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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : The Funniest Scripture in The Book of Mormon? » The Funniest Scripture in The Book of Mormon?

The Funniest Scripture in The Book of Mormon?

Guest - November 22, 2005

Submitted by GST

I might not know how to properly make a joke, but I think that I do have a sense of humor, if only in the sense that I can sense humor when it’s present.  Let me know if my humor sensor is properly calibrated: Alma 30:49-55.

49.  Now Alma said unto [Korihor]: This will I give unto
thee for a sign, that thou shalt be struck dumb, according to my words;
and I say, that in the name of God, ye shall be struck dumb, that ye shall no more have utterance.

Just so we’re clear as to what "dumb" means: that he shall have no more utterance.

50.  Now when Alma had said these words, Korihor was struck dumb, that he could not have utterance, according to the words of Alma.

So far, so good.

51.  And now when the chief judge saw this, he put forth his hand and wrote
unto Korihor
, saying: Art thou convinced of the power of God? In whom
did ye desire that Alma should show forth his sign? Would ye that he
should afflict others, to show unto thee a sign? Behold, he has showed
unto you a sign; and now will ye dispute more?

give me a non-comedic explanation as to why the chief judge thought he
had to write to the guy who had lost the power of speech.

And just to be clear, Alma didn’t fall into the same pitfall:

54.  Now when he had said this, he besought that Alma should pray unto God, that the curse might be taken from him.

55.  But Alma said unto him: If this curse should be taken from thee thou
wouldst again lead away the hearts of this people; therefore, it shall
be unto thee even as the Lord will.

Surely someone has offered a sober explanation for this passage before?  What is it?


  1. Your point is funny peculiar, not funny ha ha. Do the Tanners know about these verses?

    Comment by Don — November 22, 2005 @ 1:37 pm

  2. I don’t see how opponents of the claims of veracity of the Book of Mormon could get any mileage out of these verses. The natural conclusion is that the chief judge made a funny mistake, not that the Book of Mormon is a fiction.

    Comment by gst — November 22, 2005 @ 2:13 pm

  3. Well, playing devil’s advocate, gst, it could seem like JS couldn’t decide whether to make Korihor dumb or deaf and dumb. Since he wasn’t going back and fixing things, it had to stay the way it is.

    Comment by NFlanders — November 22, 2005 @ 2:29 pm

  4. GST,

    I have noticed the same thing. I have a note in my BoM that says “Why did he write? Was Korihor deaf also?”

    Like you said, maybe the chief judge just made a mistake. But, like NFlanders said, this could also be contrued as a mistake by Joseph Smith.

    Comment by John Williams — November 22, 2005 @ 3:29 pm

  5. Or perhaps what “dumb” meant in this situation is “stupid” and had to have things “spelled out” for him to understand. You know, kind of like some forms of humor.

    Comment by Rusty — November 22, 2005 @ 3:32 pm

  6. Perhaps the chief judge was not in the immediate vicinity, but read the words of Alma, and then sent a letter back to korihor?

    29 Now when the high priest and the 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; but they caused that he should be bound; and they delivered him up into the hands of the officers, and sent him to the land of Zarahemla, that he might be brought before Alma, and the chief judge who was governor over all the land.

    30 And it came to pass that when he was brought before Alma and the chief judge, he did go on in the same manner as he did in the land of Gideon; yea, he went on to ablaspheme.

    2 Chief Priests?

    Comment by jay s — November 22, 2005 @ 3:33 pm

  7. Jay S:

    Verse 51 says the chief judge “saw” that Korihor became a mute.

    Comment by John Williams — November 22, 2005 @ 4:11 pm

  8. Actually, that’s not the funniest passage by a long shot.

    It’s gotta be Mosiah 12:1:

    AND it came to pass that after the space of two years that Abinadi came among them in disguise, that they knew him not, and began to prophesy among them, saying: Thus has the Lord commanded me, saying—Abinadi, go and prophesy unto this my people, for they have hardened their hearts against my words; they have repented not of their evil doings; therefore, I will visit them in my anger, yea, in my fierce anger will I visit them in their iniquities and abominations.

    It was a nice disguise while it lasted!

    Comment by Mark B. — November 22, 2005 @ 4:42 pm

  9. Mark,
    That is hilarious.

    Comment by Rusty — November 22, 2005 @ 5:18 pm

  10. Funny. I also wonder what Nephite disguises would look like.

    Comment by NFlanders — November 22, 2005 @ 6:44 pm

  11. Maybe the chief judge was dumb too…
    I never thought of that before. That IS awesome!

    I have two favorites in the Book of Mormon:
    1) Alma 17:36-37
    “But Ammon stood forth and began to cast stones at them with his sling…and thus he slew a number of them insomuch that they began to be astonished…
    But behold, every man that lifted his club to smite Ammon, he smote off their arms with his sword…insomuch that they began to be astonished.”
    Wow. I bet these guys are one tough crowd at a comedy club!

    2) Alma 46:35
    “And it came to pass that whomsoever of the Amalickiahites that would not enter into a covenant to support the cause of freedom, that they might maintain a free government, he caused to be put to death; AND THERE WERE BUT FEW WHO DENIED THE COVENANT OF FREEDOM.”
    Really. With an incentive like that you’d think it would work. Maybe Pres. Bush should take the same approach, eh?

