this doctrine was condemned as a false belief, why is there no mention in the text of Alma and his brethren being grieved over this or trying to correct it when they grieved over other false beliefs noted at Verses 24-29? Instead we see that not only is the belief that God is a “spirit” affirmed here in Verse 15, but that teaching was made pretty clear by Ammon back in Alma 18:24-28 and by Aaron back in Alma 22:9-11. Thus, we maintain that Alma 31:15 is not taken out of context, nor misrepresentative of the overall teachings of the Book of Mormon in, regard to God’s Spirit nature. The phrase “believe that thou art” is in John 11:27.
Alma 31:16 “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 elected us to be thy holy children; and also thou hast made it known unto us that there shall be no Christ.” By what means was it made known to them that there will be no Christ? ^The words “do not believe in” are in Romans 15:31 and, “believe that thou hast” are in John 17:21.
Alma 31:17 “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.” They believed falsely as Calvinists do today, in predestination of the elect. This is called Reformed Theology. The phrase “the same yesterday, today, and forever” is similar, to Hebrews 13:8.
Alma 31:18 “And again we thank thee, O God, that we are a chosen and a holy people. Amen.” The words “are a chosen” are in 1 Peter 2:9.
Alma 31:19-20 Alma and his brethren were shocked to see that on the same day each week, every Zoramite man climbed to the top of this tower in their synagogue to recite the same long prayer.
Alma 31:21 “Now the place was called by them Rameuptom, which, being interpreted, is the holy stand.” Of course, they as holy people, prayed to their holy God, from a holy stand. What language did the word “Rameumptom” come from? “Rameumpton” is not a real word. It is not listed in any dictionary. Its only use is here in the Book of Mormon. The phrase “which, being interpreted” is from Matthew 1:23.
Alma 31:22-23 After each Zoramite man repeated the same prayer, everyone returned home, never mentioning God again until the next week when they assembled at the synagogue to repeat the process over again.
Alma 31:22 The words “after the tradition of” are in Colossians 2:8.
Alma 31:24-25 The Nephite missionaries were grieved at what they witnessed. These Zoramites were a wicked and a perverse people. They were caught up in materialism and pride.
Alma 31:26-29 Alma is overwhelmed with sorrow at seeing such apostate worship. He offers up his own long prayer to God. Alma says that the Zoramites claim that God has made it known to them that there will be no Christ.
Alma 31:26 The phrase “how long, O Lord” is also in Revelation 6:10.
Alma 31:27 The words “things of the world” are in 1 Corinthians 1:27.
Alma 31:30-33 Instead of Alma praying for the Zoramites to change their ways, he prays that the Lord will soften and strengthen his own heart – that he will not be so critical of the Zoramites that he cannot work with them. He prays that God will comfort him and his brethren’s souls in this regard.
Alma 31:30 In the 1830 edition page 312 it read “how long wilt thou suffer that such wickedness and iniquity” which in later editions “iniquity” was changed to “infidelity.” The words “mine infirmities” are in 2 Corinthians 12:5.
Alma 31:31 ^The words “with patience” are in Hebrews 12:1.
Alma 31:34 “O Lord, will thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ.”
Alma 31:35 “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 wonder if some Zoramites were relatives of these missionaries.
Alma 31:36 “Now it came to pass that when Alma had said these words, that he clapped his hands upon all them who were with him. And behold, as he clapped his hands upon them, they were filled with the Holy Spirit.” The Latter-day Saints would interpret “he clapped his hands upon all them” as being that he laid his hands upon all of them. But that is not what it says. It says “he clapped his hands upon ALL them” which sounds like a group clap – not a “clapping” over each individual. Now, he did this clapping so that they would be filled with the Holy Spirit. As baptized members of the church established by Alma, did they not already have the Holy Spirit? The real concern is that the Holy Spirit was not poured out until the Day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts chapter 2. ^The phrase “his hands upon them” is from Acts 19:6.
Alma 31:37 The missionaries all split up in order to preach to the Zoramites.
Alma 31:38 “And the Lord provided for them that they should hunger not, neither should they thirst; yea, and he also gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ. Now this was according to the prayer of Alma; and this because he prayed in faith.” God gave them super-powers so they could go on without eating or drinking. The words “they should suffer” are in Galatians 6:12.
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Until next time,