Recognizing false teachings

This chapter of the Book of Mormon really leaped out at me today and I wanted to share it, for anyone interested.

  http://scriptures.lds.org/en/alma/30

What strikes me as relevant is how this passage reveals the lies that the adversary uses to disguise his message and make it look like it makes sense.  The story in this chapter is about an “antichrist” called Korihor, who goes about teaching that there is no God. 

 First, what is an “antichrist?”  My Bible Dictionary says that this is “a word used by John to describe one who would assume the guise of Christ, but in reality would be opposed to Christ.”  Also, “In a broader sense it is anyone or anything that counterfeits the true gospel or plan of salvation and that openly or secretly is set up in opposition to Christ. The true antichrist is Lucifer, but he has many assistants, both as spirit beings and as mortals.”

Korihor lived about 2000 years ago, shortly before Christ was born, in America.  During this particular time there were wars between the people who followed God, and those who didn’t.  The believers had been taught that Christ would be born, and were looking forward to that event.  Among the followers of God, “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.”  Therefore, it was legal for Korihor to teach what he believed.  Korihor exercised his right to free speech by going about attacking others’ beliefs, telling them that they were “foolish” to believe, because

  • no man can know of anything which is to come
  • prophecies are “foolish traditions of your fathers”
  • you can’t know things you don’t see
  • looking forward to remission of sins is “the effect of a frenzied mind; and this derangement of your mind comes because of the traditions of your fathers”
  • basically it’s every man for himself
  • do anything you want to do because there is no crime or sin
  • when you die, that’s all there is

Well, Korihor kept preaching and some people believed him, but some had a problem with these teachings and took Korihor to visit the authorities.  Since this preaching wasn’t illegal, all they did was talk with him, but Korihor couldn’t keep his lies straight.  I’ll let you read that discussion for yourselves – follow the link above.  It’s pretty good. 

In the end, Korihor kept making false accusations, and insisting that there was no God.  Alma was a prophet, and Alma discerned that Korihor really did know that there was a God, and was lying.  Korihor asked for proof, and a sign.  Alma told him that all things are a sign: “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 that there is a God; yea even the earth, and all things 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.”

Of course Korihor kept pushing for a sign.  Alma had tried his best, and now told Korihor, to paraphrase, here’s your sign – you will be struck dumb.  Korihor could speak no more, and wrote that he always knew there was a God and he had been preaching what the devil told him to say, because it was “pleasing unto the carnal mind.”

Unfortunately, the message that Korihor preached is still being preached today.  It isn’t my place to judge or to call anyone an “antichrist” because I don’t know whether anyone spreading false teachings really knows the truth or if they are victims of what they were taught.  But I can recognize the message and its ultimate source.

 I know that God is real, and He lives, and Christ was sent and did provide the way for us to return home.  What we say and what we do, or what we don’t say and don’t do, matters.  I know which side I am on.  Do you know which side you are fighting for?  Which message are you listening to?  It makes a difference.

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