In all my books, articles and blog posts, I provide links to original sources. I encourage you to see the original documents for yourself.
The Joseph Smith Papers is an amazing resource. The Church History library site has additional material that is invaluable. The archives of BYU Studies and the Religious Studies Center at BYU are great. Archive.org has some unique resources, such as Benjamin Winchester’s original Gospel Reflector and the 1844 pamphlet that contains Letter VII and Oliver’s description of the Hill Cumorah, here.
I hope that the material I’ve written encourages you to get into these sources. I’ve learned a lot from my readers and I’m sure I’ll continue to learn more in the future.
On this page, we provide a variety of resources, including original documentation, original research, and analysis of previously published research from many different sources.
“On the banks of the Mississippi, June 4th. 1834. My Dear Companion, I now embrace a few moments to dictate a few words that you may know how it is with us up to this date. We arrived this morning on the banks of the Mississippi, and were detained from crossing the river, as there was no boat that we could cross in, but expect a new one to be put into the river this evening, so that we are in hopes, to be able to cross tomorrow, and proceed on our journey. A tolerable degree of union has prevailed among the brethren or camp up to the present moment, and we are all in better circumstances of health apparently than when we started from Kirtland… The whole of our journey, in the midst of so large a company of social honest men and sincere men, wandering over the plains of the Nephites, recounting occasionaly the history of the Book of Mormon, roving over the mounds of that once beloved people of the Lord, picking up their skulls & their bones, as a proof of its divine authenticity…” (Signed Personally) Joseph Smith Jr.” Joseph to Emma, 6.4.1834. Retained copy in handwriting of James Mulholland, Joseph Smith Letterbook 2, pp. 56–58, LDS Church Archives
In this personal love letter to Emma, Joseph says Zion’s Camp traveled on the same plains as those Nephites of the Book of Mormon. Joseph also explains these “once beloved people of the Lord” built these mounds. These are the same lands as the Hopewell Mound Builder Civilization that thrived in the heartland of the United States from 100 BC to 500 AD according to archeologists and scientists.
What better description from Joseph Smith than “the plains of the Nephites” when speaking about the heartland of North America. Imagine rolling hills, vast prairies, rivers, lakes, streams, majestic meadows, areas of wilderness, pastures, flatlands and timberland, just as spoken of in places of scripture. “…And it came to pass that when they had come to the city of Nephihah, they did pitch their tents in the plains of Nephihah, which is near the city of Nephihah.” Alma 62:18 (see D&C 117:8, Ether 14:15). It seems very unlikely that you could confuse the plains with the jungles of South and Central America.
Zion’s Camp brethren said they picked up the bones of ancient Nephites on the plains. From the mound they visited just a day or so earlier, they brought with them some bones of Zelph in their wagon. “Some of his bones were brought into the Camp and the thigh bone which was broken was put into my wagon and I carried it to Missouri.” Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, ed. Scott G. Kenney, 1:10. “We took the leg and thigh bones and carried them along with us to Clay County. All four appeared sound.” Heber C. Kimball, Times and Seasons, 6:788. “…We came to the bones of an extraordinary large person or human being, the thigh bones being 2 inches longer from one Socket to the other than of the Prophet who is upwards of 6 feete high which would have constuted some 8 or 9 feete high.” Moses Martin Diary, LDS Church Archives, spelling not corrected).
“As we look into the record, we find that after the first visit to the Hill Cumorah, Joseph told the story of the history of the early American inhabitants to his family. His mother wrote: “From this time forth, Joseph continued to receive instructions from the Lord, and we continued to get the children together every evening for the purpose of listening while he gave us a relation of the same. I presume our family presented an aspect as singular as any that ever lived upon the face of the earth—all seated in a circle, father, mother, sons and daughters, and giving the most profound attention to a boy, eighteen years of age.” This sounds like the first family home evening of this dispensation.
