Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Warnings From the Book of Mormon
I have written in the past about the purposes of the Book of Mormon, including to act as a second witness of Jesus Christ, and to clarify doctrine that has been lost, or misconstrued, but now I would like to focus on another very important purpose of the Book of Mormon, which is to give a warning to the inhabitants of the Americas. One of the main messages of the Book of Mormon, and one of the reasons why it was saved for our day, is that those who dwell upon this land can only enjoy the freedoms and blessings of it if they serve God. The Prophet Lehi taught his children: " 9 Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever.
10 But behold, when the time cometh that they shall dwindle in unbelief, after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord—having a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men, knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the creation of the world; having power given them to do all things by faith; having all the commandments from the beginning, and having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precious land of promise—behold, I say, if the day shall come that they will reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, their Redeemer and their God, behold, the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them." 2 Nephi 1:9,10 Lehi's descendants were the people who lived in the Americas when it was discovered by the Europeans. History shows that those people's land was taken away from them. The Book of Mormon traces that occurance to their apostasy.
This same promise about the Americas is reiterated in the book of Ether: "9 And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity." Ether 2:9
Who can doubt but that the hand of God brought our forefathers to this country? Columbus himself wrote, "“Our Lord unlocked my mind, sent me upon the sea, and gave me fire for the deed. Those who heard of my emprise [enterprise] called it foolish, mocked me, and laughed. But who can doubt but the Holy Ghost inspired me?”* He also wrote, "“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?” ( Delno C. West and August Kling, trans., The Libro de las profecías of Christopher Columbus (1991), 105.) This land is truly a land of promise, and those who live here are obligated to serve God who brought them here.
The Book of Mormon also teaches that those who are brought here are brought by the hand of God. "6 Wherefore, 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." 2 Nephi 1:6 But there are obligations attached to the great blessing of living here. Columbus is a good example of someone who was led here by the hand of the Lord.
As I look around at our nation today, I still see many people who serve God and keep the commandments. But the growing tide of political correctness is now fighting against religion. Christians are criticized for their beliefs, especially with regard to the creation of this world. It is becoming increasingly unpopular in the political and academic arenas to be religious. But if we value this land, and cherish our freedom and prosperity, we must, as a nation return to God. The message of the Book of Mormon is that only by living worthy of the blessings of this free nation through serving God and keeping His commandments, can we prosper.