There is a grand vision that is before us. There is a great work to be done, but while we spend our time dreaming of our Heavenly Zion our Zion here on earth has not only been neglected, but has been overrun by the enemy. The grand vision is the establishment of Zion here on earth. The great work is the establishment of The New Jerusalem, the City of Peace so that which was spoken by the Prophet Enoch would be fulfilled, "As Above-So Below."
All things from the Days of Adam to the Restoration of the Gospel through Joseph Smith point to establishment of Zion. This real, bricks and mortar, Zion is even attested to in our articles of faith:
We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory. (Articles of Faith 1:10)
In fact, this vision of a real physical Zion-New Jerusalem- here on Earth was so real that there were many who left their homes in foreign lands to make this city and society of Zion a reality. They sacrificed their homes, their fortunes, and often times their very lives in pursuit of Zion here on earth. In coming to America they fulfilled the words of the Psalmist, "The LORD doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the exiles of Israel." (Psalm 147:2) Not only the outcasts of Israel came, but the God fearing of all Nations were gathered in fulfillment of of the words of Isaiah, "The Lord GOD, who gathers the exiles of Israel, says,“Yet I will gather to him others besides those who are gathered to him.” (Isaiah 56:8)
The call to gather to a land of Freedom and Liberty was sent forth to the Nations of the Earth. It was not a call to the wealthy and the elite, but as written by Emma Lazarus (A Daughter of Israel) in the gateway of the American Zion we still find engraved upon the symbol of the Daughter of Zion:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
History is not an accident. All things are foreknown to God and the influence of his spirit is behind the righteous actions of his people. Thousands of years before Europeans had settled in the Americas the Lord was guiding events that would lead to the establishment of this nation as a land of freedom:
"And behold, this is the thing which I will give unto you for a sign—for verily I say unto you that when these things which I declare unto you, and which I shall declare unto you hereafter of myself, and by the power of the Holy Ghost which shall be given unto you of the Father, shall be made known unto the Gentiles that they may know concerning this people who are a remnant of the house of Jacob, and concerning this my people who shall be scattered by them; Verily, verily, I say unto you, when these things shall be made known unto them of the Father, and shall come forth of the Father, from them unto you; For it is wisdom in the Father that they should be established in this land, and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father, that these things might come forth from them unto a remnant of your seed, that the covenant of the Father may be fulfilled which he hath covenanted with his people, O house of Israel" (3 Nephi 21:2-4)
As the Zion of Enoch became a pattern for the Jerusalem of Israel, the Jerusalem of Israel was the pattern or type for the establishment of the American Zion forged by the hand of God. Like his ancient covenant people, the American Zion has been built upon a New Covenant in similitude of the Covenant of Freedom and Liberty made with Enoch and passed down through the Fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
"Behold, Ether saw the days of Christ, and he spake concerning a New Jerusalem upon this land. And he spake also concerning the house of Israel, and the Jerusalem from whence Lehi should come—after it should be destroyed it should be built up again, a holy city unto the Lord; wherefore, it could not be a new Jerusalem for it had been in a time of old; but it should be built up again, and become a holy city of the Lord; and it should be built unto the house of Israel— And that a New Jerusalem should be built up upon this land, unto the remnant of the seed of Joseph, for which things there has been a type." (Ether 13:5)
As Isaiah said, "And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." (Isaiah 2:3)
To understand Zion and New Jerusalem is to understand the purpose of The United States of America and the Constitution upon which it was founded. As God described the Zion of Enoch:
"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)
We find these same sentiments echoed in our Pledge of Allegiance, "....One Nation, Under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for ALL."
As Thomas Jefferson said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” The battle for freedom and liberty is not over, and we are facing a time when every man, woman, and child who loves the principles of righteousness, freedom, and liberty will be hunted by those Secret Combinations of Men and their followers who seek to overthrow the freedom of all lands. Will we as a people put off our indifference and call upon the God of Righteousness? Will we take real action to preserve liberty in this Land of Promise? Or will our voices resound the sorrowing of the damned because we can not find happiness in sin?
"God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever; That a revolution of the wheel of fortune, a change of situation, is among possible events; that it may become probable by Supernatural influence! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in that event."
Thomas Jefferson--Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, p. 237
The United States of America was established to be a Zion whose laws, institutions, and form of Government were to unite the people under the covenant of the Constitution. In establishing their independence from the idolatry of Kings and Tyranny, the Founding Fathers declared:
"When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security...." (Declaration of Independence)
By the time of the calling of the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Union was fracturing and crumbling from within because of the people had departed from the Constitutional law of the Land (i.e. they became lawless, iniquitous) and secret combinations who sought to destroy the freedom and liberties of this land of promise began to divide the people. Thus Joseph Smith was called to establish a New Washington D.C. or shall I say A New Jerusalem. A City of Peace where Justice and Judgment, Truth and Mercy were to be once again established under the rule of the God of this Land. Because of the Weakness and Failures of the Leaders and the people, Zion was not redeemed. The city of Joseph or The New Jerusalem was never established. The remnant of Jacob (The descendants of Lehi) were not gathered nor did they receive the record of their fathers. As a result, the judgments of God were poured out upon the land. As Moroni warned Joseph Smith, "For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall burn as stubble; for they that come shall burn them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. And again, he quoted the fifth verse thus: Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord." (JSH 1:37-38)
It may seem strange to us as our traditions often see the Day of the Lord as a future event, but as has been previously explained the Day of the Lord is an event that has occurred many times to many nations when they ripen in lawlessness. For Joseph Smith, the immediate fulfillment of this prophecy came in the Day of the Lord that we call the Civil War. The coming of the Lord did occur but instead of the presence of God being restored to a New Jerusalem in this Land of Zion the presence of God was felt through Judgment, destruction, and bloodshed. As witnessed by our current conditions, the failure of the saints of that day in establishing Zion is all too apparent.
We are now in a period where the flaxen cords of sin have lulled us into a deep sleep of apathy and passivity. In our sleep, we are currently being chained with the strong cords of the adversary. The cry of Freedom and Rights has become the war cry of beguiling propaganda while true liberty is being extinguished. A Day of the Lord for America is again fast approaching, but where is there to be found a people who will step forth and hold up the standards of a city, culture, and government of Life and Liberty under the God of Israel- Jesus Christ. Where is the people who will maintain righteous laws and government in this mundane Zion. Our Zion on earth is a real brick and mortar Zion. It must be established with real government and righteous laws. Instead we call meetings and social gatherings where we talk and give thanks and then, "they returned to their homes, never speaking of their God again until they had assembled themselves together again to the holy stand, to offer up thanks after their manner."(Alma 31:23) So many are being lulled to sleep with the soothing cry of "All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well"and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.