LESSON ONE - Building Zion Together

"And they taught, and did minister one to another; and they had all things common among them,
every man dealing justly, one with another"


To increase the understanding of what Zion is and what it takes to build it.


  1. This lesson is designed to be approximately 20 minutes unless more time is available.
  2. Seek the spirit in deciding which sections to emphasize. It is not critical that you cover all the material provided.
  3. Prayerfully study "Building Zion Together," Kim B. Clark, BYU-Idaho Devotional, September 15, 2009, see p. 25 in the Student Living Guidebook.
  4. Consider the needs of the participants and prepare additional questions that promote discussion and connect the principles to apartment and family life.
  5. Be prepared to bear your testimony throughout the lesson at any time the spirit prompts.


  • "Unity: The people of Zion are of one heart and one mind-unified in Christ. They are one, and they are His.
  • "Pure in heart: The people of Zion are the pure in heart. They dwell in righteousness; the laws of the celestial kingdom prevail in Zion. The people of Zion are a holy people.
  • "No poor among them: There are no poor among the people of Zion, neither in food and clothing, nor in spiritual strength and support. Among the people of Zion, 'Every man [seeks] the interest of his neighbor'" (D&C 82:19; Kim B. Clark, "Building Zion Together;" see also Moses 7:18).


A Zion People

"Zion is Zion because of the character, attributes, and faithfulness of her citizens. Remember, "the Lord called his 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) . . . . We cannot wait until Zion comes for these things to happen-Zion will come only as they happen.

"To come to Zion, it is not enough for you or me to be somewhat less wicked than others. We are to become not only good, but holy men and women" (D. Todd Christofferson, "Come to Zion," Ensign, Nov. 2008, 37-40).

Activity: Patterns of Zion

According to Moses 7:18, Zion is characterized by unity, righteousness (i.e., pure in heart), and an absence of the poor. President Clark connected seven patterns to each of these three characteristics of Zion. Write or type word strips for each of the seven patterns and distribute them to members of the group. Take turns attaching the patterns (with tape or putty) to each of the three characteristics of Zion and explain why that pattern reflects the characteristic.


1. Forgiveness
2. Humility and Cooperation

    Pure in Heart

    3. Obedience to God
    4. Modesty
    5. Personal Responsibility

      No Poor Among Them

      6. Sacrifice
      7. Work

        You may want to discuss some of the following quotations as part of the discussion about why each pattern fits a particular principle of Zion.

        Forgiveness: "We are commanded to forgive all men. Forgiveness is essential to establishing Zion. We all sin; we all make mistakes. If we do not forgive one another, we deny the power of the Atonement. Those hurts fester and become resentments and anger. They destroy unity and dissolve the bonds of charity that are essential to Zion."


        Never A Happier People

         "...and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God." (4 Nephi 1:16)

        Activity: Liken All Scripture

        Modernize Fourth Nephi by looking at the following verses in Fourth Nephi and contrast them with the average student apartment, ward, or BYU-Idaho at large. Consider the 'modern' interpretation of these scriptures- what do they look like in today's world?

        (For example: 4 Nephi 1:2 - every roommate dealing justly with one another-no disputations among them, all things in common-such as shared responsibility for cleanliness in the apartment.)

        4 Nephi 1:2-5                           4 Nephi 1:11

        4 Nephi 1:12-13                       4 Nephi 1:15-17

        4 Nephi 1:24-26                      4 Nephi 1:34

        Questions for Discussion

        Contrast the righteousness and fall of the Nephites from "never a happier people" to destruction.

        • How does that happen in our own lives?
        • How can we avoid it?

        Additional Resources

        • D. Todd Christofferson, "Come to Zion," Ensign, Nov. 2008, 37-40.
        • Moses 7: The City of Zion.


        A lesson is not complete until a challenge or invitation is extended which inspires and motivates participants to apply what they have learned. "It's in the doing, not just the thinking, that we accomplish our goals" (Thomas S. Monson, "A Royal Priesthood," Ensign, Nov. 2007, 59-61).

        As a result of the lesson, each participant should feel an increased desire to change an attitude or behavior and become a stronger disciple of Jesus Christ. Include the following steps as part of the application process:

        1. Summarize what has been learned or ask a member of the group to do so.
        2. Invite participants to write goals specific to what they have felt and learned. How will they apply the principles to their personal lives and apartment life (including roommate relationships)? How will they act on what they have learned as a means of preparation for marriage and family life? In short, what will they do about what they have learned?
        3. Follow-up with participants on goals they have set. Regular and consistent follow-up will increase the likelihood that participants actually execute their plan of action.