Network Engineers in Zion

I’ve been pondering a question for the last few weeks. In the Latter-Day Zion, will there be a need for network engineers? Don’t laugh. It’s a serious question. I’ve spent my entire adult life obtaining, fine-tuning and carefully crafting the application of a specialized set of skills and knowledge. I’ve made a fairly good living and enjoyed my work of designing, building and supporting wide-area high-speed computer networks and storage facilities.

Will these engineering skills do me any good in the Latter-Day concept of Zion? I mean, will there even be electricity in Zion, let alone computers and networks? The world has invested billions, perhaps trillions of dollars in electronic storage devices and the means to share that information all over the world in just a few seconds. It really is a miracle to be able to request and see the contents of records stored on the other side of the world.

Selling Products and Services

How about lawyers? Will there be a need for lawyers in Zion? Doctors? Dentists? What about retail store managers, wholesale distribution warehouse workers? Will there be an Amazon, a Walmart, a Target or a Costco? Proctor and Gamble, 3M, Nike, Phillip Morris, General Mills, Anheuser-Busch – all household names producing billions of dollars of consumer goods each year – will there be a need for such companies in Zion?

American Express, Apple, Boeing, Home Depot, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Verizon, Walt Disney, Merck – the list could go on and on. These companies employ millions of people and produce billions of dollars of revenue and wealth for their owners. My job these days is completely dependent on one of those large telecommunication companies. If Verizon stopped buying our network devices, our company would be in a world of hurt.

Money and Zion

And all the money I’ve got socked away in my 401K, will that be of any value when Zion is established? Will there be any need for money in Zion? I’m trying to think of the very practicalities of living in the Latter-Day Zion. Do we live in Zion today? I don’t think so. What about those who teach or believe that the LDS Church is Zion? That can’t be right, can it? Is the LDS Church the Kingdom of God on the earth today? Is the Kingdom of God even here upon the earth today or is that still a future event – the establishment of Zion?

It takes money to buy land and to build a temple. And that temple needs to be built in Zion before the Lord returns. I wonder if there will be property tax on the land where the new Jerusalem will sit. Will we need to render under Caesar? And if so, for how long? I wonder if the land for the new temple has already been purchased. I think it has. I think the location is known but has not been announced yet for obvious reasons. People might quit their jobs, sell everything and move to Zion. But it doesn’t work that way.

It is the work of the angels and the work of the Lord to prepare a people and gather them to Zion. I don’t think we can just take it upon ourselves to send money to the temple fund and expect to have a place in Zion. The same thing happened when the Kirtland temple was built. There were a few wealthy contributors who expected to be admitted to the dedication ceremonies and were greatly disappointed that their money didn’t get them a guaranteed seat in the first session. It is the Lord who determines who will be there.


Zion – the New Jerusalem

Zion is 1) the pure in heart, 2) a place where the pure in heart live and 3) a place where the temple will be built – the new Jerusalem. It is a place where the City of Enoch will return, a community of Saints, an association of the righteous. Zion is a people living in harmony with God and with nature. It is a place of gathering, where the righteous will find refuge from the ills of the world that will be at war one with another everywhere.

Zion is a place where Christ will come to rule and reign. Zion and a New Jerusalem will exist before the Lord comes to usher in the Millennial era. God will bring about Zion as His work in the last days. It is an actual location. The LDS Church says it will be built in Jackson County – Independence Missouri. Joseph Smith later taught that the whole of North and South America will be Zion during the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ.

Zion will be so entirely foreign to this world that the people who come there will be required to adopt a new society, a new way of thinking, a different way of interacting, an entirely new law, a form of government that does not presently exist, an order to their lives that alters everything, and a form of righteousness that is only possible for a society with a new structure. In short, it is nothing like the world in which we now live each day.


Babylon the Great

The world is Babylon. We live in Babylon. It is a world of commerce and trade. It is filled with money, gold and silver, wars and bloodshed, harlots and adultery. It is the world of the wicked, those who love money and power. Babylon is the counterpart to or the very inverse of Zion. Babylon will be destroyed. It will not be converted. It will be destroyed. Babylon is like the modern supermarket or department store, and it’s all for sale.

Babylon is rich, luxurious, immoral, full of fornications, merchants, riches, delicacies, sins, merchandise, gold, silver, precious stones, pearls, fine linens, purples, silks, scarlets, thyine wood, all manner of vessels, ivory, precious wood, brass, iron, marble, and so on. She is a giant delicatessen, full of wine, oil, fine flour, wheat; a perfume counter with cinnamon, odors, ointments, and frankincense; a market with beasts and sheep.

