Becoming Zion’s Citizens

Becoming Zion’s Citizens February 5, 2019

Zion has this glorious connotation, a vision of community and strength and unity compassed by the glory of God. The Lord identifies Zion’s citizens as “the pure in heart.”

The Lord commanded His people to build Zion—as a physical place and a personal state of being. He’s given commandment that applied to the initial restorers of His latter-day kingdom and continues to apply to all covenant keepers now.

For Zion must increase in beauty, and in holiness; her borders must be enlarged; her stakes must be strengthened; yea, verily I say unto you, Zion must arise and put on her beautiful garments.

Therefore, I give unto you this commandment, that ye bind yourselves by this covenant, and it shall be done according to the laws of the Lord.

Arise!

Building Zion

But how!? What does that really mean to me as an individual?  In order to live in Zion, I have to be a Zion person.  I looked to how the Lord commanded Zion to be built because I knew I could follow the same pattern in my personal life.

And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself.

And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be, by the things which they suffer. …

But I speak concerning my churches abroad—there are many who will say: Where is their God? Behold, he will deliver them in time of trouble, otherwise we will not go up unto Zion, and will keep our moneys.

Therefore, in consequence of the transgressions of my people, it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion—

That they themselves may be prepared, and that my people may be taught more perfectly, and have experience, and know more perfectly concerning their duty, and the things which I require at their hands.

What are the “principles of the law of the celestial kingdom” the Lord had commanded?

Simply summarizing all ordinances and covenants effecting Jesus Christ’s salvation of mankind, the law of the celestial kingdom is this.

That through the power and manifestation of the Spirit, while in the flesh, they may be able to bear his presence in the world of glory.

That is overwhelming viewed through eyes of natural man weakness. However, viewed through eyes trying to comprehend the Father’s work and glory, that statement sparks hope and a realization that the Father and His Beloved Son believe we can do it—believe I can do it!  The Savior marked the path and led the way back to the Father.

The scriptures give examples of people wallowing in sin who became Zion’s citizens!  Through the grace of Jesus Christ, they overcame the world and entered Zion.

Characteristics of Zion’s Citizens

What are Zion’s citizens like? Amongst other glorious characteristics listed in Doctrine and Covenants 76, inhabitants of Zion are:

They who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—

That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;

And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.

They are they who are the church of the Firstborn.

They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things—

They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory …

These are they who are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly place, the holiest of all.

These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood.

Our Savior promises that through His grace, all things are possible—even the changing of our fallen natures to become Zion’s citizens.

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Becoming Zion’s Citizens

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  • Jesse Fisher

    Delisa, thanks for addressing this topic. I wish we discussed it more.
    About 5 years ago I began gathering quotes by early-Utah’s LDS leaders about building Zion. Have found over 700.
    I’ve categorized and subcategorized them and learned some remarkable things — some which relate to topics you’ve brought up here.

    It seems to me that we LDS have moved the Zion bar so high in terms of the type of people we think must be to live in a Zion society, that we have psychologically given up. Since we have to be “pure in heart”, and we know how sinful we are, we subconsciously say to ourselves, “Why try?”.

    From reading all the quotes I’ve gathered, I’m convinced that “pure in heart” does NOT mean “nearly-perfect” or “qualifying to be translated”, but that it means our motives are rooted in love of God and fellowman (not so hard!). It means we are not (primarily) motivated by pride, greed, or power (which are Telestial motives).

    Also, I’ve come to see that the early LDS leaders were not only convinced we could build a Zion society anytime we want (and only if we want to badly enough), but that they themselves were actively trying to build a real-live, brick and mortar, City-of-Enoch style Zion society here in Utah. That effort was halted by (at least) four forces: The Church’s economic enemies, the Church’s political enemies, and the Church’s religious enemies, and the new member immigrants who simply could not catch the vision of a Zion society and could not let go of “Babylon’s” values. The first three forces culminated in successfully shutting down the LDS Church’s Zion-building efforts in the late 1880s through the instrumentation of the Edmunds Anti-Polygamy act.

    One thing we often seem to forget is that it took Enoch 365 years to get his people to the point that they could all be translated. This means they weren’t anywhere near 100% pure in heart in year One, right? So why do we think WE have to be perfectly pure to begin building a Zion society?

    I’ve spent decades keeping my eyes open for models of social institutions (schools, businesses, societies, etc.) that are more Zion-like than the ones we are comfortable with today here in Babylon. We can start by organizing such institutions, or at least by supporting them.