There is some confusion in the LDS Church on the meaning of physical
It appears the location keeps on changing.
I was able to obtain a copy of the 1938 version of Teachings of
the Prophet Joseph Smith (from confettibooks.com in Utah)
compare it with the current 2008 version that is online at the
In regards to the physical Zion, Joseph Smith said, "The whole of
America is Zion itself from north to south, and is described
prophets, who declare that it is the Zion where the mountain of the
Lord should be, and that it should be in the
center of the land.
When elders shall take up and examine the old prophecies in the Bible,
they will see it" (Teachings of
the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 362;
History of the Church, 6:318-19; Burton: Discourses of the Prophet
See also http://gospelink.com/next/doc?book_doc_id=203549
Joseph Smith's teaching in the 1938 book about all of America being
Zion has been omitted from the 2008 version.
The 1938 book also speaks about gathering to the physical land of
Zion. This gathering to the physical Zion apparently
Former LDS President Hinckley said, "What a marvelous thing it
is, my brethren and sisters, to have such a great legacy.
Now those days
are past. There is no more serious persecution; there is no more
gathering to Zion" (Ensign, August
1997, News of the Church, online,
President Hinckley's gathering to a physical Zion appeared to be
the United States too because we have no writing
to gather to Brazil or Venezuela for that matter.
But in today's LDS Church, it seems like Brazil is Zion to the Brazilians,
Japan is Zion to the Japanese, France is Zion to
the French, etc.
People do not understand that the context of physical Zion for the
Old Testament prophets has always been the nation
of Israel, and not
some other country. The New Testament disciples did not alter these
We can learn much from the Biblical teachings (Psalm 48:1-2; 74:2;
78:68; 125:1; 135:21; Isa. 8:18; 18:7 as some
Zion deals with the nation of Israel. It is God's time piece or
focal point for lack of a better word.
One of the church's Articles of Faith says, "We believe ... that
Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American
In chapter 37 of Religion 430-431 - Doctrines of the Gospel Student
Manual, point D1 says, "When Joseph Smith
translated the Book of
Mormon, he learned that America is the land of Zion."
So, is all of America (North-Central-South) considered Zion or is
just the United States considered Zion? How about
Brazil, Japan, or France?
And where is Mount Zion? Where is the mountain of the Lord that
Joseph Smith wrote about?
Some Latter-day Saints believe Mount Zion is the Salt Lake Temple
Speaking from Temple Square, former LDS President Hinckley said the temple stands a few feet east of here, in fulfillment
of the words of Isaiah (Ensign, November 1989, An Ensign to the Nations).
ďAnd it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lordís house
shall be established in the top of the
mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto
it" (Ensign, November 1989, Ensign to
the Nations, online,
The is echoed again in an October 1975 speech given
by Elder LeGrant Richards, entitled "Prophets and Prophecy".
said, "And that brings us also to what Isaiah saw when he said, ďAnd it shall come to pass
in the last days, that the
mountain of the Lordís house shall be established in the top of the mountains, Ö and all nations shall flow unto it.
many people shall Ö say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob; and he
will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths.Ē (Isa. 2:2Ė3.)
This temple on this temple block is that house of the God of Jacob that our pioneer
fathers started to build when they were a
thousand miles from transportation, and it took them forty years to build it. Isnít it a glorious thing, one of the most
buildings in the world? (online,
Some Latter-day Saints could say, "The Lord's house in LDS
vernacular is the temple (whether one or many), several
of which are built upon the tops of mountains, but not all. Imagery wise it is clear and consistent. Starting in Kirkland
to the present day temples are being built every year all over the world."
These type of people seem to be going against the intended meaning of Isaiah. He
did not refer to houses of the
Lord or mountains of the Lord. Upon the tops of mountains, but not all? Again, this is not
Isaiah's meaning. If you
want to change house into houses, at least follow through and maintain the context of the passage ...
be established in the top of the mountains. There is no such thing as some temples will be in the mountains and other
temples will be on flat lands. A case of exegesis again.
We can also see this in Micah's version: "But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of
the Lord [singular] shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it [singular] shall be exalted above the hills;
and people shall flow unto it [singular]".
Why did former President Hinckley appropriate the identity of the mountain and the temple to Salt Lake City when
Utah is not implied in Isaiah's word to Judah and Jerusalem?
Isaiah 1:1 says "The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of
Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah".
Is Isaiah also talking about the inhabitants of that western part of the world (now called Salt Lake City) who lived in
the days of Judah's kings (in the east)?
When one reads the Old Testament, the prophets speak of the mountain of the Lord,
and the context is the land of
Israel. It is also referred to as Mount Zion, the holy mount, and the holy
mountain (Exo. 15:17; Isa. 25:6,10; 56:7,
57:13; 65:9; 65:11; 65:25; 66:20; Lament. 5:18; Eze. 20:40; 34:26; Dan. 9:16; 9:20).
By not getting the correct
context, Latter-day Saints have applied the wrong meaning.
