DC 105 Historical Background: Zion's Camp
It was still quite dark at four o'clock in the morning when reveille sounded from a battered French horn, sending a tired army to prayer and then to preparing for the long day's march. Like most armies, they were ready for battle. But this was no ordinary army. This was Zion's Camp.
The Zion's Camp journey began in May 1834 with about 100 men. As they marched, new recruits joined them. By the middle of June, the group numbered 207 men, 11 women, 11 children, and 25 baggage wagons. The oldest member of the army was Samuel Baker, who was 79; the youngest member was sixteen-year-old George A. Smith, a cousin to the Prophet Joseph.
Originally the Lord had asked for 500 men to march to Missouri to help Church members regain lands that mobs had driven them from. But He also said that if 500 couldn't be found, fewer would do-but no fewer than 100. The Lord promised, "Mine angels shall go up before you, and also my presence" (D&C 103:20).
The march was one thousand miles (1600 k) long, and the discomfort of the summer storms, heat, and humidity was intensified by the fact that there was not enough food. George A. Smith remembered being so tired, hungry, and sleepy that while he walked, he dreamed of a beautiful, shaded stream of water with a loaf of bread and a bottle of milk laid out on a cloth by the side of it.
Most of the men bore the burden of the march in faith, but some complained and caused contentions. Sylvester Smith-no relation to the Prophet-complained that Joseph's watchdog kept him awake at night.
On May 17th, Joseph Smith asked the men to humble themselves and be peacefully united. He told them that if they didn't, they would meet with misfortunes before they left that place.
The following morning the men woke up to find that nearly every horse was either sick or lame. Once more the Prophet told the men that if they would humble themselves and repent of their discord, the horses would be healed. Most of the men did, and by noon all but one of the horses were healthy again. That one horse, Sylvester Smith's, died.
The lesson was short-lived, however, for soon the complaining and contention began again. Joseph warned the men that the Lord had revealed that a scourge would come upon the camp in consequence of the rebellious spirits among them. He prophesied that many would die like sheep with the rot. He also again promised that if they would repent and humble themselves before the Lord, the scourge might be turned away.
After they reached Clay County, Missouri, news arrived that a mob of nearly four hundred men were preparing to destroy them. When Joseph heard the news, he knelt beneath the clear blue summer sky and prayed for divine protection.
Not far off, gunfire sounded. The men of Zion's Camp wanted to fight, but Joseph counseled them to wait and see what God would do.
Suddenly a small black cloud appeared in the west. It moved eastward, growing bigger as it moved, until it filled the heavens with darkness. The first ferryboat of mobbers had crossed the Missouri River south of Zion's Camp and was returning for another load, when a violent burst of wind hit the boat. Rain poured and the wind soared so hard that the members of Zion's Camp ran from their tents and found shelter in an old Baptist meetinghouse nearby. Safely inside, Joseph told them that God was in that storm.
The horizon filled with the snaking of lightning bolts-not one after another, but atop and beside each other so that the sky was continually lit, and the thunder roared without stopping. Large hailstones broke branches from trees and destroyed crops. Torrents of rain soaked the mobbers' ammunition and made it useless. The sights and sounds of the storm frightened the mobbers' horses away, leaving the mobbers to find their way home, wet, horseless, and frightened.
The next morning, Fishing River, which had been only ankle deep, was more than forty feet (12.2 m) deep. One of the mobbers told Joseph Smith that he knew that God was protecting the Mormons.
Despite the miracles, many members of the camp were still disgruntled. Why, after one thousand miles (1600 k) and forty-five days of marching, had the Lord commanded the army not to fight? Joseph explained that like Abraham of old, it had been a test of obedience for the men.
But for some, this was a test they could not endure. Their testimonies crumbled, and in anger they left the Church. Joseph pleaded with the men to remain faithful, and he reminded them of the prophesied scourge that would befall them if they refused to humble themselves.
His words fell on many deaf ears. Two days later Zion's Camp was struck with the dreaded disease cholera. About midnight on June 24, moans and cries pierced the darkness. Men on guard duty fell to the ground, guns still in their hands. Violent attacks of vomiting and cramps turned strong men into writhing victims. Before it ended, sixty-eight people were stricken and fourteen members of the camp died.
As the first few men were taken sick, Joseph tried to give them a blessing, but he was immediately struck with the disease himself. From this painful experience, he learned that when God decrees destruction upon any people, men must not try to stop it.
Slowly Zion's Camp began to disband. Some stayed in Missouri. Some went on missions. Most returned to their homes and shared the things they had learned with their friends and families.
We, too, can learn from the experiences of Zion's Camp the importance of obedience, being tested, and overcoming trials. Although a few men failed the test of Zion's Camp, many were made stronger and more faithful by it. It prepared them for future leadership positions in which their faith and strength would be needed. When the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the first Quorum of the Seventy were organized in 1835, nine of the twelve Apostles and all seventy-one members of the Quorum of the Seventy had served in Zion's Camp. One of the faithful, Brigham Young, said that he wouldn't have exchanged the knowledge he got during the march for all of Geauga County, Ohio.
Sometimes it's hard for us to understand the ways of God. But if we simply trust instead of murmuring, all things will work for our good and for God's purposes, just as they did for Zion's Camp. Zion's Camp was no ordinary army. It will be remembered not for battles fought but for lessons learned. (Sherrie Johnson, "March of Zion's Camp," Friend, May 1993, 47)
The history of Zion's Camp is contained in vol. 2 of The History of the Church, pp. 61-134. There are many interesting vignettes contained in this record. A few are as follows:
We crossed the Embarras river and encamped on a small branch of the same about one mile west. In pitching my tent we found three massasaugas or prairie rattlesnakes, which the brethren were about to kill, but I said, "Let them alone-don't hurt them! How will the serpent ever lose his venom, while the servants of God possess the same disposition, and continue to make war upon it? Men must become harmless, before the brute creation; and when men lose their vicious dispositions and cease to destroy the animal race, the lion and the lamb can dwell together, and the sucking child can play with the serpent in safety." The brethren took the serpents carefully on sticks and carried them across the creek. I exhorted the brethren not to kill a serpent, bird, or an animal of any kind during our journey unless it became necessary in order to preserve ourselves from hunger.
