History of the Church AccountSaturday, May 19, 1838 — This morning we struck our tents and formed a line of march, crossing Grand River at the mouth of Honey Creek and Nelson’s Ferry. Grand River is a large, beautiful, deep and rapid stream, during the high waters of Spring, and will undoubtedly admit of navigation by steamboat and other water craft. At the mouth of Honey Creek is a good landing. We pursued our course up the river, mostly through timber, for about eighteen miles, when we arrived at Colonel Lyman Wight’s home. He lives at the foot of Tower Hill (a name I gave the place in consequence of the remains of an old Nephite altar or tower that stood thee), where we camped for the Sabbath. In the afternoon I went up the river about half a mile to Wight’s Ferry, accompanied by President Rigdon, and my clerk, George W. Robinson, for the purpose of selecting and laying claim to a city plat near said ferry in Daviess County, township 60, ranges 27 and 28, and sections 25, 36, 31, and 3 0, which the brethren called “Spring Hill,” but by the mouth of the Lord it was named Adam-ondi-Ahman, because, said He, it is the place where Adam shall come to visit his people, or the Ancient of Days shall sit, as spoken of by Daniel the Prophet.4
Adam Driven From GardenThrough revelation, Joseph Smith learned that an area in Northwestern Missouri near Gallatin was the place where Adam lived after he was cast out of the Garden of Eden and that a Nephite altar had been erected near there. The revelations about Adam-ondi-Ahman can now be found in the Doctrine and Covenants. (D&C 107:53, 116)5
Heber C. KimballThe Prophet Joseph called upon Brother Brigham, myself and others, saying, “Brethren, come, go along with me, and I will show you something,” He led us a short distance to a place where were the ruins of three altars built of stone, one above the other, and one standing a little back of the other, like unto the pulpits in the Kirtland Temple, representing the order of three grades of Priesthood; “There,” said Joseph, “is the place where Adam offered up sacrifice after he was cast out of the garden.” The altar stood at the highest point of the bluff. I went and examined the place several times while I remained there. 6
Wilford Woodruff“Joseph, the Prophet, told me that the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri. When Adam was driven out he went to the place we now call Adam-ondi-Ahman, Daviess County, Missouri. There he built an altar and offered sacrifices.” 7 What is the gospel as taught by Jesus himself? The very first principle was faith in the Messiah; this was the first principle ever taught to man. When Adam, after being driven from the garden of Eden, went to Adam-ondi-Ahman to offer sacrifice, the angel of the Lord asked him why he did so. Adam replied that he did not know, but the Lord had commanded him to do it. He was then told that the blood of bulls and goats, of rams and lambs should be spilt upon the altar as a type of the great and last sacrifice which should be offered up for the sins of the world. The first principle, then, ever taught to Father Adam was faith in the Messiah, who was to come in the meridian of time to lay down his life for the redemption of man. 8 At a conference of the Sunday School children in the old Tabernacle on the 30th of March (1873), Elder Woodruff reported Brigham Young as saying, “Joseph, the Prophet, told me that the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri. When Adam was driven out he went to the place we now call Adam-ondi-Ahman, Daviess County, Missouri. There he built an altar and offered sacrifice.” 9
John A. Widtsoe“In a revelation to the Prophet, an early event in the history of mankind, occurring near Adam-ondi-Ahman, was told: Three years previous to the death of Adam, he called Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah, who were all high priests, with the residue of his posterity who were righteous, into the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and there bestowed upon them his last blessing. (D&C 107:5 )” 10 “Since Adam called together seven generations of his descendants at Adam-ondi-Ahman, it can well be believed that there was his old homestead. If so, the Garden of Eden was probably not far distant, for it was the entrance at the east of the Garden which was closed against them at the time of the “fall.” (Genesis 3:24 ) In fact, it has been commonly understood among the Latter-day Saints, from the teachings of the Prophet, that the temple was to be built in or near the location of the Garden of Eden. That the Prophet actually taught that the Garden of Eden was in or near Independence, Missouri, is amply testified to by many who knew and heard him.” 11
Joseph Fielding Smith“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,fn and it is at this place where Adam, or Michael, will sit as we read in the 7th chapter of Daniel.” 12 “The Lord revealed that Adam-ondi-Ahman, a place in Daviess County, Missouri, is where Adam dwelt after he was driven out of the Garden of Eden. The scriptures say that Adam journeyed to the East of Eden and at that portion of the garden from whence he was driven the Lord placed Cherubim to prevent Adam returning. The Garden of Eden, then, must have been on the western hemisphere.” 13 “of necessity the first sanctified temples were the mountaintops and secluded places in the wilderness. If we are correctly informed, Adam built his altar on a hill above the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman. At that place the Lord revealed to him the purpose of the fall and the mission of the Savior.” 14
Orson F. Whitney“At that very spot, Spring Hill, Davis County, Missouri, in the year 1838, the Latter-day Saints, by direction of the Prophet, began to build a city, naming it Adam-ondi-Ahman, afterwards abbreviated to Diahman. While engaged in making the survey, some of the brethren came upon the ruins of an ancient altar, which the Prophet, on beholding, declared to be the identical altar upon which Adam offered sacrifices after he was expelled from Eden. The Garden of Eden, Joseph said, was in Jackson County, Missouri, from which part the Saints had been driven, as if to typify reminiscently the original expulsion. In both instances, the tree of disobedience bore the same bitter fruit. In Jackson County the New Jerusalem is to be built, and a people prepared for the glorious coming of the Lord. That America is the Old World, not the New, science now affirms; but the fact was first proclaimed by revelation, whose other name, in this case, is Joseph Smith the Prophet.” 15 “The brethren of Caldwell went directly to Adam-ondi-Ahman, which is on the west fork of the Grand River…The Prophet Joseph called upon Brother Brigham, myself and others, saying, ‘Brethren, come, go along with me, and I will show you something.’ He led us a short distance to a place where were the ruins of three altars built of stone, one above the other, and one standing a little back of the other, like unto the pulpits in the Kirtland Temple representing the three grades of Priesthoods: ‘There,’ said Joseph, ‘is the place where Adam offered up sacrifice after he was cast out of the garden.’ The altar stood at the highest point on the bluff. I went and examined the place several times while I remained there.” 16
