Question: Is "Zion" associated geographically with only one specific location in the New World: the "New Jerusalem" that is to be built in Missouri?

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Question: Is "Zion" associated geographically with only one specific location in the New World: the "New Jerusalem" that is to be built in Missouri?

Church leaders and scripture have repeatedly taught that Zion applies to the entire North and South American areas

Church leaders and scripture have repeatedly taught that Zion, as understood by the Latter-day Saints, applies to the entire North and South American areas.

Any attempt to equate Zion exclusively with the location of the New Jerusalem contradicts the words of Joseph Smith

Any attempt to equate Zion exclusively with the location of the New Jerusalem contradicts the words of Joseph Smith:

"speaking of the Land of Zion, It consists of all N[orth] & S[outh] America but that any place where the Saints gather is Zion which every righteous man will build up for a place of safety for his children…The redemption of Zion is the redemption of all N[orth] & S[outh] America."[1]

What does the Bible Dictionary say about Zion?

The Bible Dictionary has the following definitions for "Zion:"

  • The pure in heart (DC 97:21). Zion also means a place where the pure in heart live.
  • The city built by Enoch and his people that was eventually taken to heaven because of righteousness was named Zion (DC 38:4; Moses 7:18-21,Moses 7:69).
  • In the latter-days a city named Zion will be built near Jackson County, Missouri (United States of America), to which the tribes of Israel will gather (DC 103:11-22; DC 133:18).
  • The Saints are counseled to build up Zion wherever they are living in the world.
  • The city of David was called Zion, 1 Kings 8:1.
  • The New Jerusalem shall be called Zion, DC 45:66-67.
  • Independence, Missouri, is the place for the city of Zion, DC 57:1-3.
  • The Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, Moses 7:18-19.
  • Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent, A+of+F 1:10.

Other Church leaders have also stated what "Zion" means

Brigham Young

And what is Zion? In one sense Zion is the pure in heart. But is there a land that ever will be called Zion? Yes, brethren. What land is it? It is the land that the Lord gave to Jacob, who bequeathed it to his son Joseph and his posterity, and they inhabit it, and that land is North and South America. That is Zion as to land, as to territory, and location. The children of Zion have not yet much in their possession, but their territory is North and South America to begin with.[2]

You need not teach that this place is Zion, or that Nauvoo or Missouri is Zion; but tell the people that North and South America are the land of Zion…[3]

John Taylor

And it is not enough for us to embrace the gospel and to be gathered here to the land of Zion. [Pres. Taylor was speaking in Salt Lake City.][4]

Wilford Woodruff

This land, North and South America, is the land of Zion; it is a choice land-the land that was given by promise from old father Jacob to his grandson and his descendants, the land on which the Zion of God should be established in the latter days.[5]

Ezra Taft Benson

"This is our need today—to plant the standard of liberty among our people throughout the Americas… the struggle for liberty is a continuing one—it is with us in a very real sense today right here on this choice land of the Americas."<refEzra Taft Benson, Conference Report (October 1962), 14–15.</ref>

Bruce R. McConkie

"The Americas are the land of Joseph—the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, the land of the Nephites, the land of the Ephraimites who are gathering in the latter days." (italics added)[6]


To see citations to the critical sources for these claims, click here

Notes

  1. Martha Jane Knowlton Coray, [edited by Dean C. Jessee], "Joseph Smith's July 19, 1840 Discourse," Brigham Young University Studies 19 no. 3 (Spring 1979), 392.
  2. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 2:258.
  3. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 8:72.
  4. John Taylor, The Gospel Kingdom: Selections from the Writings and Discourses of John Taylor, Third President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, ed. G. Homer Durham, Teachings of the Latter-Day Prophets (Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1998), 89–90 (in Assembly Hall, 12 February 1882); italics added..
  5. Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses 15:279.
  6. Bruce R. McConkie, The Mortal Messiah, 4 vols., (Salt Lake City, Deseret Book, 1980–1986), 311.


Further reading and additional sources responding to these claims


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