Doctrine & Covenants - Church History
“Zion—The Pure in Heart”
The word Zion has several meanings.
Zion has existed in previous dispensations.
The Saints of our dispensation have been commanded to establish Zion.
The scriptures include glorious promises about the future of Zion.
A study of this lesson will help us understand what the scriptures teach
about Zion and to inspire us in our efforts to establish Zion.
Scripture references for study:
Moses 7:12–19, 61–63, 68–69;
Articles of Faith 1:10; Our Heritage, pages
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 46 Handout (PDF
What Is Zion?
Elder Alexander B. Morrison: "The dream of a
better world is as old as mankind. From time immemorial, men and women of faith
and hope have dreamed of a Holy City, whose king is the Lord God Omnipotent; a
place of refuge for the righteous fleeing the storms of a wicked world; an abode
where peace is in every heart, where there is no fear nor want and all people
are brothers and sisters, where faith and purity shine in every face. That
place, in Judeo-Christian parlance, is called Zion." (Visions of
"We ought to have the building up of Zion as our
greatest object." (HC, 3:390)
"The building up of Zion is a cause that has interested
the people of God in every age; it is a theme upon which prophets, priests and
kings have dwelt with peculiar delight; they have looked forward with joyful
anticipation to the day in which we live." (TPJS, p231)
"The time is soon coming, when no man will have any
peace but in Zion and her stakes." (HC, 3:391)
WHAT IS ZION?
As stated by Elder Morrison, throughout the ages of time, the good people of the
world have sought for a society where people can live in peace and harmony,
where the inhabitants are cared for, and there is righteous justice.
In recent decades, those of us living here in the United States have enjoyed
unparalleled prosperity. Many thought that with the end of the cold war, this
prosperity and good life would continue and spread throughout the world. Shortly
after the beginning of the 21st Century those illusions were shattered as many
Internet companies declared bankruptcy. Many other businesses saw a reduction in
their growth and incurred losses rather than profits. The fragility of the
American economy was further shattered on September 11th when terrorists
attacked the United States in New York and Washington, D.C. Since then, airlines have struggled, even laying off thousands of employees. This had a
ripple effect throughout the economy. Though the economy recovered for a
period, it has been shattered by the mortgage crisis, with unemployment
climbing. There continues an uneasiness in the
country about the international situation and further terrorist attacks. Iran
talks of destroying the nation of Israel. There is still
homelessness in our cities, crime on the streets, and families struggling with
domestic violence. Conditions throughout the world are often much
worse. Poverty, oppression, and slavery continue.
What is the answer to these problems? The answer is simple: The gospel of
Jesus Christ as embodied in the concepts of Zion.
Though I am still continuing to struggle to bring my life in conformity with the
principles of Zion, this grand and wonderful concept has captured my
imagination. A few years ago I attempted to write a fictional story that would
embody the quest for a Zion society. This story began in the earliest years of
Church history with a fictional family, the Marshalls. The Marshall family lived
in Colesville, New York, at the time of the Restoration and were acquainted
with the Joseph Knight family. The principle character is Daniel Marshall, a boy
in his upper teens. His father and mother, James and Katherine, have led the
family in a search for the Lord's church, without success. I would like to quote
a portion of the story to illustrate the desire for a Zion society by good
people throughout the ages (note: this story is unedited and remains
With a raging
blizzard outside, the Marshall home seemed especially cozy on this winter
night. A toasty fire burned in the fireplace and the stove glowed with
heat. After a hearty supper that warmed cold stomachs, the family gathered
around the table for Bible reading. It was father Marshall's turn to
read on this night.
often commented on the reading. This night was no
exception: "Tonight we continue reading in the second chapter of Acts. Last
night we read about our Lord ascending into heaven and the choosing of Matthias
to fill the place of Judas as an apostle."
began reading to the family of the day of Pentecost, the miraculous pouring out
of the Holy Spirit, and Peter's testimony of the resurrected Lord. He read on to
verse thirty-seven where the listeners were "pricked in their heart" and asked
the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Peter responded by saying,
"Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the
remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." A few
verses later he read that those who "gladly received his word" were baptized and
three thousands souls were added to the body of believers.
paused at this point, contemplating that which he had read. The family watched
and waited for him to continue. "These verses instruct us in the doctrine
of Jesus Christ as taught by his apostles. Peter taught that we must be baptized
in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and then we would receive
the gift of the Holy Ghost. How does one do that? I don't
know. Your mother and I have both been baptized, but we did not feel the power
that was present on the day of Pentecost. We have attended many churches and
heard many ministers, but none taught with the power that Peter
possessed." Mother Marshall nodded in agreement with the words of her husband.