I had frequently spoken on this subject, when on a certain occasion I came up to the brethren who were watching a squirrel on a tree, and to prove them and to know if they would heed my counsel, I took one of their guns, shot the squirrel and passed on, leaving the squirrel on the ground. Brother Orson Hyde, who was just behind, picked up the squirrel, and said, "We will cook this, that nothing may be lost." I perceived that the brethren understood what I did it for, and in their practice gave more heed to my precept than to my example, which was right...
Tuesday, May 27 ...This afternoon, Elder Solomon Humphreys, an aged brother of the camp, having become exceedingly weary, lay down on the prairie to rest himself and fell asleep. When he awoke he saw, coiled up within one foot of his head, a rattlesnake lying between him and his hat, which he had in his hand when he fell asleep. The brethren gathered around him, saying, "It is a rattlesnake, let us kill it;" but Brother Humphreys said, "No, I'll protect him; you shan't hurt him, for he and I had a good nap together." (History of the Church, 2: 71-74)
During our travels we visited several of the mounds which had been thrown up by the ancient inhabitants of this country-Nephites, Lamanites, etc., and this morning I went up on a high mound, near the river, accompanied by the brethren. From this mound we could overlook the tops of the trees and view the prairie on each side of the river as far as our vision could extend, and the scenery was truly delightful.
On the top of the mound were stones which presented the appearance of three altars having been erected one above the other, according to the ancient order; and the remains of bones were strewn over the surface of the ground. The brethren procured a shovel and a hoe, and removing the earth to the depth of about one foot, discovered the skeleton of a man, almost entire, and between his ribs the stone point of a Lamanitish arrow, which evidently produced his death. Elder Burr Riggs retained the arrow. The contemplation of the scenery around us produced peculiar sensations in our bosoms; and subsequently the visions of the past being opened to my understanding by the Spirit of the Almighty, I discovered that the person whose skeleton was before us was a white Lamanite, a large, thick-set man, and a man of God. His name was Zelph. He was a warrior and chieftain under the great prophet Onandagus, who was known from the Hill Cumorah, or eastern sea to the Rocky mountains. The curse was taken from Zelph, or, at least, in part-one of his thigh bones was broken by a stone flung from a sling, while in battle, years before his death. He was killed in battle by the arrow found among his ribs, during the last great struggle of the Lamanites and Nephites. (History of the Church, 2: 79-80)
While we were refreshing ourselves and teams about the middle of the day [June 3rd], I got up on a wagon wheel, called the people together, and said that I would deliver a prophecy. After giving the brethren much good advice, exhorting them to faithfulness and humility, I said the Lord had revealed to me that a scourge would come upon the camp in consequence of the fractious and unruly spirits that appeared among them, and they should die like sheep with the rot; still, if they would repent and humble themselves before the Lord, the scourge, in a great measure, might be turned away; but, as the Lord lives, the members of this camp will suffer for giving way to their unruly temper. (History of the Church, 2:80)
The Jackson mob to the number of about fifteen, with Samuel C. Owens and James Campbell at their head, started for Independence, Jackson county, to raise an army sufficient to meet me, before I could get into Clay county. Campbell swore, as he adjusted his pistols in his holsters, "The eagles and turkey buzzards shall eat my flesh if I do not fix Joe Smith and his army so that their skins will not hold shucks, before two days are passed." They went to the ferry and undertook to cross the Missouri river after dusk, and the angel of God saw fit to sink the boat about the middle of the river, and seven out of twelve that attempted to cross, were drowned. Thus, suddenly and justly, went they to their own place. Campbell was among the missing. He floated down the river some four or five miles, and lodged upon a pile of drift wood, where the eagles, buzzards, ravens, crows, and wild animals ate his flesh from his bones, to fulfill his own words, and left him a horrible example of God's vengeance. He was discovered about three weeks after by one Mr. Purtle. Owens saved his life only, after floating four miles down the stream, where he lodged upon an island, "swam off naked about day light, borrowed a mantle to hide his shame, and slipped home rather shy of the vengeance of God." (History of the Church, 2:99-100)
Thursday, June 19... As we halted and were making preparations for the night, five men armed with guns rode into our camp, and told us we should "see hell before morning;" and their accompanying oaths partook of all the malice of demons. They told us that sixty men were coming from Richmond, Ray county, and seventy more from Clay county, to join the Jackson county mob, who had sworn our utter destruction.
During this day, the Jackson county mob, to the number of about two hundred, made arrangements to cross the Missouri river, above the mouth of Fishing river, at Williams' ferry, into Clay county, and be ready to meet the Richmond mob near Fishing river ford, for our utter destruction; but after the first scow load of about forty had been set over the river, the scow in returning was met by a squall, and had great difficulty in reaching the Jackson side by dark.
When these five men were in our camp, swearing vengeance, the wind, thunder, and rising cloud indicated an approaching storm, and in a short time after they left the rain and hail began to fall. The storm was tremendous; wind and rain, hail and thunder met them in great wrath, and soon softened their direful courage, and frustrated all their designs to "kill Joe Smith and his army." Instead of continuing a cannonading which they commenced when the sun was about one hour high, they crawled under wagons, into hollow trees, and filled one old shanty, till the storm was over, when their ammunition was soaked, and the forty in Clay county were extremely anxious in the morning to return to Jackson, having experienced the pitiless pelting of the storm all night; and as soon as arrangements could be made, this "forlorn hope" took the "back track" for Independence, to join the main body of the mob, fully satisfied, as were those survivors of the company who were drowned, that when Jehovah fights they would rather be absent. The gratification is too terrible.
Very little hail fell in our camp, but from half a mile to a mile around, the stones or lumps of ice cut down the crops of corn and vegetation generally, even cutting limbs from trees, while the trees, themselves were twisted into withes by the wind. The lightning flashed incessantly, which caused it to be so light in our camp through the night, that we could discern the most minute objects; and the roaring of the thunder was tremendous. The earth trembled and quaked, the rain fell in torrents, and, united, it seemed as if the mandate of vengeance had gone forth from the God of battles, to protect His servants from the destruction of their enemies, for the hail fell on them and not on us, and we suffered no harm, except the blowing down of some of our tents, and getting wet; while our enemies had holes made in their hats, and otherwise received damage, even the breaking of their rifle stocks, and the fleeing of their horses through fear and pain.
