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Zion & a Consecrated Life

This is Zion!


What I am seeing in the Huntington Beach Church:

  • The numbers that are attending the temple … getting temple recommend, including youth … on their own. Taking family names.

  • The increasing number of missionaries in the stake.

  • Increased testimony thru FSY and ym/yw camps.

  • The warmth of congregations … family moved 3 times and welcomed into 3 wards!

  • The ministering that happens by assignment and without assignment.

  • The ward fasts, prayers, … and miracles happening!

  • Priesthood leaders see greater righteousness, less serious sin, and more genuine repentance.

  • Families are rededicating themselves to scripture study …

  • The number of friends that are being invited to church, activities, homes … in normal, natural ways of friendshipping.

  • The service that is being provided the community by a community of Saints.

  • The Relief Society of this stake is remarkable in which women see the needs, get on their knees, and then go to the rescue!

  • The gospel conversations with friends … that are happening.

  • Families are praying together.

  • More skillful peacemakers … ending a conflict. Despite so many differences.

  • More seeking personal revelation in our lives.


This is Zion!


President Nelson has said:

“In coming days, we will see the greatest manifestations of the Savior's power that the world has ever seen. Between now and the time he returns 'with power and great glory,' he will bestow countless privileges, blessings and miracles upon the faithful.” (Russel M. Nelson)


President Nelson has also said:

“We live in the day that ‘our forefathers have awaited with anxious expectation.’ [Doctrine and Covenants 121:27.] We have front-row seats to witness live what the prophet Nephi saw only in vision, that ‘the power of the Lamb of God’ would descend ‘upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.’ [1 Nephi 14:14.]

“You, my brothers and sisters, are among those men, women, and children whom Nephi saw.”5

“Of all the people who have ever lived on planet earth, we are the ones who get to participate in this final, great gathering event.”6


Elder Holland once said:

"Something is going to be asked of this dispensation that's never been asked before. Those of this dispensation must be ready to present the Church of the Lamb, to the Lamb, and when that happens, we must be looking and acting like His Church."


My message of hope is that Zion is being is established!


Elder Eyring once said that a great day of unity coming” and all the prophets before him have prophesied of this day. Kingdom of God goes forth … and the Kingdom of Heaven to come. - D&C 65 - Zion is being established!


We are becoming Zion!


The Lord called is his people Zion.


Pearl of Great Price

​In Moses we read, “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” (Moses 7:18).


New Testament - Early Christianity

In New Testament times, the order of consecration was established among the members after the ascension of the Savior. They were “of one heart and of one soul,” and “they had all things common” (Acts 4:32).


Book of Mormon

In the Book of Mormon we read of the marvelous experiences the Nephites had during the two-hundred-year period following the Savior’s visit to this continent:


And it came to pass in the thirty and sixth year, the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another.


And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift. . . .. [4 Nephi 2–3, 15–16]


The Law of Consecration is essential to a Zion People:

Last Dispensation … Still today, the law of consecration is essential to creating a Zion people.

  • It is the last covenant we make in the temple. Until we abide by the laws of obedience, sacrifice, the gospel, and chastity, we cannot abide the law of consecration, which is the law pertaining to the celestial kingdom. To live a celestial glory, you must live a celestial life.

We should not believe that this is simply a law that we will live someday in the future.. It is a fallacy to think this covenant is merely a future covenant. We do not covenant to one day give it all. We covenant to consecrate it all now.

  • We can mistakenly believe that the law of consecration has to do with possessions only but it has to do with our time, talents, energies, … it is a divine principle whereby men and women voluntarily dedicate their time, talents, energies, and material wealth to the establishment and building up of God’s kingdom. We give it all! In this way our lives are made sacred by the sacrifice.

  • The basic principle of the law of Consecration is that everything we have belongs to the Lord, and we are His Stewards. God’s ownership and Our Stewardship is the foundation of the Law of Consecration.


  • D&C 104:

    • 13 For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures.

    • 14 I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine.

    • 15 And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine.


  • God’s Ownership: we covenant to give it all for the Establishment of Zion.

    • Bishop Victor L. Brown, former Presiding Bishop of the Church, said that until we “feel in total harmony” with the principle that everything we have belongs to the Lord, “it will be difficult, if not impossible, for us to accept the law of consecration.”