Babylon Must Fall

Babylon, or the world, is full of toxic influences and corrupt traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation, going all the way back to Babylon. Babylon was the largest city in the world. Today it is the world. The whole idea of commerce and trade for profit originated in Babylon. Babylon is the head of Gold and that head of gold is still with us today, corrupting everything and everyone who touches it.

It is in our banking, in our profit motives, in our culture, in our education, in our false ideas about what’s important and what’s not, in our desire for power, and wealth, and influence. All of those things remain with us still today. And they corrupt everything. They corrupt business; they corrupt governments; they corrupt churches. They corrupt society. Everyone is vying with one another to gain influence, power, and in turn, wealth and the acclamation of this world. And it all goes back to Babylon. And Babylon will fall.

Skills Needed in Zion

I read a recent list of suggested skills needed in Zion that is circulated in an email group to which I subscribe. I enjoyed analyzing the list (I’m an engineer – that’s how I think) and found myself feeling a little distraught by the time I finished. My sadness went with me to my personal prayers that night as I asked the Lord the very question I put forth in the opening paragraph. I hoped maybe there was a chance my skills would be needed.

Alas, no. Wo is me. I have invested a lifetime in obtaining knowledge and skills that will not be used or needed in Zion. I do not believe there will be electricity or computers or the Internet or cell phones or any of the things I use each day to make a living and to provide for my family. In my review of Visions of Glory seven years ago I commented on the scenarios Spencer presented and discussed electricity and the Internet in one area.


Electricity and the Internet in Zion

I guess I have always had it in the back of my mind that yes, electricity and the Internet would survive great earthquakes, plagues, economic devastation, invasion and war. But what if they don’t? What if electricity is NOT part of Zion? Could you handle that? I know I would have a hard time. I certainly could not make a living without the Internet, but then, will anyone be making a living as we do in Babylon or will it be radically different?

Can you imagine a world without electricity, laptop computers, the Internet (I’m using all three right now) and cell phones? What would you do with yourself all day? How would you survive? What if you couldn’t get your medications from the local pharmacy? What if the local grocery store no longer had food to sell? What if you could no longer get any gasoline for your cars? Is that where the myth of walking to Zion came into the church?

Discussing Zion in our Home

As I read this to Carol, she pointed out that Zion would not come about for a long time. She reminded me of statements from prophets that work in the temples would go on night and day during the Millennium. I told her she was thinking too far ahead, that Zion would need to be established before the Lord comes. He brings the City of Enoch with Him. There must be a city of Zion already established here to meet Him when He comes.

She said she would be resurrected then. Again I suggested she think shorter term – that the city of Zion would probably be established in our lifetime and the temple built during our life. She told me there is already a temple in Missouri. I decided to not pursue the conversation as there was too much of a difference in beliefs about how Zion will come about to bring us to common ground. Traditions of the fathers are strong.

We finished our discussion with Carol pointing out that we must have at least four years left because it would take that long for the seismic retrofitting and remodeling of the Salt Lake temple. She pointed out that power tools and electricity would be needed to do the job, thus there’s no way the Lord could come in the next four years. Besides, what about the three and a half years the two prophets will protect Israel? There. We still have time.


A Plea to Come Back

As we listened to general conference last weekend, I was touched by Elder Cook’s invitation for those who had removed their names from the records to come back. My sister was Elder Cook’s secretary for a few years before he was an Apostle when he was over the missionary department. Carol turned to me, didn’t say a word, but we both knew that invitation applied to me. “Hey, I had my name removed,” I said. No comment.

I’ve thought this through. I could come back. I could be baptized into the LDS Church again. Here is what I would have to do: I would be required to write a letter of appeal to the First Presidency, meet with a member of  the local area presidency and, although not stated in my original letter of response accepting my resignation, remove my blog and denounce just about everything I’ve ever written here over the past twelve years.

That ain’t gonna happen. I know it hurts Carol each time this comes up. Like many LDS women whose husbands aren’t members, she finds solace in the belief that if she is true and faithful to the church and the prophet, she will be united with a worthy priesthood holder in the eternities. There is so much wrong with that belief that I can’t even begin to deconstruct it properly here, so I’ll leave it for another post at another time.

Craziness of Covid-19 Quarantine

Like most of you, I have been working from home for the last three weeks. For the most part, the work of a network engineer can be done remotely. Millions of people are not so lucky. It has saddened us to see so many restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and small businesses closed by order of the public health officer. Even if President Trump lifts the quarantine order, here in California we will probably still be locked down for weeks.