Many of my little band sheltered in an old meetinghouse through this night, and in the morning the water in Big Fishing river was about forty feet deep, where, the previous evening, it was no more than to our ankles, and our enemies swore that the water rose thirty feet in thirty minutes in the Little Fishing river. They reported that one of their men was killed by lightning, and that another had his hand torn off by his horse drawing his hand between the logs of a corn crib while he was holding him on the inside. They declared that if that was the way God fought for the Mormons, they might as well go about their business. (History of the Church, 2:102-105)
DC 105 Introduction
Zion's Camp became a defining moment for many early saints. The Brethren were privileged to associate directly with the Prophet; they were challenged both physically and spiritually. Those who arose to the occasion would never be the same.
"The men chosen for the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the First Quorum of Seventy came principally from those who had offered their lives for the gospel in Zion's Camp. Nine of the original Twelve Apostles, called in 1835, were members of Zion's Camp, as were all seventy members of the First Quorum of Seventy. Their commitment was proven.
"In an address to the Saints in the Salt Lake Valley nineteen years later, Brigham Young summarized his feelings about his experience in Zion's Camp: 'When I returned from that mission . . . a brother said to me, `Brother Brigham, what have you gained by this journey?` I replied, `Just what we went for; but I would not exchange the knowledge I have received this season for the whole of Geauga County; for property and mines of wealth are not to be compared to the worth of knowledge.'
"And in 1869, Elder Wilford Woodruff declared: 'We gained an experience that we never could have gained in any other way. We had the privilege of beholding the face of the prophet, and we had the privilege of travelling a thousand miles with him, and seeing the workings of the Spirit of God with him, and the revelations of Jesus Christ unto him and the fulfillment of those revelations. . . . Had I not gone up with Zion's Camp I should not have been here to-day.'" (Karl Ricks Anderson, Joseph Smith's Kirtland [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1989], 143.)
Joseph Young (Brigham's brother)
I never went through a more severe trial of my faith; it was as much as we all could bear. We performed 100 miles in three days, in the hottest weather, some of us at times carrying our muskets and knapsacks weighing some 20 to 30 pounds on our backs, traveling until the blood could be heard in our boots and shoes. (Susan Evans McCloud, Brigham Young, A Personal Portrait [American Fork, Ut.: Covenant Communications, 1996], chap. 4)
DC 105:2-9 were it not for the transgressions of my people, speaking concerning the church and not individuals
This is an interesting phrase, "speaking concerning the church and not individuals." The Lord had previously stated that he was pleased with the Church, "speaking unto the church collectively and not individually-For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance." (D&C 1:30-31). The message being: the Church is OK, but I can't vouch for certain individual members who are guilty of sin.
Now the table has turned. Listen to the language of the Lord. He declares that the Church is guilty of transgression. The individuals are not condemned. This may be confusing, but the Lord clarifies what he means.
I speak not concerning those who are appointed to lead my people, who are the first elders of my church, for they are not all under this condemnation;
But I speak concerning my churches abroad-there are many who will say: Where is their God? Behold, he will deliver them in time of trouble, otherwise (or therefore) we will not go up unto Zion, and will keep our moneys. (DC 105:7-8, italics added)
Section 104 deals with the financial trials of 1834. Debt in Kirtland and persecution in Missouri meant the Prophet needed men and money from members of the Church abroad-from Canada, New York, outlying areas in Ohio, etc. The Prophet wrote Orson Hyde as follows:
Now, Brother Orson, if this Church, which is essaying to be the Church of Christ will not help us, when they can do it without sacrifice, with those blessings which God has bestowed upon them, I prophesy-I speak the truth, I lie not-God shall take away their talent, and give it to those who have no talent, and shall prevent them from ever obtaining a place of refuge, or an inheritance upon the land of Zion. (History of the Church, 2:48)
The response was disappointing and Joseph's prophecy fulfilled. The Lord asked for 500 men for Zion's camp (DC 103:30), the group started with a little over 100. The response in monetary donations was just as poor. This brought the whole church under condemnation and proved to the Lord that the Church was not ready to live the law required in Zion or the celestial kingdom.
J. Reuben Clark, Jr.
You will remember that back in the early days of the Church, it took the people in Missouri approximately three years and four months to forfeit the blessings of the United Order. If you will read the revelations and the history of the time, you will find that it was the greed, rapacity, idleness, and covetousness of the people that caused the Lord to withdraw the principle from their midst. (Conference Report, April 1945, pp. 25-26)
I think we are not justified in anticipating the privilege of returning to build up the Center Stake of Zion, until we shall have shown obedience to the law of consecration. One thing, however, is certain, we shall not be permitted to enter the land from whence we were expelled, till our hearts are prepared to honor this law, and we become sanctified through the practice of the truth. (Journal of Discourses, 16:276)
DC 105:3-4 they have not learned to be obedient... and do not impart of their substance... to the poor
"In the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord reveals that Zion cannot be established 'unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom.'...
"The Lord commanded the Saints in 19th-century New York, for example, to make sure that they took care of the poor and unfortunate among them. He also commanded them in the same revelation to be united, for if they were not one they were not his people. He gave these commandments to them as they were preparing to leave New York to go to Ohio in 1831. This was the first step in gathering to Zion in Jackson County, Missouri. Within eight months of these instructions some of these members were already in Independence. Two years later mobs drove them out. Subsequently the Lord explained in a revelation the reason he had allowed this to happen: they had not done as he had instructed-they were not taking care of the unfortunate, and they were not united.
"Thus it would appear that taking care of the unfortunate and being united according to the model of the celestial kingdom are high on the Lord's list of expectations for his people. When we covenant with him to sacrifice and to consecrate ourselves and all we have to his service, we need to make these covenants manifest in our lives.
"In the revelation explaining why 'mine elders should wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion,' the Lord said it was so that 'they themselves may be prepared, and that my people may be taught more perfectly, and have experience, and know more perfectly concerning their duty, and the things which I require at their hands.' Today, nearly 163 years later, we may well ask ourselves if we as individuals and families are preparing more perfectly for the establishment of Zion." (Robert J. Woodford, "The Remarkable Doctrine and Covenants," Ensign, Jan. 1997, 47-48)
Marion G. Romney
The way prescribed for the Church, when these revelations were given in the early 1830's, was the United Order. The Saints, however, did not prove obedient to the things required at their hands in connection with this order (among other things they did "not impart of their substance, as becometh saints, to the poor and afflicted among them"), and were therefore not successful in becoming "united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom" (D&C 105:4). As a consequence, the requirement to practice the United Order was withdrawn from the Church. The Saints were driven and afflicted, and the redemption of Zion is yet delayed.
