Chapter 1: Why a need for Zion?
“And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that
day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost;
and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day,
and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and
whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful
upon the mountains shall they be.” (1 Nephi 13:37)
We learn from history that on July 20, 1831, the Lord identified Independence, Jackson County as the center place of Zion, and in addition "...the land of Missouri, which is the land which I have appointed and consecrated for the gathering of the saints." (D&C 57:1-3) However, it is evident that the Lord knew that the early members of the church would not remain long in Missouri.
Just twelve days later the Lord hinted that the saints would not, at that time, remain upon the land: "Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those thin gs which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation. For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet but is nigh at hand. Remember this, which I tell you before, that you may lay it to heart, and receive that which is to follow. Behold, verily I say unto you for this cause I have sent you-that you might be obedient, and that your hearts might be prepared to bear testimony of the things which are to come; And also that you might be honored in laying the foundation, and in bearing record of the land upon which the Zion of God shall stand;" (D&C 58:3-7)
Today we honor the saints of the 1830’s for “laying the foundation” and “bearing record” of the land which Zion will be built, fulfilling the word of the Lord. Because of the sacrifice of those great pioneers, we know where, and how Zion will be built.
The Book of Mormon indicates the time and clearly teaches that Zion would not be set up and the Lord would not appear and “be in the midst” until after this continent was cleansed from iniquity, with only the humble and penitent remaining. (3 Ne. 21:14-25)
The Book of Mormon testifies that it required the destruction of the wicked among the Nephites before their Zion society could be established, with only the “more righteous” who remained. (3 Ne. 10:12) We might also note that the Lord did not appear, and the Zion society was not set up among the Nephites until about a year after the destruction of the wicked. (see 3 Ne. 8:5,10:18) Why? It took the descendants of Lehi that time to develop the faith necessary as Moroni recorded: “For it was by faith that Christ showed Himself unto our fathers, after He had risen from the dead; and He showed not Himself unto them until after they had faith in Him; wherefore, it must needs be that some had faith in Him, for He showed Himself not unto the world.” (Ether 12:7.)
It will entail the saints turning to the Lord “with all (our) heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning.” It will necessitate us to “rend our hearts” and only then will the “Bridegroom go forth of His chamber.” (Joel 2:12-16)
This is the season of the end of the "times of the Gentiles" when the Gentiles will reject the Gospel, and then the Lord will focus His efforts on the House of Israel. (D&C 45:28) We are informed that the Gentiles will be filled with pride and all manner of wickedness and will reject the fulness of the Gospel, and when that time comes the Gospel will be taken from them. (3 Nephi 16:5) In order to protect the saints here and throughout the world, from the calamities and destruction that is predicted to fall upon the world, the righteous will “go out from all nations” and come to Zion, where they will be protected from these devastations to be poured out on the rest of the world. (3 Nephi 21:29)
The Prophet Joseph Smith explained:
"The Book of Mormon is a record of the forefathers of our western tribes of Indians; having been found through the ministration of an holy angel, and translated into our own language by the gift and power of God, after having been hid up in the earth for the last fourteen hundred years, containing the word of God which was delivered unto them. By it we learn that our western tribes of Indians are descendants from that Joseph who was sold into Egypt, and that the land of America is a promised land unto them, and unto it all the tribes of Israel will come, with as many of the Gentiles as shall comply with the requisitions of the new covenant. But the tribe of Judah will return to old Jerusalem. The city of Zion spoken of by David, in the one hundred and second Psalm, will be built upon the land of America, 'And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads.' (Isaiah 35:10); and then they will be delivered from the overflowing scourge that shall pass through the land. But Judah shall obtain deliverance at Jerusalem." (Teachings p.17)
It is obvious that Zion would not be established, nor could it be until the Lord had a righteous people with faith to put into practice the principles of the Celestial Kingdom, and the freedom from restrictions of the outside world upon their practice of those principles, for we have seen that it only took the pride of a few to destroy the Zion society among the Lehites. (4 Nephi 1:24,25) Thus we observe that Zion was not to be built in the early days of the Church, and that it would not be until after the lost house of Israel returns, and we will assist the house of Israel, mainly the descendants of Lehi, in building the New Jerusalem. (3 Ne. 21: 22-25)
