building mormon zion

Church Leaders: It’s Time to Build Zion

building mormon zionToo often we limit preparing for the Second Coming to buying canned food and reading sensational books on the subject, but leave actually doing things until after the Savior comes again. Church leaders have told us it is time to start building Zion… NOW!

In the October 2008 General Conference, Elder Christofferson gave a talk entitled, “Come to Zion”, and Bishop Keith B McMullin gave another entitled, “God Loves and Helps All of His Children”.  In those talks, we learn the principles of how to build Zion and what we need to be doing right now.  We do not need to be commanded in all things, we have received the call. (D&C 58:26-28)

In his talk, Elder Christofferson reminds us of the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith when he said, “The building up of Zion is a cause that has interested the people of God in every age; it is a theme upon which prophets, priests and kings have dwelt with peculiar delight; they have looked forward with joyful anticipation to the day in which we live…we are the favored people that God has made choice of to bring about the Latter-day glory”

Zion is both a place and a people.

We learn from the scriptures about the ancient city of Zion called the city of Enoch. This Zion endured for some 365 years (see Moses 7:68). The scriptural record states, “And Enoch and all his people walked with God, and he dwelt in the midst of Zion”

We also learn from the scriptures of a city of Zion to come, where Christ shall reign as “King of Zion,” when “for the space of a thousand years the earth shall rest” (Moses 7:53, 64).

Both of these cities called Zion were Zion not because of the sign you read when coming to a new town saying, “welcome to Zion”, but because of its people. The Lord called Enoch’s people Zion “because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them” (Moses 7:18). Elsewhere the Lord said, “For this is Zion—the pure in heart” (D&C 97:21).

Elder Christofferson continued, “Under the direction of the Prophet Joseph Smith, early members of the Church attempted to establish the center place of Zion in Missouri, but they did not qualify to build the holy city. The Lord explained one of the reasons for their failure:

‘They have not learned to be obedient to the things which I required at their hands, but are full of all manner of evil, and do not impart of their substance, as becometh saints, to the poor and afflicted among them;

And are not united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom’ (D&C 105:3–4)…

‘There were jarrings, and contentions, and envyings, and strifes, and lustful and covetous desires among them; therefore by these things they polluted their inheritances’ (D&C 101:6).

Rather than judge these early Saints too harshly, however, we should look to ourselves to see if we are doing any better.

Zion is Zion because of the character, attributes, and faithfulness of her citizens. Remember, ‘the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them’ (Moses 7:18). If we would establish Zion in our homes, branches, wards, and stakes, we must rise to this standard. It will be necessary

(1) to become unified in one heart and one mind;

(2) to become, individually and collectively, a holy people; and

(3) to care for the poor and needy with such effectiveness that we eliminate poverty among us. We cannot wait until Zion comes for these things to happen—Zion will come only as they happen.”

I think sometimes, we have the mind set that Zion is just something that will happen-it is in the future-we don’t really have to worry about it until the Church comes out with a manual and a specific calling for it.

Here though he says we need to establish Zion, here and now, when he gives us those three steps to accomplish the task.  Additionally, in General Conference of April 2006, Elder David R Stone said, “we can build our own Zion by the principles of the celestial kingdom…We can be courageous and can walk in the Lord’s paths and follow His footsteps. And if we do, we will be called Zion, and we will be the people of the Lord.”

He says we can build Zion, we can, not some future people, but ustoday.

I found it beneficial to go over those 3 steps Elder Christofferson laid out for us.

1st: Unity

Elder Christofferson asked, “Are we individually and as a people free from strife and contention and united ‘according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom’? (D&C 105:4).

We will become of one heart and one mind as we individually place the Savior at the center of our lives and follow those He has commissioned to lead us.”

Unity is important, but not just for unities sake.  As Elder Christofferson here points out we must be unified in following the Savior and His admonitions through His servants the Prophets.

2nd: Holiness

Elder Christofferson says regarding holiness, “Much of the work to be done in establishing Zion consists in our individual efforts to become “the pure in heart” (D&C 97:21)”

So again Elder Christofferson reiterates the concept of building that prophesied city of Zion as being something that is up to us, here and now. He then goes on and says, “”Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom,” said the Lord, “otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself” (D&C 105:5).”

This is the third time Elder Christofferson brings up the “law of the Celestial Kingdom”, it must be important.  What is that law?  I’ll leave that one for you to study on your own.