To us and for our day, the Lord has given the welfare plan whereby we may demonstrate to him through mutual consideration and helpfulness to one another in temporal things, that we do love our neighbors as ourselves, rich and poor alike, and thereby move toward the equality, oneness, and unity which the Lord requires of us. This plan is not meant for any one class alone. We all need the training it affords. The day for the ushering in of the great millennium approaches, and for that day we must be prepared to live as one in perfect unity. We cannot come suddenly to that happy state. It will take training. By putting the welfare plan fully into operation, we can move forward toward this high objective, and also to the perfection of the welfare program itself, "until it becomes perfect in all respects to the care and blessing of" the Lord's people. (Conference Report, October 1945, pp. 155-159)
DC 105:4 they... are not united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom
"It is apparent from these statements to modern Israel and also from the prayer of Jesus Christ asking his father to make all believers one, even as he and the father were one (see John 17:21), that a vital principle of the gospel is unity. In fact, it is a principle of the celestial kingdom, and Zion cannot be built up until we adhere to all of the laws.
"This problem of unity is one of the great challenges to the Church today, since the gospel net gathers God's children from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. Each of us in the Church and each of those who would join the Church lives in a different world from every other person. In some instances the differences are striking; in other instances the differences may be rather subtle. Whatever the degree, though, each of us has inherent differences, and each of us is influenced by differing forces-cultural, geographic, economic, social, and on and on.
And yet out of this diversity must come unity, oneness, and love.
"Unless we are 'united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom,' this people will not be sanctified and prepared to receive Christ.
"That statement may sound a bit ethereal and unreal, but it happens to be a hard fact of eternal life.
"Unity must come in every home in the Church where there is not total harmony. Unity must come in every ward and branch of the Church where there is a note of discord and bickering. Unity must be the goal of nationality and ethnic groups in the Church who consider themselves superior to some other group.
"In short, each of us has to purge from his life those values, traditions, customs, and attitudes that do not conform to the principles of the celestial kingdom." ("Editorial: Unity in Diversity," Ensign, Aug. 1971, 89)
DC 105:5 Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom
"There are doubtless other essentials of Zion societies, but the [main] three points are clearly stated by the Lord: Zion people dwell with each other without contention; they obey the commandments of the Lord; and they have all things in common, sharing of their substance with the poor.
Throughout history, the majority of the people of the world have not lived according to this pattern... A whole society can be righteous only as long as all the people who dwell in it want to be righteous. Obviously, those who do not want to be part of a Zion society will not join it-or will leave it, if they cannot abide its law. (Max Waters, "I Have a Question," Ensign, Sept. 1977, 43)
Spencer W. Kimball
I should like to talk about the building of Zion through sacrifice and consecration. For many years we have been taught that one important end result of our labors, hopes, and aspirations is the building of a Latter-day Zion, a Zion characterized by love, harmony, and peace-a Zion in which the Lord's children are as one.
The vision of what we are about and what should come of our labors must be kept uppermost in our minds as we learn and do our duty in all aspects of gospel living and Church activities. In the fifty-eighth section of the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord shares with us a glimpse of this Latter-day Zion: (quotes D&C 58:3-12.)
This day will come; it is our destiny to help bring it about! Doesn't it motivate you to lengthen your stride and quicken your pace as you do your part in the great sanctifying work of the kingdom? It does me. It causes me to rejoice over the many opportunities for service and sacrifice afforded me and my family as we seek to do our part in establishing Zion.
In the earliest years of this dispensation the people faltered in attempting to live the full plan of Zion. Because of their transgressions, the Lord chastened them in these words:
Behold, they have not learned to be obedient to the things which I required at their hands, but are full of all manner of evil, and do not impart of their substance, as becometh saints, to the poor and afflicted among them;
And are not united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom;
And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself. (D&C 105:3-5.)
The Lord further counsels that we must learn obedience and be developed in character before he can redeem Zion. (See D&C 105:9-10.)
Creating Zion "commences in the heart of each person." (Journal of Discourses, 9:283.) That it would take some time to learn our lessons was seen by the prophets. In 1863 Brigham Young stated:
If the people neglect their duty, turn away from the holy commandments which God has given us, seek their own individual wealth, and neglect the interests of the kingdom of God, we may expect to be here quite a time-perhaps a period that will be far longer than we anticipate. (Journal of Discourses, 11:102.)
Unfortunately we live in a world that largely rejects the values of Zion. Babylon has not and never will comprehend Zion. The Lord revealed our times to the prophet Mormon, who recorded this statement in a closing chapter of the Book of Mormon:
Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But ... Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.
For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted. (Morm. 8:35, 37.)
This state of affairs stands in marked contrast to the Zion the Lord seeks to establish through his covenant people. Zion can be built up only among those who are the pure in heart-not a people torn by covetousness or greed, but a pure and selfless people, not a people who are pure in appearance, rather a people who are pure in heart. Zion is to be in the world and not of the world, not dulled by a sense of carnal security, nor paralyzed by materialism. No, Zion is not things of the lower, but of the higher order, things that exalt the mind and sanctify the heart.
Zion is "every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God." (D&C 82:19.) As I understand these matters, Zion can be established only by those who are pure in heart, and who labor for Zion, for "the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish." (2 Ne. 26:31.) ("Becoming the Pure in Heart," Ensign, Mar. 1985, 3-4)
Marion G. Romney
Full implementation of the united order must, according to the revelation, await the redemption of Zion. (See D&C 105:34.) In the meantime-while we are being more perfectly taught and are gaining experience-we should be strictly living the principles of the united order insofar as they are embodied in present Church requirements, such as tithing, fast offerings, welfare projects, storehouses, and other principles and practices. Through these programs we should, as individuals, implement in our own lives the bases of the united order. (Ensign, May 1977, pp. 94-95.)
