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Monday, April 2, 2012

40: YEARNING FOR ZION

Today is the day after General Conference. This was the first time I did not fall asleep and actually listened to every word. I think my motivation to listen to every talk was more out of curiousity than anything. :) I am not sure I will make any comments about what was said in conference, but in the meantime, I wanted to share some words about Zion that I recieved from a friend of mine. (BTW: this is the 40th post on this blog. The number 40 is significant. It was 40 years that the Israelites wandered in the wilderness. Yesterday marked a new month. It was a new day for me. Hopefully all of you will enjoy the week with Passover/Easter. It is important, and significant.

"One clear lesson from our history is that the very moment we as a people rejected Zion during the Missouri period, we have been slaves in Babylon ever since. Zion and Babylon cannot and do not coexist. They are mutually exclusive and inexorably separate. We have taken on every habit of Babylon and made them our own.

Because every dime we earn comes from Babylon, it’s already polluted when we receive it, so how could God ever want, or need our filthy lucre to build a Zion society? If our hearts were truly attuned to Zion, God would provide all that we need (manna and more) to establish Zion, without any of Babylon’s impurities. We cannot expect to use Babylonian institutions or instruments of any kind in the establishment of a true Zion. It must come by faith, and by the results of miracles which follow our faith. Anything less is corrupted and co-opted by Babylon, and Zion cannot be established on the principles of Babylon. As Zion is God’s abode, then He would provide everything to build Zion, as God surely would not abide a Babylonian built city, or altar, or Throne.

So far as we are aware, there has only been one successfully established Zion society in the history of this world which did not eventually succumb to Babylon. So how did they do it? Somehow I doubt that Enoch’s people established banks to loan money for usury to build Zion. Nor did they start businesses to acquire stock, or to sell their businesses for fabulous profits to initiate a Zion. Enoch did not exchange gold for goods, nor did he barter in real-estate. They did not acquire wealth on the backs of the laboring poor either, as that would be an offense to God. So where did they get the means to build God’s City? Enoch must have awakened to these greater principles, and the resultant miracles built the City.

Somehow, if we can get our minds and hearts wrapped around the idea that EVERYTHING we know and experience in this world is Babylon, then perhaps we can begin to reorient our eyes towards God with an intention and hope to establish Zion. It cannot come from a corrupt institution, a failed priesthood, or from our corrupted hearts. We must extricate ourselves from every idea associated with Babylon in our hopes to build Zion. Then perhaps God will open the door to Zion! Until that time comes and until that people arise, we will still be found rejecting Zion."

15 comments:

  1. How can Zion be built by growing and feeding Babylon? It can't.

    We think we can build Zion with our designs and ingenuity and ambition and by virtue of our "righteousness."

    Denver Snuffer said it well, "Our “Zion” would be a commercial enterprise, with private ownership and capitalist competition to form an economic basis from which to build a strictly regimented and highly controlled people. Something so foreign to what Zion was meant to be that I rather think it would draw tornadoes in a proportion greater than trailer parks currently do in Mississippi."

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  2. A thought came to me as I was reading this post: Maybe as the LDS Church has signed the wedding papers with Babylon and chosen her side (I've read your last few posts on the mall), that maybe Zion will be established around the same time. Perhaps the few who escape, the remnant, will begin to establish Zion. In the Bible it only took Enoch a year before God called the people Zion, which probably wasn't a big city, maybe just a few, that later became the City of Zion.

    The reason we can't imagine it, is because it is not in us to do so. It is written in the hearts of the ones to whom it belongs, it is in the heritage of the Native Americans, this is their Zion.

    "Now, a great many, without reading these things, have flattered themselves that we are the ones who are going to do all this work. It is not so; we have got to be helpers, we have got to be those who cooperate with the remnants of Joseph in accomplishing this great work; for the Lord will have respect unto them, because they are of the blood of Israel, and the promises of their fathers extend to them, and they will have the privilege of building that city, according to the pattern that the Lord shall give." -Orson Pratt

    That's why we can't envision how it will become. We are gentiles, and if we accept who we are as Ephraimites, then we will follow our instincts as gatherers and unite with the tribe of Manasseh who will follow it's instinct as builders of this great commune-ity. If it was our way, we'd mess it up, again.

