Summary Lesson 29: “Building the Kingdom of God in Nauvoo, Illinois”
- Zion Building, Then and Now: Joseph Smith, the Prophet, was given the vision of settling a Zion, building a society and establishing communities that would bless and renew the land. He carried out this heaven-inspired yearning wherever he went or was forced to go. This is a pattern reflected in Jewish history. “Ever since the time of the first Babylonian exile over 2,000 years ago, Jews of the world have yearned for the return to Zion. This theme is reflected in the daily prayers, literature, and song of the Jewish people.”
- Rebuilding Zion Precedes Messiah: “The Talmud teaches that the ingathering of the exiled kingdoms will be part of the coming of the Messiah. The great exile to Babylonia in the sixth century B.C.E. was ended by Cyrus the Great of Persia. However, the rabbis did not consider his proclamation and the return at that time to be the Ingathering of the Exiles since it was incomplete. The day of the ingathering, the rabbis write, will be ‘as great as the day on which heaven and earth were created’.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Two Zions Begin Again: With the proclamation Joseph Smith made about the keys of the gathering of Israel, restored temple work and the mission of Apostle Orson Hyde to the Holy Land in 1841, a gathering was started again paralleling the gathering of Latter-day Saints in America. “. . . the Land of Israel had never been without a Jewish community–no matter how small–and Jewish immigration to Erez Israel has never ceased. But the dream of re-establishing a Jewish homeland which would draw all of world Jewry to its midst served as a unifying force for the Jews of the Diaspora.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Swamps Drained: In the birthing of modern day Israel, other cities began to spring up. It has always been the culture of Israelites to build up the land. Another modern city was Hadera. Like the Mormon Nauvoo, the swampy area of Hadera was drained and improved to become a “City Beautiful.”
- Service Organizations: Service and care for each other are hallmarks of God’s covenant people. Latter-day Saints have their auxiliary organizations of Priesthood and Relief Society. The Jews also have activities for men and women dedicated to serve others. “Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, was also active in pioneer medical efforts in Erez Israel, and in 1939, Hadassah Hospital was opened in Jerusalem in conjunction with the Hebrew University. Hadassah has since developed into one of the world’s leading research and medical facilities, and together with Israel’s several other hospitals, provides the country with outstanding medical care.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Proclamations: During the biblical conquest of Canaan, Joshua issued proclamations inviting the nations to choose peace and abandon idolatry. Joseph Smith issued proclamations and present-day living prophets continue to do the same.