Something there is that is so binding in meeting our precious Saints around the world. We loved taking you on an intimate visit to a ward in Ghana (click here) and also to Haiti right after the earthquake (click here). Now we take you to a beautiful congregation in the Philippines located not very far from the new Temple in Cebu City. I want to let the pictures speak for themselves, from a view of a very young bishop at the pulpit to the most precious children in primary to a young single adults class. I have added some text about Zion, both from the scriptures and from Dr. Hugh Nibley.Arriving at Church
And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself.(1)
Zion is the pure in heart. (2) My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion…(3)
In every dispensation, we are told, there has been a Zion on the earth; for of all in the time of Adam, when ‘the Holy One of Zion…established the foundations of Adam-ondi-Ahman. (4)
But in the last days…the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted about the hills; and people shall flow unto it…
And many nations shall come…for the Law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (5)But it’s in the last days that the fulfillment will really get underway with the restoration and the steps approaching the establishment of Zion.
In every age the saints are “they who come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly place, the holiest of all…(6)
The two words most commonly used to describe Zion are beauty and joy, and the same two words most often relate to heaven and paradise.
Beauty comes first, for beauty is whatever gives joy. (7)
Just as surely as Zion is to be established, Babylon is to be destroyed…Babylon is a state of mind, as Zion is, with the appropriate environment. (8)Attending Church in the Cebu City 5th Ward
Blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day. (9) If they are obedient, they shall have power after many days to accomplish all things pertaining to Zion. (10)
The Prophet Jeremiah describes Zion as a comely and delicate woman who cannot live in the presence of what is vile.(11)
When we conclude to make a Zion, said Brigham Young, we will make it, and this work commences in the heart of each person.
I have Zion in my view constantly, said Brother Brigham, making is clear that Zion for this earth is still an unrealized ideal of perfection. We are not going to wait for angels or for Enoch and his company to come and build up Zion, but we are going to build it. (1)
Go ye out from Babylon. Be ye clean…Go ye out from among the nations, even from Babylon, from the midst of wickedness, which is spiritual Babylon. (2)
I will that my saints should be assembled upon the land of Zion…and lift a warning voice…by word and by flight.(3)
I give not unto you that ye shall live after the manner of the world. (4)
In Zion, all are of one heart and one mind…and there are no poor among them. (5)
For if ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things. For if ye will that I give you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves. (6)
When all the accidentals and incidentals are stripped away, what remains that is quintessentially Zion? Buildings, walls, streets, and gates—even of gold and jasper—do not make Zion; neither do throngs of shining robes…
What makes Zion? God has given us the perfect definition: Zion is the pure in heart—the pure in heart, not merely the pure in appearance…Young Single Adults and the Primary
It is not a society of religion of forms and observances, of pious gestures and precious mannerisms: it is strictly a condition of the heart.(7)
Above all, Zion is pure, which means not mixed with any impurities, unalloyed; it is all Zion and nothing else.
It is not achieved wherever a heart is pure or where two or three are pure, because it is all pure—it is a society, a community, and an environment into which no unclean thing can enter.(8)
But a moment’s reflection will show that Zion cannot possibly be other than wholly pure. For Zion is the eternal order; it has existed elsewhere from the eternities and will someday be permanently established on this earth.(9
If only to preserve its purity, Zion is set apart from all contaminating influences. For it must be holy enough to receive the Lord himself.(1)
For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest forever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.(2)
Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly. (3)
Zion must come to a place that is completely ready for it, which is to say, Zion must already be there.
When Zion descends to earth, it must be met by a Zion that is already here. (4)
Brigham Young taught: The elements are here to produce as good a Zion as was ever made in all the eternities of the Gods.(5)
The city of our God…Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion…Let Mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad…Walk about Zion and go around about her. (6)
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined. (7)
For Zion must increase in beauty, and in holiness…Zion must arise and put on her beautiful garments. (8)
And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day…and whoso shall publish peace…how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be. (9)
These are more than figures of speech. The order of Zion is such as will leave the earth as near its primordial, paradisiacal condition as possible. (10)
Is there not a small preview of Zion as we have visited the Saints who are members of the Cebu City 5th Ward in the Philippines?Notes1 Ibid.2 See Psalm 132: 13-14.3 D&C 87: 8.4 Approaching Zion, p. 29.5 Ibid.6 See Psalm 48: 1-2, 11-12.7 Psalm 50: 2.8 D&C 82: 14.9 1 Nephi 13: 37.10 Approaching Zion, pp. 7-8.