Last night I was considering the “what” and “how” of Zion. After reading the comments from that post, I see that I’m skipping past the “why”. If I want to understand how Zion will work, I first need to understand why it exists — what it’s intended to achieve.
The scriptures exhort us with eager anticipation for the prophesied Zion. They even go into some detail on visions of its dimensions and inhabitants. But they don’t say what it’s for, or why we should be excited about it. So what’s it for? And for whom?
One key question to answer is, is Zion a means or and ends? In other words, is Zion intended to prepare its inhabitants for something greater, or is Zion the final reward of the righteous? If Zion is an ends, it will be more exclusive, but if its a means then it will be more inclusive.
Another question: what is Zion supposed to offer its inhabitants? Is Zion intended to maximize their happiness? Their righteousness? Or are those the same things? Or is the goal to maximize something else: productivity, knowledge, fecundity?
Like my previous post, all these questions are, of course, speculative. However, they’re important. Perhaps the purpose of Zion will be determined by conversations like these — perhaps sincere discussion and reflection will not merely uncover, but in fact create the vision of the Zion that one day I hope we build. Without an idea of why Zion exists, I don’t suppose it makes much sense to speculate on how it will work or what it will look like.