Marshall again paused and then continued reading. In verses forty-four and forty-five
he read, "And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And
sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had
Marshall stopped reading and said, "The apostles taught the people the
true love of Christ. They exemplified it by sharing their possessions with those
that were in need. Certainly this is true Christianity and must be found amongst
his true followers."
continued reading the book of Acts into the third and fourth chapters. The
family enjoyed listening to their father read as he read with a love and passion
for the word of God. It was a cold night. The wind could be heard blowing
all felt warm and secure together, listening to the Holy Scriptures, on this
Again, in the
fourth chapter, Father Marshall read about the early followers of Christ and how
they gave their possessions to the apostles for distribution to those in
need. Father Marshall stopped reading, "We have read how the early followers of
Christ brought their possessions to the apostles. The apostles then distributed
the gifts of the people to those who stood in need. We read how these people had
all things in common."
"Imagine living in a
world where everyone works for the common good of all. Imagine the love and
unity that would exist. We live among many fine people. However, we often seem to be in
competition with one another rather than working for the common good. Suppose we
all worked together here in Colesville as did the ancient followers of
Christ. We would bring our harvest to the town square for division among all our
neighbors. They would do the same. We would work to help each other in time of
need. Ol' man Johnson had to give up his farm and move to Binghamton to live
with his son. He didn't have the strength or resources to keep up his farm. I
visited with Mr. Johnson before he left. He hated to give up his farm. He tore
that farm from the forest more than twenty-years ago. If we all lived as
described here in Acts, we would have helped Mr. Johnson work his farm. We would
have given that which he needed to continue to live on his beautiful farm. I
simply ask, where is the church or the preacher that teaches the gospel as it
was taught by our Lord and Master and his apostles after his death?"
carefully to his father. This was a theme his father touched upon from time to
time. He thought how wonderful it would be to live in such a community as his
father described. All contributing to help one another. Not because they were
forced, but because they loved each other. Such a community would not have men
who became drunk, caused problems at home, and became neglectful of their duties
on the farm. Such a community would not have competition between religions with
each trying to recruit from the other. All would pull together to see that all
were fed, clothed, and comfortably housed. What a wonderful place his father
described. Could there be such a place?
Daniel then thought
about his father reading of the Lord's apostles and how they led the church
after the Lord's death and resurrection. He remembered that Mr. Knight had
told him that three of the Lord's ancient apostles, Peter, James, and John had
visited Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and granted them the authority and power
of the ancient apostles which they had received from Jesus Christ. Could all of
this be in fulfillment of his father's lifelong dreams? When would they get a
chance to meet Joseph Smith and learn about his claims?
As the Marshall family concluded their Bible reading for the night, the winter
winds continued to howl and the snow continued to fall. The storm did not appear
to be letting up. And on this harsh winter night, a knowledge of the truth for
the Marshall family seemed as distant as the warm days of spring. (Quest
Are not all good people seeking for such a place as described by James
Marshall? The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's
bringing this concept to a reality.
The pure in heart.
