Up On The Mesa


GrandMesa“They say there’s a special kind’a power up on the mesa,” Mark said in a heavy drawl while he warmed his hands at their poor excuse for a campfire.

Jonathan glanced at his new friend, a fellow traveler like him with no place to go. The thin wool blanket he’d pinched from a nearly cleaned-out hardware store was the only thing between him and freezing to death on this barren Colorado plain. He held his hands over the fire as the two men huddled close together. “What kind of power?”

“Don’t know.” Mark shrugged his thin shoulders. “Ain’t been up there yet.”

“Then how do you know?”

“Seen the lights. They ain’t comin’ from campfires.”

“Go on. You mean they’ve got electricity?” He hadn’t seen electricity since the big quake took the life of Connie, his wife of thirty years and flattened the hills of Santa Barbara.

“Don’t know. But it glows like ‘lectric power.”

“I haven’t seen cities with electricity in years.”

“What tribe you from?” Mark drew a thin windbreaker close around him.

“Santa Barbara,” Jonathan said.

Mark shook his head. “Whatcha doin’ all the way out here?”

“I’ve got a brother here–least I had one. The plague got him.”

“Too bad. You married?

Jonathan swallowed the lump in his throat. “My wife died in the big quake. I was at work. The house shook to pieces. I found her body in the kitchen, buried it in the back yard.”

“Kids?”

His empty gut churned. “Two, but I don’t know what happened to them. My daughter was in San Francisco, my son in San Diego. I couldn’t get through the gangs in either city.”

“Tough break. How’d you get outta California?”

“Took a week to walk out.” He shuddered, seeing the destruction in his mind again.

“Been a while since the big quake. Whatcha been doing since?”

Jonathan bristled. “What is this, twenty-one questions?”

“Take it easy.” Mark held up his hands. “Just passing the time. I meant no offense, friend.”

He felt his back relax. It had been a long time since he trusted anybody he’d met on the road enough to talk to them about losing his family. “I’ve been wandering, keeping one step ahead of the gangs.”

The last gang had captured him, wrested his shotgun and Sig Sauer away from him. They didn’t find his Rocky Mountain knife or snub-nosed .38 strapped to his calves. Thank God. He wouldn’t have eaten without them.

Mark appeared thoughtful for a moment then sighed. “Hard to do. No matter where you’re from. They’re vicious.”

“How about you? Are you from around here?”

“Nah. Started out in Houston,” Mark said with a quick shake of his head. “Made it up to Kansas City, stayed there for a while.”

“Cedaredge is a long way from Kansas City.”

“Yeah. Friend ‘a mine said gangs won’t come up here.”

“That’s what I heard.” Jonathan leaned back against his backpack. “I’m tired of running for my life.”

“Walk all the way?”

“Every night. I had to stay off the main roads.”

“What’s left of them,” Mark huffed.

“That made it easier to find food. You know, in old farmhouses and such.”

“All alone?”

“Not at first. Everyone that walked with me from California voted to stay in Grand Junction. The city still has some semblance of law and order and not many gangs.”

“Funny, I didn’t see you there.”

“Lots of tribes staked out in different parts of the city. I tried to avoid most of them.”

“Yeah.” Mark got a faraway look in his eyes. “We pretty much kept to ourselves, too.”

“So why haven’t you gone up there yet?” Jonathan pointed toward the mesa with his chin. It was getting dark, but the prominence of the Grand Mesa was clear to see.

“Been thinking about it,” Mark said. “Gettin’ up the nerve I guess.”

“I hear they’ve got some sort of special protection.”

“Whaddya mean?”

“I don’t know. Someone said they saw aliens or something coming down from the planet when it got real close.”

Mark looked incredulous, snorted. “You believe in that stuff?”

Jonathan kicked at the burning log, sparks flew heavenward. “I don’t know what I believe any more.”

“Me neither. Nothin’s the same.”

Both men fell silent. The last pink glow of sunset faded behind them. With the sun rays gone, the glow from the top of the mesa reminded Jonathan of old Las Vegas before the dam collapsed. He pulled his blanket tighter around him.

Mark’s eyes were locked on the glow against the dark sky. “Look. There it is again.”

Both men stood on their feet.

“Ain’t that the darndest thing,” Mark said in an excited voice.

