If you know much of anything about fractals, The Mandlebrot Set, and other such phenomenon, you'll know that the past and the present are all the same and in it's place as a part of the greater picture it is also different. It's all the same while still maintaining differences. Doesn't it make perfect sense?
The situation long ago, in the ancient days that were contemporary to the authors of The Book of Mormon, was writing and to which he was referring were certainly different compared to now. However, the subject about which he was referring is exactly the same, regardless of how it manifests itself: sin.
What I include next is going to be a bunch of verses from The Book of Mormon. I'm going to link to the verses for you, too. They will appear as though I am randomly copying and pasting, but their order is purposeful. I see these verses direct applicability for now... our day....
"Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever.
"And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance.
"Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem [homelands] shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritancce; and they shall dwell safely forever.
"But behold, when the time cometh that they shall dwindle in unbelief, after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord—having a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men, knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the creation of the world; having power given them to do all things by faith; having all the commandments from the beginning, and having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precious land of promise—behold, I say, if the day shall come that they will reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, their Redeemer and their God, behold, the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them.
"Yea, he will bring other nations unto them, and he will give unto them power, and he will take away from them the lands of their possessions, and he will cause them to be scattered and smitten.
"Yea, as one generation passeth to another there shall be bloodsheds, and great visitations among them; wherefore, my sons, I would that ye would remember; yea, I would that ye would hearken unto my words.
"O that ye would awake; awake from a deep sleep, yea, even from the sleep of hell, and shake off the awful chains by which ye are bound, which are the chains which bind the children of men, that they are carried away captive down to the eternal gulf of misery and woe.
"Awake! and arise from the dust, and hear the words of a trembling parent, whose limbs ye must soon lay down in the cold and silent grave, from whence no traveler can return; a few more days and I go the way of all the earth." (2 Nephi 1: 7-14)
"And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil. And the law is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever.
"Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.
"Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.
"Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.
"Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved.
"And because of the intercession for all, all men come unto God; wherefore, they stand in the presence of him, to be judged of him according to the truth and holiness which is in him. Wherefore, the ends of the law which the Holy One hath given, unto the inflicting of the punishment which is affixed, which punishment that is affixed is in opposition to that of the happiness which is affixed, to answer the ends of the atonement —
"For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
"Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.
"And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away." (2 Nephi 2: 5-13)
"And, in fine, wo unto all those who die in their sins; for they shall return to God, and behold his face, and remain in their sins.
"O, my beloved brethren, remember the awfulness in transgressing against that Holy God, and also the awfulness of yielding to the enticings of that cunning one. Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal.
"O, my beloved brethren, give ear to my words. Remember the greatness of the Holy One of Israel. Do not say that I have spoken hard things against you; for if ye do, ye will revile against the truth; for I have spoken the words of your Maker. I know that the words of truth are hard against all uncleanness; but the righteous fear them not, for they love the truth and are not shaken.
"O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.
"And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches—yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves folls before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them.
"But the things of the wise and the prudent shall be hid from them forever—yea, that happiness which is prepared for the saints.
"O, my beloved brethren, remember my words. Behold, I take off my garments, and I shake them before you; I pray the God of my salvation that he view me with his all-searching eye; wherefore, ye shall know at the last day, when all men shall be judged of their works, that the God of Israel did witness that I shook your iniquities from my soul, and that I stand with brightness before him, and am rid of your blood.
"O, my beloved brethren, turn away from your sins; shake off the chains of him that would bind you fast; come unto that God who is the rock of your salvation.
"Prepare your souls for that glorious day when justice shall be administered unto the righteous, even the day of judgement, that ye may not shrink with awful fear; that ye may not remember your awful guilt in perfectness, and be constrained to exclaim: Holy, holy are thy judgments, O Lord God Almighty—but I know my guilt; I transgressed thy law, and my transgressions are mine; and the devil hath obtained me, that I am a prey to his awful misery.
"But behold, my brethren, is it expedient that I should awake you to an awful reality of these things? Would I harrow up your souls if your minds were pure? Would I be plain unto you according to the plainness of the truth if ye were freed from sin?" (2 Nephi 9: 38 - 47)
"Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blamelss before God? Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble? That your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins?