At that day we will have many marvelous things made known to us through the records that we will receive, for we will receive the “very things which the brother of Jared saw”, which are recorded on the other two thirds of the Gold Plates, (Ether 4:4-7) as well as the record of the lost tribes of Israel, as Nephi recorded: "And it shall come to pass that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews; and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews. And it shall come to pass that my people, which are of the house of Israel, shall be gathered home unto the lands of their possessions; and my word also shall be gathered in one. And I will show unto them that fight against my word and against my people, who are of the house of Israel, that I am God, and that I covenanted with Abraham that I would remember his seed forever." (2 Ne. 29:13,14)
The Lord has provided many scriptures for us to study, and He has expressed His displeasure at our lack of attention to them, is it any wonder that we are under condemnation for not giving heed to that which we now have. (D&C 84:57) If we do not search the records we have now, how can we expect the Lord to bring to us the “rich treasures” that will be provided when the House of Israel returns. (D&C 133:30) Nephi also expresses his grief at our lack of diligence in scripture study, for we “…will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto (us) in plainness, even as plain as word can be.” (2 Nephi 32:7)
May we search the scriptures and follow the Lord’s admonition: “…Come unto Me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price.” (2 Ne. 26:25)
Where will the Saints be gathered?
The Lord tells of the gathering of the Saints: "Hearken, O ye elders of my church, saith the Lord your God, who have assembled yourselves together, according to my commandments, in this land, which is the land of Missouri, which is the land which I have appointed and consecrated for the gathering of the saints. Wherefore, this is the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion." (D&C 57:1,2)
The Lord later hinted where the gathering will begin; "...in the region round about the land which I have appointed to be the land of Zion, for the beginning of the gathering of my saints." (D&C 101:70) When the saints where driven out of Jackson County, they settled in areas to the north. They discovered that it was not by chance that they moved to these locations, but that the Lord had a hand in guiding them. Upon settling in Far West, the Lord revealed: "Let the city, Far West, be a holy and consecrated land unto me; And it shall be called most holy, for the ground upon which thou standest is holy." (D&C 115:7)
In December of 1836 the Missouri Legislature appointed two counties for the saints, Caldwell County where Far West is located, and Daviess County, which includes Adam-ondi-Ahman. It is here in the area of Adam-ondi-Ahman that the saints will first come to find relief and protection, for there the Lord will first appear to deliver the saints. (Dan. 12:1) After the Lord appears at Adam-ondi-Ahman a number of the saints and house of Israel will then go to Jackson County to build the center place of Zion.
The question is often asked; will all the saints gather to Jackson County, the Center place of Zion? No, there is not sufficient room for them. The Lord further informed us: "They that remain, and are pure in heart, shall return and come to their inheritances, they and their children, with songs of everlasting joy, to build up the waste places of Zion- and all these things that the prophets might be fulfilled. And, behold, there is none other place appointed than that which I have appointed; neither shall there be any other place appointed than that which I have appointed, for when there is found no more room for them; and then I have other places which I will appoint unto them, and they shall be called stakes, for the curtains or the strength of Zion." (D&C 101:18-21)
It is apparent that the American continent will again be inhabited for we are told that the righteous will be gathered here from all nations, again the Lord quotes Isaiah: "And then shall that which is written come to pass: Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child; for more are the children of the desolate [the returning house of Israel] than the children of the married wife, [the current members of the Church] saith the Lord. Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thy habitations; spare not, lengthen thy cords and strengthen thy stakes; For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left, and thy seed shall inherit the gentiles and make the desolate cities to be inhabited." (3 Ne. 21:1-3, Isa. 54:1-3)
Pertaining to this, Joseph taught:
"You know there has been great discussion in relation to Zion-where it is, and where the gathering of the dispensation is, and which I am now goin to tell you. The prophets have spoken and written upon it; but I will make a proclamation that will cover a broader ground. The whole of America is Zion itself from north to south, and is described by the Prophets." (Teachings p. 362)
How will we prepare?