“I’m going up there,” Jonathan said. He had to know what was going on.

“What, now? Must be ten miles up the road.”

“I don’t care. I  want to know if the rumors are true.”

“You’ll freeze.”

“Maybe,” Jonathan said, his mind made up. “I’ll starve if I stay here. Are you coming with me?”

Long pause.

Mark frowned. “Why not? Got nothin to lose. Let’s go.”

The two men walked north in silence. They left Highway 65 a few hours later to pick their way through the sage brush and scraggly grasses.

“Hang on a second. I need to catch my breath,” Jonathan said, puffing hard because of the altitude.

“Yeah. It’s gonna to be a tough climb from here.”

A drop of sweat rolled down Jonathan’s back. “I swear it’s getting warmer.”

“And the glow is getting brighter.”

“Do you feel that?”

“Don’t know. Like what?”

“I can’t say. It just feels … different.”

“Yeah. I guess.” Mark shifted his weight.

“I feel … lighter, if you know what I mean.”

“’Spose so.”

“Let’s head for that bright spot. They’ve probably got food,” Jonathan said with more confidence than he felt. He was terribly hungry, couldn’t remember the last rabbit he’d caught and skinned.

“That’s a steep climb. You up for it?

“Yeah. I feel better. How about you?”

“It’s weird.” Mark scratched his head. “Like somethin’s drawing me up there.”

“It less than two miles up the Old Grand Mesa Road to the first reservoir,” Jonathan told his new friend. “I remember seeing it on a map back in Grand Junction.”

They trudged on. The road was steep, full of switchbacks. It was nearly midnight before they arrived at the reservoir. Mark paused, leaned over to catch his breath.

Jonathan rubbed his hands together, astonished they were no longer freezing. He paced forward a few more yards.

“Hey, get back down here.” Mark called out, frenzy in his voice. “There’s someone standin’ in the middle of the road up there.”

“I see him.” Jonathan reached down for his .38. It was still there. He hoped he didn’t have to use it. “It doesn’t look like he has a gun.”

“He’s looking right at us. I think he sees us.”

“Well, I don’t care. I’m starving. Let’s see what he’s doing here.”

“You’re crazy. He’ll shoot you for sure.”

“I don’t think so.” Jonathan felt only warmth and peace. “I swear it feels like he’s expecting us.”

“Go ahead. I’m stayin’ right here.” Mark crossed his arms over his chest, held his feet wide apart.

Jonathan marched the hundred yards separating them from the stranger.

“Hello, friend,” the stranger said before Jonathan reached him. He wore a long white robe open at the neck leaving his chest bare. Jonathan wondered if the man was cold without a coat. But he could have sworn the man and his robe glowed.

“Hello,” Jonathan said. “We didn’t expect to see anybody up here so late at night.”

The man smiled. “Why don’t you invite your partner to join us?”

“Do you have any food? We’re starving.”

“There’s plenty to share.” The man gestured down to Mark, “Come.”

Mark hesitantly hiked toward them. The stranger handed them both a simple loaf of bread from a cloth bag hanging at his side. They ate it quickly, thanked the man.

“Looks like you were waiting for us,” Mark said. “Did you know we were coming?”

“This is a common entry point to the mesa,” the man said. “We have watchers here every night, hoping …”

“Hoping for what?” Jonathan asked.

“Hoping more will be courageous like you. We hope more will come join us.”

“What?” Mark asked. “You got an army up here for protection?”

The man’s smile was kind, easy. “No army. At least not in the sense you mean it.”

“What then? We’re tired of running from the gangs.”

“The gangs won’t bother you up here.”

“I’ve heard they tried a couple times a few years back,” Jonathan said.

The man shook his head sending his longish hair swirling around his head. “Yes, it’s true. Those were sad days. So many troubled souls perished from their own foolishness.”

Mark shot Jonathan a quizzical glance. The stranger offered no additional details. That worried Jonathan.

“My name is Abraham,” the man said

“I’m Jonathan from California. This here is Mark. He’s from Texas.”

“Come. Let us go to the city. There is a place for you there.”

“What do you mean?” Mark asked. Abraham led them toward a nearby clump of trees.

He spoke over his shoulder. “There is work to do and plenty of food. You’ll have a warm place to stay. There is much to learn.”