DC 105:6 my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience... by the things which they suffer
Neal A. Maxwell
Suffering is a hard way to learn, but perhaps the only way for us to learn certain things, for deep insights do not come to an outsider; they come from being inside certain experiences. Obedience permits us to hear things we would not otherwise be able to listen to, because we would so easily be offended. In Proverbs we read that a wise reprover is heard only by "an obedient ear." (Proverbs 25:12.) (Wherefore, Ye Must Press Forward [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977], 44.)
Glenn L. Pace
We shouldn't be too surprised, therefore, that the Lord is allowing some wake-up calls to jar us loose from apathy just as he has done in previous dispensations. In the book of Helaman, Nephi said, "And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, ... they will not remember him" (Hel. 12:3).
In our dispensation the Lord has said, "And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be, by the things which they suffer" (D&C 105:6).
To some, the events unfolding in the world today are frightening. This is not a time to panic, but it is definitely a time to prepare. What can we do to better prepare ourselves for that which is at our doorstep? It is simple. We need to get back to basics and "learn obedience." When we are obedient, we follow the first principles of the gospel and place our faith in our Lord and Savior; we repent of our sins; we are baptized and receive the Holy Ghost to guide us. We read and ponder the scriptures, pray for direction in our lives, and look for ways to help others who are going through difficult times. We share the gospel with people living on earth and make it possible for saving ordinances to be performed for those who have passed beyond the veil...
In spite of our obedience, trials and tribulations will come our way. Disasters and tribulation are not always for the punishment of the wicked, but often for the sanctification of the righteous. We admire the early members of the Church for their faithfulness through their numerous trials. It is interesting to contemplate whether they succeeded in facing their obstacles because of their spirituality or whether they were spiritual because of the obstacles they faced.
Into each of our lives come golden moments of adversity. This painful friend breaks our hearts, drops us to our knees, and makes us realize we are nothing without our Lord and Savior. This friend makes us plead all the night long for reassurance and into the next day and sometimes for weeks and months. But, ultimately, just as surely as the day follows the night, as we remain true and faithful, this strange friend, adversity, leads us straight into the outstretched arms of the Savior. ("Spiritual Revival," Ensign, Nov. 1992, 12-13)
James E. Faust
In life we all have our Gethsemanes. A Gethsemane is a necessary experience. A Gethsemane is a growth experience. A Gethsemane is a time to draw near to God. A Gethsemane is a time of deep anguish and suffering. The Gethsemane of the Savior was without question the greatest suffering that has ever come to mankind, yet out of it came the greatest good in the promise of eternal life. One of the lessons learned by the Savior in his Gethsemane was declared by Paul to the Hebrews: "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered." (To Reach Even unto You [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1980], 91.)"
DC 105:9 wait for a little while for the redemption of Zion
This is the first time the Lord had indicated to the Brethren that the redemption of Zion would not be immediate. When the saints were driven from Missouri, they weren't just leaving their homes; they were leaving the Zion promised in the scriptures-the Millennial capital of the New World. The angst of the Missouri and Kirtland saints was that these lands must be reclaimed. This subject had plagued Joseph Smith until he finally organized Zion's Camp to reclaim these lost inheritances, "I verily know that He will speedily deliver Zion for I have his immutible covenant that this shall be the case, but God is pleased to keep it hid from mine eyes the means how exactly the thing will be done." (The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, 284 - 285) They were ready to fight their enemies if necessary. They were determined to follow the commandments of the Lord.
The early revelations had never allowed them to think that Zion's redemption would come later, until now. Zion's Camp would not be required to face the mob, reclaim the lands, and fight the enemy. This is a very important change for the early saints. They naturally assumed the Second Coming was imminent and that they were the ones to prepare Zion for the Master's triumphal return. They were to wait "a little while." In the language of the Lord, "a little while," can be quite a while.
"The early Saints interpreted the revelations on building Zion and the temple in the New Jerusalem as applying to their day. But the glory and greatness of the city of Zion were intended for the future, not the nineteenth century. The 'tribulation' referred to included not only the Missouri persecutions, but the Nauvoo exodus, the settlement in the Great Basin, the polygamy persecutions, and all other tribulations which the Saints and the Church must endure before the end.
"The early Saints were honored to lay the foundation of Zion. Though their efforts may be perceived as insignificant, or to some even a failure, 'if we look back and examine [the Lord's] word carefully, we will discover that nothing has failed of all that he has predicted, neither shall one jot or tittle pass away unfulfilled.' (Joseph, Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1956, 3:79)
"But what, then, of the redemption of Zion? The redemption of Zion involves more than a location, more than a city or a temple. It requires the purging of one's heart and soul by the Holy Ghost of all un-Christlike motives; it means overcoming selfishness, covetousness, greediness, and idleness-problems specifically condemned by the Lord in these early revelations; it means overcoming tendencies to complain, criticize, and backbite; it means serving God with all one's heart, might, mind, and strength; it means self-mastery; it means being endowed with the power of God through keeping covenants; it means willingly sacrificing all that one has for the sake of the kingdom of God; it means taking on the divine nature; it requires becoming a holy person. Zion's redemption must await a generation of Saints equal to this standard." (William O. Nelson, "To Prepare a People," Ensign, Jan. 1979, 21)
Orson F. Whitney
We must live God's laws if we desire to reap his promises. The Latter-day Saints of Jackson County were a far better people than those who mobbed them and drove them from their homes; but a lack of preparedness hindered them from playing their full part in the great work that God had designed. The mighty event, however, was only postponed. Zion, in due time, will be redeemed; Israel will be gathered; and the preparation made that is necessary to precede the advent of the King of kings. (Conference Report, October 1919, Afternoon Session 73.)
DC 105:10 that my people may be taught more perfectly, and have experience
Neal A. Maxwell
The modern Church even today is instructed to "wait for a little season" to build up central Zion. Why? So that we "may be prepared ... and have experience." (D&C 105:9-10.) We gain knowledge through particular experiences, but only incrementally, "in that thing." (Alma 32:34.) Hence the ongoingness of it all, and perhaps we can be forgiven for wondering, "Is there no other way?" Personal, spiritual symmetry emerges only from the shaping of prolonged obedience. Twigs are bent, not snapped, into shape.
Without patient and meek endurance we will learn less, see less, feel less, and hear less. We who are egocentric and impatient shut down so much of our receiving capacity.
