I’ve been thinking about this for a few months now. Many of us are seeing the signs of the Second Coming, and may be even feeling like, “Any day now would be great, Lord.” Elder D. Todd Christofferson said, “Crucial for the Lord’s return, is the presence on the earth of a people prepared to receive Him at His coming.” Which then begs the question, are we prepared to receive Him?
The Lord has told us that …. There are a few scriptural accounts of people who succeeded in establishing Zion on Earth, and many who missed the mark. (Like maybe the Children of Israel who wandered around in the desert for forty years.) We’ve all had the Sunday School lessons that talk about becoming one, but I’m curious, do we know what that looks like? What does that feel like? If we are trying to build Zion now, in preparation for the Lord’s return, what is Zion?
The People of Enoch
The first group of people to rise to this holy aspiration was the people of Enoch. The Lord describes the people as “their hearts have waxed hard, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes cannot see afar off, … they have gone astray, and have denied me, and sought their own counsels in the dark, and their own abominations have they devised murder, and have not kept the commandments.” (Moses 6:27-28) Enoch is called to preach repentance, and as we know, many people did so.
And 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
The people began to repent and follow the counsel of their prophet until, as the primary song says, ‘there was no sin.’ Doctrine and Covenants 97:12 states, “For this is Zion — the pure in heart.” They had no poor, or contention among them. Angels dwelled among them. They unified as a people who loved God, and because of that, they were blessed to be taken to Heaven to live with God until the Savior returned to Earth as King of Kings.
The People of 4th Nephi
Another group of people who reached this type of society, were the people of 4th Nephi, after Christ visited them in the Americas. Nephi describes civilization of the Nephites after the Savior comes to the Americas as, “…the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another. 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…and there still continued to be peace in the land. And there were great and marvelous works wrought by the disciples of Jesus, insomuch that they did heal the sick, and raise the dead, and cause the lame to walk, and the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear; and all manner of miracles did they work among the children of men; and in nothing did they work miracles save it were in the name of Jesus …and there still continued to be peace in the land. And there were great and marvelous works wrought by the disciples of Jesus, insomuch that they did heal the sick, and raise the dead, and cause the lame to walk, and the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear; and all manner of miracles did they work among the children of men; and in nothing did they work miracles save it were in the name of Jesus. And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people. And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.”
The Work to Build Zion
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.D. Todd Christofferson
In the latter-days, the Lord has commanded us to build Zion prior to His return. The early pioneer Saints attempted this in Kirkland, Nauvoo, and Salt Lake. As we prepare for the Second Coming, how do we build Zion so that we are ready when He comes?
D. Todd Christofferson said, “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.”
In the same address, Elder Christofferson continued, “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). How do we become pure in heart? President Spencer W. Kimball explained, “First, we must eliminate the individual tendency to selfishness that snares the soul, shrinks the heart, and darkens the mind…Second, we must cooperate completely and work in harmony one with the other. There must be unanimity in our decisions and unity in our actions. After pleading with the Saints to “let every man esteem his brother as himself” (D&C 38:24), the Lord concludes his instructions on cooperation to a conference of the membership in these powerful words: “Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.”…Third, we must sacrifice whatever is required by the Lord. We begin by offering a “broken heart and a contrite spirit.” We follow this by giving our best effort in our assigned fields of labor and in our callings. We learn our duty and execute it fully. Finally we consecrate our time, talents, and means as called upon by our file leaders and as prompted by the whisperings of the Spirit.”
Ready to Meet Him
“And Enoch beheld the Son of Man ascend up unto the Father; and he called unto the Lord, saying: Wilt thou not come again upon the earth? Forasmuch as thou art God, and I know thee, and thou hast sworn unto me, and commanded me that I should ask in the name of thine Only Begotten; thou hast made me, and given unto me a right to thy throne, and not of myself, but through thine own grace; wherefore, I ask thee if thou wilt not come again on the earth. And the Lord said unto Enoch: As I live, even so will I come in the last days, in the days of wickedness and vengeance, to fulfill the oath which I have made unto you concerning the children of Noah; And the day shall come that the earth shall rest, but before that day the heavens shall be darkened, and a veil of darkness shall cover the earth; and the heavens shall shake, and also the earth; and great tribulations shall be among the children of men, but my people will I preserve; And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem. And the Lord said unto Enoch: Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us; and we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other.” (Moses 7:59-63)
We have been called to build Zion, but it starts with us. It starts with us as individuals in our homes, in our families. We must dedicate ourselves to becoming converted, becoming pure in heart, and consecrating our talents, time, and funds to building God’s kingdom, so that we will be ready to meet Him when He returns.