The same spirit of Zion, of cooperation and mutual benefit, shown in how the Saints established Salt Lake City in 1847, and in their efforts to “gather the poor to Zion”, was then expressed in how the immigrating Saints founded the Mormon communities along the Rocky Mountains.
In his book “Great Basin Kingdom”, Leonard J. Arrington reported the process the Mormon colonists would follow to establish their various settlements. That process looks more like ancient Israel under God’s direction than modern Americans directed by the profit motive.
Hundreds of communities from Canada to Mexico were established in this manner without a single developer or building contractor profiting from getting there first as is the custom in the United States then and now.
These were Zion communities that they built. There were “no poor among them” because every family received sufficient land to support themselves. The cooperative manner in which they worked and lived under Priesthood direction could properly be described as “living in righteousness”. Their actions indicated their motives were for the benefit of all, not self-aggrandizement through individual profit — this qualified them as “pure in heart”.
Certainly, the Saints weren’t perfect at being Zion-like. There are accounts of a few newcomers to these fledgling Zion communities being stonewalled by early arrivers. These newcomers, who were promised an inheritance in Zion, had to appeal to the local bishop or sometimes to the prophet to get the old-timers to relinquish their control of lands they had been given.
If they built Zion communities, couldn’t groups of Zion-minded people do the same today? “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”