There are 3 thoughts on “Mine House is a House of Zion and not a House of Babylon!”.

  1. I first read this article about a week ago. It struck me then—and now—as containing a very profound message.

    And it was very interesting to see how implicitly early Latter-day Saints such as Lorenzo Snow and John Taylor understood Zion and Babylon in the same way that those terms are set forth in this article.

    A thought:

    It occurs to me that the Church is not Zion (Godly order). The Church *aims* at Zion. The Church attempts to move itself and its participants toward Zion. Likewise, the temple is not an incarnation of Zion. The temple *points* toward Zion. In fact, a perusal of Church history reveals that plenty of Babylon (confusion) percolates even in the Church. Perhaps Brigham’s Adam-God teachings are an example. Or the implementation of Joseph’s polygamy. Or the Kirtland Safety Society. Or the aspects of Temple liturgy that have been eliminated over the years. Or racist teachings about the spirits born into black bodies.

    I say this because I think it can be tempting to think, “I’m a member of the right Church—of God’s Church. Therefore, I’ve arrived at Zion. Everyone else is wallowing in Babylon. Look at those who doubt or disbelieve; look at the darkness and confusion in their lives. They’re in Babylon. How fortunate that I’m in Zion.”

    This confusing of Zion with the Church promotes a few outcomes: A) A preference for white-washed narratives that cater to a need for a perfect Church with perfect Church leaders. This can be paired with an irrational fear of taking an honest look at unvarnished Church history. B) A shattering of belief upon learning about the serious mistakes, errors, and confusion that perpetually arise in the administration of the Church. C) Failing to realize that Church membership is a tool for bringing Zion into our souls, families, and communities—rather than an end in itself.

    I find it interesting that, from the perspective of Biblical authors, the credibility of the Hebrew/ Christian project is not undermined when Moses or David or Jacob’s sons—the heads of the 12 tribes of Israel—royally mess up. Christians, including Latter-day Saints, don’t bat an eye at the weakness of these mortals. It’s almost as if we expect to find evidence of their brokenness. This Biblical approach gives the impression that God and Godly order transcend the imperfection of humans and human institutions. It seems to me that this is the correct approach. And yet, there is a tendency to bring different expectations to the modern Church.

    Confucius said not to confuse the moon with the finger pointing at it. If we make that mistake with Godly Order (Zion), then people might reasonably feel disillusioned about the Church. If our eyes are fixed on the finger, we—and those we influence (such as our children)—might begin to wonder what’s so great about this finger that we should fix our hearts on it. The finger, after all, isn’t very bright, and, from some angles, it’s downright ugly. But when we properly understand the role of the finger, our sights are raised to the moon—with the illumination and wonder it fills us with.

    Anyway, that’s what came to mind for me as I read the article. I appreciate the greater clarity your message brings to my conceptualization of the Two Ways.

    • Dustin, thanks for your well thought out comments. I am in agreement with you. The church is the sum of its members. To that extent, the church is only “true” to the degree that its members are “true.” That has always been a mixed bag, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, in my opinion. But, as you said, we need to focus on the moon rather than the finger that points to it.

  2. Excellent!

    “And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom [the fullness of the Law of Consecration]; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself.” (D&C 105:5)

    The Law of Consecration is the foundational law of the Celestial Kingdom. If we cannot live that law we cannot live there.

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