Throughout the Book of Mormon, we find hints that it was written for our day. Many of the experiences related in the Book of Mormon mirror the things we experience in modern day. The Book of Mormon is actually a condensed version of many ancient records that were kept. The compiler, a prophet named Mormon, included those stories and experiences that he felt would be of most benefit for us today. That compilation was ultimately hid up for the Lord to bring forth at a later day. As we read the Book of Mormon, we can ask ourselves why Mormon chose to include the particular stories we are reading. Many of them really are similar to what we are experiencing in today's society.
Today in our Sunday school class, our teacher taught us about one of these accounts, that very much resembles the attitude of the world today. He taught us about a man called Korihor, who was an "anti-christ". The term "anti-christ" refers to anyone or any group that fights against the church of God. The LDS "Guide to the scriptures" gives this definition: "Anyone or anything that counterfeits the true gospel plan of salvation and that openly or secretly opposes Christ. John the Revelator described the antichrist as a deceiver (1 Jn. 2:18–22; 4:3–6; 2 Jn. 1:7). The great antichrist is Lucifer, but he has many assistants, both spirit beings and mortals."
It was interesting to me to contrast the story of Korihor with the philosophies of the world today. Korihor began to preach his anti-christianity to the people in the ancient America. See if any of these tactics sound familiar.
NO MAN CAN KNOW THE FUTURE
He began by attacking their belief that Christ would be born to save the world. (This happened about 76-74 B.C.) He said, "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." (Alma 30:13) Does that sound familiar today? Korihor went on to say, " 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. 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." (Alma 30:14-15)
PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE IN RELIGION ARE CRAZY
Korihor went on to say, "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." (Alma 30:16) How many times have we heard athiests say that we have been brainwashed by our parents? This is a common tactic of those who are anti-christ.
THERE IS NO EVIL, AND THERE WILL BE NO JUDGMENT
Korihor went on to try to convince the people that there is no such thing as evil. He taught, similarly to the world today, that every person should be able to live how they want, and no one should judge them for it:
"And many more such things did he say unto them, 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; 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 thus he did preach unto them, leading away the hearts of many, causing them to lift 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." (Alma 30:17,18)
RELIGIOUS PEOPLE ARE BRAINWASHED
When confronted by the leaders of the church, Korihor went on to make his case that the Christians were just brainwashed by their leaders and parents.
"And thus ye lead away this people after the foolish traditions of your fathers, and according to your own desires; and ye keep them down, even as it were in bondage, that ye may glut yourselves with the labors of their hands, that they durst not look up with boldness, and that they durst not enjoy their rights and privileges. Yea, they durst not make use of that which is their own lest they should offend their priests, who do yoke them according to their desires, and have brought them to believe, by their traditions and their dreams and their whims and their visions and their pretended mysteries, that they should, if they did not do according to their words, 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: 27,28)
This particular account of Korihor goes on to tell how he was confounded by the preaching of Alma. Alma taught with the spirit, and was able to catch him in his deceit. While this may not always happen today, still this account in the Book of Mormon gives us a typical scenario that could happen today. It is a warning for us, so that we won't fall in to the trap of listening to those kinds of arguments. Alma's replies to Korihor help us to stay strong in the face of opposition. Alma replied to 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. And now what evidence have ye that there is no God, or that Christ cometh not? I say unto you that ye have none, save it be your word only. 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? 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 30:39-42)
I find it a great blessing that the Book of Mormon includes accounts that are applicable for our lives today. I would like to explore more of these situations in future posts. The Book of Mormon really was written for our day. Together with the Bible, it gives us great guidance and spiritual help in these tumultuous times.