THOUGHTS ON ZION Re­viv­ing Lorenzo's step­ping stone to Zion

Serve Daily - - THOUGHTS ON ZION - By Jesse Fisher for Serve Daily

Early LDS lead­ers taught that the New Jerusalem Zion would be built be­fore Christ makes his tri­umphant re­turn. Some of us (or our chil­dren) will be called upon to as­sist in build­ing the New Jerusalem Zion so­ci­ety. Will we be ready? What can we do to bet­ter pre­pare our­selves and our pos­ter­ity for that honor?

It proved an in­sur­mount­able chal­lenge for the early Utah Saints to re­main on the Ce­les­tial level eco­nom­i­cally. Within 2 years of Brigham Young or­ga­niz­ing all the mem­bers into United Or­ders, well over 90% of those or­ders failed. As a group, they were un­able to suc­cess­fully make the tran­si­tion in one gen­er­a­tion from the Te­les­tial-level eco­nomics of dog-eat-dog com­pet­i­tive Free En­ter­prise to the Ce­les­tial-level Law of Con­se­cra­tion and Stew­ard­ship. Aware of their chal­lenge to suc­cess­fully tran­si­tion, how can we im­prove our chances that we can one day per­ma­nently cross that chasm be­tween the Te­les­tial and Ce­les­tial-level eco­nomic cul­tures?

Utah's own his­tory shows the way. Clearly, the early Saints needed a step­ping stone to help them make the tran­si­tion. Early Church lead­ers taught that co-op­er­a­tives were that step­ping stone to Zion's eco­nomic sys­tem. To as­sist the body of the Church in mak­ing the tran­si­tion, the Brethren called on them to fully em­brace Co­op­er­a­tive Free En­ter­prise, or “Co­op­er­a­tion” as they called it. In co­op­er­a­tives, the point is not for a few busi­ness own­ers to get rich, but to spread eco­nomic ben­e­fit among ev­ery­one who par­tic­i­pates in the busi­ness. They taught that co­op­er­a­tion would help the Saints ac­quire two of the three at­tributes of a Zion so­ci­ety men­tioned by the Lord in Moses 7 – to be­come “of one heart and one mind” and to achieve “no poor among them” sta­tus.

We to­day can in­crease our ca­pac­ity to live in a Zion cul­ture by par­tic­i­pat­ing in that same “step­ping stone to the Or­der of Enoch”, and we don't even need to wait to be com­manded! We can choose to do so un­der D&C 57's good-things-of-their- own-will clause. We can do it by fol­low­ing Lorenzo Snow's strat­egy that yielded re­mark­able re­sults in mak­ing Brigham City into a world-renown ex­am­ple of Co­op­er­a­tive Free En­ter­prise in the 1870s.

Here’s how he did it: 1. Es­tab­lished a sin­gle co­op­er­a­tive gen­eral store. 2. The prof­its were used to es­tab­lish new co­op­er­a­tives to man­u­fac­ture con­sumer goods that oth­er­wise had to be im­ported. 3. Each new co­op­er­a­tive sold its goods through the orig­i­nal co-op store.

To­day, I and some fel­low “Zion­ists” are tak­ing baby steps to re­vive El­der Snow's strat­egy, but we're do­ing it on­line. We ex­pect it will even­tu­ally help those in­volved to pre­pare to live higher-level eco­nomics in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the day when the Lord calls the Church to build the of­fi­cial Zion so­ci­ety in Jack­son County. Read more about it at ZionBuilders.org.

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