“Nephi Beheld Christopher Columbus Among the Gentiles”

D. Kelly Ogden, Andrew C. Skinner

Christopher Columbus understood that he was directed in his ventures by the God of heaven. “Who can doubt but that the Holy Ghost inspired me?” 34

The Encyclopedia of Mormonism states “Nephi appears to give an accurate account of Columbus’s motives… . Columbus apparently … felt himself spiritually driven to discover new lands. Newly acknowledged documents show that medieval eschatology, the scriptures, and divine inspiration were the main forces compelling him to sail. His notes in the works of Pierre d’Ailly and his own unfinished Book of Prophecies substantiate his apocalyptic view of the world and his feelings about his own prophetic role… .

“He believed himself chosen by God to find that land and deliver the light of Christianity to the natives there… . He believed that he was to help usher in the age of ‘one fold, and one shepherd,’ citing John 10:16 (cf. 3 Ne. 15:21), and spoke of finding ‘the new heaven and new earth.’

“Writing to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to gain financial support, Columbus testified that a voice had told him he had been watched over from infancy to prepare him for discovering the Indies. He felt that he was given divine keys to ocean barriers that only he could unlock… . In a second letter, he emphasized his prophetic role: ‘Reason, mathematics, and maps of the world were of no use to me in the execution of the enterprise of the Indies. What Isaiah said [e.g., Isaiah 24:15] was completely fulfilled’ (Watts, p. 96). Unknowingly, Columbus also fulfilled Nephi’s prophecy.” 35

Verse by Verse: The Book of Mormon: Vol. 1