And the Lord called His people Zion because they were of one heart and one mind and there was no poor among them. Moses 7:18
“We have no business here other than to build up and establish the Zion of God.” Brigham Young, JD 18:356
THE THREE ELEMENTS OF ZION:
1st. ZION IS A PEOPLE:
A PEOPLE WHO ARE PURE IN HEART AND WHO ARE TOTALLY COMMITTED TO DOING GOD’S WILL.
*They keep their covenants
*They have a desire to constantly change their lives to ever higher levels of righteous living.
*They live a God-guided life.
*They commune personally with God (they know His will concerning them).
2nd. ZION IS A PLACE:
AN ENVIRONMENT OF ORDER, CLEANLINESS, AND BEAUTY.
*They are aware of their environment and it’s effect on themselves and others
*Their homes are pleasant, orderly, and clean.
* Their yards and gardens are well-maintained, beautiful, and productive.
*Their personal appearance is neat, clean, and comely.
3rd. ZION IS A CONDITION:
IN ZION, THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS FOUND IN GREAT ABUNDANCE. THERE IS PEACE, UNITY, AND LOVE.
*Those in Zion are able to recognize the influence they are under.
*Those in Zion are at peace. They are free from confusion and contention.
*Those in Zion are united. They are of one heart and one mind.
*Those in Zion abide in the Lord’s injunction—”by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, that ye have love one to another”. (John13:35.)
In summary, Zion can be described in these words:
Zion is more than a church, city, country, or even a continent. It is a total environment with all the major aspects—cultural, social, economical, and spiritual. This society is, however, a reflection of the purity, unity, and holiness of those who make up its membership.
Specific gospel truths, properly applied, will bring to pass the changes in the individual necessary to ATTAIN and SUSTAIN oneself on a Zion Level.
You should be aware that the emphasis is going to be repeatedly placed upon YOU learning those principles, YOU applying them, YOU making the necessary changes in YOUR LIFE to bring yourself in conformity with them. There is no magic way or procedure suggested here. You have to do the hard work of LEARNING, APPLYING, AND CHANGING to make those principles work. But lest you be discouraged, may we point out that these are Gospel Principles. And Gospel Principles APPLIED really do work. THEY CHANGE PEOPLE!
One rises to a Zion Level by the quality of his life. While the Church functions to provide necessary doctrine and ordinances, these alone will not exalt an individual. The Church strives to aid and assist, to teach and train, but the real work of raising to a Zion level has to be done by the individual. Unity prevails by virtue of people’s righteous desires and through each person following the guidance of the Holy Spirit in their own lives.
These Truths have been organized into a series of lessons which if taken and applied in sequence will put a person on the road to sustaining a Spiritual Level in their lives which will qualify them for a Zion Environment.
UNDERSTANDING THE CONCEPT OF BABYLON AND ZION
Whenever an abundance of God’s truth is upon the earth, He offers His children an opportunity to choose between two completely opposite ways of life. The scriptures identify these two opposite ways as ZION and BABYLON.
ZION is described as a way of life lived by a people who are pure in heart and totally committed to following God. They create an environment of beauty, cleanliness, and order in which to live. Peace is found among them, and the Spirit of the Lord is manifest in great abundance.
ZION is a condition, a place, and a people.
BABYLON, on the other hand, is described as a way of life and a place where people do things their own way instead of God s way; where they seek after their own interests and selfish purposes frequently causing abuses and hardship among the people. There is frequent contention and the influence of the adversary is wide-spread.
BABYLON is also a condition, a place, and a_people.
Here let us briefly consider some of the differences between BABYLON and ZION. There are few more salutary things for the Saints than constantly to bear in mind the distinction between Zion and the world. Their underlying concepts, philosophies, and purposes are at complete variance one with the other. The philosophy of the world is self-sufficient, egotistical, materialistic, and skeptical. The philosophy of Zion is humility, a willing recognition of the sovereignty of God and dependence on His providence.
‘In D&C 1:16 ” Babylon means the world.” (Bible Dictionary, p. 618)
“They (the inhabitants of the earth) seek not the Lord to establish His righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way and in the image of his own God, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old, and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.” (D&C 1:16)
In a general sense, Babylon is every evil and wicked and ungodly thing in our whole social structure.
