building Zion
Week 05 is scheduled for study Jan. 24-30, 2022. Zion is not just a place, it is a people. Building Zion requires us first to be worthy to live in celestial company.

Day 1

As you read and ponder Moses 7, record your spiritual impressions. By doing this, you show that you value guidance from the Lord and that you want to receive more of His guidance.

Moses 7:16-21, 27, 53, 62-69 – Enoch’s efforts are a pattern for building Zion in our own lives.

Before I even read today’s lesson, I was intrigued by the idea of comparing Enoch’s journey to Zion with ours. The following article was the result.

Moses 7 – The Zion Experience, Then and Now

Just remember that the story of Enoch’s people becoming ready for the city of Zion is missing from our scriptures. We, on the other hand, are in the middle of that story. We are no different from Enoch’s people. The process of becoming a Zion society is the same for any people who set that as their goal. And to be sure, it takes the united effort of everyone to create a large enough society of righteous people to get a city of Zion. One or two people who are pure in heart won’t cut it. Thousands must choose to become selfless and learn to live in unity with each other for a city of Zion to come into existence. But even with those demands, Zion is still built on the individual submitting their will to God’s will, and always seeking the betterment of those around them. This is why one of the defining characteristics of Zion is that there are no poor among them. Those who live in Zion can’t bear to see others suffer, and will make whatever sacrifice is needed in order to help them.

Day 2

As you read and ponder Moses 7, record your spiritual impressions. By doing this, you show that you value guidance from the Lord and that you want to receive more of His guidance.

Moses 7:18-19, 53 – God’s people should strive to be “of one heart and one mind.”

The concept behind today’s lesson can easily be mistaken for the world’s perspective on what it means. In the world, to have one heart and one mind means to have no difference of opinion – to be, in affect, an automaton, a robot. Robots have a mastermind that gives all of them their instructions for behavior. Robots have self will only in stories and fantasies.

God, Himself, gave us, and defends our right to use, our will to choose for ourselves. So what does it mean to bring a world full of willful people to the table and create a society of one heart and one mind? Have you heard the expression used in the Church “through diversity, unity”? God expects us to bring to the gospel table our different cultures, colors, and customs, yet still find ways to live in peace one with another. A consistently good example of how this works can be seen by looking at the BYU-Hawaii campus. Though it is a small university, culturally it is one of the most diverse in the country.

BYU-Hawaii holds a culture night celebration each year. Anyone on campus can join in with any culture club they choose. They put on a display for the whole community of dancing and singing from that particular culture. You’d be surprised at how many people from other parts of the world join in with cultures that they weren’t raise around. They have a blast as they learn the cultural significance of their costumes, songs, and dances. This night is only matched on campus by Food Fest, where the various culture clubs, each with people from around the world in them, make recipes from each of the different nations their club represents. If you have ever been to one, it is one of the best nights of the year!

These students live together, study together, worship together, make friends, and marry into other cultures. The marrying part is not encouraged by the Church, because of the added difficulties crossing cultural boundaries can bring in an intimate relationship, but we marry those we fall in love with, and the students do learn to love those of other cultures. Their eyes are opened to the fact that people can be good people, but come from a society that lives very differently from the one in which they were raised. Our eldest daughter married a man from Ukraine, and our son married a woman who is half Indonesian and half Chinese. We wouldn’t trade our in-laws or grandchildren for the world.

Sometimes it is more difficult to come to a consensus with those of our own culture, for we both think our way is the right and only way to do something. What we often forget is that no culture is universal. I once asked a group of Chinese students to count with their fingers from one to five. Each of them held up their hand and began to count, and each of them held up different fingers for each number. They looked at each other in shock, thinking the way they were taught the only way it was done in their country. And they were all from the same country.

To become of one heart and mind means to be forgiving and tolerant of each other’s differences, to be kind and accepting of differences of circumstances, and to wish wholeheartedly for success and prosperity for all whom we meet. It also means giving up our prejudices and preconceived notions, and being willing to change to allow for differences in others, recognizing that He who created every species in existence also has great diversity among His own children. We are family, and He expects us to learn to love and accept each other, like a functional family does.

Day 3

As you read and ponder Moses 7, record your spiritual impressions. By doing this, you show that you value guidance from the Lord and that you want to receive more of His guidance.

Moses 7:21, 23-24, 27, 69 – What happened to the city of Enoch?

