Above all, Zion is an idealistic goal. The goal of dreamers, prophets and philosophers who seek for perfection and make suggestions as to the best paths toward a Utopia of harmony and peace. Zion is the goal of Judeo-Christian religion. It is heaven, and working toward its creation should be the primary goal of any religionist.
I’ve long been somewhat of a Utopian dreamer. I’ve put a lot of thought into what the “perfect society” would look like, and have started this list as a starting place for reforms I see needed in society and suggestions of things which could be changed in our society.
What Zion, or a Zion Community is and is not.
Zion (or a Utopia) is NOT one man’s view of perfection. Many dictators, despots and religious fanatics through history have sought to implement systems which seek to forcefully conform society to their view of perfection. To create a society “in their image”. This can never be a universal Zion/Utopia. Zion assures essential universal happiness in freedom. Its base ideal or value is freedom of individuality. It requires harmonizing the individuality of all in a way that maintains balance, harmony and universal happiness.
But paradoxically, happiness requires some sadness—since human emotion is built and defined by a system of duality or opposites. One cannot be happy without the existence of sadness—so Zion/Utopia is not a society where there is no sadness or negative conditions. It is a system where sadness/happiness, pain/pleasure, rich/poor and all unequal dualities are balanced in a manner that achieves what I call essential happiness.
It is a system of equal opportunity to desired conditions. All must be free to easily obtain their unique desires for happiness/sadness. To experience each condition in a timeframe and ratio that the individual balance necessary for any individual to call themselves essentially happy. To attain this, all must be constantly made aware and responsible for the effects of their actions on others.
Zion Requires that the Most Unselfish Rule and Govern
“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn” (prov 29:2). Evil or “wickedness” can be defined as selfishness empowered (or in power). Righteousness can be defined as those wise and unselfish enough to judge and effectuate harmony. Perfect harmony requires that all members of a society be willing to sacrifice their selfish desires just enough to accommodate the happiness of the whole.
But the happiness of Zion is not the absence of selfish pleasures or the abstinence of experience. Many religions and ascetics have tried to found Zion on the principle of denying society the ability to seek pleasure or attain their desires. For socialist systems this might include prohibitions on wealth, whereas for some religious systems it might include prohibitions on sexuality. This is systemically dangerous however, as essential happiness requires the freedom to experience the dualities of pain and pleasure. Curtailing the freedoms of the populace may make a harmonizers job easier, but it can also lead to anarchy just as quickly as excessive behavior. A utopian society requires the goal of leaders to be the constant work of helping their people to attain their desires — but always in ways that do not threaten the essential happiness of others or the harmony of the group.
A “righteous” leader is a harmonizer. Like a composer conducting an orchestra, he must help each individual fully express their unique sound and instrument in a way which maintains the full harmony and happiness of the group. In this light a righteous leader understands the relativity of morality. In formative political and religious systems, leaders often introduce absolute morality or law. The law of Moses, Hammurabi’s code are examples of early political systems which attempt to achieve social harmony with rigid laws that seek to codify morality. Most westernized countries have followed this example. These types of systems typically govern ownership, sexuality, violence, riches, pleasures and their opposites. Such a system can never create the harmony of a true Zion society.
The complexities of human nature, desire and motivation are far too dynamic and complex to be harmonized with strictures and codes written in stone. It’s like allowing a robot to write a symphony. Such a task defies the individual freedom of expression required in a true utopia. Any such attempts create monocultures which are more robotic than human. Because freedom of expression and individuality in desire are essential for a Zion/Utopia—the harmonizing of these systems must be done dynamically. Each moral regulation must be created dynamically, fitting to the uniqueness of each situation.
1. Ethics. The most important aspect of a Zion Community is the people. A perfect socio-political system is destroyed by an imperfect populace. Regardless of the laws, political system or urban environment the most important aspect of a Utopian society is a Utopian people. A selfless people can make a totalitarian government run flawlessly, and a selfish people will destroy a democracy immediately. The most important step to a sustainable community or national government is to help everyone understand this and seek first and foremost to educate the populace toward unselfishness. Unselfishness (or the so called “righteousness” of the scriptures) must be the first priority.
2. Size & Population. Every given people, area, and time have a particular threshold of population, which when exceeded destroys the sustainability and balance of the community and organization. Cities, much like companies & churches, must learn to split and/or intelligently control growth. Joseph Smith put the population cap of a Zion community at 20,000. With today’s transportation and technology that population cap may be different, and likely should be different for different topography and demographics… but one can rest assured that once cities grow toward the 100,000 people demographic, it is impossible to maintain a Zion community. Just as atoms cannot remain stable on earth once they exceed the 100 proton/electron region, so too a city cannot prevent the issues which lead to instability when they exceed 40,000 to 80,000 people. For a city to sustain economic, environmental, political and cultural stability over centuries the people in the city MUST be able to personally know their political leaders, their neighbors, and a large portion of the population. There is also a more subtle but important aspect of group consciousness that requires a smaller population for stability. Most importantly, political inequality and economic disparity between the rich and poor must be minimized for a culture to be maintained for centuries. The balance between power and wealth can only be maintained when connections exist in the group consciousness. These cause and effect relationships are subtle, but history shows that NO large cities have existed for millennial without large economic or political turnover (collapse & restructure). And yet though history, people continue to build and seek out these types of socio-political arrangements because man’s goal tends to be money, possessions and ease instead of harmonic interpersonal relationships.
