“The Effect of a Frenzied Mind”

Brant Gardner

Rhetorical: Korihor’s next attack upon the Atoning Messiah is the very reason for the Atoning Messiah. The Nephites believe that this Messiah will come to provide a remission of sins. Thus they look forward to that day, and that great event. Korihor derides that expectation. For Korihor, there is no coming Christ, and what is more, the idea that we might need one is merely “the effect of a frenzied mind.” In this statement we hear a precursor of Karl Marx’s description of religion as the “opiate of the masses.” Even though the imagery of “frenzied” and “opiate” are quite opposite, nevertheless the imagery of religion as an artificial phenomenon of no value is quite similar.

Korihor belittles the religion of the peoples as the result of mass mental instability, and returns to his premise that they believe it not because it is true, but only because they have been led away by the “traditions of your fathers.”

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon