Alma 30 and Missionary Work: 3 Lessons Learned from Korihor

Korihor was a bad guy.

If we’re going to break down Book of Mormon characters into two camps, good and bad, Korihor = bad.

(I would prefer another term besides “characters” because I don’t view the BoM as fiction … but that’s for another day. They’re people talked about in a written work, so they’re characters in the broad sense.)

I know people are complicated, we’ve all got light and dark in us, etc., but on the spectrum, Korihor fell pretty close to the devil end.

The Book of Mormon actually refers to Korihor as an “Anti-Christ” (Alma 30:12) – this dude was not only opposed to Christian teachings, but he set himself up as a false minister, preaching among the people that “there should be no Christ” (meaning, there’s wasn’t going to be a Christ – this was about 74 years before the Savior was born).

Here’s three quick insights I got from reading and studying Alma chapter 30 in regards to missionary work, especially by observing the (bad) example of Korihor:

1. Watch the heart closely.

It’s not what people look like on the outside so much, or their external actions that really matter.

It’s where their hearts are, and where their hearts are headed.

Alma 30:18 – Korihor was “leading away the hearts of many.”

2. Watch the head closely.

Scripturally speaking, what is the person you’re preaching the Gospel doing with her head? Is she lifting it up or letting it hang down low? Typically, being “lifted up” with pride is spoken of as a bad thing in the Book of Mormon. (“Pride” as used in the Book of Mormon always refers, if I remember correctly, to what we would now think of as a bad form of pride – not “Hey I’m so proud of you son, you aced the math test” – but “Who is God to tell me what to do? And how come I’m not getting praised more than everybody else?”)

Alma 30:18 – Korihor was “causing [the people] to lift up their heads in their wickedness” – that’s a pride thing.

Side note – if you’re doing life right, you have every right to hold your head high. That’s the happiness and satisfaction you’re entitled to by virtue of the righteous life you’re leading.

3. Don’t tell people what they know or don’t know.

Alma 30:48 – Korihor tells Alma (good guy, the main Nephite high priest in Christ’s church at the time), “Ye do not know that there is a God.”

Alma 30:26 – Korihor tells Giddonah (good guy, the Nephite high priest in the land of Gideon), “Ye do not know that there shall be a Christ.”

Alma 30:24 – Korihor tells Giddonah about Christ-related prophecies: “Ye do not know that they are true.”

Is it getting annoying yet? If not, just wait – here’s Korihor speaking in Alma 30:13 and 30:15:

“No man can know of anything which is to come. … Ye cannot know of things which ye do not see; therefore ye cannot know that there shall be a Christ.”

Now the flip side of this is also important – as a missionary, don’t try to tell people what they know or don’t know. At best, it’s ignorant; at worst, it’s deeply insulting. You’re not inside their mind – don’t try telling them what’s in there.

What else can you gain from Korihor’s story? (The guy got trampled to death, by the way … just a sad tale overall.) Any other insights or thoughts related to missionary work from Alma 30?

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