The Lord tells us that there are two ways to obtain the lands needed: "Wherefore, the land of Zion shall not be obtained but by purchase or by blood, otherwise there is none inheritance for you. And if by purchase, behold you are blessed; And if by blood, as you are forbidden to shed blood, lo, your enemies are upon you and ye shall be scourged from city to city, and from synagogue to synagogue, and but few shall stand to receive an inheritance." (D&C 63:29-31)
On numerous occasions, the Lord has instructed that the saints should not go in haste, but prepare in advance: "Nevertheless, as I have said unto you in a former commandment, let not your gathering be in haste, nor by flight; but let all things be prepared before you. And in order that all things be prepared before you, observe the commandment which I have given concerning these things- which saith, or teacheth, to purchase all the lands with money, which can be purchased for money, in the region round about the land which I have appointed to be the land of Zion, for the beginning of the gathering of my saints; All the land which can be purchased in Jackson county, and the counties round about, and leave the residue in mine hand. Now, verily I say unto you, let all the churches gather together all their moneys; let these things be done in their time, but not in haste; and observe to have all things prepared before you." (D&C 101:68-72)
In early church history the saints were to pool their monies to purchase lands in Missouri (D&C 58:49-52) but the saints did not contribute as they should have, yet Lorenzo Snow spoke of the possibilities when the Church is united in it’s efforts:
“There was no one man in the Church that could have bought that land (Jackson County, Missouri); there were no two men, or half a dozen men, or a hundred men that could have bought it. The people as a general thing were poor. There were no rich men that received the gospel in those early days. But by combination and union they could have secured the means to carry out the purposes of the Almighty in regard to the purchase of that country. They failed because of their love for money. In a revelation after this we are told that they failed to give their names as they were commanded. The Lord sent elders throughout the states where there were Latter-day Saints, to collect means for this purpose; and the people in Jackson County were required to observe the law of consecration. But they failed to do it, and therefore the lands were not secured. The Lord could have sustained the people against the encroachments of their enemies had they placed themselves in a condition where He would have been justified in doing so. But inasmuch as they would not comply with His requirements, the Lord could not sustain them against their enemies. So it will be with us, or with any people whom the Lord calls to comply with His requirements and whom He proposes to confer the highest blessings upon, as He has in reference to us, and as He did in reference to the people in Jackson County.” (The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 159.)
After the lands were purchased the Lord gave this instruction: "For, behold, verily I say unto you, the Lord willeth that the disciples and the children of men should open their hearts, even to purchase this whole region of country, as soon as time will permit. Behold, here is wisdom. Let them do this lest they receive none inheritance, save it be by the shedding of blood. And again, inasmuch as there is land obtained, let there be workmen sent forth of all kinds unto this land, to labor for the saints of God. Let all these things be done in order; and let the privileges of the lands be made known from time to time, by the bishop or the agent of the church. And let the work of the gathering be not in haste, nor by flight; but let it be done as it shall be counseled by the elders of the church at the conferences, according to the knowledge which they receive from time to time." (D&C 58:52-56)
The early authorities of the church did not talk much about returning to Zion because it would cause alarm, and encourage the feeling that it was useless to build up the area in which they were living. President Lorenzo Snow explained:
“The time is seedily coming-we do not want to talk very much though, about going to Jackson County, Missouri, because through our foolishness and weakness we would not care anything about building houses and making ourselves comfortable here. I know when we first started a colony in Brigham City, the people generally thought it was nonsense, perfectly use less, to plant peach trees, apple trees, currant bushes and the like, because we were going to Jackson County so speedily; and it was with the utmost effort that we were enabled to disabuse them of this idea.” (Conf. Report April, 1898, fourth day)
How will we know when to gather?