"Therefore, verily, thus saith the Lord, let Zion
rejoice, for this is Zion—THE PURE IN HEART; therefore, let Zion rejoice, while
all the wicked shall mourn." (D&C 97:21)
Anciently, the prophet Enoch was instrumental in building a great city of
righteousness: "And the Lord called his people
ZION, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness;
and there was no poor among them." (Moses 7:18)
Brigham Young: "If we go to the Scriptures we
shall find that the Zion of God is composed of the pure in heart. Brethren and
sisters, have you Zion within you? If Jesus Christ is not in you, the apostle
says, 'then are ye reprobates.' [2 Cor. 13:5.] Be careful that no man takes
advantage of you, leads you astray, and causes you to leave the Church and
Kingdom of God, apostatize, and go down to hell. If you have Jesus and the
Kingdom of God within you, then the Zion of God is here." (JD, 12:60)
Elder Orson F. Whitney: "Yet it is none the less
significant: for as the mountain towers above the plain, as the great peaks of
these ranges lift their heads above the valleys where we dwell, so must the Zion
of God, the pure in heart, be lifted up, not in pride and vanity, but by their
purity and righteousness above the level of the rest of mankind. Therefore,
Zion, in its temporal and in its spiritual significance, means something high
and lifted up, and it is in this sense that the prophets of old used it when
speaking of Mount Zion, meaning not only that little hill in the city of
Jerusalem, but in its grander and broader significance, the people of God, the
pure in heart, who were to rise above and become superior to the rest of
mankind." (Collected Discourses, vol 1)
When we mention the word Zion, we often think of the city of Zion, the New
Jerusalem, that will be established with its center in Jackson County,
Missouri. Anciently, the Lord called the people of Enoch
Zion. Why? Because they lived in perfect unity. Because they were truly
righteous. Because they cared for all, rich and poor. In our time, the Lord has
defined Zion as "the pure in heart." I have listed below a number of physical
descriptions of Zion. One thing is certain, there is no city of Zion without a
people who are pure in heart, righteous, and full of charity. The city or cities
of Zion become just that when the "pure in heart" dwell there.
I think that if we fully believe and understand this
doctrine, then we can move forward in establishing Zion wherever we are. We can
establish a Zion within ourselves, within our homes, our wards, our communities,
and within the Church as a whole. When we enter the front door of our home, we
have entered Zion, if we have become unified within our families and work
together for the temporal and spiritual good of each other.
Elder Alexander B. Morrison: "In its complete
sense, then, Zion remains for us the golden, flawless ideal, the dream of what
we may become if we are worthy, the goal toward which we must labor, the
paradise which though now lost may yet be regained. The dream of establishing
Zion thus is a dream of perfection that deals with the conquest of the heart
rather than with constructing buildings or paving streets with gold. It calls us
to subdue and purify our passions, to overcome the carnality of the natural man;
and to become 'as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love,
willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [us],
even as a child doth submit to his father'." (Visions of Zion,
The city of Enoch.
"And Enoch continued his preaching in righteousness
unto the people of God. And it came to pass in his days, that he built a city
that was called the City of Holiness, even ZION." (Moses 7:19)
"Enoch built a city that was called the City of
Holiness, even Zion. The preaching of the Prophet Enoch was met with so much
success that the number of God's people waxed even greater than the place of
their habitation could contain. He therefore built a city and dedicated it to
the purposes of God. He called it the CITY OF HOLINESS, EVEN ZION after the
people of God." (Commentary on the Pearl of Great Price, p223)
Wilford Woodruff: "He [Enoch] stood at the head
of the dispensation in which he lived. He, in the course of time, some 350
years, built and perfected the city called Zion. He, however, met with all kinds
of opposition from the people among whom he labored; but the power of God was
manifested to such an extent that his enemies stood and trembled through fear;
and through that power he was enabled to perform the mighty work which he and
his people did; it was not because the devil and his party were any more kindly
disposed towards the Saints of God, but because they could not help themselves;
and in the wisdom of God, Enoch and his people and their city were taken away
from the earth." (JD, 24:53.)
Elder James E. Talmage: "The Church in this day
teaches that the New Jerusalem seen by John and by the prophet Ether, as
descending from the heavens in glory, is the return of exalted Enoch and his
righteous people; and that the people or Zion of Enoch, and the modern Zion, or
the gathered saints on the western continent, will become one people."
(Articles of Faith, p318)
The ancient city of Jerusalem.
"Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all
the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel,
unto king Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up the ark of the covenant
of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion." (1 Kings 8:1)
The Jewish people have continued to use this word in reference to Jerusalem.
"The name "Zionism" comes from the word "Zion," which
was the name of a stronghold in Jerusalem. Over time, the term 'Zion' came to be
applied to Jerusalem in general, and later to the Jewish idea of utopia."
