Question Box: Why did Jesus not visit every place on earth?

by
January 20, 2012

Question: If you believe Jesus went to America because he died for them just as much as Peter or Mary, as you said in another post, why did he not visit every place on Earth?

One of the “why not?” reasons Mormons often give in support of our unique belief that Jesus visited the American continent after his resurrection is that Jesus loves everyone, and died for everyone, so it’s not unreasonable to think He might choose to visit other groups of his children.  But, as you point out, if Jesus’ loving people were a sufficient reason for Jesus to personally visit them, then He would have visited every person on earth in every place.    So the question is: why did Jesus choose the Nephites of the Book of Mormon, and did he choose to visit anywhere else?

The Book of Mormon has the answers, given by Jesus himself in the book of 3 Nephi, chapter 15.  We learn that Jesus visited the Nephites because they were a branch of the House of Israel, led away from Palestine by God, and his visitation was part of a fulfillment of his covenant with the House of Israel.  He also explains that the “gentiles” (those who are not of the House of Israel), will receive the gospel through the preaching of his apostles rather than through a personal apperanace.  We also learn that there were other groups of the House of Israel scattered throughout the world, and in chapter 16,  Jesus explains that he will visit them too:

1 And verily, verily, I say unto you that I have other sheep, which are not of this land, neither of the land of Jerusalem, neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister.

3 But I have received a commandment of the Father that I shall go unto them, and that they shall hear my voice, and shall be numbered among my sheep, that there may be one fold and one shepherd; therefore I go to show myself unto them.

The obvious next question is: if the Bible is from Palestine, and the Book of Mormon is from America, are there records of Jesus’ other personal appearances?  The answer is: we don’t know.  If so, God has not revealed them.  One thing that makes Mormonism very unique among religions is that our canon is not closed– we expect that God is not done talking to his children.

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3 Responses to “Question Box: Why did Jesus not visit every place on earth?”

  1. warmi

    There is no credible evidence of contact between Hebrews and the New World … as a biologist you should know that, shouldn’t you  ?

  2. Dave

    warmi,

    Since you reference my being a biologist, I assume you’re referring to some lack of genetic evidence?  Because I think there probably has been a lot of research done by the Maxwell Institute, but I imagine it’s probably archaeological, anthropological, or literary in nature. If you’re interested in it, you should look up the Maxwell Institute or the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies.

    Anyway, as to the genetic issue, I have heard something along those lines: that they haplotyped the mitochondria of some Native Americans and they most closely resembled those of Siberians or Mongolians.  Human genetics being the most boring of possible things to study (no offense), I have not read anything special about it. Perhaps one of the other authors has and would like to weigh in?  

    At any rate, here are some Mormons who appear to know more about it than I do, and who seem to think that either the (lack of) genetic evidence is not particularly compelling or that the Book of Mormon doesn’t exclude the possibility that the current Native Americans are mostly descended from Siberian migrations:

    http://www.fairlds.org/Book_of_Mormon/DNA_and_the_Book_of_Mormon.html

    http://www.fairlds.org/Book_of_Mormon/DNA_and_the_Book_of_Mormon_2.html

    http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon/DNA_evidence

    Also, I suppose this would be a good time to come out and admit that I believe a lot of things for which there is no credible scientific evidence, biological or otherwise, like God.  And Free Will.    

    *Please don’t tell my physics friends I believe in free will.

  3. Bill Evans

    Actually, modern physics doesn’t preclude free will.  To my understanding, complete determinism went out of vogue physics-wise decades ago. 
     
    More to the point, however, is that there are a lot of things that vitally must be taken on faith.  I’m sure this was intentional.  One of my physics friends pointed out to me that for God’s plan for humanity to work, the world must be set up it a way that atheism must be a logical option.  A major part of the plan is helping us to develop faith.  This would not be possible if one could “derive” the existence of God.  Therefore it shouldn’t really surprise us that there are many aspects of the gospel for which there is little or no scientific evidence.  As <a href=”http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/jacob/4.8?lang=eng#7″>Jacob</a> said, “Behold, great and marvelous are the worksof the Lord. How unsearchableare the depths of the mysteriesof him; and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways. And no man knowethof his wayssave it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelationsof God.” 

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