Just prior to the gathering, the saints will suffer great persecution. (Dan. 7:25) It is likely that the Lord will first warn the American Nation through the Prophet, before their destruction, for "…never hath any of them been destroyed save it were foretold them by the prophets of the Lord." (2 Ne. 25:9)
The Lord has declared, “…the voice of warning shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples, whom I have chosen in these last days.” The voice of the church will be to warn of “the day when the wrath of God shall be poured out upon the wicked without measure.” And that “…the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people.” (D&C 1:4,9,14)
The expected reaction of the national leaders and the people will most likely be as it was in former times when Lehi predicted the destruction of Jerusalem, the people were angry with him and sought to take away his life, “even as with the prophets of old, whom they had cast out, and stoned, and slain.” (1 Nephi 1:18-20) We read of other accounts in the Book of Mormon, such as Abinadi, who was put to death because he boldly testified of the destruction of the people of King Noah. (Mosiah 11:26-29) It is possible that this warning of destruction of America will bring the foretold persecutions upon the saints and the Church.
Daniel reveals that those who have left the church and become its enemies may join in the maltreatment. Speaking of the leader of a nation he says: "...he shall… have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant (apostates from church)...And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong... And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days... And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed." (Dan. 11:30-35)
After the warning and persecution that will come unto the Church and its leaders, the Lord than taught: "Therefore it shall come to pass that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, which the Father shall cause him to bring forth unto the Gentiles, and shall give unto him power that he shall bring them forth unto the Gentiles, (it shall be done even as Moses said) they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant." (3 Ne. 21:11)
After this suffering of the saints, and when the time appointed has come; "…then shall a cry go forth: Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch not that which is unclean; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord." (3 Ne. 20:41, Isa. 52:11)
When Nephi, and the more righteous people, departed from their brethren because of wickedness, Nephi recorded: "Wherefore, the word of the Lord was fulfilled which he spake unto me, saying that: Inasmuch as they will not hearken unto thy words they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord. And behold, they were cut off from his presence." (2 Ne. 5:20) When the Prophet and the saints depart, in effect the remaining are cut off from the presence of the Lord because they no longer have the Lord’s mouthpiece in their midst.
John also spoke of theses events and recorded: "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." (Rev. 18:4)
"For the time speedily cometh that the Lord God shall cause a great division among the people, and the wicked will He destroy; and He will spare his people, yea, even if it so be that He must destroy the wicked by fire." (2 Ne. 30:10) "Therefore, I must gather together my people, according to the parable of the wheat and the tares, that the wheat may be secured in the garners to possess eternal life, and be crowned with celestial glory, when I shall come in the kingdom of my Father to reward every man according as his work shall be; While the tares shall be bound in bundles, and their bands made strong, that they may be burned with unquenchable fire." (D&C 101:65,66) "Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away." (Isa. 50:11)
The Lord said: “Behold, I say unto you, the redemption of Zion must needs come by power; Therefore, I will raise up unto my people a man, who shall lead them like as Moses led the children of Israel. For ye are the children of Israel, and of the seed of Abraham, and ye must needs be led out of bondage by power, and with a stretched-out arm. And as your fathers were led at the first, even so shall the redemption of Zion be. Therefore, let not your hearts faint, for I say not unto you as I said unto your fathers: Mine angel shall go up before you, but not my presence. But I say unto you: Mine angels shall go up before you, and also my presence, and in time ye shall possess the goodly land.” (D&C 103:15-20.)
Who is the one like Moses? It is the President of the Church as the Lord declared: "And again, the duty of the President of the office of the High Priesthood is to preside over the whole church, and to be like Moses-Behold, here is wisdom; yea, to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church." (D&C 107:91,92)
Remember the words of President Lee:
"Thus, clearly, the Lord has placed the responsibility for directing the work of gathering in the hands of the leaders of the Church to whom He will reveal his will, where and when such gatherings would take place in the future. It would be well-before the frightening events concerning the fulfillment of all God's promises and predictions are upon us, that the saints in every land prepare themselves and look forward to the instruction that shall come to them from the First Presidency of this Church as to where they shall be gathered and not be disturbed in their feelings until such instruction is given to them as it is revealed by the Lord to the proper authority." (Harold B. Lee, Conf. Rep. April 1948, p.55)
How will the cities be built?
