Mormon Quotes

Gerald N. Lund

Gerald N. Lund
Authoritarianism is the system by which truth is learned from those who are authorities or experts. We trust learned men or women, such as parents, teachers, religious leaders, and consultants, to give us truth in their areas of expertise.
Gerald N. Lund, Ensign, Countering Korihor's Philosophy, July 1992
Gerald N. Lund
Like any philosophical system, Korihor's doctrine had metaphysical, epistemological, and axiological aspects. Together, they enabled him to convince many to reject the traditional values taught by the Church. For example, Korihor's argument that "ye cannot know of things which ye do not see" (Alma 30:15) reveals his epistemology—his system of determining truth—to be primarily empirical, or based on observation and use of the senses. (See chart 1.) However, the Apostle Paul says, "Faith is ... the evidence of things not seen." (Heb. 11:1; italics added.) Korihor's stance, however, is, "If you can't see it, you can't know it." He therefore rejects prophecy because prophecy deals with the future, and you cannot "see," or experience, the future with the physical senses. Consequently, all talk of a future Savior and redemption is to be rejected on principle.
Gerald N. Lund, Ensign, Countering Korihor's Philosophy, July 1992
Gerald N. Lund
There are a number of corollaries, or inferences, that flow out of Korihor's fundamental philosophy. The first of these is revealed when Korihor is arrested and taken before Giddonah, the high priest. Giddonah demands to know why, if Korihor is correct in what he said, the people find so much joy in their religious experience. (See Alma 30:22.)
Gerald N. Lund, Ensign, Countering Korihor's Philosophy, July 1992
Gerald N. Lund
Korihor's answer goes something like this (see Alma 30:23—28): There are two explanations for why people believe in religion. First, they have been indoctrinated by their parents (the "foolish traditions" of the fathers), and second, they have been deceived by religious leaders whose motives are personal gain—money and/or power. Further, Korihor's philosophy—expressed in his teaching to the people—is that this indoctrination of the people brings psychological abnormalities—"derangement" or a "frenzied mind." (Alma 30:16.) Since there is no God and since religion is a farce, Korihor concludes, we can live as we please without fear of eternal consequences.
Gerald N. Lund, Ensign, Countering Korihor's Philosophy, July 1992
Gerald N. Lund
Giddonah decides that Korihor's case warrants the full attention of Alma, so Korihor is taken to Alma in Zarahemla. It doesn't take Alma long to determine the ultimate source of Korihor's teachings. "The devil has power over you," he says to Korihor, "and he doth carry you about, working devices that he may destroy the children of God." (Alma 30:42.) Later, after Korihor is struck dumb, he confirms Alma's words. "The devil hath deceived me," he admits, "for he appeared unto me in the form of an angel, ... and he taught me that which I should say." (Alma 30:53.)
Gerald N. Lund, Ensign, Countering Korihor's Philosophy, July 1992
Gerald N. Lund
Why would Satan care about such things as our view of metaphysics and epistemology? Because if he can shape our views on those issues, then those views provide a basis, as Alma declares, to "destroy the children of God." (Alma 30:42.)
Gerald N. Lund, Ensign, Countering Korihor's Philosophy, July 1992
Gerald N. Lund
The philosophy Satan taught Korihor is a rational system. It is not true, but it is rational!
Gerald N. Lund, Ensign, Countering Korihor's Philosophy, July 1992
Gerald N. Lund
This [rationalism] is the heart of Korihor's doctrine. By preaching his false philosophies, Korihor accomplishes Satan's designs in grand fashion.
Gerald N. Lund, Ensign, Countering Korihor's Philosophy, July 1992
Gerald N. Lund
But we also rely on another way of knowing truth: divine revelation. In this method, truth comes either directly from God or indirectly through his prophets.
Gerald N. Lund, Ensign, Countering Korihor's Philosophy, July 1992
Gerald N. Lund
President Ezra Taft Benson has taught that "the Book of Mormon exposes the enemies of Christ. It confounds false doctrines and lays down contention. (See 2 Ne. 3:12.) It fortifies the humble followers of Christ against the evil designs, strategies, and doctrines of the devil in our day. The type of apostates in the Book of Mormon are similar to the type we have today. God, with his infinite foreknowledge, so molded the Book of Mormon that we might see the error and know how to combat false educational, political, religious, and philosophical concepts of our time." (Ensign, Jan. 1988, p. 3.)
