Since Sunday was Columbus Day, I thought I should make Christopher Columbus my very important person for this week. I hope you find him to be a VIP of our great nation.
“In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue….” This is a poem that was famous when I was a girl. It has helped me numerous times in remembering the year that Columbus discovered the Americas. Christopher Columbus continues to make news even though more than 500 years have passed since his great discovery.
I have always believed that Christopher Columbus was led by divine means to find the American continent. I learned as a child that an ancient American prophet named Nephi wrote of a vision where he saw a man 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” (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, 1 Nephi 13:12). I believed even as a child that this statement was true; as an adult, I studied the Book of Mormon and prayed about it. There is no doubt in my mind that this is a correct and true record.
Author Daniel Peterson wrote a very interesting article about the spirituality of Christopher Columbus. He quoted from a Spanish-language book published by Delno West and August Kling in 1991 with the title “The Libro de las profecias of Christopher Columbus.” It appears to have some of the record made by Columbus himself.
“`With a hand that could be felt,’ the great Genoese admiral reflected, `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?’”
In another article Peterson quotes Arnold Garr, a teacher in the Department of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University. He wrote that Professor Garr in his book Christopher Columbus: A Latter-day Saint Perspective “sets out quite explicitly (see p. xiii) to emphasize seven themes relating to Columbus: (1) His discovery of the New World for Europe fulfilled Book of Mormon prophecy.
(2) He served as a forerunner to the Restoration. (3) The primary motivation for his exploration was not financial gain, but the spread of Christianity. (4) He was guided by the Spirit of God, most especially on his first voyage to the Americas. (5) He himself believed that he was guided by the Spirit. (6) He regarded many of his achievements as a fulfillment of biblical and other prophecy. (7) Many modern prophets and apostles have held Columbus in great respect. In the course of his discussion, the author sets out a clear summary of Columbus’s life and career. In this review, I shall highlight a few of the points I found most interesting.”
I found both of Peterson’s articles to be very interesting because they support the knowledge I gained many years ago through the Holy Ghost, that same Spirit that guided Columbus to find America. I know that man was guided by the Holy Ghost to find America; since Columbus is credited with finding the Americas, I believe he was inspired by God to do so.