Monday, May 3, 2010

Is it your hope to be a part of Zion?

I was asked if I thought it was wrong to own a gun or kill in self-defense.  My response.

I don't think there is anything wrong with owning firearms, hunting, or self-defense.  But I do think we are too quick to presume we are authorized to take life.  Therefore, I am reluctant to encourage that kind of thinking. I encourage a non-violent, non-confrontational way to solve a problem first, and  violent action as a last resort.  When violence or self-defense is used as the final option, then it is rarely needed. When it is viewed as justified and approved, it gets employed with the kind of recklessness that will condemn a person. 

The Mountain Meadows Massacre is a hallmark event wherein aggressive "self defense" resulted in murder.  No one in the local church leadership involved thought of it as murder at the time.  In hindsight, everyone, even the church's Assistant-Historian, admits it was murder and that the blame went far beyond John D. Lee.  It is far better to suffer than to react too quickly and to take life. 

This is a separate subject from the creation of Zion.  Currently, as a people, we don't possess enough basic understanding of doctrine to begin to organize Zion.  Our current models would be warmed over Babylon with new names associated with it.  Rather like the Historic Christian movement adopted "Christmas" to celebrate "Sol Invictus."  Or the fertility rites of Spring renamed "Easter."  

Our "Zion" would be a commercial enterprise, with private ownership and capitalist competition to form an economic basis from which to build a strictly regimented and highly controlled people.  Something so foreign to what Zion was meant to be that I rather think it would draw tornadoes in a proportion greater than trailer parks currently do in Mississippi.

Zion will be cooperative, not competitive.  They will be "one" in every sense of the word.  No one will need to say "know ye the Lord" because everyone will know Him, from the greatest to the least.  He will be able to dwell among them because He will have already been known by them.

Collectivist efforts are never going to work.  FIRST, we must become individually the kind of people whom the Lord can visit.  Then, after that, the gathering together of like-minded people will be a gathering of equals.  It will not be an hierarchical gathering of "leadership" and drones.  There won't be a single drone in Zion.  Everyone will be equal and no one will mind mowing the grass or taking out the garbage.

I envision this scene from Zion:

A man walks down the street early in the morning and notices that the bakery is unmanned.  Its door is open, because there is no need for locks in Zion.  So, on an impulse, he enters, looks about for the instructions left by someone, and begins to prepare bread.  As the morning goes on, a few others join him.  They make bread.  Others come and take the bread to their homes.  At the end of the day, the man goes home.  This was his first time working in the bakery.  He did it because he saw it needed to be done.

He returns to the bakery, because he enjoyed it.  Day by day he works in the bakery for months, perhaps years.  One day on his way, he notices that the grass needs to be cut and the mower has been carefully left beside a tree along the parkway.  So he starts to cut the grass.  He finds he likes it, and this is now what he does this day.  And the next.  And within a month he has cut all the grass needing cutting in his immediate neighborhood and starts over again where he began.  He enjoys it.

Eventually he is asked by someone to help to move clothing and journals from one home to another.  A couple whose children have all moved out no longer have need of the larger home they occupy, and are moving across town.  So he puts the mower carefully beside a tree and begins to help move.  Homes are occupied based upon need, and these people no longer have need of the larger space they once occupied.

Across town he notices that there is a new neighborhood being built. He decides, after finishing the move for the couple, that he will assist at the site.  He returns there for over a year as he provides help with stocking and distributing materials, framing, installing shingles, painting and clean-up.

He has no job. He is never without work.  He asks for no pay, because some labor to feed others.  He has no need for housing, because what is available is shared. 

Before I go on, I feel the need to interrupt:
How on earth is something like this going to work?
What about zoning laws and business licenses?
What about getting a building permit before commencing construction?
What quality control and food-handler's permits exist which will guarantee the bread the man makes won't make people sick?
This is chaos.  Disorder.  Anarchy.  In short, how the hell will something like this WORK??!!??

Well, the answer is, of course, it won't.  Can't.  Not with the folks we have at present.  We'll sit around arguing about the rules for establishing Zion and simply never get around to being Zion.  Zion IS.  It can't be organized, because it requires no organization.  It can't be controlled because there is no need for control.  It can't be governed because it is entirely voluntary and self-governing. 

