My patriarchal blessing says that I’ll be a savior upon Mt. Zion. What does it mean? Where do I get started?
Being a savior on Mt. Zion refers to those who act an a saving capacity for their ancestors who have lived on the earth without the opportunity of knowing the gospel of Jesus Christ or being able to participate in its saving ordinances. These saving ordinances, as announced by the Savior to Nicodemus, include the ordinance of baptism—
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:1-5)
Being born of the water and of the Spirit of course refers to the ordinance of baptism. Elsewhere in the scriptures it is explained that for any baptism to be valid in the sight of God it must be a baptism by immersion for the remission of personal sins, motivated by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ following full and complete repentance of sins committed, and the baptism must be performed by one having the authority of the holy priesthood to act in the name of the Savior (see Acts 19:1-5).
The question arises, what becomes of those who did not have the opportunity to participate in these saving ordinances during their mortal probation? There are authoritarian religions that say that such souls are lost forever because they were not baptized under the auspices of the authority of that religion. Such a doctrine of course denies the justice and mercy of God, as in that philosophy God would be partial to the few of all humanity who lived when those particular churches were on the earth and who were participating members in those religions.
Other religions recognize that baptism is essential to salvation, and in an attempt to demonstrate the justice of God, they accept the baptisms performed by any persons and by all churches. This attempt to demonstrate that God is just falls pitifully short by denying salvation to the vast part of humanity who do not come under that larger umbrella of the baptism requirement.
Such philosophy being anathema those who do not claim to have that particular authority from God are required to confess that baptism is not an essential ordinance.
There are a number of faith-based religions that believe that it is only sufficient to confess Jesus to be saved. They hold that baptism in not an essential ordinance, but an act of the faithful who have already been saved by confessing Christ as their Savior. This group denies the validity of the words of the Savior and the experience of Paul as cited above.
There is only one religious organization in the all the world that proclaims a doctrine that logically demonstrates the true and fully complete justice of God, coupled with his infinite mercy, in providing the opportunity for all of humanity to know and understand the doctrine of salvation as preached by Jesus Christ, and for all who will to avail themselves of all of the essential saving ordinances of the gospel, and that organization is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly called the Mormon Church. And although this doctrine is fully explained by modern-day prophets, it was actually announced by the early apostles, and practiced by the primitive church. This doctrine preaches that the principals of the gospel are taught in the post-mortal spirit world to all who have lived on the earth during all the ages of time, and the saving ordinances of the gospel are performed vicariously by legal proxies for those who died without knowing the gospel.
Paul even uses the accepted principal of baptism for the dead to demonstrate that there is a resurrection from the dead—
21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead…..29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead? (1 Cor 15:21,29)
The doctrine of baptism for the dead remained a practice of the early church until the third century. It appears to have been abolished at the Counsel of Nicea.
But it may be claimed that even the Mormon Church falls short of demonstrating that God is just because how can that church perform this essential vicarious work for all of humanity? The major part of which have died without leaving any evidence of their having lived? That, however, is one of the great purposes of the Millennium. During that period, those unknown spirits will present themselves, and the saving ordinances will be vicariously performed in their behalf by mortals living during the millennium in holy temples that will dot the earth.
So the saviors on Mt. Zion are those who provide for the salvation of that part of humanity that cannot do the work for themselves because they have passed from mortality without knowing the gospel, by researching genealogical records to identify the dead, and then going to the temple to act as proxies to perform the essential vicarious work for all of our Father’s children who would avail themselves of the blessings of the gospel. In the words of Hartman Rector, Jr.,
“At that moment I had no idea what my mission was, but I now believe it is to begin the work on the genealogy of my family. In my patriarchal blessing, which I received later, Patriarch Eldred Smith told me that I am to be “a savior on Mt. Zion,” and that all obstacles have been removed from my path in doing this work” (Hartman Rector, Jr., and Connie Rector, No More Strangers, 4 vols., 4:, p.55).