As I have been reviewing quotes from talks given by LDS Church leaders in the 1850s & 1860s, I have run across two dozen statements that make is blatantly clear that the early Saints were in fact in the process of building a real live, brick and mortar Zion society. Here’s quote #24 found just this morning. It’s from a talk given by Elder Wilford Woodruff on 5/19/1867 in the Tabernacle.
I rejoice in this work because it is true, because it is the plan of salvation, the eternal law of God that has been revealed to us, and the building up of Zion is what we are called to perform. I think we have done very well considering our traditions and all the difficulties which we have had to encounter; and I look forward, by faith, if I live a few years, to the time when this people will accomplish that which the Lord expects them to do. If we do not, our children will. Zion has got to be built up, the Kingdom of God has got to be established, and the principles revealed to us have to be enjoyed by the Latter-day Saints.
That sentence “If we do not, our children will.” is a kicker. How are we, their great-grandchildren, coming along? We are not. The polygamy raids of the 1880s destroyed all the progress for economic unity made up to that time, and we, as a people, have made very little progress on the temporal side of building Zion. But we could be….