Look at the definition of a society; it is, “the aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community.” Presently, our society seems to be positioned in the “less” category” as it appears to be in a state of disruption, confusion, and conflict. The conflict appears to center around individualism (priority given to the individual) and collectivism (priority given to the group or the state.)
Also, far from ideal, Americans are becoming less healthy as a nation in comparison to others (we are now ranked 38th); yet, our health-care costs are the highest per capita of any in the world, which is a massive contradiction with a message for us if we will pay attention.
Who Sets the Standard?
Who is better prepared to teach us, “What is an ideal society?” than the Savior? He succinctly says that the two most important commandments are: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” (Luke 10:27) And these two are more important than all others. (Matt. 22: 37-40) Loving our neighbor as ourselves means to address his/her individual needs in a loving way that will be best for them here and in the hereafter.
Three Major Requirements
Further, He proclaims in the Sermon on the Mount, which is the recipe for the ideal society, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33) I see three major parts to this paramount verse:
First, seeking the kingdom of God is bringing souls to Christ; for it is the Father’s work and glory to “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life” of His precious sons and daughters. (Moses 1:39) Helping Him in His work is truly loving Him and our neighbor.
Second, we seek His Righteousness; we strive to emulate the perfect life of our Savior. Imitatio Christi, as C. S. Lewis taught – to be “little Christs.” In the scriptures, Jesus is called the Son of Righteousness (3 Nephi 25:2) in that He emulated the Father’s Righteousness perfectly. He asks us to do the same. (Lev. 19:2; 2 Nephi 31:12)
Categorically in seeking His Righteousness, the best thing we can do is like the Savior, to seek to know the will of the Father for us personally, and to do it. Each of our missions will be different, but it will be the best for us.
Third, “all these things shall be added unto you” connotes the ideal society. But it is not about things as we typically think about “things,” because this society is motivated by pure love. Everyone has different gifts and talents, yet in this society, in loving harmony with one another, each of our individual gifts and talents are fully appreciated and utilized to bring a oneness to the whole.
A Zion Society
A Zion society is the “Ideal Society” because it honors and addresses the needs of each individual as well as the “aggregate,” and brings them to be united — one heart and one mind. (Moses 7:18) The Lord also defines Zion as “THE PURE IN HEART.” (D&C 97:21) And as promised in the Sermon on the Mount, the pure in heart shall see God. (Matt. 5:8)
This ideal society will bring about the greatest happiness and joy. In the midst of a world spiraling down, we can look to God and live this higher law of love and spiral up, as we bask in God’s grace through the Savior’s infinite atonement. He can and will bring about perfection in the midst of all our imperfections, if we will come unto Him.
God has promised Zion, and His promises are sure. And it will happen individually and nationally. It will be in America (3 Nephi 20:22) with the New Jerusalem, and it will be with the old City of Jerusalem, as it comes to its final divine destiny. In one of the many grand ironies of the Lord, Jerusalem has probably been fought over more than any other city; yet, Jerusalem means, “City of Peace,” and thus it will become. (See Ether 13:1-12)
Indeed, it is exciting that a Zion society is coming again soon, and we can be part of it, if we will set our priorities and so live.
David W. Allan
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David W. Allan