The Lord made certain that the saints had all the information well ahead of time, for the preparation and building of Zion. The Prophet Joseph drew the plans and described how the cities would be built. The cities of Zion would be one mile square, with farming to the north and south of the cities, and additional land on the east and west for whatever needs there might be. The City blocks would be 660 feet square, with twenty lots on each block. The lots would be sixty-six feet wide and 330 feet deep. The homes would be twenty-five feet back from the street, for lawns, trees shrubs, and flowers, the rear of the homes would be used for gardens. The blocks of homes would alternate, one block facing north and south, the next block would face east and west, the next north and south, and so on, with no homes facing a home across the street. The blocks in the center of the city would be 660 feet north to south, and 990 feet east to west, for public buildings, for worship, for schools temples, and other needs. The streets would be eighty-two feet wide, with the main streets coming to the center of the city one hundred thirty-two feet wide. The city would have a population of about 15,000 to 20,000 people.
The Law of Consecration
The law of consecration was the first law given to the Church, (see D&C 42) and the law of tithing was not given until after the Members of the Church failed to live the law of consecration. President Lorenzo Snow spoke much of these two laws:
“After the law of consecration was given, and the covenants entered into with the Lord by the people in Jackson County were broken, the Lord gave another law (tithing) six years later which was vastly different from the law of consecration. We are now under that law; and the same promises have been made to us if we will keep that law as were made to the people in Jackson County; the land will be sanctified, and we shall be counted worthy to receive the blessings of the Lord and to be sustained and supported in our financial affairs and in everything we do, temporal as well as spiritual. And it is a very small matter indeed, so far as sacrifice is concerned, in comparison to the giving of our entire property over to the bishop, and then receiving from him only a portion of it again as circumstances might demand.” (The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 158.)
The Lord revealed these instructions pertaining to the law of consecration: "If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me and keep all my commandments. And behold, thou wilt remember the poor, and consecrate of thy properties for their support that which thou hast to impart unto them, with a covenant and a deed which cannot be broken." The Lord than gave the instructions as to those entering the law of consecration, that they should lay all their properties before the bishop, and then the bishop would consecrate back to them that which they would need for the support of their family. The remainder would be placed into the storehouse to be distributed to those who were in need.
In this law of consecration lies the element of divine love and concern for each other, where we care and are cared for. In Zion the main feeling of every person in the society will be “every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God.” (D&C 82:19) This love and concern for each member of society is the heart and core of the law of consecration.
We will have an annual accounting with the bishop as we now have a tithing settlement each year to consecrate to the storehouse “…more than is necessary for their support after this first consecration…Therefore, the residue shall be kept in my storehouse, to administer to the poor and the needy, as shall be appointed by the high council of the church, and the bishop and his council;" (D&C 42:29-34)
Joseph wrote that this consecration will be of mutual agreement so that there will be no animosity created:
"The matter of consecration must be done by the mutual consent of both parties; for to give the Bishop power to say how much every man shall have, and he be obliged to comply with the Bishop's judgment, is giving to the Bishop more power than a king has; and upon the other hand, to let every man say how much he needs, and the Bishop be obliged to comply with his judgment, is to throw Zion into confusion, and make a slave of the Bishop. The fact is, there must be a balance or equilibrium of power, between the Bishop and the people, and thus harmony and good will may be preserved among you." (DHC 1:364,365)
The question might be asked about how the society would eliminate debt? The Lord’s instructions are very clear on this matter. Any moneys that are received from our business transactions are deposited “into the treasury as fast as you receive” them in any amount. “And let not any among you say that it is his own; for it shall not be called his, nor any part of it.” If funds are needed to do business then money can be withdrawn “…or taken out of the treasury, only by the voice and common consent of the order. And this shall be the voice and common consent of the order—that any man among you say to the treasurer: I have need of this to help me in my stewardship— If it be five dollars, or if it be ten dollars, or twenty, or fifty, or a hundred, the treasurer shall give unto him the sum which he requires to help him in his stewardship—Until he be found a transgressor, and it is manifest before the council of the order plainly that he is an unfaithful and an unwise steward. But so long as he is in full fellowship, and is faithful and wise in his stewardship, this shall be his token unto the treasurer that the treasurer shall not withhold.” (D&C 104:67-75)
This seems to operate similar to a bank in which all funds that we receive from conducting business would be deposited immediately into the general treasury fund, and as long as the funds are used wisely they can be withdrawn as needed. The entire society then has investment in the enterprise while it remains under individual control and creativity.