In any case, brothers and sisters, how could there be refining fires without enduring some heat? Or greater patience without enduring some instructive waiting? Or more empathy without bearing one another's burdens-not only that others' burdens may be lightened, but that we may be enlightened through greater empathy? How can there be later magnification without enduring some present deprivation?
The enlarging of the soul requires not only some remodeling, but some excavating. Hypocrisy, guile, and other imbedded traits do not go gladly or easily, but if we "endure it well" (D&C 121:8), we will not grow testy while being tested.
Moreover, we find that sorrow can actually enlarge the mind and heart in order to "give place," expanded space for later joy.
Thus, enduring is one of the cardinal attributes; it simply cannot be developed without the laboratory time in this second estate. Even the best lectures about the theory of enduring are not enough. All the other cardinal virtues-love, patience, humility, mercy, purity, submissiveness, justice-they all require endurance for their full development. ("Endure It Well," Ensign, May 1990, 34)
DC 105:14 I do not require at their hands to fight the battles of Zion
Notwithstanding our enemies were continually breathing threats of violence, we did not fear, neither did we hesitate to prosecute our journey, for God was with us, and His angels went before us, and the faith of our little band was unwavering. We know that angels were our companions, for we saw them. (History of the Church, 2:73)
Brethren, some of you are angry with me, because you did not fight in Missouri; but let me tell you, God did not want you to fight. He could not organize his kingdom with twelve men to open the gospel door to the nations of the earth, and with seventy men under their direction to follow in their tracks, unless he took them from a body of men who had offered their lives, and who had made as great a sacrifice as did Abraham. Now the Lord has got his twelve and his seventy, and there will be other quorums of seventy called, who will make the sacrifice, and those who have not made their sacrifices and their offerings now, will make them hereafter. (B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1930], 1:370-373)
DC 105:14 I will fight your battles
The scriptures often carry a militaristic tone. The Old Testament tells of the children of Israel wiping out the nations which resided in Canaan. The scribes gloried in the military conquests of Saul and David. The prophecies of the redemption of Zion and Jerusalem are filled with violent imagery. So will the saints be required to fight? What did the Lord mean when he said the following?
I will make my people with whom the Father hath covenanted, yea, I will make thy horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass. And thou shalt beat in pieces many people. (3 Ne. 20:19)
And it shall be said among the wicked: Let us not go up to battle against Zion, for the inhabitants of Zion are terrible; wherefore we cannot stand. (D&C 45:70)
The Lord has a heavenly army and they will be doing the fighting. The mortal saints will not be required to fight physically, just spiritually. The scriptures make clear who is doing the fighting. When the Savior comes again, He will come:
...clothed with a vesture dipped in blood...
And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations. (Rev. 19:13-15)
...For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee (the Gentiles), and I will destroy thy chariots;
And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strongholds;
...And I will execute vengeance and fury upon them, even as upon the heathen, such as they have not heard. (3 Ne. 21:14-21)
Orson F. Whitney
There are many good people who believe that anything of a war-like character, anything involving violence and bloodshed, is wholly incompatible with the benign disposition and benevolent purposes of Deity. According to their view, God has nothing to do with wars. From first to last they are the work of the Evil One, moving upon wicked men to stir up strife for selfish and sordid ends. Everything peaceful and pleasant comes from him who is the Prince of Peace; everything of an opposite nature, and especially war, that prolific source of misery and sorrow, is due entirely to the Adversary. It is all well meant, of course, the object being to forefend Deity against the reproach that these good people fear would lie at his door, if it were admitted that he had even a share in what they conceive to be an unmixt evil, a thing absolutely wrong and unjustifiable. But how can such views be reconciled with divine revelation and the history of God's dealings with man? If war is always wicked, and destruction ever at variance with the will and purposes of Providence, how are we to understand such passages of scripture as the foregoing, wherein Jehovah, who is no other than Jesus, the meek and merciful, assures his servants that he will fight their battles, and assumes full responsibility for sending forth the destroyer to lay waste his enemies and theirs?
The problem, seemingly complex, is in reality simple and easy of solution. There are two sides to the Divine Character, two distinct and differing phases of God's dealings with mortals. The Lion as well as the Lamb plays a part in the stirring drama of human progress. The same perfect Being who counseled patience, charity, and the turning of "the other cheek," sternly rebuked hypocrisy, denounced wickedness in unmeasured terms, and with wrathful speech and thong of knotted cords, drove the thieving moneychangers from the Temple. "Blessed are the merciful," said the Author of the Beatitudes. "Love your enemies," enjoined the Redeemer of the World. But already He had proclaimed: "Vengeance is mine-I will repay;" and that high decree has never been revoked. Jehovah is both Prince of Peace and Lord of Hosts, the God of Sabaoth. These are among the titles belonging to him. Why are they his, if he has nothing to do with war-if such things are independently and exclusively the work of Satan? (Saturday Night Thoughts [Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1921], 192)
The Lord [will] fight their battles, and kill their enemies by scores and hundreds of thousands. And on one occasion the angel of the Lord slew one hundred and eighty-five thousand of those who came against His people to destroy them, "and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses." So reads the Bible. The Lord fought their battles.
Again, Elisha's servant saw that there was more for them than all who were against them; he saw that the sides of the mountains were covered with "chariots of fire."
