Zion 

Summary

A specific location in Missouri; also a literal or figurative gathering of believers in Christ, characterized by adherence to ideals of harmony, equality, and purity.1 In JS’s earliest revelations “the cause of Zion” was used to broadly describe the focus of the work JS was called to do.2 However, the term Zion was soon used more specifically to describe a community of believers living in harmony and equality.3 The Book of Mormon explained that in the last days Jesus Christ will gather the house of Israel and again establish Zion.4 In JS’s translation of the Bible, he added passages about the prophet Enoch establishing a righteous, unified, poverty-free community called Zion.5 Thereafter, Zion came to mean the ideal society JS sought to establish, patterned after Enoch’s community.6 The term also meant the location where the Saints were to build the city of Zion, also called the New Jerusalem or Mount Zion.7 Like the biblical Zion, this would be a place of refuge and a place to prepare for the Second Coming.8 JS prophesied that inhabitants of Zion would live with Christ, the “king of Zion.”9 On 20 July 1831, a revelation designated Missouri as the “land of Zion” and Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, as the “center place” at which to build the city of Zion.10 “An house,” or temple, was to be “built unto the Lord” in the city of Zion.11 Communities of Saints outside the central location of Zion were called stakes, to which the tent of Zion was figuratively tethered, and were to strengthen Zion and enlarge its borders.12 The term Zion subsequently referred to the Missouri church centered in Clay County and then Caldwell County.13 In 1844, JS further defined Zion as all of North and South America.14 Compare “Zion” in Geographical Directory; see also “New Jerusalem.”

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