As millions of members of the Church of Jesus Christ around the world study the Book of Mormon together this year, I have been impressed by how similar the challenges, attitudes, and behaviors are between the ancient people in the record and people today.
This week we study an exchange between Alma, a reformed trouble maker who has become the leader over the ancient Church in that area, and Korihor, a self-proclaimed “Anti-Christ.” Alma and Korihor pre-date the life of Jesus Christ, so their discussion revolves around whether or not a Christ would come. Note Korihor’s key arguments as he contends with Alma:
- To believe in Christ is a burden, and a ridiculous and pointless one at that.
- No one can know the future.
- These beliefs are just tradition, nothing more.
- One can’t know things that one can’t see.
- Church leaders’ primary objective is to gain wealth and keep others from enjoying life.
- God has never been seen or known.
Sound familiar? These similar to ideas that are very widespread in the modern world; thoughts shared by non-believers and even believers from time to time. Take a look at Alma’s rebuttals:
- Church leaders work to support themselves financially.
- I know that there is a God, and that Christ will come.
- There is no evidence that there is not a God.
- There is, however, much evidence of God’s existence: scriptures, prophets, Earth, animal and plant life, space, planets, science, etc.
Korihor tells Alma he will change is mind if Alma can provide proof of God’s power. To see how the story ends, read verses 43-60 of chapter 30 of the book of Alma in the Book of Mormon.
There are lots of interesting things to learn from this account, but if anything, we learn that we’ve been here before—humans in ancient times are similar to us now, therefore we can learn from their experience to better ourselves and our world.
The Book of Mormon can be studied online for free at ChurchOfJesusChrist.org.