Building Zion

"The earthly means which we have been enabled to gather around us is not ours, it is the Lord's, and he has placed it in our hands for the building up of his kingdom and to extend our ability and resources for reaching after the poor in other lands."
Church Leaders
Brigham Young
Presidents of the Church
Journal of Discourses 10:222-223
"The earth is here, and the fullness thereof. . . It was made for man; and one man was not made to trample his fellowman under his feet, and enjoy all his heart desires, while the thousands suffer. We will take a moral view, a political view, and we see the inequality that exists in the human family. . . The Latter-day Saints will never accomplish their mission until this inequality shall cease on the earth. If the people called the Latter-day Saints do not become one in temporal things as they are in spiritual things, they will not redeem and build up the Zion of God upon the earth."
Church Leaders
Brigham Young
Presidents of the Church
Journal of Discourses 19:46
"Human beings are expected by their Creator to be actively employed in doing good every day of their lives, either in improving their own mental and physical condition or that of their neighbors."
Church Leaders
Brigham Young
Presidents of the Church
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, (1997), 85–91
"Where there is widespread poverty among our people, we must do all we can to help them to lift themselves, to establish their lives upon a foundation of self-reliance that can come of training. Education is the key to opportunity."
Church Leaders
Gordon B. Hinckley
Presidents of the Church
"The Perpetual Education Fund," Ensign, May 2001, 53.
"The Church has urged its members to be efficient users of our resources and to avoid waste and pollution, and to clean up their own immediate environment, or that over which they have control. . . We have made an appeal to all Church members to clean up their premises, to plant gardens and trees, and then to use efficiently what they can grow. We have found that Church members have responded well to this appeal, thus becoming more self-reliant and responsibly concerned for their neighbors and their environment."
Church Leaders
Ezra Taft Benson
Presidents of the Church
This Nation Shall Endure, p. 79 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1977), 79.
"One of the strongest admonitions the Lord has given to His children on earth is that we have the responsibility and obligation of caring for those in need."
Church Leaders
L. Tom Perry
General Authorities
"The Law of the Fast," Ensign, May 1986, 31.
"Yes, we have been provided this beautiful and bountiful world, teeming with life and resources to bless and strengthen and enliven mankind, and we are to use them joyfully—but we must do so as careful, grateful stewards over God’s handiwork. We are to use these resources with judgment, gratitude, prudence, and with an eye to bless our fellow man and woman and those of future generations, and in that way help Him to accomplish His purpose to help humankind progress, improve, and receive His blessings in time and eternity."
Church Leaders
Marcus B. Nash
General Authorities
"Righteous Dominion and Compassion for the Earth." Speech at 18th Annual Stegner Center Symposium on 12 April, 2013.
"In other words, as stewards over the earth and all life thereon, we are to gratefully make use of that which the Lord has provided, avoid wasting life and resources, and use the bounty of the earth to care for the poor."
Church Leaders
Marcus B. Nash
General Authorities
"Righteous Dominion and Compassion for the Earth." Speech at 18th Annual Stegner Center Symposium on 12 April, 2013.
"Latter-day Saints should acknowledge that as human impact on the environment increases, so people's options decrease, thus impeding their capacity to achieve self-sufficiency. A principle taught by Church leaders is that a situation that threatens one's ability to be self-sufficient also threatens one's confidence, self-esteem, and freedom. Environmental degradation is such a situation, and the Latter-day Saint community should seek ways to prevent or repair damage to the natural environment. Letting one's neighbor languish in abject poverty (including environmental poverty) or stealing or deliberately or even negligently causing harm to another person or group of people are all evils."
Other Sources
David Osborn
Other Writings of Mormons
“Rattlesnakes and Beehives: Why Latter-day Saints Should Support Ecologically Sustainable Development,” in Stewardship and the Creation: LDS Perspectives on the Environment, eds. George B. Handley, Terry B. Ball, and Steven L. Peck (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center), 155–64.
"The question must be asked of the faithful Latter-day Saint, 'How can families be self-sufficient when acts of environmental degradation by others are robbing them of the primary resource on which they depend for sustenance??' For example, when a Church member in the midwestern United States pours chemical cleaning agents into the toilet bowl, does that person pause to think that nearby rivers will carry the chemicals into an overpolluted dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico where a Mexican member is trying to realize an income as a prawn fisherman? Or when a Church member has a choice of purchasing a small, fuel-efficient vehicle or a large, fuel-guzzling SUV, does that person think of the effect that purchase may have on the atmosphere and an African member's ability to grow maize and feed a growing family?"
