I have been sitting here for a moment pondering how to write about the latter-day Zion. I just published a 332 page book about Zion with over 800 quotes, and my dilemma is how to distill it into a few uplifting paragraphs.
It is very hard to understand the latter-day Church without understanding Zion. Another way to view this is that much of what we believe and hope for can only be understood completely when viewed through the lens of Zion.
I searched and prayed and fasted and ached for 15 years before I could write the previous paragraph. When the Lord finally got through to me, it changed everything I understood about mortality. It changed everything I understood about the gospel, about the temple, and about the priesthood.
If I were forced at gunpoint to describe the latter-day Zion in one sentence it would be this: Obtaining Zion worthiness is the fullest outcome of all of the ordinances of the priesthood, it is the highest accomplishment of mortality, and that for which we all hope, yet have no name to call it.
When I finally realized, or suspected, might be more accurate, that the latter-day Zion we will build prior to Christ’s return was intended to be a translated city, exactly like Enoch’s, I was stunned. I had never heard anyone teach this. If you have read “The Triumph of Zion” (TToZ) you have read this story. Forgive me for repeating.
I contacted Joshua, whom I had come to know and respect because of his work on LDS research. I asked him if he had ever read an authoritative quote that our Zion would be a translated city.
He replied that he had not, but that he would do some research and let me know. About three months later I got an email indicating that he was having some success. About three months beyond that, he emailed me a 123 page document filled with quotes establishing this very fact, that our latter-day Zion had to be a translated city before Christ returned.
As I studied his research I was shocked. This was unplowed sod to me. Then, as I added my own research I found more and more. It seemed that every prophet from Joseph Smith to Joseph Fielding Smith wrote about this very fact. The Spirit wrought upon me mightily, and I began compiling this research into the TToZ.
The end effect of all this was that I realized that if we were being commanded to build a translated (or translatable) city, that we were also being commanded to understand, seek and obtain the requisite worthiness for, if not the actual state of translation. It is an idea that takes some prayerful pondering to fully understand.
Yet, there are literally tens of thousands of people who have been translated throughout sacred history. Cities full of them in fact. We have been promised even greater things in this, the fullness of times. And I have come to believe with all of my heart that this is the intended and greatest outcome of the latter-day church, to actually become Zion – but a Zion that exceeds our present paradigm of what Zion is by eternal orders of magnitude.
Over the next few Un-Blogs I am hoping to dig deeper into the subject of Zion and what it really is to be. I don’t believe I can “prove” or convince anyone that this vision of Zion is true. But, it is. And it is glorious to my soul. It has caused my soul to soar to the very threshold of heaven. Any person who seeks will find.
If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal. (D&C 42:61)
© March 2011, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved for the contents of this blog and website.