This is a re-post of an email I sent out. A friend needed to reference for a quote, so I am posting it on this blog.
Are we getting closer to building Zion city? or Babylon?Having been born and raised in Utah, I have always considered my hometown of Salt Lake to be the premiere place to live and raise a family. Our city was to be the Ensign to all nations, a city built on a hill, the headquarters of the LDS church, the residence of our living prophet . It is easy to become prideful in thinking that our city is more righteous than all of the other cities… especially when we compare ourselves to other cities like Las Vegas or Los Angeles.Here is a photo that I took today of the Salt Lake Valley from Ensign Peak. (Interesting to note that you have to look carefully to see the temple amongst the tall business buildings, banks, and high rise apartments and hotels.)
While compared to more Babylonian cities, we might look good.. but what if we compare ourselves to a true Zion, the city the Lord will dwell in His Glory at His Second Coming? Are we getting closer to that ideal or are we moving farther away…closer to Babylon? My daughter asked me the other day.. where is Jesus going to live when He comes back? I told her that we need to build a place where Holy people live that love Him. She told me that she didn’t think that was possible because there is so many bad people. Is she right?.. is it possible for us to create such a place in our current state and our love for material and temporal things?
So are we getting closer to building a Zion City? If possible, one of the best people to ask for advice would be ENOCH, the greatest city builders in the world. If only we could see his master plans of his city. I have always been curious to know what he did to build his translated city? Did he build luxurious apartment buildings, high-end retail space with fine dining and upscale department store shopping malls? Would he invest and spend billions of dollars on an extravagant city center in order to attract the world to come to his city? Are we getting closer to that ideal or are we moving farther away…are we moving closer to Zion or Babylon?”
I find that highly unlikely, then so why do we?
From the LDS church website: http://www.downtownrising.com/
“In October of 2006 the LDS Church announced major plans to invest in huge development on two blocks in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City. The investment includes a destination retail development, along with high quality housing and office space. . Nearly $2 billion will be invested in the project during the next five years.” "Some of the most sacred ground for the church ... is immediately adjacent to this project and part of the reason we are proceeding with it," Bishop Burton said.. A mix of condominiums, townhouses and apartments will provide a "wide variety of accommodations for people who desire to live, work, shop and worship downtown," Bishop Burton said.
Is this building Zion? Shopping? Fine Dining? Expensive and luxurious apartments for the wealthy?... What happened to the sharing all things in common? No rich.. no poor among us?
Now available for sale are these million dollar apartment/condos called City Creek Apartments an LDS real estate venture overlooking the temple . Here is a view of this upscale apartment for sale. Beautiful. Make you want to envy those who live there…. Wait we are not to envy, covet etc in Zion.
Here is a picture I took today of the progress of the shopping mall,, next to LDS church dedicated Zion’s Bank across from the Salt Lake Temple. Would this have been approved by the city planners in the City of Enoch?
We all rationalize in thinking that it is not time for us to build Zion. We believe that the Lord will direct the prophet to tell us when it is time. Plus, all of the billions of dollars spent on building this shopping center next to the temple will help convert members when they come visit downtown Salt Lake. Money well spent instead of helping those in need… Do we seriously believe this? Do we really want to attract and receive the praise of the world? Have we read the Book of Mormon lately and read the warnings that are directed to us? How about Mormon 8: 37-39
“For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted. O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world?”
When the Church was only a year old, the Prophet Joseph observed that “God has often sealed up the heavens because of covetousness in the Church.” Three years later, God revoked that “united order” by which along Zion could exist on earth (D&C 104:52-53) – in their desire for wealth, the Saints had tried to embrace both Babylon and Zion. We have the word of the Prophet Joseph that Zion is not to be built up by using the methods of Babylon. He says,
‘Here are those who begin to spread out buying up all the land they are able to do, to the exclusion of the poorer ones who are not so much blessed with this worlds goods, thinking to lay foundations for themselves only, looking to their own individual families and those who are to follow them….Now I want to tell you that Zion cannot be built up in any such way.”
Brigham Young explains: “I am sorry that this people are worldly-minded…Their affections are upon…their farms, upon their property, their houses and possessions, and in the same ratio that this is the case, the Holy Spirit of God – the spirit of their calling – forsakes them, and they are overcome with the spirit of the evil one.”
From Hugh Nibley’s “Approaching Zion”
“So money is the name of the game by which the devil cleverly decoys the minds of the Saints from God’s work to his. “What does the Lord want us up here in the tops of these mountains?” Brigham asked twenty years after the first settling of the Valley. “He wishes us to build up Zion. What are the people doing? They are merchandizing, trafficking and trading.”…”Instead of reflecting upon and searching for hidden things of the greatest value to them, [the Latter-day Saints] rather wish to learn how to secure their way through this world as easily and as comfortably as possible.
“In Zion you labor, to be sure, but not for money, and not for yourself, which is the exact opposite of our present version of the work ethic.
nd lastly from President Spencer W Kimball.
“If we lust…for the riches of the world, and spare no pains [hard work] to obtain and retain them, and feel ‘these are mine,’ then the spirit of the anti-Christ comes upon us. This is the danger…[we] are in.”Many people spend most of their time working in the service of a self-image that includes sufficient money, stocks, bonds, investment portfolios, property, credit cards, furnishings, automobiles, and the like to guarantee carnal security throughout, it is hoped, a long and happy life.