(Shirley R. Heater, a frequent contributor to BMAF, was born and 

raised in the RLDS Church and currently attends the Oak Grove 
Restoration Branch.  She has contributed many articles for the 
Zarahemla Research Foundation and other Book of Mormon publications. 
Book of Mormon footnotes in this article are from The Book of Mormon: 
Restored Covenant Edition Two of her articles presenting the research 
that she did on 
these manuscripts and editions have been referenced by Royal Skousen 
in his two articles in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism (Editions, pp. 
175-176; Manuscripts, pp. 185-186). You will note that Sister Heater 
gives the RLDS verse references first, with the LDS in brackets 
Part I can be found on the BMAF website at <
by Shirley R. Heater 
The first of this two-part article introduced a new perspective of the 
man credited with discovering the New World—Christopher Columbus. 
These new insights come from Columbus’s Book of Prophecies, a 
collection of prophecies and commentary which he compiled to show that 
he was fulfilling God’s plan. We saw specific confirmation from The 
Book of Mormon that the discovery was a direct fulfillment of 
prophecy. It was God’s plan and timing to bring the Old and New Worlds 
We will continue exploring themes in Columbus’s writings (including 
the prophecies of Isaiah, isles of the sea, and the restoration of the 
lost tribes of Israel) which have meaning for Book of Mormon 
Columbus and Nephi had special regard for Isaiah—the Old Testament 
prophet most often quoted or referred to in both Columbus’s Book of 
Prophecies and The Book of Mormon. More intriguing is the fact that 
Nephi and Columbus selected the same portions of Isaiah and that each 
saw himself fulfilling those prophecies. 
One passage—Isaiah 11:10-12—stands out above the rest (verse 11 is 
found three times in The Book of Mormon and twice in Columbus’s 
writings). These three verses summarize the primary subjects of all 
the selected Isaiah passages: the Lord will set his hand a second time 
to recover or redeem the remnant of His people from the islands of the 
sea, set up a standard or ensign and restore the house of Israel. 
Our conclusion is that Nephi and Columbus were looking at “both sides 
of the same coin”: one (The Book of Mormon peoples on the “isles of 
the sea” who “dwindled in unbelief”) as those who will be restored, 
and the other (Columbus) as an instrument used by God to play a role 
in bringing about the restoration of his people. 
The Book of Mormon identifies the seed of Lehi as a remnant, a branch 
broken off which will be restored to the knowledge of their covenant 
and their Redeemer (e.g., 1 Nephi 4:15-17 RLDS [15:12-14 LDS]). Nephi 
and his brother, Jacob, are the only Book of Mormon writers who 
crossed the ocean, and they uniquely view their promised land as an 
island. Nephi, who delighted in the words of Isaiah (2 Nephi 11:8 
[25:5]), “likened” them to his people (2 Nephi 8:3 [11:2]) in their 
literal fulfillment. 
The “islands of the sea” theme ranks as one of Columbus’s most often 
mentioned subjects, not only in Isaiah but in many other scriptures 
and commentary which he compiled. Columbus saw himself as having a 
servant’s role in fulfilling these key prophecies. He wrote, “. . . 
for the execution of the journey to the Indies I was not aided by 
intelligence, by mathematics or by maps. It was simply the fulfillment 
of what Isaiah had prophesied” (West and Kling 1991:111; Brigham 
He said, “Our Lord made me the messenger of the new heaven and the new 
earth, of which he spoke in the Book of Revelation by St. John, after 
having spoken of it by the mouth of Isaiah; and he showed me the place 
where to find it” (Brigham 1990:50). 
When Columbus was led to the “isles of the sea,” the door was opened 
to the lands occupied by the remnant of The Book of Mormon people. 
This set events in motion for the eventual restoration of the 
knowledge of the covenants. 
Through Columbus’s writings, it is obvious that he fully expected to 
find the lost tribes of Israel (Wiesenthal 1973:61). He saw himself as 
“Christ-bearer” (the meaning of his name Christopher), God’s messenger 
to bring a knowledge of the Savior to the lost tribes and ultimately 
to the world as part of God’s grand scheme of “the final conversion of 
all races” (Watts 1985:93). 
