Was Jesus an American?

November 16, 2011
Q. Don’t you find it stupid that Mormons think Jesus was American?

Thank you for providing us with an opportunity to teach our readers a short lesson in rhetoric! Your question is an example of a loaded question, a question which contains controversial assumptions and that limits direct replies to those that serve the questioner’s agenda. The most famous example is:

“Have you stopped beating your wife?”

To answer either “yes” or “no” is to implicitly admit that I did beat my wife at some point in the past, which is an assumption that (in my case) is thoroughly false.

So, we first need to address your hidden assumption: Do Mormons think Jesus was American?

No. We believe He was born in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth, and limited most of his traveling during his mortal life to the region of Palestine (he made a brief trip to Egypt when he was very young). He was thoroughly Jewish in ethnicity, culture, and nationality.

Mormons do believe that following his crucifixion (Matthew 27), resurrection (John 20), and ascension (Acts 1) in Jerusalem, Jesus visited the peoples living in the Americas (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 11). He descended from heaven, lighted upon their temple and said,

Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.

Jesus did visit the American people because he died for them as much as for Peter or Mary. He loved them all, despite nationality. You can read about his teachings and miracles among them in the Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi chapters 9 through 28.

He loves you, too. He will visit you through the Holy Ghost and he will show you that he is the God of the whole earth. He has been slain for your sins. Search diligently for His hand in your life and you will find it.

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5 Responses to “Was Jesus an American?”

  1. Tyler

    You say, “He will visit you through the Holy Ghost and he will show you that he is the God of the whole earth.”. Did you mean, the God of the whole earth, or the god of the whole universe?  The Universe is much bigger than the furthest telescopes can see, If your God is Almighty why would he be the God of the whole earth? We can’t know if there are other intelligent beings on any other planets, and if their were, would open the possibility of there being other Gods to them because the Earth is specific to us, “humans”. If there were other intelligent life forms on another planet such as us, would they not have a God, and their afterlife be no more than that of a dogs?

  2. Phil Renke

    So I just came to this website to learn a little bit about what Mormons believe. I am a baptist so Mormons and Baptists have their differences. One thing I wanna say to that is that in the Holy Bible, it claims that God is the God of the universe. Not just the Earth. But in the book of Mormon, God is claimed to be the God of the Earth.

  3. Bret

    Being “God of the Earth” is a subset of being “God of the Universe”, although I’m not sure the phrase “God of the Universe” is ever used. Usually you read “God of Heaven and Earth” or something similar, which does in fact appear in the Book of Mormon as well as in the Bible. God created “worlds without end”, which we would call the universe, and we don’t know how God has populated His worlds. With His children, maybe? We don’t know. Even Moses was rebuffed in learning much beyond the affairs of our Earth (Moses 1:35)

  4. Bill Evans

    I think we could safely say that the Church would describe Heavenly Father as being “God of the Universe” (or probably even “God of the Multi-verse” if you subscribe to that particular interpretation of quantum physics and cosmology).  We usually use the terms “God of the earth”, “God of the whole earth”, or “God of heaven and earth” because those are the terms the scriptures use. 
    The word “universe” does not appear once in the scriptural cannon (not once in the King James Version of the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, or the other books of scripture).  In fact, the word “universe” comes from the Old French word Univers.  This would explain why the scriptures never contain the word “universe” — the word had not been invented at the time they were written.  Also, most people at the time probably never even thought about the existence of other worlds like the Earth, let alone the possibility of life on them.  To say “the whole earth” or even the more inclusive “heaven and earth” would, for them, be synonymous with the whole universe.  In other words, the whole of what could be imagined as existence.  

  5. Bill Evans

    Sorry, the form broke my comment up again. 
    Today, since the current view of existence includes so much more than our planet and its nearby surrounding space, and the term “universe” that describes this has entered into the modern vocabulary, modern prophets are more likely to use the term “God of the Universe,”  especially if they are bearing personal testimony or original revelation, and not trying to allude to a specific passage of scripture.  Referring to the Father as the “God of the whole Earth” does not in any way diminish His omnipotence nor His dominion over any other planets out there.  (This is actually beautifully taught in one of the Hymns the Church uses, “If You Could Hie to Kolob”.  Essentially the message is that, even if you could travel so fast that you could travel from here to the most distant point you can imagine in the universe in a fraction of a second, and then, continuing on with that same speed for all eternity, you could never find a speck of dust that God did not create nor a patch of space where God was not God.  God truly is the “God of the whole Universe.”)