"Behold, are ye stripped of pride? I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God. Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand, and such an one hath not eternal life.
"Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped of envy? I say unto you that such an one is not prepared; and I would that he should prepare quickly, for the hour is close at hand, and he knoweth not when the time shall come; for such an one is not found guiltless.
"And again I say unto you, is there one among you that doth make a mock of his brother, or that heapeth upon him persecutions?
"Wo unto such an one, for he is not prepared, and the time is at hand that he must repent or he cannot be saved!
"Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you.
"Yea, he saith: Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life; yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely;
"Yea, come unto me and bring forth works of righteousness, and ye shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire—
"For behold, the time is at hand that whosoever bringeth forth not good fruit, or whosoever doeth not the works of righteousness, the same have cause to wail and mourn.
"O ye workers of iniquity; ye that are puffed up in the vain things of the world, ye that have professed to have known the ways of righteousness nevertheless have gone astray, as sheep having no shepherd, notwithstanding a shepherd hath called after you and is still calling after you, but ye will not hearken unto his voice!
"Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ; and if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called, behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd.
"And now if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what fold are ye? Behold, I say unto you, that the devil is your shepherd, and ye are of his fold; and now, who can deny this? Behold, I say unto you, whosoever denieth this is a liar and a child of the devil.
"For I say unto you that whatsoever is good cometh from God, and whatsoever is evil cometh from the devil.
"Therefore, if a man bringeth forth good works he hearkeneth unto the voice of the good shepherd, and he doth follow him; but whosoever bringeth forth evil works, the same becometh a child of the devil, for he hearkeneth unto his voice, and doth follow him.
"And whosoever doeth this must receive his wages of him; therefore, for his wages he receiveth death, as to things pertaining unto righteousness, being dead unto all good works.
"And now, my brethren, I would that ye should hear me, for I speak in the energy of my soul; for behold, I have spoken unto you plainly that ye cannot err, or have spoken according to the commandments of God." (Alma 5: 27-43)
"Now Alma, being grieved for the iniquity of his people, yea for the wars, and the bloodsheds, and the contentions which were among them; and having been to declare the word, or sent to declare the word, among all the people in every city; and seeing that the hearts of the people began to wax hard, and that they began to be offended because of the strictness of the word, his heart was exceedingly sorrowful." (Alma 35:15)
"O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?
"Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me.
"Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name.
"I came unto my own, and my own received me not. And the scriptures concerning my coming are fulfilled.
"And as many as have received me, to them have I given to become the sons of God; and even so will I to as many as shall believe on my name, for behold, by me redemption cometh, and in me is the law of Moses fulfilled.
"And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings.
"And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.
"Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved." (3 Nephi 9: 13-22)
"And now, I speak also concerning those who do not believe in Christ.
"Behold, will ye believe in the day of your visitation—behold, when the Lord shall come, yea, even that great day when the earth shall be rolled together as a scroll, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, yea, in that great day when ye shall be brought to stand before the Lamb of God—then will ye say that there is no God?
"Then will ye longer deny the Christ, or can ye behold the Lamb of God? Do ye suppose that ye shall dwell with him under a consciousness of your guilt? Do ye suppose that ye could be happy to dwell with that holy Being, when your souls are racked with a consciousness of guilt that ye have ever abused his laws?
"Behold, I say unto you that ye would be more miserable to dwell with a holy and just God, under a consciousness of your filthiness before him, than ye would to dwell with the damned souls in hell.
"For behold, when ye shall be brought to see your nakedness before God, and also the glory of God, and the holiness of Jesus Christ, it will kindle a flame of unquenchable fire upon you.
"O then ye unblieving, turn ye unto the Lord; cry mightily unto the Father in the name of Jesus, that perhaps ye may be found spotless, pure, fair, and white, having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, at that great and last day.
"And again I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing, nor speaking with tongues, and the interpretation of tongues;
"Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them.
"For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?
"And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles.
"But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.
"Behold, he created Adam, and by Adam came the fall of man. And because of the fall of man came Jesus Christ, even the Father and the Son; and because of Jesus Christ came the redemption of man.