Gerald N. Lund, Ensign, Countering Korihor's Philosophy, July 1992
Gerald N. Lund
Today, the world is permeated with philosophies similar to those taught by Korihor. We read them in books, see them championed in the movies and on television, and hear them taught in classrooms and sometimes in the churches of our time. Note just a few examples drawn from modern writings: "We believe that traditional dogmatic or authoritarian religions that place revelation, God, ritual, or creed above human needs and experience do a disservice to the human species. ... Traditional religions often offer solace to humans, but, as often, they inhibit humans from helping themselves or experiencing their full potentialities. ... Too often traditional faiths encourage dependence rather than independence." ("Humanist Manifesto II," The Humanist, Sept./Oct. 1973, pp. 5—6; compare Alma 30:14, 16, 27—28.) "Science affirms that the human species is an emergence from natural evolutionary forces. As far as we know, the total personality is a function of the biological organism transacting in a social and cultural context." (Ibid; compare Alma 30:17.) Here we see clear evidence of Mormon's inspiration to give us a full account of Korihor and his teachings. Korihor's teachings are old doctrine, and yet they are ideas as modern as today's high‑speed printing presses and satellite dishes.
Gerald N. Lund, Ensign, Countering Korihor's Philosophy, July 1992
Gerald N. Lund
So how do we deal with these false philosophies? Fortunately, Mormon not only gave us Korihor's doctrines, he also gave us an inspired answer to them. This is the real value of the Korihor account. The first thing to note is that Alma does not get into philosophical debate with Korihor. He doesn't allow himself to be pulled onto the ground that Korihor tries to define as the area of debate. There is a great lesson in that. We combat false philosophies with revelation and true doctrine, not academic debate.
Gerald N. Lund, Ensign, Countering Korihor's Philosophy, July 1992
Gerald N. Lund
Second, Alma exposes Korihor for what he is. (See chart 2 for a summary of how Alma dealt with Korihor.) In effect, Alma says to Korihor: "You know that we don't profit from our service in the Church, but you say we glut ourselves on the labor of the people. Therefore I say you deliberately twist the truth." It all comes down to one irrefutable conclusion: Korihor is a liar.
Gerald N. Lund, Ensign, Countering Korihor's Philosophy, July 1992
Gerald N. Lund
But there is more to Alma's answer than that. Alma takes Korihor's own philosophy and catches him in a trap of his own making. Korihor teaches that we can know only what we can see. (See Alma 30:15.) But when questioned, Korihor categorically denies that he believes there is a God. Alma then asks, "What evidence have ye that there is no God, or that Christ cometh not? I say unto you that ye have none, save it be your word only." (Alma 30:40.)
Gerald N. Lund, Ensign, Countering Korihor's Philosophy, July 1992
Gerald N. Lund
It is an inspired insight on Alma's part. Korihor is not consistent in his own thinking. If we truly can know only those things for which we have empirical evidence, then we cannot teach there is no God unless we have evidence for that belief. And Korihor has no evidence.
Gerald N. Lund, Ensign, Countering Korihor's Philosophy, July 1992
Gerald N. Lund
Korihor will consider only evidence that can be gathered through the senses. In such a system, it is much easier to prove there is a God than to prove there is not a God. To prove there is a God, all it takes is for one person to see, hear, or otherwise have an experience with God, and thereafter the existence of God cannot be disproved. But here is what it would take to prove there is no God: Since God is not confined to this earth, we would have to search throughout the universe for him. We assume God is able to move about, so it would not be enough to start at point A in the universe and search through to point Z. What if after we leave point A, God moves there and stays there for the rest of the search?
Gerald N. Lund, Ensign, Countering Korihor's Philosophy, July 1992
Gerald N. Lund
In other words, for Korihor to say that there is no God, based on the very criteria he himself has established, he would have to perceive every cubic meter of the universe simultaneously. This creates a paradox: In order for Korihor to prove there is no God, he would have to be a god himself! Therefore, in declaring there is no God, he is acting on "faith," the very thing for which he so sharply derides the religious leaders!
Gerald N. Lund, Ensign, Countering Korihor's Philosophy, July 1992
Gerald N. Lund
There is another lesson that Mormon draws from the story of Korihor. After Korihor is confounded by Alma, he demands a sign before he will believe. Korihor receives his sign—he is struck dumb, and evidently deaf as well. (See Alma 30:51.) In that pitiable state, Korihor resorts to begging for his livelihood. He finally goes among a people called the Zoramites, and there he is "run upon and trodden down" until he dies. (Alma 30:59.)
Gerald N. Lund, Ensign, Countering Korihor's Philosophy, July 1992
Gerald N. Lund
Korihor had tried to teach people that happiness is to be found independent of God and the gospel. The Book of Mormon shows that this is not possible.
Gerald N. Lund, Ensign, Countering Korihor's Philosophy, July 1992
© 2011 - 2013