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In the Book of Mormon, the Zoramites were one of three major Nephite sects, existing during the administration of Alma the Younger as the High Priest over the Church of God (Alma 4:4). Zoram, the leader of this group, is first mentioned in Alma 30:59 as being the head of a people who "had separated themselves from the Nephites", and were responsible for the death of Korihor.
The Book of Mormon describes a time when the Nephite nation was still recovering from a bloody civil war initiated by the rebellion of Amlici, a follower of the Nehor sect, who after losing a popular election to be made king made an alliance with the Lamanites. Therefore, when Zoram settled his people in Antionum near a large body of Lamanites, there grew considerable concern that the Zoramites would make a similar pact and bring about another war (Alma 31:4).
Instead of sending armies to destroy the group, Alma attempts to preach to the people in order to bring them back into the Church of God. Alma's success among a portion of the people unfortunately sparks the very rebellion that he was seeking to prevent. Alma and his converts become refugees in the land of Jershon where the king of the Ammonites gives them asylym. Because of the Ammonite's refusal to hand over Alma and his followers, the Zoramites join with the Lamanites, and the Amalekites, and go to war (Alma 43:4, Alma 43:6). The Nephite armies route the Zoramites, Amalekites and Lamanites into retreat, and finally to surrender.
The Zoramites are identified as an apostate sect from the true Church of God. The doctrines and practices of the Zoramites are described by Alma as follows:
- The worship of idols (Alma 31:1).
- The rejection of the Law of Moses (Alma 31:9).
- The rejection of church sacraments and daily prayer (Alma 31:10).
- The building of Synagogues for worship once a week on the day of the Lord (Alma 31:12).
- The use of a raised platform for individuals to offer public prayer on the day of the Lord (Alma 31:13, Alma 38:13).
- The rejection of Christ (Alma 31:17, Alma 31:29).
- The belief that the Zoramites are the chosen people of God (Alma 31:18).
- Worship may only occur in a Synagogue, and the poor are not allowed to enter (Alma 32:5, Alma 32:9).
- Church is combined with state, organized with rulers, priests, and teachers (Alma 35:5).