As a backdrop, we are living in unique times and the challenges our generation faces are not a few:

At church, in the community, when I talk to siblings, everywhere I go, the conversation tends to be skittish and fearful.  The study of the scriptures and Elder Christofferson’s recent address about Zion, has brought new insight into how Zion will protect us during difficult times as those we do and will face.

Elder Christofferson points out:

 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.

Zion means being united because we choose to be, being holy and taking care of the poor.

His example of unity and the companion scripture from Isaiah is what lead me to my thoughts:

 At the end of July this year, young single adults from several countries in eastern Europe gathered outside Budapest, Hungary, for a conference. Among this group were 20 young men and women from Moldova who had spent days obtaining passports and visas and over 30 hours traveling by bus to get there. The conference program included some 15 workshops. Each person needed to select the two or three that he or she most wanted to attend. Rather than focus exclusively on their own interests, these Moldovan young adults got together and made plans so that at least one of their group would be in each class and take copious notes. Then they would share what they had learned with each other and later with the young adults in Moldova who could not attend. In its simplest form, this exemplifies the unity and love for one another that, multiplied thousands of times in different ways, will “bring again Zion” (Isaiah 52:8).

Awesome – in every sense of the word. This is not an assignment, this is a group of young people who understand that the principles of Zion are the best way for each of them.I followed the scripture in Isaiah and, with tears streaming down my face, I found myself reading 5 chapters rather than that just 52:8 (the chapters were Isaiah 52-56). Do the principles of Zion lead to:

Are not these the answers to the problems of our times? Do these words of Isaiah have the power to change the outcome of my life?

One morning in late September I woke to start a new day and – after having about everything that could possibly go wrong in that month go wrong – I stood on the cold wood floor of our home thinking about the news, the prophecies and the financial debacle. All the random details seemed to sink in and a deep realization hit me that we are probably headed for something on the scale of the Great Depression.

Surprisingly, deep inside my soul, the realization had the exact opposite impact on me as I expected – instead of despair, I felt hope. Instead of fear, I felt faith. Instead of confusion, peace. It was almost as if I heard inside of me, “this is your time. This is your lot. Lift!”

Then I thought to myself, with a smile as it were, “It’s time to get to work!” I felt happy.

I haven’t written about this for so long because I’ve been hard at work. In the midst of so many things going wrong at the time, I have since asked myself, “why this unexpected reaction? Where did that come from?”

I really don’t know for sure, but it’s real. I feel grattitude that I have the chance to help my family and my friends through such a time. I feel so optimistic about the future.

If I were to put my finger on it, I would pin the reaction to something to do with Zion in her infancy and with the peace of her children.

I would credit my Father and Mother’s struggle to stay together during difficult times. A 3am college application with Mom. My in-laws resilience. My Grandpa Harmon’s tireless work on homes. My Grandparents financial assistance. Aunt Lillian’s car. Theron’s Rupert home. Michelle’s phone calls. Tod’s lumber. Ty’s tomatoes and canner. Daniel’s vegetables and cash.  Jeffrey’s call to help a brother with work. Dallin and Troy and Toby’s service. Jenny’s notes. Truman’s, Jordan’s, Kaylisha’s, etc. unpaid babysitting and cleaning. Family.

One half a table. Children waiting for remaining food after the missionaries were fed. A fridge from an unknown sender. An officer rolling up his sleeves to change a tire. Huge smiles on Christmas mornings filled with gifts from thoughtful others. Farmers digging beets together. Snow shovels. Empty garbage cans. Warm homes/beds. Grateful satisfied stomachs. Community.

The Lord’s words through Isaiah do have the power to pull us through these times. Zion is the answer. These words are for me. They are for you. They are for those who haven’t heard them. Let’s share them.

“Come to Zion.”

You must watch this before heading for your gifts this year! 

John recommended Atlas Shrugged to me last week and I bought the Audible version to listen to while I work. While I found the writing superb and the story-line thought-provoking, I quit listening to it 6 hours into the 50+ hours program. I felt like I knew where the book was headed and, as a novel, was more about entertainment than communicating me the ideas succinctly. I don’t have time for it right now. I am focusing on content that is helping me as an entrepreneur right now and decided against this one. Maybe down the road.

I started using the Jing Project for screen captures and voice over and I’m very pleased with it. The sharing integration is fantastic, simple, and easy-to-use.