“The Teachings of the Antichrist”

Monte S. Nyman

The anti-Christ, Korihor, exemplifies the learning of the world. He seems to be a graduate of a hypothetical liberal university of Zarahemla. While he may not have graduated, he had filled his general education requirements. In his “Bible as Literature” class he had been exposed to and accepted the theories of higher criticism. He had learned that the prophecies of the coming of Christ could not be true “for no man can know of anything which is to come” (v. 13). Furthermore, he had probably been taught that these prophecies were not written by holy men of God, but were written much later than the traditional dates and were the “foolish traditions” that originated by the dreams of prior generations (v. 14). The basic premise of all these false premises is that there is no revelation from a higher source because there is no such being.

A well-known Bible scholar, in defense of the truth, stated:

There have been those who have held an extremely low view of Scripture. They have considered it as nothing more than the national literature of the Hebrews, a purely human literary production of antiquity. This position is unsatisfactory because it is in basic error. It regards the Bible as a book of only human origin, whereas, as a matter of fact, the Bible is basically a book of divine origin.
There are those who, in their study of introduction, wish to limit themselves to the human element in the Bible. They apparently believe that it is possible to neglect entirely the question of the inspiration and divinity of the Bible, and to limit their consideration to what might be called an ‘empirico scientific method.’ Let it be said with all positiveness that this cannot satisfactorily be done, and those who adopt such a method find themselves in essential agreement with those who badly assert that the Bible is only a human production and nothing more.

Korihor was guilty of what is described and refuted above. We have our own Korihors in these latter days as well.

In another hypothetical class, Korihor had been convinced that truth is relative, and “ye cannot know of things which ye do not see” (v. 15). Furthermore, empirical evidence is the only evidence that has any validity. Since the professor had not seen Christ, no one else could have seen him either. Therefore, no man can know “there shall be a Christ” (v. 15).

Another hypothetical class had convinced Korihor that the mores of a society were established by the people themselves, and the classification of so-called sins were relative and subject to change as the society became more enlightened. To call things that came naturally a sin, the professor had reasoned, was “the effect of a frenzied mind” (v. 16). The previous uneducated generations had labeled good things as evil, but anything that is natural to do cannot be bad (compare 2 Nephi 15:20; Isaiah 5:20). Therefore, the conclusion is that there is no need for an atonement because there are no such things as sins.

In his well rounded hypothetical education, Korihor had come to understand that “every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature,” or that everyone becomes what they become through their own efforts. Those with superior intellect develop their intellect by study and thought process. On the physical side of life, “every man conquered according to his strength [the survival of the fittest],” and since there is no sin, whatever a man does is not a crime (Alma 30:17), or it is not wrong.

Korihor had not neglected his social life on our imagined campus either. The “new morality” theory had enabled him to “lead away many women, and also men, to commit whoredoms [sexual sins]” (v. 18). He apparently convinced many young women that engaging in sexual relations is doing what comes naturally and is not a sin. We might expect the text to read many men and also women, but it seems that Korihor’s conquests, of which he had apparently been boasting, led other men to follow his bad example. His teaching that there was no life after death had taken away the doctrine of the Resurrection (v. 18).

Why was Korihor labeled an “anti-Christ” (v. 12)? He had cleverly taken away from many people a belief in revelation, a belief in Christ and his Atonement. He had further eliminated crime, not by education and involvement in worthwhile activities, but through the concept of the “macho man.” Last of all, he had convinced many that there is not going to be a resurrection. To follow Korihor was to reject Christ and the eternal principles for which he is coming to earth. He had certainly earned the title of an anti-Christ, as the chart below shows.

Book of Mormon Commentary: The Record of Alma