Building Your Part of Zion

It takes me years from the moment I feel a spiritual prompting to write a book, to actually have a printed book in my hands. It is a long process of writing, editing, editing and editing, submitting to multiple publishers, and then when accepted, editing again, proofing, proofing again, and then waiting. By the time a book comes out I may have worked with a half-dozen editors.

When I was working through this process with The Triumph of Zion (TTOZ), in addition to the process above, I worked with two additional editors to review and verify doctrinal matters. The first brother was a fellow author whom the Lord just sent into my life. He helped me to say things in a way that people would not take offense. It was a very interesting process. I would usually say something like, “Because of this, you need to study the scriptures every day,” which didn’t seem offensive to me at all. He would propose I change it to “Because of this, we all need to study the scriptures every day.” You get the idea.

The second editor was provided by CFI to work on doctrinal matters. If I said his name you would recognize it. He’s published over 100 LDS books. He’s over 80 years old, but very kind and doctrinally solid. He would read a few pages, mark them up, and email them to me. I would call him if I had questions, then edit the manuscript and send it back. Most of his changes dealt with saying things in such a way that they could not be misunderstood. We worked together for months. This stage was exhausting for both of us. If he found something he didn’t agree with, we would discuss it. He would most often say, “Well, when you describe it that way I agree with you.” So, I would adjust the language to make it clear and unambiguous.

When we had finally completed the last page and I had returned it with my markups, he paused, and then introduced himself. Before that moment, I only knew his first name. I was surprised at who I had been talking to. It was an interesting moment for me.

He said, “John, my last name is _________ and you probably know that I have published over 100 LDS books. I have been on the Church publication committee and on the board of directors at several publishing companies over the years, including having been senior editor of the Ensign years ago. When I first read The Triumph of Zion, I found myself not in agreement with you on some doctrinal matters at first. Then as I read further, and even discussed these things with you, in every single instance of disagreement, I decided you were right. It was just that I had never thought of these things, or read them anywhere. But, you have over 800 quotes in this book, and I must say, that I am convinced by the Spirit of the Lord that what you have written is true.”

I thanked him very much. I knew that it had been his job to be skeptical so that we could purify the language and the doctrine. Then he made this statement that I will never forget.

“But,” he said very slowly, “I am 83 years old, and I have spent my whole life pursuing a specific goal, which is to live my life faithfully, go to the temple often, and endure to the end. I just can’t allow myself at this stage in my life to believe that I missed the mark, or that there was something more I should have done. I think if I allowed myself to think that way, I would go insane.”

I am of course paraphrasing his words from my memory, but the impact of his words struck me forcefully. I told him that I was sure that the Lord was pleased with his life of service, and we said goodbye.

I have considered this matter now for several years, trying to understand why someone would flatly reject something they know is true, especially being a lover and writer of truth all his life.

I presently believe the reason is merely this: The scriptures testify to us that cities full of people have sought and obtained these vast blessings – and the same blessings have been specifically promised to this dispensation for us to use to build Zion and prepare the world for Christ’s return. These principles are so precious, and so profound, and so much a “mystery of godliness” that no person will be able to accept them until they have been purified and prepared by a long pilgrimage in righteousness.  

The other reason appears to be that the reemergence of these truths has just happened. By that I mean, the Holy Spirit has just recently begun to bear living witness to the virtue and avilability of these blessings. Ten years ago the idea of a living person being translated was unthinkable. Now, the thought process, and people who believe it, are common. It is an idea which did not originate with me – nor did I cause this reemergence to occur – it simply is time. I have met maybe a thousand people so far who simultaneously to my own understanding, heard the same Spirit-born message. I was just the lucky one who got to write it down.

My dear 83 year old editor had one foot on either side of the line, and it was probably just not his ordained life mission to seek and obtain these things at this stage of his life – even though he believed them. In helping to publish TTOZ, and in 83 years of other righteous works, he did build his part of Zion.

And so must we. The difference being, by knowing these things, we have a steeper and much higher mountain to climb. But, the view from the top is breathtaking.

Brother John

© June 2011, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.

