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What the Prophets have Taught about Christopher Columbus


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Christopher Columbus was a man of great faith and determination to follow the promptings of the Spirit of God. While not without his faults, overall, the study of his life is inspiring and he provides a good example for Christians to follow. This presentation focuses on what LDS / Mormon prophets have said about this remarkable man.

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What the Prophets have Taught about Christopher Columbus

  1. 1. What the Prophets have Taught about Christopher Columbus LDS Denton Institute – Friday Forum – November 3, 2017 By Jimmy Smith
  2. 2. “For five centuries scholars have analyzed his life, his achievements, and his character. If all that has been written about Columbus were brought together in one place, the load would easily sink the small ship that carried him to America.” Clark B. Hinckley, from the Introduction to his book, A Man among Gentiles
  3. 3. Agenda: What the Prophets have Taught about Christopher Columbus • Nephi’s prophecy about Columbus • What Columbus said about his own motives, relationship with God, and Spiritual Inspiration • Moroni’s Role according to Elder Orson Hyde • Wilford Woodruff and temple work for Columbus • Quotes by Ezra Taft Benson and Gordon B. Hinckley
  4. 4. “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.” 1 Nephi 13:12
  5. 5. “I, Lehi, prophesy according to the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord. Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring.” 2 Nephi 1:6–7
  6. 6. “Unto Nephi, son of Lehi, was shown the future of his people, including the degeneracy of a branch thereof, afterward known as Lamanites and in modern times as American Indians. The coming of a man from among the Gentiles, across the deep waters, was revealed in such plainness as to positively identify that man with Columbus; and the coming of other Gentiles to this land, out of captivity, is equally explicit.” Elder James E. Talmage of the Quourm of the 12 Apostles
  7. 7. “With a hand that could be felt, the Lord opened my mind to the fact that it would be possible to sail and he opened my will to desire to accomplish the project . . . This was the fire that burned within me . . . Who can doubt that this fire was not merely mine, but also of the Holy Spirit …urging me to press forward?” West and Kling, Libro, 105.The Inspiration of Christopher Columbus by José María Obregón, 1856
  8. 8. “I prayed to the most merciful Lord concerning my desire, and he gave me the spirit and the intelligence for it.” (West and Kling, Libro, 105)
  9. 9. “I spent seven years here in your royal court discussing this subject with the leading persons in all the learned arts, and their conclusion was that all was in vain. That was the end, and they gave it up. But afterwards it all turned out just as our redeemer Jesus Christ had said, and as he had spoken earlier by the mouth of his holy prophets*” (West and Kling, Libro, 107) *See Matt 24:14, Mark 13:10, and John 10:14-16
  10. 10. Columbus awes the Jamaican natives by predicting the lunar eclipse of 1504. By Camille Flammarion - Astronomie Populaire 1879, p231 fig. 86, Public Domain
  11. 11. Celestial Voice to Columbus: “O fool, slow to believe and serve thy God, the God of all! …Since thou wast born, ever has He had thee in His watchful care. …Of the barriers of the Ocean Sea, which were closed with such mighty chains, He gave thee the key; and thou wast obeyed in many lands, and among Christians thou hast gained an honorable fame.” ( Varela and Gil, Textos, 491–92)
  12. 12. Landing of Columbus (12 October 1492), painting by John Vanderlyn
  13. 13. Paraphrasing from Isaiah and the Revelation of John, Columbus said in his journal: “Of the new heaven and the new earth, of which Our Lord spoke . . . He made me the messenger and He showed me where to go.” (Varela and Gil, Textos, 430. See Isaiah 66:22; Revelation 21:1.)
  14. 14. “In the circumstances of this voyage, He has miraculously made [his power] …manifest, as one may understand through this writing, through the signal miracles that He has performed during the voyage and for me …I hope in Our Lord that it will be the greatest honor to Christianity that, unexpectedly, has ever come about.” (Dunn and Kelley, Diario, 401–3.) Earliest Known Painting of Columbus. In The Virgin of the Navigators, 1531–36. Alejo Fernández (1475-1545) - Photo by historian Manuel Rosa.
  15. 15. • He called Moroni “the guardian angel of America.” • “That same angel of God that appeared to Joseph Smith presides over the destiny of the United States of America.” • “That same angel was with Columbus on the stormy deep. He guided his frail vessel to the desired haven, and he calmed the troubled elements.” See Journal of Discourses, 6:369. also and 03_11_Rudd.htm Elder Orson Hyde, member of the Quorum of the 12, gave a talk in Salt Lake City on July 4, 1854.
  16. 16. Replicas of Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria sailed from Spain to the Chicago Columbian Exposition. E. Benjamin Andrews. History of the United States, volume V. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. 1912.
  17. 17. On October 9, 1492, the Pinzón brothers came aboard the Santa María, where they “held a more or less stormy conference with Columbus in his cabin, demanded that the search for land be abandoned, and that advantage be taken of the southerly breeze to start home.” (Morison, Admiral of the Ocean Sea, 220–21.) Columbus later wrote in his journal that God “had delivered him on the outward voyage, when he had greater reason to fear from his troubles with the sailors and people that he took with him, who all, with one voice, were determined to go back and to rise against him in protest.” (Dunn and Kelley, Diario, 369.)
  18. 18. On their return voyage, when they were almost home, they encountered a massive storm off the coast of Portugal. “The people of the town spent all that morning in fervent prayer for them, and after they got inside the people came to see them and to marvel at how they had escaped.” (Dunn and Kelley, Diario, 391–93) Columbus learned later that twenty-five ships had been lost in the storm.
  19. 19. “That We May Be Redeemed” Painting by Glen Hopkinson
  20. 20. “The spirits of the dead gathered around me, wanting to know why we did not redeem them. Said they, “…We laid the foundation of the government you now enjoy, and we never apostatized from it, but we remained true to it and were faithful to God.” …They waited on me for two days and two nights. I thought it very singular, that notwithstanding so much work had been done, and yet nothing had been done for them …I straightway went into the baptismal font and called upon brother McCallister to baptize me for the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and fifty other eminent men, making one hundred in all, including John Wesley, Columbus, and others.” (Wilford Woodruff, in Journal of Discourses, 19:229. church-student-manual/wilford-woodruff-fourth-president-of-the-church?lang=eng)
  21. 21. “President George Washington was ordained a high priest at that time. You will also be interested to know that, according to Wilford Woodruff’s journal, John Wesley, Benjamin Franklin, and Christopher Columbus were also ordained high priests at that time. When one casts doubt about the character of these noble sons of God, I believe he or she will have to answer to the God of heaven for it.” (Benson, Ezra Taft This Nation Shall Endure, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977, 22.)
  22. 22. “I have read and reread one important and prophetic verse from the Book of Mormon [1 Ne. 13:12], and also a very long biography of Christopher Columbus. …We interpret that [verse] to refer to Columbus. It is interesting to note that the Spirit of God wrought upon him. After reading that long biography, a Pulitzer winner of forty years ago, titled Admiral of the Ocean Sea—I have no doubt that Christopher Columbus was a man of faith, as well as a man of indomitable determination.” (Building Your Tabernacle – Gordon B. Hinckley – October 1992)
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