Random Thought #1 – “And the Lord called [Enoch’s] 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). Besides the Latter-day attempt of the United Order, we have scriptural record of at least 3 different societies who obtained a Zion-like society.
First, Melchizedek, who some believe was Noah’s son Shem, led a Zion-like society. “And [Melchizedek’s] people wrought righteousness, and obtained heaven, and sought for the city of Enoch which God had before taken, separating it from the earth, having reserved it unto the latter days, or the end of the world” (JST Gen 14:34). The inhabitants of Enoch’s city were translated beings. It would be hard to understand this text as saying anything other than that Melchizedek translated the inhabitants of his city as Enoch did.
Second, it is reported that the Saints in Jerusalem, under the direction of Peter, James and John, lived in such a manner that they “were of one heart and of one soul” (Acts 4:32). Indeed, these Church members “had all things common” so that “[n]iether was there any among them that lacked” (Acts 4:32, 34). Moreover, in an ancient foreshadowing of the Latter-day United Order (see D&C 51:3), “distribution was made unto every man according as he had need” (Acts 4:35).
Third, following Christ’s visit to the Americas, the Nephites had “all things in common among them” to the extent that “they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift” (4 Nephi 1:3). The heavenly gift likely refers to the Second Comforter, or the personal manifestation of the Savior, as spoken of in John 14:15-23 (see also Ether 12:8). Mormon reports that the Nephites during this time had “no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people” (4 Nephi 1:15). Truly, these Nephites “were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God”(4 Nephi 1:17).
Random Thought #2 – In what appears to be a sacred act similar to our modern temple experience, Enoch’s people received a new name: Zion. This is not unlike the Lamanite people who, after achieving conversion through the ministry of Aaron and his brethren, “desir[ed] that they might have a name” (Alma 23:16). As the story goes, they were allowed access to the Lord’s temple and were given the name of Anti-Nephi-Lehies. Re-entering the temple seems to remove the curse that was originally placed upon the Lamanites for rebellion. What constituted the curse was discussed in a previous post.
What is interesting to note, however, is that it is the Lord himself who gives the name to Enoch’s people. For those who have been through the temple, this should provide a new meaning as to who “the Officiator” represents.
Random Thought #3 – When we speak of Zion in Church we seem to refer more to the city, than to the people. However, it was the people at first that were named Zion, not the city. Instead, the name of the city was “the City of Holiness,” but could also be referred to as Zion (Moses 7:19). It is worthy of note that “Man of Holiness” is God’s name in the language of Adam (Moses 5:57). Thus, Jesus Christ is literally the Son of Man of Holiness, and the City of Holiness constitutes God’s hometown. The Lord reiterated this as he indicates to Enoch that Zion was to be “mine abode forever” (Moses 7:21).
Random Thought #4 – We learn in the Pearl of Great Price that “all the days of Zion, in the days of Enoch, were three hundred and sixty five years” before it was taken up into heaven (Moses 7:68). The 365 years of Zion’s existence creates an allusion to the Celestial Kingdom, which is scripturally and symbolically represented by the sun, whose solar year is approximately 365 days.
Random Thought #5 - Enoch’s people lived in such righteousness that ultimately the Lord translated the whole city and its inhabitants and removed them to a ministry unto terrestrial bodies (TPJS, 170). Joseph Smith reportedly stated that the city occupied ancient land where the Gulf of Mexico now exists (Waiting for World's End: The Diaries of Wilford Woodruff, edited by Susan Staker, Signature Books, 1993, p. 305).
“The people, and the city, and the foundations of the earth on which it stood, had partaken of so much of the immortal elements, bestowed upon them by God through the teachings of Enoch, that it became philosophically impossible for them to remain any longer upon the earth; consequently, Enoch and his people, with the city which they occupied, and the foundations on which it stood, with a large piece of earth immediately connected with the foundations and the city, had assumed an aerial position within the limits of our solar system; and this in consequence of their faith.” (History of the Organization of the Seventies, Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1878, p. 11.)
I’m not sure I wholeheartedly agree with the Prophet on this, but his explanation would fill in a glaring hole in the Pangea concept, which cannot account for missing land where the Gulf is now filled with water.
Conversely, Elder McConkie concluded differently: “After the Lord’s people were translated—for it was people who were caught up into heaven, not brick and mortar and stone, for there are better homes already in heaven than men can build on earth” (Come: Let Israel Build Zion; Ensign, May 1977, p. 115-118).