Monday, November 03, 2008

October 2008 General Conference: Come to Zion

Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
extended an invitation to the Saints to "Come to Zion".
The building up of Zion is a cause that has interested the people of God in every age; it is a theme upon which prophets, priests and kings have dwelt with peculiar delight; they have looked forward with joyful anticipation to the day in which we live; and fired with heavenly and joyful anticipations they have sung and written and prophesied of this our day; but they died without the sight; we are the favored people that God has made choice of to bring about the Latter-day glory.  (Joseph Smith)

Zion is both a place and a people, teaches Elder Christofferson.

The Lord called Enoch's 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). Elsewhere He said, "For this is Zion—the pure in heart" (Doctrine and Covenants 97:21).

Babylon is the antitheses of Zion.

It is with this backdrop that the Lord called for a gathering of members of His Church, commencing an effort that continues in full vigor today.

Zion uplifts the character, attributes, and faithfulness of her citizens. If we would establish Zion in our homes, branches, wards, and stakes, we must rise to this standard:

(1) unified in one heart and one mind.
(2) a holy people.
(3) 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.

We should ask ourselves if we have overcome jarrings, contentions, envyings, and strifes (see Doctrine and Covenants 101:6). Are we united? I think not.

Forgiveness of one another is essential to this unity.

We will become of one heart and one mind as we individually place the Savior at the center of our lives and follow those He has commissioned to lead us.

Much of the work to be done in establishing Zion consists in our individual efforts to become pure in heart. "Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom,” said the Lord, “otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself" (Doctrine and Covenants 105:5). The law of the celestial kingdom is the gospel law and covenants, which include our constant remembrance of the Savior and our pledge of obedience, sacrifice, consecration, and fidelity. Latter-day Saints who have been endowed in the temple recognize these points of the law.

To come to Zion, it is not enough for you or me to be somewhat less wicked than others. We are to become not only good but holy men and women.

...Let us once and for all establish our residence in Zion and give up the summer cottage in Babylon.

We might ask ourselves, living as many of us do in societies that worship possessions and pleasures, whether we are remaining aloof from covetousness and the lust to acquire more and more of this world's goods. Materialism is just one more manifestation of the idolatry and pride that characterize Babylon. Perhaps we can learn to be content with what is sufficient for our needs.

Let us seek to build up Zion through unity, godliness, and charity, preparing for that great day when Zion, the New Jerusalem, will arise.

We cannot wait until Zion comes for these things to happen. Zion will come only as they happen.

As we are true to our covenants, we become a Zion people, and the places we gather become Zion-like.

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