In cataloging all the “building Zion” quotes from early LDS leaders, I found 33 of them, spanning the same number of years, that show that the goal of establishing Zion was a primary focus for them. Let’s review a just a third of those quotes now, with emphases added.


  • “I have Zion in my view constantly.” – Brigham Young
  • “The poet says—’Do what is right, let the consequence follow.’ This is the duty of the Latter-day Saints in their attempts and endeavors to build up Zion.”
    – John Taylor


  • “We have many duties to perform, and a great work is before us. We have Zion to build up, and upon this we are all agreed….” – Brigham Young
  • “I bear my testimony to the truth of the counsel and instruction that we have received this morning, and I trust they will be treasured up in good and honest hearts, and that men and women will consider these things and realize that we have one great interest, which is to build up Zion, sustain the principles of salvation, walk humbly before the Lord, remember our prayers, and deal honestly and justly with each other….. By pursuing this course of events we shall increase confidence in our midst, build each other up, and build up Zion.”
    – George A. Smith


  • “The Lord has blessed me; he has always blessed me; from the time I commenced to build up Zion, I have been extremely blessed. …my heart has been set in me to do the will of God, to build up his kingdom on the earth, to establish Zion and its laws, and to save the people….” – Brigham Young
  • “My brethren and sisters, we are commanded not to give the whole of our attention to the accumulation of earthly things; we are commanded also to lay up treasures in heaven. We are required to build up Zion on the earth; then let us take a course that will ensure to us the blessing and favor of God our Heavenly Father, that our prayers and thanksgiving may be acceptable before Him.” – Wilford Woodruff


  • “I want to be the friend of God and God to be my friend; I want to help to roll forth the Kingdom of God and to build up the Zion of the Most High, and I want to see my brethren engaged in the same work, and we will do it. In the name of Israel’s God we will do it.” – John Taylor


  • “Then let us search after truth—for the light of the Spirit which leadeth into all truth, that we may comprehend the Gospel, be able to sustain the hands of the servants of God in their efforts to build up Zion, and work out our own salvation.” – Joseph F. Smith


  • “It is probable that today Brother Orson Pratt is the oldest living member of the Church, and certainly there is no man in the Church who has labored longer and more diligently and with a greater spirit of self-sacrifice in proclaiming its principles, in defending it, and in advocating the cause of God in the midst of the earth… for I know that there is no desire so strong in his breast as that which he has expressed—the desire to proclaim the truth, and to win souls unto Christ, and to help establish that Zion of which God has laid the foundation.”
    – George Q. Cannon


  • “Some people think we are a set of ignorant boobies, who do not know what we are talking about, and they try to overrun the faith of the Latter-day Saints by sophistry, falsehood and folly. Whilst the fact is, we are in possession of the principles of eternal life, and are operating for eternity; and then we are operating to build up the Zion of God, where righteousness can be taught, and where men can be protected, and where liberty can be proclaimed to all men of every color, of every creed and of every nation.” – President John Taylor
  • “It is upon President Taylor night and day, I know. Every thought and desire of his heart is for the salvation of this people, and to establish and build up the Zion of our God.” – George Q. Cannon


  • “We mourn President Taylor’s absence. We will lose his counsel. We can not well spare such men. We need such men in the Church to establish righteousness and preach the Gospel and build up Zion on the earth.” – Franklin D. Richards

We could go on and on, but these quotes should be sufficient to persuade the reader that LDS leaders during the Territorial Utah era were laser-focused on building Zion as a primary objective. As members of the LDS Church, are we willing to change our focus to match theirs, or do we remain focused on “the accumulation of earthly things”?