Christopher Columbus Spirituality
-Christopher Columbus felt called by God to “open the sea” at very young age. He felt God had called him to the sea in preparation for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world! How amazing is that?! Because Columbus’s journey made the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ possible!
-Nephi, from the Book of Mormon, says the Christopher Columbus ‘stands out’ among the gentiles as an instrument of God. 1 Nephi 13 “a man among the Gentiles” wrought upon by the Holy Ghost “went forth upon the many waters even unto . . . The promised land”
-Lehi and Nephi only wrote about TWO people that would be instrumental in the restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and those two people are Christopher Columbus and Joseph Smith.
-The voyage of Christopher Columbus is the first event mentioned by Nephi that leads to the restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ back to the Earth. The journey of Christopher Columbus marks the beginning of the restoration!
-Christopher Columbus left us many documents on his life, what he was thinking, and how he was led by God for a great work. Because, many of these writings are filled with religion and God, scholars struggle with how to interpret the writings. Many scholars imply that Christopher Columbus is a “mystic” or a fanatic, out of touch with reality, or ignore his writings completely.
-The first translation and commentary of Christopher Columbus’s book “Libro de las profecias” into English happened in 1991, 500 years from Columbus’s first voyage! It had sat uncut and unopened on the shelves of Princeton University for ninety years!! There are so many people spouting off about how horrible Columbus was, and yet no one is getting his writing out and translating them?!
Life of Christopher Columbus
Columbus started working at sea at the age of 14, according to Christopher Columbus’s son. At a young age Christopher Columbus records hearing a divine voice declaring that “since thou wast born, ever has He [God] had thee in His watchful care” and when Columbus reached the age that pleased God “the barriers of the Ocean Sea, which were closed with such mighty chains, He gave thee the key.”(pg 24, “Christopher Columbus, man among the gentiles”)
-Christopher Columbus worked in Portugal as a Map Maker, when he was not as sea. He worked as a map maker for nine years, 1476 to 1485.
-Christopher Columbus met and married Dona Felipa Perestrello e Moniz in Lisbon, Portugal(she goes by Felipa). Through his marriage to Dona Felipa(through her status), Columbus was able to present his plan to sail the sea to Portugal nobility.
-Christopher Columbus worked on his proposition for years before he was able to present it! He was very optimistic of the distance from Europe to India, this could have been the reason he was denied funding for so many years.
-When Christopher Columbus was 33 he presented his plan to Portugal nobility. He was denied the funds to sail on his great expedition. Soon after being denied the funds, Columbus’s wife, Felipa, dies. Columbus is then alone, in debt, with their young son to raise on his own.
-After being rejected by Portugal nobility Columbus took his plea to Spain, but Spain was in a civil war and was not ready to fund the expedition. Columbus pleaded with Spain multiple times, and was rejected. After multiple rejections from Spain he went again to Portugal and was rejected again! Back to Spain to try again, and getting ready to go to France to see if they would say yes to him. Spain FINALLY agreed, and he did not have to go to France to try!
Voyage of Christopher Columbus
-It took Columbus 8 years to get approval for this first voyage! The crew was ready to start the journey just four months after getting approval!
-Columbus was given a 90 men crew. They were all experienced sailors, but none had ever sailed as far as they planned to go(Columbus hadn’t either)! There were real fears about what they were about to take on, it was hard to get the men to agree to this long of a journey.
-They had three ships The Nina, The Pinta and The Santa Maria.
-The crew set sail on August 3, 1492.
-No voyage of any man in all of recorded history would change the world more than this first voyage of Christopher Columbus!
-The only technology Columbus had to sail the ocean was a compass, a sand glass which marked ever half hour, a common quadrant to help with latitude.
-On October 9-10 the ships and men were ready to give up. Something happened and the ships changed course.
-Because they changed course Columbus made landfall on October 12, 1492! There has been lots of discussion about when the group actually made landfall but it is most commonly believed that they made landfall on the island of San Salvador.
-The group went to multiple islands in that area and met the native people in each area.
-When the expedition went to return home the ship The Santa Maria became stuck and Columbus had to leave men on the closest island(this is when the problems with the natives began).
-On the way back to Spain the ship hit bad weather and almost did not make it, Columbus thought he would die before he made it back home. It was only through fasting and prayer that Columbus believed he made it back to Spain alive. Many ships did not make it through the storm that night, Columbus found out later.
-The first voyage was made in 32 weeks!
-It does not appear as though Columbus intended to colonize the civilization he discovered. He intended his discoveries to be for purpose of trading, and spreading the word of God.
-Columbus was in a hurry to get back to where he had to leave the men of his ship, back in the New World.
-The second voyage was easier to get funding and sailors because they knew the expedition was possible.
-The second voyage was filled with famous names Pedro de Las Casas, Juan de la Costa, Diego Alvarez Chanca, and Ponce de Leon(who would later discover Florida!)
-The second voyage took 35 days, that speed would stand as a record for many years.