(web site: Judaism 101)
"In the late 1800s, Theodor Herzl and Chaim Weizmann
founded Zionism, a political movement dedicated to the creation of a Jewish
state in Israel. They saw the state of Israel as a necessary refuge for Jewish
victims of oppression, especially in Russia, where pogroms were decimating the
Jewish population." (Ibid.)
Consider the words of the national anthem of Israel, Ha-Tikvah (The Hope):
As long as deep within the heart
The Jewish soul is warm
And toward the edges of the east
An eye to Zion looks
Our hope is not yet lost,
The hope of two thousand years
To be a free people in our own land
In the land of Zion and Jerusalem.
To be a free people in our own land
In the land of Zion and Jerusalem.
The Church and its stakes.
"For Zion must increase in beauty, and in holiness; her
borders must be enlarged; her stakes must be strengthened; yea, verily I say
unto you, Zion must arise and put on her beautiful garments." (D&C
In a later revelation the Lord makes reference to the "stakes" as being the
"curtains or the strength of Zion" (see D&C 101:21). The stakes "are established as protected enclaves of spiritual strength and
righteousness around the globe, symbolically holding the curtains around God's
presence in the Church and among his people, in preparation for the
establishment of the New Jerusalem (D&C 115:6; Isa. 4:6) and the rebuilding of
the 'old' Jerusalem in the Holy Land." (Encyclopedia of Mormonism,
Elder James E. Talmage: "But gathered Israel
cannot be confined to the 'center place,' nor to the region immediately
adjacent; other places have been and will be appointed, and these are called
Stakes of Zion. Many stakes have been established in the regions inhabited by
the Latter-day Saints, to be permanent possessions; and thence will go those who
are appointed from among the worthy to receive possessions of their
inheritances." (Articles of Faith, p319)
Without question, the Church as organized in stakes throughout the world, is a
form of Zion. We are all working together in this great cause of seeking
for the ideals embodied in the concept of Zion. The Church is the vehicle
through which this effort is organized.
The New Jerusalem, which will be built in Missouri.
"Hearken, O ye elders of my church, saith the Lord your
God, who have assembled yourselves together, according to my commandments, in
this land, which is the land of Missouri, which is the land which I have
appointed and consecrated for the gathering of the saints. Wherefore, this is
the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion."
"And with one heart and with one mind, gather up your
riches that ye may purchase an inheritance which shall hereafter be appointed
unto you. And it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of
refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the Most High God; And the glory of
the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there,
insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion."
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "The New Jerusalem to be
built in Jackson County, Missouri, is also called the City of Zion or Zion.
Dozens of revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants speak about this Zion.
Isaiah and other of the ancient prophets have much to say both about it and
about the Jerusalem of old which shall be restored in grandeur and beauty in the
last days. These two great cities, dual world capitals, are needed to fulfil the
great millennial promise: 'Out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of
the Lord from Jerusalem.' (Isa. 23)." (Mormon Doctrine, p855)
This physical city of Zion, to be established in Independence, Missouri, is an
exciting idea to members of the Church. It has been designated as the New
Jerusalem, one of the two capitals from which the Savior will reign on this
earth through the Millennium.
Joseph Fielding Smith: "Shortly after the
organization of the Church the Lord revealed that the time would come when the
New Jerusalem, or Zion, would be built on this continent. Naturally the members
of the Church were anxious to know where this city would be built. After the
Lord had led missionaries west into Missouri the revelation came and the place
for the city was made known. Naturally the saints were anxious to find
inheritances in this holy place. They were instructed this could be done only by
complying with the laws of the celestial kingdom, for this was the edict on
which Zion should be built.... It was also made known that in this city there
should be a glorious temple, but only on principles of righteousness could the
city be built with its temple. The spot for the temple was chosen in
Independence and at some future day it will be built, when the Lord has prepared
the way, and Zion is redeemed.
