Take a minute and review the tenth article of faith with me, if you will:
We believe…that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent.
What does this mean? How is this city different from any other city? I imagine that most church members picture this Zion as a magical, idyllic dwelling place, free from sin and suffering. But an image of what the city looks like doesn’t tell us how it came to be that way.
If Zion is a utopia, what attributes and qualities does it possess that allows it to be one? I don’t pretend to know, but here are a few possible considerations:
- Physical Layout — Is Zion’s paradisiacal nature due to the genius of its physical planning: the architecture and design of its buildings, residences, and parks?
- Government — Or will it be the result of some superior form of government, some kind of organization unlike any we have seen before? That its laws will be just, merciful, and effective?
- Science — Perhaps our increased understanding of human nature, economics, and technology will allow us to provide for people’s needs so efficiently that there is no want.
- Society — Maybe the paradise of Zion will be the result of a city that encourages and facilitates social networks. Helping all residents to have friends, family, coworkers, clubs, and other organizations provides a social support network that allows needs to be met at a personal rather than governmental level.
- Education — A school system that provides students with the ability to identify, set, pursue, and achieve their goals might effectively eliminate much societal malaise.
- Mystery — The methods by which Zion is to be built have not been revealed, and it’s dangerous for us to speculate on them.
So you tell me — what does Zion look like? Why do you want to live there? (Or why don’t you want to live there?) Is the wonder of Zion just the result of some incomprehensible divine intervention? or is it the natural consequence of municipal factors like the ones I’ve listed above? And if so, do you have any to add to the list?