I want to begin this article with the disclaimer, instead of putting one at the end. The opinions expressed here are my own. They don’t represent an official position of the Church. The interpretation of the scriptures I’ll site are my own. My approach is always to take the scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon, at face value. I believe we come closer to the truth than trying to make holy writ match a political or social agenda.
The remarks I make here are not intended to be partisan in any way. If you’ve been a reader of my past articles, particularly those that touch on political parties, you’ll see that I don’t have any faith whatsoever in them. From my perspective as a Mormon, the political right is dominated by the same religionists that publish anti-Mormon literature and call latter-day saints “cultists.” On the other side of the spectrum, the political left has become so radicalized with a progressive, anti-religious agenda, that they have also turned hostile to latter-day saints. This is because we hold to standards of morality and decency they consider antiquated at best and discriminatory or hateful at worst.
This is a peculiar situation for us latter-day saints. I’ve had conservative Christians defend the assassination of our founder, the Prophet Joseph Smith, who was murdered by a mob of some 200 men with their faces painted black. Because of their religious bigotry, they condone the historical mob violence that was practiced against Mormons until the beginning of the 20th century. Yet, most latter-day saints are politically conservative because of the other shared values like freedom of religion, opposition to abortion, support of traditional marriage, and a belief in limited government.
However, we also find common ground with those on the left. We believe in equality for men and women, racial equality, being good stewards of the earth, volunteerism, and humanitarian service. Our scriptures tell us that God ordains that the poor shall be “exalted” by humbling the rich, which most definitely involves redistribution of wealth. (Doctrine and Covenants 104:16) We seek “social justice,” not by pushing for draconian regulations, but instead by bringing men and women unto Christ, which will lead them to keep his commandments to care for those in need. This hasn’t stopped gay marriage activists from defacing our churches and making personal threats against individual latter-day saints, their families, and their businesses.
Since we don’t fit neatly in the exclusive boxes of the political left and right, we tend to draw fire from both sides. It is all the more unfortunate when latter-day saints align themselves too closely with the worldly political factions, sacrificing the unity of the faith that should typify those who believe in the restored gospel. A latter-day saint who practices his religion fully will always find himself just a little uncomfortable having unfettered fellowship with those who otherwise would destroy our religion. Those people exist on both the right and the left.
I desired to elaborate on this “disclaimer” because the remarks I make here will prove to be somewhat controversial among those who have a vested interest in preserving the political status quo. My intent is to explore the territory between left and right and provoke discussion among my fellow latter-day saints about what is just and correct, not what is politically expedient. The human aspect of the issue goes beyond politics. That issue is illegal immigration, particularly illegal immigration from Mexico and other nations south of the US border. Although I have respect to the opinions of non-LDS people regarding immigration, it is my conviction that their rejection of the gospel does more to exacerbate the problem than any other single factor. I’ll explain this perception later in the article.
As is often the case, the issue has been distorted by the false dichotomy between right and left. One side declares that undocumented aliens are lawbreakers and should be deported. The other side points to the problems with deporting millions of people who live among us and contribute to life in the United States in some fashion. They claim it would be inhuman to potentially divide families and forcibly dislocate people from homes and schools. They demand amnesty and a path to citizenship for these people because it would benefit their party politically. The other side, seeing the potential gain for the opposition, hunkers down and calls for fences on the border and increased funding for immigration enforcement. The left calls the right racist. The right sees the left as undermining the borders, language, and culture of the United States. There appears to be no middle ground.
The recent signing of a controversial immigration law in Arizona has generated a lot of media attention. While passions run high and the two sides trade epithets, protests are being organized that have the potential to turn violent and further polarize the nation. Meanwhile, attention is diverted from other progressive moves to change banking regulations, force socialized health care on us, and pass “cap and trade” legislation that will drive our energy costs sky high. If you see where this is going, it’s time to look for a different way to address and solve the issues at hand. Media coverage of this hot-button issue is intended as a smokescreen to the progress of other progressive agenda items.
The scriptures of latter-day saints and the teachings of its founder give us a unique perspective of America and its role in the world. The Lord has told us in a modern revelation, given in 1833, that America was raised up for his own purposes. It was our Creator who raised up the Founders of this land and inspired them.
“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 101:80)
The Book of Mormon relates the account of a Jewish family that migrated to the Americas around 600 B.C. One of their prophets, Nephi, was shown the future of this land (North, South, and Central America). He foresaw the demise of his own people, the arrival of Gentile nations, and how the land would be a land of liberty to them. Nephi wrote:
“But behold, this land, said God, shall be a land of thine inheritance, and the Gentiles shall be blessed upon the land. And this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles. And I will fortify this land against all other nations.” (2 Nephi 10:10–12)
Another Book of Mormon prophet, known as the “brother of Jared” led a group that came to the Americas more than 2000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. He was given to know regarding this land that it “…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. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off.”
Latter-day saints regard the lands of North, South, and Central America as this choice land. It has been foreordained by God to be a land of freedom. In 2 Nephi chapter 1, we read the words of Nephi, where he rejoiced that God had given his posterity this land by covenant.
“…[W]e 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.
Not only were Nephi’s descendants the benefactors of this covenant, but all who the Lord would lead to America from other nations. Nephi goes on to explain that his posterity would be blessed with great knowledge of the Lord, yet they would ultimately reject those teachings and fall away. They would “dwindle in unbelief.” The Lord would bring Gentile nations to the “land of promise” and they would prosper for a time. He said the Lord would do a “marvelous work and a wonder” among them. He would bring forth the Book of Mormon–the record of his own people, and that it would be a blessing to the Gentiles who would accept it. This process would lead the remainder of those who dwindled in unbelief–his descendants who intermarried with the indigenous peoples of the land–would begin to believe the gospel and it would bless them.
