- Jun 2023
“The purpose of our life should be to build up the Zion of our God, to gather the House of Israel, … store up treasures of knowledge and wisdom in our own understandings, purify our own hearts and prepare a people to meet the Lord when he comes. … “We have no business here other than to build up and establish the Zion of God. It must be done according to the will and law of God [see D&C 105:5], after that pattern and order by which Enoch built up and perfected the former-day Zion, which was taken away to heaven. … We, through our faithfulness, must prepare ourselves to meet Zion from above when it shall return to earth, and to abide the brightness and glory of its coming” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young , 111–12).
a couple things:
as social creatures, human beings rely on establishing relationships with those around us. our existence begins within families, through the union of a mother and a father, and this pattern repeats throughout generations
these communal relationships form the foundation for unity, creating a shared purpose and principles. any discord within these relationships can result in separation
death serves as the most explicit form of separation: firstly, physical death separates the body from the spirit, and finally, spiritual death represents the separation of men from god.
another explicit instance of separation found in the scriptures is the scattering of Israel. our current work involves gathering israel, which requires severing our ties with our brothers and sisters across the globe. this gathering process is vital in building the zion we are commanded to establish before the second coming of christ
[[the church is one body]]
"1 Corinthians 12:12-14 emphasizes the idea that all individuals, regardless of their background or status, are united as one body through the Spirit of Christ. Paul teaches the importance of unity and care for one another within this body to avoid any divisions or schisms. It also emphasizes the interconnectedness of all individuals within the body, such that if one member suffers, all members suffer, and if one member is honored, all members rejoice." - The Doctrine of Belonging - Elder D. Todd Christofferson
The Lord explained in a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith ‘that when ye are assembled together ye shall instruct and edify each other, that ye may know … how to act upon the points of my law and commandment’ [D&C 43:8]. But knowing ‘how to act’ isn’t enough. The Lord in the next verse said, ‘Ye shall bind yourselves to act in all holiness before me’ [D&C 43:9]. This willingness to take action on what we have learned opens the doors for marvelous blessings” (“The Blessings of General Conference,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2005, 52).
some thoughts i have on this:
this commandment is reminiscent of what was instructed to the nephites in moroni 6:4-5. to break it down:
in verse 4, it is indicated that three things kept the nephites on the path of their covenant and enabled them to flourish:
a) they consistently remembered and nourished themselves with the word of god
b) they actively sought opportunities for prayer
c) they highly valued the virtues of christ
these three points encompass the holy habits then listed in verse 5:
a) gathering together frequently
c) praying, and
d) discussing the welfare of each other's souls
the commandment to instruct and edify one another when we gather, in its apparent form, refers to attending and participating in sunday school classes and other church gatherings. but as we prepare for the Lord's second coming, we are called to build zion here on earth first. to truly accomplish that, we should engage in church-like interaction beyond just the first day of the week.
we are meant to create a community of like-minded individuals who come together as one in christ (zion). this entails supporting one another even outside of church, continuing to hold each other's hands after attending the sacrament together
[[holy habits make the covenant path sustainable]]
“We must understand that we have got to act upon certain principles by which we can bind ourselves together as a people, to bind our feelings together that we may become one, and this never can be accomplished unless certain things are done, and things that require an exertion on our part. “How would you go to work to bind yourselves together? How would a man go to work to unite himself with his neighbor? If two men were associated together who had never been acquainted, how would they go to work to secure each other’s friendship, attachment and affection one towards another? Why something would have to be done, and that not by one party only, but would have to be done by one as well as by the other. It would not answer for one to do the business alone; it would not do for one to answer those feelings and do the work himself, but in order to become as one in their sentiments and affection—the action of both would be requisite” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow  198–99).
this sheds a light on how the church becomes a unified entity, encompassing not only shared objectives and principles, but also a profound sense of interconnectedness on an emotional level. [[emotions allow us to make decisions]]
elder d todd christofferson instructs that a sense of belonging arises not only from being a member of a group but also from the acts of service and sacrifices made for others
such a complex and tightly-knit community can only be established when it is driven by a higher purpose. when too much emphasis is placed on personal needs and comfort, it can impede the sense of belonging that arises from contributing to a cause greater than oneself
[[much of our belonging comes from our contributions]]
- the second coming of jesus christ
- physical death
- emotional mind
- teach one another
- spiritual death
- sense of belonging