BLOG: (Jan 24-30) Moses 7, "The Lord Called His People Zion"
Author: Tiffany Miller
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we talk and sing a lot about Zion. We believe in it, that it’s real and that it’s a sure thing for our future. It’s not just a nice idea, but it’s a commandment that we need to be working towards. What is Zion? Zion, as the Lord teaches us, is “the pure in heart” (D&C 97:21). The “pure in heart”? What does that mean exactly? The Lord sure talks a lot about the state of our hearts. If you happen to be a numbers nerd like I am, then it might be interesting to you to do a search about how many times the word heart is mentioned in each book of scripture. It must be extremely important! In one of His famous sermons, The Sermon on the Mount, Christ teaches that “blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt 5:8). In my own journey to understand, I’ve discovered that when my heart is right before the Lord (or pure) I recognize and see His hand more in my life. I see where He is trying to get me to pay attention more; I see where He is strengthening me and helping me in my various roles.
“And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them” (Moses 7:18). That sounds absolutely beautiful. I want that now! I want that for myself and my family. The thing is, we can’t build Zion by ourselves, we need each other. It’s a community, and you can’t build a community with just yourself. Where can we start? Well, absolutely start with yourself! We can’t make choices for anyone else, but we can invite them to make good and right choices. Remember, His Gospel is a gospel of invitations. You can’t truly invite someone to where you are unless you get there first. It’s all about loving, sharing, and inviting. Similar to Alma’s seed symbolism, this is a pattern for us. First, we need to love it: the Gospel, the principles Christ teaches to help us reach our ultimate goal of becoming like our Heavenly Parents. How do we come to love it? Alma teaches us that we need to just start with a desire and then we can “let this desire work in you” (Alma 32:27), and it works in us as we experiment on it. Our experimentation is an exercise of faith. We exercise faith in Jesus Christ and His Gospel every time we obey, every time we trust that when we obey we’re doing the right thing, every time we try and do the right thing. We’re exercising faith that He will bless us and that He will lead us in the right way.
A natural fruit of loving something is sharing it with others. Yes, this is essentially missionary work. Remember we can’t build Zion by ourselves, we need others, a community. Think of something that you absolutely love, a favorite movie, a favorite dessert, a favorite book (if you can have such a thing!), a favorite restaurant. What do you do after you find that you love it? You go and share it with those closest to you: your family and friends. When I finish a book I love, I almost immediately recommend it to someone I think would love it. When I have a dessert I love, I don’t share it 😜😂 (being honest here), but I do recommend it to others.
What’s the natural fruit of sharing? Inviting! When I share a book I love, I invite them to read it. When I share about a dessert I love, I invite them to purchase or make their own to enjoy. Once we’ve experienced the goodness of whatever we’ve found, we naturally share it and invite others to experience the goodness too. It brings us joy when others are filled with joy because of our recommendation. I’m not gonna lie; I do get a certain satisfaction out of others loving the books I recommend (huge book nerd over here! 🤓 recommending books is one of my love languages). It’s the same thing with anything we love, whether it be an object or an abstract concept. Isn’t it wonderful that Heavenly Father created us with this pattern being a natural progression for us?!
Once we’ve experienced the joy and fruit of living the Gospel, we want to do like Lehi and share it with our family. Remember how our family is the best place for Gospel learning to occur? That’s by design. I don’t know anyone that has the perfect family. That’s also by design. We’re supposed to learn and grow together. We have a community and that’s the birthplace of Zion. My husband and I have five daughters that are all fairly close together in age. When my twins, numbers 4 and 5, were born, my oldest was 5 (yep, 5 kids 5 and under). Much like 🎵 “we don’t talk about Bruno,” we don’t talk about that time period😬 mainly because we were sleep deprived and everything is a blur! They’re a little older now; my twins are 5. Rules are a thing in our family, like pretty much everyone else’s. My husband and I didn’t want to have endless lists of rules, but wanted to have just a few. We’d call them our family standards, and all other rules would be nested under those few. We came up with 4. And since they’re standards of excellence that we’re striving to achieve, we start them all out with “I strive…”
I strive to be obedient to the Lord, Spirit, prophets, and parents.
I strive to be a good steward over our house, my body, and everything the Lord has given us.
I strive to treat others like Jesus does.
I strive to invite and keep the Spirit in our home at all times.
We’d recite this every day during our family devotional, and my children eventually memorized it, even the twins. We strive (see what I did there?) to refer back to this as much as possible. We’ve talked about what the words mean and what it looks like to strive to meet these standards. When they leave their shoes out, we ask them if they’re being a good steward over their shoes - trying to get them to self-evaluate and hopefully 🤞 eliminate the need to remind them. When they pick a show, music, or something that I consider inappropriate and damaging to inviting the Spirit in our home, I ask them if ____ invites the Spirit to be in our home. If they’re fighting or screaming (which almost never happens 🙄🤦♀️), I ask them if they’re treating each other like Jesus does. We’re trying to teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves. Unfortunately, it’s taking A LOT longer to accomplish this than we anticipated, and it’s trying our patience in ways that we didn’t know it could be tried. Trying to pull in all the long-suffering vibes we can muster over here!
After General Conference last year, we felt the need to add one more line to our family standards. “So that I can become a Zion-like person and prepare for the Second Coming of the Lord.” We wanted to give more context to why we were striving for excellence, and help our girls get the vision of what Zion feels like, sounds like, and looks like, so we could do our part to help bring about Zion. It’s hard to be motivated to want to do something if you don’t have a vision for what it’ll do for you. I’m eagerly awaiting the day when my children catch the vision of why it’s a good idea to put their toys away. I have that vision, and I’m loving it, sharing it, and inviting them to do it, but so far it’s yielding poor results. My oldest has started to catch the vision (hallelujah!), and it’s a joy to watch her love, share, and invite her younger sisters in both the cleaning of the house and the living of the Gospel. Patience is needed, and the fruit does come after persistence and diligence (in other words, effort). President Nelson reminded us that “The Lord loves effort.” He takes those efforts, whatever our widow’s mite is that day (and it does change from day to day), and magnifies them, bringing forth the miracles in our life that make it a little easier. We see and recognize these miracles when our hearts are pure, when our hearts are zion-like. “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”
I'm Tiffany and I live in sunny Arizona (love me some sunshine!). I have 5 beautiful daughters. I know what you're thinking, that's A LOT of estrogen! and you'd be right, but we have some of the greatest times known to mankind through our adventures in learning (we homeschool), loving, playing, and growing together. In my spare time, I love to read (I own literally thousands of books) and hike in the beautiful mountains near my home.