Other Sources
David Osborn
Other Writings of Mormons
“Rattlesnakes and Beehives: Why Latter-day Saints Should Support Ecologically Sustainable Development,” in Stewardship and the Creation: LDS Perspectives on the Environment, eds. George B. Handley, Terry B. Ball, and Steven L. Peck (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center), 155–64.
"And when the multitude 'had eaten and were filled' (3 Nephi 18:5), then he taught them about the sacrament. Then all people, beginning with Nephi himself, went down into the water and were baptized—cleaned up for a special meeting with the Lord on the next day, at which he wanted everybody in a perfect state so he could begin his teaching. But all of their physical needs had to be taken care of first—and they were. But that is where the gospel begins; that is where other activities end. Once we have taken care of that part of it, once the people are all fed and clothed and healed of any afflictions and cleaned up, the work is done. What do we do now, sit around and be bored? No—then the teaching begins. All this in preparation for real teachings and manifestations that follow. The gift of the mysteries is far beyond the imagination. The Lord recognized that taking care of physical wants is the beginning of wisdom. Feeding, healing, and cleaning the people up is the first step. That leads us to the threshold of the gospel, but as I say, with most churches that is the whole story; with us it is a minimal requirement, like the Word of Wisdom. These blessings are given to the Nephites (we are told the Word of Wisdom is given to us) as all temporal blessings are—as a free gift. The spiritual feast to follow is also a free gift."
Other Sources
Hugh Nibley
Other Writings of Mormons
"Gifts" in Approaching ZIon
"If Mormons are serious about ending inequality and they are serious about restoring dignity to the lives of the most poor and the most vulnerable in society, as the law of consecration demands, then they should be equally serious about respecting the creation as God's, understanding property as contingent, avoiding overconsumption in all of its forms, and honoring and protecting the sacred sources of physical life."
Other Sources
George Handley
Other Writings of Mormons
“Mormon Views of Environmental Stewardship” in Routledge Handbook on Religion and Ecology, edited by Mary Evelyn Tucker, John Grim, and Willis Jenkins. 97-106.
"A sense of stewardship can also nurture a commitment to equality, extending to those in the developing world who live with poverty and limited opportunity. Restraint in consumption frees up resources that can be used to alleviate poverty and its attendant problems of poor health; it can also help free people from the incessant demands of materialism so that they can enjoy lives of greater opportunity and choice. Stewardship reflects a commitment not only to intergenerational equity, but to intragenerational equity as well."
Other Sources
Gary C. Bryner
Other Writings of Mormons
"Theology and Ecology: Religious Belief and Environmental Stewardship," in BYU Studies 49, no. 3 (2010), p. 39.
"Environmentalism fits within a social justice movement as it focuses on the distribution of benefits and burdens of modern economic and industrial life. Burdens such as pollution and toxic wastes are not distributed randomly or equally but disproportionately affect low income communities."
Other Sources
Gary C. Bryner
Other Writings of Mormons
"Theology and Ecology: Religious Belief and Environmental Stewardship," in BYU Studies 49, no. 3 (2010)
"Furthermore, we all know how vulnerable we are due to the volatile supply of readily available fossil fuels. We are also increasingly aware of the environmental impact of how we use these fuels, which disproportionately affects the poor of the world. We use an enormous amount of energy to fuel our cars, trucks, airplanes, buses, and motorcycles, and the chemical gases they emit may be wreaking havoc on the environment worldwide. Yet, livestock production produces more greenhouse gases than all forms of transportation combined. While I struggle to imagine our modern world functioning without modern transportation, what would we lose by giving up meat, dairy, and eggs?"
Other Sources
Jane Birch
Other Writings of Mormons
Discovering the Word of Wisdom, pg 85
"Raising animals for food is a highly inefficient use of resources . . . We could instead directly consume the food we feed the animals with much less cost to the environment and to our health (not to mention the health of the animals!). Not only could we feed ourselves, we'd have enough food left over to feed all of the world's poor."
Other Sources
Jane Birch
Other Writings of Mormons
Discovering the Word of Wisdom, pg 84
"Greed and egocentrism are the root causes of social and ecological unsustainability . . . Sustainability becomes possible only when we realize that the Planet Earth has 'just enough enough resources to satisfy everybody's needs but not everybody's greeds' . . . Equity in resource distribution . . . is in fact an essential requirement for sustainable development in Third World countries. Implicit in this concept is a belief that improvement and maintenance of ecosystem health and integrity also requires a parallel improvement in the health and life of the rural poor."
