Because "when wars come we shall have to flee to Zion. The cry is to make haste. The last revelation says ye shall not have time to have gone over the Earth until these things come."
(You can see the original version of these statements here: http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/discourse-between-circa-26-june-and-circa-4-august-1839-a-as-reported-by-willard-richards/8.)
This concept of Zion as a refuge is both metaphorical and literal. Zion is the ideal society of peace, equality, equity, and happiness that most people aspire to. They just don't know where to find Zion or how to become part of it.
Too often, the LDS missionary program is perceived of--by leaders, missionaries and investigators--as trying to get people to join our church instead of another, or to adopt our religion instead of another. I call this "shopping cart" missionary work because it tends to focus on features instead of outcomes. We're not just trying to get others to "switch."
Instead, we're inviting them to join with us to establish Zion.
Same with the mission of perfecting the Saints. Too often, members think they need to complete a checklist to be "worthy." That leads to all kinds of stress and a judgmental attitude. That's not the point of perfecting the saints. We strive to perfect the saints so we can establish Zion. Instead of looking inward and "working on" weaknesses, we look upward and forward as we are drawn to the united goal of establishing Zion. We become of one heart as we work together on this ultimate goal.
I'll discuss this much more in future posts.
As I'll show in this blog, the four missions of the Church are process oriented. They describe what we do, but not what our ultimate goal is.
If our "greatest object" ought to be "the building up of Zion," then how do we accomplish that when we don't have that uppermost in our minds?
The purpose of this blog is to discuss the building of up Zion from multiple perspectives. I hope people will find useful ideas and inspiration here as we work together to fulfill Joseph's ideals.