The overarching theme of “Visions of the Latter-day Zion” is the process of becoming worthy to be a part of the latter-day Zion. I had formulated an idea in my mind of what it would take to go through that process before writing this book, and I had underestimated how completely we have to trust the Lord, and how we must learn to have nothing else between ourselves and our Savior.
It was very interesting to me that Spencer described their journey to Zion as taking four years. Each leg of the journey they lost something they depended on. First it was vehicles, then it was supplies, then it was safety. Each time they lost something, they replaced it with faith in Christ, and then Christ provided the need.
On the last leg of the journey the same thing happened, they continued to lose things, including food and water, clothing and even loved ones who were kidnapped. But, this time, when they trusted in Christ with perfect hope, Christ didn’t supply their needs, He changed them so that they didn’t need it.
They miraculously recover their loved ones, but only after they released them to Christ’s keeping. He said they arrived in Zion with nothing. No food, very little clothing, no shoes on their feet. They didn’t even have crumbs or a drop of water. But, they had a pillar of fire before them, and a pillar of fire behind, and they were in perfect health, perfect faith and perfect joy. Christ had changed them so they didn’t need anything from the world. It was the journey and the systematic stripping away of everything we think we must have that freed them from grip of the telestial world, and changed them into Zion.
At first He supplied their needs, then as their faith grew, He made them unnecessary. By the time they arrived in Zion, they were so filled with faith that all of the blessings of Zion were manifest.
Let me share with you one of the accounts from “Visions of the Latter-day Zion” as an illustration.
“On the first leg of our journey one of the brethren on the council was a diabetic from childhood. He was able to secure and bring with him a supply of his medication. But, after a few months he ran out. He grew sicker day by day until he could not function, and could only eat tiny amounts or his blood sugar went dangerously high. He lost weight dramatically and we all began to expect him to die soon.
He asked for, and of course, received several priesthood blessings, but he still did not improve. Our ability to heal had been manifest nearly 100% of the time we called upon God. We had seen many miracles of the priesthood, and could not understand why this faithful brother, whom we knew to be righteous, did not recover miraculously.
Then, one morning, he got up out of bed, and announced that he did not need medication any more. He ate a normal breakfast, and was fine ever after that. We asked him what had changed, why he was now healed.
He replied, “All I could think of was, ‘Why wasn’t the Lord leading us to more medicine so I could continue my mission for the Lord?’ I had to get very low and near death to realize that I was asking for the wrong blessing. I had been in the Conference Center when Jesus Christ showed us all our future labors in vision, and I knew I would arrive in Zion with this company. But I was trying to have the Lord make me arrive on my own terms – which was with my medicine. I humbled myself and told the Lord I would go anywhere He wanted, to Zion or to Heaven, and I would go on His terms.”
He continued, “It just came into my heart that I already knew I would arrive in Zion, and if the Lord had not yet provided medicine, then I obviously didn’t need it. I felt vitality come back into my body, and I got out of bed. I’m perfectly fine now. I just had to learn that the Lord was my salvation, not a bottle of medicine.”
© November 2011, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.