So for us, we imagine Zion to have a completely restrictive set of covenants on housing which will keep out those garish, bright colored stucco houses we see on the "west-side" in oh so many crowded cities.  Right?  We can't have that.  And we need a code to mandate a common language.  We can't put up with a polyglot society where we can't make out what someone is saying, now can we?  And we ought to make sure zoning keeps the commercial stuff on one side and not scattered throughout the neighborhoods.  Crap like that attracts crime.  And crime should require immediate expulsion, right?  Can't tolerate crime in Zion.  We'll need law enforcement to make that work, and a fence so the criminals don't creep back in after dark. And street lights, so we can see what people are up to after dark when they're lurking about.  And taxes to pay for the public improvements.  And a cap on taxes.  We can't let taxation become punitive.....
wait - we're right back in Babylon....

But you say you want to start Zion?  Ok. Go help your neighbor.  This is where our hearts will need to be before the foundation will ever be laid.  Studying so you can justify using violence if the need arises will not get you any closer to Zion.  Nor will developing a street plan for Zion ahead of a heart plan for changing mankind.  Men's hearts have failed them.  (D&C 45: 26.)


  1. Thank you! Zion is one of the things I have been focusing on in my scripture study the last few months. I am also drawn study of philosophy, public policy, etc. This so clearly and succinctly describes Zion in a way I can never quite accomplish. I am always trying to say something to the effect that Zion, the Law of Consecration, etc. is not socialism / communism because that is compulsion which is, of course, one of the drivers of the War in Heaven which continues here on earth. It is also not capitalism because Zion is not competitive and capitalism is dependent upon competition. Zion is, just as you said. It is full of righteous people who work together and the only way it will be brought about is through the righteousness of each individual. I guess that's my frustration with my self and society as a whole. We aren't worthy of Zion yet and until enough people, we will continue down this path of political suicide regardless of any attempts to save our countries / governments from ruin.

  2. Glad you didn't say trailer parks in Tennessee! :)

    This is great, I like this one a lot!

  3. Denver,

    have you started John Pontius's book "The Triumph of Zion" yet?

  4. Truly a classic post. Thanks again for helping us see the "vision."

    I think I'm going to start telling my kids "Stories of Zion" at night!


  5. "Zion IS. It can't be organized, because it requires no organization. It can't be controlled because there is no need for control. It can't be governed because it is entirely voluntary and self-governing."

    Wait a minute..... if Zion isn't arranged by some organizing body, then this whole idea we've heard about since we were kids that "when the prophet tells everyone to pack their bags, because we're moving to Missouri" is a total fallacy. Mean while, everyone sits around and says, "When it's time, they'll tell us. So I'll just keep doin' what I'm doin'."

    It sounds like not only do we need a change of heart, but a change of mind from all of these traditions we hold onto. (Now I know why the Greek root for repentance: METANOIA means "to change your mind.")

  6. I believe qualifying for Zion is easy. The requirement is just Charity, The Pure Everlasting Love of Christ, 1st & foremost for our spouse.

    If we don't keep our covenants of 'true love' to our spouse, to serve them & make them happy & put them 1st above everything else in our day & life, no matter if they return that love or not, we are nothing & we show we don't love God & we certainly don't know Christ or understand his Gospel of True Love.

    Nothing short of keeping our highest & holiest covenants of marriage & possessing Everlasting Love for our spouse, no matter what they are like, will save us or qualify us for Zion.

    So powerful is the saving power of love that it was what saved even the wicked Lamanites from utter destruction, a quality the Nephites did not possess in the end.

    Everyone craves the blissful feelings of True Love & of living in Zion, but who is willing to give such Everlasting Love? It is very rare, but it's a simple & easy choice to do so & to enjoy such ecstasy of the Spirit.