“Anciently Babylon [Sixth Century B.C.] was the chief and capital city of the Babylonian empire. As the seat of world empire, Babylon was the persistent persecutor and enemy of the Lord’s people. It was to escape the imminent destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchanezzar’s Babylonian hordes that Lehi and his family were led to the new world. To the Lord’s people anciently, Babylon was known as the center of iniquity, carnality, and worldliness. Everything connected with it was in opposition to all righteousness and had the effect of leading men downward to the destruction-of their souls.
It was natural, therefore, for the apostles and inspired men of the New Testament times to apply the name BABYLON to the forces organized to spread confusion and darkness in the realm of spiritual things.
“Zion is always opposed on the earth by spiritual Babylon. Like Zion, Babylon is a condition of the heart and of the mind with its accompanying environment. The difference, of course, is that Zion is purity and holiness and Babylon is evil and wickedness. Therefore, Babylon is spoken of in the scriptures as the whore of all the earth’ who seduces men by the lure of her promise of wealth, prestige, and power. Babylon has not and never will comprehend Zion‘
“Zion is both the condition of being pure in heart and the community, or communities, where the pure in heart dwell. It is more than a city or even a continent. It is a total environment with all its major aspects–cultural, social, economical, and spiritual. This society is however, a reflection of the purity, unity, and holiness of those who make up its membership .
“One of the most beautiful characteristics of the antediluvian Zion [City of Enoch – Enoch was the seventh from Adam], was that “they were of one heart and one mind, and there were no poor among them”, a perfect union of sentiment and feeling:—no bitterness or hatred—no slandering or reviling—no defrauding or taking advantage one of another—-no person seeking to aggrandize himself by heaping up riches while others were poor no selfishness or pride—no hypocrisy or affectation: but every one loved his neighbor as himself—every one studied the welfare of the whole—every one considered himself as only a steward over the things committed to his charge: it was all considered to be the Lord s, and ready to be appropriated for any purpose which the Lord should direct. They were equal in earthly things, therefore the Lord made them equal in heavenly things. Nothing short of continued revelation could ever have brought about an order ot things so perfect.” Orson Pratt, The Seer, p. 264
“And the Lord called His people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there were no poor among them. Moses 7:18
In 4 Nephi [A.D. 36], we witness the blessings of the Nephites as they subdue selfishness and prosper in perfect righteousness for four generations. Who does not thrill to this picture of the ideal of Zion?
And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift… And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms’ nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.’ 4 Nephi 1:3, 16
In spite of these perfectly clear statements many of us do not have a clear picture of the differences between BABYLON and ZION, therefore, a list of some of the notable characteristics of those in BABYLON and those in ZION has been compiled.
We do not represent this list as being complete, or presenting a total picture of these two opposite ways of life; rather it is a “representative list”, which will enable the individual to see DISTINCTLY the differences between those who espouse the ways of BABYLON, as opposed to those who have chosen the ways of ZION.
References from the scriptures and teachings of the Prophets are used to verify the existence of these characteristics. Some references restate the truths contained in the titles of this list, while others explain, give insight, instruction, counsel, or warning relative to them. Therefore, they all serve in their own way, to establish the fact that these are indeed the characteristics of those in BABYLON and those in ZION.
From the list of characteristics, it will be evident that Zion is not a mixture of some of its own characteristics and some of those in Babylon. ZION IS SEPARATE AND WHOLLY DISTINCT FROM BABYLON. If Zion compromises and allows some of the characteristics of Babylon to creep in, it ceases to be Zion! Zion is built up by righteousness and destroyed by wickedness, for Zion is composed of righteous people, and if they cease to keep the coninandments, they are no longer Zion. If Zion compromises and allows some of the characteristics of Babylon to creep in, it ceases to be Zion!
CONCLUSION: ZION MIXED WITH BABYLON IS NO LONGER ZION!