Then she continued to say: “We were now confirmed in the opinion that God was about to bring to light something upon which we could stay our minds, or that would give us a more perfect knowledge of the plan of salvation and the redemption of the human family. This caused us greatly to rejoice, the sweetest union and happiness pervaded our house, and tranquility reigned in our midst. During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined. He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of traveling, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life among them.” Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, pp. 82-83. This was before he received the plates. He must have received this by revelation, for he knew the whole story of the content of the record that is now the Book of Mormon. He had had five long visits with Moroni, and his mother says he received many revelations.” Eldred G. Smith, Conference Report, October 1967, pp. 82-84
“From the time Father Bosley located near Avon, he found and plowed up axes and irons, and had sufficient to make his mill irons, and had always abundance of iron on hand without purchasing. In the towns of Bloomfield, Victor, Manchester, and in the regions round about, there were hills upon the tops of which were entrenchments and fortifications, and in them were human bones, axes, tomahawks, points of arrows, beads and pipes, which were frequently found; and it was a common occurrence in the country to plow up axes, which I have done many times myself.
I have visited the fortifications on the tops of those hills frequently, and the one near Bloomfield I have crossed hundreds of times, which is on the bluff of Honeyoye River, at the outlet of Honeyoye Lake.
In that region there are many small deep lakes, and in some of them the bottom has never been found. Fish abound in them. The hill Cumorah is a high hill for that country, and had the appearance of a fortification or entrenchment around it. In the State of New York, probably there are hundreds of these fortifications which are now visible, and I have seen them in many other parts of the United States. Readers of the Book of Mormon will remember that in this very region, according to that sacred record, the final battles were fought between the Nephites and Lamanites. At the hill Cumorah, the Nephites made their last stand prior to their utter extermination, A. D., 385. Thus was Heber preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles, above the graves of the ancients of Israel, whose records with the fullness of that Gospel, and the relics of their prowess and civilization, were now whispering from the dust.” Life of Heber C. Kimball by Orson F. Whitney Mounds at Cumorah.
Zion and our Western Tribes in North America
“You know there has been great discussion in relation to Zion–where it is, and where the gathering of the dispensation is, and which I am now going to tell you. The prophets have spoken and written upon it; but I will make a proclamation that will cover a broader ground. The whole of America is Zion itself from north to south, and is described by the Prophets, who declare that it is the Zion where the mountain of the Lord should be, and that it should be in the center of the land. When Elders shall take up and examine the old prophecies in the Bible, they will see it. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith)
“The Book of Mormon is a record of the forefathers of our western Tribes of Indians, having been found through the ministration of an holy Angel translated into our own Language by the gift and power of God, after having been hid up in the earth for the last fourteen hundred years containing the word of God, which was delivered unto them, By it we learn that our western tribes of Indians are desendants from that Joseph that was sold into Egypt, and that the Land of America is a promised land unto them, and unto it all the tribes of Israel will come. with as many of the gentiles as shall comply with the requesitions of the new co[v]en ant. But the tribe of Judah will return to old Jerusalem, The City, of Zion, spoken of by David in the 102 Psalm will be built upon the Land of America and the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to it with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads, and then they will be delivered from the overflowing scourge that shall pass through the Land But Judah shall obtain deliverence at Jerusalem see Joel 2. 32. Isaiah 26, 20 & 21, Jer. 31, 12, Psalm 50. 5, Ezekiel 34, 11, 12 & 13, These are testimonies that the good Shepherd will put forth his own sheep and Lead them out from all nations where they have been scattered in a cloudy and dark day, to Zion and to Jerusalem beside many more testamonies which might be brought——
And now I am prepared to say by the authority of Jesus Christ, that not many years shall pass away before the United States shall present such a scene of bloodshed as has not a parallel in the hystory of our nation pestalence hail famine and earthquake will sweep the wicked off this generation from off the face of this Land to open and prepare the way for the return of the lost tribes of Israel from the north country— The people of the Lord, those who have complied with the requsitions of the new covenant have already commenced gathering togethe[r] to Zion which is in the State of Missouri. Therefore I declare unto you the warning which the lord has commanded me to declare unto this generation, rembring [remembering] that the eyes of my maker are upon me and that to him I am accountabl for evry word I say wishing nothing worse to my fellow men then their eternal salvation therefore fear God, and give glory to him for the hour of his Judgment is come, <Repent ye> Repent, ye and imbrace the everlasting Covenant and flee to Zion before the over flowing scourge overtake you, For there are those now living upon the earth whose eyes shall not be closed in death until they see all these things which I have spoken fulfilled Rem[em]ber these things, call upon the Lord while he is near and seek him while he may be found is the exhortation of your unworthy servant. Joseph Smith Jr” Letter to Noah C. Saxton, 4 January 1833 from Joseph Smith Papers
THE MISSION TO THE LAMANITES
As the “mission to the Lamanites” is a very prominent event in early Church history, it is proper that the labors of the brethren engaged in at should be spoken of more fully than appears anywhere in the Prophet’s narrative and at this point following the letter of Oliver Cowdery seems as appropriate a place as will be found to speak of it. It has already been said that the brethren of the mission called upon the Cattaraugus tribe, near Buffalo, New York. (p. 120 note) After leaving Kirtland on their journey westward they visited the Wyandot tribe of Indians near Sandusky, Ohio with whom they spent several days. “We were well received,” writes Elder Parley P. Pratt, “and had an opportunity of laying before them the record of their forefathers, which we did They rejoiced in the tidings bid us Godspeed and desired us to write to them in relation to our success among the tribes further west, who had already removed to the Indian territory, where these expected soon to go.”–Aut. P. P. Pratt, p. 54.
