By Jesse Fisher
During the early 1870s, LDS leaders spoke about how the Saints left ‘Babylon’ for Utah. Have we left Babylon behind us?
“We are living in that eventful time, and the Lord has set his hand to gather his people. He has called them forth out of Babylon…. that they receive not of her plagues and that they partake not of her sins.
“We do not want to bring Babylon here — the gathering place appointed by the Lord for his people; but we want to take every precaution and to adopt every preventive measure in our power to stay the inroads of the evils which characterize Babylon, which are so condemned in the laws of God, and which are so repugnant to the spirit of the gospel.” – Joseph F. Smith, 1871
“You know that we are creatures subject to all the vanities of the world, and very subject to admiring its fashions. We have left Babylon, and instead of introducing it here we want it to stay yonder, and just as much as we can, no, that is the wrong word—just as much as we will….” – Brigham Young, 1872
“We are told by the Revelator John, that a time would come when the people of God should be commanded to come out of Babylon, out of confusion, when they should be gathered out from every nation, from the remotest parts of the earth, and when he should make of them a great and mighty people.
“What are you here for? What did you come for? Virtually you all say you left Babylon and came here to build up the kingdom of God.” – Brigham Young, 1872
“We see a partial fulfillment of this prediction in this Territory—this people are gathered from various lands, and are dwelling together in peace and in union, without litigation, animosity or strife, all harmonizing together—their interests blended in one.” – George Q. Cannon, 1872
In the last few Ward Councils I’ve attended, my fellow ward members complained about how wicked society has become. They were appalled by the evil their children are exposed to every day at school, on TV, and on the Internet. Yet, we choose to remain active participants in Babylon’s social institutions – we keep sending our children to compulsion-based school systems and we continue to work and shop at businesses that “oppress the hireling in his wages”. We help perpetuate Babylon by our participation in it. We can do better.
We could instead “do many good things of [our] own free will” by working together to help create and support freedom-based schools and worker-owned cooperatives. Both are stepping stones to Zion.
In April 2006, Elder David R. Stone said, “We can live as a Zion people, if we wish to.” And, in October 2002, Elder Keith B. McMullin said, “Zion comes not as a gift but because virtuous covenant people are drawn together and build it.”
Let’s start building!