It’s crazy to see the economic effects of this quarantine: the unemployment filings, the folks who can’t pay their rent, the number of companies who have lost business, the steep declines in the stock market. I agree with the view of many who see this as a major attack on personal liberties and freedoms, including constitutional rights that have seemingly been willingly abandoned by the belief this quarantine is for our good.

In Ventura county, where I live, there are 309 active cases out of 5,522 tested with 35 in my hometown of Camarillo. There have been ten deaths attributed to the virus, some of whom acquired the virus through travel – either on a cruise ship or a trip to China. It seems a bit overkill to require so many millions to stay home. Perhaps it makes sense in New York but seems a bit much for our neck of the woods. How about where you live?

Carol and I participated in the day of fast encouraged by President Nelson. It was sweet to offer heart-felt prayers at the opening and close of our fast in behalf of those who are sick, those who are helping the sick and in behalf of those who have lost their jobs. May God bless all of us to see clearly what is going on in the world and our nation, how the forces of the adversary are using this as an attempt to stop the work of the Lord today.

9 thoughts on “Network Engineers in Zion”

  1. Tim, I cannot say whether you or I will live to see the Millennium. But the skills we develop in this mortal life will prepare our minds for new opportunities in the Millennium and in Heaven. Whether there will be electricity, computers or cell phones does not matter. Whatever comes next will be so much better that these devices will seem like child’s toys. But all the critical thinking skills and logic that you have developed in your earthly career will be put to great use in the hereafter.

    1. Tom, thank you for your thoughtful comment. I appreciate the encouragement. I guess I was thinking more of the physical, mortal skills like farming, fishing, hunting, building a home out of natural materials, making clothing out of animal skins or learning how to weave, spin, sew and otherwise make or provide food, clothing and shelter.

      Maybe I’ve got a false understanding of how things will be among those who build Zion before the Lord comes. I’m not much of a camper. I wasn’t a happy boy scout. Sleeping out of doors was never my thing. In short, after reading that list I felt like I was too much of a city boy to fit in with those building Zion in preparation for the return of the Lord.

      I’ve also thought more about Carol’s statement that the temples would be operating night and day. Knowing the way our present temples are designed and built, they cannot be run without electricity. I was in the LA temple one day when the power went out. The generators kicked in but half the temple closed. After an hour the rest of the temple closed.

      If there was no electricity, how would the temples operate day and night? I recognize that the endowment is still done live in Manti and Salt Lake (or at least it was when it was still open). That would be quite a task to train hundreds of volunteers to play the parts in the endowment ceremony in all the temples that are now built throughout the world.

      Anyway, thank you again for the encouraging thought about critical thinking skills and logic being something we will carry with us into the eternities and, for those who are blessed to be able to build the temple in Zion – I mean the one the Lord will come to as the millennium is ushered in – as somehow being useful to assist in that work of building and preparing.

      And thanks for being a long time reader. God bless.

      1. Here is another thought… The Jaredites needed lights inside their enclosed barges for their ocean voyage to the Americas. The brother of Jared made sixteen stones from molten rock, two for each ship, which were white and clear, just like transparent glass.

        The brother of Jared then asked the Lord to touch each stone so that they would shine in the darkness. The Lord touched each stone with his finger so that each would shine.

        What was the electromagnetic or electromotive force that initiated and sustained the visible light radiation from those stones? I am an engineer but cannot explain this. There is some higher law of energy well beyond man’s understanding.

        So the Lord who can cause light to shine from stones with the simple touch of his finger can surely find some way to provide power for whatever is needed in the temple or elsewhere. Who knows? Maybe the Lord will provide 3D holographic images of the characters represented in the temple film.

        Interestingly, the Lord did not deliver the shining stones to the brother of Jared from the onset.. Rather the Lord left the brother to come up with this idea on his own. And the brother had to make the stones himself using some glass-making skills. The brother also combined faith with works using mighty prayer.

        So I think these verses in Ether 3 give us some hints on technology in the millennium. 🙂

  2. Hi Tim, I’m in the same boat. Programmer / Data Engineer. I’ve asked myself many of the same questions.

    One thing that I think you and I have learned from our tech work that has spiritual applications is this: we can take ill-defined, vague, hand-wavy “outcomes” and translate those into concrete realizations that accomplish something.

    Problem solving.

    They’ll still need that in Zion, right? 🙂 Otherwise, you and I will be digging ditches, my friend! I mean, we’ll probably be doing that anyway.

    1. I had to laugh at your so-appropriate description of project definition and management. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to deal with scope creep when the actual work was revealed to the client or the business owner. Invariably they would say, “Oh, I meant this,” or “Can’t you make it do that?” Well, of course, but that’s not what we originally agreed upon – in writing.