"And because of the redemption of man, which came by Jesus Christ, they are brought back into the presence of the Lord; yea, this is wherein all men are redeemed, because the death of Christ bringeth to pass the resurrection, which bringeth to pass a redemption from an endless sleep, from which sleep all men shall be awakened by the power of God when the trump shall sound; and they shall come forth, both small and great, and all shall stand before his bar, being redeemed and loosed from this eternal band of death, which death is a temporal death.
"And then cometh the judgement of the Holy One upon them; and then cometh the time that he that is filthy shall be filthy still; and he that is righteous shall be righteous still; he that is happy shall be happy still; and he that is unhappy shall be unhappy still.
"And now, O all ye that have imagined up unto yourselves a god who can do no miracles, I would ask of you, have all these things passed, of which I have spoken? Has the end come yet? Behold I say unto you, Nay; and God has not ceased to be a God of miracles.
"Behold, are not the things that God hath wrought marvelous in our eyes? Yea, and who can comprehend the marvelous works of God?
"Who shall say that it was not a miracle that by his word the heaven and the earth should be; and by the power of his word man was created of the dust of the earth; and by the power of his word have miracles been wrought?
"And who shall say that Jesus Christ did not do many mighty miracles? And there were many mighty miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles.
"And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.
"And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust.
"Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.
"For behold, thus said Jesus Christ, the Son of God, unto his disciples who should tarry, yea, and also to all his disciples, in the hearing of the multitude: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature;
"And these signs shall follow them that believe—in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover;
"And whosoever shall believe in my name, doubting nothing, unto him will I confirm all my words, even unto the ends of the earth.
"And now, behold, who can stand against the works of the Lord? Who can deny his sayings? Who will rise up against the almighty power of the Lord? Who will despise the works of the Lord? Who will despise the children of Christ? Behold, all ye who are despisers of the works of the Lord, for ye shall wonder and perish.
"O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him.
"Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God.
"See that ye are not baptized unworthily; see that ye partake not of the sacrament of Christ unworthily; but see that ye do all things in worthiness, and do it in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God; and if ye do this, and endure to the end, ye will in nowise be cast out." (Mormon 9: 1-29)
"Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
"And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is.
"And ye may know that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God; for he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow, and forever." (Moroni 10: 3-7)
That's it for the Book of Mormon quotes.
If you're still 'thirsty,' feel free to continue on!
Next, I'm including a whole talk by Marion G. Romney (from way back in October 1975, but even more pertinent today than it was then!) because it's totally pertinent to the subject of this whole post. I'm going to highlight parts and also write my own commentary as I desire in a different color from the standard black of the type in the talk. It's a bit long, and if you've made it this far... I'm super impressed. I hope you will continue with me and see what we can see:
Marion G. Romney
My beloved brothers and sisters, I invite you to join in a prayer that while I speak you and I may both enjoy the Spirit. I will give you a lesson today that the Lord has taken great pains to bring to us.
Among the questions frequently raised in connection with our upcoming national bicentennial is “Can we maintain our basic freedoms, peace, and prosperity for another 200 years?”
The answer to this question is yes, if we shall individually repent and conform to the laws of the God of this land, who is Jesus Christ.
He has stated the basics of his laws in the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, and in the two great commandments:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. …
“And … thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matt. 22:37, 39.)
Millennia ago he declared: “There shall none come into this land [he was speaking of America] save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.
“… this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them.” (2 Ne. 1:6–7.)
Another ancient prophet said,
“This is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ.” (Ether 2:12.)
It is my purpose in making these remarks to point out from the record of ancient inhabitants of America that the foregoing decrees have been carried out.
In the western part of the state of New York near Palmyra is a prominent hill known as the “hill Cumorah.” (Morm. 6:6.) On July twenty-fifth of this year, as I stood on the crest of that hill admiring with awe the breathtaking panorama which stretched out before me on every hand, my mind reverted to the events which occurred in that vicinity some twenty-five centuries ago—events which brought to an end the great Jaredite nation.
You who are acquainted with the Book of Mormon will recall that during the final campaign of the fratricidal war between the armies led by Shiz and those led by Coriantumr “nearly two millions” of Coriantumr’s people had been slain by the sword; “two millions of mighty men, and also their wives and their children.” (Ether 15:2.)
