Teaching a church lesson on Zion as it was understood by the early saints got me to wondering about the evolution of this word in our church vocabulary. We have all kinds of uses of the word, from a physical place (several, actually) to a state of being.
Our usage of the word today seems to be markedly different from that of the early saints in Missouri. How has that change affected our doctrine about Zion? Do we still believe in Zion as a physical location? Do you? If so, where, of all the possible locations, do you fix the location of Zion, or is there more than one? If there is no fixed location, is there still a City of Zion? If so, is it going to be physically located somewhere on Earth in the future, or will it only exist only as a concept?
What bearing, if any, do non-mormon uses of the word have on your beliefs about Zion? After all, this is not a word that unique to Mormons. It is used throughout the Bible and has multiple definitions (even some very negative ones) depending on who you’re talking to. It has also made its way into pop culture:
What does Zion mean to you? And, more importantly, if and when we get there, will there be dancing?