Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

Pillars of My Faith: A Zion Mosaic

Posted by BrianJ on November 14, 2009

At today’s Sunstone Northwest Syposium, BCC permablogger Steve Evans shared his personal testimony in a segment titled “Pillars of My Faith.” Steve focused on mosaics, specifically the Ark of the Covenant mosaic found in the oratory at Germigny-des-Prés (pictured below), as analogous to how Zion operates: individuals who, through cohesion and diversity, create a beautiful and meaningful society.


Joseph Smith’s emphasis on Zion—or at least, my understanding of his emphasis—moved to the forefront of my testimony and theology about a year ago. The desire to live in unity with others and God is now the rule by which I try to make my all my decisions, measure my interpretation of scripture, and so on. It’s a new approach for me—despite it being a fairly obvious concept in scripture—and I’m continually amazed by the ways it expands and clarifies my thinking and affects my behavior.

But here’s where I’ve been failing: I am convinced that Zion arises not by God destroying all the bad people so I can finally live in peace, but rather through me and others choosing to live in harmony despite our disagreements. Nevertheless, I sometimes catch myself trying to change others in some way—their political views, food preferences, entertainment choices, etc. Coming back to Steve’s mosaic analogy, I’m the little blue tile who is trying to convince all the tiles around him to be blue too. No longer an intricate depiction of God’s mercy and faithfulness, the mosaic “post-Brian-ification” is just another blue ceiling.

More often, however, I take a live-and-let-live attitude. And that’s good, right? I can work with and respect my neighbor despite our differences and everyone will be happy and never fight. Yay! {pat myself on the back: I’m Mr Cohesive}

Wrong. As good as that sounds, it does not and never has felt like Zion. But until tonight I couldn’t tell you why.

Now, I don’t know that this was Steve’s intent, but his mosaic analogy taught me this: it’s not enough that the blue tile allow the orange tile next to it to remain orange. No, the blue tile also needs to accentuate the orange and vice versa—it’s the difference between a drab, lifeless picture and one made beautiful through vibrant contrast. Can I do more than merely tolerate my neighbor? Can I love him so truly that I actually admire our differences and give him support and encouragement in the things that make us different? Cohesion and diversity.

4 Responses to “Pillars of My Faith: A Zion Mosaic”

  1. Kelly jones said

    That is so logically true. It’s just really hard, that’s all.

  2. Ben Pratt said

    Brian, this was probably my favorite talk from Sunstone Northwest, and I like your spin on it also.

    I regret we didn’t get to meet while there yesterday.

  3. BrianJ said

    Kelly: thanks for stopping by!

    Ben: yes, I regret that hiring a babysitter by the hour (on top of the cost of registration) forced us to run home asap and miss any sort of meet and greet.

  4. BrianJ said

    UPDATE: Full text of Steve’s talk is now available.

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