In general conference last weekend, David R. Stone gave a talk titled "Zion in the Midst of Babylon".
Here are a few excerpts, click on the title for the full talk.
"One of the greatest challenges we will face is to be able to live in that world but somehow not be of that world. We have to create Zion in the midst of Babylon.
Zion in the midst of Babylon." What a luminous and incandescent phrase, as a light shining in the midst of spiritual darkness. What a concept to hold close to our hearts, as we see Babylon becoming more widespread. We see Babylon in our cities; we see Babylon in our communities; we see Babylon everywhere.
And with the encroachment of Babylon, we have to create Zion in the midst of it. We should not allow ourselves to be engulfed by the culture which surrounds us. We seldom realize the extent to which we are a product of the culture of our place and time...
My involvement with the building of the Manhattan temple gave me the opportunity to be in the temple quite often prior to the dedication. It was wonderful to sit in the celestial room and be there in perfect silence, without a single sound to be heard coming from the busy New York streets outside. How was it possible that the temple could be so reverently silent when the hustle and bustle of the metropolis was just a few yards away?
The answer was in the construction of the temple. The temple was built within the walls of an existing building, and the inner walls of the temple were connected to the outer walls at only a very few junction points. That is how the temple (Zion) limited the effects of Babylon, or the world outside.
There may be a lesson here for us. We can create the real Zion among us by limiting the extent to which Babylon will influence our lives.
Over the last week, I have had some thoughts that go along with this talk. All over the world Temples stand as reminders of God. They are things of beauty. The things that occur within the temples draw us closer to our Heavenly Father and help us to create the "zion" that Elder Stone speaks of, in our hearts.
If we create a zion within our homes and in our hearts, our hearts and homes also become shining reminders of God and the blessings he has for us if we are obedient.
Just because we are limiting the influence babylon has on us, doesn't mean that we should stop trying to have a positive influence on the babylon around us. There are many things which surround us, that we have very little to no control over. That doesn't mean that we should stop trying. We do the best that we can, and pray for help and guidance. If we do not give up, perhaps we will be able to make a difference.
We can be hopeful for what the future will bring. Hopelessness, despair, and resignation to mediocrity are tools that satan uses to keep us from becoming all that we can be, and all that we can help others to be.