On arriving at Independence two of the company secured employment, while the other three crossed the frontier and began their labors among the Indians They visited the Shawnees spending one night with them and the next day crossed the Kansas river and began their labors among the Delawares. They sought an interview with the chief of the Delawares, known among the whites as Chief Anderson. He was the grand sachem of ten nations or tribes and consequently possessed of large influence. He had always opposed the introduction of missionaries among his people and therefore did not at first extend a very hearty welcome to the brethren. However, through an interpreter the brethren made known their errand and explained to him the Book of Mormon and the information it contained for his people. They asked to be heard before a full council of his nation a proposition which the chief took under consideration until the next day. Next morning the conversation with the Delaware Chief was renewed, but he was not inclined at first to call the council. But as he began to understand better the nature of the Book of Mormon he changed his mind and asked the brethren to suspend their conversation until the council could be assembled. A runner was dispatched to the tribes and in about an hour forty leading men were assembled and seated in grave silence to hear the message concerning the book of their forefathers. At the request of the chief Oliver Cowdery in substance delivered the following address:
OLIVER COWDERY’S SPEECH TO THE DELAWARES.
“Aged Chief and venerable Council of the Delaware nation; we are glad of this opportunity to address you as our red brethren and friends. We have traveled a long from towards the rising sun to bring you glad news. We have traveled the wilderness crossed the deep and wide rivers and waded in the deep snows and in the face of the storms of winter, to communicate to you great knowledge which has lately come to our ears and hearts and which will do the red man good as well as the pale face.
“Once the red men were many; they occupied the country from sea to sea–from the rising to the setting sun; the whole land was theirs; the Great Spirit gave it to them, and no pale faces dwelt among them. But now they are few in numbers: their possessions are small, and the pale faces are many.
“Thousands of moons ago, when the red men’s forefathers dwelt in peace and possessed this whole land the Great spirit talked with them, and revealed His law and His will and much knowledge to their wise men and prophets This they wrote in a Book, together with their history and the things which should befall their children in the latter days.
“This Book was written on plates of gold and handed down from father to son for many ages and generations.
“It was then that the people prospered and were strong and mighty; they cultivated the earth built buildings and cities and abounded in all good things, as the pale faces now do.
“But they became wicked; they killed one another and shed much blood; they killed their prophets and wise men, and sought to destroy the Book. The Great Spirit became angry and would speak to them no more; they had no more good and wise dreams; no more visions, no more angels sent among them by the Great spirit; and the Lord commanded Mormon and Moroni, their last wise men and prophets to hide the Book in the earth that it might be preserved in safety and be found and made known in the latter-day to the pale faces who should possess the land that they might again make it known to the red men, in order to restore them to the knowledge of the will of the Great Spirit and to His favor. And if the red men would then receive this Book and learn the things written in it and do according thereunto, they should be restored to all their rights and privileges; should cease to fight and kill one another; should become one people; cultivate the earth in peace, in common with the pale faces who were willing to believe and obey the same Book and be good men and live in peace.
“Then should the red men become great and have plenty to eat and good clothes to wear, and should be in favor with the Great Spirit and be His children while He would be their Great Father and talk with them, and raise up prophets and wise and good men among them again who should teach them many things.
