“In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” He arrived in the Americas on October 12, 1492, and that is why we celebrate Columbus Day on the second Monday of October. Some Americans celebrate Columbus Day, while others celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Day. I see nothing wrong with either celebration, but I do not understand why they cannot both be celebrated in America.
Those who celebrate Columbus Day do so in honor of Christopher Columbus who lead the first voyage from the Eastern Hemisphere to discover the Americas. Those who celebrate Indigenous People’s Day remind us that there were Native Americans here when Columbus arrived, so Columbus could not have “discovered” the Americas. I believe that both groups are correct in their believes, and I want to add understanding if possible.
Christopher Columbus was from Italy, but he persuaded Spain to finance his voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. He was searching for a new and faster route to the Far East when he discovered what we know as North America and South America on October 12, 1492. We know that his voyage took approximately three months and that three ships were involved, the Santa Maria, Nina, and LaPinta.
We have all heard stories about bad experiences that came from the mingling of the two worlds. However, there are also good things that came from the mixing of two groups of people. America would have been “discovered” at some time. I believe that we are fortunate that it was Columbus who discovered it as opposed to the Chinese who had a great navy at that time.
There are scriptures that say Columbus was led by God to America, and I believe them to be true. Sometime between 600 and 592 B.C. a prophet in ancient America received a vision that foretold many momentous events in the world. Among other things, he saw the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the founding of the United States of America. Here is what he saw concerning America.
And I looked and beheld a man [Columbus] among the Gentiles [Europeans], who was separated from the seed of my brethren [Native Americans] by the many waters [Atlantic Ocean]; 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 [Americas].
And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles [American colonists]; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters.
And it came to pass that I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise; …
And I beheld that their mother Gentiles [Great Britain] were gathered together upon the waters, and upon the land also, to battle against them.
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 [Revolutionary War].
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 [Independence, 1776 A.D.]. (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, 1 Nephi 13:12-14, 17-19).
I believe that God had a specific reason when He guided Columbus and the other Gentiles across the seas. I believe that His purpose was to establish a nation in the promised land where the people were free to worship according to their conscience. I do not believe that there was any coincidence in the dates of the ratification of the Constitution and the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I believe that God was in the details of the founding of America. The American colonists declared independence on July 4, 1776, but they battled Great Britain for eight long years from April 1775 until September 1783. Once they achieved independence, the colonists struggled with their government for a few years. Then things started to happen. The Constitution was written and then signed on September 17, 1787. It was officially ratified on June 21, 1788, and George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States on April 30, 1789.
With independence established, the Constitution ratified, and a government in place to defend and protect the freedoms outlined in it, everything was in place for more miracles. In the spring of 1820, a fourteen-year-old boy went into the woods to pray, and he came out of those woods with new understanding. While kneeling in prayer, Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and they told him that they had a work for him to do.
Just 32 years after the Constitution was ratified guaranteeing Freedom of Religion, the Father and the Son began the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Priesthood authority and power were brought back to earth, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized with just six members on April 6, 1830. In a period of just 55 years from 1775 to 1830, a new nation was created, and the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored.
Spring 2020 marks 200 years from the First Vision. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has designated 2020 as a bicentennial year and will celebrate many events that happened in the restoration of the gospel. It is my belief that the First Vision would not have happened if America had not been established as a free nation. This is the reason why I celebrate Columbus Day. The discovery of America by Columbus was the first of many miracles that bless my life today!