Christopher Columbus is one of the most controversial historical figures. Whereas academia has demonized him, the leaders of the Church have defended him as an instrument in the hands of God. Like Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and many other leaders of the church, slander is Satan’s greatest tool to destroy and discredit the restoration.
There are two important things to remember about Columbus. First, we can not judge someone in the 1400’s by 2000’s standards. (as we do far too often). Second, we must remember that Columbus was challenging Catholic Christianity, with his claims that the earth was not flat and that angels, visions, and revelations were real. To many of Columbus’ opponents he was a heretic, and in the 1400 and 1500’s it was common to lie to about a heretic to get him put away.
So what is the truth about Columbus? Here are three truths that the Apostles have taught about Columbus.
1. Christopher Columbus was led to America by God
The Book of Mormon teaches that Christopher Columbus was led by God to discover America and lead a whole new wave of immigrants to the new world. We learn this in 1st Nephi 13:12 which says:
And I looked and beheld a man among the gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many water; 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.
Speaking about this verse in 1976 President N. Eldon Tanner said. “This, as we know, refers to Christopher Columbus, who was impelled by the Spirit of God to cross the ocean for the rediscovery of America, thus assisting in the furthering of God’s purposes.” (italics added)
President Tanner is not the only Apostle who stated that Christopher Columbus was called of God. In 2005 Elder Robert D. Hales said “In 1492 Christopher Columbus set out to find a new path to the Far East. Columbus was led by the hand of God in his journey.” (italics added)
In the mouth of three witnesses in 1975, President Marion G. Romney taught:
“In 1492, in harmony with the Lord’s statement heretofore quoted, “that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord” (2 Ne. 1:6), Columbus was divinely led to America.” (italics added)
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