The Battle of Zion's Hill: Part 1

Being Zion

Audio File: MP3 (8:33)

Is Zion a goal? And, if so, is it a goal like the end zone in a football game? Is it a hill to be taken in battle? Are there strategies and tactics to consider against the enemy? Is there an enemy? And, if so, who or what is the enemy? How do we know we’ve won?

Mortals enjoy battles. We extol the virtues and courage of heroes in battle. Seemingly endless artificial battles are waged for our entertainment by sports teams and in movies while seemingly endless actual battles are waged between politically manufactured artificial foes who shed real blood.

Enos may have referred specifically to his brethren, the Lamanites, in this quote but it could equally apply to us: “…they were led by their evil nature that they became wild, and ferocious, and a bloodthirsty people, full of idolatry and filthiness…” Enos 1:20

Along with our propensity for violence and filthy entertainment, we are filled with judgment and condemnation very much like the ruling Jews in John’s recollection of a prominent Pharisee. Nicodemus “came to Jesus by night”, we are told in the third chapter of John. By his attitude we surmise his faith in Jesus was borderline-believing but, as a Pharisee, he needed to be stealthy about his interaction with the man he suspected was from God.

Nicodemus had questions. He wanted confirmation from Jesus of His true identity. Jesus, rather, taught Nicodemus some basic Gospel principles, as usual putting the emphasis on the student and what he must do to achieve salvation rather than boasting of who He was.

Later, in John 7 beginning in verse 45, those “officers” with orders to bring Jesus to the chief priests but who had not fulfilled their task, received a rebuke. They, like Nicodemus, saw something special in Jesus. The Pharisees were not impressed  “Are ye also deceived”? Nicodemus wondered why they were being so judgmental before they had even heard what Jesus had to say but they rebuked him still.

Jacob, in the Book of Mormon, had them pegged.

“But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble.” Jacob 4:14

"In fact, John wrote his Gospel 'that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing we might have life through his name.' (John 20:31.) No wonder Jacob characterized that very myopia in the meridian of time as "looking beyond the mark" -- when the mark was Christ!" Neal A. Maxwell,  Plain and Precious Things, Pg.10

Talmage also had something to say about the Nicodemus matter after Nicodemus had asked the chief priests the straightforward and completely reasonable question about Jesus: “Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?” John 7:52

“The answer was insulting. Maddened with bigotry and bloodthirsty fanaticism, some of his colleagues turned upon him with the savage demand: ‘Art thou also of Galilee?’ meaning, Art thou also a disciple of this Galilean whom we hate? Nicodemus was curtly told to study the scriptures, and he would fail to find any prediction of a prophet arising in Galilee. The anger of these learned bigots had blinded them even to their own vaunted knowledge, for several of the ancient prophets were regarded as Galileans; if, however they had meant to refer only to that Prophet of whom Moses had spoken, the Messiah, they were correct, since all predictions pointed to Bethlehem in Judea as His birthplace. It is evident that Jesus was thought of as a native of Nazareth, and that the circumstances of His birth were not of public knowledge. James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, Ch.25, Pg.404

Have our own leaders become exactly like the Pharisees? Are they not “maddened with bigotry and bloodthirsty  fanaticism” when faced with straightforward and completely reasonable questions? Consider the plight of Jennifer Willis of Paradise, Utah. She had questions about the current apostles and how intimate was their knowledge and experience regarding God. She wanted very much to experience the Second Comforter and had questions about getting there.

So, she courageously wrote a letter to Elder Dallin H. Oaks who was a family friend. She had hoped for insight about his knowledge of the Second Comforter and advice about how to achieve it.

Rather than the kindly response you would expect from an apostle of Christ who, like Christ, should upbraideth not, she received a letter in response that was reminiscent of a chief priest’s scolding which was “maddened with bigotry.” Said Elder Oaks:

“The questions you have asked suggest that you may be out of harmony with the leaders the Lord has called to lead His Church. …you have set up to judge whether we are qualified to hold the positions to which we have been called…” (Jennifer Willis' Full Story)

Well, Elder Oaks, we are doing exactly that. Explain to us, please, you and the other 15, what does, in fact, qualify you to hold the positions to which you have been called? When, exactly, have you prophesied? When have you used your gift of a seer? When have you revealed to us the words the Lord gave to you from His own mouth to give to us as revelation? When did you receive the Second Comforter, as all apostles are (or rather were) expected?

It sounds to me like you are afraid to answer because you have no good answer. Are you just another chief priest pridefully looking beyond the mark always concerned about the honors of men? Your answer is more like a corporate officer questioning an underling’s allegiance to the corporation than a prophet, seer, and revelator. Is this one on whom we should rely to develop us into a Zion people and take us there? Not likely.

We continue with our analysis of this people’s willingness to learn and grow into a knowledge of God which will make of us a Zion people. We have learned by sad experience that the leaders of the modern LDS church are not particularly humble—meaning teachable. 

What about the rank and file of the church? We’ll take up that subject in the next post.

In The Being Zion Category
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