    "My burden is light & my yoke is easy"

    "Because of the simpleness & the easiness of the way, many perished." 1N 17:41

    "For it is easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point you to eternal bliss."
    Alma 37:44

    "Do not be slothful because of the easiness of the way." Alma 37:46

  7. I've still got to finish another book before beginning the new book by Pontius. So, no, I haven't read it yet.

  8. I see Zion at times, at least sometimes when family, ward, and Stake just do things.
    We (our Elders Quorum) was asked to join in and chop down a tree at the Stake/regional camp. I went there, and we all just started to work. Not one person was really in charge, we just did what was needed. It was Awesome. I felt the Spirit just guiding us, I took a turn on pulling all of the branches away, then I worked on the Log Splitter and learned about that.
    I throughly enjoyed myself, and noticed the time just flew by.
    I feel sad for those family and ward members who don't show up for service. They miss out. It a great way of life, much better than worrying over "my stuff" all the time.
    Another experience is when my family (Wife, 4 kids, and me) get to working. Occasionally we all just start to work, and we just work doing what is needful.
    Thanks again Denver for your thoughts on Zion.
    Brian Bowler

  9. Zion IS. As Nibley says, we don't create it... we receive it.

    Great post... I'd like to see more on this theme. Or maybe a tie-in with the 'call-out' philosophy that is floating around some circles...

  10. We've had 180 years or so to build Zion (New Jerusalem)....and have not. I'm praying to be allowed to assist those that will build the Zion that will be caught up to meet the returning Zion of Enoch.

    Meanwhile...Next year in New Jerusalem!

  11. If you want to see a living example of Zion you wont find it in the human world but the animal kingdom has a wonderful example for us to study. You folks in Utah probably know your state was originally called Deseret and according to the Book of Mormon that means "honey bee". Most folks think that is because they are an example of industry and thrift and they certainly are that but there is more to it than just work hard and get rich to be learned from these gentle creatures.

    A worker bee that is hatched out in the spring and summer and becomes an adult will first work in the hive tending the young larva for a time and then will venture out of the hive to forage for nectar and pollen. She (worker bees are all female) will live about six weeks so she will never see winter. She will never benefit from the nectar she stores for winter. A worker that is hatched in the fall will live in the hive all winter and begin foraging in the spring. They can have a life span longer than six weeks as is proved by those that survive the long winter. So they literally work themselves to death in the summer storing wealth they will never use. That is how it should be though for "the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion." (2 Nephi 26:31)

    Honey bees are peaceful creatures. They don't make war with other hives and they do not compete with bees from other hives for forage. They just go about the business of partaking of the abundance the Lord has provided because they know "that the earth is full and there is enough and to spare" (D&C 104:17)

    continued - posted by Tim

  12. People think of bees as aggressive and dangerous. While it is true they do sting and will attack they will only do so under very narrow conditions. In the field while at work a honey bee will only sting if she is physically hurt. As a child we would cup a honey bee in our hands as she worked in the clover so that she was in the hollow of our palms and not injured and she would not sting. Then open our hands and she would fly away and go on about her business. The other more dramatic situation where bees will attack is when they feel their hive threatened. There is an interesting thing about a honey bee though when they do sting the stinger is torn from her body and she dies. So when bees leave the hive to attack in defense of their home and family it will cause their death. They sacrifice their life for the sake of others. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)

    There is a Queen Bee in the hive. Like Mother Eve is the mother of all living, she is the mother of all the bees in the hive. She does not rule though. In fact from observing the bees inside the hive it appears no single bee or group of bees rules. It is believed that the older worker bees direct the affairs of the hive but since no conflict ever happens among the bees they must not do it by seeking to gratify their pride or vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of their queen, in any degree of unrighteousness. (D&C 121:37) Indeed it appears they assert their influence only by persuasion by long suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile. (D&C 121:41-42) There does not seem to be any evidence of any one bee reproving any of her sisters. (D&C 121:41)

    Honey bees make their way in the world without causing the death of any other living thing, plant or animal. In fact they benefit the plants they forage as the spread pollen from one blossom to the next. There are a few other animals that can do this but no human can. Even the vegetarian causes the death of plants. We are dependent on a steady stream of plants and animals to sustain our life. It is my understanding that during the millennium there will be no more death. Since we are dependent on death for our sustenance we will have to change in some way but the bees are millennium ready.