CHARACTERISTICS OF THOSE IN ZION VS. THOSE IN BABYLON
Characteristics of those in Babylon
I. THOSE IN BABYLON ARE SELF-CENTERED. THEY ARE A SELFISH PEOPLE.
A. They seek to draw attention to themselves.
B. They are frequently in competition with others.
C. They use other people for their own gain (they manipulate others).
II. THOSE IN BABYLON SET THEIR HEARTS UPON THEIR MATERIAL POSSESSIONS.
A. Acquiring money and possessions is one of the great objects of their lives. In so doing they often take advantage of others.
B. They believe that what they acquire is due to their own efforts and genius.
C. They frequently covet (desire wealth) which is idolatry
III. PRIDE IS ONE OF THE CHIEF CHARACTERISTICS OF THOSE IN BABYLON.
A. They are proud of their supposed learning and abilities.
B. They have a double standard and are hypocritical in judgment.
C. They are class-oriented — judging others by their wealth, fame, or position.
IV. THOSE IN BABYLON GOVERN THEIR LIVES BY WHAT OTHERS DO OR THINK.
A. They are flattered by what others think of them. (They desire to be well-thought-of and recognized.)
B. They give-in to peer pressure.
C. The world’s standard becomes their standard.
V. THOSE IN BABYLON ARE RULED BY THEIR WANTS, APPETITES, AND EMOTIONS.
A. They are continually seeking for fun and excitement.
B. They lack sexual control.
C. They are easily swayed by their emotions.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THOSE IN ZION
I. THE THOUGHTS OF THOSE IN ZION ARE UPON GOD. THEY ARE A GOD- CENTERED PEOPLE.
A. They emphasize God and His influence in their lives.
B. They seek to help others, especially in coming to a knowledge of God and His ways.
C. They do all things with “an eye single to the glory of God”.
II. THOSE IN ZION HAVE DEDICATED ALL THEIR MATERIAL POSSESSIONS TO GOD FOR HIS USE.
A. They labor for Zion, not for money.
B. They recognize that all their blessings come from God.
C. They desire that all should be equal in material possessions.
III. HUMILITY AND TEACHABLENESS ARE AMONG THE CHIEF CHARACTERISTICS OF THOSE IN ZION.
A. They put aside their own wisdom and seek learning and direction from God.
B. There is no hypocrisy in Zion. They live by one standard — God’s.
C. There is no class distinction in Zion. (All are children of God.)
IV. THE LIVES OF THOSE IN ZION ARE GOVERNED BY GOD.
A. They seek to know God*s will concerning themselves.
B. They stand firm against the carnal opinions of others
C. Zion’s standard is their standard. It is different in every way from the world’s standard.
V. THOSE IN ZION ARE A DISCIPLINED PEOPLE.
A. They have subdued their carnal natures.
B. Their sexual desires are under the control of the Holy Spirit.
C. They bear patiently with persecution.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THOSE IN BABYLON
VI. THOSE IN BABYLON SEEK TO LIVE IN COMFORT AND LEISURE.
A. Their work is primarily to benefit themselves.
B. They seek to get others to do their work for them.
C. They are frequently idle and waste time (vacations, T.V., sleeping in, etc.).
VII. THOSE IN BABYLON ARE FREQUENTLY SLOPPY, UNCLEAN, AND DISORGANIZED .
A. They are often sloppy and unclean in their appearance.(They are deceived by the fashions and standards of the world.)
B. Their homes are not clean, neat, and well organized.
C. Their yards are disorganized, unutilized, and often poorly kept..
VIII. FIGHTING AND QUARRELING IS COMMON AMONG THOSE IN BABYLON.
A. They are self-opinionated and contentious.
B. They nourish hatred.
C. They are often rebellious and violent.
IX. THOSE IN BABYLON ARE OFTEN CRUEL.
A. They intentionally say and do things which hurt others.
B. They seek to raise themselves by tearing others down.
C. They seek revenge for real or imagined hurts.
X. THOSE IN BABYLON ARE FREQUENTLY CONFUSED.
A. They do not know how to make correct decisions. (They are frequently seeking advice — friends, experts, etc.)
B. The roles of men and women are confused.
C. They are frequently depressed and discouraged.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THOSE IN ZION
XI . THOSE IN ZION WORK DILIGENTLY FOR THE BUILDING UP OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
A. They are unified in their efforts and seek the benefit of all.
B. They build up the Kingdom through consecration and sacrifice.
