The Promised Land

In his book, Faith Precedes the Miracle, p. 316, the Prophet, Spencer W. Kimbal, cites 10 identifying characteristics of the promised land, namely, that it will be; 1- a land of liberty to its people. 2- They shall never be brought down into captivity. 3- There shall be none to molest them. 4- It is a land of promise. 5- It shall be free from bondage. 6- It shall be free from all nations under heaven. 7- There shall be no enemies come into this land. 8- There shall be no kings upon the land. 9-This land shall be fortified against all other nations. 10- He that fighteth against Zion shall perish.

This choice land is destined for a number of great things, yet many prophecies concerning the land have already been fulfilled, such as the those concerning the formation of a great nation that would be a refuge to the peoples of the world. But, the simple fact that the land has been designated as a land of liberty, also leads us to America (the land of the free), as the homeland of the ancients of the Book of Mormon.
Marion G. Romney, (second counselor in the First Presidency) in the Saturday morning session of Conference, Oct. 4, 1975, said in regards to the questions that had arisen over whether we as a nation could maintain our freedoms and enjoy another two hundred years of peace and prosperity he said, quoting from the scriptures: “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 be serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ. (2 Nephi 1:6-7)

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 an end to the great Jaredite nation. And why were they exterminated ? Because they forgot the Lord’s everlasting decree that only those nations who worshiped him would prosper in the promised land, and that all others would be wiped away, and so they were.

President Romney reiterates that:”The tragic fate of the Jaredite and the Nephite civilizations is proof positive that the Lord meant it when he said that: ‘this 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)

The voice of the Joseph F. Smith was heard to say:

    This great American nation the Almighty raised up by the power of his omnipotent hand, that it might be possible in the latter days for the kingdom of God to be established in the earth.
If the Lord had not prepared the way by laying the foundations of this glorious nation, it would have been impossible (under the stringent laws and bigotry of the monarchial governments of the world), to have laid the foundations for the coming of his great kingdom. The Lord has done this.
His hand has been over this nation, and it is his purpose and design to enlarge it, make it glorious above all others, and to give it dominion and power over the earth, to the end that those who are kept in bondage and serfdom may be brought to the enjoyment of the fullest freedom and liberty of conscience possible for intelligent men to exercise in the earth. [1]

The Prophet, Ezra Taft Benson taught us that the land of liberty was to be the Lord’s latter-day base of operations for the restored church, a land set apart as a land of liberty by the Savior 2000 years ago.

    Our Father in Heaven planned the coming forth of the Founding Fathers and their form of government as the necessary great prologue leading to the restoration of the gospel. Recall what our Savior, Jesus Christ said nearly two thousand years ago when He visited this promised land; ‘for it is wisdom in the Father that they should be established in this land, and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father, that these things might come forth’. (Emphasis added.) [2]

Only in this land of promise and under the divine guidance of the Lord could a nation be set up that would provide the environment necessary to establish the restored Church.
In speaking of the prophecies of Nephi, the Prophet, Ezra Taft Benson said:

    Sixteen hundred years later the prophet Nephi was privileged to see a large part of the history of the establishment of this great nation. He spoke in no uncertain terms regarding its mission. He told us that the Spirit of the Lord came down and wrought upon a man upon foreign shores, and that he went forth and discovered this land. He also saw other Gentiles follow to these shores under the influence of that same Spirit. And he saw that the Spirit of the Lord was here and that multitudes of people came to these shores and that he had prospered them because they humbled themselves before Him; and He was with them and that His power was here, and that during times of struggle and conflict – referring to the Revolutionary War – that the Lord was with them and sustained them and bore them off victorious. (1 Nephi 13:12-19.) He further saw that this land was consecrated to those whom the Lord should bring and who would serve Him and keep His commandments; and it should be a land of liberty; and it should never be bought down into captivity unless it be because of the iniquity of the people.[3]

1- President Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 409.
2- Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, 3 Oct., 1987.
3- Teachings of Ezra T. Benson, p. 575-576. (CR April 1948 Improvement Era 51, (May 1948.)