“This Book, which contained these things was hid in the earth by Moroni, in a hill called by him Cumorah, which hill is now in the state of New York, near the village of Palmyra, in Ontario county.
“In that neighborhood there lived a young man named Joseph smith who prayed to the Great Spirit much in order that he might know the truth, and the Great Spirit sent an angel to him and told him where this Book was hid by Moroni, and commanded him to go and get it. He accordingly went to the place and dug in the earth and found the Book written on golden plates.
“But it was written in the language of the forefathers of the red men; therefore this young man, being a pale face, could not understand it; but the angel told him and showed him and gave him knowledge of the language and how to interpret the Book so he interpreted it into the language of the pale faces, and wrote it on paper and caused it to be printed, and published thousands of copies of it among them, and then sent us to the red men to bring some copies of it to them, and to tell them this news. So we have now come from him, and here is a copy of the Book, which we now present to our red friend, the Chief of the Delawares which we hope he will cause to be read and known among his tribe; it will do them good.”
We then presented him with a Book of Mormon.
There was a pause in the council and some conversation in their own language, after which the chief made the following reply:
THE CHIEF’S REPLY
“We feel truly thankful to our white friends who have come so far and been at such pains to tell us good news, and especially this new news concerning the Book of our forefathers; it makes us glad in here,–placing his hand on his heart “It is now winter we are new settlers in this place; the snow is deep, our cattle and horses are dying our wigwams are poor; we have much to do in the spring–to build houses and fence and make farms, but we will build a council house and meet together, and you shall read to us and teach us more concerning the Book of our fathers and the will of the Great Spirit.
Elder Parley P. Pratt in his report of the matter adds; “We continued for several days to instruct the old Chief and many of his tribe. The interest became more and more intense on their part, from day to day, until at length nearly the whole tribe began to feel a spirit of inquiry and excitement on the subject. We found several among them who could read and to them we gave copies of the Book, explaining to them that it was the Book of their forefathers, some began to rejoice exceedingly and took great pains to tell the news to others in their own language. The excitement now reached the frontier settlements in Missouri, and stirred up the jealousy and envy of the Indian agents and sectarian missionaries to that degree that we were soon ordered out of the Indian country as disturbers of the peace, and even threatened with the military in case of non-compliance. We accordingly departed from the Indian country and came over the line, and commenced laboring in Jackson county, Missouri, among the whites We were well received and listened to by many, and some were baptized and added to the Church.
“Thus ended our first Indian mission, in which we had preached the Gospel in its fulness and distributed the record of their forefathers among three viz. The Cattaraugus Indians, near Buffalo, N. Y., the Wyandots, of Ohio and the Delawares, west of Missouri.–Aut. P. P. Pratt, pp. 56-61.(BHR)
About the First Indians to Receive the Gospel
“The missionaries visited the Wyandots (Hurons), the Delawares, the Catteraugus (Seneca Iroquois), and the Shawnees during this first Lamanite mission. While we do not know for sure why these groups were chosen for proselyting, Lori Taylor has noted that each of these Native nations claimed prophetic traditions. The Hurons spoke of Deganawidah, the Master of Things and the Peacemaker, a Huron prophet who taught the Iroquois Confederacy a new social order of cooperation. The Delawares followed Neolin, a prophet who encouraged his people to reject European ways in favor of the old ways, in order to gain favor with the Great Spirit. Neolin was associated with Pontiac and his war in 1763-1764. The Iroquois believed in Handsome Lake, a prophet who received heavenly visitations in 1799-1800 from four visitors who encouraged him and his people to embrace traditional practices and to observe the ceremonial cycle. He encouraged his people to give up alcohol, witchcraft, and other vices. And lastly, the Shawnees followed Tenskwatawa, brother of the famous Tecumseh, who taught that the Shawnee needed to reject white ways in order to push back white settlement. Tenskwatawa learned from Handsome Lake and taught some things that appears to be influenced by Christianity. Although it is unclear how much the early Mormons knew about these prophets or the Native peoples who claimed them, Taylor’s speculation that the missionaries proselyted the Wyandots, Delawares, Catteraugus, and Shawnees for this reason remains intriguing. Equally fascinating is Taylor’s analysis of a story told by some contemporary Iroquois that JS knew about Handsome Lake’s teachings (who was active in western New York until his death in 1815) and that the Book of Mormon was shaped by Handsome Lake’s ideas. Whether there is any truth to such accounts awaits further investigation by ethnohistorians, but one thing is certain, the Book of Mormon and early white Mormon interpretations of it had more in common with the apocalyptic visions of Neolin, Tenskwatawa, and other Native prophets than with the views of most other white Americans of the nineteenth century.”
