“Thou shalt ask, and it shall be revealed unto you in mine own due time where the New Jerusalem shall be built . . .” (D&C 42:9, 62).
The Lord described the purposes and conditions of the latter-day Zion:
“It shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the Most High God;
“And the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion.
“And it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety.
“And there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven; and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another.
“And it shall be said among the wicked: Let us not go up to battle against Zion, for the inhabitants of Zion are terrible; wherefore we cannot stand.
“And it shall come to pass that the righteous shall be gathered out from among all nations, and shall come to Zion, singing with songs of everlasting joy” (D&C 45:66-71).
“Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem” (D&C 84:2).
The Lord also explained something about the initial leadership of the long-awaited Zion:
“I will raise up unto my people a man, who shall lead them like as Moses led the children of Israel.
“And as your fathers were led at the first, even so shall the redemption of Zion be” (D&C 103:16, 18).
The righteous of old will join the mortal Saints and the people of Enoch in the new City of the Lord:
“And the graves of the saints shall be opened; and they shall come forth and stand on the right hand of the Lamb, when he shall stand upon Mount Zion, and upon the holy city, the New Jerusalem” (D&C 133:56).
The Location of New Jerusalem
Writing out the basic beliefs of the Restored Church of Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith penned the following: “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory” (Articles of Faith 1:10).
At first the Lord simply hinted at the specific venue for the New Jerusalem, preparing the minds of the Saints for that which lay ahead. In a revelation given through Joseph Smith to Oliver Cowdery in September of 1830, he said: “No man knoweth where the city Zion shall be built, but it shall be given hereafter. Behold, I say unto you that it shall be on the borders by the Lamanites” (D&C 28:9; see also 42:9, 35).
Over the succeeding months the Lord continued to remind his people of important future events. Speaking to Joseph Smith in February of 1831 the Lord said: “It shall be revealed unto you in mine own due time where the New Jerusalem shall be built” (D&C 42:62).
In July of 1831 the word came: “The land of Missouri . . . is the land which I have appointed and consecrated for the gathering of the saints. Wherefore, this is the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion” (D&C 57:1-2).
Why at Independence, Missouri?
Everything comes full circle. This is the place where it all began (in Eden, the earth’s first Temple). And here is where it all ends. The course of the Lord really is “one eternal round.”
Brigham Young exclaimed: “It is a pleasant thing to think of and to know where the garden of Eden was . . . In Jackson County was the garden of Eden. Joseph has declared this, and I am as much bound to believe that as to believe that Joseph was a prophet of God” (Journal History of the Church, March 15, 1857, 1; Church Archives).
So the Western Hemisphere is really the Old World, not the New World! And some day the old will become new once again.
The people of the Lord must be prepared for the Messiah’s Coming in glory. One great conference, a priesthood meeting/council meeting/sacrament meeting, involving the first man, Adam, will be convened at Adam-ondi-Ahman, to help with temporal and spiritual preparations for the Second Coming.
Joseph Fielding Smith wrote in the 20th century: “In accord with the revelations given to the Prophet Joseph Smith, we teach that the Garden of Eden was on the American continent located where the City Zion, or the New Jerusalem, will be built. When Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden, they eventually dwelt at a place called Adam-ondi-Ahman, situated in what is now Daviess County, Missouri. Three years before the death of Adam he called the righteous of his posterity at this place and blessed them and it is at this place where Adam, or Michael, will sit as we read in the 7th chapter of Daniel” (Doctrines of Salvation 3:74).
Characteristics of Zion
In a letter to the elders of the Church at Kirtland on September 1, 1835, the Prophet Joseph Smith detailed his vision for what was coming in the establishment of Zion:
“I received, by a heavenly vision, a commandment in June following, to take my journey to the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and there designate the very spot which was to be the central place for the commencement of the gathering together of those who embrace the fullness of the everlasting Gospel. Accordingly I undertook the journey, with certain ones of my brethren, and after a long and tedious journey, suffering many privations and hardships, arrived in Jackson County, Missouri, and after viewing the country, seeking diligently at the hand of God, He manifested Himself unto us, and designated, to me and others, the very spot upon which He designed to commence the work of the gathering, and the upbuilding of an ‘holy city,’ which should be called Zion—Zion, because it is a place of righteousness, and all who build thereon are to worship the true and living God, and all believe in one doctrine, even the doctrine of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
“First, I shall begin by quoting from the prophecy of Enoch, speaking of the last days: ‘Righteousness will I send down out of heaven, and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten, His resurrection from the dead . . .; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine own elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, a holy city, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming, for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a new Jerusalem’ [see Moses 7:62].