C. They gather together to build up the Kingdom and avoid the plagues of Babylon.
XII. THOSE IN ZION MAINTAIN A CLEAN, BEAUTIFUL AND PRODUCTIVE ENVIRONMENT.
A. The women in Zion maintain an attractive appearance
B. Their homes are pleasant, orderly and clean.
C. Their yards and gardens are well-maintained, beautiful, and productive.
XIII. THOSE IN ZION ARE AT PEACE.
A. They seek to create peace.
B. They do not bear hatred or ill-will toward those who have offended them.
C. They withdraw from Babylon.
XIV. THOSE IN ZION ARE LOVING AND KIND.
A. They show forth a loving concern and care for one another.
B. They seek their neighbor’s interests ahead of their own.
C. They believe in protecting family, friends and property from those who are evil.
XV. THOSE IN ZION ARE FREE FROM CONFUSION.
A. The Spirit of the Lord guides them in making correct decisions.
B. The different roles of men and women are clear and well understood.
C. They area happy and encouraged people.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THOSE IN BABYLON
XVI. THOSE IN BABYLON ARE LED BY, BUT DO NOT RECOGNIZE, THE INFLUENCE OF THE DEVIL.
A. They fail to understand that the devil works through carnal means (man*s mind and things of the world).
B. They frequently judge righteous things to be of the devil, and unrighteous things to be of God.
C. They are frequently (and often unknowingly) subject to the influence of the devil.
XVII. THOSE IN BABYLON DO NOT RESPECT THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS.
A. They seek to govern by authority rather than by righteous example.
B. They egotistically believe they know what is best for others.
C. If others do not follow their way, they seek to persecute or punish.
XVIII. THOSE IN BABYLON RESIST RIGHTEOUS CHANGE.
A. They live by tradition (or meaningless radical change).
B. They seek their own will rather than God’s.
C. They resist the Holy Spirit which would lead them to righteous change.
XIX. THOSE IN BABYLON HAVE NOT BEEN “BORN OF GOD.”
A. They have not had their natures changed — they are on a carnal (worldly) level.
B. They have not dedicated (committed) their lives to God and His work.
C. They do not respond to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
XX. THOSE IN BABYLON WORSHIP A FALSE GOD.
A. They seek to make God and His laws conform to their own opinions.
B. They believe God will overlook their breaking of the commandments.
C. They lack personal revelation by which one comes to know the true God and His ways. (They truly walk in darkness.)
CHARACTERISTICS OF THOSE IN ZION
XXI. THOSE IN ZION ARE QUICK TO DETECT THE INFLUENCE OF THE DEVIL.
A. They know the difference between spiritual, carnal, and evil.
B. All judgments are submitted to the Holy Spirit.
C. They surmount evil by following the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
XXII. THOSE IN ZION RESPECT THE RIGHTS OF ALL MEN.
A. They lead by setting a righteous example.
B. They encourage others to seek guidance from God for their own lives.
C. They respect other people’s free agency and their right to be different.
XXIII. THOSE IN ZION SEEK RIGHTEOUS CHANGE AND PROGRESS.
A. They constantly desire to change their lives to higher levels of righteous living.
B. They seek always to know and do the will of God.
C. They are open to the changes directed by the Holy Spirit.
XXIV. THOSE IN ZION HAVE BEEN “BORN OF GOD.”
A. They have had their natures changed. They live on a Higher Level.
B. They have dedicated (committed) their lives to God and His work.
C. They walk constantly by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
XXV. THOSE IN ZION WORSHIP THE ONE TRUE GOD.
A. They conform their lives to God*s direction.
B. They obey God and do not make excuses for disobeying Him.
C. They commune personally with God. They know Him. They walk in His light.
WORK – THE ESSENCE OF ZION
I. INTRODUCTION. – ZION AND WORK.
A. Of all the characteristics of Zion, perhaps none have been more misconstrued than the concept of “work*”. Because “Zion” and the “Millennium” are closely related in thought, and because the inspired descriptions of the Millennium are so glorious when compared to present mortal conditions, many people have a tendency to view Zion as a place of little or no work .