The Juvenile Instructor By
North America, A Land of Promise
The Lord has always promised his covenant people who are faithful, four principle blessings. Posterity, prosperity, security and freedom, and a land of promise. The first recorded instance of a “land of promise” in scripture is a land called Cainan, named after a great-grandson of Father Adam (Moses 6:17). We understand through the scriptures that this land was near current day Adam-ondi-Ahman, Missouri (D&C 116:1).
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, “Temporarily, we call it America. But it began with the single, primeval continent of Genesis, and the miracle of millennial healing will bring that unity again…
The most sacred of places, then, will always be those locations which God has designated for holy and eternal purposes, locations where he is the “doer of the deed.” These places are revered forever by his faithful children wherever they may be.
America is such a place, but of course it wasn’t always called America nor has it always been identified by a distinctive continental shape. Originally it was simply a portion of that large, single land mass which God in his creative process called “Earth” and which, when completed, was pronounced “good.” (Gen. 1:10.) Whatever its name and geographical configuration, however, it was from the beginning a land of divinity as well as a land of destiny.
The choicest part of this earthly creation was a garden “eastward in Eden” where God placed our first parents, Adam and Eve. This resplendent place filled with paradisiacal glory was located on that part of the land mass where the city Zion, or the New Jerusalem of the earth’s last days, would eventually be built… After Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden, they dwelt at a place called Adam-ondi-Ahman, located in what is now Daviess County, Missouri. In that region this first family lived out their days, tilling the soil, tending the flocks, offering sacrifices, and learning the gospel of Jesus Christ from on high. There Adam prophesied concerning all the families of the earth and, three years before his death, called together the righteous remnant of his posterity and bestowed upon them his last blessing. The Lord appeared unto this faithful group and Adam’s family rose up “and blessed Adam, and called him Michael, the prince, the archangel… Never before had one spot of earth been favored with such a meeting, nor provided the stage for such sacred scenes from the drama of man’s ultimate destiny.
But even as such sacred manifestations and proclamations were recorded, the land was being polluted with unrighteousness. The willful Cain had already made his covenant with Satan and taken the life of his younger brother, Abel…
Two generations later the Lord was so pained by that generation “without affection” (Moses 7:33) that he opened the windows of heaven and cleansed the entire earth with water. Thus, the “everlasting decree” (Ether 2:10) was first taught that he who will not obey the Lord in righteousness will be swept from his sacred land. The lesson would be tragically retaught in dispensations yet to come.
Holy Scripture records that “after the waters had receded from off the face of this land it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord; wherefore the Lord would have that all men should serve him who dwell upon the face thereof.” (Ether 13:2.) Such a special place needed now to be kept apart from other regions, free from the indiscriminate traveler as well as the soldier of fortune. To guarantee such sanctity the very surface of the earth was rent. In response to God’s decree, the great continents separated and the ocean rushed in to surround them. The promised place was set apart. Without habitation it waited for the fulfillment of God’s special purposes.
With care and selectivity, the Lord began almost at once to repeople the Promised Land. The Jaredites came first, with stories of the great flood fresh in their memories and the Lord’s solemn declaration ringing in their ears… (Ether 2:8.) Despite such counsel, however, the Jaredite civilization steadily degenerated into a violent society which forced a man to keep “the hilt of his sword in his right hand” (Ether 14:2)…
But even as the last light flickered on Jaredite civilization, a bold new sun rose to illuminate a thousand years of Nephite-Lamanite experience on the same soil. Despite periods of war and rebellion, these people nevertheless had great moments of power and purity, including the personal ministry of the resurrected Christ, who walked and talked and prayed with these New World inhabitants for three indescribable days. There in the meridian of time the land enjoyed three generations of peace and perfection, which it would not know again until the Master’s millennial reign.
