Ambassadors for Zion
By High Priest Corwyn L. Mercer, General Church Youth Leader
Vol. 19, Number 3 Sep/Oct/Nov/Dec 2018 Issue No. 76
“The Lord reigneth; let the people tremble; he sitteth between the cherubim; let the earth be moved. The Lord is great in Zion; and he is high above all the people. Let them praise thy great and terrible name; for it is holy. The king’s strength also loveth judgment; thou dost establish equity, thou executest judgment and righteousness in Jacob. Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy. Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon the Lord, and he answered them. He spake unto them in the cloudy pillar; they kept his testimonies, and the ordinance that he gave them. Thou answeredst them, O Lord our God; thou wast a God that forgavest them, though thou tookest vengeance of their inventions. Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy hill, for the Lord our God is holy” (Psalm 99:1–9).
During my consecration service, it was told to me that, while I did not gather to Zion, God had gathered me. I grew up with my family moving from place to place. Wherever we landed—Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi, Indiana—we found the church. My parents taught me the gospel and my grandparents made sure I was able to participate in youth activities, retreats, and camps.
My first World Conference was during my freshman year at Graceland College in 1984. I was so excited to be at the Auditorium. As a family we had listened to Handel’s Messiah on the radio being broadcast from the Auditorium. That conference was also so sad in that I came to realize the church had left the foundation of the gospel restored in 1830 and reorganized in 1860. I remember crying to the Lord that week of conference, begging him to change hearts and looking around for where the truth might still reside. In the midst of my crying out, the Lord spoke to me saying very clearly, “Keep your eyes upon me, and I will lead you in my paths.” Like everyone that held to the rod of iron, I struggled with where the church leadership was leading. We could clearly see them leading away from the truth of the restored gospel.
While at Graceland, I spent one summer at Nauvoo and the next at Kirtland as an historic tour guide. After graduating from Graceland, I went to work for this church that I had grown up to love because of the restored gospel that it had brought to my life, which led me to live in Independence. I also saw first-hand how the “saints” treated each other in Zion.
I joined the Restoration movement after moving to Fort Worth, Texas. I felt blessed to find the presence of the Holy Spirit and the truth of the restored gospel that I had known as a child. My first question in the Restoration movement was, “What is next?” The answers I received from different branch leaders was disappointing. They said, “God will change the hearts of the institutional church leaders, and we can return.” I have never seen God take away anyone’s agency.
Later, I moved to Iowa. Then, moving again to take a teaching job at Center Place Restoration School, I came back to Independence. Honestly, I came back to Independence, not as a gathered saint, but by opportunity. I had no emotional tie to keep me here in the Center Place. I dreamed of retiring to coastal Texas. I had loved living in Texas and just knew that was where I wanted to retire.
As you can see, moving around was in my blood from childhood to adulthood. God, in gathering me in, never took my agency but, as a loving Father, brought me to the place he wanted me to be. When those words were spoken to me at the consecration service, I knew my God had brought me to the Center Place of Zion, but I now ask myself, “What am I doing to bring about Zion?” I grew up knowing who Jesus is and worshipping God. I also grew up knowing Christ’s church is to build Zion. Look around yourself and find how you can be about your Father’s business.
Our heritage church spent years trying to simulate Zion through reunions and camps. As the church youth look to travel to visit the historic sites of the early Restored church, we in the Remnant Church understand that God called that church, us, to build Zion—the spiritual and the temporal coming together under the power of God to be a celestial people. May we sing, “The Lord is great in Zion; and he is high above all the people.”