“Zion is a principle that prophets throughout all recorded history have correctly understood. In the latter days, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor and many others extensively spoke and wrote about Zion, though most of what they taught is presently little understood. This expanded vision of Zion speaks to me personally as if in a voice of thunder, bearing witness that there is so much we must still do to establish the Latter-day Zion. But in a much louder voice of joy, it speaks of promise and privilege and power well that is well within our reach. We have such a sweeping challenge and obligation before us that we should feel deeply honored, and not just a little overwhelmed. Yet we are scarcely cognizant of our privileges regarding Zion. The promises are so incredible that mortal minds can scarcely take them in, and hence we seem to be more or less oblivious to our potential. We are somewhat like children merrily playing in a sandbox filled with diamonds; we have played in them for so long that we esteem them merely as sparkling sand.
The premise of this book [The Triumph of Zion] is that these promises regarding Zion are ours to claim, as individuals. Only the Prophet can begin building the city and society of Zion. But as individual seekers and spiritual pilgrims, we have fantastic promises and opportunities in the palms of our hands that we have only to close our fingers around to claim. We have the potential, the right, and the obligation to reach far beyond our present belief, and even further beyond our present view of our capacity, and claim gifts that are so exceedingly rare, and so celestially precious as to make them the most desirable of all possible blessings in mortality. Everything we require has already been revealed and given to us. Every necessary priesthood, power and key is operative in our lives. We have only to realize their purpose and make inspired use of them to become a Zion individual.” (“The Triumph of Zion”, p. xvi)
These introductory words are true. The profound privileges and blessings of Zion are within our grasp!
Unfortunately, we often fail to gain such a Zionistic perspective. To many people, Zion is a distant, undefined concept for an undesignated future generation. Yet if it is to come about, it will be because we — and our children and grandchildren — have cast away such dismal dismissals and vague notions, and received its realities in our hearts and minds.
Let’s say you want to enjoy the blessings of Zion — not only for you, but also your posterity and ancestry. Where — and how — do you start?
Prioritizing Your First Step
In my opinion, we must first confront not the past (for the past is already behind us) nor the future (which hasn’t happened yet), but the present. It’s no wonder that in His Sermon on the Mount, the Master admonished,
“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matt. 6:34).
In evaluating our challenges of today, there is one fact that should concern all of us:
We live beneath our privileges with regards to the Gift of the Holy Ghost, the member of the Godhead who leads us to Christ and all that is Christ’s, including Zion.
“There is no doubt, if a person lives according to the revelations given to God’s people, he may have the Spirit of the Lord to signify to him his will, and to guide and to direct him in the discharge of his duties, in his temporal as well as his spiritual exercises. I am satisfied, however, that in this respect, we live far beneath our privileges” (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 32)
“The gift of the Holy Ghost truly is one of the greatest blessings available to members of the Church. Actually, many gifts can come from the Holy Ghost. These are needed in every age and dispensation but certainly no less in the commotion-filled last days of the last dispensation. They are likewise needed at every stage and in every situation of life. … Yet, for different reasons, many of us live far below, or are unaware of, our privileges!” (Neal A. Maxwell, The Promise of Discipleship, pp. 92-93).
In fact, for many members, the Gift of Holy Ghost lies dormant:
“The overall gift of the Holy Ghost truly is one of the greatest blessings available to members of the Church. We all need to stress-for ourselves and for those whom we teach-the vital connection with the gifts of the Holy Ghost. These gifts are vital at every stage of an individual’s life and in every situation of life. Members of the Church have received the gift of the Holy Ghost, but in many it lies dormant — somewhat like the ancients who had received the gift but knew it not (see 3 Ne. 9:20)” (Neal A. Maxwell, “The Holy Ghost: Glorifying Christ,” Ensign, July 2002, p. 56)
Might I suggest that one of the first steps (if not THE first step) on your own journey to Zion is to maximize your reliance on the Holy Ghost. This is because the Holy Ghost is eager and anxious to help every step of your journey towards Zion be successful:
“…the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26)
“…if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.” (2 Nephi 32:5)
So, what do you have to do to enjoy the Holy Ghost’s influence in your life more abundantly?
Perhaps one good starting point is to go to God, in all humility, and ask Him one question:
“What lack I yet?” (Matt. 19:20)
And as we suffix our question with “Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth” (1 Samuel 3:9-10), I am confident that God, who would love nothing more than for you to enjoy the blessings of Zion and to be numbered among its people, will give you that first step…
…in His own way, and in His own due time.