The Zion or Utopia of the future will be a Union of political entities. The political schema will be built fractionally following the pattern shown in the physics of the earth and universe. Each political polity will be a microcosm of the larger polity and a macrocosm of the smaller. With the smallest unit being the community and the largest unit eventually being the planetary governance. Freedom will be the foundational principle.
-the republican government of the U.S. or ‘union’ of separate but equal states is the basic political structure of Zion (European Union and United Nations are other attempts). This structure of separate but equal commonwealths was revealed by higher beings showing the basic principles of governance used on other spheres and planets which have achieved planetary unity. This political structure was distorted from the beginning by the federalists. These were selfish, wise, but power-mongering individuals holding on to the old systems and power structures which give the few power over the many. The hallmark of a service-to-self individual is that the ‘many’ are not intelligent to govern themselves, and thus the few must govern the many for the greater good. This was often true in past times and is the reason why our current government was allowed to be a hybrid between the old monarchy structures (executive branch) and the coming social republics.
-the civil war was the largest blow to our zion-like government. By not allowing states to secede from the union, freedom or self determination was abrogated for the entire union. In a Zion government freedom is the foundational principle, held inviolate above all other principles. Any cohesive unit (community) must be allowed to secede through proper channels. This is the only way a federal government can be constantly held in check as to whether it is truly fulfilling the needs of the people and maintaining personal & group freedom. By living under the constant threat of polities leaving the union, the federal political structure is forced to make wiser decisions on lawmaking, debt and investment within participating nations/states. Furthermore, states must be under constant threat of being kicked out of the union, if their decisions have negative repercussions for the union.
-lawmaking. Nearly ALL laws should be made & maintained on a community level. Laws should be passed as low on the political latter as prudently possible. Law making should require at very least a super majority (or more) or it should be passed to the lower polity. Laws passed on 51% majority are a mockery to freedom and justice. A law passed on 51% in favor, means 49% of the population is being subjugated against their will. This is not sustainable government. “National” laws should only involve issues which DIRECTLY affect the nation, which is typically defense, trade and commerce. A nation has no business passing laws on civil rights, marriage, religion, or any other local issue (unless the people unanimously want it, which is very rare). Local lawmakers should always have the ability to overturn national laws in relation to their polity. A federal judges job should not be construed as having the ability to pass or strike down a law, the judges job is to decide what level polity can pass what laws based on who it affects. Where judges do not unanimously agree, law-making power should automatically revert back to the more local polity (to the people).
-on a local level people must have a personal relationship with their elected leaders.
-all power must require an equal amount of sacrifice. power without personal sacrifice breeds imbalance and corruption. requiring sacrifice for those in power ensures service-to-others individuals will rule. When political power comes with personal ease and advantage, service-to-self individuals will eventually take over.
-there are no supreme leaders. “National” power is equally shared by each community. All local power is manifested in governing bodies which respond to the will of the people. there are no presidents, no governors, no popes, no ruling individuals. (see Oahspe) The governing individual is a power structure of the past and is incompatible with sustainable governance. Ruling bodies (congresses and councils) are the hallmark of political structures of the millennium. Those who are not united, have no voice.
-each ruling polity must be viewed as EQUAL in power. The community government must be equal in authority to the state government which must be equal in authority with the federal government. These is the true balance of power. Not so much one branch of federal government balancing another, but each level of the fractal balancing the others. The trunk to balance the branch, the branch to balance the twig, the twig to hold the leaf which is the gem of the tree. When each level of the organization is equal, imbalances will be manifest to all because they will begin to break apart. If it is relatively easy for a community to leave the union, imbalance will be quickly manifest when a large group of them leave the tree. This will encourage the larger polity to resolve the imbalances, encouraging the groups to rejoin the UNION.
Just as the USSR did in the 1990’s, the USA will continue to become more unstable until it splits into multiple nations within the next 3 generations. Why? The same reason every empire has failed. Because it let power become too lofty. It allowed power to become consolidated into the hands of the few. It urbanized past critical mass both socially and politically. It allowed too many mega cities to be created where disparity inevitably grows between the rich and poor, creating a ruling class and a peasant class. It allowed this same disparity to be created in its lawmaking organizations, with a powerful federal bureaucracy which made one-size-fits-all laws on 51% majorities (often less than that). This has created large segments of the population who feel unlawfully subjugated. It has essentially turned what was meant to be a UNION of STATES into an imperial monarchy. It did not force those in power to personally sacrifice, which attracted power mongers to the offices with the most potential for greater power. These service-to-self individuals slowly pulled more and more power to themselves until the national government and its offices became infinitely more powerful than any other polity on earth. This consolidation of power led to abuse of power, which always leads to political entropy. If it were not for the economic & political hegemony of our federal government, and the negative stigma associated with secession created by the precedence of the civil war, several states would have already seceded from the union and our nation would likely already be working on healing the rift and balancing the inequalities in our systems.
3. Practices of a Zion Community.