      I wonder if the temple to be built in Zion will require a building permit. Will it be built in a place where zoning ordinances apply? What about water and sewer – will those be a part of the temple, or will the temple be more like those found in MesoAmerica – beautiful stone edifices that have endured hundreds or even thousands of years – but without electricity or sewer facilities.

      Perhaps the temple will only serve as a place for people to come for a few hours to participate in ordinances or ceremonies during the light of the day. Perhaps it will be built in such a manner that there is no need for artificial light. Besides, isn’t there scripture that says the Lord will be the light of the temple and of Zion? But what about before he comes – will there be some form of artificial light used?

      We depend so much on electricity and in my case, upon computers. Think of the millions if not billions of names and dates stored in the family history archives of the LDS Church. The whole idea of linking everyone back to Adam is simply an astounding project that is yet to be completed, and is to be the main work of the millennium, according to many LDS leaders going back many, many years.

      Yet, is that the work that will really be done in the temples during the millennium? Just who are the fathers to whom we are supposed to be sealed? Was the Lord referring to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah and others back to Adam? Aren’t they the ones to whom we are supposed to be turning our hearts? I spend a lot of time each Sunday adding names in and elsewhere. Why?

      I love family history research. It’s an enjoyable hobby, but in traditional LDS teachings, it is so much more than a hobby. It is some of the most important work we can do. So why is it that the work is mainly done by the older generation? I can’t imagine how many thousands, even millions of hours have gone into the design, creation and maintenance of those online databases that require power.

      We don’t even pretend to print a permanent record of our business transactions in the workplace anymore. At most, we print a summary and then, usually onto a PDF which we never print. We only email it back and forth to each other. I wonder if all the data we are entering into these huge databases for family history will be available for review in the millennium without electricity.

      I hope and pray that I am wrong about the lack of electricity in the millennium. That sounds so dystopian as if we will be living in an age of great destruction, loss, famine, death and pestilence. I think of those things as happening before the return of the Lord. Surely, we will have good things restored to us at the last day, and to me, that includes electricity, computers and the Internet.

      Huge information stores are what makes the Internet so powerful. I can’t even begin to imagine how we could store such vast amounts of information in any other way. Spinning platters of magnetic media that retain the data stored on them even when powered down. That’s the heart of everything we store. Will it all be lost? Surely not. If so, what a shame it will be. What a tragic loss.

      I continue to ponder and yes, to pray about this. What does the Lord think?

  3. Luis Matamala Sepulveda

    Hola Tim. Yo he trabajado casi siempre en ventas, pero yo estudié Agronomia. Creo que me servirá en Sion?.
    Podrias darme la referencia en donde José Smith habla de que América del Norte y del Sur serán Sión tambien. Gracias y saludos desde Chile.

  4. Hola Luis. Estas son algunas de las referencias que citan a José Smith sobre la ubicación de Sión:

    Este sigue siendo un tema muy debatido en la historia de la iglesia. Algunos dicen que José no fue citado correctamente. Hay muchos sitios que discuten esto con mayor detalle:

  5. They welcome people back, but they have no intention of doing anything differently. They continue their false traditions.

    Take their new Book of Mormon videos, for example. They created a video recently depicting the verses from Jacob Chapter 2 regarding polygamy.

    Guess what? They completely skip verses 25 and 26! The very verses which are the most important verses for understanding the context of the verses afterwards, especially verse 30, which has been used historically to wrongly justify polygamy in the church. Verses 25 and 26 make it clear that 30 is no justification. Here they are for ease of reference:

    25 Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph.

    26 Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old.

    30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.

    Open the chapter and follow along with the words of the video. They blatantly skip 25 and 26 and then have the actor state verse 30 as though it were providing a loophole to the law. Thus, they are still engaging in polygamy justification to this day. Twisting meaning. Omitting the important context that permits understanding. Unbelievable. This shows they are still up to no good.

    I am reminded of 1 Nephi 13:

    27 And all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men.

    28 Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God.

    They have literally taken away the meaning of Jacob 2 by selective editing. It’s a crime. They show no signs of departing from this behavior.

  6. Lee, Thanks for sharing. It is amazing to see. There is an institutional protection plan in place, even by those who should be honest about the history of the LDS Church. This has long been, for me, the number one reason why I resigned. For those who have eyes to see, it is sad and almost frightening to see the lengths to which the church will go to promote and protect that lie about polygamy. And that is just one of many deceptions being promoted with great psychological effort.

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