Highlights for Doctrine and Covenants 115-120
Mostly, it’s because I live 5 miles from Adam-ondi-Ahman, and I’m partial to the beauty and spiritual power of it. It feels like an outdoor temple. It’s also where Adam bestowed his last blessing upon his posterity. All around the countryside is rolling and serene. Local members affectionately refer to Adam-ondi-Ahman as “A.O.A.”
During stake conference last Sunday, several speakers enthusiastically noted that this week’s Come, Follow Me study was all about our piece of the world (both the history and the coming prophecies).
Section 116 only has one verse – it says:
Spring Hill is named by the Lord Adam-ondi-Ahman, because, said he, it is the place where Adam shall come to visit his people, or the Ancient of Days shall sit, as spoken of by Daniel the prophet.Doctrine and Covenants 116:1
Here’s a photo of A.O.A. I took it earlier this year.
The Power of Our Hearts
Elder Holland shared spiritual wisdom this last General Conference that yanked my heart and precious understanding wide open:
Of course, we are speaking here of the first great commandment given to the human family—to love God wholeheartedly, without reservation or compromise, that is, with all our heart, might, mind, and strength. This love of God is the first great commandment in the universe. But the first great truth in the universe is that God loves us exactly that way—wholeheartedly, without reservation or compromise, with all of His heart, might, mind, and strength. And when those majestic forces from His heart and ours meet without restraint, there is a veritable explosion of spiritual, moral power. Then, as Teilhard de Chardin wrote, “for [the] second time” in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”
Jeffrey R. Holland’s words impressed me that the Father and Christ both go all out to love you. As in, they FEEL it. They have passionate, enthusiastic, personable, proactive personalities, and They give their all—loving them back in like manner is also how to pull down power from heaven and God.
What a great quote! It motivates me to upgrade my capacity with Christ, the Father, and with others around me.
Question: what happens when a person loves you at the level Jeffrey R. Holland describes – and you love them back the same way? Answer: you unlock heaven’s dynamism – the whole world is at your feet. You are empowered and can bring much to pass and set much in motion. It’s a robust exchange. It reminds me of Jonathan and David of the Old Testament:
And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. (1 Samuel 18:1)
Jonathan was instrumental in helping David get to the throne. Together, they achieved more than either one could on their own.
As I pondered these words, it hit me that Zion is centered on the heart and fits this exact description. To qualify as a resident of Zion, one must commit to being “of one heart and one mind.” Question: what kind of people would be capable of such oneness? Answer: probably those with the same relationship with God that Elder Holland described last Conference. Those who can love God and accept love on this level can also experience unity and love with like-minded Saints around them.
A Long Ways to Go
The early Saints felt a lot of enthusiasm for the concept of Zion but were not individually nor collectively developed enough to achieve one heart and one mind. Their initial attempts to create Zion failed. George Q. Cannon says one day there will be a people elevated sufficient to accomplish a Zion-worthy existence, and we will return:
We talk about going back to build up the Center Stake of Zion; it is the burden of our daily prayers. The aspirations of thousands of the people ascend in the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth in behalf of the redemption of Zion, and that the purposes of God may be forwarded, and that the time may soon come when the Center Stake of Zion shall be built up and the people be prepared to go back and inhabit that land. Why do we wish this? Because we anticipate when that day shall come that we will be that much nearer the day of triumph, the day when Jesus will come and reign among his Saints. We are, as it were, in a school where we are to be taught of God, and prepared for the great events that are coming on the earth. We do not wish to leave this land, because it is not fertile, or because it is not a favored land. We appreciate the home that God has given us here, so fruitful in blessings to the Saints; but we look forward to that land with indescribable feelings, because it is the place where God has said His City shall be built. It is the land where Adam, the Ancient of Days, will gather his posterity again, and where the blessings of God will descend upon them.
It is the land for which the wise and learned have traveled and sought in vain…But God in His revelations has informed us that it was on this choice land of Joseph where Adam was placed and the Garden of Eden was laid out. The spot has been designated, and we look forward with peculiar feelings to repossessing that land. We expect when that day shall come that we will be a very different people to what we are today. We will be prepared to commune with heavenly beings; at any rate, the preparation will be going on very rapidly for Jesus to be revealed. We expect that a society will be organized there that will be a pattern of heavenly society, that when Jesus and the heavenly beings who come with him are revealed in the clouds of heaven, their feelings will not be shocked by the change, for a society will be organized on the earth whose members will be prepared through the revelations of God to meet and associate with them, if not on terms of perfect equality, at least with some degree of equality. (Journal of Discourses 11:330)
These quotes and teachings have given me plenty to ponder and strive for. Hopefully, you feel some motivation as well.
A Side Note about Adam-ondi-Ahman
Living here is my paradise, and I enjoy my ward (Spring Hill Ward, Far West Missouri Stake), but the lifestyle here is not for everyone. The surroundings are primarily large farms and very rural, with more gravel roads than paved ones. A significant number of Amish folks make their home here as well. The nearest town is Gallatin (pop: 1597), and it’s the biggest town in Daviess County (pop: 8430). Gallatin boasts no stoplights, one sandwich shop, a dollar store, and one little Mexican restaurant. I’m out in the middle of glorious nowhere.