Sunday, December 9, 2018

Prophecy Fulfilled 008

In Nephi's expansive historical vision chronicled in 1 Nephi 13, the prophet refers five times to gentiles leaving captivity in Europe and emigrating to the New World. What captivity were they fleeing? Europeans in the Age of Discovery (1492 - 1783) were subject to various forms of exploitation such as slavery (humans bought and sold), serfdom (humans bound to land, which could be bought and sold), bound or indentured servitude (humans bound to other humans under certain conditions and/or for certain time periods, with contracts that could be bought and sold), debt servitude (humans bound to other humans until a debt was repaid with contracts that could be bought and sold), forced labor (benefiting king, noble, or church), forced military service (press gangs), high taxes, and mandatory tithes. Landed nobles or vassals owned most assets. Peasants had few rights and limited prospects for improvement. Grinding poverty was endemic for most people. Inheritance laws favored first-born sons to prevent breaking up large real estate holdings.

Nephi tells us who was behind these rigid social structures that advantaged elites by exploiting commoners - the great and abominable church founded by Satan 1 Nephi 13:6. This church was not a religious institution per se, although clerics as social elites participated in its spoils. This church was a pervasive social order that helped high class individuals remain self-indulgent (gold, silver, silks, scarlets, fine-twined linen, precious clothing, harlots) while low class persons had little or no self-determination. Saintly people who tried to reform this pathological system were either killed or incarcerated 1 Nephi 13:9. See the article "What is the Great and Abominable Church?"

And what did the gentiles get when they fled captivity in the Old World and settled the New? They gained their freedom 3 Nephi 21:4, obtained land 1 Nephi 13:15, and became prosperous 1 Nephi 13:20. This graphic shows the social structure in Nueva EspaƱa (Mexico).
Social Structure in Spanish Colonies
Spaniards or other Europeans occupied the top strata, followed by their children born in the New World. Children born to a Spanish father and native mother (mestizos) came next, followed by natives, then imported Africans, and finally mixed breeds. Most Europeans who emigrated to the Americas remained in the New World because they enjoyed a higher quality of life than they would have had in the Old Country. People who had been peasants in Europe became landed elites (hacendados in Spanish America) in the Western Hemisphere, thus fulfilling 1 Nephi 13:13, 16, 19, and 29-30.