Wednesday, November 1, 2017

President John Taylor on our responsibility as saviors on Mount Zion

President John Taylor (1808–1887) was born in England and immigrated to Canada where he and his wife were converted after hearing Parley P. Pratt preach.  He was ordained an apostle in 1838, and became the third president of the Church in 1880, serving until his death in 1887 at age 78.
"We came here to be saviors. 'What, saviors?' 'Yes.' 'Why, we thought there was only one Savior.' 'Oh, yes, there are a great many. What do the scriptures say about it?' One of the old prophets, in speaking of these things, says that saviors shall come up upon Mount Zion [see Obadiah 1:21]. Saviors? Yes. Whom shall they save? In the first place themselves, then their families, then their neighbors, friends and associations, then their forefathers, then pour blessings on their posterity. Is that so? Yes....
"We are desirous of blessing our posterity. We read of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, before they left the world, calling their families together, and under the inspiration of the spirit of prophecy and revelation putting their hands upon their heads and pronouncing certain blessings upon them, which should rest upon their posterity through every subsequent period of time. We have the same gospel and priesthood, and the same light and intelligence, and we are after the salvation and exaltation of our families that shall come after us, as they were, and we are seeking for God’s blessings to be poured upon their heads as they were. And if our fathers have died in ignorance of the gospel, not having had an opportunity to listen to it, we feel after them, and we go forth and are baptized for them, that they may be saved and exalted in the kingdom of God with us."
- John Taylor, Deseret News: Semi-Weekly, 11 Feb. 1873, 2; see also Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor, p. 189

The concept of "saviors on Mount Zion" is an interesting one. President Taylor discusses a number of aspects of that concept as it applies to ourselves, our families and neighbors, and then both our forefathers and our posterity:

In discussing our role as "saviors," we usually think first of the concept of providing ordinances of salvation for those who died without the opportunity of participating in the ordinances for themselves. That work is truly critical and most sacred. But President Taylor also focuses on how we can save our descendants through righteousness and priesthood blessings. That aspect of our personal work is equally and perhaps more critical, as the actions influencing each individual can also influence generations of their descendants. Good to ponder: are we doing all we can to "save" those we have influence over today?

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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