October 12, 2009 by Ron Madson
Tomorrow we should celebrate “Bartolome de las Casa Day.” Bartolome was a young Catholic Priest who made a copy of Columbus’ journal in which Columbus tells us of his lust for gold and slaves and barbaric cruelty to the native indians. Columbus’ first journal entry upon meeting the Arawak indians: “They brought us parrots and cotton and spears and many others things. They willingly traded everything they owned. They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features. They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They had no iron. They would make fine servants. With fifty men we could subjugate them and make them to whatever we want.” Through murder and torture he conscripted indians to search for gold. Not finding the promised gold on his second voyage he had to fill up his ships with something, so he went on a great slave raid, picked up five hundred captives to take to Spain. Two hundred died on the voyage. The rest arrived alive in Spain and put up for sale by the local church official. Said Columbus:
“Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold.”
Bartolome preserved these records and added with fear and trembling the atrocities he observed in his book “The History of the Indies.” The conscripted indians were treated as follows:
“As for the newly born, they died early because their mothers, overworked and famished (starving) had no milk to nurse, them and for this reason while I was in Cuba 7,000 children died n the mines, wives died at work, and the children died in three months. Some mothers even drowned their babies from sheer desperation. In this way, husbands died in the mines, wives died at work, and children died from lack of milk. My eyes have seen these acts so foreign to human nature, and how I tremble as I write..”
So tomorrow I will call it “Bartolome de Las Casa Day.”
1 Nephi 13:12 tells us of a “man among the Gentiles, ..and I beheld that the Spirit of God that it came down and wrought upon the man” and that man we have identified as Saint Christopher Columbus. So what does that go to show us? Well for me it shows me that the Lord can use an man as his instrument that can do mighty works but still have gold and power on his brain and afterwards commit atrocities. Go figure.
The day we collectively become Christians in deed and not word, I believe history will be rewritten accordingly. Until then…”it is the way of the world.”