When the Lord commands those invisible beings, shall I say, those who have had their resurrection? Yes, millions and millions more than the inhabitants of this earth, they can fight your battles. (Journal of Discourses, 2:255, 1855)
DC 105:15 not many years hence they shall not be left to pollute mine heritage
"We occasionally hear that Heber C. Kimball prophesied that there would not be a yellow dog left to wag its tail in resistance to the Saints' return to Jackson County. This prophecy has been tied to another prophecy-that Zion will be swept clean. These are actually two separate prophecies and should not be linked together. The sweeping clean of Missouri may have already been fulfilled. During the Civil War, opposing factions called the Bushwhackers and the Jayhawkers battled in Missouri. Through these and other battles, Zion, or Missouri, was swept clean, leaving only chimneys in place of farms and houses. The yellow dog prophecy may be referring to another kind of resistance. The return of specified Saints to Missouri will come about in a natural way; they will have no resistance from the inhabitants. Today, many members live happily in Missouri without resistance. The Lord said he would fight our battles; he will take care of whatever resistance is raised if we trust him." (Leon R. Hartshorn, Dennis A. Wright, and Craig J. Ostler, eds., The Doctrine and Covenants, a Book of Answers: The 25th Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1996], 149)
Bruce R. McConkie
Destructions, wars, calamities, the violence of nature-those things that men call "acts of God"-shall sweep over the land. "And not many years hence"-the "little season" shall last for years-"they shall not be left to pollute mine heritage, and to blaspheme my name upon the lands which I have consecrated for the gathering together of my saints." We are thus left to conclude that the wicked will slay the wicked, and the God of Nature will loose the forces of nature to destroy those who oppose the manifest destiny of his saints. If the Lord cursed old Egypt and overthrew Pharaoh in order to free his ancient covenant people from bondage, will he not curse modern Egypt, as it were, and overthrow the powers of the world, as he prepares the way for his covenant saints to build the capital city of their latter-day promised land? (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 617)
DC 105:16-17 the strength of my house, even my warriors
Joseph Fielding Smith
The Lord called upon Joseph Smith to assemble his warriors, his young men and the middle-aged men to go forth to throw down the towers of the enemy and scatter their watchmen. What the Lord might have done if the young and the middle-aged men had responded in full force, we can only conjecture, since the Lord never did intend that the members of his Church should shed blood, but the fact remains that the strength of his house did not hearken unto his words. (vs. 16-18.) For those who did respond and were faithful the Lord had prepared an endowment for them. He had heard their prayers and had tried their faith. Many of those who were in Zion's Camp were requested to remain in Missouri; others with families in the east, were privileged to return after tarrying for a short time. (Curch History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1946-1949], 3: 38 - 39)
DC 105:11, 18 I have prepared a blessing and an endowment for them
How were the people to become pure in heart without the blessings of the temple, particularly the endowment? Did they understand what covenants the Lord had required? Did they discern the depth of discipleship that Zion demands? Elder Orson F. Whitney, speaking of this passage, wisely remarked:
Is it marvelous that this should be; that a work of such magnitude should require preparation; that Zion, city of holiness, should be built up only by the pure in heart? Ah, reader, the redemption of Zion is more than the purchase or recovery of lands, the building of cities, or even the founding of nations. It is the conquest of the heart, the subjugation of the soul, the sanctifying of the flesh, the purifying and ennobling of the passions. Greater is he who subdues himself, who captures and maintains the citadel of his own soul. (Life of Heber C. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Kimball Family, 1888], 65 - 66)
How can a man subdue himself without the blessings of the endowment? We can ask ourselves if we have kept our temple covenants sufficient to prepare us for the redemption of Zion?
Orson F. Whitney
Take note that the Church had no "endowments" in 1834. There was no Temple that early, and the sacred ritual of the House of God, even if revealed to the Prophet, had not been made known to the people...
Zion could not be redeemed until the Elders were "endowed with power from on High." And yet these same Elders, unendowed, had been sent forth to redeem Zion! Surely, the Lord did not design it then to be. Else would He not have endowed them beforehand? This admitted, and what becomes of their "failure?" They were blameworthy for their disobedience, but surely not for their failure to do what could not be done by men unendowed and consequently not equal to the undertaking. (Saturday Night Thoughts [Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1921], 188.)
DC 105:19 it is expedient in me that they should be brought thus far for a trial of their faith
I will here take the liberty of relating a little of my first career in "Mormonism." In 1834, brother Joseph Smith the Prophet, started with a company from the State of Ohio, picking up others as he passed through various States on his route until he arrived in Missouri. We had grumblers in that camp. We had to be troubled with uneasy, unruly and discontented spirits. This was the first time we had ever traveled in the capacity of a large company, and it was my first experience in that mode of traveling. Brother Joseph led, counseled and guided the company, and contended against those unruly, evil disposed persons. When we arrived in Missouri, the Lord spoke to his servant Joseph and said, "I have accepted your offering," and we had the privilege to return again. On my return many friends asked me what profit there was in calling men from their labor to go up to Missouri and then return, without apparently accomplishing anything. "Who has it benefited?" asked they. "If the Lord did command it to be done, what object had he in view in doing so?" I was then comparatively ignorant, to what I am now, in regard to the spirits and actions of mankind. But I then learned that those persons who asked me such questions were weak in the faith and, like a faulty column in an edifice, could not bear up under the burden designed to rest upon them. This has since proved to be the case. I wish this fact to sink into your hearts, that when men or women have doubts, they also have fear; and when they have fear, they are in danger of what? Of themselves. Want of confidence is the parent of moral imbecility and intellectual weakness. Hear it, ye Saints, that man or woman that is crowned with crowns of glory, immortality, and eternal lives will never be heard to grumble or complain. I told those brethren that I was well paid-paid with heavy interest-yea that my measure was filled to overflowing with the knowledge that I had received by traveling with the Prophet. When companies are led across the plains by inexperienced persons, especially independent companies, they are very apt to break into pieces, to divide up into fragments, become weakened, and thus expose themselves to the influences of death and destruction. (Journal of Discourses, 10:20, 1862)
Have you been tried with persecution and mobbing and death? Have you been tried at the mouth of the cannon or at the point of the bayonet? No-many of you have not; hence a trial is needful. Can you expect the power of God without a trial of your faith? It is expedient that you have a trial of your faith. It would be one of the easiest things in the world for the Almighty to send fire and brimstone upon the earth and destroy our enemies, or to swallow them up by an earthquake as he did in days of Israel.
In those days the Lord enabled Israel to overcome the Hittites, the Hivites, the Jebusites, &c. How easy it would have been for the Lord to have destroyed them by earthquake, or by fire, or by something of this kind! But he did not do it-and why? Because he wanted to do several things at the same time: he wanted... to see if his servants would flinch in the hour of danger. The Lord is going to defend this people, but not without [a trial of] their agency. (Journal of Discourses, 6:203-204, 1858)
DC 105:24 Talk not of judgments, neither boast of faith nor of mighty works
"To understand the Lord's instructions not to disclose or boast of the revelation concerning Zion, we must know the background of what had taken place there. In 1831, the Saints arrived in Independence in the midst of a rough group of settlers. There, they boasted of building up Zion and implied that they were going to drive out all of the inhabitants. This attitude undoubtedly contributed to their being driven out. The Lord chastised the Saints for their behavior and admonished them to go about their future building up of stakes quietly, without conceit, living the gospel and preparing themselves for the Second Coming." (Leon R. Hartshorn, Dennis A. Wright, and Craig J. Ostler, eds., The Doctrine and Covenants, a Book of Answers: The 25th Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1996], 150.)
