“A Man Among the Gentiles”

Church Educational System

President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) identified this man among the Gentiles as Christopher Columbus:

“God inspired ‘a man among the Gentiles’ (1 Nephi 13:12) who, by the Spirit of God was led to rediscover the land of America and bring this rich new land to the attention of the people in Europe. That man, of course, was Christopher Columbus, who testified that he was inspired in what he did.
“‘Our Lord,’ said Columbus, ‘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 but that the Holy Ghost inspired me?’ (Jacob Wasserman, Columbus, Don Quixote of the Seas, pp. 19–20.)” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [1988], 577).

President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) revered Columbus as being inspired of the Lord: “A host of critics have spoken out against [Christopher Columbus]. I do not dispute that there were others who came to this Western Hemisphere before him. But it was he who in faith lighted a lamp to look for a new way to China and who in the process discovered America. His was an awesome undertaking—to sail west across the unknown seas farther than any before him of his generation. He it was who, in spite of the terror of the unknown and the complaints and near mutiny of his crew, sailed on with frequent prayers to the Almighty for guidance. In his reports to the sovereigns of Spain, Columbus repeatedly asserted that his voyage was for the glory of God and the spread of the Christian faith. Properly do we honor him for his unyielding strength in the face of uncertainty and danger” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1992, 73–74; or Ensign, Nov. 1992, 52).

Book of Mormon Student Manual (2009 Edition)