On November 3, 1831, this is a written revelation through Joseph
Smith at Hiram, Ohio, where he said, "And the graves
of the saints
shall be opened; and they shall come forth and stand on the right
hand of the Lamb, when he shall stand
upon Mount Zion, and upon
the holy city, the New Jerusalem; and they shall sing the song of
the Lamb, day and night
forever and ever" (D&C 133:56).
In this case, the LDS Mount Zion does not appear to be the New
Jerusalem (if you render it the same way Latter-day
If you have a hard time understanding this, then just look at how
Latter-day Saints have understood Isaiah 2:1-3 to
mean Zion and
Jerusalem are two different places.
"The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
And it shall come to pass in the last days,
that the mountain of the
Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above
the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the
mountain of the
Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his
paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the
Lord from Jerusalem."
Latter-day Saints believe this "Zion"
refers to a future New Jerusalem on the American continent but this is
Isaiah wrote concerning Judah and Jerusalem, not
the United States. The passage has nothing to do with the
tribe of Ephraim or America. The law is symbolic of Judah (Gen. 49:10; Ps. 60:7).
A similar theme is repeated by another Biblical prophet:
"The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah
king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.
he said, The Lord will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the habitations of the shepherds
shall mourn, and the top of Carmel shall
wither" (Amos 1:1-2).
Amos wrote concerning Israel, not the United
The prophet Zechariah elucidates this further:
"Again the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying,
Thus saith the Lord of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with
great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury. Thus saith the
Lord; I am returned unto Zion, and will
dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the
Lord of hosts
the holy mountain" (Zech. 8:1-3).
Zion = Jerusalem = a city of truth = the mountain
of the Lord. This is not a reference to America.
One year later (after the November 1831 revelation supposedly given
to Smith), the LDS identity of Mount Zion and
changes yet again. On September 22 and 23, 1832, a revelation through
Joseph Smith at Kirtland,
Ohio, has him say, "Yea, the word of the
Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the
of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his
prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon
Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem" (D&C 84:2; History
of the Church 1:286–295).
Now, Mount Zion = the New Jerusalem = the city of Independence,
Missouri (D&C 57:1-3).
The Mormon version of New Jerusalem apparently has a temple.
The biblical New Jerusalem does not have a temple.
According to http://www.netstate.com/states/geography/mo_geography.htm,
the highest point in Missouri is Taum
Sauk Mountain at 1,772 feet above
sea level. The lowest point is the St. Francis River at 230 feet above
The mean elevation of Missouri is 800 feet above sea level.
The city of Independence is 1,033 feet above sea level.
The city of
Jerusalem is situated on an uneven rocky plateau at an elevation of
2,550 feet. It is 3,800 feet above
the level of the Dead Sea.
Now lets look at http://www.netstate.com/states/geography/ut_geography.htm
for Utah. The highest point in Utah
is Kings Peak at 13,528 feet above
sea level. The lowest point is Beaverdam Wash at 2,000 feet above sea
Which American state contains the LDS version of Mount Zion? Will
Latter-day Saints try to invent two Mount Zions?
The city of Independence (Joseph's New Jerusalem) is not very high in
elevation. It is surprising then to know that
he considers it Mount Zion,
whereas other Latter-day Saints view Salt Lake City (4,300 feet above
sea level) as the
Mount Zion - but Joseph Smith taught Mount Zion =
New Jerusalem = Independence, Missouri.
Do Mormons believe Salt Lake City wins over Jerusalem because it is
about 1,800 feet higher (or 500 feet higher
depending on where you
measure from)? Salt Lake City (4,300 feet) easily wins over
Independence at 1,033 feet.
If one does a search on www.lds.org for "Mount Zion," you will find
a talk by former LDS President Harold B. Lee
about his recent trip
to Israel. I think he may have given this discourse at the
Salt Lake Temple (source: "I Walked
Today Where Jesus Walked", Liahona
Magazine, April 1984). According to LDS records, this article was
"As we looked out that night from the veranda of our hotel room,
silhouetted against the sky was Mount Zion, and
there was King
David’s tower marking, so they told us, the place where they say
the Last Supper was held just
before the Savior went down to the
Brook Cedron and to his betrayal and judgment and finally to death.
this mount Zion or in America’s New Jerusalem (our students
of the scripture are not in agreement as to which) is
commenced the greatest drama of the whole history of the world to
usher in the second coming of the
Now keep in mind that former LDS President Harold Lee gave this
talk about 140 years after Joseph Smith gave
Imagine that ... LDS President Lee is not even in agreement with
revelations of his own church founder.
It's no wonder Mormon students are not in agreement. How could they
be when even the Mormon prophets do not
know or believe each other
on what Mount Zion is? They do not even believe the Biblical teaching.
This is what the Bible says:
"Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe
of Ephraim: But chose the tribe of Judah,
the mount Zion which he
loved" (Ps. 78:67-68).
Mount Zion is referring to Judah, not the United