‘Newsflash: You Are Living in Babylon’

Building Zion
Building Zion

Got a big kick out of Tanner Gilliland‘s blog post on MillenialMormons.com. Its title was “Newsflash: You Are Living in Babylon!”

Why is this important to understand? Not realizing we live in Babylon prevents us from seeing that our day-to-day environment is saturated with Babylon’s pride-based values and, more importantly, that they are rubbing off on us — and, leading society in the opposite direction of Zion.

In an eye-opening General Conference talk entitled “Zion in the Midst of Babylon,” Elder David R. Stone makes these two points:
1. We live in Babylon.
Actually, Elder Stone tiptoes around this point. Here’s the closest he comes to declaring that we live in Babylon: “We see Babylon in our cities; we see Babylon in our communities; we see Babylon everywhere.”
2. Babylon’s values rub off on us.
This point Elder Stone makes plainly: “Seduced by our culture, we often hardly recognize our idolatry, as our strings are pulled by that which is popular in the Babylonian world,” and “even our friends are encouraging us to give in to the idolatry of the times.”

He also gives an example supporting this idea from ancient times:
“During the days of ancient Israel, the people of the Lord were an island of the one true God, surrounded by an ocean of idolatry. The waves of that ocean crashed incessantly upon the shores of Israel. Despite the commandment to make no graven image and bow down before it, Israel seemingly could not help itself, influenced by the culture of the place and time.”

He then points out that we today are also strongly influenced by Babylon’s culture in which we live:
“Our culture tends to determine what foods we like, how we dress, what constitutes polite behavior, what sports we should follow, what our taste in music should be, the importance of education and our attitudes toward honesty. It also influences men as to the importance of recreation or religion, influences women about the priority of career or childbearing, and has a powerful effect on how we approach procreation and moral issues. All too often, we are like puppets on a string, as our culture determines what is ‘cool.'”

Convinced? Hope so.

Elder Stone then makes the point that, “We can create the real Zion among us by limiting the extent to which Babylon will influence our lives.” I would add that the society in which we live leads us either toward Babylon and her destruction or toward Zion and her realization.

So, what if, what if we limited “the extent to which Babylon can influence our lives” by creating social institutions — schools, clubs and businesses — that are saturated with Zion’s values instead of Babylon’s? By doing so, we would also be following the divine mandate to “build Zion.” Which is just what we’re trying to do at AlpineValleyAcademy.org, a school-based in mutual respect and humility, not rigid hierarchies and pride.

Discuss at BuildingZion.org.