This United Order must be “…a permanent and everlasting establishment and order unto my church, to advance the cause, which ye have espoused, to the salvation of man, and to the glory of your Father who is in heaven; That you may be equal in the bonds of heavenly things, yea, and earthly things also, for the obtaining of heavenly things. For if ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things; For if you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you and required of you. And now, verily thus saith the Lord, it is expedient that all things be done unto my glory, by you who are joined together in this order;” (D&C 78:4-8)
The unfathomable love our Heavenly Father is displayed when He offers all that He has to those who enter the Celestial Kingdom, even to allowing us to sit with Him on His throne, (Rev. 3:21) for “…He makes them equal in power, and in might, and in dominion.” (D&C 76:95) Is it not reasonable that He would require of us to live this law in Zion as a test to see if we are worthy to receive Celestial glory? (D&C 105:3-5)
The law of consecration, and the united order must replace the law of tithing in Zion, for the Lord has said: "But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin." (D&C 49:20)
We should not be as children that will hold on to a toy just because we do not want another child play with it, we must overcome those feelings of selfishness. Without equality in all things there cannot be peace, for where there is no equality there will always be the seed of animosity and compition. The ages have borne out, that those who are lacking in possessions will eventually rise up against those who have. We observe that while the Nephites were under the law of consecration there was “no contention in the land” and there was “no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults.” (4 Ne. 1:15,16) This peace continued until some revolted from the law of consecration and the tranquil society began to fall apart. (v. 20) We observe that this destructive path continued in their society until pride destroyed their nation. (Mormon 8:27)
All Things in One
“And if any man shall give unto any of you a coat, or a suit, take the old and cast it unto the poor, and go on your way rejoicing.” (D&C 84:105.) This principle applies to all our worldly possessions, and it would be wrong to hang onto unused assets, we should pass them onto others in need or someone who will make better use of those items.
The combined consecration of the membership of the church will constitute the United Order. When the body of the Church lives the law of consecration or as it has also been called “the law of the Celestial Kingdom”, (The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 164.) then we will be living the “united order.” The Book of Mormon records that the whole of society must live the law of consecration in order for it to succeed, for as soon as a few withdrew from the law of consecration it destroyed the united order among the children of Lehi. (4 Nephi 1:24,25)
Joseph taught that Adam, Moses, as well as others attempted to bring their people into the presence of God. (Teachings, p. 45) I have wondered when the prophets of old sought to bring the people into the presence of God if the law of consecration was an important part of that effort? Adam did bring the righteous into the presence of God and perhaps Enoch followed those principles taught by Adam and using the same means brought his city into the presence of God. (Moses 7:1, 19-21) Perhaps the law of consecration was part of the first law that was to be given to Israel by Moses before he broke the tablets of stone, and because they were not able to live that law, the law of tithing replaced it. (Exodus 31)
The beauty and success of this Celestial order lies in the love of each other and each individual giving 100 percent of their labor to build up the society. Thus they all become rich through their united efforts. (4 Nephi 1:23)
President David O. McKay taught:
“It has been said that ‘the race of mankind would perish if they ceased to aid one another.’ One man, from whom I quote, says that ‘from the time that the mother binds the child’s head until the moment that some kind assistant wipes the death-damp from the brow of the dying, we cannot exist without mutual help.”…The Church, with all its quorums and organizations, is God’s plan for rendering mutual aid.” (Conf. Report Oct. 1962, 119)
What can we do now to show the Lord our willingness to live the principles of Zion?
