Building Zion was once part of LDS Church’s 4-fold mission
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.
Read more at BuildingZion.org.