    • Too often the rich (in money or time or talents) feel like they have earned it, thru their own strength and wisdom they have improved their situation. Such reliance upon the arm of the flesh will be an impediment to living the law of consecration.

      • Alma and Trish Mattson’s property in Murrietta is a constant example of consecrated life of devoted disciples. Time, talent, energies, and property. They would often say: “It’s not ours, Damon.”

    • Too often the poor or the young (who lack the time, money, or some of talents or experience) will say if they were rich, had more time, more money, more experience, it would be easier to consecrate their lives. But if you don’t consecrate when you are young, poor, and inexperienced, time has shown, you won’t consecrate your life later.

    • Those of us in the middle will justify our meager consecration by only giving part, holding back part of the price.

      • In this way, they are like the New Testament Saints, Ananias and Sapphira, who conspired to not give it all and foolishly think they can deceive the Lord into thinking they are consecrated Saints, when they are not.

      • Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve said: “We tend to think of consecration only in terms of property and money. But there are so many ways of keeping back part” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1992, 90; or Ensign, Nov. 1992, 66)

      • Those who hold back will say they will happily give of their surplus, whatever extra time, talents, and money they have after they have met their perceived needs and some of their wants … But that is not how the Law of Consecration works!

    • Instead, we bring our money, talents, time, energies, before the altar of the Lord. The Lord asks us to give it all, in faith, in sacrifice, and in a covenant that cannot be broken.

      • Neal A Maxwell: “Real Personal Sacrifice was never placing the animal on the altar, but placing the animal in us and letting it be consumed.”

      • “... But ultimate consecration is the yielding up of oneself to God.” - Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Consecrate thy Performance, April 2002 general conference


  • Our stewardship: Ironically, the Lord gives it all back to us … and to spare. His law of consecration is not some communistic or socialistic form of communal living. Never was. He desires all of us saints to be rich in time, talents, and tangible things. In earlier days, the Lord accomplished by requiring the Saints to consecrate their property, or make it sacred by using it to further the Lord’s work.

    • In acknowledgment that all their earthly goods really belonged to God, Latter-day Saints delivered over their property to the Lord through the bishop but retained stewardship for—and de facto ownership of—the land and goods they needed for themselves. Whatever they considered surplus they donated to the Church to alleviate poverty and build Zion.


  • In many cases, you received everything back that you had presented to the bishop, he gave right back to you in your stewardship, with a deed, in fee simple, unencumbered. I have often wondered why go thru that exercise of consecrating everything to the Lord and him giving it all right back to you as a stewardship?


  • To Consecrate means to make sacred. Consecration = to make sacred. To dedicate, to make holy. How does the Law of Consecration make us holy?

    • I have learned that the process of laying it down before the Lord and then receiving it back as a sacred stewardship has a sacntifying influence in our lives …it will make everything in our lives more holy..

    • When it is not mine, but is the Lord’s, I ask some different questions:

      • What should I do this Friday night? What would the Lord have me do with my wife, my children, my family … or others around me? How can I be a wise steward of that time he has given me?

      • I have been blessed with a new car, home, boat, toy, etc. How can best use it to build God’s kingdom?

      • I have been blessed with education, legal training, musical talent? What would the Lord have me do with training I have received?

      • I speak a foreign language … what would have me do with talent so it is not lost?

    • In this way, we start looking more like Zion because aEvery man seeking the interest of his bneighbor, and doing all things with an ceye single to the glory of God.” (D&C 82:19)

This process allows everything in my life to be holy … my car, my job, my toys, my vacations … none of it is really mine … it’s the Lords. What would he have me do with it?

  • Now, Becky would tell me that I sound like a “stick in the mud” and we both know that our answers to these questions may not change most of the decisions we make about our life, our time, talents, and tangible possessions. In the end, our consecration may still lead us to Disneyland, and the beach, and watching a football game. But it will be different, because it will be God’s time and my stewardship to make sure I use those things to build his kingdom and not distract from it. And along the way, God will make me an instrument in His hands … probably first in my own home!

    • The process of yielding our hearts, might, mind and strength to God, and recognizing Him as the source of all blessings will cause to be better stewards of the all that He has given us.