Elder Christofferson then points out that “The Savior was critical of some of the early Saints for their “lustful . . . desires” (D&C 101:6; see also D&C 88:121). These were people who lived in a non-television, non-film, non-Internet, non-iPod world. In a world now awash in sexualized images and music, are we free from lustful desires and their attendant evils? Far from pushing the limits of modest dress or indulging in the vicarious immorality of pornography, we are to hunger and thirst after righteousness. To come to Zion, it is not enough for you or me to be somewhat less wicked than others. We are to become not only good but holy men and women. Recalling Elder Neal A. Maxwell’s phrase, let us once and for all establish our residence in Zion and give up the summer cottage in Babylon.”

Regarding hindrances to our holiness as a people, President Joseph F. Smith, a prophet of the Lord, warned that “there are at least three dangers that threaten the Church within.” (Gospel Doctrine, p. 312.) These dangers are:

  • Flattery of prominent men in the world,
  • False educational ideas,
  • Sexual impurity.

Commenting on the flattery of prominent men in the world, President Ezra Taft Benson warned, “In the hour of a man’s success, applause can be his greatest danger.  There is, of course, nothing wrong with being honored by men if one is being honored for a good thing, if one comes to these honors through righteous living, and if, while holding these honors, one lives honorably. One should strive to have wide influence for good…  The time is fast approaching when it will require great courage for Latter-day Saints to stand up for their peculiar standards and doctrine—all of their doctrine, including the more weighty principles…” Gen Conf Oct 1964


I wont get into specific false educational ideals, but I would like to share these words of encouragement regarding how to combat them by President Benson when he said, “Parents, stay close to your children; you cannot delegate your responsibility to the educators no matter how competent they may be. Parents have a duty to train their children, to talk over their problems with them, to discuss what they are learning at school. And it is neither wise nor safe to leave the determination of our educational system and policies exclusively to the professional educators.“ Gen Conf Oct 1964

The third threat to our holiness as a people according to President Joseph F Smith is sexual impurity. In the same I talk I quoted from above, President Benson addresses this issue as well.  He touches on some things that apply to youth as well as the rest of us, but for today, I will stick to the more universally applicable points.  He says, “So garbled in values have our morals become that some youth would not dare touch a cigarette, but freely engage in petting. Both are wrong, but one is infinitely more serious than the other… May I suggest some steps to avoid the pitfalls of immorality:

1. Avoid late hours and weariness

2. Keep your dress modest.

3. Have good associates or don’t associate at all.

5. Have a good physical outlet of some sport or exercise.

6. Think clean thoughts. Those who think clean thoughts do not do dirty deeds. “As [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Prov. 23:7.)

7. Pray. There If you are engaged in things where you do not feel you can pray and ask the Lord’s blessings on what you are doing, then you are engaged in the wrong kind of activity.”

In keeping with the admonition of becoming holy as a prerequisite for building Zion now, I have found the following general rule very instructive;

President George Q. Cannon said, “If the breach is daily widening between ourselves and the world . . . we may be assured that our progress is certain, however slow. On the opposite hand, if our feelings and affections, our appetites and desires, are in unison with the world around us and freely fraternize with them . . . we should do well to examine ourselves.”

These things have led me to ask myself, “What do I need to do be holy and to give up that summer cottage in Babylon?”

3rd: Caring for the Poor

Elder Christofferson here brings to our attention the scripture which states, “For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.”

We learn here that the Lord has provided us with everything we could possibly need, but leaves it up to us as to we will take advantage of those blessings.  In this scripture the Lord then says, “Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment (D&C 104:17–18; see also D&C 56:16–17).”

This brings me to one of the things that Bishop Keith B McMullin points in his talk in regards to our blessings, quoting the Prophet Joseph Smith, “A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race.”

When we truly love God, when we are blessed with the fullness of the earth, we want to bless the lives of others.

Elder Christofferson makes the point, “We might ask ourselves, living as many of us do in societies that worship possessions and pleasures, whether we are remaining aloof from covetousness and the lust to acquire more and more of this world’s goods. Materialism is just one more manifestation of the idolatry and pride that characterize Babylon. Perhaps we can learn to be content with what is sufficient for our needs.”

A statement that I think magnifies this point was made by President Hinckley in the October 1991 General Conference. He said, “If we are to build that Zion of which the prophets have spoken and of which the Lord has given mighty promise, we must set aside our consuming selfishness. We must rise above our love for comfort and ease, and in the very process of effort and struggle, even in our extremity, we shall become better acquainted with our God.”

