Our gospel doctrine subject for the year is Church History and the Doctrine and Covenants. Although little time is spent on the subject, there has been some discussion about the challenges the Saints faced as they attempted to "Build up Zion unto the Lord" and failed. Their failure has given furtile ground for too many to speculate and judge. Too many have judged our forebears harshly because of this failure. How do we measure as we're judged against the same standards?
Elder D. Todd Christofferson suggested, "Under the direction of the Prophet Joseph Smith, early members of the Church attempted to establish the center place of Zion in Missouri, but they did not qualify to build the holy city. . . .
"Zion is Zion because of the character, attributes, and faithfulness of her citizens. Remember, '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). If we would establish Zion in our homes, branches, wards, and stakes, we must rise to this standard. It will be necessary (1) to become unified in one heart and one mind; (2) to become, individually and collectively, a holy people; and (3) to care for the poor and needy with such effectiveness that we eliminate poverty among us. We cannot wait until Zion comes for these things to happen—Zion will come only as they happen."
If we are to succeed where others have failed, it is by establishing Zion in our homes first. Our families must become unified in one heart and mind. How can we look beyond the first building block of zion before it has been perfected?