COLUMBUS DAY MORMON STYLE
The Irish have Saint Patrick’s day, the Mexicans have Cinco de Mayo, the Democrats have Burning Man and the Italians get Columbus Day. Columbus, the man “wrought upon by the spirit of God” is loved by American patriots. We the People who understand the timeline of events that culminated in the birth of a new nation, hail ole’ Chris Columbus as the man who opened the way for Western Civilization to spread and take root in the fertile, promised land of the Americas.
Christopher Columbus was a deeply religious man who felt compelled to explore regions west for a passage to the riches of the Orient. Profit may have been one motive, but it was not the driving force behind his quest. Columbus believed that he had been spiritually prepared for his journeys to the New World, and he felt the voice of God overriding all other considerations and events in his life.
“‘When I was very young I went to sea to sail and I continue to do it today. . . . I have found Our Lord very well disposed towards my desire, and I have from him the spirit of intelligence for carrying it out. He has bestowed the marine arts upon me in abundance and that which is necessary to me from astrology, geometry, and drawing spheres and situating upon them the towns, the rivers, mountains, islands and ports, each in its proper place.”
Christopher Columbus wrote of his discovery of the New World:
“God made me the messenger of the new heaven and new earth of which he spoke in the Apocalypse of St. John after having spoken of it through the mouth of Isaiah; and he showed me the spot where to find it.”
Columbus believed that his discoveries of the West would lead to the spread of Christianity to indigenous people of the America’s. Of this divine “mission” he related this to his associate, Amerigo Vespucci:
“I feel persuaded, by the many and wonderful manifestations of Divine Providence in my especial favor, that I am the chosen
instrument of God in bringing to pass a great event—no less than the conversion of millions who are now existing in the darkness of Paganism.”
The Book of Mormon, which is primarily the political and spiritual histories of a branch of the House of Israel which escaped the destruction of Jerusalem c. 600 B.C. and traveled to the New World centuries prior to the European explorers, proclaims that the prophet Nephi saw the future Columbus in a vision. The vision recounts the man who “went forth upon the many waters.” The following verses are a synopsis of the settlement of the Americas by the “gentiles” from Europe and other nations, and the scattering of the native peoples of the Americas by the gentiles. This prophecy concludes with assurance the New World would be a land of promise and that those who lived righteously upon it would be delivered out of the captivity of all other nations.
12 And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.
13 And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters.
14 And it came to pass that I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise; and I beheld the wrath of God, that it was upon the seed of my brethren; and they were scattered before the Gentiles and were smitten.
15 And I beheld the Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the Gentiles, and they did prosper and obtain the land for their inheritance; and I beheld that they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people before they were slain.
16 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles who had gone forth out of captivity did humble themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was with them.
17 And I beheld that their mother Gentiles were gathered together upon the waters, and upon the land also, to battle against them.
18 And I beheld that the power of God was with them, and also that the wrath of God was upon all those that were gathered together against them to battle.
19 And I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles that had gone out of captivity were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are blessed to have a comprehensive understanding of the occurrences throughout the centuries that resulted in the establishment of a land of liberty. The United States of America owes its existence to the explorers, adventurers and pilgrims who settled her wild climes. But it was the inspiration of God that drove them all, over the centuries, to strive to find the promised land, and a Republic of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Happy Columbus Day. Now, go celebrate with a massive plate of spaghetti and meatballs.
by Marjorie Haun 10/9/12