Christopher Columbus: Fulfiller of Prophecy


I wish to share a tidbit of Mormon folklore about Christopher Columbus. As you may know, members of the LDS church believe that Columbus was inspired by God to discover America. (Here’s a blog post that explains it better than I ever could.)

A lot has been done to malign Columbus and the subsequent settling of America by Europeans and the world. However, it remains a fact that had not Columbus set out to find a new route to Asia, we may not have discovered this continent, our technology and ability to sail the seas may not have expanded, the Americas would not have been settled and the United States of America would not have been created. And the United States, the most powerful force for good in the secular world in written history, would never have risen up to be the superpower it is, and countless billions of lives wouldn’t have discovered true prosperity and the freedom that comes from not having to worry where your next meal is.

It’s funny, in a way, that we’re even discussing whether it was right for Columbus to go and “conquer” America. Before America, slavery, the superiority of one race of man over another, the “right” to take what you want by force were all givens. It’s only our modern culture that thinks first about the ethical implications of these things and contemplates whether it is right for one person to exert their influence over another. Talk to an ancient Greek or Roman, Persian or Spanish, British or any other race of man that had any degree of power over another race and they would laugh about our petty concerns.

We have the luxury to consider these things because even the least among us is experiencing a degree of wealth never before experienced in the history of the world. Our poorest people have more than the emperors of Rome or the kinds of Europe or Asia could ever dream of. And so we have the luxury of considering what is right or wrong.

Consider that. It is wealth that makes ethics possible. The two go hand in hand.


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