Other Sources
Gopi Upreti
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
"Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Development Require a New Development Approach," Environmental Conservation 21, no. 1 (Spring 1994): 21-22.
“Are you not dissatisfied, and is there not bitterness in your feelings, the moment you find a [c]anyon put in the possession of an individual, and power given unto him to control the timber, wood, rock, grass, and, in short, all its facilities?”
Church Leaders
Brigham Young
Presidents of the Church
Journal of Discourses, 1:210, Oct. 9, 1852.
"[This people] say they are willing to do anything for salvation, to build up the kingdom of God on the earth. They are willing to forego everything they can and undergo all that is possible, to save themselves and the children of men, and bring the day of peace and righteousness upon the earth. Then let all learn that the earth is not ours. Let us learn that these elements are put into our possession to work with and improve, and to determine whether we know how to improve upon them. We wish to see Zion built up, the earth beautified and prepared for the coming of the Son of Man. We are looking forth to the day when Zion will spring into existence, and stand forth like a bride prepared to meet her husband, with all the beauty and glory that belong to the kingdom of God on the earth. We shall then see Zion in its beauty. We are looking for this. We look forward to the day when the Lord will prepare for the building of the New Jerusalem, preparatory to the city of Enoch’s going to be joined with it when it is built upon this earth. We are anticipating to enjoy that day, whether we sleep in death previous to that, or not."
Church Leaders
Brigham Young
Presidents of the Church
Journal of Discourses 8:342 "Duties of the Saints"
"Keep your valley pure, keep your towns as pure as you possibly can, keep your hearts pure, and labour what you can consistently, but not so as to injure yourselves. Be faithful in your religion. Be full of love and kindness towards each other."
Church Leaders
Brigham Young
Presidents of the Church
Journal of Discourses 8:80
"Don’t be part of the worldly attitude described in the characterization of your generation as the 'me generation,' interested only in 'what’s in it for me.' Always be willing to cooperate and even sacrifice in cooperative efforts for the benefit of the larger community."
Church Leaders
Dallin H. Oaks
General Authorities
"Push Back Against the World," BYU-Hawaii commencement, Feb 25, 2017.
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.
Pearl of Great Price
18 7
Moses
Moses 7:18
Zion can come only to a place that is completely ready for it, which is to say Zion must already be there. When Zion descends to earth, it must be met by a Zion that is already here.
Other Sources
Hugh Nibley
Other Writings of Mormons
"What is Zion? A Distant View," in Approaching Zion.
"I hope we can learn to connect the dots and understand how we live and how we use resources and what resources we choose to use all affect the earth and the many communities of the poor across the world. We cannot pretend to live in isolation from these consequences. There is no scriptural foundation for believing that we live and act and consume in a vacuum."
Other Sources
George Handley
Other Writings of Mormons
"LDS environmental stewardship statement, recent talk share similarities with Pope Francis' encyclical," Deseret News, 19 June 2015.
"An environmental ethic begins with the idea that the well-being of the entire community of earth is paramount, and human well-being takes place within that broader community."
Other Sources
Gary C. Bryner
Other Writings of Mormons
"Theology and Ecology: Religious Belief and Environmental Stewardship," in BYU Studies 49, no. 3 (2010)
"We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect."
Other Sources
Aldo Leopold
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
A Sand County Almanac, and Sketches Here and There (1949), viii.
"That land is a community is the basic concept of ecology, but that land is to be loved and respected is an extension of ethics. That land yields a cultural harvest is a fact long known, but latterly often forgotten."
Other Sources
Aldo Leopold
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
A Sand County Almanac, and Sketches Here and There (1949), viii-ix.
"The destruction of the human environment is extremely serious, not only because God has entrusted the world to us men and women, but because human life is itself a gift which must be defended from various forms of debasement."
Other Sources
Pope Francis
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
Encyclical Letter Laudato Si': On Care for Our Common Home (24 May 2015)
"The gospel teaches us there are purposes to life that transcend the acquisition of material things. We are, literally, our brother’s keeper, with responsibilities toward others. Mortal existence is part of an eternal plan designed to return us to the presence of our Creator. Its purposes are primarily spiritual and center on development of the divine potential for growth and advancement that we all have."
Other Sources
A.B. Morrison
Church Magazines
"Our Deteriorating Environment" in Aug 1971 Ensign.
But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of they people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with they oliveyard.
