Student Living Lesson 1
How can I build Zion in my own apartment?
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The Lord commands us to "seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion" (D&C 6:6). We can respond to this call by living in a way that leads us to and places us in Zion. Truly, "we no longer think of Zion as where we are going to live; we think of it as how we are going to live" (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, "Israel, Israel, God is Calling," CES Devotional, Sept. 9, 2012). We can build Zion in our apartments through the practical, everyday work of living the basic principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Student Living-the principles and associated practices of love, shared responsibility, and mutual respect-represents a pattern for you to build little Zions in your apartments so you can build Zion in your home.
Prepare yourself spiritually
Why is building Zion important? How do you strive to live the principles of Zion in your apartment? When have you felt a spirit of unity in your apartment?
Prayerfully study the following scriptures and resources. What will inspire your roommates and fellow ward members to build Zion their apartments?
- Moses 7:18-19 (What is Zion?)
- D&C 6:6; 11:6; 12:6; 14:6 (Seek to establish the cause of Zion)
- 4 Nephi 1: 10-18 (The Nephites and Lamanites live together in a Zion-like state)
- Kim B. Clark, "Building Zion Together," BYU-Idaho Devotional, Sept. 15, 2009.
- Troy Dougherty," The Practical Work of Building Zion in Your Apartments and Homes," BYU-Idaho Devotional, Jan. 21, 2014.
Begin the learning experience
Choose from these ideas or think of your own to introduce this lesson:
- Read together Doctrine & Covenants 6:6, 11:6, 12:6, and 14:6 and ask the members of the group to list words that come to mind when they think of Zion. Select a few words from the lists to discuss.
- Read together Moses 7:18-19 and invite the members of the group to contemplate and discuss the characteristics of a home in the city of Enoch. What would an apartment in Zion look and feel like?
Each of the activities below can help Home Evening group members learn how they can build Zion in their apartments. Following the inspiration of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for the group.
- Watch a 7- minute clip of Troy Dougherty's devotional address "The Practical Work of Building Zion in Your Apartments and Homes." Discuss the following questions: What can I do now to build Zion in my apartment? What can I do consistently throughout the semester to build and maintain Zion in my apartment? What can my roommates and I do, collectively, to build Zion in our apartment? How can my roommates and I live in a way that leads us to and places us in Zion?
- According to Moses 7:18-19, Zion is characterized by unity, righteousness (i.e., pure in heart), and an absence of the temporally and spiritually poor. In "Building Zion Together," President Clark connects seven patterns to each of these three characteristics of Zion. Select a few of the patterns to read together and ask the members of the group to consider the importance and relevance of each pattern to apartment life and roommate relations. How will these patterns, if genuinely applied, create and foster a culture of Zion in their apartments?
- Read together the second and third paragraphs of Troy Dougherty's devotional address "The Practical Work of Building Zion in Your Apartments and Homes." What specific deeds may constitute the practical work of building Zion in your apartment? How do these deeds relate to each of the three guiding principles of Student Living (love, shared responsibility, and mutual respect)?
- As a group, read 4 Nephi 1:10-18. What contributed most to the Zion-like state in which the Nephites and Lamanites lived during that period of time? What specific practices from the account in 4 Nephi can be applied to apartment life to bring about Zion? What impact can your love for God have on your interpersonal relationships with roommates?
- The prophet Brigham Young declared, "The work of building up Zion is in every sense a practical work; it is not a mere theory. A theoretical religion amounts to very little real good or advantage to any person. To possess an inheritance in Zion or in Jerusalem only in theory-only in imagination-would be the same as having no inheritance at all. It is necessary to get a deed of it, to make an inheritance practical, substantial and profitable. I have Zion in my view constantly. We are not going to wait for angels, or for Enoch and his company to come and build up Zion, but we are going to build it" ("Building Up and Adornment of Zion By the Saints," Journal of Discourses, Volume 9(56), pp. 282-285. What can we learn about Zion from this excerpt? How can the lessons we learn from this excerpt apply to building Zion in our apartments?
Live what we are learning
A lesson is not complete until an invitation or challenge is extended that 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).
- Invite the members of the group to consider what they learned from this lesson. Ask them to write down and share (if appropriate) what they feel impressed to do.
- If this activity was not already conducted as part of the discussion, divide the Home Evening group into small sub-groups of two or three people and invite each sub-group to answer the following questions: What can I do now to build Zion in my apartment? What can I do consistently throughout the semester to build and maintain Zion in my apartment? What can my roommates and I do, collectively, to build Zion in our apartment? How can my roommates and I live in a way that leads us to and places us in Zion?