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  3. Regarding conference, I always fall asleep, as I do in Church and in other venues (My bosses were not too happy with that either!). There were some good talks on following the Spirit, on forgiveness, on inspiration. It seemed to me that a lot of emphasis was given to the proposition that we have living prophets and apostles; even so much that it was mentioned in a prayer. I did wish that praise would more given to Father and His Son and that those sustained as prophet, seers and translators would show forth appropriate fruits.

    On the other hand, it's hard to show forth the fruits of Zion, when all you've ever known up close has been Babylon. As you point out, we live in the midst of it and it has even infected our Church. It is a challenge to read the few passages about such societies - Enoch, Melchizedek and post-resurrection American - and be able to see their characteristics and accurately compare them to our society today. So many questions are really left unanswered: How did they live their daily lives? How did they raise their children? How did they worship their Lord? How did they deal with their enemies? How did they leave Babylon and come to Zion/the Lord? How did they provide for their families? We can imagine and hypothesize, but I've found it's much easier to learn with an example close by and a mentor, than by using a few words from societies separated from us by language, culture, distance and millennia. In all cases there was an inspired leader who showed the way. I await such messengers from Father.

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  4. Your regular dose of reality checks is nice, but I was hoping there was at least one slightly positive thing from conference that you could have found to bare record of.

    For example, Elder Hallstrom's talk where he pointed out that the Church does not equal the Gospel and you can be converted to one without being converted to the other.

    Or Elder Christofferson's talk where he quoted Joseph Smith that a prophet is only a prophet when acting as such, which should hopefully disabuse the notion that a prophet is one 24x7x365.

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    1. For me personally, I enjoyed comments from ELDER RICHARD G SCOTT about Heavenly Messagers and Heavenly Beings communicating with us and being more aware of us than we thing. A reality check for all of us that the veil is thin.

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  5. Elder Hallstrom's talk was juxtaposed with the announcement of the death of Elder Poelman, who had originally given a version on this theme and then given a redacted version of the same.

    I am wondering what was the purpose of Elder Christofferson's talk. I got the idea that it may have been aimed at Brigham Young, who supposedly only gave 1 talk on Adam-God but actually gave many of them. So if Brigham did give so many of them, does that mean his many talks trump Spencer Kimball's one talk against Adam-God?

    Elder Bednar's talk on priesthood authority vs priesthood power to me seemed to mirror that of one previously given by Bro. Packer. Authority means little if it is not backed by God's approval/power.

    There were a number of good talks. And other talks.

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  6. I am disheartened to read such comments. You need to be more than just physically awake to know the truth. Take counsel from Lehi who pleaded with his sons, "O that ye would awake; awake from a deep sleep, yea, even from the sleep of hell, and shake off the awful chains by which ye are bound, which chains bind the children of men, that they are carried away captive down to the eternal gulf of misery and woe."

    Please don't cast a blind eye on the truth and goodness of these men. Their daily dealings with those around them are so pure and genuine, and their goodness and love towards all people is to be emulated, not ridiculed.

    I would add that it is dangerous to assume you know what is best for the Lord's kingdom. Christ knows what is best, and you can see Christ in everything that the Brethren counsel us to do. Remember Isaiah's counsel: "Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!" Isaiah 5:21. Satan wants to lead us on, thinking that we know better and that we are wiser than the Lord's servants. If you honestly prayed to know the truth, you would not doubt these good men.

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    1. Actually it is dangerous for us to 'not' judge & know what's best for the Lord's Kingdom and use righteous judgment of the Prophets and Apostles and everything they do and say.

      If we can't tell if the Church leaders are righteous or not in everything they do & say in their callings, then we will easily be led astray.

      We are commanded to question and judge all our leaders & their actions & teachings.

      Blind and unquestioning obedience is the fastest way to become deceived.

      The Lord does not want leaders who say 'follow me' for Christ was the only safe person to follow blindly.

      But I believe he wants his leaders to say to us, as Mormon, Joseph Smith & other prophets did, "Prove all things and question everything I do or say, so you can study it all and come to know if what I do or say is right or not."