The growth of the Church in Mexico, Central, and South America has been miraculous–so much that more members of the Church speak Spanish than English as their primary language. This is the fulfillment of prophecy. Yet there are other prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled. Regarding the remnant of the Nephites and Lamanites that would blend in with the indigenous peoples of the land, Nephi wrote:
“And they shall be a scourge unto the people of this land. Nevertheless, when they shall have received the fulness of my gospel, then if they shall harden their hearts against me I will return their iniquities upon their own heads, saith the Father.” (2 Nephi 5:25)
The Lord Jesus, when he appeared to his “other sheep” (see John 10:16) on this continent, foretold of the coming forth of the record of the Nephites to the Gentiles in the last days. If they would reject the fullness of the gospel that would be contained in the Book of Mormon, the Lord would bring chastening judgments against them.
“And they shall be a scourge unto the people of this land. Nevertheless, when they shall have received the fulness of my gospel, then if they shall harden their hearts against me I will return their iniquities upon their own heads, saith the Father.” (3 Nephi 20:28)
The “scourge” or judgment that is promised to come upon those Gentiles who reject the restored gospel is linked to the “remnant of the house of Jacob”–the descendants of the Book of Mormon prophet Lehi and his sons. Perhaps it is the case that the “scourge” is the social, political, and cultural perplexity caused by massive, uncontrolled migrations of that “remnant of Jacob.” It is an issue that very much resembles the divisions in the Middle East. Every man-derived solution has only made the problem worse. The solution requires God’s intervention.
Referring to this remnant of Lehi’s seed, Jesus said in 3rd Nephi 20:
“And the Father hath commanded me that I should give unto you [the Nephites and Lamanites] this land, for your inheritance. And I say unto you, that if the Gentiles do not repent after the blessing which they shall receive [the Book of Mormon and the restored gospel], after they have scattered my people—Then shall ye, who are a remnant of the house of Jacob, [people from Mexico, Central, and South America] go forth among them; and ye shall be in the midst of them who shall be many; and ye shall be among them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, and as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he goeth through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Thy hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.” (3 Nephi 20:14–17)
During the 2008 presidential race, there was an enormous spike in anti-Mormon activity due to the presence of Mitt Romney in the race. Rejection of Romney as a candidate because of his politics was certainly fair game. (I didn’t support him and many other LDS members did not as well.) However, much of the opposition to him was the result of anti-Mormon bigotry. Many polls showed that nearly half of Americans would not vote for Romney simply because he was Mormon. I would venture to say that, if a person would not vote for a Mormon to become president, the chances of their accepting the Book of Mormon and the restored gospel is almost zero. America’s rejection of Romney led to the election of a progressive Democrat who has surrounded himself with Maoists, Marxists, and other radicals
The policies of this and previous administrations have placed America on a path towards decline. Amidst the current efforts to “fundamentally transform” America into a corporatist system, we risk total financial collapse from the unsustainable deficits. This is the very purpose of the Cloward-Piven strategy that has been employed. In addition to a climate of government corruption, another factor of which the world is ignorant is the failure to failure to give redress to the losses the Church sustained in Missouri in the 19th Century. Joseph Smith gave prophecies on several occasions to that effect. America is in decline and Zion will emerge in the vacuum of power left by the collapse. The ascendancy of Zion will lead to the construction of the Great Temple in that city. According to the words of the Savior to the Nephites, the “Lamanites” that are coming here will play the major role in building the Temple in Zion. It is we “Gentiles” who join the Church who will assist them, as stated in 3 Nephi Chapter 21.
“And they [the Gentiles] shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob [Lehi’s posterity], and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem. (3 Nephi 21:23)
Illegal immigration is a contentious issue because it brings into conflict those with racial prejudices, constitutionalist loyalties, social justice and humanitarian activists, new world order proponents, liberals, progressives, conservatives, labor unions, you name it. One controversial set of headlines that emerged (and has since gone onto the back burner for the time being) is what was called the “NAFTA highway.” Congress approved funding for a free trade “corridor” to be built from Mexican container ports to an internal U.S. distribution hub. There would be an open border for trucks coming from these container ports to a the hub. Where was that hub to be built? In Jackson County, Missouri, not far from Independence. The hub would be sovereign Mexican territory–in Jackson County, Missouri. That should set some alarm bells off for latter-day saints. We already know where that Great Temple is to be built. Prophecy tells us who will build it and who will assist.
Illegal immigration will remain a hot-button issue for the foreseeable future. It assists those who wish to transform America and subvert it into a transnational federal government to keep the populace polarized and incapable of resisting their machinations. Meanwhile, in my opinion, in light of the Book of Mormon’s statements, anyone who invests their energies to confront and fight against illegal immigration misspends his energies. This is part of the Lord’s plan that will chasten the wicked Gentiles in America and ultimately establish Zion in Jackson County, Missouri. God himself has placed this problem among us to bring to pass his own purposes and fulfill covenants made to ancient and modern prophets. The descendants of Lehi were given the land by covenant. The rest of us are just tenants and squatters. Only those Gentiles who repent and accept the fullness of the restored gospel will find an ultimate solution to the problem of illegal immigration. That solution will be realized only when we are “no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God. (Ephesians 2:19)