Zion is built on Doctrine. You can take a modern ward and let them live the gospel as they understand it today for 100 years and you will not end up with Zion.
Zion descends from above. It requires changes in our understanding, and in our hearts that the disinterested approach that we are taking to the scriptures can never bring about.
You may disagree and say that we are very interested. But the proof of the pudding lies under the crust. You listen to people talk, you listen to them teach, you listen to the speak and you come away knowing that we do not have the love for the scriptures that is necessary to bring about Zion.
I am not talking about knowing technical, finicky details about the scriptures that are of no particular relevance to salvation. We don’t understand the big things. We don’t understand the atonement. We don’t understand the real meaning of grace. We don’t understand the priesthood. We don’t understand keys. We don’t understand the temple. We don’t love the scriptures. We say we do. But you listen to us talk. We aren’t excited about what they contain. We don’t quote them as being critical insights and direction about life.
When we want to offer a critical insight about life, we quote something that could be found on pinterest instead.
I think you could safely say that some of us love the living leaders of the church. It is darn few, but they are there. They adore general conference. They know what was taught. They listen in great detail.
And I am very glad to see that. I am very glad when I talk to someone and they know and think about and are trying to live by what was taught in general conference.
But the scriptures are the fountainhead. It is the scriptures that are the great issue in these verses.
D&C 84:54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—
55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.
56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—
58 That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.
59 For shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay.
We must dive into the scriptures. We must be striving to define our lives by the truths in the scriptures. We must weigh our traditions against them, instead of weighing the scriptures by our traditions.
And we must read them by the power of the Holy Ghost.
He will come as we live worthy of him. We must cast off, desparately cast off, everything that is offense to him. We must go to God and beg from him to have the knowledge of what we need to change to gain eternal life, and to hear him clearly in our lives. We should not only let the Holy Ghost be our guide, but let those things that most powerfully bring the Holy Ghost into our lives lay out the direction for what we must be doing. When we find that one spiritual pursuit brings us potently into the presence of the Holy Ghost, such as teaching the gospel, or taking a family name to the temple, then we should pursue that as a man who is a miser pursues riches and gold. He will change his plans, alter his daily business however he needs to increase the measure of his wealth. THAT is how we need to live, but we need to do it seeking the spirit rather than seeking for mammon.
Zion cannot be built by one man. Brigham Young pointed out that some of the church members of his day had the principles of Zion in themselves, individually. But we need to not be content if someone else knows the doctrine. We need to not be content if we feel the brethren know the doctrine, or have the spirit, or know their God.
Salvation is an individual quest. We can take counsel at the hands of those who know more, but ultimately the question is how well we, ourselves, have worked out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Ultimately it will be to individuals, not to groups, or wards, or stakes that the Savior will say either “Come ye blessed” or “Depart. Ye never knew me.”
We need, as a people, to fall in love with the scriptures, for Zion is built on doctrine in the souls of the people. Zion is built by a people who feast on the scriptures. Zion is built by a people who long to know their God, and rejoice to learn of him through his word.