First of all, I want to apologize to those who have been faithfully reading the Book of Mormon and following my blog posts for leaving you without any new content the past three weeks. I have always felt that I had a commitment to fulfill with you by inviting you to participate in this challenge. I want you to know that I have not been lazy or forgotten about you. My grandmother died at the beginning of the month and my family and I went to help my grandfather through this difficult time. My grandparents have been married for 61 years, so you can imagine the magnitude of the loss for my grandfather. She was an AMAZING grandmother, and we will all miss her very much. Many of you know what this kind of thing is like, but it was my first experience losing someone close to me. I think my time with my grandfather helped me just as much, if not more, than it did for him. I will now have to play “catch up” on my posts. I plan to finish reading the Book of Mormon tomorrow or the day after. I will try and begin posting again by starting where the pacing guide shows we should be today. Once we have finished on June 30, I will return to Helaman and fill in the posts that I have missed (Helaman-Ether). Most people probably think that I whip these posts out pretty quickly and easily, but such is not the case. I am not a quick blogger. I usually spend 2-3 hours on a post (not including reading time, AND I am doing a different Summer Reading Challenge for those who did not get to do this challenge: http://bookofmormonsummer.wordpress.com/). My wife has been very patient through the process, and I thank her for her support and sacrifice. Now… on with the blogging!
There is a LOT of bad stuff that happens in Ether 13-15, and most of it is not very fun to read about. What I would like to focus on in these chapters though IS fun to read about–NEW JERUSALEM (Ether 13:1-12). I love to learn and teach about New Jerusalem! The Guide to the Scriptures, one of the study helps of the LDS scriptures, teaches the following about New Jerusalem:
The place where the Saints will gather and Christ will personally reign with them during the Millennium. Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent, and the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory (A of F 1:10). It also refers to a holy city that will come down out of heaven at the beginning of the Millennium.
New Jerusalem is mentioned in each of the books of scripture used by the Latter-day Saints–Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. In order to get a good understanding of New Jerusalem it is important to see what each book teaches about this holy city.
- The law shall go forth out of Zion: Micah 4:2;
- The name of the city of my God is New Jerusalem: Rev. 3:12;
- John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem: Rev. 21:1–5;
- This people will I establish in this land, and it shall be a New Jerusalem: 3 Ne. 20:22;
- A New Jerusalem will be built in America: Ether 13:3–6, 10;
- The city of the New Jerusalem shall be prepared: D&C 42:9, 35, 62–69;
- Saints are to gather and build the New Jerusalem: D&C 45:63–75;
- The New Jerusalem is to be built in Missouri: D&C 84:1–5; ( D&C 57:1–3; )
- The Lamb shall stand upon Mount Zion and upon the holy city, the New Jerusalem: D&C 133:56;
- My tabernacle shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem: Moses 7:62;
Where I find real relevance and immediate personal application for New Jerusalem–the City of Zion–is in the plat that was created by Joseph Smith for the organization of the holy city (History of the Church, Vol. 1 Chapter 26 [June 1833- July 1833]). This plat became the model for the early Saints as they built their settlements. At the center of New Jerusalem there are several temples. Everything in the city is built around and focused on the temple.The temple is a symbol of the Savior.
I live in Salt Lake County. Salt Lake was surveyed and laid out according to this patter. The base and meridian points are found at Temple Square. When I give people my home address I am actually telling them how far my home is from the Salt Lake City Temple. For those who are not familiar with Salt Lake City, I will use the words of a visiting tourist who posted the following on his website:
When the Mormon pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley after their epic journey across the continent, and Brigham Young proclaimed that “Here we will build a temple to our God” in 1847, it was at this exact spot [Base & Meridian stone]. A stake was placed into the ground immediately and it became the anchor for the LDS headquarters and all of their activities thereafter.
The LDS Church and the State of Utah are inextricably intertwined so it is no surprise that it also took on a secular purpose. Streets within Salt Lake City and many of the surrounding towns take their numbering from this point. It uses an interesting X-Y coordinate naming convention. As an example, Rice-Eccles Stadium is on the campus of the University of Utah and is where the Utah Utes play football. The address is 451 South 1400 East, which looks odd to an outsider until one realizes is should be read in two distinct parts, 451 South AND 1400 East. This means, starting from the marker on Temple Square, one should travel four-and-a-half blocks south and then 14 blocks east. The system makes any location very easy to find once you understand it. (http://www.howderfamily.com/travel/utah/great-salt-lake-base-and-meridian.html)
This same method also allows me to find my way to the temple by simply reversing the cardinal directions of any address. If I am at Rice-Eccles Stadium, then I just need to travel four-and-a-half blocks North and then 14 blocks East.
Have you ever noticed what is on the cover of each of the booklets prepared for latter-day youth? The temple is on the cover of the For the Strength of Youth, Personal Progress, and Duty to God booklets. Once again, the temple is a symbol of the Savior.
The City of New Jerusalem “sets forth an orderly pattern intended as an earthly reflection of the ideal religious community” (Far West Plat Reflects Inspired City Plan) as well as a pattern for a Christ-centered life.
THE SAVIOR IS AT THE CENTER! Those who will build their lives around the temple will find that they have centered their lives on the Savior. They will be citizens of New Jerusalem before it is built and they will receive the wages of the “laborer in Zion“.
If what I have written has either confused your or left you wanting to learn more, then I would encourage you to review the following sites. They are some of my favorites (just a few of my favorites on this that have not been mentioned yet). Please feel free to leave a link to one of your favorites, or one that you feel is informative on this topic, in the comments section.
- The Temple Lot: Visions and Realities
- Google’s Current view of the Temple Lot (6/27/2013)
- The Joseph Smith Papers: Explanation of the Plat of the City of Zion Circa June 1833
- The Joseph Smith Papers: Plat of the City of Zion Circa August 1833
- The Joseph Smith Papers: Plan for Zion’s Central Squares Circa September 1833
- Salt Lake City: City Stake of Zion