As the conflict intensified, all the people who had not been slain—men “with their wives and their children” (Ether 15:15)—gathered about that hill Cumorah (see Ether 15:11).
“The people who were for Coriantumr were gathered together to the army of Coriantumr; and the people who were for Shiz were gathered together to the army of Shiz. …
“Both men women and children being armed with weapons of war … did march forth one against another to battle; and they fought all that day, and conquered not.
“And it came to pass that when it was night they were weary, and retired to their camps; and … took up a howling and a lamentation for the loss of the slain of their people.” (Ether 15:13, 15–16.)
This routine was repeated day after day until “they had all fallen by the sword, save it were Coriantumr and Shiz.” Shiz himself “had fainted with the loss of blood.
“And it came to pass that when Coriantumr had leaned upon his sword, [and] rested a little, he smote off the head of Shiz.
“And it came to pass that after he had smitten off the head of Shiz, that Shiz raised upon his hands and fell; and after that he had struggled for breath, he died.
“And it came to pass that Coriantumr fell to the earth, and became as if he had no life.” (Ether 15:29–32.)
Thus perished at the foot of Cumorah the remnant of the once mighty Jaredite nation, of whom the Lord had said, “There shall be none greater … upon all the face of the earth.” (Ether 1:43.)
As I contemplated this tragic scene from the crest of Cumorah and viewed the beautiful land of the Restoration as it appears today, I cried in my soul, “How could it have happened?”
The answer came immediately as I remembered that some fifteen to twenty centuries before their destruction, as the small group of their ancestors was being divinely led from the tower of Babel, the Lord “would that they should come forth even unto [this] land of promise, which was choice above all other lands, which the Lord God had preserved for a righteous people.
“And he had sworn in his wrath unto the brother of Jared [their prophet-leader], that whoso should possess this land … from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fulness of his wrath should come upon them.
“And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land,” wrote the ancient prophet-historian, “that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.
“For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God.” (Ether 2:7–10.)
Pursuant to this decree concerning the land of America, the Jaredites were swept off in the manner we have reviewed, because, rebelling against the laws of Jesus Christ—the God of the land—they “ripened in iniquity.”
Nor were they the only people who anciently were divinely led to this choice land to grow in righteousness to be a mighty nation and then to deteriorate in wickedness until they ripened in iniquity and were, pursuant to God’s decree, swept off.
I emphasize “divinely led” because, as above indicated, the Lord told them that they were being so led, and “that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.
“Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever.” (2 Ne. 1:6–7.)
This second civilization to which I refer, the Nephites, flourished in America between 600 B.C. and A.D. 400. Their civilization came to an end for the same reason, at the same place, and in the same manner as did the Jaredites’. From the account of their death struggle, I quote:
“And now,” says Mormon, their historian, “I finish my record concerning the destruction of my people, the Nephites. And it came to pass that we did march forth before the Lamanites … to the land of Cumorah. … And when … we had gathered in all the remainder of our people unto the land of Cumorah, … my people, with their wives and their children, did … behold the armies of the Lamanites marching towards them; and with that awful fear of death which fills the breasts of all the wicked, did they await to receive them.
“And it came to pass that they did fall upon my people with the sword, and with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the ax, and with all manner of weapons of war.
“And it came to pass that my men were hewn down, yea, even my ten thousand who were with me, and I fell wounded in the midst; and they passed by me that they did not put an end to my life.
“And when they had gone through and hewn down all my people save it were twenty and four of us, (among whom was my son Moroni) and we having survived the dead of our people, did behold on the morrow … from the top of the hill Cumorah, [230,000] of my people who were hewn down, …
“Even all my people, save it were those twenty and four who were with me, and also a few who had escaped into the south countries, and a few who had dissented over unto the Lamanites, had fallen. …
“And my soul was rent with anguish, … and I cried:
“O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! … How could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you!
“Behold, if ye had not done this, ye would not have fallen. …
“O ye fair sons and daughters, ye fathers and mothers, ye husbands and wives, … how is it that ye could have fallen! …
“O that ye had repented before this great destruction had come upon you.” (Morm. 6:1, 4, 5, 7, 9–11, 15–19, 22.)
