Build­ing Zion was once part of LDS Church’s 4-fold mis­sion

Serve Daily - - EMPOWERING LIBERTY - By Jesse Fisher

Re­mem­ber­when back in 1981, Pres­i­dent Spencer W. Kim­ball out­lined very suc­cinctly the three-fold mis­sion of the LDS Church? (Preach the gospel, re­deem the dead and per­fect the saints.) Un­for­tu­nately, no leader in the early days of the Church sat down and took the time to out­line its mis­sion is such a clear and dis­tinct way as Pres­i­dent Kim­ball. How­ever, in read­ing the more than 500 quotes by early LDS lead­ers about build­ing Zion, it be­came very clear what that mis­sion in­cluded. Here’s four quotes that are rep­re­sen­ta­tive:

In 1857, Brother Brigham said, “There is no time al­lot­ted to us to use out­side of the lim­its of duty. But in do­ing our duty, in serv­ing our God, in liv­ing our re­li­gion, in us­ing ev­ery pos­si­ble means to (1) send forth the Gospel of sal­va­tion to the in­hab­i­tants of the earth, (2) to gather Is­rael, and (3) es­tab­lish Zion, and (4) build up the king­dom of heaven upon the earth are in­cor­po­rated all bless­ings, all com­forts that men can de­sire” (num­ber­ing added).

Five years later, Apos­tle Daniel H. Wells said, “Here is the Mis­sion of the Saints to go and aid in the gath­er­ing of the poor, to la­bor here for the build­ing of the Tem­ple ... and pre­pare to re­deem Zion and to build up the waste places thereof, and to es­tab­lish the prin­ci­ples of right­eous­ness and truth upon the earth.”

In 1873, Apos­tle Eras­tus Snow said, “We are called to set our hearts upon the liv­ing God, who has called us to be his peo­ple .... If he gives us houses and lands, goods and chat­tels, gold and sil­ver ... re­ceive them with thanks­giv­ing, and hal­low and sanc­tify them and ded­i­cate and con­se­crate them to (1) the build­ing up of Zion, (2) the house of our God, (3) the gath­er­ing to­gether of his Saints, (4) the preach­ing of his Gospel to the ends of the earth ... where­unto God has called us in the lat­ter days.”

In 1878, within a year of Brigham’s death, Pres­i­dent John Tay­lor re­it­er­ated the Church’s mis­sion and build­ing Zion’s role in that mis­sion. He said, “... we have a mis­sion to per­form, and that is to preach the Gospel ... to build up his Zion upon the earth, and to pre­pare a peo­ple for the time when the burst­ing heav­ens will re­veal the Son of God ....”

Based on th­ese and 13 other sim­i­lar quotes, it ap­pears that the Church’s mis­sion at that time in­cluded four ma­jor el­e­ments:

1. Preach the gospel, 2. Gather the saints, 3. Erect tem­ples, and 4. Build Zion.

To­day’s “Per­fect the saints,” though not hav­ing its own dis­tinct pro­gram as the other two mis­sions do, is per­haps in­tended to pre­pare us to build Zion - even­tu­ally.

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