Zoramites²

Apostate sect of Nephites, followers of Zoram³

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Zoramites²

An apostate sect of Nephite ­dissenters led by Zoram3. They worshipped idols, were disobedient to the law of Moses, and failed to “observe the performances of the church, to continue in prayer”. Their perverted style of worship included a set prayer offered weekly which declared God to be a spirit and belief in Christ to be a foolish tradition. The prayer also reinforced their arrogance by declaring God’s predetermination to save them while damning the remainder of humanity. The Zoramite people were proud and materialistic, and their religion pretentious, vain, and exclusive.

The central theme of the Zoramite account is the answer to the “great question“—“whether the word be in the Son of God, or whether there shall be no Christ”. Therefore, these chapters and Zenock and referred to an event in the ­ministry of Moses to further support his testimony concerning Christ. When Alma concluded, Amulek arose and added his witness concerning the ­reality of the coming of Christ and the infinite nature of the Atonement.

Alma and his companions left the Zoramite city of Antionum and went to Jershon. The converts they had made in Antionum were expelled by the Zoramite rulers, teachers, and priests who were angered by the Nephite teachings. It also angered the ruling Zoramites that the refugees were warmly received in Jershon by the people of Ammon. This event became the catalyst for the ­Zoramite-­Lamanite alliance and the war that soon followed.

One purpose of the Book of Mormon is to confound false doctrine. Both in matters of doctrine and in religious practice the Zoramite narrative offers many lessons for ­latter-­day people, including the following: Christ is a reality and this truth can be known, God is not solely a spirit, and religion devoid of charity is vain. The Zoramite story also confounds the mere recitation of creeds; the declaring of one’s predestined status as “chosen,” “elect,” or “saved,” and the hypocrisy of the heartless profession of God on the Sabbath, but then never thinking or speaking of him again during the week. One need only reverse the false religious practices of the Zora­mites to identify essential elements of genuine worship. True worship centers in Christ, requires obedience to the commandments, and is neither exclusively a Sabbath day nor a synagogue. Typically the proud separate themselves from others, supposing a superior status, as the wealthier Zoramites did. This deliberate separation makes it impossible to keep the second great ­commandment, which is to love one’s neighbors as oneself.

The Zoramite account also provides a ­valuable lesson on apostasy. Those who are dis­obedient and who fail to pray properly and ­frequently lose the Spirit and become sus­ceptible to false revelation and perverted doctrines and practices. It appears, too, that the Zoramites had neglected or misread the scriptures. Alma inquired, “I would ask if you have read the scriptures?” He then concluded, “If ye have, how can ye disbelieve on the Son of God?”. Alma’s appeal to the written word, to correct errors and testify of Christ, highlights and models the importance of the scriptures in this regard. In effect, the apostate Zoramites became Lamanites.

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