"While the members of the Church
were gathering in Jackson County, the Prophet prepared a plat for the city for
he wished it to be built on correct principles from the very start. Of course
this city has not been built because the saints were prevented by their enemies
who robbed them and drove them from their homes. The drawing of the plat,
however, has been preserved. In June 1833, according to the description, it
contains measurements representing one mile square. All the squares in the plot
were to be ten acres square. The lots were laid off alternately in the squares,
one running from south to north to the line through the center of the square;
the next, the lots running from east to west to the center of the line.... The
Prophet estimated that this plan would permit space for twenty thousand
people.... As the city grew other squares could be laid off as needed, 'and so
fill up the world in these last days, and let every man live in the city for
this is the city of Zion.'....
"There are to be twelve temples
in the City. The idea is quite general that there is to be but one grand temple,
but there are to be temples for various purposes....
"The purpose for which these
twelve temples were to be built, the nature of the work of them, is not
explained, except as it may be surmised from the descriptions. The great work,
however, in the central, commanding temple was without question to be for all
the ordinances for the living and the dead such as we have in our temples today.
The plan of this temple was similar in some respects to the one built in
Kirtland and in Nauvoo. However, when that temple is erected and the glory of
the Lord rests upon it, it will be the House of the Lord for the salvation of
the souls of men. In it the endowment and sealing ordinances will be performed
for living and dead. The baptismal font may be placed in one of the other
temples, although it is needless for us to speculate in relation to this. There
will be temples for ordinances and duties to be performed, not only by the
brethren holding the Melchizedek Priesthood, but there will be temples for the
labors of the brethren in the Aaronic Priesthood, and each will have its
definite purpose." (CHMR, 2:173-175)
Brigham Young and Joseph Smith provide a broader definition of Zion:
Joseph Smith: "The
whole of America is Zion itself from north to south, and is described by the
Prophets, who declare that it is the Zion where the mountain of the Lord should
be, and that it should be in the center of the land."
Brigham Young: "And what
is Zion? In one sense Zion is the pure in heart. But is there a land that ever
will be called Zion? Yes, brethren. What land is it? It is the land that the
Lord gave to Jacob, who bequeathed it to his son Joseph, and his posterity, and
they inhabit it, and that land is North and South America. That is Zion as to
land, as to territory, and location. The children of Zion have not yet much in
their possession, but their territory is North and South America to begin with."
The dwelling place of those who are exalted.
"But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of
the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in
heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made
perfect." (Hebrews 12:23)
"These are they who are come unto Mount Zion, and unto
the city of the living God, the heavenly place, the holiest of all. These are
they who have come to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly
and church of Enoch, and of the Firstborn. These are they whose names are
written in heaven, where God and Christ are the judge of all. These are they who
are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who
wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood."
Brother Hugh Nibley: "Zion is a code word
denoting a very real thing. Zion is any community in which the celestial order
prevails. Zion is 'the pure in heart' (D&C 97:21), but Zion is also a real city
or any number of real cities. It is a constant; it is unchanging. There are
Zions among all the worlds, and there are Zions that come and go. Zion is a
constant in time and place—it belongs to the order of the eternities. We're not
making Zion here, but we're preparing the ground to receive it. As the Lord
says, 'My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to
receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will
not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom' (D&C 136:31)."
(Approaching Zion, p4)
Seek To Bring Forth And Establish The Cause Of Zion
"Now, as you have asked, behold, I say unto you,
keep my commandments, and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of
Zion." (D&C 6:6; see also
Principles for establishing Zion:
"And, now, behold, if Zion do these things she
shall prosper, and spread herself and become very glorious, very great,
and very terrible. And the nations of the earth shall honor her, and shall
say: Surely Zion is the city of our God, and surely Zion cannot fall, neither
be moved out of her place, for God is there, and the hand of the Lord is
there." (D&C 97:18)
Strive to be pure in heart.
- "...for this is Zion—THE PURE IN HEART"
- WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
- Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet: "When
we live in such a way that our desires are appropriate and are but reflected by
our righteous actions, then we are said to be pure in heart. To be pure in heart
is to be single, focused, riveted, aligned with the ways and will of the
Almighty. It is to have no desires but desires for righteousness. When a
Latter-day Saint is pure in heart, he seeks to build up and establish the cause
of Zion; Zion is the pure in heart." (Doctrinal Commentary on the
Book of Mormon, 4:67)
- WHAT DOES THIS MEAN IN A REAL LIFE SENSE?
