The Book of Mormon is a history, both chronological and religious, of several groups of people who were led to the Americas through the influence of the Lord. Two groups-Lehi and his family and friends; and Mulek and his family and friends-were led out of Jerusalem in about 600 B.C. to escape the Babylonian Captivity. Lehi was a prophet, one of many, called to warn of the impending destruction of Jerusalem and to call the citizens of Judah to repentance. Mulek was a son of Zedekiah, king of Judah. These two groups knew nothing of each other until they had already established cities in the New World. When they encountered each other, they joined into one society. They discovered the remnants of a destroyed society, called the Jaredites, who had been led to America upon the destruction of the Tower of Babel. Lehi said,
But, said he, notwithstanding our afflictions, we have obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands; a land which the Lord God hath covenanted with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed. Yea, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me, and to my children forever, and also all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord.
Wherefore, I, Lehi, prophesy according to the workings of the Spirit which is in me, 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.
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 (2 Nephi 1:5-8).
The Book of Mormon peoples lived according to the Law of Moses, but they looked forward to the coming of Jesus Christ to fulfill that law, according to the teachings of the Book of Mormon prophets. Christ visited these people after His death and resurrection and organized His Church among them. For over two hundred years the people lived in peace and prosperity, as they adhered sincerely to the teachings of Christ. But gradually they descended into wickedness and set out to destroy their enemies. One group, the Nephites, was destroyed by another group, the Lamanites. The Lamanites warred among themselves for hundreds of years after, becoming progenitors of some of the tribes of American Indians. Of this impending wickedness and destruction the Book of Mormon records.
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 (2 Nephi 1:10, 11).
This prophecy refers to immigration from Europe and the destruction and scattering of the Indian tribes. The Book of Mormon prophecies of the discovery of America by European explorers, especially Christopher Columbus, and the settlement of America by peoples of European descent:
And it came to pass that I looked and beheld many waters; and they divided the Gentiles from the seed of my brethren. And it came to pass that the angel said unto me: Behold the wrath of God is upon the seed of thy brethren.
And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in 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 out of captivity, upon the many waters. And it came to pass that I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise; and I beheld the wrath of God, that it was upon the seed of my brethren; and they were scattered before the Gentiles and were smitten.
And I beheld the Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the Gentiles, and they did prosper and obtain the land for their inheritance; and I beheld that they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people before they were slain.
And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles who had gone forth out of captivity did humble themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was with them. And I beheld that their mother Gentiles were gathered together upon the waters, and upon the land also, to battle against them. And I beheld that the power of God was with them, and also that the wrath of God was upon all those that were gathered together against them to battle.
And I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles that had gone out of captivity were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations (1 Nephi 13:10-19).
The Book of Mormon prophet, Nephi, beheld that the hand of God would uphold the gentiles who settled in America, as long as they believed in Christ and upheld righteousness. The Lord, however, told Nephi that the gentiles would be in a state of religious confusion, because of the many erroneous doctrines that evolved after the death of Christ’s apostles. The Lord promised to bring forth a book (the Book of Mormon):
I will be merciful unto the Gentiles in that day, insomuch that I will bring forth unto them, in mine own power, much of my gospel, which shall be plain and precious, saith the Lamb. …unto the convincing of the Gentiles and the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the Jews who were scattered upon all the face of the earth, that the records of the prophets and of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are true.
And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.
And they must come according to the words which shall be established by the mouth of the Lamb; and the words of the Lamb shall be made known in the records of thy seed, as well as in the records of the twelve apostles of the Lamb; wherefore they both shall be established in one; for there is one God and one Shepherd over all the earth (1 Nephi 13:34, 39-41).
The Lord has established a free America to bless those who come unto it, but also to establish an atmosphere of freedom and protection of rights to enable the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and the restoration of the true gospel to the gentiles. Latter-day Saints believe that the founding fathers were raised up by God to establish the constitution of the United States, and that the Constitution is an inspired document.
The Doctrine and Covenants says this:
Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land; And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.
I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free (Doctrine and Covenants 98:6-8)
According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;
That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment. Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.
And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood (Doctrine and Covenants 101:77-80).
Mormons believe that Christ will come again to rule and reign over the earth for one thousand years of peace. He will rule from two capitals: one in Jerusalem, the holy city; and one in Zion, which will be founded in America and which will also be a holy city. Zion’s center will be at Independence, Missouri.
And he shall utter his voice out of Zion, and he shall speak from Jerusalem, and his voice shall be heard among all people (Doctrine and Covenants 133:21);
And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem (Micah 4:2).
To read more about the Church’s view of America and the Constitution of the United States, see the following articles: The Divinely-Inspired Constitution, God’s Hand in the Founding of America, Our Divine Constitution, If They Will But Serve the God of the Land