    Its no wonder we fear the bees because we don't understand their righteousness just as we will not understand the righteousness of Zion and fear giving up what we think is rightfully ours. We like to think the janitor's work is less valuable than the engineer but you will never see that in the bee hive. The nurse bee, the worker bee, and the guard bee, all are equal and share equally the abundance our Mother the Earth provides. This is true because the bees know that it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin. (D&C 49:20)

    The Zion of Enoch was taken up to be with the Lord. The bees are in danger of extinction. When I was growing up it was not uncommon to find bee hives in hollow trees but that is seldom seen anymore. Those that are in man made hives are being devastated by disease that we don't even understand. I cant help but wonder if the Lord may be taking the Zion of bee societies home to Him because, For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift. (D&C 88:33)

    If we want to understand Zion I think we could learn a lot from studying the nature of Deseret.

    Tim (former Tennessee trailer dweller. :)

  13. First, people do not come to Zion to become Zion-like, they must be that first. Like cleaveth to like and seeks its own [Micah 4:1-2 (NJB)]. This is the foundational principle of "gathering". One is either born in Zion, or must gather to a Zion, or lacking that, one must create a Zion.

    Secondly, Zion is a political unit, why even the name tells you so -- the "City of Zion"; this is a grand key. In political units you have public and private property, otherwise there could be no "inheritance", eternal or otherwise.

    Thirdly, within this political unit, Zion, there will be multiple United Orders. Until people understand what Zion is [being pure in heart is just a baby beginning step]; and what a United Order really is [what having "all things in common" and having no "poor among them" really means], such things as these, will never come to pass.

    And a final note: If Zion is not built before the "great and dreadful day of the Lord [(KJ) Isa 13:13], the world will have been an utter waste [see Joel 2:2, 3:3-5; Zeph 1:2-3, 14-18, 3:3 (NJB)]. And that day is fixed [(KJ) Hab 2:2-3].

    I'd be willing to discus this privately with anyone who leaves a note and a method of contact.

  14. I thought I better post an additional comment and ask: In a United Order, just how do you have all things in common, have no poor, and yet have a personal (private) "inheritance" eternal or otherwise?

  15. Anonymous, for centuries we have experienced the wrath of the whore Babylon, whose bitterness has been poured forth upon all nations.

    It is a bit difficult, if not impossible for us to think outside the Babylonian box. If the effects of Babylon's culture, economics, and teachings were considered a virus or a deadly bacteria which affects the DNA of the brain, we'd all be seeking the cure before the infection destroyed our ability to think rightly forever.

    Metaphorically, this is the state that is upon our minds at present, and the traditions of the Fathers which affect the way we think about economics, property, ownership, inheritance, and so forth. Without first receiving the antidote or cure, we cannot plan or build Zion, or even talk rightly about "an inheritance." To seek to build prematurely would result in a gross illusion, similar to the illusion described in part in your comments.

    Stew on the following questions and try not to blow a gasket as you do so:

    If Heavenly Father gives me everything He's got, does that mean He no longer owns anything and that I am now God? Does He now come to me when He needs something? Because He has given me everything, must he start acquiring his own stuff all over again, or do I have to carve away a portion of "My" inheritance so that He can subsist? How can Heavenly Father promise me everything and you everything without being an liar? And, does He secretly love one of us more than the other?

    What is a Babylonian inheritance versus a Celestial inheritance? Does a Celestial inheritance promise you an inheritance that is exclusively yours, that can be fenced, gated, locked, and improved with a security system: or, is it possible that a true inheritance from God means something entirely different than our Babylonian infected brains can comprehend?

    Consider that Animals in nature enjoy a natural inheritance also; they too live in communities. In a herd of deer, which deer owns which sage brush and who decides which deer gets the Presidential Panoramic View when they lay upon the hillside after mid-morning brunch? What is the penalty when one deer eats off of another deer's sagebrush or steals someone else's panoramic view?

    Fun questions, huh? Only as the illusions we labor under are replaced by truth, can we even begin to see the Lord's promises clearly.

    Let's breathe deeply class and and allow the Divine to help us break the Babylonian yoke of tradition that hangs over all of us. Thanks Denver!


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