Our Heavenly Father loves each and every one of His children - including you and I. He calls to us through His Holy Spirit. A hymn entitled "
Israel, Israel, God Is Calling" (Hymns 7; written by Richard Smyth, music
by Charles C. Converse) is one of the great classics of the Restoration of the
Gospel of Jesus Christ and describes how our Father is always calling to His
children to come to His safe place known as . Zion
Calling thee from lands of woe,
God shall all her tow'rs o'erthrow….
to , Zion
And within her walls rejoice….
to ! Zion
The history of
is full of times when God called for His people to leave Babylon
and move to . Whenever society became too sinful, God would
speak and the children of the covenant would flee into the wilderness to
reestablish Zion . Zion
Father Abraham fled from Chaldea - located in Babylonia - and went to the
Holy Land to find
peace. Many years later his descendents
known as the children of Israel
- descendents of Abraham's grandson Jacob who is also known as Israel - were in bondage in but were
led out of bondage by Moses. Egypt
The Book of Mormon - Another Testament of Jesus Christ describes how another prophet named Lehi obeyed God's commandment and led his family into the wilderness and eventually came to the American continents. Nephi, Lehi's son, led his righteous followers into the wilderness to escape the wrath of his brothers following the death of Lehi. A later prophet named
led his righteous followers into the
wilderness to escape the wrath of wicked King Noah. Joseph Smith, a modern-day prophet, led his
followers from Alma New York to Pennsylvania
to Ohio to Missouri
looking for peace. His successor,
Brigham Young, led the Mormon pioneers to the Illinois in order to escape the mobs
trying to destroy them. The Mormon pioneers
followed their American Moses to the valleys located in the Salt Lake Valley Rocky
Mountains, and they sang the following hymn written by William
Clayton (Hymns, no 30, "Come,
Come, Ye Saints) as they trudged across the plains.
We'll find the place which God for us prepared,
Far away in the West,
Where none shall come to hurt or make afraid;
There the Saints will be blessed.
We'll make the air with music ring,
Shout praises to our God and King;
Above the rest these words we'll tell -
All is well! All is well!
For more than 4,000 years the followers of God have had to flee
and seek safety somewhere else. Some of those followers seek the Promised
Land in Babylon Jerusalem; others look for in a New
Jerusalem. Covenant people in the past
have fled to escape Zion ;
the modern-day covenant people will no longer flee. Babylon
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles spoke to young adults in a Church Education System (CES) devotional broadcast on September 9, 2012, and told them that "our call is to build
where we are. One of the many unique
characteristics of our dispensation, this the dispensation of the fulness of
times - the last and greatest of all dispensations - is the changing nature of
how we establish the Zion on earth. You see, one of the truly exciting things
about this dispensation is that it is a time of mighty, accelerated
change. And one thing that has changed
is that the kingdom
of God will never again
flee. It will never again leave Church
of God Ur in order to leave Haran,
in order to leave Canaan, in order to leave Jerusalem,
in order to leave ,
in order to leave Kirtland, in order to leave Nauvoo, in order to go who knows
where. No, as Brigham Young said for us
all, `We have been kicked out of the frying-pan into the fire, out of the fire
into the middle of the floor, and here we are and here we will stay. (Brigham Young, quoted in James S. Brown, Life of a Pioneer , 121) England
"Of course, that statement wasn't a comment about the
only or even the Wasatch Front
generally; it became a statement for the members of the Church all over the
world. In these last days, in this our
dispensation, we would become mature enough to stop running. We would become mature enough to plant our
feet and our families and our foundations in every nation, kindred, tongue, and
people permanently. Salt Lake Valley
would be everywhere - wherever the Church is.
And with that change - one of the mighty changes of the last days - we
no longer think of Zion
as where we are going to live; we
think of it as how we are going to
Holland shared three incidents and then proceeded
to share three lessons about becoming as shown in the
following quotes. Zion
"Lesson #1: We never check our religion at the door. We will `stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places' (Book of Mormon, Alma 18:9)….
"Lesson #2: Show compassion, but be loyal to the commandments. It is easy to be righteous when things are calm and life is good and everything is going smoothly. The test is when there is real trial or temptation, when there is pressure and fatigue, anger and fear, or the possibility of real transgression. Can we be faithful then? That is the question because `
Israel, , God is
calling.' … Whatever the situation or the provocation or
the problem, no true disciple of
Christ can `check his religion at the door.'
"Lesson #3: Use gospel values to benefit communities and countries…. In addition to protecting our own families, we should be a source of light in protecting our communities. The Savior said, `Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.' …
"In our increasingly unrighteous world, it is essential that values based on religious belief be [evident in] the public square. …"
quoted Elder Quentin L. Cook: `Religious
faith is a store of light, knowledge, and wisdom and benefits society in a
dramatic way' ("Let There Be Light!"
Ensign, Nov. 2010, 28-29). Holland
Then Elder Holland continued: "If we don't take gospel blessings to our communities and our countries, the simple fact of the matter is we will never have enough policemen … to enforce moral behavior even if it were enforceable. And it isn't…."
After discussing the above three lessons in length, Elder Holland gave this counsel: "We aren't going to solve every personal or social problem in the world here tonight. When we leave this evening, there will still be poverty, ignorance and transgression, unemployment and abuse, violence and heartache in our neighborhoods and cities and nations. No, we can't do everything, but as the old saying goes, we can do something. And in answer to God's call, the children of
are the ones to do it - not to flee
this time but to attack it. Without
being naïve or Pollyannaish about it, we can live our religion so broadly and
unfailingly that we find all kinds of opportunities to help families, bless
neighbors, and protect others, including the rising generation. Babylon
"Live your life to reflect your love of Jesus Christ…."
When I remember that we will never have to flee
again, I feel peace and comfort. I am grateful to know that my responsibility
is to bring Babylon
into my home and my community by the way I live. I am thankful that I can put down
"roots" and build up Zion
wherever I may live. Zion