B. While the glories of the Millennium are true, so is the reality of work in Zion – lots of work – hard work! Work both in the building up of Zion and in carrying out the mission of Zion.
C. The following statements set the foundation for this understanding.
1. “I know that many Latter-day Saints think when they have obeyed the Gospel, made a sacrifice in forsaking their homes, perhaps their parents, husbands, wives, children, farms, native lands, or other things they hold dear, that the work is done, but it is only just commenced, the work of purifying ourselves and preparing to build up the Zion of God on this continent has only lust begun with us when we have got as far as that. Are we preparing now to establish the Zion that the Lord deigns to build up? He has called upon us to do this work; and if we will let Him work by, through, and with us, He can accomplish it; otherwise we shall fall short, and shall never have the honor of building up Zion on the earth.” Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 13:313
D. “If we can just get into our minds the dignity and honor of work, no matter what the work may be, most of the ills from which we suffer will be solved. During the whole range of man’s existence there has never yet been any plan by which men may live righteously in idleness, and no such plan, it is my faith, will ever be devised.
E. “Without work there would be neither existence, creation, redemption, salvation, or temporal necessities for mortal man. Work, both spiritual and physical is the means of all accomplishment.
II. WORK IS REQUIRED TO ESTABLISH ZION.
A. As important as it is to have this vision in mind, defining and describing Zion will not bring it about. That can only be done through consistent and concerted daily effort, both Spiritual and Physical. No matter what the cost in toil or sacrifice we must do it.”
B. “Do we realize that if we enjoy a Zion in time or in eternity, we must make it for ourselves? ..The Lord has done His share of the work; he has surrounded us with the elements containing wheat, meat, flax, wool, silk, fruit, and everything with which to build up, beautify, and glorify the Zion of the last days, and it is our business to mold these elements to our wants and necessities, according to the knowledge we now have and the wisdom we can obtain from the heavens through our faithfulness. In this way will the Lord bring again Zion upon the earth and in no other. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 9:282
C. “It is the duty of the brethren to know how to build a house, how to make a garden, and how to do everything that can be accomplished by the ingenuity given to man. Why? That we may know how to build and beautify Zion.” Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 8:280
D. “Do we realize that God’s Kingdom in the latter days is to all intents and purposes a temporal kingdom? … To build up Zion is a temporal labor; it does not consist simply of teaching. Teaching is to properly instruct us how to properly apply our labor, the sooner and better to accomplish the end in view. Bone and sinew is required to build up the Kingdom of God in the last days. Daniel H. Wells, Journal of Discourses 9:60
E. “The work of building up Zion is in every sense a practical work; it is not a mere theory.” Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 9:284
F. Zion shall be built on the principles of love of God and fellowmen, work, and earnest labor, as God has directed.
III. THOSE IN ZION ARE EXPECTED TO WORK.
A. ‘Thrust in thy sickle with thy might’ was not an admonition reserved for missionary work alone. Our Father expects us to labor and to do so diligently and willingly in whatever work we are doing.
1. Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; D&C 58:27
2. For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward. D&C 58:28
3. But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned. D&C 58:2
4. “… a mere testimony … is not enough. We are called to be WORKERS of righteousness. Charles W. Penrose, Journal of Discourses 21:351
B. When one labors under the direction of the Spirit of the Lord, there is an urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.
1. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth [therein], he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. James 1:22-25
2. “Zion ‘s force is down here in the practical duties of life, in the work under the sun that we have to do. Jedediah M. Grant , Journal of Discourses 3:68
