By Joseph Delli Gatti –
This article was originally written as a response to someone on FaceBook who asked about the origins of the Zionist movement, and asked why Jews have to live in Israel at all. My approach to answering this inquiry was as follows: as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe in the Bible: in its historicity, and in its doctrine. Most of my understanding of Jewish history comes from the Old and New Testaments, from modern Prophets like Joseph Smith, Jr., and from LDS Scriptures like the Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price, and the Doctrine and Covenants. It’s from this perspective that I responded (see below).
By Joseph Delli Gatti –
How would you like to take my 10-hour non-accredited, diploma-less online study course in LDS American History? Here it is. I promise that at minimum, you’ll learn something new.
I’m often confronted about my political and religious beliefs and about my views on various aspects of the LDS (Mormon) church. At one online discussion forum, I found that I had written over 1,200 comments on my beliefs (totaling nearly as many pages when cut and pasted into a MS Word document). And people still weren’t done asking questions or challenging me – although a lot of their questions were sort of cyclical or rhetorical in nature.
As I’ve thought about similar experiences I’ve had since that time, I’m reminded not only that I could have probably written a few thick books instead, but also that a lot of people – even really well educated people – don’t consider context and perspective as well as they should, nor do they think beyond the immediate or near-term results of their political or religious positions. And I know that it’s impossible in many instances to have all the facts, but a lot of people don’t even try to come up with simple logical reasoning or a complete functioning paradigm – even just a simple one – for their viewpoint.
It’s in thought of those things that I’ve compiled these Web links to 8-10 hours of videos and reading that present an awesome view of our nation’s origins. Of course it doesn’t contain every variable and facet of our country or of the LDS faith, but I feel that it at least paints a simple complete picture of our nation’s origins and also provides some great insights to the Prophet Joseph Smith, and to the circumstances and environment in which the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints emerged.
These videos and resources have been helpful to me, and I hope they can be helpful to someone else too. I went to some effort to put these in the best order possible so that they build on the understanding of each other. The early pilgrims came to North America largely for religious freedom and for economical opportunities. This series of videos begins with the origins of these pilgrims, continues with the Mormon pioneers being persecuted for their religious practices, and concludes with resources about the importance of religious freedom to Americans and to people all over the world.
If you complete the study course, please also post a comment below letting us all know how it went.