Early leaders determined to build a Zion in Utah

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Building Zion
Building Zion

By Jesse Fisher
In this 50th “Thoughts on Zion” article, we’re exploring the determination by the early LDS apostles and prophets to establish a Zion in Utah.

We start out with my favorite Brigham Young quote about building Zion, which always makes me smile: “I desire [Congress] to let us alone …. Let them attend to their own business, and we will build up Zion while they go to hell.” Bravo!

Brother Brigham also expressed his determination when he said, “If [the mobs] will not let us alone, we will take the musket and the sword in one hand, the trowel and the hammer in the other, and build up the Zion of our God; and they cannot prevent it.”

That determination also burned in the heart President John Taylor. In the October 1881 General Conference, he said, “… all heaven is interested in the work in which we are engaged; and whatever other men may think about these things, we know what we are doing, and we shall try, in the name of the Lord, and under His guidance and direction, to build up his Zion upon the earth … and [establish] not only the Church of Christ, but His Zion and the kingdom of God upon the earth.”

Then, a year later, “The work we are engaged in is not a phantom. We are going to build up the Zion of God; and the kingdom of God will continue to grow and increase, until ‘the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever.’ If we will be faithful, God will bless us and prosper us, and all things spoken in the Prophets will be fulfilled.”

Apostle Wilford Woodruff also shared the vision. In the October 1873 conference, he said, “But in spite of the follies that some among us delight in, we are going to build up Zion. We are going to fill these mountains with the cities and people of God. The weapons formed against Zion will be broken, and the nations of the Gentiles will visit her and their kings will come to the brightness of her rising.”

As president of the Quorum of the Twelve, Woodruff reaffirmed the goal in March of 1889 when he said, “We are living in a great day. These mountains are filled with Latter-day Saints, in fulfillment of the revelations of God. The Lord has commenced this work, and He is not going to leave it. I warn all men of that. Zion is going to be built up. Zion is going to be established. Zion is going to be clothed with the glory of God.”

Though that effort was shut down by the U.S. Government in the late 1880s, prophets suggests it must resume before Christ can return. Will it be by our hands, or does God need to find some other people to do it?

More at BuildingZion.org.