Friday, July 15, 2011

FHE: Building Zion

The wockenflock in September, 2004, 6 months before my husband died

The word "Atonement" was introduced into the English language in 1526 by William Tyndale as he translated the Greek New Testament into English. He created the word At-one-ment to translate the Greek word for "reconciliation," or, "to come back into a relationship after a period of estrangement."

What does it mean to be "at one?" Consider these circumstances of people who sought it diligently.

  • We can find one example in the Intercessory prayer offered by the Savior found in John 17: 20-23: "...that they may be one, as we are one in purpose."
  •  "And they had all things in common among them...but they were all made free, and partakers of the *heavenly gift." (4 Nephi 1:3) *( also see "God, gifts of.")
  • "And there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.....[no]-ites; but they were in one." ( 4 Nephi 1:15-17)
  • "The fear (reverence) of the Lord was upon all nations, so great was the glory of the Lord...and the Lord called His people Zion, because they were of one heart and of one mind....." (Moses 7:17)
Zion being the city that was so righteous it was taken up unto the Lord, ask your family members to consider:

  • what it might take to be of one heart and of one mind within the family, within society.
  • what they can do as individuals to be one.
  • what might be done as a family to be of "one heart and of one mind."
How to build a Zion Society (according to an over-30 Institute class I was in), being At-one:

  1. Be aware of our reactions-- We will be judged according to how we react, and respond, to the actions of others, what they do to us, or what we see them do to others (for good or for bad). The great instructions can be found in the scriptures during the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:33-48) It is written that if we love only those who love us, what reward have we? The Romans had the power, by law, to compel a Jew to carry something of theirs for a mile, but no further than a mile. The Jew was required, by law, to comply. Naturally it was a sore point with the people. Jesus taught the people to go with a Roman "twain," or two miles. Ask your family members to consider, truly, the teachings of Jesus here and how abiding by them would help build a Zion society and family.
  2. Be willing to suffer wrong-- throughout the scriptures the Savior was the example of suffering wrongs. (search out and select what scriptures would work for your family here) He was wrongly accused; He was wrongly arrested; He was wrongly punished and wrongly executed. He was mocked by those whom He was sent to teach and be a Savior for. Joseph Fielding Smith also taught, "It is better to suffer wrong than to do wrong." Forgive. Consider the people of Ammon, who preferred to bury their swords and be killed, rather than stain their own swords ever again with the blood of their brothers. (Alma 24-25) Discuss this topic, suffering wrong, within your family, how it might feel to just suffer being wronged.
  3. Refuse to take offense --"Cease to contend one with another, cease to speak evil of one another. Let thy words tend to edifying one another" (D&C 136:23-24). Ask your family what this scripture means and how these teachings can apply to your daily family life.
  4. Use humor to change the mood of a conflict-- ask your family to role play any conflict you can dream up and how to deal with it gracefully but it must be done without mocking.
  5. Use unconditional love--detach yourself from negative emtions. People are responsible for their own actions. In Helamen 14:30-31 we learn, "Whoso perisheth, perisheth unto himself; and whosoever doeth iniquity, doeth it unto can do good and be restored unto that which is good, or ye can do evil and have that which is evil restored unto you." We do not have to identify with, respond or act accordingly when people behave badly in our company. President Spencer W. Kimball taught to be understanding when others make mistakes. "We can show forth our love for others even w hen we are called upon to corret them. We need to be able to look deeply enough intothe lives of others to see the basic causes for their failures and shortcomings. Jesus saw sin as wrong, but also was able to see sin as springing from deep and unmet needs ont eh part of the sinner. This permitted Him to condemn the sin withouth condemning the individual." (Ensign, Aug 1979, 5) How might this knowledge change how we respond to people of the world and within our families?
  6. Use friendly persuasion--not control or manipulation. Our great lesson on proper dominion is found in D&C 121: 35-46. I use vs. 41-42 specifically here. "No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness, and pure knowledge; which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocricy, and without guile." (hypocricy meaning acting, pretending) Discuss what these passages mean and how they affect behavior, building a Zion society and family.
  7. Obedience -- Consider the Charity verses, what each verse means, really and discuss them with your family. Read them slowly, verse by verse. How might they be applied to their lives as individuals, as a family and within society? ~ Charity suffereth long ~ and is kind.~charity enviety not~charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up~ doth not behave itself unseemly or indecently, unbecomingly~ seeketh not her own, but allows other to grow~is not easily provoked~thinketh no evil or does not assume the worst of people~ rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth~ beareth all things~ believeth all things~hopeth all things~endureth all things.
  8. "God never bestows upon his people, or upon an individual, superior blessings without a severe trial to prove them" --Brigham Young
Ask your family members what they would like to work on, personally, to build Zion. Write down each response and each week, during FHE, have a time to report on what each person did to build Zion. You may want to decorate a "Zion Box" to store the responses, or what other idea comes to your mind that would work for your family.

Close with "As I Have Loved You" and a favorite dessert--something wonderful that certainly would be served in Zion.

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