Creating Zion requires 2 things:
1) A Vision of what it is like
2) Faith we can achieve it.
We all have the vision of the society we want to live in and this society is one that, I believe, is similar to the type of society we see in the Book of Mormon after Jesus visitied the Nephites…a society where there was harmony, Christ-like love, and peace amongst its citizens.
We have many people in and outside the church who have great ideas of attaining this “Zion society”. We just need to prepare ourselves to be ready to live in it.
So we have the vision…..Now we need the faith….Here are two quotes from Reinhold Neibuhr
The naive faith of the proletarian[working class] is the faith of the man of action. Rationality belongs to the cool observers. There is of course an element of illusion in the faith of the proletarian, as there is in all faith. But it is a necessary illusion, without which some truth is obscured. The inertia of society is so stubborn that no one will move against it, if he cannot believe that it can be more easily overcome than is acutally the case. And no one will suffer the perils and pains involved in the process of radical social change, if he cannot believe in the possibility of a purer and fairer society than will ever be established.
God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
As much as I appreciate Neibuhr, I find the first quote by Neibuhr to be somewhat defeatist. AND…I find it somewhat sanctimonious to say that having faith in grass roots societal change that produces something more equitable and pure as irrational. With Neibuhr being O’bama’s favourite theologian, it gives us incite into Obama’s own posturing about “wanting change” whilst accepting funding from the very same power structures that benefit from the current disparity in wealth and society. Now, dont get me wrong…If I was American I would be inclined to vote for Nader or Obama. I think Neibuhr’s prayer of serenity is brilliant…but we should not not use it as an excuse for not standing a little taller then we are now and changing our lifestyles to be more sustainable, more caring, more loving, and closer to the nature of those who saw Christ come and chose to live with love in their hearts for their fellowmen.
The greatest people are those who stood for peace, love and eternal truth in the face of MASSIVE opposition and even death. Ghandi is one of these too me. Another is Bishop Juan Gerardi, Ex-Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro, Jane Manning, Omar Torrijos, Joseph Smith, Smedley Butler, William Wilberforce, Martin Luther King Jr. etc. Their flames may have died out but their fire still burns.
Thomas S. Monson has said:
We tend to become like those whom we admire.
Oh how similar Christian “Realism” and “Real Politik” appear to me at times…and lets not forget Real Politik was invented by man who is responsible for the death of thousands upon thousands of innocent Cambodians…Henry Kissinger.
As Mormons we NEED more realism…learn how the world works and I think you will find that our current state is indeed just as terrorizing and oppresive to our fellowmen as men sitting in caves that have bombs strapped to them. It is this increased realism which will, contrary to Neibuhr’s statement, increase our already high ideals and optimism. Lets all stand a little taller….lets get more conscious and love our brothers and sisters whatever country, race and religion or background they come from. Lets love them enough to EXERCISE our faith and bring about a revolution of love and be patriots of spirituality.
Be the change that you want to see in the world.(Ghandi)