"In an Interview in 1973, Marion G. Romney, counselor in the First Presidency, explained that 'from the very beginning' of the Welfare Program he felt it would 'eventually move into the Law of Consecration.' The Welfare Program was 'the trial pattern. Until I can pay my tithing and make liberal contributions of my money and labor to the welfare program, including fast offerings and so forth, I will not be prepared to go into the United Order, which will require me to consecrate everything I have and thereafter give all my surplus for the benefit of the kingdom. I think the United Order will be the last principle of the gospel we will learn to live and that doing so will bring in the millennium." (Building The City Of God, p. 361)
As we consider the expanded freedoms of Zion or expanded moral agency, we become aware of the effects of our consecration of goods or material. The release from bondage of those in debt will truly be freedom. As the Book of Mormon records: “And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift. (4 Nephi 1:3.)
There will be no debt, for;
"...every family was to receive a building lot in the city. In addition, the farmers were to receive an allotment of land outside the city. The mechanic was to receive the necessary tools and materials for his trade, and teachers, writers, and musicians were to have a home site and a license or appointment to serve the community according to their respective abilities..." (Ibid. p.21)
I view a society where every family will have a home that fits their needs, and they will have part in its construction, for “...they shall build houses, and inhabit them...they shall not build, and another inhabit...” (Isa. 65:21,22)
We shall plant gardens behind our homes to produce much of what we eat, for “...they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them...they shall not plant, and another eat...” (Isa. 65:21,22)
Because we will be a society free of the bondage of debt and the need to labor to pay off debt, and we will have the food necessary for our daily needs, we may then use our skills and talents to bless and help others, and to build up Zion. Our opportunities for learning and education will be limitless, for we can be freely instructed in any profession; "And all this for the benefit of the church of the living God, that every man may improve upon his talent, that every man may gain other talents, yea, even an hundred fold, to be cast into the Lord's storehouse, to become the common property of the whole church-every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God." (D&C 82:18,19)
Jacob wrote: "Come, my brethren, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come buy and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness." (2 Ne. 9:50,51)
The freedom or moral agency that will be experienced in Zion will then prepare us for the ultimate autonomy of the Celestial Kingdom.
Administration of the Order
The Bishop will be the central figure in this society, for he will receive the consecration of substance and property from the members, then administer to those in need of that substance or property that has been received by consecration. As instructed in the Doctrine and Covenants, this will be a full time job for the Bishop and those who assist him and they “…are to have their families supported out of the property which is consecrated to the bishop.” (D&C 42:31-35, 71-73.)
Our duty then as well as now will be to seek "...after the poor to administer to their wants by humbling the rich and the proud." (D&C 84:112) What greater love can a man give, other than the laying down his life, than to labor for the needs and comfort of his fellow men? "...Wherefore, the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love. And except they should have charity they were nothing. Wherefore, if they should have charity they would not suffer the laborer in Zion to perish. But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish." (2 Ne. 26:30,31)
Conditions in Zion
The Prophet Joseph made this statement concerning the building of Zion;
"And now, I ask, how righteousness and truth are going to sweep the earth as with a flood? I will answer. Men and angels are going to be coworkers in bringing to pass this great work, and Zion is to be prepared, even a New Jerusalem, for the elect that are to be gathered from the four quarters of the earth and to be established an holy city, for the tabernacle of the Lord shall be with them." (DHC Vol. 2 p.260)
"And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away...I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son." (Rev. 21:2-7)
Isaiah wrote pertaining to the conditions of Zion: "And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;" (Isa. 32:17,18)
Parents will spend the time to teach the principles of the Gospel to their children; "And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children." (Isa. 54:13) "There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed the Lord, and their offspring with them. And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord." (Isa. 65:20-25) "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."(Isa. 11:9)
We read of that thousand years of peace that, “…Satan shall be bound, that old serpent, who is called the devil, and shall not be loosed for the space of a thousand years.” (D&C 88:110) We might ask how it is that Satan will be bound? It will be “…because of the righteousness of His people, Satan has no power; wherefore, he cannot be loosed for the space of many years; for he hath no power over the hearts of the people, for they dwell in righteousness, and the Holy One of Israel reigneth.” (1 Ne. 22:26)
"The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee and everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time." (Isa. 60:19-22) "And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defense. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain."(Isa. 4:5,6)
As the times draw near for the coming of the Lord there will be many natural disasters for the Lord will preach His sermons. We are now witnessing many destruction's from the forces of nature, but the Lord will again bless the land: "Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people...Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things. Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength, Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for He hath given you the former rain moderately, [in place of destructive winds and floods that we now experience] and He will cause to come down for you the rain, and the latter rain in the first month. And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil. And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed. And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.” (Joel 2: 18,21-29)
While the righteous enjoy peace and protection in Zion, their will be destruction in the rest of the world until the great millennium is ushered in: "And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into dankness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call." (Joel 2:30-32) And thus we see that those who repent when the missionaries teach them will find deliverance from the destructions in mount Zion.
