By Alexis Tanner
I want you to imagine a world with no fighting. Where everyone shares, there’s no poor, and everyone keeps the commandments and loves God. Sounds pretty amazing right? And almost too good to be true? I can’t even imagine a morning in my house like this! However, this was actually how it was for the people of Enoch and the American people after Christ came. In fact, in 4 Nephi 1:15-16 it says, “And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people...and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.”
To me, that sounds like the opposite of the world today. Not only have we been hit by a pandemic, but I think what it’s done to how people act is even worse. There’s yelling, hate, hoarding, depression, sadness, fear, and confusion from children to the nation’s leaders.
In this last General Conference, the leaders of the church talked about unity, a Zion’s people, and the city of Enoch throughout multiple talks. In the Women’s session, President Henry B. Eyring said, “We know that the Savior will come to a people who have been gathered and prepared to live as the people did in the city of Enoch.”
So what does Zion look like? Here are a few examples from the scriptures.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught: “[Enoch’s] was a day of wickedness and evil, a day of darkness and rebellion, a day of war and desolation, a day leading up to the cleansing of the earth by water.” Sounds a lot like us right? Then he continued to say, “Enoch made covenants and assembled a congregation of true believers, all of whom became so faithful that ‘the Lord came and dwelt with his people.‘ And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.”
If we go back to the people in the Americas after Christ came, it was recorded that they followed Christ’s commandments, they participated in fasting and prayer, and they met together often to pray and hear the Lord. This allowed marvelous works and miracles to take place among the people.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson also spoke about these people when he said, “The societies in these two examples were sustained by the blessings of heaven growing out of their exemplary devotion to the two great commandments: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind’ and ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ ” These people made righteous choices by being obedient to God and by caring for one another.
A more modern story is of Joseph Smith and the early saints. Elder Uchtdorf talked about one of Joseph’s experiences when he said, “Think of Joseph Smith the Prophet while imprisoned in Liberty Jail, how he pled for relief for the suffering Saints. He must have wondered how Zion could be established in those circumstances. But the Lord spoke peace to him, and the glorious revelation that followed brought peace to the Saints.” The saints went on to build Zion in Nauvoo and later in the Salt Lake Valley. My family had a chance to go to Nauvoo as a family three years ago and there is an amazing spirit of Zion felt there. As you walk the streets of the remaining houses and shops, there’s a tangible feeling of togetherness and unity.
So how can we be a Zion’s people or a city of Enoch in this modern world?
I don’t believe this is something quick we can do or that it will come easy. Did you know it took 365 YEARS of diligently trying to do everything right before Enoch and his people were translated? I don’t think we’ll get that kind of time on this earth, but there are some key things that we can do to prepare ourselves and work towards being a people who are ready for Christ’s second coming.
- Keep our covenants.
- Don’t fight with our neighbor even when we have different opinions and to show God’s love to everyone.
- Give to the poor which includes paying our tithing and fast offerings.
- Serve our neighbor, those in our community, and in our ward.
- Fast and pray.
- Meet together and be united in our ward family and in the church as a whole.
A personal experience I had with a loving community was when I was pregnant with our fifth child. We were living in Wisconsin, hundreds of miles from our family, and I was having complications. I needed to go to the hospital and stay there until my baby was born. While I was there I missed my oldest daughter’s birthday, but had a loving friend help with the party and took pictures of the event. I had friends watch my children, meals were brought to my family by friends and the Relief Society, and friends visited me in the hospital (back when we could do that). I felt loved and supported and I knew my family was taken care of when I couldn’t be there. We felt strengthened during a challenging time.
There is a lot we can do as neighbors and citizens in our community to contribute to the success of the societies where we live. We can serve others, live by the truths we know, love our friends and foes, and be kind to everyone. We can be a shining light in a dark world. If you aren’t sure what you can do for your community, you can pray and ask God and He will direct you to what you can do. During this pandemic, I felt prompted to reach out to my neighbor and my ministering sisters. It was something as simple as taking over dinner or a treat, but it helped me get to know my neighbors. It also gave them someone to turn to when they needed help.
Becoming a Zion’s people is going to take a lot of effort on each of our parts, but I love what Elder Jeremy R. Jaggi said: “When we exercise patience, our faith increases. As our faith increases, so does our joy.”