Let’s face it: We would all love to live in an Utopian society. At least our own version of it.
With perhaps a few exceptions like Enoch’s city, so far, no religious, political or economic system in modern times has shown itself capable of providing perfectly for everyone and remain a resilient system for a long period of time.
Attempts at Marxist socialism and communism have all failed miserably. Most of these efforts led to the death of millions of people, and never brought the people out of poverty. That many in Europe and here in the USA learn to depend upon their entitlements, all derived on socialist concepts, means that Greeks protest when they are told they will have to work until they turn 55.
Capitalism does much, much better. Still, it has business cycles, which enrich people for a time, but then leaves them hurting whenever a bubble bursts. There’s also the good odds that capitalism merges with government and we get corporatism, instead. So, instead of helping out the poor and middle class during this economic crisis, the vast majority of bail outs went to global companies. While we save banks and Government Motors, ever increasing numbers of people are slipping from the middle class into poverty, while more are losing jobs, homes, and hope.
It seems that we cannot escape corruption long enough to actually come to a resilient solution that lifts all boats.
In the Book of Ephesians, of which I just wrote on for my Gospel doctrine blog at Joel’s Monastery, we find the Paul seeks the unity of the people. Contention and division seem to be the norm in Ephesus, even among the Christians! Paul dealt with division frequently in his letters, as he saw some claim to be of Paul, others of Apollos, and yet others of Cephas.
Yet, Paul gives the answers to a unity in his epistles. First, all must come unto Christ and be saved through faith and repentance (justification). Second, we must become holy through following the guidance of the Spirit (sanctification). And Paul notes that there is a foundation to all of this: apostles and prophets with Christ as the chief cornerstone. Only in following the prophets, apostles and other inspired leaders, can we “all come to a unity of the faith” and no more be “tossed to and fro” by every contentious concept of man.
In the early days of the modern Church, Joseph Smith sought to establish Zion, our own little Utopian society. It was based upon sound principles: Consecration, where we gave all we had to the bishop, had a portion returned as our private property/stewardship, then tithed thereafter on any increase. Each was to increase his own talents and abilities, in order to toss them into the storehouse for use by the whole. All were to be equal: meaning that as long as you worked for Zion, you would receive a fair portion.
Sadly, the early Mormons were often contentious, selfish, and disloyal. The system broke down for a variety of reasons, but mostly because few were completely dedicated to the Lord and its success.
Today, we live the law of tithing, a terrestrial law. Yet, in the temple, we promise to individually consecrate ourselves to God’s work. Still, I look at my own sad efforts and realize we are so very far off from building or establishing Zion.
While we await our Utopian Zion, what can we do as individuals, wards, cities, or as a nation to arrive more closely to that heavenly goal?