I’ve been pondering a question for the last few weeks. In the Latter-Day Zion, will there be a need for network engineers? Don’t laugh. It’s a serious question. I’ve spent my entire adult life obtaining, fine-tuning and carefully crafting the application of a specialized set of skills and knowledge. I’ve made a fairly good living and enjoyed my work of designing, building and supporting wide-area high-speed computer networks and storage facilities.
Will these engineering skills do me any good in the Latter-Day concept of Zion? I mean, will there even be electricity in Zion, let alone computers and networks? The world has invested billions, perhaps trillions of dollars in electronic storage devices and the means to share that information all over the world in just a few seconds. It really is a miracle to be able to request and see the contents of records stored on the other side of the world.
Selling Products and Services
How about lawyers? Will there be a need for lawyers in Zion? Doctors? Dentists? What about retail store managers, wholesale distribution warehouse workers? Will there be an Amazon, a Walmart, a Target or a Costco? Proctor and Gamble, 3M, Nike, Phillip Morris, General Mills, Anheuser-Busch – all household names producing billions of dollars of consumer goods each year – will there be a need for such companies in Zion?
American Express, Apple, Boeing, Home Depot, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Verizon, Walt Disney, Merck – the list could go on and on. These companies employ millions of people and produce billions of dollars of revenue and wealth for their owners. My job these days is completely dependent on one of those large telecommunication companies. If Verizon stopped buying our network devices, our company would be in a world of hurt.
Money and Zion
And all the money I’ve got socked away in my 401K, will that be of any value when Zion is established? Will there be any need for money in Zion? I’m trying to think of the very practicalities of living in the Latter-Day Zion. Do we live in Zion today? I don’t think so. What about those who teach or believe that the LDS Church is Zion? That can’t be right, can it? Is the LDS Church the Kingdom of God on the earth today? Is the Kingdom of God even here upon the earth today or is that still a future event – the establishment of Zion?
It takes money to buy land and to build a temple. And that temple needs to be built in Zion before the Lord returns. I wonder if there will be property tax on the land where the new Jerusalem will sit. Will we need to render under Caesar? And if so, for how long? I wonder if the land for the new temple has already been purchased. I think it has. I think the location is known but has not been announced yet for obvious reasons. People might quit their jobs, sell everything and move to Zion. But it doesn’t work that way.
It is the work of the angels and the work of the Lord to prepare a people and gather them to Zion. I don’t think we can just take it upon ourselves to send money to the temple fund and expect to have a place in Zion. The same thing happened when the Kirtland temple was built. There were a few wealthy contributors who expected to be admitted to the dedication ceremonies and were greatly disappointed that their money didn’t get them a guaranteed seat in the first session. It is the Lord who determines who will be there.
Zion – the New Jerusalem
Zion is 1) the pure in heart, 2) a place where the pure in heart live and 3) a place where the temple will be built – the new Jerusalem. It is a place where the City of Enoch will return, a community of Saints, an association of the righteous. Zion is a people living in harmony with God and with nature. It is a place of gathering, where the righteous will find refuge from the ills of the world that will be at war one with another everywhere.
Zion is a place where Christ will come to rule and reign. Zion and a New Jerusalem will exist before the Lord comes to usher in the Millennial era. God will bring about Zion as His work in the last days. It is an actual location. The LDS Church says it will be built in Jackson County – Independence Missouri. Joseph Smith later taught that the whole of North and South America will be Zion during the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ.
Zion will be so entirely foreign to this world that the people who come there will be required to adopt a new society, a new way of thinking, a different way of interacting, an entirely new law, a form of government that does not presently exist, an order to their lives that alters everything, and a form of righteousness that is only possible for a society with a new structure. In short, it is nothing like the world in which we now live each day.
Babylon the Great
The world is Babylon. We live in Babylon. It is a world of commerce and trade. It is filled with money, gold and silver, wars and bloodshed, harlots and adultery. It is the world of the wicked, those who love money and power. Babylon is the counterpart to or the very inverse of Zion. Babylon will be destroyed. It will not be converted. It will be destroyed. Babylon is like the modern supermarket or department store, and it’s all for sale.
Babylon is rich, luxurious, immoral, full of fornications, merchants, riches, delicacies, sins, merchandise, gold, silver, precious stones, pearls, fine linens, purples, silks, scarlets, thyine wood, all manner of vessels, ivory, precious wood, brass, iron, marble, and so on. She is a giant delicatessen, full of wine, oil, fine flour, wheat; a perfume counter with cinnamon, odors, ointments, and frankincense; a market with beasts and sheep.
Babylon Must Fall
Babylon, or the world, is full of toxic influences and corrupt traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation, going all the way back to Babylon. Babylon was the largest city in the world. Today it is the world. The whole idea of commerce and trade for profit originated in Babylon. Babylon is the head of Gold and that head of gold is still with us today, corrupting everything and everyone who touches it.