- President Stephen L. Richards: "A man of the priesthood, we will say, is associated in
business, a club life, and in other capacities, with a man of the world. This
man may be his neighbor. He sees his neighbor on a Sunday morning out on the
porch smoking his pipe and reading the newspaper or he sees him go off to a golf
game, or on a fishing trip. It all looks relaxing and pleasant to him, and then
he forgets who he is and where he is. He forgets that he has been commissioned
as a servant of God, and he forgets that he is in Zion and forgetting, he steps
out of Zion into the world, not all in one step, sometimes so gradually that the
change is almost imperceptible to him, and he is loath to acknowledge his new
status. He persuades himself that this comfortable, easy life is very enjoyable.
"Then he goes farther—farther than he intended. He succumbs to many practices he
once abhorred. He stops paying tithing, and the twinges of conscience he once
had about forsaking duty gradually subside. He is comfortably out of Zion. After
awhile he comes to the realization that his growing sons are disposed to ape his
own practices, as he does those of the world." (CR, Oct 1951)
- Becoming pure
in heart does not just happen because we will it, but comes over time as we seek
the Lord, seek to truly understand his word, repent and seek to overcome
temptation and give of ourselves in selfless service.
- Elder Joseph Fielding Smith: "Now, we are in the
presence of temptation, we are in the presence of grievous sin. It was
understood in the beginning, for we were informed before we came here, that we
would be confronted with all these earthly conditions, and be subject to
temptation; but it does not necessarily follow that because temptation is before
us, we have to yield to it. It is the overcoming of the world, the overcoming of
sin, that makes us strong, and prepares us for things yet to come. The man who
yields to every appetite and every desire of the flesh cannot receive
exaltation, because he does not prepare himself for and make himself worthy of
it." (CR, Apr 1933)
We must be willing to give up the things of the world.
Brigham Young: "I am more afraid of covetousness
in our elders than I am of the hordes of hell. Have we men out now of that
class? I believe so. I am afraid of such spirits; for they are more powerful
and injurious to this people than all hell outside of our borders. All
our enemies . . . and all hell with them marshalled against us, could not
do us the injury that covetousness in the hearts of this people could do."
President Stephen L. Richards: "Perhaps
the greatest threat to both our unity and our progress in Zion is that
of indifference and neglect. These deficiencies are not new. They have
existed in some degree throughout our history. I am forced to believe that
they have increased as a deterrent force in recent years. I believe also
that this regrettable indifference to duty and opportunity is in large
measure ascribable to 'aping the ways of the world'." (CR, Oct
President Harold B. Lee: "I have had great
difficulty understanding how a people who are not able to sacrifice to
a point where they can pay a tenth of their interest annually . . . are
more than 10% ready for the United Order." (CR, Oct 1941)
We need to change our vision from ourselves to the good of all. We
need to be concerned for the sick and needy. We need to be sacrificing
for the building of temples. We need to share the gospel and our
vision of Zion with others.
Be united as a people.
"Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable,
and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye
are not mine." (D&C 38:27)
Joseph Smith: "'How pleasing it is for brethren
to dwell together in unity!' Let the Saints of the Most High ever cultivate
this principle, and the most glorious blessings must result, not only to
them individually, but to the whole Church." (HC, 4:227)
Elder Orson F. Whitney: "How was this miracle
of Enoch's city accomplished? Not by an empty and vain profession of righteousness;
not by men seeking themselves, and their own honor and glory; not by heaping
up gold and silver and precious stones; not by making a golden calf and
bowing down and worshiping it; not by the rich grinding under heel the
poor; not by the proud despising the humble; not by the poor hating and
envying the rich. It was not done by loving the things of this world. But
it was by the practice of the grand principle of self-denial, the principle
of sacrifice—the foundation stone of the great fabric of human salvation.
"'The Lord called his people
Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind.' Do I need to expatiate
to this congregation upon the benefits which flow from unity? Need I repeat
that ancient axiom: 'United we stand, divided we fall?' Need I show to
you that power dwells in union, in coming together, just as you Latter-day
Saints have come together in this dispensation, this dispensation of gathering,
of unity, and consequently of power? No, I do not need to argue with you
upon this point, to prove to you that power invariably dwells in the midst
of a people who are united, who are of one heart and mind. This was the
state of the people of Enoch; and this is one of the reasons why they were
worthy of the name Zion—'because they were of one heart and one mind.'