C. Work, spiritual and physical, should be the ruling principle in the lives of our Church membership.
1. Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer. D&C 42:42
2. And the inhabitants of Zion also shall remember their labors, inasmuch as they are appointed to labor, in all faithfulness; for the idler shall be had in remembrance before the Lord. 31 Now, I, the Lord, am not well pleased with the inhabitants of Zion, for there are idlers among them; and their children are also growing up in wickedness; they also seek not earnestly the riches of eternity, but their eyes are full of greediness. These things ought not to be, and must be done away from among them; wherefore, let my servant Oliver Cowdery carry these sayings unto the land of Zion. D&C 68:30-32
3. Let every man be diligent in all things. And the idler shall not have place in the church, except he repent and mend his ways. D&C 75:29
4. “In this kingdom there is … some labor for each and everyone to perform.” Daniel H. Wells, Journal of Discourses 9:95
IV. GOD’S LAW IS THAT THE IDLER SHALL NOT EAT THE BREAD OR WEAR THE CLOTHES OF THE LABORER IN ZION
A. “Cease to be idle…” D&C 88:124
B. “See that ye … refrain from idleness.” Alma 38:12
C. “Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread or wear the garments of the laborer. D&C 42:42
D. My experience has taught me, and it has become a principle with me, that it is never any benefit to give, out and out, to man or woman, money, food, clothing, or anything else, if they are able-bodied, and can work and earn what they need, when there is anything on the earth, for them to do. This is my principle, and I try to act upon it. To pursue a contrary course would ruin any community in the world and make them idlers. People trained in this way have no interest in working; “but,” say they, “we can beg, or we can get this, that, or the other.” No, my plan and counsel would be, let every person, able to work, work and earn what he needs; and if the poor come around me—able-bodied men and women—take them and put them into the house. “Do you need them?” No; but I will teach this girl to do housework, and teach that woman to sew and do other kinds of work, that they may be profitable when they get married or go for themselves. “Will you give them anything to wear?” O, yes, make them comfortable, give them plenty to eat and teach them to labor and earn what they need; for the bone and sinew of men and women are the capital of the world. Discourses of Brigham Young, p.274 – p.275
- To give to the idler is as wicked as anything else. Never give anything to the idler. Discourses of Brigham Young, p.275
F. Set the poor to work—setting out orchards, splitting rails, digging ditches, making fences, or anything useful, and so enable them to buy meal and flour and the necessaries of life. Discourses of Brigham Young, p.275
G. Have the poor got greedy eyes? Are they covetous and penurious? I shall go a little too far if I am not careful. I must guard myself, because the Lord has chosen the poor of this world. But what kind of poor? Now the poor may be divided into three classes. In the first place there is the Lord’s poor, of which you may pick up one here and another there, one in a city, two in a family. Is there any other kind? Yes, you come across a certain class that may be called the Devil’s poor. Is there any other class? Yes, there is another class, who, long before I ever mentioned them, were denominated poor devils. Hence we have the Lord’s poor, the Devil’s poor, and poor devils. Discourses of Brigham Young, p.275
H. “Cease to feed and build up the wicked who will not labor with us to develop the resources of the country and help to build up Zion. Erastus Snow, Journal of Discourses 12:214I.
We are commanded to work. Attempts to obtain our temporal, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being by means of a dole violate the divine mandate that we should work for what we receive.
1. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return. Genesis 3:19
V. ZION NOW?
A. We have now reached a point in our studies where we are faced with three important questions:
1. Should we actually be striving to establish (build up) Zion now?
2. Who will be involved in the building up of Zion?
3. How will Zion commence and spread?.
VI. SHOULD WE ACTUALLY BE STRIVING TO ESTABLISH (BUILD UP) ZION NOW?
A. We have been taught that one important end result of our labors, hopes, and aspirations is the building of a Latter-day Zion… The vision of what we are about and what should come of our labors must be kept upper-most in our minds.
1. “We ought to have the building up of Zion as our greatest object. Joseph Smith,History of the Church 3:39
2. “I do not know any better thing that we can engage in than to build up the Zion of God. It is as good and as great a labor as we can be, engaged in; in fact, it is the labor which God has assigned unto us as a people and as individuals .. George Q. Cannon, Journal of Discourses 17:263
B. “What duties now devolve upon us? To build up a Zion unto our God. John Taylor, Journal of Discourses 23:371
C. “Blessed are they who shall seek to bring my Zionat that day. ..(the last days).” I Nephi 13:37
D. “Do we realize that if we enjoy a Zion in time or in eternity, we must make it for ourselves? That all who have a Zion in the eternities of the Gods organized, framed, consolidated, and perfected it themselves, and consequently are entitled to enjoy it? Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 9:282
