So, who is familiar with the story of Korihor?
I've been recently reading through the chapters in the Book of Mormon that talk about all the amazing missionary work that Alma and the Sons of Mosiah were doing among the Lamanites. It's been so inspiring to read about their missionary adventures and miracles. I think, as missionaries, we are always looking for ways to improve and to become more like the "Preach My Gospel Missionaries," that we want to be-- for that reason I am always grateful for the examples of valiant missionaries within the pages of the scriptures. I love reading about the work that they did and I love learning about the miracles that they were able to see because of their diligence and their obedience. I think, in the end, their most powerful tool was their ability to listen to and heed the promptings of the Spirit. Heavenly Father was able to protect them, to direct them, to comfort them, and to give them hope all through the Gift of the Holy Ghost; they were worthy of receiving those blessings because they chose to live and act in such a manner that was conducive to that Spirit.
In Alma chapter 30, we learn about Korihor. In Zarahemla, at that time, there had been continual peace in the land for a long period of time. When Korihor, however, came into that land, he began to preach unto the people that there was no Christ, there was no "penalty for sin," and that men received blessings in life only according to their own knowledge and strength. He went among the people and taught things that attacked hope and repentance-- and somehow his words were able to weasel their way into the hearts of some of those that heard them.
Because the things he was teaching began cause contention in the land, Korihor was taken by the people, tied up, and presented to the authority/leaders of the land. Long story short, they tried to figure out why he was going about trying to cause problems but Korihor just kept going on and on about how the leaders of the land were teaching about Christ to get gain over the people. (I actually found myself giggling out loud a couple of times as I was reading because the arguments that Korihor was presenting made no sense. He just seemed so confused!) It got to the point where nobody could even talk to Korihor because the spirit was unable to testify of truth unto him... "Now when the high priest and he chief judge saw the hardness of his heart, yea, when they saw that he would revile even against God, they would not make any reply to his words..." (Alma 30:29) He didn't have the protection of the spirit in his life and satan was able to gain complete control over him.
He kept telling people that they had no evidence of God and that there was no way for them to know that God even existed. But the response that Alma gave to him was, "...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?" (Alma 30:41) Korihor's response was that he wouldn't believe in a God unless they showed unto him a sign that God existed. He refused to allow the Spirit to testify unto him and he wasn't willing to do the things that are necessary for him to 1.) welcome the Spirit into his life to testify of truth and 2.) to gain a testimony for himself that God lives. He merely allowed satan to control him-- he was deceived and very confused because he was abiding by the teachings of the devil and so he became cursed by the Lord. He lost his ability to speak so that he could no longer go among the Lord's people and attack their faith and their hope. He spent the rest of his life "[going] about from house to house begging for food and for support" (Alma 30:56, 58) until eventually he was driven out and trampled down to death by wicked people. "And thus we see the end of him who perverteth the ways of the lord; and thus we see that the devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell." (Alma 30:60)
So yes, it's a terrible and incredibly sad story. But I learned SO much from it so I wanted to share. I have been thinking a lot about what it must take for someone to get to the point that Korihor was at-- what I came up with was kind of what I initially started talking about: the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Korihor became a victim of satan's maliciousness because he wasn't taking the time to arm himself with the Spirit. In this past October's conference, Elder Allan F. Packer said, "Just a little time on a consistent basis will yield the joy of the work." I think that statement applies to a lot of things, actually, but when I read it I was specifically thinking about the story of Korihor. If we take a little time every single day to consistently offer up prayers to our Heavenly Father and to read, study, and ponder the words He has given us both in the scriptures and through modern day prophets, we are fortifying ourselves against the attacks of satan. Doing such simple things is such a BIG act of faith and it requires a constant and conscious effort. When we pray and when we study our scriptures we invite the Spirit into our lives to protect us from the temptations of the adversary and we show our Heavenly Father that we are striving to follow Him. It's such a simple act of faith but it yields SUCH incredible blessings! I don't want to ever end up like Korihor, who neglected to protect himself from the temptations and attacks of satan and who fell victim to the all the lying, confusion, misconceptions and deceit that satan infuses into hearts that aren't protected by the Spirit. When we do the little things that we are instructed to do, the Lord blesses us and protects us. That's why the little things are so important.
We do the little things to keep the Spirit of the Lord with us.
"For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked." (Alma 34:35)
"...contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but receive it... be watchful unto prayer continually, that ye may not be led away by the temptations of the devil, that he may not overpower you, that ye may not become his subjects at the last day; for he rewardeth you no good thing." (Alma 34:38, 39)
The trick to living happily is merely living in such a way that you may always have the Lord's Spirit with you. Alma and the Sons of Mosiah were "swallowed up in the joy of the Lord" because they lived in such a way that they had the Holy Ghost with them always. Korihor did not. And that's the difference. We should always remember to ask ourselves if we are doing all that we can do to be worthy of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.
Anyways, on a lighter note, it's been a really, really good week! The Lord led us to two new investigators and we couldn't be more excited about it! They're so inspiring! The mother's entire goal in life is to have a happy and healthy family. She doesn't currently have a religion, but her nine old daughter goes to church because she just decided one day that she wanted to. And she's the first nine year old that I've ever met who LOVES the Bible. We get to meet with them twice a week from here on out so I'm sure you'll get to hear a whole lot more about them as time goes on. I am already in love with them, though. So much love.
Sorry for emailing late this week! We got to visit the Korean Traditional Village today with our entire English Class. I cannot even put into words how AWESOME it was. I'm just such a history junky, so just walking around a HUGE park full of "olden day" Korea exhibits made my soul so happy. We even got to see what a traditional Korean wedding ceremony is like-- THAT was really cool. But I think my favorite part was when we were all gathered together and one of the members of our English class said, "We just LOVE you." They were referring to all of the missionaries, but it just warmed my heart. I love Korea. I love the people, the culture, the food, the fashion, the history-- I love it all. Being here and being a missionary makes me so happy.
I am so happy.
I hope everyone is having a wonderful week!
I hope everyone is having a wonderful week!
Remember to say your prayers and read your scriptures!
I love you with all my heart.
Sister CaLea Bagley
p.s. fun fact of the week: I had a conversation in German with a Korean woman today-- that was an adventure. :)