-When Columbus went to find his ship mates that he left behind he found out his shipmates had been killed by the Natives. The shipmates had treated the natives terribly. They had raped and pillaged the villages, and the Natives had put his men to death. The members of Columbus’s new ship were mad that Columbus wouldn’t retaliate on the Natives! Columbus lost the respect of his terrible shipmates by not defending their awful behavior!
Two More Voyages of Columbus
-On Columbus’s third voyage he discovered the South American Continent.
-Columbus was not a skilled colonizer. He trusted people that should not have been trusted and the colonies had wide spread rebellion.
-On one of Christopher Columbus’s voyages he was punished for not hurting the Native people. Columbus was put under arrest and was brought back to Spain in chains. When Columbus returned to Spain the Queen apologized but took away all of his governing rolls, Columbus was 50 years old.
-Columbus took one final voyage in his old age, and was not in ideal health. Columbus wanted to find the Garden of Eden. He never was able to find it, and ran into multiple problems with the Natives.
-Columbus returned home and was so sick he was not able to walk, after his last voyage. He worked to get what was owed to him by the Royalty of Spain. The queen had died soon after Columbus’s last voyage and the King was not willing to pay Columbus what he was promised.
-Columbus passed away on May 20, 1506. Nobody is sure where he is buried. It is believed that his remains are in a family plot in Cuba.
Why Columbus Matters
-Columbus was the man called by God to open the sea!
-Through Columbus’s journey’s the world is connected. This was simply not possible before, and Christopher Columbus was the trail blazer for the connection of the Wold.
-Not only did Columbus discover a new land, but he documented the journey so everyone could follow! It’s like he created the road through the Ocean, for all to follow! There could have been others who went before, but none were able to recreate the journey for others to follow.
-The route from Europe to the Americas is still used by Sailors today!!(it was that good!)
-The Lord kept and preserved the land until the world was ready for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be brought back to Earth. In the Book of Mormon is says “there shall be none come unto this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.” And it also says that the land would be “kept from the knowledge of other nations.”(pg 206, Christopher Columbus, a man among the Gentiles) Christopher Columbus always felt called to this mission, and the Lord helped him do it!
Blaming Christopher Columbus for all the Problems
Christophe Columbus was not a perfect person, but the problems of the world should not be blamed on him. The main problem with Columbus was being a product of his time. There were major problems and prejudices of people, and that was carried to the New World. Columbus was not a colonizer, although he tried and failed. It is is failures in Colonizing the area, not being able to lead the people in an orderly manner where most of the unjust assumptions of Columbus stem.
-Most scholars can agree that Columbus was not a good governor. He assumed that his crewmen and fellow Spaniards would treat the Natives better. His assumptions caused many problems, including the death of man.
-Blaming Christopher Columbus for the horrendous treatment of the Native people seems to be off the mark. There were many that did not treat the Natives well, but Columbus was one of the few that did not hurt, pillage and rob the Natives according to his records. He worked hard to keep peace between the two groups and the Europeans felt their superiority allowed them to dominate the Native people.
Personal Note on Christopher Columbus
I was sitting on the beach of my Christmas Vacation, surrounded by family, reading a book on Christopher Columbus when a young girl about 10 years old see’s what I’m reading and says “Christopher Columbus is a bad man.” I ask her why she believes that and she says her teacher told her. I told her that I don’t believe Christopher Columbus was a bad man, but I had not studied much about him. She says “are you saying my teacher is lying?” I told her that I do not believe her teacher is lying but I do not believe her teacher has correct information.
I could not believe Christopher Columbus can cause such a stir in 2023, when the majority of people today have not read, even a single book, on him. His writings and letters are available, but we do not take the time to read them, and assume the teachers or social media influences are simply telling the truth, without deeper investigation.
Christopher Columbus has always been an interested topic for me, when I was young I was taught that he was a great explorer that discovered America. Over the years there has been many views expressed that say the opposite. Many say he is not great. He did not really discover anything, and he ruined the world.
I wanted to find good information on Columbus, to put out into the world. I was a little nervous to study and ‘get less than accurate’ information on Christopher Columbus or even find out that I’ve been wrong to think he was a good person. From Latter-day Church information we do know that Christopher Columbus was one of the people who appeared to Wilford Woodruff and asked to have his temple work done, that alone signifies the efforts of good.
It is impossible to know if Christopher Columbus was good or bad, analyzing writings from hundreds of years ago, but what has been produced from his own words, it does appear that he was trying to do good, and follow God.
More Posts on Columbus:
Places to visit when learning about Christopher Columbus:
There are monuments to Christopher Columbus all over the world, and too many to mention in this post. I have limited my places to some for Spain and church sites with him. I included the Wikipedia page with all of the monuments throughout the world to Christopher Columbus.
-Las Ramblas, Barcelona Spain
-Alcala de Henarez- Where Columbus met the King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to finance his fist voyage.
-Cadiz- The second voyage of Columbus
-Cartagena- Monumento de Colón, Muralla del Mar (1882)
-Cordoba-Cristobal Colón y los Reyes Católicos (Columbus with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella).
Here is a list of places on Wikipedia of places to visit with memorials of Cristopher Columbus:
”Christopher Columbus, A Man Among The Gentiles.” By Clark B. Hinckley