John K. Carmack
Tolerant people do not boast that God is on their side or that he will destroy the nonbelievers. All ought to leave up to God what he will or will not do in our affairs, at least in rhetoric and boasting. The caravan of the Church will move on, but it will be more tolerant and gentle if we do not boast of revelations, spiritual gifts, or revenge.
In Missouri, some of the Saints boasted that God would give them the properties of Jackson County no matter what those residents did. (Tolerance: Principles, Practices, Obstacles, Limits [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1993], 104 - 105)
(Zion's Camp, Monday June 16).-Martin Harris having boasted to the brethren that he could handle snakes with perfect safety, while fooling with a black snake with his bare feet, he received a bite on his left foot. The fact was communicated to me, and I took occasion to reprove him, and exhort the brethren never to trifle with the promises of God. I told them it was presumption for any one to provoke a serpent to bite him, but if a man of God was accidentally bitten by a poisonous serpent, he might have faith, or his brethren might have faith for him, so that the Lord would hear his prayer and he might be healed; but when a man designedly provokes a serpent to bite him, the principle is the same as when a man drinks deadly poison knowing it to be such. In that case no man has any claim on the promises of God to be healed. (History of the Church, 2:95-96)
DC 105:29 it is my will that these lands should be purchased... that my saints should possess them
"Zion in its fullness will come in the due time of the Lord. Preparation continues for that blessed day when the elect will be prepared for the Savior's return to usher in his millennial reign. The day will come when the leaders of the Church will call the faithful, devoted members to build the New Jerusalem; but the call will come only when the revelation is received by the prophet." (Roy W. Doxey, "Zion's Welfare Is My Portion," Ensign, Feb. 1973, 57)
DC 105:31 first let my army become very great
Spencer W. Kimball
We look to the day when Zion can be fully built, but the Lord reminds us: "But first let my army become very great." (D&C 105:31.)
While we are powerfully and energetically enlarging the Lord's army, we remember also President Brigham Young's prophecy: "The kingdom will continue to increase, to grow, to spread and prosper more and more. Every time its enemies undertake to overthrow it, it will become more extensive and powerful; instead of its decreasing, it will continue to increase, it will spread the more, become more wonderful and conspicuous to the nations, until it fills the whole earth." (Journal of Discourses, 1:203.)
The Prophet Joseph Smith has assured us with great clarity: "No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done." (History of the Church, 4:540.) ("Are We Doing All We Can?" Ensign, Feb. 1983, 5)
DC 105:32 That the kingdoms of this world may be constrained to acknowledge that the kingdom of Zion is in very deed the kingdom of our God
When you think of the reputation of the latter-day saints among the world, perceptions have certainly improved in the last 50 years. However, many ignorant and anachronistic sentiments remain. More and more, press about the Church is positive. More and more, the influence of the saints, both individually and collectively, is changing minds and hearts. Incredible as it may seem at this point, there will come a time when the reputation of the Church will be so great as to constrain the otherwise wicked world of the power and authority of the Lord's kingdom and His servants
Bruce R. McConkie
Our joy and rejoicing is not in what lies below, not in our past-great and glorious as that is-but in our present and in our future... From the top of the peak... we can look forward, crest upon crest, to the Zion of God which one day will be ours if we walk in the course charted by those who have gone before... the Church is like a great caravan-organized, prepared, following an appointed course... Ahead is the celestial city, the eternal Zion of our God, where all who maintain their position in the caravan shall find food and drink and rest. (Out of Obscurity: The LDS Church in the Twentieth Century, 25)
Those who will not take up their sword to fight against their neighbor must needs flee to Zion for safety. And they will come, saying, we do not know anything of the principles of your religion, but we perceive that you are an honest community; you administer justice and righteousness, and we want to live with you and receive the protection of your laws, but as for your religion we will talk about that some other time. Will we protect such people? Yes, all honorable men. When the people shall have torn to shreds the Constitution of the United States, the Elders of Israel will be found holding it up to the nations of the earth and proclaiming liberty and equal rights to all men, and extending the hand of fellowship to the oppressed of all nations. This is part of the programme, and as long as we do what is right and fear God he will help us and stand by us under all circumstances. (Ensign, Dec. 1978, 7)
DC 105:37 they shall have power after many days to accomplish all things pertaining to Zion
Spencer W. Kimball
The length of time required "to accomplish all things pertaining to Zion" is strictly up to us and how we live, for creating Zion "commences in the heart of each person." (Journal of Discourses, 9:283.) That it would take some time to learn our lessons was seen by the prophets. In 1863 Brigham Young stated:
"If the people neglect their duty, turn away from the holy commandments which God has given us, seek their own individual wealth, and neglect the interests of the kingdom of God, we may expect to be here quite a time-perhaps a period that will be far longer than we anticipate." (Journal of Discourses, 11:102.) ("Becoming the Pure in Heart," Ensign, May 1978, 80-81)
DC 105:38-40 sue for peace
The History of the Church, vol. 1 and 2, contains many letters and communications from the early Brethren to local, state, and national authorities. They completely and repeatedly complied with the Lord's command in this regard. These impassioned pleas leave an impressive record of the eloquence of their language, the justness of their cause, and the history of their persecutions. However, their pleas, almost uniformly, fell on deaf ears.
Jeffrey R. Holland
Peace is, unfortunately, a commodity that is little known to this world. Nations battle against nations, fathers are at war with their sons, conflicts rage within the individual soul.
But if we will, the "Sun of righteousness" may rise over such dark scenes "with healing in his wings." (Mal. 4:2.) Then peace, the only real peace we know, is indeed a reality with man.
The Latin term is pax, literally "an agreement." Agreement!-agreement with him who has made agreement for us. Only then can the destruction of body and soul cease, not simply in armistice but victory.
"... Sue for peace, not only to the people that have smitten you, but also to all people." (D&C 105:38.) The worlds in and outside a man's heart cry out for harmony and agreement. I am the Prince of Peace. ("Whom Say Ye That I Am?" Ensign, Sept. 1974, 10)