[Image from the Church’s media library]

This post follows up from my previous post about the racism against Native Americans that is taught in the Book of Mormon.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that the United States of America is the Promised Land. It’s right here in the 10th Article of Faith:

We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

Nephi prophesied that Columbus would be inspired to cross the Atlantic Ocean and discover America for the Europeans (the Native Americans obviously already knew it was here).

11 And it came to pass that the angel said unto me: Behold the wrath of God is upon the seed of thy brethren.

12 And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.

13 And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters.

14 And it came to pass that I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise; and I beheld the wrath of God, that it was upon the seed of my brethren; and they were scattered before the Gentiles and were smitten.15 And I beheld the Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the Gentiles, and they did prosper and obtain the land for their inheritance; and I beheld that they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people before they were slain. 1 Nephi 13:11-15.

The Book of Mormon teaches that God gives the American continents only to righteous people. ““For it is a choice land, saith God unto me, above all other lands, wherefore I will have all men that dwell thereon that they shall worship me, saith God.” 2 Nephi 10:19.

These beliefs blend nicely with the beliefs of White Christian Nationalism. 

The Public Religion Research Institute is a non-profit and non-partisan organization that researches religion and public policy. It doesn’t make recommendations, just observations. In February 2023, the PRRI published the results of a study it did about White Christian Nationalism and its beliefs. The study asked people whether they agreed or disagreed with the following beliefs:

  • The U.S. government should declare America a Christian nation.
  • U.S. laws should be based on Christian values.
  • If the U.S. moves away from our Christian foundations, we will not have a country anymore.
  • Being Christian is an important part of being truly American.
  • God has called Christians to exercise dominion over all areas of American society.

People who agree with these statements are White Christian Nationalists. The PRRI then talked about which groups of people are most likely to share White Christian Nationalist beliefs. Not surprisingly, white Evangelicals were more likely to be WCNs or sympathize with their beliefs. The report then goes through the breakdown of responses by age, race, gender and educational level. You can read the full report here

As you can see, the beliefs of White Christian Nationalism go right along with viewing America as the Promised Land. Fortunately, WCNs are only a small proportion of the population. About 10% of people are actually WCNs, and another 20% (or so) sympathize with WCN beliefs. A whopping 7 out of 10 people disagree with WCN beliefs. White Christian Nationalists are NOT a majority and they are not acting on behalf of a silent majority. They are the minority.

To any White Christian Nationalists who are reading this post, please reconsider your views. America works best as a plurality nation – a mix of different beliefs that we all learn to tolerate. Most of the population just wants to live their lives without suffering because of someone else’s religious beliefs. WCN beliefs cause suffering because of the violence. Please don’t hurt people who disagree with you. America is too big and too pluralistic to turn into a country like Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan, with Christianity playing the role that Islam plays in those smaller and more homogeneous countries. If you keep forcing those beliefs into laws and threatening violence, the aftermath is more likely to look like Europe, in which the people have largely rejected religion because of all the turmoil and suffering that it caused them. Please just let America remain a mix of differing religions and differing lifestyles. The stuff you’re reading in the news about transgender people and liberals is lies and exaggerations. There is no threat you need to take up arms against.

The PRRI asked survey respondents about America as the Promised Land.

In addition to the questions that make up the Christian nationalism scale, the survey included a stand-alone question that asked respondents to agree or disagree with the following statement: “God intended America to be a new promised land where European Christians could create a society that could be an example to the rest of the world.” By a margin of two to one, Americans overall reject this assertion (30% agree, 67% disagree). (towards the bottom of the page)

The survey reports that Mormons are more likely than the general population to sympathize with WCN beliefs. About 33% of the Latter-day Saints surveyed sympathized with WCN beliefs, while 5% were outright supporters. However, 50% of the Latter-day Saints reported skeptical views of WCN beliefs and 10% rejected WCN beliefs entirely. The remainder didn’t answer so the numbers don’t add up to 100%. I found it very heartening that 60% of the Latter-day Saints surveyed do not support WCN beliefs. The survey didn’t ask for activity rates, though, so that 60% may be less likely to be actively attending Church than the 38% who support or sympathize with WCN beliefs.

LDS beliefs about America being the Promised Land feed right into White Christian Nationalism. Church leaders have cautioned members against radical political beliefs, persecution and violence, but they can’t fully turn from the teaching that America is a Promised Land given by God to faithful Christians without disavowing a very clear statement in the Book of Mormon.

In fact, this is one area where I can see that the LDS far-right has a point when they assert that President Nelson is a fallen prophet. The Book of Mormon teachings are very clear that America is the Promised Land. Moroni put it most plainly when he was telling the story of the Jaredites:

8 And he had sworn in his wrath unto the brother of Jared, that whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fulness of his wrath should come upon them.

9 And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.

10 For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off.

11 And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.

12 Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written.Ether 2:8-12.

It’s pretty difficult to interpret those scriptures as anything other than as a warning that sinners in America will be destroyed by the wrath of God if they fail to live by Christian beliefs. If you have a testimony that the Book of Mormon is scripture, it’s almost a given that you’ve got to support WCN beliefs. If President Nelson isn’t willing to stand up for that belief, then he’s rejected one of the foundational LDS teachings. There isn’t any support for the idea that America should be a pluralistic society in the Book of Mormon. Pluralism is based on secular ideas like peaceful co-existence despite differing religious beliefs. If the Book of Mormon was truly written for our day, then I don’t see any way around the conclusion that the Church of Jesus Christ should throw its support behind the White Christian Nationalist movement. 

Epiphanies like that are one of the reasons I’m happy to be an apostate. I’ve embraced pluralism. People should be able to worship “how, where, or what they may” (Article of Faith 11). Laws should not be passed that enforce religious ideas about gender roles and bodily autonomy. Laws should not infringe on religious beliefs “unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others” (D&C 134:3). Joseph Smith taught pluralist principles. The Book of Mormon did not. That’s an interesting contradiction.

Church leadership would rather peacefully coexist in a pluralistic society than lead the charge to sweep nonbelievers off the face of the land. Besides the carnage, total revolution would destabilize the stock market and the Church’s nest egg would become worthless.


  1. Were you taught that America was the Promised Land? Do you still hear this teaching today?
  2. Do you worry about America becoming less Christian? Is pluralism something that concerns you or something you view as positive?
  3. Do you worry about America becoming too Christian?