Thoughts on Zion
Utah’s Zion History
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