“How far is the walk?” Jonathan asked, rubbing his sore thigh muscles.

“We have no need to walk. My vehicle will carry four comfortably.”

They entered the small grove of trees. Jonathan saw a car unlike any he had ever seen before. It looked like a cross between a DeLorean and a space shuttle from Star Trek.

“Where are the wheels?” Mark asked when he looked closer.

“Get in. You shall see we have no need for wheels.”

Gull wing doors opened when they approached, closed after they climbed inside and sat on comfortable leather seats.

Jonathan noted Mark’s eyes seemed big as saucers. Felt his probably looked the same.

Abraham waved his hands over some controls. The vehicle lifted silently, effortlessly.

Mark held tight to the straps beside him. “Who’s driving this thing?”

“I am. But it knows where we want to go. We’ll be there in a moment.”

The vehicle rose higher, sped through the air, headed toward the brightest area on the mesa. A glowing city opened up beneath the hovering craft.

Jonathan knew the city couldn’t be seen from below the mesa, but it was huge and teamed with life. It covered the finger of the mesa from side to side and for miles back.

Mark glanced at Jonathan. They both shook their heads in amazement, then turned away to stare out their windows. So this was the source of the green glow they saw from Cedaredge. The Mesa commanded a view of the surrounding countryside for miles around. They could see the campfires of Grand Junction fifteen miles to the northwest.

The vehicle came to rest without any noise or dust in a small clearing between pristine white buildings. Jonathan could see the entire mesa had been built with buildings in a uniform plan, with grassy areas every few blocks.

Every building seemed to glow. Some blue, some red, most were green.

“Why are the buildings of different colors?” Jonathan asked.

“The homes are green,” Abraham said. “Meeting halls are blue, work centers red.”

The gull-wing doors opened after they landed. Mark and Jonathan disembarked from the flying car. A small group of men, dressed in white robes similar to Abraham’s greeted them with benevolent smiles.

A tall man with short dark hair held out his hand. He glowed too. He smiled at Mark and Jonathan.

There was something about his face that looked familiar but Jonathan couldn’t place it.

“Welcome to Zion.”

Of One Heart and One Mind


CityOfZionI wanted to share something that I have pondering about for a while now. It’s this idea of being one heart and one mind, such a rare and beautiful thing that is necessary to bring about Zion.

Zion is almost a mythical thing to us latter-day saints, something that’ll automatically come when Christ comes (I’ve heard it discussed this way), but we rarely ever mention what effort will be required on our part beforehand. I’ve only heard it mentioned once in church. It didn’t take well. This is a huge endeavor that the Israelites failed at, along with the early members of the latter-day church.

It isn’t going to be easier for us.

But I believe the building needs to begin, by us, one little bit at a time. Whether we rise to the challenge is contingent on whether or not we try.

And it begins first with one particular heart and mind.

Yours.

First: the Ultimate Example of Oneness

So many times in the scriptures it’s mentioned how Jesus and the Father are one. Here are three examples.

D&C 93:3-5

And that I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one— The Father because he gave me of his fullness, and the Son because I was in the world and made flesh my tabernacle, and dwelt among the sons of men. I was in the world and received of my Father, and the works of him were plainly manifest.

3 Nephi 11:11

And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.

Mosiah 15:2-5

And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son— The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son—And they are one God, yea, the very eternal Father of heaven and of earth. And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God, suffereth temptation, and yieldeth not to the temptation, but suffereth himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people.

He was one with God not simply because He is His literal Son, but because He subjected His will to Heavenly Father’s, the flesh subject to the will of God, suffering the will of the Father in all things.

This is how they are one.

If Christ was saying it or doing it, it was by the will of the Father. It was the Father speaking or doing these things through Christ.

Which brings us to…

Being One With God

John 17:21

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

D&C 35:2

I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was crucified for the sins of the world, even as many as will believe on my name, that they may become the sons of God, even one in me as I am one in the Father, as the Father is one in me, that we may be one.

We are invited to be one with them as well, and how this is accomplished is in the example that Christ left for us…

…By subjecting our will to God’s.

In order to do this we have to understand what God’s will is for us as individuals. Beyond scripture study and keeping the commandments, this requires personal revelation. This requires a personal relationship with God. You can’t be one with God if you don’t hear what He’s saying to you, and then doing what He requires of you.

