Why did Zion fail in Joseph’s day? How can we avoid that today? In almost every respect we are no better than those in Joseph’s time, and unfortunately in most respects we are not as good as they were. The only advantage we have is their failure. Provided, of course, we will learn from it. Their failure gives us great insight into what does not and cannot work.
The Lord counsels us to not attempt anything involving Zion in “haste.” But we are also told to be diligent. (See, e.g., D&C 59: 3-4.)
Read this advice from the Lord as if it were given to you about your day:
Verily I say unto you who have assembled yourselves together that you may learn my will concerning the redemption of mine afflicted people— Behold, I say unto you, were it not for the transgressions of my people, speaking concerning the church and not individuals, they might have been redeemed even now. But behold, they have not learned to be obedient to the things which I required at their hands, but are full of all manner of evil, and do not impart of their substance, as becometh saints, to the poor and afflicted among them; And are not united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom; And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself. And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be, by the things which they suffer. I speak not concerning those who are appointed to lead my people, who are the first elders of my church, for they are not all under this condemnation; But I speak concerning my churches abroad—there are many who will say: Where is their God? Behold, he will deliver them in time of trouble, otherwise we will not go up unto Zion, and will keep our moneys. Therefore, in consequence of the transgressions of my people, it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion— That they themselves may be prepared, and that my people may be taught more perfectly, and have experience, and know more perfectly concerning their duty, and the things which I require at their hands. And this cannot be brought to pass until mine elders are endowed with power from on high. For behold, I have prepared a great endowment and blessing to be poured out upon them, inasmuch as they are faithful and continue in humility before me. Therefore it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season, for the redemption of Zion. For behold, I do not require at their hands to fight the battles of Zion; for, as I said in a former commandment, even so will I fulfil—I will fight your battles. (D&C 105: 1-14.)
Now go back and read D&C 101: 1-68. Remember the greatest challenge to prepare beforehand is the hearts of the people who are to gather. There is no reason to gather to fail again. Without appropriate preparation of people beforehand, angels will not gather them in. (D&C 77: 11.)
Zeal and haste will prevent Zion from coming and will destroy it if it’s here.