The Golden Years

[For more on this, please see Boyd K. Packer’s, The Golden Years]

Occasionally I have had a stalwart, faithful, and legacy member who has served faithfully in the church for decades and is now in their golden years, say something like well, “I guess I am all washed up” “I’ve been put out to pasture” “I no longer needed in the kingdom” … While that may feel true, it could not be farther from the truth! Sure HP quorum in the ward has been dissolved and YM/YW leadership trend younger, the truth is you are needed NOW more than ever!


You don’t need a calling to live a consecrated life - do you have a personal ministry?

When I was bishop, I was so impressed at tithing declaration with how many members would say to me, “Bishop, it is Christmas, who can we help?” I was overwhelmed by their consecration and their willingness to do more than what was asked. It often brought me to tears … But I also felt overwhelmed by the numbers that could be helped. I wasn’t even sure where to start and how to manage these selfless requests.

If I could have another chance, I would invite these faithful consecrated saints to follow the Savior’s example in 3 Nephi 17, and “look around about”, “perceive”, “have compassion” and then go about ministering to those they see (without having to be assigned!):


  • Is there a younger family that can be adopted into your life, your home, your neighborhood?

  • A young mom that needs training?

  • Is there a young man that needs guiding?

  • Is there an overwhelmed father that needs supporting?.

  • Is there a new bishop that needs to mentoring?

  • Is there a young woman that needs adopting?

  • Is there a neighbor that lives alone?

  • There are a missions to serve.

  • Temple assignments to fulfill.

  • Neighbors to be loved.

  • A community that needs your influence!

Do you have a personal ministry? A ministry that no one assigned them to you? … but someone that is on your own personal private mental list because God put them in your path! Does your list include Wilton, or Gloria, Genevieve, or Jim? Does it include a sibling, a parent, co-worker, or a neighbor?

Whoever is on that list … that is your stewardship! And that is part of living a fully consecrated life!

President Nelson has repeated: “Anytime you do anything that helps anyone—on either side of the veil—take a step toward making covenants with God and receiving their essential baptismal and temple ordinances, you are helping to gather Israel.”


Conclusion

Do not wait for some folkloric announcement to move to Missouri and sell all your properties to live the law of consecration and establish Zion. The Lord is calling on you to give it all now! It’s not yours anyway. Receiving it back as a stewardship will sanctify everything in your life! …If we are going to be the instrument in bring about Zion, we must become holy, everything in our life must become sanctified, made holy by living consecrated lives now!


There is a great day of unity coming. The Savior will return in great glory upon the earth where the kingdom of heaven will join with the kingdom of God on the earth (D&C 65). When that day comes we better be looking and acting like Zion.

At that time, may the Church of the Lamb be ready to meet the Lamb … because we have been made holy, like him, thru our consecration.


This will be Zion!


In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.



____



Other Thoughts:


When the prophet Gad commanded David to build an altar and offer sacrifice on property owned by a certain man, that man offered to provide the land, the oxen, and all things for the sacrifice, without cost. But David said, “Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing.” (2 Sam. 24:24.)

When it costs us but little to give, the treasure laid up in heaven is a small one.


The widow’s mite, given in sacrifice, weighs more heavily in the eternal scales than the bulging granaries of the rich man.


There came to Jesus, on a certain occasion, a rich young man who asked: “What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Our Lord’s answer was the obvious one, the one given by all the prophets of all the ages. It was: “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” The next question was: “Which commandments?” Jesus listed them: “Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”


Then came this response and query—for the young man was a good man, a faithful man, one who sought righteousness: “All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?” We might well ask, “Isn’t it enough to keep the commandments? What more is expected of us than to be true and faithful to every trust? Is there more than the law of obedience?”


In the case of our rich young friend there was more. He was expected to live the law of consecration, to sacrifice his earthly possessions, for the answer of Jesus was: “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”


As you know, the young man went away sorrowful, “for he had great possessions.” (Matt. 19:16–22.) And we are left to wonder what intimacies he might have shared with the Son of God, what fellowship he might have enjoyed with the apostles, what revelations and visions he might have received, if he had been able to live the law of a celestial kingdom. As it is he remains nameless; as it might have been, his name could have been had in honorable remembrance among the saints forever.


---

Talk given at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

8702 Atlanta Ave, Huntington Beach, CA 92646

Given on 9/10/2023


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