E. And we will build up a Zion; that is what we are aiming at. John Taylor, Journal of Discourses 26:110
VII. WHO WILL BE INVOLVED IN THE BUILDING UP OF ZION?
A. “To build up Zion should be the thought of every heart… George Q. Cannon, J of D; 26:319
B. “the advancement of the cause of God and the building up of Zion is as much one man’s business as anothers.” Joseph Smith, Teachings, P.231
- If we as a people, do not hold ourselves upon the altar ready to be used, with our means and all that God has bestowed upon us according to the Master’s bidding, for the up-building of His Kingdom upon the earth, He will pass on and get somebody else; because he will get a people that will do it. I do not mean to say, that He will pass on and leave this people, no there will come up from the midst of this people that people which has been talked so much about – for the kingdom will not be taken from us and given to another people; it is too late in the day, as it has already commenced to grow, and it is growing and will continue to grow.” Daniel H. Wells, Journal of Discourses 23:305
D. “… I do not believe that He (God) will allow a generation of people to grow up and witness the accomplishment of all that He has spoken concerning Zion who are not perfectly willing to do that which He requires at their hands. I believe the old generation will pass away. I believe that like our fathers (Israel, wandering in the wilderness) the bodies of the Saints of God will be laid by the wayside in the various places where they live if they do not exercise faith to receive the blessings that God desires to bestow upon us as a people, and that He will raise up a generation as He did in the case of our fathers, which shall have the necessary faith, which shall be divorced from the old order of things sufficiently to go forward and accomplish the mind and will of God concerning Zion.” George Q. Cannon, J of D; 26:318,219
E. “At the very beginning of this last dispensation the Lord made it abundantly clear that through the tribulations and calamity that He foresaw and foretold and that we now see coming upon us, there would be a people, who through acceptance and obedience to the gospel, would be able to recognize and resist the powers of evil, build up the promised Zion, and prepare to meet the Christ and be with Him in the blessed Millennium.
F. “We in Salt Lake and elsewhere have our thoughts upon the work that immediately attracts our attention; and while we, or all amongst us who are faithful, shall no doubt be instrumental in the hands of God, in bringing to pass his purposes and accomplishing the work He has predicted in connection with the ten tribes, the Lamanites, the Jews, and. the Gentile nations, we need not think that these things depend upon us alone. There are powers engaged in preparing the earth for the events that await it and fulfilling all the great predictions concerning it, which we know nothing of, and we need not think that it depends upon us Latter-day Saints alone, and that we are the only agents in the hands of God in bringing these things to pass. George Q. Cannon, Journal of Discourses 16:120
VIII. HOW WILL ZION COMMENCE AND SPREAD?
A. “When we conclude to make a Zion we will make it, and this work commences in the heart of each person.” Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 9:283
B. “Suppose it (Zion) spreads from heart to heart, from neighborhood to neighborhood, from city to city, and from nation to nation, how long would it be before the earth would become revolutionized, and the wheat gathered from among the tares?” Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 1:4
- “We must begin and make Zion in our own hearts and then extend it to our neighborhoods, and so continue until the Lord shall reign upon the earth.” Brigham Young, JD; 1:245
- “Many of us think it would be easy to serve the Lord and keep His commandments if we were living in the millennial reign which is to come when Christ will be here on earth and Satan will be bound. John wrote:
1. ‘And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled…’ Rev. 20:13
E. Many other scriptures refer to the thousand years of wonderful, glorious conditions on the earth, because Lucifer, Satan, the devil, will be bound. The scriptures say he will be ‘bound with a chain’ and ‘put into a bottomless pit.’
F. While the steel chains or pits that hold Satan may be figurative for the power of the Priesthood, that power is dependent upon righteous living. The war that started in heaven has not ended yet and shall not end until everyone has proved the extent of his ability to resist Satan. Even Jesus Christ had to bind Satan when he was tempted in the wilderness. Satan had no power over him, because Jesus resisted his temptations. The Gates of Hell cannot remain permanently closed unless each person purifies his life and so live that the powers of the Priesthood may be received and exercised in full. Then we may bind Satan now This has to start first on an individual basis, each person individually~ then a group, then several groups, and so on until the whole earth is full of righteousness. Today is the time to prepare for the ushering in of that glorious time on the earth. This is why the gospel has been restored, with the plan, the keys, and the authority to administer therein. By each individual purifying his heart, we can bring about the Lord’s acceptance of us and the conditions that will bring deliverance and begin the millennium conditions here.
