Thoughts on Zion

Utah’s Zion His­tory

Serve Daily - - LIBERTY SHALL BE MAINTAINED - By Jesse Fisher

The Mor­mon lead­ers in the 1800s were fo­cused on build­ing a Zion so­ci­ety here in the Moun­tain West, not in some ephe­meral way, but in a very real here­and­now, br ick and mor­tar kind of way.

The doct r ine of build­ing a Zion so­ci­ety was cent ral to the Gospel mes­sage be­ing preached. We see in an 1852 Con­fer­ence talk that Pres­i­dent Brigham Young men­tions three pri­mary doct r ines be­ing taught to con­ver ts. He said, “If I lay down the Book of Mor­mon, I shall have to deny that [ 1] Joseph is a Prophet; and if I lay down the doct r ine and cease to preach [ 2] the gather ing of Is­rael and [ 3] the build­ing up of Zion… I might as well go home as un­der take to preach with­out these three items.”

Pres­i­dent Young then shows these doc­trines were be­ing widely taught, “When you had obeyed the f i r st or­di­nances of the Gospel, then you dis­cov­ered that the Lord [ had] set his hand to gather Is­rael, that Zion might be built up and Is­rael gath­ered f rom the four winds. These doct r ines have been taught and re- taught again and again.”

Ap­par­ently some of the mis­siona r ies got car r ied away de­scr ib­ing Zion. Young noted, “I am aware that some Elders who go for th and preach long and pi­ous ser­mons, fre­quent ly rep­re­sent Zion as one of the most de­light­some places in the world, as if the people in Salt Lake City were so pure and holy tha t the f lame of sanc­tity would al­most singe the hair off a com­mon man’s head. Other s sup­pose when they come here, that they are to be fed, clothed, and housed in­de­pen­dent of their own exer tions.” He then said, “I would tell them the f irst things they might ex­pect to meet in Zion, viz: to leap into the mire and help to f ill up a mud hole, to make adobes with their sleeves rolled up, and be spat­tered with clay from head to foot; and that some would be set to ditch­ing in Zion… and that they might ex­pect to eat their bread by the sweat of their brow, as in their na­tive count ry.”

That last state­ment shows how Pres­i­dent Young saw the build­ing of Zion as a tem­po­ral en­deavor. In fact, he ap­par­ently saw it as his pri­mary task when he stated, “We have no busi­ness here other than to build up and es­tab­lish the Zion of God.” What’s our busi­ness? © 2014 by Jesse Fisher Build­ingZion. org

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