They all believed alike; they were not torn asunder by various opinions,
by conflicting views and notions, by divers interpretations of the things
of God; but they had ascended in the scale of intelligence, of spirituality,
to that glorious plane where they saw eye to eye, each man with his neighbor,
and all saw God alike, so far as they were capable of comprehending Him
and His purposes. 'And they dwelt in righteousness.' Need I argue to convince
you that a righteous people are a powerful people, and that it is by the
righteousness of His Saints that the Lord will redeem Zion? Do we not know
that sin and iniquity bring weakness and destruction? Do we not know that
the tendency of error and wrong-doing are ever downward, while the tendency
of truth and righteousness are ever upward; and that they who attach themselves
to the principles of the Gospel of Christ by the faithful practice thereof,
will go onward, upward, just as the city of Enoch rose above its surroundings
of this fallen world? 'And there was no poor among them.' Here was another
grand principle. There were no rich in Zion. There were no poor in Zion.
Zion, in that day, was not under the ban which God has placed upon this
generation. He says: 'It is not given that one man should possess that
which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin.' Thus, one of
the reasons that the Lord gives today why the world lieth in sin, is because
one man possesses above another. There is not that equality, consequently
not that unity, not that fraternity, not that love, that freedom from envy,
jealousy, strife and jarring, that must prevail when the Zion of God is
fully established." (Collected Discourses, vol 1)
- Though a lengthy quotation, Elder Whitney clearly describes the Zion
society established by Enoch and how we can also achieve that great ideal. A
primary key is that of unity. When there is unity, there is strength, power,
and righteousness. While I was on my mission, I had one companion in
particular in which we were able to achieve incredible unity in purpose and in
the practice of everyday missionary life. We were together for just four and
one-half months, but it was by far the most successful period of my mission. I
attribute the success of that time to the near total and complete unity which
we enjoyed during that period.
Live the laws and commandments of the gospel.
Brigham Young: "As to the spirit of Zion,
it is in the hearts of the Saints, of those who love and serve the Lord
with all their might, mind, and strength." (JD, 2:253)
President Gordon B. Hinckley:
"I see a wonderful future
in a very uncertain world. If we will cling to our values, if we will build
on our inheritance, if we will walk in obedience before the Lord, if we
will simply live the gospel, we will be blessed in a magnificent and wonderful
way. We will be looked upon as a peculiar people who have found the key
to a peculiar happiness.
"'And many people shall
go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord … : for
out of Zion shall
go forth the law, and the word of the Lord
from Jerusalem' (Isaiah 2:3).
"Great has been our past,
wonderful is our present, glorious can be our future." (CR,
Earlier in this lesson I quoted from my story of the Marshall family. The story continues by chronicling the Marshall family. It is a story
of their struggles as members of the Church and their "quest" through several
generations for a Zion society. We often talk of Zion, but we need
to fire within ourselves and our families an intense vision of a Zion society. We need to move forward and do those things in our lives that will create
such a society in our homes and our wards. As we do so, Zion will
continue to blossom in a wonderful way and we will be the inheritors of
the great vision seen by prophets throughout the ages.
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
- Record your thoughts on Zion. What can you do to "seek to bring forth and
establish the cause of Zion"?
Resources Used In This Lesson
Approaching Zion by Hugh Nibley.
Articles of Faith by James E. Talmage.
Church History and Modern Revelation by Joseph Fielding
Collected Discourses edited by Brian H. Stuy.
Commentary on the Pearl of Great Price by George
Reynolds and Janne M. Sjodahl.
Conference Reports (CR).
Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Volume 4, by Joseph Fielding
McConkie and Robert L. Millet.
Encyclopedia of Mormonism edited by Daniel H. Ludlow.
History of the Church (HC).
Journal of Discourses (JD).
Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie.
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding
Visions of Zion by Alexander B. Morrison.
Web site: Judaism 101
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
11 November 2013