1 THIS know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.
I know there are good people everywhere, but it has become hard to point them out in today's filth. We may all be born innocent, but our spirits seem over influenced by the material bodies and satanic suggestions. Many people are crying out for a better society built around the ideas of integrety, honesty, morality, and most importantly faith in God.
One of the constant themes during the foundation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the building up of Zion. This was more than simply learning to live a good Christian life. It was the concept of gathering together as a people and building up a community of believers. It was believed that the Saints could help usher in the Second Coming of Christ by forming a group worthy of God's favor. Due to negative circumstances both inside and outside the faith the dream was never realized. A new era started, as explained by Bruce R. McConkie in his .Peru Talk several years ago:
We are in the midst of a period of change and realignment where one of the basic doctrines of the Restoration is concerned.
We were directed in the day of Joseph Smith to do one thing with reference to the gathering of Israel and the building up of Zion. Today we are counseled to turn away from the past and do something entirely different. . .
. . . We are living in a new day. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is fast becoming a worldwide church. Congregations of Saints are now, or soon will be, strong enough to support and sustain their members no matter where they reside. Temples are being built wherever the need justifies. We can foresee many temples in South America in process of time.
Stakes of Zion are also being organized at the ends of the earth. In this connection, let us ponder these truths: A stake of Zion is a part of Zion. You cannot create a stake of Zion without creating a part of Zion. Zion is the pure in heart; we gain purity of heart by baptism and by obedience. A stake has geographical boundaries. To create a stake is like founding a City of Holiness. Every stake on earth is the gathering place for the lost sheep of Israel who live in its area.
The gathering place for Peruvians is in the stakes of Zion in Peru, or in the places which soon will become stakes. The gathering place for Chileans is in Chile; for Bolivians it is in Bolivia; for Koreans it is in Korea; and so it goes through all the length and breadth of the earth. Scattered Israel in every nation is called to gather to the fold of Christ, to the stakes of Zion, as such are established in their nations.
Isaiah prophesied that the Lord “shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root; Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.” The Lord’s promise is: “Ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel.” (Isa. 27:6, 12.)
That is to say—Israel shall be gathered one by one, family by family, unto the stakes of Zion established in all parts of the earth so that the whole earth shall be blessed with the fruits of the gospel.
This then is the counsel of the Brethren: Build up Zion, but build it up in the area where God has given you birth and nationality. Build it up where he has given you citizenship, family, and friends. Zion is here in South America and the Saints who comprise this part of Zion are and should be a leavening influence for good in all these nations.
And know this: God will bless that nation which so orders its affairs as to further his work.
His work includes the building up of Zion in the last days. He has commissioned us to do that work for him. The foundations of Zion have already been laid in North America, in South America, in Europe, in Asia, in the South Pacific and in every place where there are stakes of Zion. But Zion is not yet perfected in any of these places. When she is perfected, it will be as it was with Zion of old—the Lord will come and dwell with his people.
The condition of the World today makes me wonder it is time to renew the idea of gathering the Saints closer together. I don't mean the almost unconscious gathering to Idaho and Utah. Rather, a commitment to gather with a goal in mind to create a particular community. I don't think it would be improbable to form gated communities with specific ideals. The days of deadly persecution, in the United States at least, are in the past. It even seems possible for LDS members to go back to Independance Missouri if they desired and bought up land. Money and the Law are more important today that they ever were in the early years.
Such a plan won't be easy, and not all problems will suddenly no longer exist. But, polygamous "Mormons" seem to be proving a new religious gathering in the middle of a pluralistic democracy can be possible in small groups. The closest modern example of a "mainstream Mormonism" built community is Provo, UT and Rexburg, ID. Both are centers of LDS learning. Like Joseph Smith's vision of the center of Zion as a large Temple University complex, these two places act as gathering areas for the Church's young and growing. It might be possible to study them and decide how to improve on the "accidental providence" of their existance as LDS communities.
Questions naturally arise. Where would such a community be built? What would be the laws and standards? What legal ramifications still exist? How ready are the Saints for such an experiment? Does it go against modern revelation as to our current mission to the world? Is it desireable?
Answers to these questions are vital to achieving any new gathering. Perhaps the online world of blogging is the closest Mormons can come these days to a seperate community of believers. Of course, the main reason for gathering in the days of Joseph Smith was to build Temples for the people. These days Temples can come to the people. Zion still remains a dream that all Saints desire to see become reality. Perhaps the most important starting point is in our hearts and homes.