10 Comments

  1. Raven

    I appreciate the recognition that our giving need not be limited to money. Your post has encouraged me to lift my brothers and sisters up in other ways. For example, I could tutor people and help them with reading and writing. Those basic skills open up so many windows of opportunity, both in the world and in the gospel. Lots of good stuff to think about, and act on, here.

  2. Steve

    Very interesting article!

    I agree, in the Lord’s kingdom there will be no socialism nor capitalism nor any other -ism. The United Order is a celestial attribute or an ideal state that will ultimately only be perceived and lived in the Celestial world.

    But as long as we live in this world we have our agency and live in the “world”. A very essential idea found in all scriptures is that you shall not receive without any input from yourself. What does that mean? Man has to work in order to get the fruits of his work. You have to give in order to receive. You’re entrusted with a lot and obliged to increase your lot. That is – essentially – what capitalism is all about.

    Free agency is another essential principle of our life on this planet. To freely engage with each other in doing business and to freely choose our business partner is an outflow of this principle. This is – again – one of the core values of capitalism.

    Personally of course I’m obliged to consecrate my life. This is my personal decision and the result of my free agency. I choose to consecrate, nobody else makes this decision for me. Nobody forces me to consecrate my life. Translated into business language that means – once again – capitalism where I freely choose with whom I engage and with whom I contract. Socialism on the other hand is the complete opposite where others decide for me what and how much I have to “consecrate”.

    As saints we implement principles of consecration in our every day life. Tithing is one form of consecration. But most saints consecrate much more. Everybody who has calling in the Church consecrates a lot of time, efforts, talents and money for this cause. Some consecrate more and some less. But everybody does.

  3. Thanks Steve. Increasing your lot (magnifying talents), and free agency, of course, are not exclusively capitalistic principles. They are also consecration principles. There is some crossover and overlap.

  4. pierre

    Bryce,

    I love your posts about the temple. They are very uplifting.
    But this particular post about Zion really touched my heart because my wife and I have been having discussions on that topic lately.
    I teach gospel doctrine class and the theme of this year (D&C) has led me to ponder much about the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

    It seems for a lot of people that Zion will come (back) as the Lord returns. It will then be possible to build Zion because the wicked will be wiped out. We will be able to live the united order because everybody will be nice and wear flowers in their hair.
    I see at least 2 difficulties in this reasoning.
    This vision is clearly a « things that are acted upon » way of thinking whereas the Lord asks us to act, to do, to build and to move forward. « Waiting upon the Lord » doesn’t mean waiting in a passive way.
    The other thing that bugs me is the reason we do not build Zion is because of others, the system, the government etc. The only person I can blame for not building Zion is me. This seems congruent with the teachings/covenants of the Holy Temple.

    You know Bryce, when you study the restoration of certain keys in the Kirtland Temple it’s said that genealogical societies were blooming all over the world from that time on. It’s indeed a marvelous work.
    I can see the same pattern today in our telestial world. I can see an increase in wickedness but also I see many initiatives all over the world that bind people’s hearts together and I hope, with the Lord. I’ll name a few

    – Organic community shared agriculture (I’m part of one)
    – Non-copyright materials available everywhere
    – Self-building of modest houses
    – Sustainable way to consume
    – Reducing trash
    – Degrowth movements
    – Alternative ways to teach children (Montessori method)
    – Preventive medicine through nature
    – NGOs with the objective to help people becoming self-reliant
    – Ecovillages
    – Cooperative (as business organization)
    – Locavorism and local economy
    – Home made natural cosmetics, soap etc.
    – Alternative local and electronic money
    – Barter seems to come back
    – Homeschooling etc.
    – Peace manifestation in many countries

    I’m reading a book by a French writer (Pierre Rabhi) farmer and environmentalist who explains that societies used to live almost like Zion within a village.
    In Africa for instance, people would help build each others houses. Men would work hard to provide food and furniture. Women were working together too to cook, sew, bring water and raise the children. With the help of nature, a healer would take care of the village and an intermediary was called in order to settle problems among villagers. One could say it was very patriarchal. They had to work together or they could not survive. When the industry or “civilization” would build a mine in the neighborhood for example, black men would leave what they had always known in order to work for the white me (most often the kind of labor human beings a.k.a white men should not do). They would earn money and buy their food from others. The local businesses would slowly close down. Brotherhood and cooperation were replaced with individualism and greed. But the most important is that finally, they could become “a civilized people”…

    How hard it is for us to go back to that kind of life that has existed for a long time. This should be easier because we have the gospel right? But deep inside we know it requires sacrifice and forgetting the foolish traditions of our fathers. We need to put off the natural man which in modern terms would include things like huge houses, sport cars, pesticides, stupid tv shows, wrong music, some governments practices, mediocre education, exaggerate profit and ultimately money (among others things).

    Let’s face it, I’m an IT engineer, with a good situation, two kids, 2 callings, sealed in the temple with a beautiful wife. I have a car and go on holidays, own 2 fishes and a 46” screen TV. I’m not “wealthy” among my co-workers but super wealthy compared to my brothers and sisters in India. If I don’t change anything, I’ll die around 85 years old (statistically) with a bigger house, 2 cars and tropical fish. I would probably have served in the stake (supa wow) or as a bishop (wow). I would have lived a good life as a faithful member.

