“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.”
Reading these verses it is hard not to consider their application to political controversies regarding immigration and admission of refugees.
These verses speak of America’s special status as a land of migrants whom God will bring out of the four corners of the earth. Those who come will be brought here by the power of God. Whether they come seeking liberty, or opportunity, those who come will come because of God’s wisdom.
As members of the Church, we should especially be aware of the missionary opportunities that arise when people come to this land. While outside of the United States, the church has a presence, in the United States it is far more likely for someone to encounter missionaries or members and be converted. I have known people from all over the world who have come here for varying reasons, but were ultimately positioned to find the Gospel.
From a less religious sense, we should also have faith that liberty is infectious. The melting pot truly does work. Wave after wave of migrant has been viewed with suspicion, and yet in time these migrants have become assimilated into the values of the nation.
Of course, the later part of this passage does present a voice of warning. We do need to make sure that groups that come here have high standards. We should be screening for criminals and others who would harm the moral fabric of the nation. A land of liberty requires a people willing to sustain liberty. But we should also have faith in the power of God to direct his chosen to this land.
This post may be controversial for friends both on the left and right. But I do believe that the Book of Mormon has much to say about pertinent political problems. And I can’t read these verses without cringing at the nativist and xenophobic sentiment expressed by Donald J. Trump and his supporters. It would be tragic if members of the Church echoed such vile sentiment and forgot that this land is consecrated not just for those living here now, but for those fortunate enough to come here.