The premise in this series has been that in order to “flee Babylon” and “build Zion” we must understand with clarity the difference between the two, and the line separating them. Once we do, how to move from one to the other should become crystal clear.
In quick review, here are the two foundational values of Zion and Babylon extracted from President Benson’s landmark talk, “Beware of Pride”:
Humility1 = “We can and should seek God’s wisdom to solve our problems.”
Humility2 = “All individuals are of equal and infinite worth.”
Pride1 = “We don’t need a god’s input to solve our problems.” and
Pride2 = “Some people are more valued/important/deserving than others.”
Let’s take a look at the differences between two individuals from the Book of Mormon who typify both Zion and Babylon: King Benjamin and King Noah.
King Benjamin exemplifies Humility1 by valuing God and His wisdom, as plainly seen in Mosiah 4:9-10. Mosiah 2:26 clearly illustrates that King Benjamin esteems his people as himself (Humility2). This is reinforced by Mosiah 2:10-11 where we learn that he does not see himself as some kind of superior demi-god king, worthy of living off the labors of his “lessers”. In fact, Benjamin sees the role of a king as an opportunity to serve God by serving the people (Mosiah 1:11).
In sharp contrast, King Noah’s actions clearly suggest that he suffered from Pride1. He replaces his father’s righteous priests with prideful ones (Mosiah 11:4-6), suggesting he himself was prideful and had no heart-felt interest in seeking God’s will. This is made blatantly clear by the fact that he and his priests had God’s true messenger killed. (Mosiah 17:11-13).
Noah’s willingness to live off the labors of his people through heavy taxation, in contrast to King Benjamin’s refusal to do so, suggests that Noah valued himself and his priests above his fellowmen. In fact, they corrupt the government into a tool for getting power, gain, and sexual gratification for themselves (Mosiah 11:3-14).
Although none of us will ever become king, whether we harbor Humility 1 and 2 in our hearts, or Pride 1 and 2, will show up in how we treat those in our stewardships, in our families, and in our jobs. Like these two kings, we can be either a Zion or a Babylon person at heart. The choice is ours.