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What Prophecy Asserts, History Affirms

TitleWhat Prophecy Asserts, History Affirms
Publication TypeMagazine Article
Year of Publication1901
AuthorsMorris, Nephi Lowell
MagazineImprovement Era
Issue Number12
Date PublishedOctober 1901
Keywords2 Nephi; 3 Nephi; Prophecy

The Monroe Doctrine states that the United States government will overthrow any type of monarchy set up on the western continent. This corresponds with the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi 10:11-14 where it says that no king will be set upon the American continent. The south side of the pyramid of Zochicako tells of a destruction in the land that Morris relates to the destruction before Christ appeared on the American continent (3 Nephi 8-9).

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What Prophecy Asserts, History Affirms.

By Nephi L. Morris.

From the beginning of their history, the Latter-day Saints have held views on various important subjects that have been at striking variance with the commonly accepted views of the world. This difference of opinion is particularly true in relation to the history of the great American continent. It is therefore interesting to the Latter-day Saints to observe the progress which the world is making toward an agreement on some of the subjects referred to. The world would be very unwilling to admit that it is making any such advancement, and still less willing would it be to intentionally agree with or confirm those truths which the Latter-day Saints claim have been received from a divine scource.

We give these extracts from editorials in the Salt Lake Tribune and compare with them the beliefs and declarations of The Church, as set forth, many years before, in its standard works.

During the recent war with Spain and after the taking of Manila and the annexing of Hawaii, the powers of Europe were curious to know by what rule or principle of international law the United States could justify its extension of authority so far out into the Pacific ocean. The Monroe Doctrine was frequently discussed, and upon that subject a remark was made by the London Daily Mail which brought from the Salt Lake Tribune the following splendid declaration:

"The Monroe Doctrine is a distinct proposition. In substance it is a declaration that if any power of Europe, by conquest or purchase, seeks to build a throne on the soil of the Western continent, we will tumble that throne over and scatter that power. It is not a contract. It has no clause which says 'so long as we do not venture abroad you must not come here;' it merely gives the world an ultimatum, and its maintenance from the first has rested solely on our ability to enforce it. If when a sullen and revengeful power after years of friction and insult, blows up one of our ships and kills some hundreds of our seamen, and we in vindication seize her territory and appropriate it, in what way does that change the status of the Monroe Doctrine? Does it weaken our country's authority? Is that calculated to cause the Great Republic to look with more favor upon a proposition to erect another Spain or Germany or any other European power at our doors? The gates of our continent are open to foreigners. They can come and appropriate as individuals all they please; but they must bring neither scepter nor crown with them."—Tribune, August 30, 1898.

This strongly expressed sentiment may be accepted by at least a majority of the citizens of our republic as a true expression of what the Monroe Doctrine means. In other words, it defines the rigid attitude of the United States towards monarchies and kingdoms so far as their existence in the Western world is concerned. Now read what the Book of Mormon announced centuries before, relative to kingdoms on this continent:

But behold, this land [the land of America] saith God, shall be a land of their 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 rise up unto the Gentiles. And I will fortify this land against all other nations; and he that fighteth against Zion shall perish saith God.

As historical proof of the strength of the sentiment expressed in the Tribune, and as fulfillment of the Book of Mormon prophecy, witness, together with the expulsion of Spain, the almost unbroken line of republics that reach from Cape Horn to Baffin's Bay. Also, recount the sad story of Dom Pedro II, of Brazil, and the tragic termination of Maximilian's short-lived "Empire of Mexico."

The history of ancient America is shrouded in mystery and speculation. Little is really known except that which is set forth by the Book of Mormon. However, research and scientific investigation have brought forth from the dark and hidden past many very interesting facts. In this connection read this very interesting article which appeared in the paper named, only a few months ago:

In the New York Herald of last Sunday is an article by Le Plongeon on the monument of Xochicalco in Mexico, around which gathers a wonderful interest, for Le Plongeon says it is a memorial which signalizes the destruction almost of a world. Here are his words:

The pyramid of Xochicalco, situated at an altitude of 5,395 feet above the level of the sea, to the south-southwest of the city of Cuernavaca, four and a half miles from the Indian village of Tetlama, is, if not one of the most ancient constructions made by human hands, at least one of the most important in the history of man among modern civilized Christian and Mohammedan nations. This monument is a record, written on stone, of the tremendous cataclysm which caused the submergence and destruction of the Land of Mu (Plato's Atlantis), together with its population of 64,000,000 human beings, about 11,500 years ago.

Le Plongeon explains that he a few weeks since received from Mr. C. V. Collins of the Northwestern Agriculturist several photographs of ancient monuments in Mexico. Among these were some of the south side of the pyramid of Xochicalco. Then the story runs on as follows:

For more than a century this pyramid has been visited and written upon by world famed European scientists, such as Alexander Humboldt, and in our times Mehedin, member of the French Scientific commission to Mexico; Dr. Seler of Berlin, Dr. Antonio Penafiel of Mexico and others. Before them a Mexican monk, Father Jose Antonio Alzate, a learned physicist and astronomer, after visiting the famous ruins, wrote a description of them that was published in Mexico in 1787, and attempted a restoration of the monument; also Captain Dupaix wrote a description of the same by order of the king of Spain in 1807, (published in Kingsborough's great work, "Mexican Antiquities," vol. v. p. 222.]

Strange as it may appear, none of these scientists ever suspected the object the builders had in view when they erected the structure, therefore its great historical and scientific importance remained unknown to them. Humboldt calls it a military fortification, and Dupaix seems to have been of the same opinion; but both were unable to make out the nature of the designs adorning the edifice. Humboldt sees in them crocodiles throwing water: Dupaix garlands of flowers, fruits, animals and other mysterious objects; the meaning of the whole he was unable to make out.

