“And I Looked and Beheld a Man Among the Gentiles”

W. Cleon Skousen

In the next slide Nephi is shown Christopher Columbus, who will not be born actually until 2,000 years in the future. But Nephi sees the highlights of his life. He sees Columbus cross the Atlantic Ocean and make contact with the seed of father Lehi. Now let us hold our slide on Columbus for just a moment. Columbus says in his writings that he had some wonderful spiritual ministrations from the Lord during his lifetime.

He felt his discoveries and accomplishments during his lifetime were directed by God. When he wrote to King Ferdinand of Spain he said: “I came to your majestic as the emissary of the Holy Ghost.”2 He went on to say, “Our Lord unlocked my mind, sent me upon the sea, and gave me fire for the deed. Those who heard of my enterprise called it foolish, mocked me, and laughed, but who can doubt that the Holy Ghost inspired me.”3

Columbus had a most unusual revelations at the close of his fourth journey to America in 1502. Columbus had gone to the isthmus of Panama because the natives had told him there was a great west sea just about fifty miles across the narrow neck of land. However, Columbus was ill so he sent his crew to explore the interior, but many of them were killed by the Indians. Sick, exhausted and discouraged, Columbus cried out in despair. Then he heard what he later described as a merciful voice. He didn’t see the angel but he wrote down the revelation. The date was April 6, 1503. A copy of this revelation can be found in the biography of Columbus by Bjorn Landstrom on page 172. The angel reminded Columbus how greatly he had been blessed and that he only needed more faith to prevail.

Until the gospel was restored we did not know who the angel was who spoke to Columbus. But on July 4, 1856, Apostle Orson Hyde said in an Independence Day oration that the angel who spoke to Columbus was “the same angel of God who appeared to Joseph Smith.” Speaking of the angel Moroni, Elder Hyde said: “This same angel was with Columbus and gave him deep impressions, by dreams and by visions, respecting this new world.”4

Now let us go to the next slide. Nephi saw great numbers of Gentiles, particularly the Spanish make their way to America. These came to conquer and get gold. Then he saw another group of Gentiles who came to America as refugees. These were the English pilgrims. He says:

“And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters.”

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