Latter-day Peace Studies presents: Come, Follow Me
Episode 68: D&C 102 - 105
Ben and Shiloh discuss some of the history and context of Zion’s Camp. These were unprecedented times for the early Saints, and there was a lot of uncertainty about the problems in Missouri. Were they to abandon Jackson County entirely? But what of the prophecies of the New Jerusalem there? How would they get their property back? Would they have to fight? Would the law support them? The Missouri governor, Governor Dunklin, was somewhat sympathetic to the Saints and had made certain promises to help them regain their land, but these promises ultimately failed. There was a lot of violent rhetoric and metaphor used by the Saints and church leaders right up to the point of actually committing violence. Their confusion in what the Lord wanted from them is understandable. The Lord commanded that “the redemption of Zion must needs come by power” (D&C 103:15), but the Lord stops short at defining what kind of “power” he means. Was it the power of the sword? Of the law? Of… what? To add to the seeming confusion, the Lord states that his “presence” would be with the Saints “in avenging me of mine enemies” (D&C 103:26), but the Lord stops short at defining what “avenging me of mine enemies” entails. And then something interesting happens: the violent rhetoric turns to divine commands to “sue for peace, not only to the people that have smitten you, but also to all people” (D&C 105:38). How are we to make sense of all of this? Is it possible that the Lord never intended violence at all and that something else entirely was going on? How does the Lord avenge himself of his enemies?
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