Zion: One of three grand foundations

Building Zion
Building Zion

Ten issues ago, this column included quotes by early LDS apostles and prophets showing they saw Zion as something other than the Mormon Church or the prophesied New Jerusalem. Among the now more than 700 quotes gathered from talks given during Utah’s territorial years are 11 suggesting that the same leaders saw Zion as one of three separate but interconnected foundational organizations of the Lord’s people: the Church, the Kingdom and Zion. Saving the best for last, let’s review four of those statements (numbers and capitalization added for emphasis):

President Brigham Young in 1859 said, “We have the promise, if we seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness, that all necessary things will be added to us. We should not be distrustful, but seek first to know how to please our Father and God — seek to … learn how to save and preserve ourselves upon the earth, [1] to preach the Gospel, [2] build up the kingdom, and [3] establish the Zion of our God.”

Not convinced? How about this one? In 1882, Wilford Woodruff, as president of the Quorum of the Twelve, taught, “The Lord … has delivered the fullness of the Gospel to Joseph Smith. He was raised up as a Prophet of God, by the power of God, [1] to lay the foundation of this Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the earth, AND [2] to lay the foundation of that kingdom which the Prophet Daniel and the other Prophets spoke of, AND [3] to build up that Zion which Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel said should be built up in the latter days.” His use of the term “and” in this quote suggests three separate entities.

Need more? President John Taylor spoke of this on at least two occasions. On Oct. 19, 1884, he taught, “We are here for the purpose of becoming acquainted with the will of God, with the law of God, with the order of God, with the dominion of God; AND we are here to establish [1] the kingdom of God. We are here to be taught in things pertaining to [2] the Church of God, and its purification. We are here to build up [3] a Zion of God….”

And finally, President John Taylor on Nov. 30, 1884, stated, “We are here really to build up and purify [1] the Church of the living God. We are here to build up and establish [2] the kingdom of God. We are here ALSO to build up [3] a Zion unto our God….”

The church is obviously the religious organization of God’s people, “The Kingdom” (aka, the Council of 50) was the political, and Zion, with its Law of Consecration and United Orders, was the economic organization God wanted for his children. Unfortunately, two of three were lost during the persecutions of the 1880s. However, all three foundations will need to be in place for the future Millennial society. How can we prepare for their return?

More at BuildingZion.org.