Reading discourses given by LDS leaders during the 1850s, one sees how consistent and central the theme of building Zion was to the Church during that decade. Here’s a few representative quotes from then:
1852: “Don’t mention Joseph Smith — never mention the Book of Mormon or Zion, and all the people will follow you.” – Brigham Young
1853: “It now remains with us to bear off this kingdom, build up Zion, and establish the law thereof, until Christ shall reign King of nations….” – Brigham Young
1854: They will then find out that the “Mormons” …are authorized to preach the Gospel of God, gather Israel, build up Zion, bind Lucifer with a chain, and establish the reign of peace on earth.
1855: “…how long will it take us to build up Zion, to emigrate people from the far off corners of the earth, [if] they apostatize and run away when they get here?” – Apostle Amasa M. Lyman
1856: “…we shall have all the skill, and all the power, and all the wisdom, and all the treasures, and all the means necessary to build up Zion, gather the people, redeem Israel, fulfil the promises, and build the holy temples and cities of our God; redeem and bring about the restoration of the living, and administer for the dead, and do all things necessary to accomplish the purposes of God whereunto we are called.“ – Parly P. Pratt
1857: “we will go to work and labor with all our mights to build up the kingdom of our God, to carry out the purposes of the Lord, in the building up of Zion, the establishment of his kingdom, and restoration, and salvation of the house of Israel” – Wilford Woodruff
1858: “We have talked about redeeming Zion, but the people are not yet righteous enough to receive and build up Zion in its purity though they are growing to it.” – Brigham Young
1859: “Let your whole soul—affections, actions, wishes, desires, every effort and motive, and every hour’s labor you perform be with a single eye to the building up the Zion of God on the earth.” – Brigham Young.
They seemed to have had an over-arching view back then in regards to building Zion, a goal apparently central to the Church’s mission. Are we Saints,156 years later, “growing into it” yet? Or, are we enjoying our “summer cottages in Babylon” a little too much?