We are in a time when there is a great deal of opposition, and temptation to abandon correct principles, but the Lord gives this encouragement: "Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great. Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days. And the rebellious shall be cut off out of the land of Zion, and shall be sent away, and shall not inherit the land. For, verily I say that the rebellious are not of the blood of Ephraim, wherefore they shall be plucked out. Behold, I, the Lord, have made my church in these last days like unto a judge sitting on a hill, or in a high place, to judge the nations. For it shall come to pass that the inhabitants of Zion shall judge all things pertaining to Zion. And liars and hypocrites shall be proved by them, and they who are not apostles and prophets shall be known. And even the bishop, who is a judge, and his counselors, if they are not faithful in their stewardships shall be condemned, and others shall be planted in their stead. For, behold, I say unto you that Zion shall flourish, and the glory of the Lord shall be upon her; And she shall be an ensign unto the people, and there shall come unto her out of every nation under heaven. And the day shall come when the nations of the earth shall tremble because of her, and shall fear because of her terrible ones. The Lord hath spoken it. Amen." (D&C 64:33-43)
"And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be." (1 Ne. 13:37)
These statements by Elder Marion G. Romney I found in the Old Testament Student Manual:
"When we conclude to make a 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...
'My spiritual enjoyment must be obtained by my own life, but it would add much to the comfort of the community, and to my happiness, as one with them, if every man and woman would live their religion, and enjoy the light and glory of the Gospel for themselves, be passive, humble and faithful; rejoice continually before the Lord, attend to the business they are called to do, and be sure never to do anything wrong.
'All would then be peace, joy, and tranquility, in our streets and in our houses. Litigation would cease, there would be no difficulties before the High Council and Bishops' Courts, and courts, turmoil, and strife would not be known.
'Then we would have Zion, for all would be pure in heart."(Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, pp. 118-19)
'We're living in the latter days. We're living in the days the prophets have told about from the time of Enoch to the present day. We are living in the era just preceding the second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are told to so prepare and live that we can be, as was referred to or intimated by one of the speakers here today, independent of every other creature beneath the celestial kingdom. That is what we are to do....
'...the final thing that we are to do is to be able and willing to consecrate all that we have to the building up of the kingdom of God, to care for our fellow men. When we do this we'll be ready for the coming of the Messiah." (Marion G. Romney, in Conference Report, Apr. 1975, pp. 165-66)
'In the meantime, while we await the redemption of Zion and the earth and establishment of the United Order, we as bearers of the priesthood should live strictly by the principles of the United Order insofar as they are embodied in present church practices, such as the fast offering, tithing, and welfare activities. Through these practices we could as individuals, if we were of a mind to do so, implement in our own lives all the basic principles of the United Order....
'It is thus apparent that when the principles of tithing and the fast are properly observed and the Welfare Plan gets fully developed and wholly into operation, 'we shall not be so very far from carrying out the great fundamentals of the United Order.' (Conference Report, October 1942, pp. 57-58)
'The only limitation on you and me is within ourselves." (Marion G. Romney, in Conference Report, Apr. 1966, pp.100-101) (Old Testament student manual Genesis- 2 Samuel p.59)