How 19th Century Americans could relate to Christ in the Book of Mormon (Third Book of Nephi Chapter V)

Much like the Kebra Negast for Ethiopia, the Book of Mormon, more accurately the Third Book of Nephi within the scripture brings America ‘the promised land’ to the forefront. The Third Book of Nephi chronicles the events preceding to and the arrival of Jesus in America. In the 19th Century, America was greeted by an influx of settlers from all over the globe, those of which who had settled generations ago were now considering themselves American. To see America as a promised land equates to the settlers immigration there perhaps even linking them to this event. Jesus came to America following his death and ascension depicted in the New Testament. He descended onto the land Bountiful and immediately bowed down to him although they were beginning to lose faith amongst the great trials and tribulations which they had confronted prior to his arrival. Many settlers moved to America due to ill treatment in their own lands of origins and many Irish moved due to the Potato Famine, therefore they could easily relate to the destruction of war, famine and disaster experienced by the tribes depicted in the Book of Nephi prior to Christ’s arrival. America was (and still is) seen as a land of opportunity, Christ’s coming to this land. Nephi essentially becomes John the Baptist and washes away the sins of the people, much like how people came to America to start anew with a clean slate. It shows America as a promised land spiritually, having been blessed by Jesus, and the fruits of the nation shall be sweet and long lasting in the eyes of settlers. These parallels have perhaps been an essential reason as to why Mormonism is the 4th largest religious sect in America.


About mikecrusoe

I am an international student at Lawrence University. I grew up in London, England and I rather enjoy tea and crumpets but that is for another forum.
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