Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Establishing Zion

                    Families grow stronger as we establish Zion in our individual homes.  Our homes can be places where we dwell together in peace and harmony and where our hearts are knit together in joy, love and unity.  

                    President Henry B. Eyring stated, "We see increased conflict between peoples in the world around us.  Those divisions and differences could infect us.  That is why my message of hope today is that a great day of unity is coming.  The Lord Jehovah will return to live with those who have become His people and will find them united, of one heart, unified with Him and with our Heavenly Father.
                    "You have heard that message of unity from me more than once.  I may well speak of it in the future.  I have heard it from every prophet of God in my lifetime…. The Lord's prophets have always called for unity.  The need for that gift to be granted to us and the challenge to maintain it will grow greater in the days ahead, in which we will be prepared as a people for our glorious destiny.
                    "My message is that we are doing better.  Fathers and mothers are pleading for unity in their homes, and those prayers are being answered.  Families are praying together night and morning….
                    "You have seen evidence, as I have, that we are moving toward becoming one.  The miracle of unity is being granted to us as we pray and work for it in the Lord's way.  Our hearts will be knit together in unity.  God has promised that blessing to His faithful Saints whatever their differences in background and whatever conflict rages around them….
                    "The reason that we pray and ask for that blessing is the same reason the Father is granting it.  We know from experience that joy comes when we are blessed with unity.  We yearn, as spirit children of our Heavenly Father, for that joy which we once had with Him in the life before this one.  His desire is to grant us that sacred wish for unity out of His love for us.
                    "He cannot grant it to us as individuals.  The joy of unity He wants so much to give us is not solitary.  We must seek it and qualify for it with others.  It is not surprising then that God urges us to gather so that He can bless us.  He wants us to gather into families…"  (Ensign, Nov. 2008). 

                    Heavenly Father wants us to gather into families and then into classes, branches, wards and stakes in order to learn more about unity.  As we build unity in our individual families and Church families, the unity will overflow into our communities, cities, counties, states, and nations.

                    An ancient American prophet by the name of Alma and his people lived in difficult and dangerous circumstances as they gathered at the Waters of Mormon.  Alma taught the principles and performed the ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ to his followers, and they were unified.  The scriptures say, "And they were called the church of God, or the church of Christ, from that time forward.  And it came to pass that whosoever was baptized by the power and authority of God was added to his church….
                    "And he commanded them that they should teach nothing save it were the things which he had taught, and which had been spoken by the mouth of the holy prophets.
                    "Yea, even he commanded them that they should preach nothing save it were repentance and faith on the Lord, who had redeemed his people.
                    "And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.
                    "And thus he commanded them to preach.  And thus they became the children of God" (Book of Mormon - Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Mosiah 18:17, 19-22).

                    We can help unity to grow in our homes by developing faith in Jesus Christ, repenting of our sins, forgiving each other, receiving revelation, being humble (because pride is the enemy to unity), and being peacemakers.  Unity can be established among people who come from vastly different backgrounds because the children of our Heavenly Father have more in common than we have differences. 
                      Elder D. Todd Christofferson said, "Zion is Zion because of the character, attributes, and faithfulness of her citizens.  Remember, `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" (Moses 7:18).  If we would establish Zion in our homes, branches, wards, and stakes, we must rise to this standard.  It will become necessary (1) to become unified in one heart and one mind; (2) to become, individually and collectively, a holy people; and (3) to care for the poor and needy with such effectiveness that we eliminate poverty among us.  We cannot wait until Zion comes for these things to happen - Zion will come only as they happen.
                    "As we consider the unity required for Zion to flourish, we should ask ourselves if we have overcome jarrings, contentions, envyings, and strifes (see Doctrine and Covenants 101:6).  Are we individually and as a people free from strife and contention and united `according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom"?  (Doctrine and Covenants 105:4).  Forgiveness of one another is essential to this unity.  Jesus said, "I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men" (Doctrine and Covenants 64:10).
                    "We will become of one heart and one mind as we individually place the Savior at the center of our lives and follow those He has commissioned to lead us….
                    "Much of the work to be done in establishing Zion consists in our individual efforts to become `pure in heart' (Doctrine and Covenants 97:21).  `Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom,' said the Lord; `otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself' (Doctrine and Covenants 105:5).  The law of the celestial kingdom is, of course, the gospel law and covenants, which include our constant remembrance of the Savior and our pledge of obedience, sacrifice, consecration, and fidelity….
                    "Throughout history, the Lord has measured societies and individuals by how well they cared for the poor….
                    "In much of the world, we are entering upon unsettled economic times.  Let us look after one another the very best we can" (Ensign, November 2008).  

                    All of our families would be living in conditions closer to Zion if we would follow the counsel given by Elder Neal A. Maxwell:  "Let us once and for all establish our residence in Zion and give up the summer cottage in Babylon" (A Wonderful Flood of Light [1990], 47).  Families who are seeking to establish Zion in their homes are growing stronger as they do so. 

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