    Comment by Bret — November 22, 2005 @ 7:06 pm

  12. This is evil. Harming people’s testimonies of the BofM isn’t amusing.

    Some of you don’t use bloggernacle handles. If you don’t fear G-d, you should fear BKP.

    Comment by Steve EM — November 22, 2005 @ 7:13 pm

  13. Don’t worry about bloggernacle handles, Steve EM. I’m sure BKP could ex- you in abstentia. I’ll bet you’re first on the list.

    Comment by NFlanders — November 22, 2005 @ 7:47 pm

  14. 50 “Now when Alma had said these words, Korihor was struck dumb, that he could not have utterance, according to the words of Alma.
    51 And now when the chief judge saw this…

    does “this” refer to the the words of Alma (as they were published) or the act. Also how do you “SEE” someone being struck dumb?

    But in all seriousness, perhaps the CJ didn’t have the faith to believe what was going on and thought he had been struck senseless.

    Or perhaps it was that he didn’t immediately respond.

    I agree it is humorous, but I wouldn’t let it shake my testimony. Too many times we get caught up in textual issues. But after all, with a little typo, D&C 52:14 clearly states that the adversary is female.

    Comment by Jay S — November 22, 2005 @ 8:19 pm

  15. Mark B.’s is funny, but it can be plausibly explained as something other than a humorous slip by a Book of Mormon personality. Presumably Abinadi needed a disguise to move about the city unhindered, but once he started preaching he was willing to give up the disguise. I don’t think prophets testify in disguise, but one might use a disguise to allow greater movement before testifying. So it wasn’t a slip-up, but rather part of a bold declaration whilst sloughing off the disguise.

    Also, Jay S., none of this shakes my testimony of the Book of Mormon. I accept it as a literally true account of real happenings. That’s why I think the chief judge thing is funny.

    Comment by gst — November 22, 2005 @ 10:55 pm

  16. How could the Chief Judge know for sure at first that Korihor *wasn’t* deaf if Korihor couldn’t tell him ? I interpreted the event as Korihor being flustered by his sudden inability to communicate and not even being able to figure out at first that he could write messages. The Chief Judge was the first to realize that Korihor could communicate by writing and provided the “tools” for him to do so.

    Plausible explanation or not ?


    Comment by Brent — November 23, 2005 @ 1:37 am

  17. Perhaps it is a very human thing to respond to a disability incorrectly. I hear of people shouting at blind people sometimes — when obviously a blind person can hear.

    Comment by danithew — November 23, 2005 @ 6:33 am

  18. I have always found this one amusing:

    Alma 14:21
    And many such things did they say unto them, gnashing their teeth upon them, and spitting upon them, and saying: How shall we look when we are damned?

    The mockers were probably pulling faces at them when they said this.

    Comment by Kurt — November 23, 2005 @ 6:42 am

  19. Re: Abinadi in Disguise

    “Are you sure? He seems different than the last guy that said we were all doomed. I mean look at the moustache.”

    Re: Talking to dumb people

    I’ve got nothing. Maybe Mormon decided to save room on the plates and changed his mind about recording the form of communication.

    Comment by gibbyg — November 23, 2005 @ 7:27 am

  20. I think the chief judge guy assumed he was deaf too. The conditions often go together

    Comment by Claytonain — November 23, 2005 @ 8:32 am

  21. Danithew–it’s not just blind people. My grandfather shouts at spaniards.

    Comment by gst — November 23, 2005 @ 10:46 am

  22. What about verse 54? Previously it says that Korihor wrote his reponse, but in 54 the word “said” is used.

    In any case, Mark B. is right, his is funnier. Maybe Abinadi just use a disguise to get into the city. Maybe he went out and got really buff. Who knows?

    Comment by a random John — November 23, 2005 @ 11:11 am

  23. Maybe you are right, aRJ. According to the Friberg painting, Abinidi was so buff he could have pummeled tubby King Noah any day.

    Comment by NFlanders — November 23, 2005 @ 12:31 pm

  24. Unless they were sumo wrestling. Or if King Noah got to use his cats.

    Comment by a random John — November 23, 2005 @ 12:50 pm

  25. My wife and I have always thought that the Abinadai scripture was funny. I picture him putting on those novelty glasses with the huge plastic nose and plastic moustache.

    Comment by Brett — November 25, 2005 @ 1:21 pm

  26. I think every kid gets a kick out of 2 Nephi 29:3. Admit it, you went around neener-neenering “A Bible! A Bible! We got a Bible!” for a few days after you first read it.

    For some reason, the sentence “Yea, what do the Gentiles mean?” in the following verse strikes me as funny too. It seems like a weird mix of Elizabethan and modern English.

    Comment by will — November 28, 2005 @ 3:26 pm

  27. The actual scripture found in Alma 44:14 is not all that funny in itself but when it is read by an actor who both looks and sounds like Arnold Schwarzenegger as in the Book of Mormon video used for CES classes, it is quite comical.

    “Even as this scalp has fallen to the earth, which is the scalp of your chief, so shall ye fall to the earth except ye will deliver up your weapons of war and depart with a covenant of peace.”

    Comment by brad — November 30, 2005 @ 7:31 am

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