Ten months ago, this column included quotes by early LDS apostles and prophets showing that they saw Zion as something other than the Mormon Church or the prophesied New Jerusalem. Among the now-700+ quotes gathered from talks given during Utah’s territorial years, are eleven which strongly indicate that the same leaders saw Zion as one of three separate but interconnected foundational organizations of the Lord’s people – The Church, The Kingdom, and Zion. Saving the best for last, let’s review a few of those statements (numbers and capitalization added for emphasis):
President Brigham Young on December 18, 1859 said, “We have the promise, if we seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness, that all necessary things will he added to us. We should not be distrustful, but seek first to know how to please our Father and God—seek to know how to save ourselves from the errors that are in the world, from darkness and unbelief, from the vain and delusive spirits that go abroad among the children of men to deceive, and learn how to save and preserve ourselves upon the earth,  to preach the Gospel,  build up the kingdom, and  establish the Zion of our God.”
Not convinced? How about this one? On 12/10/1882, Wilford Woodruff, as President of the Quorum of the Twelve, taught, “The Lord has sent forth angels out of heaven. He has delivered the fulness of the Gospel to Joseph Smith. He was raised up as a Prophet of God, by the power of God,  to lay the foundation of this Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the earth, AND  to lay the foundation of that kingdom which the Prophet Daniel and the other Prophets spoke of, AND  to build up that Zion which Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel said should be built up in the latter days.” His use of the term “and” in this quote suggests three separate entities.
Need more? President John Taylor spoke of this on at least two occasions. On October 19, 1884 he taught, “We are here for the purpose of becoming acquainted with the will of God, with the law of God, with the order of God, with the dominion of God; AND we are here to establish  the kingdom of God. We are here to be taught in things pertaining to  the Church of God, and its purification. We are here to build up  a Zion of God, which implies the pure in heart.”
And finally, President John Taylor on 11/30/1884 stated, “We are here really to build up and purify  the Church of the living God. We are here to build up and establish  the kingdom of God. We are here ALSO to build up a Zion unto our God….”
The Church is obviously the religious organization of God’s people, “The Kingdom” (aka, the Council of 50) was the political, and Zion, with its Law of Consecration and United Orders, was the economic organization God wanted for his children. Unfortunately, two of three were lost during the persecutions of the 1880s. However, all three foundations will need to be in place for the future Millennial society. How can we contribute to their return?