It is in our banking, in our profit motives, in our culture, in our education, in our false ideas about what’s important and what’s not, in our desire for power, and wealth, and influence. All of those things remain with us still today. And they corrupt everything. They corrupt business; they corrupt governments; they corrupt churches. They corrupt society. Everyone is vying with one another to gain influence, power, and in turn, wealth and the acclamation of this world. And it all goes back to Babylon. And Babylon will fall.
Skills Needed in Zion
I read a recent list of suggested skills needed in Zion that is circulated in an email group to which I subscribe. I enjoyed analyzing the list (I’m an engineer – that’s how I think) and found myself feeling a little distraught by the time I finished. My sadness went with me to my personal prayers that night as I asked the Lord the very question I put forth in the opening paragraph. I hoped maybe there was a chance my skills would be needed.
Alas, no. Wo is me. I have invested a lifetime in obtaining knowledge and skills that will not be used or needed in Zion. I do not believe there will be electricity or computers or the Internet or cell phones or any of the things I use each day to make a living and to provide for my family. In my review of Visions of Glory seven years ago I commented on the scenarios Spencer presented and discussed electricity and the Internet in one area.
Electricity and the Internet in Zion
I guess I have always had it in the back of my mind that yes, electricity and the Internet would survive great earthquakes, plagues, economic devastation, invasion and war. But what if they don’t? What if electricity is NOT part of Zion? Could you handle that? I know I would have a hard time. I certainly could not make a living without the Internet, but then, will anyone be making a living as we do in Babylon or will it be radically different?
Can you imagine a world without electricity, laptop computers, the Internet (I’m using all three right now) and cell phones? What would you do with yourself all day? How would you survive? What if you couldn’t get your medications from the local pharmacy? What if the local grocery store no longer had food to sell? What if you could no longer get any gasoline for your cars? Is that where the myth of walking to Zion came into the church?
Discussing Zion in our Home
As I read this to Carol, she pointed out that Zion would not come about for a long time. She reminded me of statements from prophets that work in the temples would go on night and day during the Millennium. I told her she was thinking too far ahead, that Zion would need to be established before the Lord comes. He brings the City of Enoch with Him. There must be a city of Zion already established here to meet Him when He comes.
She said she would be resurrected then. Again I suggested she think shorter term – that the city of Zion would probably be established in our lifetime and the temple built during our life. She told me there is already a temple in Missouri. I decided to not pursue the conversation as there was too much of a difference in beliefs about how Zion will come about to bring us to common ground. Traditions of the fathers are strong.
We finished our discussion with Carol pointing out that we must have at least four years left because it would take that long for the seismic retrofitting and remodeling of the Salt Lake temple. She pointed out that power tools and electricity would be needed to do the job, thus there’s no way the Lord could come in the next four years. Besides, what about the three and a half years the two prophets will protect Israel? There. We still have time.
A Plea to Come Back
As we listened to general conference last weekend, I was touched by Elder Cook’s invitation for those who had removed their names from the records to come back. My sister was Elder Cook’s secretary for a few years before he was an Apostle when he was over the missionary department. Carol turned to me, didn’t say a word, but we both knew that invitation applied to me. “Hey, I had my name removed,” I said. No comment.
I’ve thought this through. I could come back. I could be baptized into the LDS Church again. Here is what I would have to do: I would be required to write a letter of appeal to the First Presidency, meet with a member of the local area presidency and, although not stated in my original letter of response accepting my resignation, remove my blog and denounce just about everything I’ve ever written here over the past twelve years.
That ain’t gonna happen. I know it hurts Carol each time this comes up. Like many LDS women whose husbands aren’t members, she finds solace in the belief that if she is true and faithful to the church and the prophet, she will be united with a worthy priesthood holder in the eternities. There is so much wrong with that belief that I can’t even begin to deconstruct it properly here, so I’ll leave it for another post at another time.
Craziness of Covid-19 Quarantine
Like most of you, I have been working from home for the last three weeks. For the most part, the work of a network engineer can be done remotely. Millions of people are not so lucky. It has saddened us to see so many restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and small businesses closed by order of the public health officer. Even if President Trump lifts the quarantine order, here in California we will probably still be locked down for weeks.
It’s crazy to see the economic effects of this quarantine: the unemployment filings, the folks who can’t pay their rent, the number of companies who have lost business, the steep declines in the stock market. I agree with the view of many who see this as a major attack on personal liberties and freedoms, including constitutional rights that have seemingly been willingly abandoned by the belief this quarantine is for our good.
In Ventura county, where I live, there are 309 active cases out of 5,522 tested with 35 in my hometown of Camarillo. There have been ten deaths attributed to the virus, some of whom acquired the virus through travel – either on a cruise ship or a trip to China. It seems a bit overkill to require so many millions to stay home. Perhaps it makes sense in New York but seems a bit much for our neck of the woods. How about where you live?
Carol and I participated in the day of fast encouraged by President Nelson. It was sweet to offer heart-felt prayers at the opening and close of our fast in behalf of those who are sick, those who are helping the sick and in behalf of those who have lost their jobs. May God bless all of us to see clearly what is going on in the world and our nation, how the forces of the adversary are using this as an attempt to stop the work of the Lord today.