Columbus makes many references to the scattering and gathering of the 
house of Israel and the promised land. He desired to assist Jerusalem 
in regaining her freedom and in restoring the temple, and he 
personally identified with the writings of Abbot Joachim who “taught 
that ... there would be ... an age of restoration and renewal for the 
kingdom of Christ” and that “the restorer of the House of Mt. Zion 
would come out of Spain” (West and Kling 1991:111, 261, note 14). 
Particularly noteworthy is Columbus’s inclusion of John 10:16 in his 
Book of Prophecies: “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen 
[fold], and I must bring them also; they will hear my voice, and there 
shall be one flock and one shepherd” (Brigham 1991:264-265). It is 
with great foresight that he believed that the “flock” would not just 
be “Israel after the flesh” but that a “spiritual Israel” would be 
formed of all who would come to Christ (208-209). 
The Book of Mormon addresses the concept of a “spiritual Israel.” It 
teaches that “[t]he restoration of the house of Israel is probably the 
best scriptural term to describe God’s plan for the last days” and 
that “the restoration of the house of Israel involved all the tribes 
of Israel and not just one or two” (Treat 1992:52-53). All those who 
accept Christ, whether literal descendants or adopted, are the house 
of Israel. 
When Jesus visited Lehi’s descendants, he told them that they were the 
other sheep of which he had spoken and that he had still other sheep 
(3 Nephi 7:20, 24-26 [15:21; 16:1-3]). He also told them that those 
Gentiles who repented would also be numbered among his people (v. 37 
[16:12]). There are specific promises in The Book of Mormon to restore 
the Lamanites to “the knowledge of their Redeemer, ... and be numbered 
among his sheep” which are yet to be fulfilled (Helaman 5:104 
[15:13]). This restoration was set in motion when Columbus was led to 
the New World, followed by Gentiles who brought the “record of the 
Jews” (1 Nephi 3:155-161 [13:19-23]). It will culminate when they 
receive The Book of Mormon and the two books “grow together” (2 Nephi 
2:17-23 [3:11-12]). 
Was Columbus Jewish? There are several proponents of Columbus’s Jewish 
heritage, with varying viewpoints. Some believe “[t]hat there is 
abundant circumstantial evidence that Columbus was of a Jewish 
background, at least on one side of the family” (Fuson 1987:16). The 
description of Columbus in The Book of Mormon as “a man among the 
Gentiles” could be interpreted either as a Jew or a Gentile (1 Nephi 
3:145 [13:10]). 
Columbus is seen either as a converso, a converted Jew (Madariaga 
1949:54-65,119-135), or a marrano, a professing Christian who was 
still a secretly-practicing Jew (Wiesenthal 1973:124-133). Whether or 
not he was of Jewish ancestry—an interesting proposition—Columbus’s 
writings are abundantly interwoven with professions of faith and 
belief in Jesus Christ as his Savior (Brigham 1991:179-181), and he 
affirms his faith in a letter to the king and queen of Spain 
“I am the worst of sinners. The pity and mercy of our Lord have 
completely covered me whenever I have called [on him] for them. I 
found the sweetest consolation in casting away all my anxiety, so as 
to contemplate his marvelous presence.” 
Columbus’s mission was permeated with a “Jewish flavor.” Many Jews 
supported his venture, providing maps, instruments and finances. Many 
crew members are believed to have been Jewish. In anticipation of 
finding the lost tribes on his first voyage, Columbus took along a 
converso, Luis de Torres, an experienced interpreter who “knew how to 
speak Hebrew, Chaldean, and even some Arabic” (Fusan 1987:100-101). 
Upon arrival in the New World, Hebrew was probably spoken in an 
attempt to communicate with the natives. 
In the log of his first voyage, Columbus linked the beginning of his 
voyage to America (early morning of August 3rd) and the expulsion of 
all professing Jews from Spain (effective at midnight of August 2nd) 
(Fusan 1987:52). The Jewish people were hopeful of finding a new place 
of refuge (Wiesenthal 1973:88). The New World was to become a haven 
for Jews and a new promised land. In fact, the first refugees came in 
the late fifteenth century; many were marranos (Sachar 1992:10). 
Columbus also desired to free Jerusalem from the Muslims and restore 
the Holy Land to the Church. This could only be financed by 
discovering new lands and gathering enough gold, silver and precious 
stones (Fusan 1987:34). However, he knew that his desire to bring 
freedom to the people of the Old Testament could ultimately come only 
through their conversion to Jesus Christ. 
