War is one of the most horrible things I can imagine. I am amazed that so many people have to deal with war and all of its effects. What hatred! What violence! What fear! What greed, to kill to have control — or what fear, to have to kill to maintain control — or whatever. I am immensely glad that so many families have fled even thought it is so disorienting and sad for them. I am glad to know they have gotten out. I guess it’s because I hope that if I were them, I could get out too.
But when I think of so much war I often think of D&C 45’s description of Zion. It is not just a place full of good people, it’s a place where there is no war. And the people there — somehow — are feared so that no one comes to war against it. I know that in the Book of Mormon and Bible there are times when God asks His people to defend themselves. But I long for and love the idea of a city where war isn’t necessary.
Here are the words from D&C 45:
63 Ye hear of wars in foreign lands; but, behold, I say unto you, they are nigh, even at your doors, and not many years hence ye shall hear of wars in your own lands.
64 Wherefore I, the Lord, have said, gather ye out from the eastern lands, assemble ye yourselves together ye elders of my church; go ye forth into the western countries, call upon the inhabitants to repent, and inasmuch as they do repent, build up churches unto me.
65 And with one heart and with one mind, gather up your riches that ye may purchase an inheritance which shall hereafter be appointed unto you.
66 And it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land ofpeace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the Most High God;
67 And the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion.
68 And it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety.
69 And there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven; and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another.
70 And it shall be said among the wicked: Let us not go up to battle against Zion, for the inhabitants of Zion areterrible; wherefore we cannot stand.
71 And it shall come to pass that the righteous shall be gathered out from among all nations, and shall come to Zion, singing with songs of everlasting joy.
Enoch’s Zion city was not only a place of the pure in heart, it was also a similarly war-less city:
10 And the Lord said unto me: Go to this people, and say unto them—Repent, lest I come out and smite them with a curse, and they die.
11 And he gave unto me a commandment that I should baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, which is full of grace and truth, and of the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and the Son.
12 And it came to pass that Enoch continued to call upon all the people, save it were the people of Canaan, to repent;
13 And so great was the faith of Enoch that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch, and so great was the power of the language which God had given him.
14 There also came up a land out of the depth of the sea, and so great was the fear of the enemies of the people of God, that they fled and stood afar off and went upon the land which came up out of the depth of the sea.
15 And the giants of the land, also, stood afar off; and there went forth a curse upon all people that fought against God;
16 And from that time forth there were wars and bloodshed among them; but the Lord came and dwelt with his people, and they dwelt in righteousness.
17 The fear of the Lord was upon all nations, so great was the glory of the Lord, which was upon his people. And the Lord blessed the land, and they were blessed upon the mountains, and upon the high places, and did flourish.
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.
19 And Enoch continued his preaching in righteousness unto the people of God. And it came to pass in his days, that he built a city that was called the City of Holiness, even Zion.
In the “last days” we know the world will see lots of war and physical natural disasters. In the Book of Mormon’s time right before Christ came to see them, that was the case too, but there was no city of refugee. No Zion. (Zion came later — after destruction.) But in Enoch’s time, and as D&C 45 projects the “last days,” the major destruction will occur around and outside of a city of safety and peace. There will come a day when anyone who doesn’t care to fight for their stuff and their rights will have to flee to Zion. There will come a day when the rest of the world will persist in war but Zion will be immune. In Enoch’s day, his city was on the earth for a few hundred years and then taken into heaven. At that point he had gathered out all the righteous in his land, so everyone who was left, except one family, was wicked. Noah was the descendant of Enoch, and his parents and grandparents were not taken up to heaven in Enoch’s city. By the time Noah is building a boat and preaching, there is no one righteous left. Thus, God had command Noah to build a boat, and flood the rest of the land and start over. When we hear about the earth being cleansed by fire at the end of the world, I think the process must be similar. There will be a long, final gathering into a Zion, the rest of the world will fight and fight and fight, and when it is clear that we have gathered all who want to be gathered, then God could allow the earth to be “renewed and receive its paradisaical glory.” And even those not in the city, even those destroyed, even those who chose not to join Zion, even those would only be across the veil, in the world of spirits, being taught to repent and enter into God’s rest there. What an interesting work this is…