Gathering to the Land of Zion

Church History in the Fulness of Times Teacher Manual, (2001), 18–19


Themes

  1. 1.

    The establishment of Zion as foretold by the prophets is a primary responsibility of the Latter-day Saints.

  2. 2.

    Independence, Missouri, was identified through revelation as the center place of Zion.

  3. 3.

    The Prophet Joseph Smith dedicated the temple site and appointed leaders to remain and supervise Church affairs in Missouri.

    Suggested Approaches

  • Review the sequence of the Saints’ awareness concerning Zion or the New Jerusalem.

    1. 1.

      The books of Ether and 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon indicate that the New Jerusalem will be established in America. This fact stimulated interest on the part of early Church members to know exactly when and where the prophecies would be fulfilled. Read and briefly comment on 3 Nephi 21:20–27 and Ether 13:1–11.

    2. 2.

      In September of 1830 the Lord corrected false revelations received by Hiram Page concerning the location of Zion, and indicated it would be established “on the borders by the Lamanites.” This referred to the border that existed from 1825 to 1845, east of which were the states of the United States, and west of which were the Indian nations. Part of that border extended along the western edge of the state of Missouri (see D&C 28:9; student manual, p. 79). This border is also referred to in the Doctrine and Covenants as “the line running directly between Jew and Gentile” (D&C 57:4).

    3. 3.

      In the fall and winter of 1830–31 the Lamanite missionaries traveled to Missouri.

    4. 4.

      In January 1831 the Lord promised he would reveal the place of the inheritance of the Saints (see D&C 38:20).

    5. 5.

      In June of 1831 the Lord revealed that Missouri was the land of the Saints’ inheritance (see D&C 52:2, 42–43).

    6. 6.

      In July 1831 the Lord designated Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, as the location of Zion, the New Jerusalem (see D&C 57:1–2).

    7. 7.

      On 2 August 1831 Sidney Rigdon dedicated the land of Zion for the gathering of Israel, and on 3 August the Prophet Joseph Smith dedicated the temple site.

    8. 8.

      The Saints were told about the tribulation and sacrifice that would be required before Zion could be fully established, though they did not envision what lay ahead (see D&C 58:1–5).

  • Help students understand that the gathering to Ohio was (1) a call from the Lord and (2) directed by the Lord’s living prophet. The gathering today is to the stakes of Zion. When the time comes that the Saints are to gather to the New Jerusalem it will be (1) a call from the Lord and (2) under the direction of the Lord’s living prophet. President Harold B. Lee said:

    “The third objective that I would name is to teach the gospel, that students will not be misled by purveyors of false doctrines, vain speculations, and faulty interpretations. For instance, we have people who are constantly spreading the word that the time has now come to go back and settle Jackson County, Missouri, and build the temple. Well, I suppose that when the Lord gets ready for that, he will direct us through the proper channels; he won’t do it through some Tom, Dick, or Harry who gets an idea he’s going to buy lands and therefore call the people back to build up Jackson County. I think it’s important to keep that in mind—the time will be when the Lord tells us.

    “Down on the coast and elsewhere, we constantly have people who are saying that somebody has said we must flee to the Rocky Mountains for safety, leave the coast, the wickedness of the world, and come to the mountains. The Lord hasn’t said that you have to come here in the shadow of the Salt Lake Temple to be safe. It is not where you live, but how you live that is important. You can be just as safe in Texas, New York, Chicago, or on the coast as you can here, provided you put in gear the full program of the Church” (“Objectives of Church Education,” in Charge to Religious Educators, 2nd ed. [1982], p. 14).

    Theme Sources

  • History of the Church, 1:188–206.

  • Comprehensive History of the Church, 1:253–64.

  • Readings in LDS Church History, 1:104–13.

    Additional Sources

  • Richard Lloyd Anderson, “Jackson County in Early Mormon Descriptions,” Missouri Historical Review, Apr. 1971, pp. 270–93.

    Covers W. W. Phelps’s firsthand account of the trip to Missouri in July 1831 with the Prophet, as well as his description of the land of Missouri. There is also an account of Independence as seen by other travelers.

  • Warren A. Jennings, “Zion Is Fled: The Expulsion of the Mormons from Jackson County, Missouri,” Ph.D. diss., University of Florida, 1962.

  • T. Edgar Lyon, “Independence, Missouri, and the Mormons, 1827–1833,” Brigham Young University Studies, Autumn 1972, pp. 10–19.

    Traces selected aspects of Latter-day Saint economic development.