Corianton’s Sin

In Alma 39:5, Alma the Younger chides his son Corianton by saying that his actions were so bad that only denying the ghost and murdering would be worse.

Know ye not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost?

So what does he mean by “these things”? Well, modern Mormon interpretation of this means sexual sins; often in a general sense. But is that what it really means?

Specifically, Alma said, “Now this is what I have against thee; thou didst go on unto boasting in thy strength and thy wisdom. . . . thou didst forsake the ministry, and did go over into the land of Siron among the borders of the Lamanites, after the harlot Isabel” (vv. 2?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú3).

So it seems that the actions Alma was reproving were three fold: boasting of his own strength and wisdom, forsaking his ministry, and going after a harlot. I’m not sure why common interpretation leaves out the first two, but it is easy to see how one could make a connection between sexual sin and going after a harlot.

But does “going after a harlot” strictly refer to sexual sin? Did Corianton actually do anything sinful (read ?¢‚ǨÀúsexual?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢) with Isabel? Or did the sin lie in the fact that he left his mission to go after her. In other words, his personal desires were more important than the Lord’s; doing what he wanted was more important than doing what the Lord wanted.

On the surface, it even seems that the question remains unanswered because Alma didn’t go into any further detail regarding Corianton?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s sins. Yet, on the other hand, if Corianton?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s sin was simply going after Isabel (not really that simple)?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùand didn’t include any actual sexual activity?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùthen Alma went into all the detail necessary, and the account is accurate.

Somehow the list that Alma gave in verses 2 and 3, however, has evolved into including everything under the sexual sun so to speak. Odd.

4 thoughts on “Corianton’s Sin”

  1. Corianton’s “bad example” to the Zoramites was bad because he did something that even the unconverted Zoramites recognized as bad. Forsaking the ministry per se probably wouldn’t mean very much to a bunch of folks who didn’t really care one way or the other about the ministry. Ah, but when it is culturally unadvisable, unacceptable, or downright henious to go after harlots well then we have some difficulty with credibility on the part of those who preach virtue and yet go after harlots.

  2. It seems to me he got off pretty light considering he did not have to attend a “Court of Love”.

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