Columbus believed that he was living in the last days. He calculated 
that “there are but 155 years left for the fulfillment of the seven 
thousand [years from creation] ... at which time ... the world will 
come to an end. Our Savior said that before the consummation of this 
world, all that was written by the Prophets must be 
fulfilled” (Brigham 1991:181). 
Although he felt most prophecies had already been fulfilled, those 
that “remained yet to be fulfilled ... are great events for the 
world” (West and Kling 1991:111). He believed that one particular 
prophecy which was essential before the return of Christ applied to 
himself and his experience, that of taking the gospel to the ends of 
the earth. He wrote, “I believe that there is evidence that our Lord 
is hastening these things. This evidence is the fact that the Gospel 
must now be proclaimed to so many lands in such a short time” (West 
and Kling 1991:111). 
Writing in retrospect of his discovery, he said, “... the sign which 
convinces me that our Lord is hastening the end of the world is the 
preaching of the Gospel recently in so many lands” (Brigham 1991:183). 
Nephi recorded more than two thousand years before Columbus that the 
“man among the Gentiles” would be led by the Holy Spirit and that 
knowledge of the New World would be kept from other nations until the 
people had “dwindled in unbelief.” The Book of Mormon has sharpened 
our understanding of the restoring of the house of Israel in these 
latter days. We observe that this is precisely the purpose Columbus 
saw as his calling, to assist in this great enterprise. It should not 
be surprising that Nephi and Columbus quote the same scriptures. 
Columbus’s grasp of scripture was far beyond the knowledge of the 
average person of his day; most “laymen” did not even read scripture. 
He portrayed his vision and mission as ushering in a final gathering 
of the “Jews” or lost tribes just prior to the return of Christ. 
In the scheme of things, his vision was remarkably accurate. In light 
of the purpose of The Book of Mormon and the future prophecies to be 
fulfilled, he unquestionably was an instrument in the hands of God, an 
essential link in the chain of events which are even now setting the 
stage for the final end-time prophecies to be fulfilled. 
A significant link in the more recent past occurred with the coming 
forth of The Book of Mormon. Among the scriptures quoted to young 
Joseph Smith by the angel Moroni were the eleventh chapter of Isaiah 
(found in Columbus’s writings and in Second Nephi) and Joel 2:28-32, 
which Columbus also included in his Book of Prophecies. 
At a recent archaeology conference in Austin, Texas, a native Maya 
linguist shared the heart-cry of her people for cultural liberty and 
political rights. Real liberty will occur when they are finally 
restored to a knowledge of their Redeemer and their fathers as part of 
the house of Israel. When this occurs, we can truly say of Christopher 
Columbus: “Mission Accomplished.” 
Brigham, Kay 1990 Christopher Columbus: His Life and Discovery in the 
Light of His Prophecies. CLIE Publishers, Terrassa, Barcelona. 
1991 Christopher Columbus’s Book of Prophecies: Reproduction of the 
Original Manuscript With English Translation. Quincentenary Edition. 
CLIE Publishers, Terrassa, Barcelona. 
Fuson, Robert H., Trans. 1987 The Log of Christopher Columbus. 
International Marine, Camden, Maine. 
Madariaga, Salvador de 1949 Christopher Columbus: Being the Life of 
the Very Magnificant Lord Don Cristobal Colon Hollis and Carter, 
Sachar, Howard M. 1992 A History of the Jews in America. Alfred A. 
Knopf, New York. 
Treat, Raymond C. 1992 The Importance of Covenant in the Restoration 
of the House of Israel. Recent Book of Mormon Developments. Vol. 2, 
pp. 52-53. 
Watts, Pauline Moffitt 1985 Prophecy and Discovery: On the Spiritual 
Origins of Christopher Columbus’s “Enterprise of the Indies.” American 
Historical Review 90 (Feb):73-102. 
West, Delno C. and August Kling 1991 The Libro de las profecias of 
Christopher Columbus: An en face edition. Vol. 2, Columbus 
Quincentenary Series, University of Florida Press, Gainesville. 
Wiesenthal, Simon 1973 Sails of Hope: The Secret Mission of 
Christopher Columbus. Trans. from the German by Richard and Clara 
Winston. Macmillan, New York.