G. We have had such conditions on the earth to prove to us that it can be done. We have been involved in that doing. When the Lord told Enoch, ‘Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you,’ he did just that. He walked and talked with God. He preached repentance and many followed him, and in his days, the record says, ‘… he built a city that was called the City of Holiness, even ZION. ‘ Moses 7:19.
H. And all the days of Zion, in the days of Enoch, were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch and all his people walked with God, and He dwelt in the midst of Zion; and it came to pass that Zion was not, for God received it up into His own bosom; and from thence went forth the saying, ZION IS FLED. Moses 7:68-69
I. In the Book of Mormon another similar occasion is recorded. After Christ’s resurrection He visited the inhabitants of this continent. He established His Church and Kingdom among them, and the record in the Book of Mormon tells us they lived righteously for some two hundred years. (See 4 Ne.22. ) Surely Satan was bound then, by their righteous living.
“Because of the righteousness of His (the Lord’s) people, Satan had no power; wherefore he cannot be loosed for the space of many years (during the Millennium) ; for he hath no power over the hearts of the people, for they dwell in righteousness.” I Nephi 22:26
J. From the foregoing statements the following should be clearly evident:
1. There is no reason why we should not be—and every reason why we should be—NOW engaged in establishing Zion among ourselves.
2. That it “is as much one man’s business as anothers” (which includes everyone) to be engaged in that cause.
3. That the establishment of Zion (including the binding of Satan) starts in the individual heart, then spreads to a group (neighborhood), then to several groups then from city to city, and from nation to nation, until it covers the earth.
IX. THE “ZION LEVEL” AND THE MILLENNIUM
A. To those familiar with the scriptures it should be also evident that the “Zion Level’* (or way of life) is the “Millennial or “Terrestrial Level and that those who qualify to live during the Millennial reign of the Savior must rise to the Zion Level or they will be cast out of the Shekinah and be destroyed in the calamities which will precede the Savior’s coming. Indeed, such is the purpose of the great calamities of the Latter-days – to cleanse the earth of those who will not rise to the Zion Level. “Those only shall be able to abide that day of the destruction of the wicked, who are worthy to live on a paradisaical or terrestrial level.
B. “When the reign of Jesus Christ comes during the Millennium the honest and upright of all nations, kindreds, and beliefs, who have kept the terrestrial or celestial law will remain.” Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 3:63
C. “Who is going to prepare for the coming of the Messiah? Those who enjoy the Holy Ghost and live under the inspiration of the Almighty, who abide in Jesus Christ and bring forth fruit to the honor and glory of God. No other people will be.” Wilford Woodruff, J of D; 15:279
X. THE CHALLENGE
A. It becomes evident that though the Shekinah and the removal of the veil will make it easier and faster to create a Zion environment, the effort that is put forth now to develop ourselves into a Zion People and create as nearly as possible a Zion Environment is not wasted. In fact, all indications are that if we do not, the Shekinah cannot be put into place, or we will be cast out when it is. We should have no doubt as to our need to prepare ourselves for Zion. This indeed becomes our challenge.
1. “I am anxious that we should commence the growth of Zion in ourselves. . . Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 9:284
2. “It takes a Zion people to make a Zion society, and we must prepare for that.
B. Now if we wish to acquire the characteristics of a Zion People, walk on a Zion Level, and live in a Zion Society, we must apply the truths that we have learned, be diligent in finding our missions, be actively and anxiously engaged in those endeavors which are necessary individually and collectively to attain the Zion Level. That being the case, perhaps we should seriously ask ourselves:
a) Am I certain I want to attain a Zion Level
b) Am I willing to study and learn the requirements of a Zion Level?
Do you desire to make all the spiritual, emotional, and physical changes and growth in my life necessary to meet those requirements and rise to the Zion Level?