For thus saith the scripture: Choose ye this day, whom ye will serve.
Not long ago while reading in the Book of Mormon, I began reading in Alma chapter 30. As I read, I found myself impressed with Alma and his boldness and fearlessness in defending truth.
Alma tells of a man named Korihor and refers to him as an “anti-Christ.” The Bible Dictionary defines an anti-Christ as “anyone or anything that counterfeits the true gospel or plan of salvation and that openly or secretly is set up in opposition to Christ.” Korihor “ridicules Christ, the Atonement, and the spirit of prophecy—He teaches that there is no God, no fall of man, no penalty for sin, and no Christ.”
When I think of Korihor, I imagine he was persuasive and very convincing in trying to prove his false ideas and teachings to those around him. He was probably very articulate in his speech and used words of intelligence and flattery to lead people astray. He probably had an outwardly charming, pleasant, and maybe even handsome appearance that made his deception even more convincing. He mocked and ridiculed those who were followers of Christ. He was good at what he did because he was successful in his deceit and lead many away from the truth.
How many of us have encountered “Korihors” in our lives? People who tell us that what we believe is wrong – that our ideas about God, Jesus Christ, our doctrine, the Church, the leaders of the church – are wrong. They tell us that we follow blindly and cannot think for ourselves. Just like Korihor, they can make evil appear good, and try to tell us that our ideas and beliefs are outdated and unpopular. Their appearance, speech, and intelligence can be potentially deceiving and persuasive. In those times, our faith can be shaken if we don’t have our testimonies firmly built upon the right things. President Thomas S. Monson has said,
“If our testimonies are not firmly enough rooted, such criticisms can cause us to doubt our own beliefs or to waver in our resolves.”
“In Lehi’s vision of the tree of life, found in 1 Nephi 8, Lehi sees, among others, those who hold to the iron rod until they come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree of life, which we know is a representation of the love of God. And then, sadly, after they partake of the fruit, some are ashamed because of those in the “great and spacious building,” who represent the pride of the children of men, who are pointing fingers at them and scoffing at them; and they fall away into forbidden paths and are lost. What a powerful tool of the adversary is ridicule and mockery! … do we have the courage to stand strong and firm in the face of such difficult opposition?” (Dare to Stand Alone)
When Korihor is brought before Alma and continues his criticism and false accusations, Alma boldly testifies and defends the truth. He has no hesitation. There will be times when each of us will have to stand up and defend our beliefs against false ideas or ridicule, and testify of the truth. We may find ourselves hesitant or afraid. It is not always easy.
It made me sad to see that my friend had let her heart become so hardened to the Spirit and to the light and truth of the gospel. She had let pride fill her heart and overrule her spirit. She had listened to the “Korihors” of the world and was slowly, subtly, and deceitfully, led away from truth with false ideas and teachings.
Each of us will encounter those “Korihors” and we will be challenged by our beliefs. In those times we can take counsel from our prophet, Thomas S. Monson:
“May we ever be courageous and prepared to stand for what we believe, and if we must stand alone in the process, may we do so courageously, strengthened by the knowledge that in reality we are never alone when we stand with our Father in Heaven.”
When we find ourselves in a situation where we have to stand up for what we believe, may we stand strong in defending the truth.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you have had to stand up for what you believe in and defend truth? What was that experience like for you? How did it strengthen your testimony?