The above does not only apply to those that have been blessed with the fullness of the earth.  The Lord said in Doctrine and Covenants 42:42 “Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer.”  When we are in need of a portion of the fullness of the earth, we must work for them

President Howard W Hunter taught us what happens when those that have “the abundance of the earth”, and those in need do not live according to the Lords way of providing when he said, “If man will not recognize the inequalities around him and  voluntarily, through the gospel plan, come to the aid of his brother, he will find that through “a democratic process” he will be forced to come to the aid of his brother. The government will take from the “haves” and give to the “have nots.” Both have lost their freedom. Those who “have,” lost their freedom to give voluntarily of their own free will and in the way they desire. Those who “have not,” lost their freedom because they did not earn what they received. They got “something for nothing,” and they will neither appreciate the gift nor the giver of the gift.  Under this climate, people gradually become blind to what has happened and to the vital freedoms which they have lost.”

Regarding the Lords way of caring for those in need, Bishop Keith B McMullin points out in his talk, “The Church welfare plan embodies this divine pattern, and faithful Church members follow it. The Church welfare plan is God-inspired. Its tenets are fundamental to the salvation of man.It is an ensign for service, a witness to the world that the Church of Jesus Christ has been restored… President Thomas S. Monson has said: ‘Welfare principles . . . do not change. They will not change. They are revealed truths.’”

What are some of those revealed welfare principles?

President Benson taught, “Let me restate what is a fundamental principle. Individuals, to the extent possible, should provide for their own needs. Where the individual is unable to care for himself, his family should assist. Where the family is not able to provide, the Church should render assistance, not the government. We accept the basic principle that ‘though the people support the government, the government should not support the people.’” – General Conference April 1977

It is vital that those that have been blessed with the fullness of the earth as well as those that are in need, apply these revealed principles if we are to build Zion.  Elder Christofferson said, “In much of the world, we are entering upon unsettled economic times. Let us look after one another the very best we can.”

  • Become one as a people
  • Be holy
  • Eliminate poverty among us

Those are the three key elements that we can all do to help build Zion, here-today.

President Christofferson closed by saying, “The Prophet Joseph smith said, We ought to have the building up of Zion as our greatest object’ In our families and in our stakes and districts, let us seek to build up Zion through unity, godliness, and charity, preparing for that great day when Zion, the New Jerusalem, will arise.”

Let’s get to work!


41 thoughts on “Church Leaders: It’s Time to Build Zion”

  1. There seems to be a disconnect with the Church coming out in support of HB 116 the Guest worker program that gives amnesty for breaking the law of entering the country illegally or overstaying a visa and using someone else’s identity. HB 116 is full of compassion for illegals but is being implemented by the force of Government against the objections of many who respect the Constitution and the Party platform which it violates. Forced charity is not valid in the eyes of God so I don’t get why the Church is using Government to promote so-called one way compassion?

    1. Look into their article on here, that talks about whether we are supposed to support all laws. The immigration laws are unconsitutional. As is Social Security. The problem is not with those who are seeking a better life here. Also 2 Nephi 1:6 clarifies a very important detail. If these people are coming here, it is by the hand of God. The immigration laws are unconstitutional. Instead of refusing charity to your brothers, seek to root out the evils in our laws that are causing these difficulties.

      1. Hey, if you guys can’t stand democratic social institutions like social security, medicare and public education, you’ll really love the United Order. It’ll be awesome because you’ll give away all your stuff voluntarily!

        1. It’s not going to be called the United Order and it will not run the way you describe. It will be called the Law of Consecration and Stewardship. But you did hit on the key fundamental component. It’s voluntary. This means that everyone’s agency is respected and no one will be forced into it. Each person will enter into a voluntary individual covenant with the Lord. This makes all the difference in the world between the Lord’s way and the way’s of the world we currently call socialism, communism, fascism, liberalism etc

  2. Ezra, I would love to hear more of your thoughts on “The Celestial Law”.
    Great article, and vital topic. Thanks.

  3. Yes Ezra, as you were writing it, it seems to me you had an idea in mind, but held it in. I would like to know what you were thinking. Zion must be built on a Celestial law. I am focused on making that the central cause in life. Anything you can offer to assist in that journey is much appreciated.

    1. Brigham Young spoke often of the Celestial Law in the Journal of Discourses. I hope you will take those into account when writing an article on Celestial Law.

      1. I only meant that I hope his God inspired insight is included. I just think that an article on the celestial law without him would be incomplete, that’s all.

  4. The problem is that the great and spacious building is far too attractive. If the early saints failed we stand no chance. Those were real men and woman.

  5. “And Enoch and all his people awalked with God, and he dwelt in the midst of Zion; and it came to pass that Zion was not, for God received it up into his own bosom; and from thence went forth the saying, Zion is Fled.”

