For many people I have talked to in Canada, certainly in Southern Alberta specifically, there is a great deal of thought about Zion. Not Zion, as in the New Jerusalem or the old one or even Enoch’s place. No this Zion exists in one very specific place and it is found “In the tops of the mountains”.
If you have not guessed by now I am referring to Utah. Lately I have been reading an older book, which I will reveal in Part 2, which discusses Zion as SLC and surrounding area. For many of these Saints Zion was a critical place. One that they must unite with as soon as possible.
It seems in Southern Alberta this feeling is also felt. My Stepfather in law was always trying to figure out a way to go to Utah. In fact they came very close to doing so but could not sell their house at the time in a deep recession so they stayed put. As it would turn out later, this was a big blessing as he was diagnosed with Cancer and the cost of the procedures which failed to prolong his life would have been through the roof.
But there are a number of people in Canada, who went to BYU, or BYU Idaho. They attend these schools with plans to possibly return home, yet many stay. I have found to some extent I have felt that bug. I at times have felt a very strong push to return to the USA. So far the answer has been a firm no. Each time I go off in a completely different direction.
Yet, that pull for me seems to some extent still exist. I think now I would be less likely to move to Utah than some other western state but by the same token I understand how saints from other countries felt in the 1800s as they felt the pull to Zion.
While our leaders say stay, it is obvious that among a great number there is a feeling of longing for a centre place. Many in Britain, in small wards and Branches, seem to some extent envy that closeness which we have in our big centres.
Which brings me to my second point. Why do we think this pull is so strong? It is a feeling that effects old long time members, and the newly baptised. While I will willingly say that many do not want to move to the centre stake, their reasons maybe because of previous exposure to Utah or to the sense you get talking to others.
Coming from Southern Alberta often I have felt that Utah is a magnified version of the Mormon belt in our area. Which is both a compliment and a detraction. Yet the pull of unity, of community certainly is in the back of my mind at times. It amazes me to have it pop up now and again.