A short description taken from the narratives of these two writers, who visited the monument a century ago, may not be out of place.

It is built on an isolated natural hill, 117 metres high, divided into five terraces by the hand of man, so as to form a graduated quadrilaterial pyramid, whose faces front the cardinal points, the orientation being perfect. The sides were faced with walls of porphyritic stones, hewn perfectly square, forming courses of great regularity, covered with hieroglyphics and painted red.

The base of the pyramid was surrounded by a wide and deep ditch, measuring 4,000 metres (about three miles] in circumference. The ascent to the platform was by a steep incline and a stairway on the west side of the monument. Said platform was about 9,000 metres square, and on it were yet to be seen the ruins of a small square building, according to Humboldt. This was surrounded by a dry stone wall, which according to Dupaix, served as a parapet.

In the center of the hill are galleries and chambers dug by the hand of man, their entrance being on the north side. There is little doubt that from these were quarried the stones used in the building of the monument.

This description is certainly the most interesting on account of the many points of resemblance it bears to the hill upon which was situated the palace of the ancient kings and the temple dedicated to Cleito and Poseidon, on the island of Atlantis, according to Plato's narrative.

But Le Plongeon says the language used is the Maya, and the writing is in part alphabetical, in part syllabic, and in part symbolic, but still easy of interpretation for one who holds the key. Le Plongeon thinks it astonishing that none of the learned men who have visited the place ever suspected that it was a mausoleum erected to commemorate some great and terrible event. Then the characters are given and their interpretation, a part of the Maya alphabet is shown. Le Plongeon shows that one inscription means "destruction," another symbol is a Maya word which means "to be reduced to atoms," another means "earthquake" and "the serpent" which Humboldt mistook for a crocodile ejecting water, and whose undulations Dupaix imagined were a garland of flowers, getting his idea from the Mexican name Xochicalco (the house of flowers) really represented the sea that involved everything within its folds after the earthquake." Thus the full interpretation is "Destruction of the land and its inhabitants in the Atlantic ocean by being reduced to atoms."

That is a tremendous story, but it is backed by plates, and the reader is referred to Parez's Maya Dictionary for confirmation of the meaning of the symbols.

And what a creepy sensation it awakens. And what about men and their ambitions and their puny works when out of this sullen stone stares the history of a time when eleven thousand five hundred years ago men were just the same, with their loves and hates and ambitions until the earthquake started on its march and the big sea responded in tidal waves, and in an hour sixty-four millions of the race were swept to death, men, women, children-all, and when it was over a continent with all its freight of life and treasure had disappeared and there was not left even "the bubbling cry of some strong swimmer in his agony." "What shadows we are."—Salt Lake Tribune.

We quote a few verses from the Book of Mormon, page 495.

And it came to pass in the thirty and fourth year, in the first month, in the fourth day of the month, there arose a great storm, such an one as never had been known in all the land; and there was also a great and terrible tempest; and there was terrible thunder, insomuch, that it did shake the whole earth as if it was about to divide asunder; and there were exceeding sharp lightnings such as never had been known in all the land, and the city of Zarahemla did take fire; and the city of Moroni did sink in the depths of the sea, and the inhabitants thereof were drowned; and the earth was carried up upon the city of Moronihah, that in the place of the city thereof, there became a great mountain. And there was a great and terrible destruction in the land southward. [South America.] But behold, there was a more great and terrible destruction in the land northward [North America]; for behold, the whole face of the land was changed, because of the tempest, and the whirl-winds, and the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the exceeding great quaking of the whole earth; and many great and notable cities were sunk, and many were burned, and many were shook till the buildings thereof had fallen to the earth, and the inhabitants thereof were slain, and the places were left desolate. And thus the face of the whole earth became deformed; etc., etc. [Read chapters 8 and 9 of III Nephi.]

The Tribune's touching comments are no less applicable to the Book of Mormon narrative, than to the graphic one worked out by Le Plongeon.

Regarding the location of the Garden of Eden, there has been little dispute until within the last few decades. Formerly it was generally believed by the religious world, as well as by the scientific world, that man made his advent in Asia. Of late years, however, a number of scientists have moved the cradle of humanity from the valleys of the Euphrates to the American continent; so that, today, the scientific world may be said to be somewhat divided upon this point of man's history.

A few years ago, and American traveler addressed a letter to the Salt Lake Tribune in which he gave a great many very pointed reasons for his belief in the theory that man first dwelt upon this continent. We will not present the communication itself, but merely the terse and approving introduction with which that paper published the letter. It said:

We are sure that the following letter will be read with exceeding interest by Tribune readers. The writer is the gentleman who was here on a lecture tour last summer who has probed Indian literature until he has become convinced that India was in the swaddling bands of barbarism and ignorance, when there was a mighty civilization on this continent; that the light from India is but reflected light; that it was first kindled on our own continent and shone here for myriads of years, before it was turned on the East.

As early as 1838, the Prophet Joseph Smith announced by revelation that the Garden of Eden was located upon this continent.

The following is to be found in the Doctrine and Covenants, page 389.

Three years previous to the death of Adam, he called Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah, who were all High Priests, with the residue of his posterity who were righteous into the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and there bestowed upon them his last blessing.

Section 116, of the same book, is a revelation which designates Adam-ondi-Ahman as a spot of ground known as Spring Hill, in Daviess county, Missouri.