But the lessons of history, if not learned well, are certain to be taught again, and a lone father with his son lived to see the self-destruction of these people of promise. The Nephite-Lamanite morality descended from “sorceries, and witchcrafts, and magics” (Morm. 1:19) into rape, murder, and cannibalism…
A thousand years after God had given such choice land to their fathers and a thousand years before he would attempt to do it again, Mormon wrote to his son Moroni: “O the depravity of my people! They are without order and without mercy…
In spite of such grief and despair the Lord of the vineyard determined to “spare it a little longer” (Jacob 5:50) long enough for one final attempt, long enough for one more dispensation, long enough for one final experiment focused on the Promised Land.
So, after a thousand years of preparation, the Spirit of God rested upon a young Italian [Columbus] sailing under the flag of Spain, and, as Nephi had seen in vision, “he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the Promised Land.” (1 Ne. 13:12.) This “Christian of almost maniacal devoutness”… was not to be denied…
As Elder Paul H. Dunn recently declared to a Church-wide audience: “(Joseph) grew up toward adolescence just like the new land. He fitted it. He was young, clean, unspoiled—a lad without a past, kneeling in a grove. This pristine land—this innocent young man—and thus the Lord reached out and kept his promise. He established his conditions over centuries; you see, God has time. His plan made it possible for the holy priesthood and the Church to be restored upon the earth—the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ—but only in America…The purpose of America was to provide a setting wherein that was possible. All else takes its power from that one great, central purpose.” (Ensign, Nov. 1975, p. 54.)
Elder Holland continues, “Thus in one final moment worthy men and righteous principles came together for the restoration of heavenly things. With his center stake in America, God began stretching the cords of his tabernacle to all the world… “And the land of Jerusalem and the land of Zion shall be turned back into their own place, and the earth shall be like as it was in the days before it was divided.” (D&C 133:23–24.)
These two cities, Zion (the New Jerusalem) and the ancient city of Jerusalem, will be those capitals out of which both the word and law of the Lord shall go forth and to which all nations shall flow. (See Isa. 2:2–3.)
It is good that the historical celebration of the United States bicentennial allows us to focus on a land in which God has done so much of his work. It has not always looked the same geographically nor has it always been governed the same politically. But that all seems appropriate since the meaning of America, in its most theological sense, is something more than borders and boundaries, something above nativism and nationalism. It is an ideal, a thing of the spirit… As with temple sites, missionary service, and area general conferences, gospel experience transcends the borders—and, if necessary, the flames of nationalism…” Selected portions of a talk titled, “A Promised Land”, by Jeffrey R. Holland June 1976 Ensign
In Salt Lake City, July 4, 1854 Orson Hyde said, “The progressive spirit of the times, on the one hand, and the chains of cruelty and oppression, on the other, inspired the apostles of American freedom to raise the standard of liberty, and unfurl its banner to the world as a warning to oppressors, and as the star of hope to the oppressed. The very name of America causes a thrill of patriotic devotion to her best interests to quiver in the heart of every citizen of Utah, with a zeal and a pride for the welfare of our country that does honor to the memory of those departed heroes whose ashes are mingled in our soil, and made rich and dear to us by their own blood…
In those early and perilous times, our men were few, and our resources limited. Poverty was among the most potent enemies we had to encounter; yet our arms were successful; and it may not be amiss to ask here, by whose power victory so often perched on our banner? It was by the agency of that same angel of God that appeared unto Joseph Smith, and revealed to him the history of the early inhabitants of this country, whose mounds, bones, and remains of towns, cities, and fortifications speak from the dust in the ears of the living with the voice of undeniable truth. This same angel presides over the destinies of America, and feels a lively interest in all our doings. He was in the camp of Washington; and, by an invisible hand, led on our fathers to conquest and victory; and all this to open and prepare the way for the Church and kingdom of God to be established on the western hemisphere, for the redemption of Israel and the salvation of the world.
This same angel was with Columbus, and gave him deep impressions, by dreams and by visions, respecting this New World. Trammeled by poverty and by an unpopular cause, yet his persevering and unyielding heart would not allow an obstacle in his way too great for him to overcome; and the angel of God helped him—was with him on the stormy deep, calmed the troubled elements, and guided his frail vessel to the desired haven. Under the guardianship of this same angel, or Prince of America, have the United States grown, increased, and flourished, like the sturdy oak by the rivers of water.
