A Few Final Words
I am sure that while reading or skimming through the chapters of this study you remembered someone who was an example (good or bad) of the principles discussed. Many of us share the trait of looking to others whenever we think about something right or wrong.
If while reading you felt that some of these words were the right ones to someone else, you may mention that you read an interesting manuscript, but don't compel that person to follow these principles. The change that brings salvation can only come when we are truly committed, and if we have no desire to change heated debates will hardly affect us. I did not write this manuscript with the intention of criticizing anyone, but with the intention of sharing some ideas that may lead us, as a people, closer to our Father in Heaven.
I have a testimony that God lives and that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that because of his atoning sacrifice we have this life and a possibility of an eternal life. I know that Joseph Smith Jr. was and still is a Prophet of God and that men are called nowadays as true Apostles and Prophets of the Almighty. I know that the priesthood of God is a real power, having been restored through heavenly ministers. I spent my first six years as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints without this priesthood, and I could feel a sensible difference in my life after I received the privilege, honor and blessing of being ordained an Elder. I also know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, as well as the Bible. And I am grateful for the blessing given me to be sent to the earth in this great day of miracles.
The Establishment of Zion
We are living in the most glorious period in all the history of humankind. Soon, the millennial kingdom of Christ will be established, and the whole planet will be transformed. What a glorious opportunity we have to serve at this time, when powerful miracles are being performed in preparation to the great events of the near future. I can feel the truth of the Prophet Joseph Smith's words:
"The building up of Zion is ... it is a theme upon which prophets, priests and kings have dwelt with peculiar delight; they have looked forward with joyful anticipation to the day in which we live; and fired with heavenly and joyful anticipations they have sung and written and prophesied of this our day; but they died without the sight;
"We are the favored people that God has made choice of to bring about the Latter‑day glory; it is left for us to see, participate in and help to roll forward the Latter‑day glory ...24"
This is the time in which Zion will be found throughout the world. In Frankfurt, Recife, Nagoya, Kiev, Porto, Ilorin, Liverpool, Chicago, Pusan, Lyon, Nairobi, Adelaide, Jakarta, Pretoria, Quezon City, Hong Kong, and in .25. The establishment of Zion starts with the entrance of the Mormon missionaries in countries around the world. LDS converts throughout the world may be considered the pioneers of the 20th century, since similarly to the American and European pioneers of the 19th century, they are (using familiar American Mormon language and types) crossing the barren plains of apostasy, facing the snowstorms of prejudice, fighting the wolves of temptation, and the militia of anti-Mormon sentiment.
Soon, the so-called "Mormonism" will be found literally all over the world; but it will not wipe out local cultures; rather, it will refine, purify, and perfect whatever is good, noble, and virtuous in all cultures. The Lord stated that Zion would "flourish26," or in other words, blossom or bloom. I don't know in exact details how this is going to happen; on the other hand, the verb "flourish" brings to my mind the sense that Zion will not be established being imposed from the outside, but that it will grow from the inside, like a flower.
In nature we see each kind of flower display variations in color, fragrance, and size--due to different types of soil, quality of nutrients, and other factors--and still maintain their enchantment despite all these variations. Similarly, Zion will be the wonder of the world, but it will not look the same everywhere. The restored gospel of Jesus Christ is sent to the world27 but the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is "built28," not necessarily "implanted," in every nation. The bureaucratic organization of the church by itself is not the source of salvation, but a tool to help us organize the work in a manner that is efficient and beneficial to the people.
Some prophets have taught that the Latter-day Saints are the leaven of their respective cultures and nations29. If we are to be good leaven, we should keep in mind that leaven makes the dough--not itself--look bigger. Lets consider this prophecy made by the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. about us in these last days:
"The heavenly Priesthood will unite with the earthly, to bring about those great purposes; and whilst we are thus united in one common cause, to roll forth the kingdom of God, the heavenly Priesthood are not idle spectators, the Spirit of God will be showered down from above, and it will dwell in our midst.
"The blessings of the Most High will rest upon our tabernacles, and our name will be handed down to future ages; our children will rise up and call us blessed; and generations yet unborn will dwell with peculiar delight upon the scenes that we have passed through, the privations that we have endured; the untiring zeal that we have manifested; the all but insurmountable difficulties that we have overcome in laying the foundation of a work that brought about the glory and blessing which they will realize;
"[A] work that God and angels have contemplated with delight for generations past; that fired the souls of the ancient patriarchs and prophets; a work that is destined to bring about the destruction of the powers of darkness, the renovation of the earth, the glory of God, and the salvation of the human family.30"
24 TPJS, p.231, May 2, 1842
25 Add your own list of places. Remember that it does not matter how many members of the church are currently living in those places. Even if now there are few or no members of the church in those places, the Lord will open the doors to the preaching of the gospel in his own due time.
26 D&C 35:24; 39:13; 49:25; 64:41
27 D&C 1:23
28 D&C 107:33-34
29 Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.440. April 13, 1974. See also Gospel Doctrine, p. 74; Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p.16
30 TPJS, p.232, May 2, 1842. Brackets added.