The ideas shared here opened my eyes to see Babylon and Zion much more clearly and helped me better understand how to move from the former to the latter.
In his General Conference talk in April 2006, Elder David R. Stone of Second Quorum of the Seventy took a good portion of his talk to explain how the culture that we live in has a surprising effect on our attitudes and behaviors.
Then, as if easing us towards the idea that the culture which surrounds the Saints and tempts us to abandon our values is, in fact, the culture of Babylon, he stated, “Seduced by our culture, we often hardly recognize our idolatry, as our strings are pulled by that which is popular in the Babylonian world.”
Elder Stone then comes right out and suggests that the culture of Babylon is not the same as Zion’s. He stated, “We do not need to adopt the standards, the mores, and the morals of Babylon. We can create Zion in the midst of Babylon.” And, “We can live as a Zion people, if we wish to. Will it be hard? Of course it will, for the waves of Babylonian culture crash incessantly against our shores.”
Hm… “Babylonian culture”… Wait…! Babylon has a culture! Merriam Webster’s Concise Encyclopedia states “Culture thus consists of language, ideas, beliefs, customs, taboos, codes, institutions, tools, techniques, works of art, rituals, ceremonies, and symbols.”
Based on our previous deduction that “Pride is the steppingstone to Babylon”, it is easy to conclude that Babylon’s culture consists of the belief that some people are less-than others (pride), the custom of relying on man’s wisdom instead of God’s (more pride), and especially, the institutionalization of those pride-based beliefs and customs into man’s social organizations through laws, rules, and expectations in families, schools, businesses, and government. So, it’s not a big leap to realize that Babylon is any pride-based culture (including ours).
Elder D. Todd Christofferson stated, “Babylon is the antithesis and antagonist of Zion.” Then … Zion has a culture too! Which by contrast means, that Zion is any culture that institutionalizes humility-based beliefs and customs into its social organizations.
Therefore, if we want to “flee Babylon” and “build Zion” we must follow the process of identifying pride-based elements of our culture, root them out, and integrate humility-based replacements, or at least, come up with a plan to do so. Piece of cake! 😉