“Who is This Man Among the Gentiles”

Bryan Richards
"During seven long years Columbus importuned King Ferdinand for a hearing. But he was generally regarded as a visionary. Even the children in the streets knew him as one mentally unsound. When, at last, the learned council condescended to make a report, it was to the effect that the plan was too foolish to merit attention. 'It is absurd," they said, "to believe that there are people on the other side of the world, walking with their heels upward, and their heads hanging down. And then, how can a ship get there? The torrid zone through which they must pass, is a region of fire, where the very waves boil. And even if a ship could perchance get around there safely, how could it ever get back? Can a ship sail uphill?'
"With such arguments the wise men of Spain were about to drive Columbus out of the country. In fact, he decided to go to France. But, fortunately, the queen, Isabella, had as much to say in such matters as her royal consort. And she listened to friends of Columbus. She was even willing to raise money on her jewels to defray the expenses of a voyage. But this was not required of her. Luis de Santangel, who held the keys to the treasury of Aragon, looked after the finances. The agreement between the regents and Columbus was signed on April 17, 1492. Columbus shed tears of joy. He had reached the goal, after eighteen long years of labor, disappointments and heartache.
"Columbus is described as a man of commanding presence, tall and powerful, fair, ruddy complexion, and blue-grey eyes. By the time he sailed for the new world, his hair had turned white. His bearing was courteous and his conversation was captivating. Notwithstanding all discouragement, he never lost faith in his divine calling and mission.
"It was on August 3, 1492, that Columbus with three vessels-the Santa Maria, the Pinta, and the Niña, with 90 souls on board-set out from Palos, Spain. It was on October 12, the same year that Columbus with a retinue of officers and men set foot on the beach of an island which he named San Salvador." (Reynolds and Sjodahl, Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 1, p. 119)