To what point have the American arms been directed since the Declaration of our National Independence, and proven unsuccessful? Not one! The peculiar respect that high Heaven has for this country, on account of the promises made to the fathers, and on account of its being the land where the mustard seed of truth was planted and destined to grow in the last days, accounts for all this good fortune to our beloved America…
So sure and certain as the great water courses wend their way to the ocean, and there find their level—so sure as the passing thundercloud hovers around yonder Twin Peaks of the Wasatch Mountains, and upon their grey and barren rocks pours the fury of its storm, just so sure and certain will the guardian angel of these United States fly to a remote distance from their borders, and the anger of the Almighty wax hot against them in causing them to drink from the cup of bitterness and division, and the very dregs, stirred up by the hands of foreign powers, in a manner more cruel and fierce than the enemies of the Saints in the day of their greatest distress and anguish; and all this because they laid not to heart the martyrdom of the Saints and Prophets, avenged not their blood by punishing the murderers, neither succored nor aided the Saints after they were despoiled of their goods and homes.
Would to God that we could forget this part of our experience in the land of our fathers! But we cannot forget it. It is incorporated in our being. We shall carry it to our graves, and in the resurrection it will rise with us. Had the United States been as faithful a guardian to the Latter-day Saints as the angel of God has been to them, she would never know dissolution, nor be humbled in dishonor by the decrees of any foreign powers…
When Justice is satisfied, and the blood of martyrs atoned for, the guardian angel of America will return to his station, resume his charge, and restore the Constitution of our country to the respect and veneration of the people; for it was given by the inspiration of our God.
One positive decree of Jehovah, respecting this land, is, that no king shall ever be raised up here, and that whosoever seeketh to raise up a king upon this land shall perish. The spirit of this decree is that no king shall bear rule in this country. And the islands contiguous to this land belong unto it by promise, for they are a part and parcel of the land of Joseph, and they geographically belong to it—belong to it by the covenants of the fathers: they also philosophically incline to this nearer and greater land.” Moroni Guardian Angel of America Orson Hyde Journal of Discourses 6:65.
Indeed this land of America and its leaders have been blessed with the protection of the Lord. “As details of the battle emerged, it turns out that either George Washington was extremely lucky, was bulletproof, or was being supernaturally protected. One Indian warrior testified that he had shot at him 17 times. He exclaimed that “Washington was never born to be killed by a bullet!” Another Indian, Red Hawk, had shot and missed him 11 times. He had not missed a shot before, and became convinced that Washington was being supernaturally protected by the Great Spirit. In 1770, fifteen years after the battle, an old Indian told Washington that he had sought out to meet him. He had been fighting in the battle that day, and he had told all the Indians with him to shoot at him, and make sure that he died. When they all missed, he told them to stop. On that evening, he predicted that Washington would never die in battle, and would be “the founder of a mighty empire.” David.Barton, The Bulletproof George Washington.
Many locations in this land of America have been blessed by its guardian angel. “Moroni had the great privilege, as he walked across this American Continent, of finding a place and designating the place where the St. George temple was to be built. He also designated where the Manti Temple was to be. And it’s been written that he designated Kirtland and Nauvoo and probably others. Moroni appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith 22 different times during the life of the Prophet Joseph that we know of.” The Angel Moroni by Elder Glen L. Rudd
While serving as Mission President in Central Florida Brother Murray Rawson had the responsibility to work on the Seminole Indian reservation. While there he had numerous visits with the chief. While attempting to present the Book of Mormon the chief interrupted his message by saying: “We had a war long ago with the light skinned people around the Great Lakes. We conquered them but we had so much respect for their warrior chief that we buried him at the mouth of the Oswego River which is in New York State. We don’t discuss this very much because it is an embarrassment to us”. President Rawson asked why is this an embarrassment? “Our history is written on metal plates and buried in a hill in New York, but we don’t know which hill”! The Mystic Symbol, by Wayne N. May. Talk given to missionaries in training at the MTC, Provo, Utah 1979, by President Murray J. Rawson, Orem, Utah.
This United States of America is indeed, “A Land of Promise.” Moroni presides over the destinies of the United States, holds the keys of the Stick of Ephraim (D&C 27: 5), and is the guardian angel of this wonderful land. The Lord has said, “…repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon…” (D&C 84:57). As we study The Book of Mormon, we learn to love even more this blessed America we call “A Promised Land.”