    From what I understand from insights from Truman G. Madsen was that Moses tried to do the same thing, he offered to have the covenant people come up the mountain WITH HIM to see the face of God, and they refused.

    Why are honest and real people so hard to come by?

    1. Why are honest and real people so hard to come by? Because few seek the truth and even fewer are willing to pay the price to fully embrace it. (See Jeffrey R Holland’s BYU Speech, The Inconvenient Messiah.)

  6. Ezra, send me all of your articles you guys publish on this site I’m going to print them off…..pdf’s or .doc or docx…doesn’t matter….

  7. Seems God already laid out pretty clearly His plan for fixing the problem of poverty. I believe it is called CONSECRATION. It’s quite thoroughly fleshed out in the Doctrine and Covenants. Mormonism really won’t be a light to the Gentiles without being an example of this doctrine. If it was hard to live in Joseph’s day, imagine how much harder it will be to live in our day when the hearts of the children have grown so attached to the things of this world. Do the leaders of the Church really hope that all of us members will miraculously in a day turn into true Christians. Even parents know teaching their children to share takes time. Are we really the kind of people (as a whole… or even in part) who can jump into this kind of LAW with both feet and not drown?

    1. Perhaps you misunderstand the law of consecration and stewardship. Its ot actually about communal living like many supposse. You are given title and deed to your stewardship and you decide how it is manyed, lent out or not lent out, and are resonsible for seeing that it increase. You then return the surplus to the Bishop and increase your stewardship as you are willing and able. But its not what you are describing and it is not the united order. Oen up the d&c for a better idea how it actually works.

    1. Interesting. I have wondered if we should accept speeches outside of GC as “scripture” or just good advice. Though I can see how in this case of a Prophet speaking it could be considered as the Lord’s Voice.

  8. “Do we realize that if we enjoy a Zion in time or in eternity we must make it for ourselves? That all, who have Zion in the eternities of the Gods, organized, framed, consolidated, and perfected it themselves, and consequently are entitled to enjoy it?”
    “When we conclude to make Zion we will make it, and this work commences in the heart of each person. When the father of a family wishes to make a Zion in his own house, he must take the lead in this good work, which it is impossible for him to do unless he himself possesses the spirit of Zion. Before he can produce the work of sanctification in his family, he must sanctify himself, and by this means God can help him to sanctify his family.”
    Brigham Youn

  9. Do you understand that what the Lord will perform in the latter days will be done quicker than in the former days? He suffered Noah to occupy one hundred and twenty years in building the ark. Were he to command us to build an ark, he would not allow so long a time for completing it. On account of the work’s being hastened in our time, I have good reason to urge upon the people the necessity of their living their religion every moment—of their increasing in faith, in wisdom, in knowledge, and in power to forsake all bad habits,—to say to all who are in the habit of doing wrong, of getting angry, of contending with their neighbors, and abusing them with their tongues, and abusing themselves, Refrain from your evil ways.


  10. “We will,” say they; but in a very short time many are engaged in their former evil practices, like the child’s whittling the furniture.

    It appears as though such persons were glued to the world, and will love and worship it. When they learn the truth, they will learn that it is a folly for a man to love gold and silver, goods and chattels, or any other kind of property and possessions. One that places his affections upon such things does not understand that they are made for the comfort of the creature, and not for his adoration. They are made to sustain and preserve the body while procuring the knowledge and wisdom that pertain to God and his kingdom, in order that we may preserve ourselves, and live for ever in his presence.

    Brigham Young JD Vol. 8 pg. 134

  11. Saints are to wicked to build Zion. The golden city should come down out of heaven as mentioned Ether 13: 3, 3 Nep 20: 22,23:24, Rev 3: 12, 21:2

    1. Dan, you’re right, the ancient Zion society, the City of Enoch, will return to this earth. However, Moses 7:62-63 suggests that the New Jerusalem Zion will be built >before< Christ comes when it says the Lord's people there will be "looking forth for the time of my coming". And in verse 63, the Lord says "Then shalt thou [Enoch] and all thy city meet them there” suggesting the ancient Zion returns after we build the New Jerusalem. Exciting times!

  12. Very well written and put together, and vital information.

    Do you think Elder Christofferson is living the Law of the Celestial Kingdom? If he is, damn him. If he is not, damn him.

    In following the former prophets in the Laws of the Celestial Kingdom, and in matters of schooling, how is it then, that by today’s prophets’ we have been excommunicated for the very same?

    How is it that while we are admonished to stay away from Babylon with their lips, they then use their resources to build up the same?

    How is it that they promote freedom with their Scriptures, but it cannot pass our lips from the pulpit, without chastisement?

