3 Nephi 11-28. Jesus’ Visit to the New World
Unlike the Mormon Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible did not visit the New World (3 Nephi 11-28).
Members of the Church of England and its American offshoot, the Episcopalian Church, are readily accepted as Christians, even “born again Christians” when appropriate, by other Protestants, yet Anglicans have a tradition that Christ visited the British Isles. The story derives from the regions of Cornwall and Somerset and indicates that the young Jesus visited the area of Glastonbury, England, in company with his maternal great-uncle, Joseph of Arimathea, who is said to have had dealings with the tin miners of the region. According to the account, the New Jerusalem, to be established at Christ’s second coming, will be in England.[i]In 1804, William Blake wrote a short poem as a preface to his Milton: A Poem, summarizing the story. Later set to music composed by C. Hubert H. Parry in 1916, it became the hymn “Jerusalem,” which is still found in the Anglican hymnal. The words read as follows:
And did those feet in ancient time
walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
on England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
among these dark Satanic Mills?
Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant Land.
If Anglicans can be considered Christians and yet believe Jesus visited ancient Britain, why should the Book of Mormon account of Christ’s visit to the Nephites in the New World disqualify its believers from being Christians?
[i] Similarly, the Book of Mormon indicates that the New Jerusalem will be built on the American continent (Ether 13:2-10; see also Article of Faith 10).