Sometimes talks seem generic to me. It seems that I've read this topic a thousand times and now I have to hear it again. When I get in that mindset, I tend to glaze over the content instead of trying to get something from it. Elder Christofferson's talk is one of those for me. But I paused while I read the talk and tried to ask myself what he was trying to say ... to rephrase what he said. I think I got something out of it.
In descibing how we can "establish Zion in our homes, branches, wards, and stakes" he offered three things we must do. We must be unified, become holy, and care for the poor.
After reading and thinking about what he said regarding unity, it seems to me that we have to attain a higher conciousness in our social relationships to establish and keep that unity. First of all, we must overcome our contentions with others ... in our marriages, families and church groups. I think a lot of times we have to swallow our pride and seek the guidance of the Spirit to understand the will of the Lord. We ought to follow the guidance of our bishops and leaders and be willing to accept their decisions. Sometimes we have to get things "out in the open" and talk through problems that cause contention. Through a spirit of love and understanding we can work through problems and "overcome jarrings, contentions, envyings, and strifes" (D&C 101:6)
But unity does not stop there. Even tougher is "getting on the same page" and staying there. This requires tremendous effort and persistent work ... especially in marriage. We have to not only do our part of the work, but we must understand our spouse's part and be willing to help him or her. Again, this requires truly understanding one another's needs and making an effort to fulfill those needs. His example of the Modovan saints illustrates this point.
His comments on holiness seem to speak at the individual level. Each of us is responsible for saying our own prayers, reading our own scriptures and purifying ourselves. This can only be done by the individual. I think a large part of this is giving one's will to the Lord. As we become holy individually, we become a holy people.
Caring for the Poor
As we have just celebrated Thanksgiving, I am reminded of the true story of Thanksgiving. William Bradford and the pilgrims made a compact that they would all work together on the land and then share in their fruits. But some were lazy and did not produce as much. Some took more than they produced. Those who did produce begrudged those who did not work. The system failed. Bradford started from scratch and divided the land among the survivors. They were to each own their lot of land and be responsible for that lot. Whatever they grew, they could keep. They could also sell their excess in a market. This new system worked and the pilgrims had abundance ... indeed they had so much, they shared with the native Indians.
“For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.
“Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment” (D&C 104:17–18; see also D&C 56:16–17).
The Church has a good system today. Everyone pays ten percent of their income and we all contribute fast offerings. The Chuch is able to do much because individual members are willing to provide for themselves and are still able to have abundance with which they can impart to the Church.
D. Todd Christofferson, “Come to Zion,” Ensign, Nov 2008, 37–40