Old Testament
11 23
Exodus
Exodus 23:11
Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
New Testament
36-39 22
Matthew
Matthew 22:36-39
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
New Testament
30-31 12
Mark
Mark 12:30-31
And he answering said, Thou shalt love . . . thy neighbour as thyself.
New Testament
10 22
Luke
Luke 10:22
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
New Testament
34 13
John
John 13:34
Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
New Testament
2 6
Galatians
Galatians 6:2
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
New Testament
7 9
2 Corinthians
2 Corinthians 9:7
But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality.
New Testament
14 8
2 Corinthians
2 Corinthians 8:14
And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all, even as we do toward you.
New Testament
12 3
1 Thessalonians
1 Thessalonians 3:12
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
New Testament
20 4
1 John
1 John 4:20
We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
New Testament
14-16 3
1 John
1 John 3:14-16
Even as I please men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
New Testament
33 10
1 Corinthians
1 Corinthians 10:33
Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth (JST: every man another's "good").
New Testament
24 10
1 Corinthians
1 Corinthians 10:24
But it must needs be done in mine own way; and behold this is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low. For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves. Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.
Doctrine and Covenants
16-18 104
D&C
D&C 104:16-18
For if ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things;
Doctrine and Covenants
6 78
D&C
D&C 78:6
 But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin.
Doctrine and Covenants
20 49
D&C
D&C 49:20
And now I desire that this inequality should be no more in this land, especially among this my people; but I desire that this land be a land of liberty, and every man may enjoy his rights and privileges alike, so long as the Lord sees fit that we may live and inherit the land, yea, even as long as any of our posterity remains upon the face of the land.
Book of Mormon
32 29
Mosiah
Mosiah 29:32
And even I myself have labored with all the power and faculties which I have possessed, to teach you the commandments of God, and to establish peace throughout the land, that there should be no wars nor contentions, no stealing, nor plundering, nor murdering, nor any manner of iniquity;
Book of Mormon
14 29
Mosiah
Mosiah 29:14
That they should let no pride nor haughtiness disturb their peace; that every man should esteem his neighbor as himself, laboring with their own hands for their support.
Book of Mormon
4 27
Mosiah
Mosiah 27:4
And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.
Book of Mormon
26 4
Mosiah
Mosiah 4:26
And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.
Book of Mormon
21 4
Mosiah
Mosiah 4:21
And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
Book of Mormon
16 4
Mosiah
Mosiah 4:16
And ye will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably, and to render to every man according to that which is his due.
Book of Mormon
13 4
Mosiah
Mosiah 4:13
I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another—
Book of Mormon
20 2
Mosiah
Mosiah 2:20
Neither have I suffered that ye should be confined in dungeons, nor that ye should make slaves one of another, nor that ye should murder, or plunder, or steal, or commit adultery; nor even have I suffered that ye should commit any manner of wickedness, and have taught you that ye should keep the commandments of the Lord, in all things which he hath commanded you—
Book of Mormon
13 2
Mosiah
Mosiah 2:13
Do ye not suppose that such things are abominable unto him who created all flesh? And the one being is as precious in his sight as the other. And all flesh is of the dust; and for the selfsame end hath he created them, that they should keep his commandments and glorify him forever.
Book of Mormon
21 2
Jacob
Jacob 2:21
Therefore, my son, see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again.
Book of Mormon
14 41
Alma
Alma 41:14
And this they did, it being in their view a testimony to God, and also to men, that they never would use weapons again for the shedding of man’s blood; and this they did, vouching and covenanting with God, that rather than shed the blood of their brethren they would give up their own lives; and rather than take away from a brother they would give unto him; and rather than spend their days in idleness they would labor abundantly with their hands.
Book of Mormon
18 24
Alma
Alma 24:18
Yea, and will you persist in turning your backs upon the poor, and the needy, and in withholding your substance from them?
Book of Mormon
55 5
Alma
Alma 5:55
And thus, in their prosperous circumstances, they did not send away any who were naked, or that were hungry, or that were athirst, or that were sick, or that had not been nourished; and they did not set their hearts upon riches; therefore they were liberal to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, whether out of the church or in the church, having no respect to persons as to those who stood in need.
Book of Mormon
30 1
Alma
Alma 1:30
And they did impart of their substance, every man according to that which he had, to the poor, and the needy, and the sick, and the afflicted; and they did not wear costly apparel, yet they were neat and comely.
Book of Mormon
27 1
Alma
Alma 1:27
And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.
Book of Mormon
3 1
4 Nephi
4 Nephi 1:3