The manual answers today’s question very well. The only thing I want to point out is that the translation of the city of Enoch wasn’t just a one time event. Notice that in verse 23 Zion is taken up into heaven, but in verse 27 we learn that the Lord sent angels to preach to the people, because Enoch and his people were no longer on earth.

23 And after that Zion was taken up into heaven, Enoch beheld, and lo, all the nations of the earth were before him;

27 And Enoch beheld angels descending out of heaven, bearing testimony of the Father and Son; and the Holy Ghost fell on many, and they were caught up by the powers of heaven into Zion.

The interesting thing here is that as people were converted by the angels, they were caught up into heaven to join the city of Enoch. I believe this was so, because their were so few left who were righteous that the Lord couldn’t baptize the earth unless all but those on the ark were removed from the destruction that was to come. With the exception of Noah’s family, everyone else who repented of their sins were taken up to the city of Enoch or died before the watery event.

Day 4

As you read and ponder Moses 7, record your spiritual impressions. By doing this, you show that you value guidance from the Lord and that you want to receive more of His guidance.

Moses 7:28-69 – God weeps for His children.

When we read just the King James version of the bible, it is easy to get the impression that God is harsh, vengeful, and strict with His children. There is much talk of his jealousy and anger, as well as His retribution. Now think on how God/Christ is portrayed in Moses 7. Not only does He weep for the sins and punishments His children bring upon themselves by their own choices, but all of God’s creations also weep for the suffering of God’s children. We see from this that God’s mercy and love extends to all that He has created. What affects God also affects His creations.

This may be naivete on my part, but it appears from verse 44 that even one of God’s righteous children can cause all of creation to shake by their own sorrow. Then again, I may just not understand what this relationship is referring to. But on the surface, it seems pretty clear that God’s righteous children have an effect on God’s creations when they suffer. And by extension, I would think that their joy would also cause rejoicing in the eternities.

41 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Enoch, and told Enoch all the doings of the children of men; wherefore Enoch knew, and looked upon their wickedness, and their misery, and wept and stretched forth his arms, and his heart swelled wide as eternity; and his bowels yearned; and all eternity shook.

Day 5

As you read and ponder Moses 7, record your spiritual impressions. By doing this, you show that you value guidance from the Lord and that you want to receive more of His guidance.

Moses 7:62 – In the last days God will gather His elect.

62 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; …

The truth that God promised to send forth out of the earth is the Book of Mormon. That is made clear throughout the Doctrine and Covenants. The righteousness that He sent “down out of heaven” is the Restoration and all the revelations and priesthood power and covenants He gave to the children of men. These revelations and the increase in priesthood power are ongoing, and will continue to be ongoing until Christ returns again. This is what the Lord promises will be sounded in every ear in every nation, and among every kindred and people on earth. The missionary efforts of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is partly how this is being brought to pass. This effort is also furthered by the righteous living of God’s covenant people in every nation where the gospel has been established. It happens through our fellowshipping efforts, our service in our communities, neighborhoods, and among our contact with strangers.

For the earth to be flooded with this knowledge, it must be as ubiquitous, meaning everywhere, as flood waters are everywhere. This kind of exposure to God’s kingdom on earth cannot happen with just the missionaries’ efforts. This must include all those who have made covenants with God doing their part to glorify God by furthering His good and good works all around them. And like ripples in the water, God’s message and love will be spread among all His children, whether they accept it or not.

FHE/Personal Study

Moses 7:28-31, 35 – God’s love

I know this doesn’t make a lot of sense just yet, but I would like to make an observation about verses 18-19 in order to make better sense of the verses outlined in the manual for this lesson. Verse 18 is only shown here to give context to verse 19, which is what I want to talk about.

18 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.

19 And Enoch continued his preaching in righteousness unto the people of God. And it came to pass in his days, that he built a city that was called the City of Holiness, even Zion.

I don’t know if this is true, but it makes me wonder – if one of God’s names is Man of Holiness, and Enoch built a City of Holiness, “even Zion”, does that mean that Zion means “people of holiness”? We already know that only those living a celestial law can qualify to live in Zion, and that Zion can only be created by those living a celestial law. Just a thought. What do you think? Have I missed something here?

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print a PDF copy of the article.

OT05-2022 – The Lord Called His People Zion

Week 05