    Are we to follow our God, or our Prophets?

    It all seems to put us in a quandary, doesn’t it!

    1. It’s a recurring theme:

      “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:”
      (Isaiah 29:13)

      “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
      (Matthew 15:7-9)

      1. “I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: ‘they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.'”
        (Joseph Smith-History 1:19)


    When it comes to building Zion, and “quickly,” let us not forget that as the world goes deeper and deeper into the TRIALS of the signs of the times that will soften the hearts of the saints as well as sift the wheat from the tares. I am thinking that most definitely once we reach the point of the oceans tempest that keeps Babylon from coming to the US, and a great plague has destroyed the wicked within the US, then we will be in a PHYSICAL rebuild. Those that are more righteous, as in the days of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection with the more righteous Nephites having been spared, we will see the quick change of heart to RECEIVE the Law of Consecration….continued…..

  14. There will be the return of the people of the City of Enoch as well as other tribes of Israel ushering in the New Jerusalem. We are still in a phase of LEARNING and letting go of the generational abuses and wounded child issues that plague our nation. Satan is himself getting more and more restless in leading away the hearts of men and the task is GREAT to release continually activate the Atonement in our lives. Do not procrastinate the day of your repentance, BUT it is a DAILY task to be sure. Each small step of progression is to be celebrated and a reminder that we CAN keep going regardless of the intensity of the struggle we feel. The Lord’s mercy is soooo much greater than we can comprehend, crawl and drag yourself along if that is all you can manage for now.

  15. Mitch van Biljon

    I am appalled at the ignorance of so many commentators. God does not build a society on a foundation of those that break the just laws of a nation…PERIOD.

    The comment that God does not have national boundaries is a patent lie. Why was this nation founded? If the Constitution was inspired of God then citizenship is inspired by God. God, of all people, is nationalistic as it is His plan to provide a homeland for His people in Israel. It was God himself who as always sought a place of refuge for nations. It was God himself who urged His people to rid heathen nations from the land of milk and honey.

    There are far too many ignorant liberals in this church and frankly their ignorance is a tool for satan to take advantage of in his quest to destroy this great nation.

    1. Anytime we are angry we should assume we are in the wrong and operating under a false spirit. I appreciate your zeal for God’s plan but you must consider that you may understand it differently than he wants you to understand it. We see things through a darkened glass because the wickedness and traditions of our fathers has clouded and colored everything we see. The fact that point a finger at “liberals” shows that youve got a start but have a long way to go. Its always easier to see the mote that is thy brothers eye. Thats not a unique skill. Consider asking Father to show you your weaknesses. When he does youll have something to work you can actually do something about. Also consider why the church is in conflict with BOTH liberals and conservatives.

    2. marginalizedmormon

      God is no respecter of persons, which means He does not respect Americans over other people–

      “black and white, bond and free”, I assume, means everyone–

      everyone in the world.

      I am a ‘liberal’ because I believe that? You ARE angry. :)


  16. Couldn’t agree with you more, Ezra.

    I’ve been interested in building Zion since I was 14 or so. Was continually disappointed in the apparent lack of interest in it among the Saints in my various wards over the decades since. I’m thrilled to read the comments here and see that there are some who share my desire.

    Two years ago, I got tired of waiting. I’ve gone on the “offensive”, taking responsibility for doing all I can to establish Zion.

    As I’ve pondered the subject deeply the last two years, I’ve come to learn some things I feel are of great value in the cause of Zion. My “thesis” is that before we can “flee Babylon” and “<establish Zion" we must understand the foundations of the two systems and the line between them. Only then can we safely cross over.

  17. This is an excellent post.
    I would add that false educational ideas and ideals are even at church-owned schools, including BYU. Prophets and apostles have been known to firmly chastise BYU professors for that very thing. I’m not writing this to cause contention…I know there are some wonderful women and women teaching at BYU, but it’s just important to not be at ease, even when at a church-owned school, because it’s not like God is micro-managing their classrooms.

    1. Yes this is very true. Students that actually believe the prophets get mocked and laughed out of some classes at the Y. There are other posts on this website that highlight what is going on with this issue as well.

  18. Mitch van Biljon

    My 2 cents worth. I suggest everyone reads the essay by Elder Verlan Andersen ‘Many are called but few are chosen’ freely available on the web. It will put to bed much of the socialistic ideology of some misguided members of teh church.

    I also suggest that people read D&C 134:5 pertaining to obedience to government. We obey them ONLY when they honor inalienable rights and have a duty to oppose government when it infringes on these rights.

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