I recall reading with shock Hugh Nibley’s criticism of Utahns’ use of the word “Zion” to give an air of legitimacy to Babylon-style businesses and organizations here in Utah. I remember at the time being surprised by his lambasting such companies as “Zion’s Bank”. Now, decades later, after having studied and pondered the scriptures and apostolic statements describing the differences between Zion and Babylon, I see his point much more clearly. A Zion community would have no Zion’s Bank, only a Bishop’s Storehouse.
As I look down the list of more recent Utah corporations tagged, “Zion”, I see many that simply wouldn’t exist in a Zion society. In this light, some appear quite oxymoronic:
ZION ALARM, and, ZION’S SURVEILLANCE & SECURITY – Sorry, there’s no crime in Zion, so no need for alarms or security.
ZION APPRAISAL, ZION REALTY, and, ZION TITLE & ESCROW – I seriously doubt homes will be bought and sold in a Zion society.
ZION BREWERY – a no-brainer.
ZION CREDIT & COLLECTIONS, ZION FINANCIAL SERVICES, ZION INVESTMENTS, and, ZION LOANS.
ZIONS EMPLOYEE BENEFITS – dealing in “souls of men” (Rev 18:10-13). Before the 1700s there was no “labor market”, according to an economic history I’m currently reading.
ZION’S GOLD MINING – more on this nugget below.
ZION MARKETING SYSTEMS
ZIONS MORTGAGE COMPANY! (You meant “Babylon’s Mortgage Company”, right?)
ZION SATELLITE TV – “Bringing Babylon’s Value to Your Living Room!”
“Zion’s Gold Mining?” you ask, “How is mining gold a Babylon thing?” Well, in reading Jacob, chapter 2 in the Book of Mormon, we see it was the miners that triggered the ruination of Nephi’s Zion (or at least, Edenic) society by injecting a heavy dose of pride into their economy. These Nephites had spent time mining gold. There would have been no problem had they done the Zion-thing and returned to the community and said, “Hey, everyone! We found a big cache of gold! Let’s all mine it and use it to decorate our homes!” No, instead they did the Babylon-thing and said, “Hey, Mrs. Jones, see this beautiful gold I have? I’ll give you some if you’ll make me some really fancy clothes.” One approach blesses everyone, the other is self-aggrandizing. The Lord, through Nephi’s prophet-brother Jacob, referred to the latter (pride-based) approach using such terms as “iniquity” and “abomination”.
You may be thinking, “Sounds like Jacob was a tad hyper-sensitive or something. What’s wrong with buying nice clothes when you work hard?”
See if the account itself answers your question:
11. Wherefore, I must tell you the truth according to the plainness of the word of God. For behold, as I inquired of the Lord, thus came the word unto me, saying: Jacob, get thou up into the temple on the morrow, and declare the word which I shall give thee unto this people.
12. And now behold, my brethren, this is the word which I declare unto you, that many of you have begun to search for gold, and for silver, and for all manner of precious ores, in the which this land, which is a land of promise unto you and to your seed, doth abound most plentifully.
13. And the hand of providence hath smiled upon you most pleasingly, that you have obtained many riches; and because some of you have obtained more abundantly than that of your brethren ye are lifted up in the pride of your hearts, and wear stiff necks and high heads because of the costliness of your apparel, and persecute your brethren because ye suppose that ye are better than they.
It wasn’t the mining of gold that the Lord was upset about, it was their pride — thinking themselves “better than” their neighbors – because they “worked hard for what they got”.
Then the Lord lowers the boom:
14 And now, my brethren, do ye suppose that God justifieth you in this thing? Behold, I say unto you, Nay. But he condemneth you, and if ye persist in these things his judgments must speedily come unto you [This refers to a larger, Book of Mormon theme of pride leading a society to destruction].
16 O that he would rid you from this iniquity and abomination. And, O that ye would listen unto the word of his commands, and let not this pride of your hearts destroy your souls!
Then the Lord, through Jacob, refers back to the Zion-approach in these oft-quoted-out-of-context verses:
17. Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you.
18 But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.
The directive there in verse 17 matches our imaginary miners’ Zion-like response above “Hey, everyone! We found gold! Let’s all mine some and beautify our homes!” It’s the Golden Rule applied to economics. It’s a family-style community where everyone works for the benefit of all. That’s the kingdom of God we should be seeking, as opposed to Babylon’s kingdom of gold.