Moroni a little later wrote:
“Behold I, Moroni, do finish the record of my father, Mormon. …
“… after the great and tremendous battle at Cumorah, … the Nephites who had escaped into the country southward were hunted by the Lamanites, until they were all destroyed.
“And my father also was killed by them, and I even remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people.” (Morm. 8:1–3.)
The tragic fate of the Jaredite and the Nephite civilizations is proof positive that the Lord meant it when he said that this “is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.” (Ether 2:9.)
This information, wrote Moroni, addressing himself to us who today occupy this land, “cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles” (now, Gentiles is the term used by the Book of Mormon prophets to refer to the present inhabitants of America and to the peoples of the old world from which they came), “[this] cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.
“Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ.” (Ether 2:11–12.)
In 1492, in harmony with the Lord’s statement heretofore quoted, “that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord” (2 Ne. 1:6), Columbus was divinely led to America.
Away back between 590 and 600 years B.C., Nephi, looking in vision down the stream of time, “beheld a man among the Gentiles [that is, among the nations of Europe], who was separated from [this promised land] by the many waters; and I beheld,” said he, “the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto … the promised land.
“And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth … upon the many waters.
“And it came to pass that I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise.” (1 Ne. 13:12–14.)
Columbus himself corroborated the fact that he was divinely led to this land.
“In the royal presence of Isabella, Irving [his biographer] says: ‘He unfolded his plans with eloquence and zeal for he felt himself, as he afterwards declared, kindled as with a fire from on high, and considered himself the agent chosen of heaven to accomplish the grand design. …
“His son Fernando, in the biography of his father quotes him as saying on one occasion: ‘God gave me the faith and afterwards the courage so that I was quite willing to undertake the journey.’
“And the will of Columbus reads:
“ ‘In the name of the … holy trinity, who inspired me with the idea and afterwards made it perfectly clear to me that I could navigate and go to the Indies from Spain, by traversing the ocean westward.’ ” (Nephi Lowell Morris, Prophecies of Joseph Smith and Their Fulfillment, Deseret Book, 1945, pp. 289, 294–95; italics added.)
Because Columbus was led, we are here in this choice land.
God gave us victory in the Revolutionary War. We are indebted to him for our nation’s independence. He has prospered us in every righteous endeavor. He established the Constitution of the United States “by the hands of wise men whom [he] raised up unto this very purpose.” (D&C 101:80.)
He himself with his Beloved Son appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith to open a new dispensation of the gospel of Jesus Christ here in this land. He has established his Church here and has sent and is sending representatives thereof into every nook and corner of the land—and as far as possible to all the earth—to declare and teach the laws of Jesus Christ, the God of this land.
He has revealed anew and repeated over and over again the ancient decree: “This is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God” concerning this land. (Ether 2:10.)
This knowledge has been revealed to us that we “may know the decrees of God—that [we] may repent, and not continue in [our] iniquities until the fulness come, that [we] may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon [us] as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.” (Ether 2:11.)
We are living in the dispensation of the fulness of times, which will be climaxed by the second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. Concerning the approach of that event and what is in store for the inhabitants of the earth between now and then, the Lord said 144 years ago:
“The wrath of God shall be poured out upon the wicked without measure. …
“Wherefore the voice of the Lord is unto the ends of the earth, that all that will hear may hear.”
And this is his message: “Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh;
“And the anger of the Lord is kindled, and his sword is bathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth. …
“The hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand, when peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion.
“And also the Lord shall have power over his saints, and shall reign in their midst, and shall come down in judgment upon … the world.” (D&C 1:9, 11–13, 35–36.)
Now my beloved brethren and sisters everywhere, both members of the Church and nonmembers, I bear you my personal witness that I know that the things I have presented to you today are true—both those pertaining to past events and those pertaining to events yet to come. The issue we face is clear and well defined. The choice is ours. The question is: Shall we of this dispensation repent and obey the laws of the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, or shall we continue to defy them until we ripen in iniquity?
That we will repent and obey and thereby qualify to receive the blessings promised to the righteous in this land, I humbly pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. Amen.