About John Pontius

I am a lover of truth.
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7 Responses to Building Your Part of Zion

  1. Karen Prier says:

    I know that all of my comments are late, as I just came to your site a few months ago, but I still want to feel that my voice is present and that I am a part of this unblog family, so I comment. Hope that is ok with you.

    I was told by the Spirit 7 years ago that I would be translated. It seemed to me to be a strange and amazing blessing that I could hardly hope for but made a certain degree of sense. As I child I remember hoping that if I was asked by Christ what my greatest desire would be I always hoped that I could ask for translation, but didn’t dare think it could be mine. I am so grateful to know that it is something that many will attain and it is so exciting that all that desire it will receive it.


  2. Clarice says:

    Brother John,
    I think I must be a bit of an extremist, and prone to overreacting, because my response to the older gentleman is WHAT!? He has lived his whole life with faith and now he has just been shown the next step. Surely if what he said is true about his life then seeking the face of the Lord would not be very far away.

    I stuggle SO much with the thought that I should tread lightly and not share these truths with people because they might not be ready.

    I just read something that Joseph Smith said, and I feel very much the same. He was talking about any blessings we get will only come to us because we approach God with faith, in His son’s name to obtain the promises…then he said- “If not, to what end serves the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and why was it ever communicated to us?”

    My response is the same, what good is the gospel if we don’t go all the way with it?

    You said above “These principles are so precious, and so profound, and so much a “mystery of godliness” that no person will be able to accept them until they have been purified and prepared by a long pilgrimage in righteousness.”

    I am not very old, in my 30’s. I have been a member since I was 8, always active but not what I would say prepared by a long pilgramage in righteousness. It has been a year, almost exactly, since I have learned about the 2nd Comforter, being re-born, translation and Zion. I have experienced a complete paradigm shift. My whole life has changed, nothing matters excet these things. The whole reason the gospel was restored was to make these things availible to us. Why, oh why do we settle for less!

    I’m sorry. I just don’t get it. The Lord requires our hearts, why can’t we just give Him all of our heart, instead of only a part of it?


    • John Pontius says:

      I agree, Clarice. Some people, like you for example, can give all of their hearts. Other’s aren’t ready. Our best course of action when approaching someone to share these things is do it under inspiration and prompting from God. Then, our words go where they are most fruitful.


  3. Jared Eastley says:

    Yes, it is time.

    During my childhood years I spent a lot of time listening to the Dramatized Church History tapes written by Orson Scott Card. In most respect, they were very well done. They engendered me with a strong testimony of Jesus Christ and a deep love for Joseph Smith, as well as a solid foundational knowledge of church history.

    As these testimonies and understandings took shape within me, I began looking forward to the events of the Latter Days, the building of ZION, and the Millennium. Oddly enough, the inevitability of being translated as part of my earthly path has constituted a vivid part of my collective consciousness since I was just a small boy.

    The doctrines of sanctification, transfiguration, and translation have always come easy to me. I really don’t know why except that it seems to be part of my mission in life, per my patriarchal blessing, to teach faith in Jesus Christ and repentance to the children of men and to show an example of how our lives can be perfected.

    I testify that now is the time. It is time to share these things in private, sacred, and inspired settings.

    As we paint this picture for others, it needs to be done ever so gently; with very soft dabs with the paintbrush–a little question here, a soft suggestion there, followed with testimonies filled with power, conviction, and a richness of joy.

    I look forward with eagerness to join with all of you in helping to establish that unity in Christ which is necessary in order for the ZION of the Latter Days to arise.

    Brother Jared


    • John Pontius says:

      Very nicely said, Jared.


      • jaredeastley says:

        On aircraft environmental systems there is something called a pressure relief valve. This valve is preset to a certain cabin pressure differential at which point the valve opens and pressure is released as a precaution against over-pressurizing the vessel. This un-blog is kind of like my pressure relief valve.

        It has been so nice to be able to express some of these things which are so close to the center of my heart with friends of ZION who are able to see “eye to eye.”. Heaven knows I rarely get to express them anywhere else.

        Thank you for this un-blog. And thank you, all my friends whom Brother Pontius has connected me with. You have already made a wonderful difference in my life.

        Brother Jared


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