      Satan wants us to follow our leaders without question and never doubt them and believe they could never lead us astray. And most people in the Church fall for his deception to do just that.

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    2. to Living Water--

      There were some very good talks in conference, and I have no doubt that there is some real godliness among the leaders of the church. I don't spend my time trying to pick these men apart. I have no desire to do so. We are all in the human condition.
      The one thing that does trouble me, however, is how much adulation is paid to some of the leaders, especially President Monson. We really should not be hearing about how much good these men are doing. We should be focusing on Jesus Christ. Sometimes I want to scream inside when I hear "our beloved prophet"--

      There is something about it that just doesn't feel right, no matter how good the man may be. He is not the Savior. He should not be held up as an example. Jesus Christ should be. The failure to do that is what really concerns me, not whether these men be good characters or not. Good as they are, the focus should be on Jesus Christ.

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  7. There were some excellent talks in general conference. Elder Holland, for example. Elder Uchdorf, some of the seventies. The sad thing was that not one talk focused exclusively on Jesus Christ and His atonement, death, and resurrection. I'm guessing that they decided they didn't have to since they sent a letter around to be read in sacrament meetings before conference, suggesting that RS, PH, SS, and Sacrament Meeting be about Jesus on Easter Sunday. In our ward, one talk focused on that.

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  8. "On the other hand, it's hard to show forth the fruits of Zion, when all you've ever known up close has been Babylon. As you point out, we live in the midst of it and it has even infected our Church. It is a challenge to read the few passages about such societies - Enoch, Melchizedek and post-resurrection American - and be able to see their characteristics and accurately compare them to our society today.Always appreciate thoughts on Zion."

    These societies make me wonder, what was it about Enoch that exalted them, whereas other societies who have reached a remarkable amount of utopia for a long time (nephites, Alma) remained? And where to did they leave?

    We generally think of exodus before desturciton, resulting in a step up of society. What of exodus after exaltation? or, are tehy the same.


    Another thought...

    Enoch escaped in millenial glory, just prior to the destruction of the world. Noah remained to re-create the world. A perfect type, in reverse order, of what we are about to see. A millenium after destruction. But following both, creation. Perhaps our vision of the plan is far too minute.

    Finally, we worry about, "On the other hand, it's hard to show forth the fruits of Zion, when all you've ever known up close has been Babylon. As you point out, we live in the midst of it and it has even infected our Church". And that worry is justified.

    But perhaps, you are Zion...it has been esatablished, merely needs gathering to recieve power.

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    1. I believe Zion can only be founded by individuals & couples who believe in righteous marriage, full of unconditional true love. For Zion starts in our marriages.

      If we can't save our marriage we will never be able to save ourselves or our family or be worthy of Zion.

      I do not believe that anyone who believes in polygamy, divorce or remarriage for any reason will be ready & worthy of Zion.

      Unconditional true Christlike love, especially for your spouse, no matter what they do, even if they don't have it for you yet, is the prerequisite for Zion and Exaltation.

      Those individuals who have saved their spouse & marriage with such 'Charity & love' & thus kept their marriage vows unconditionally, will be ready & worthy of Zion & it shall be well with them at the last day.

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  9. "But perhaps, you are Zion...it has been esatablished, merely needs gathering to recieve power." Awesome perspective.

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  10. I agree. When a person cannot mention "Zion" in a priesthood class (or Relief Society) or when a person who is teaching a lesson cannot bear a testimony of Jesus Christ, then . . . ?

    Being aware that all around us is Babylon doesn't really help the ache to go away, though. But it is the first step. The first step is, indeed, waking up to the reality.

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    1. adding to the above (my comment)--

      my husband is the HPGL in our ward, and there are several men in the group who will sneer if the name of Jesus Christ is mentioned. These men are 'professionals'. My husband, though well-educated by worldly standards, is not, never has been, a 'professional'.
      A wise, elderly high councilor who called my husband to this position warned him that our ward was in peril and that he would have to 'fight' to bear his testimony. We never dreamed it would be this difficult. The state of apostasy into which we, as a people, have fallen, is grave. I do suspect that it began with rejection of the law of consecration in Missouri and the violence that too many early members displayed towards their neighbors. That is just my belief, however. Records of my ancestors do bear this out.

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