According to the Lectures on Faith, the Holy Spirit is the mind of God. We need this with us. We need to recognize and follow it.

A Tabernacle / A Temple in Zion

Throughout scripture, the Lord’s people have been required to build a house unto Him.

An example of this in the early church:

D&C 97:15-17

And inasmuch as my people build a house unto me in the name of the Lord, and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon it; Yeah, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure in heart that shall come into it shall see God. But if it be defiled I will not come into it, and my glory shall not be there; for I will not come into unholy temples.

Sometimes we set our temples up as an idol. I have seen many members of the church do this. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dismissing the temple. I’ve received many things from the spirit when I’ve attended. My point is that by overlooking the symbolism of the temple at its most basic, we miss the point. We build temples as a place for us to meet with God. A place where He can come to us.

The thing is, the temple is a symbol for us.

We are the temple.

God can visit us in our temple.

John 2:19-21

Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body.

D&C 93:33-35

For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element inseparably connected, receive a fullness of joy. The elements are the tabernacle of God; yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even temples; and whatsoever temple is defiled, God shall destroy that temple.

So, a temple or tabernacle is a place where God can dwell with man, and man is the tabernacle of God.

This goes back again to being one with Him. Jesus referred to His body as a temple because God dwelled within it (not just referring to Himself).

Does it change the meaning of these scriptures when you understand that you are the temple?

D&C 94:8-9

And ye shall not suffer any unclean thing to come in unto it; and my glory shall be there, and my presence shall be there. But if there shall come into it any unclean thing, my glory shall not be there; and my presence shall not come into it.

D&C 97:15-17

And inasmuch as my people build a house unto me in the name of the Lord, and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon it; Yeah, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure in heart that shall come into it shall see God. But if it be defiled I will not come into it, and my glory shall not be there; for I will not come into unholy temples.

God cannot dwell in anything unholy, so a redeeming has to take place before He can dwell within us, before we can begin to learn to become one with Him.

D&C 93:38

Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God.

Because we are fallen, our spirits are unclean until we are redeemed from this fallen state by a baptism. Not just by water, but also by fire.

2 Nephi 31:12-14

And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel. But, behold, my beloved brethren, thus came the voice of the Son unto me, saying: After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep my commandments, by the baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and can speak with a new tongue, yea, even with the tongue of angels, and after this should deny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not know me.

And when you are made holy in this manner, given the gift of the Holy Ghost, then can God dwell within you. Then can you speak with the tongue of angels.

What the people of Zion will be like:

They will all know the Lord for themselves.

Hebrews 8:10-11

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

-They will be pure in heart.

D&C 97:21

Therefore, verily, thus saith the Lord, let Zion rejoice, for this is Zion—THE PURE IN HEART; therefore, let Zion rejoice, while all the wicked shall burn.

-They will be of one heart and one mind, be righteous, and have no poor among them.

Moses 7:18

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.

I want to point out here that Zion being of one mind, indicates that they all are of one mind with God, and therefore each other. As I mentioned previously the mind of God is what Joseph referred to as the Holy Spirit.

Furthermore to be of one heart and mind with each other they will need to bear each other’s burdens, to mourn with those that mourn, that comfort those that stand in need of comfort. Which brings us the next requirement…

-They will need to possess a Godlike love.

Moroni 7:47-48

But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

There is no room for pride in this set up. There is no room for unrighteous dominion or force. We can’t make others fit the requirements (it’s hard enough to do this ourselves). It can’t come with judgment, resentment, or contention.

This perfect society depends entirely on a perfect people. And people are only made perfect through Christ. Christ alone is King in this place, and only by Him is it possible.

When “One” can Mean “Many”

The fascinating thing to me is that through this process a great many people can become “one.” A great many humble and meek become strong. Become one with Christ.

Where It Begins and Ends

We start small, with ourselves.

We teach our families what we have learned, how they may know the Lord for themselves, and allow them to do it. Together we make our home into our Zion. (I would love input and examples on how you are doing this with your family.)

From here, I would trust in the Lord, and follow His direction. He does the gathering. And He will gather His people to Zion in His own due time. Best be prepared until then, even if it’s our children’s children who get there instead. The groundwork can begin here, with us.

What say ye?

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