    Then I personally think I’ll receive my exaltation. Cool.

    That doesn’t satisfy me. I do no want to be a “member of church” I want to be Christ’s friend. I don’t want an endowment I want my calling and election made sure. I don’t want to learn doctrine from a teacher but trough direct revelation.
    I want to become like my Savior and help my brothers and sisters. I want to become an instrument in his hands in order to lift people up. I want to establish Zion not only in my heart but for real, physically.
    At the moment, I’m thinking about a project and I will submit my plans to the Lord soon in the Holy Temple. If we turn our heart/desires to the Lord, He’ll show us the way to become Saints.

  5. In W. Cleon Skousen’s book, The Cleansing of America, he claims that the prophesied destruction of America will occur, followed by a time period where the Saints finally become a Zion people, by building actual Zion communities according to Joseph Smith’s city plans, and finally learning how to consecrate. We must, of course, start now, as individuals, but the Zion that must precede Christ’s return will have to be en masse.

    Great article, Bryce, and I agree with the premise, but I want to address a few assumptions that I disagree with.

    1. Although Steve addressed capitalism already, I just want to say that the version of capitalism you were knocking down is perverted capitalism. Capitalism is nothing more than the right of the people to own property (capital) and direct what they do with it. Period. This undoubtedly will be a part of Zion. When the ability of capital owners to make a profit is abused, the system fails. This greed aspect is what the Lord forbids.

    2. Investing in public education is a misguided action. Brigham Young opposed it, and for good reason. You can find more on this in the Mormon Chronicle article, Government Schools = No Celestial Kingdom. While you address the sin of coercion in your article, this is one reason why public education is wrong: taxpayers are forced to fund other people’s education, whether or not they themselves benefit from it, or agree with how and what it teaches. The linked article has some excellent quotes on these points from other prophets.

    Even non-Mormons have begun to notice that public schools are cesspools of Satanism. See Indoctrination: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity in America (2011).

    3. It has been shown that Sen. McCarthy was telling the truth about everything he claimed. The “fear” of Communism in the halls of Washington was actually grounded in facts which, it turns out, McCarthy actually had in his possession, although he was never allowed to present them. Please see Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies. We do a disservice to our nation, to history, and to the discovery of truth, when we continue to promote the false notion that Sen. McCarthy was a scare-monger when we should hail him as a whistleblower who may have saved America, had he actually been listened to. Worse still, our own Latter-day prophets were telling us the exact same thing at the exact same time, and yet we revile the man.

    From the Amazon book description:

    “Accused of creating a bogus Red Scare and smearing countless innocent victims in a five-year reign of terror, Senator Joseph McCarthy is universally remembered as a demagogue, a bully, and a liar. History has judged him such a loathsome figure that even today, a half century after his death, his name remains synonymous with witch hunts.

    But that conventional image is all wrong, as veteran journalist and author M. Stanton Evans reveals in this groundbreaking book. The long-awaited Blacklisted by History, based on six years of intensive research, dismantles the myths surrounding Joe McCarthy and his campaign to unmask Communists, Soviet agents, and flagrant loyalty risks working within the U.S. government. Evans’s revelations completely overturn our understanding of McCarthy, McCarthyism, and the Cold War.

    Drawing on primary sources—including never-before-published government records and FBI files, as well as recent research gleaned from Soviet archives and intercepted transmissions between Moscow spymasters and their agents in the United States—Evans presents irrefutable evidence of a relentless Communist drive to penetrate our government, influence its policies, and steal its secrets. Most shocking of all, he shows that U.S. officials supposedly guarding against this danger not only let it happen but actively covered up the penetration. All of this was precisely as Joe McCarthy contended…

    Evans also shows that practically everything we’ve been told about McCarthy is false…”

    In the end, if we are paying attention, the present state of the United States should tell us that McCarthy was right.

  6. Paul

    Excellent post. I will be sharing this with my Gospel Doctrine class, and have already directed some progressive LDS friends to it. I’ve also ordered a copy of the book.

  7. JL

    Zion begins with each individual making life choices based on true gospel principles and covenants made (one in particular regarding consecration that so many don’t seem to think applies to the here and now). In my opinion, although some people make a lot and give a lot, they miss the point that living beyond our needs (basic homes and transportation, etc.–not what the world tells us we want) and a few wants (within reason) while millions of your brothers and sisters live on nothing is a sin. I don’t think a significant number of people will “get” it until our economy has crashed and we are by necessity required to support one another in the way described by Pierre above. Making the life choices now and having a mindset geared toward modest living and sharing the abundance leftover will create a Zion atmosphere and bless us as well as so many others.

  8. Rand

    I like the article. I feel you have missed a small part of it, and that is that for Zion to be established, on the economic principles you have discussed, those who are freeloaders also must be cleansed, or purified. “The idle shall not eat the bread of the laborer.” So not only do the high and mighty need to be humbled, but those who are not willing to be a laborer also need to be weeded out, or inspired to be productive. If everyone is trying, I have no problem giving of my all, if they are lazy and indolent, I have a harder time wanting to support them in their apathy.

    One quote to support your premise, Pres. Eyring said in April of 2011 GC, “His way of helping has at times been called living the law of consecration. In another period His way was called the united order. In our time it is called the Church welfare program.” We can live the law of consecration now through the welfare program as it is established now.
    Thanks again for this wonderful article.

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