Meaning of the Name
Bruce R. McConkie“Ahman is one of the names by which God was known to Adam. Adam-ondi-Ahman, a name carried over from the pure Adamic language into English, is one for which we have not been given a revealed, literal translation. As near as we can judge—and this view comes down from the early brethren who associated with the Prophet Joseph Smith, who was the first one to use the name in this dispensation—Adam-ondi-Ahman means the place or land of God where Adam dwelt” 17 The sacrament is to be administered in a future day, on this earth, when the Lord Jesus is present, and when all the righteous of all ages are present. This, of course, will be a part of the grand council at Adam-ondi-Ahman. 18 [A]ll the faithful members of the Church then living and all the faithful saints of all the ages past will be present. It will be the greatest congregation of faithful saints ever assembled on planet earth. It will be a sacrament meeting. It will be a day of judgment for the faithful of all the ages. And it will take place in Daviess County, Missouri, at a place called Adam-ondi-Ahman. 19 Daniel’s account of the great latter-day council at Adam-ondi-Ahman includes these words: “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.” (Dan. 7:9-10.) Thrones are cast down: the kingdoms of this world cease; it is the day when the Lord makes a full end of all nations. He alone shall be exalted in that day. The Ancient of Days, the oldest and most ancient of men, Adam our father, sits in judgment over the righteous of his race. Be it remembered that the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb, who were with the Lord in his ministry in Jerusalem, shall judge the whole house of Israel, meaning that portion of Israel who have kept the commandments, “and none else.” (D&C 29:12.) There will be a great hierarchy of judges in that great day, of whom Adam, under Christ, will be the chief of all. Those judges will judge the righteous ones under their jurisdiction, but Christ himself, he alone, will judge the wicked. All this we have heretofore set forth; now we are seeing Adam sitting in his judicial capacity. And the scene is glorious indeed. Who are the “thousand thousands” who “ministered unto him”? Are not these the millions who have held keys and powers and authorities in all dispensations? Are they not the ones who are called to report their stewardships and to give an accounting of how and in what manner they have exercised the keys of the kingdom in their days? Will not every steward be called upon to tell what he has done with the talents with which he was endowed? Truly, it shall be so; and those who minister unto the Ancient of Days are indeed the ministers of Christ reporting their labors to their immediate superiors, even back to Adam, who holds the keys of salvation over all the earth for all ages. And who are the “ten thousand times ten thousand” who stand before him? Are not these the one hundred million and more who have been faithful and true in the days of their mortal probations? Are they not the same “ten thousand times ten thousand” who are “kings and priests,” and who will live and reign with Christ a thousand years? Are they not the ones who shall sing in that great day the song of the redeemed, saying, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing . . . Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever”? (Rev. 5:10-13.) Truly, it is so; this is a part of that great day for which all the righteous have yearned, and the Lord Jesus, in its course, is using and honoring his ministers. Each one is operating within the sphere of his assignment; each is serving in his appointed way. The judgment is set and the books are opened, and the Lord God, who is judge of all, is judging all by the hands of his servants whom he hath appointed. This is that of which John wrote: “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them. . . . And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” (Rev. 20:4.) 20 If we are to understand what shall transpire at Adam-ondi-Ahman in the near future, we must first envision the relationship between the Lord Jehovah, who is Christ our Savior, and the man Adam. Christ is the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten in the flesh, and the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. He is the Redeemer of the world and the Savior of men. He is the Son of God and is one with the Father in power, might, and dominion. Adam is the foremost spirit next to the Lord Jehovah. He is the archangel, the captain of the Lord’s hosts who led the armies of heaven when Lucifer rebelled; he is Michael, the mightiest of all the spirit host save only the Lord Jesus; and he came to earth as Adam, the first man. His relationship with the God of Israel is set forth in the revelation which says that “the Lord God, the Holy One of Zion, . . . hath established the foundations of Adam-ondi-Ahman,” and “hath appointed Michael your prince, and established his feet, and set him upon high, and given unto him the keys of salvation under the counsel and direction of the Holy One, who is without beginning of days or end of life.” (D&C 78:15-16.) Thus Adam stands next to the Holy Messiah, receives counsel and direction and power from him, and (under Christ) administers salvation to all men…. Adam, under the direction of the Holy One, holds the keys of salvation for all men. He presides over all dispensations; all the dispensation heads and all the prophets receive direction from him; all report their labors to him. He is the chief person in the hierarchy of God, and he directs all of the affairs of the Lord on earth. “Daniel in his seventh chapter speaks of the Ancient of Days; he means the oldest man, our Father Adam, Michael, he will call his children together and hold a council with them to prepare them for the coming of the Son of Man.” By his children is meant the residue of his posterity that are righteous; all of his posterity will not be involved, only those—as it was in the days of the original gathering at Adam-ondi-Ahman—who are worthy. “He (Adam) is the father of the human family, and presides over the spirits of all men, and all that have had the keys must stand before him in this grand council.” Every prophet, apostle, president, bishop, elder, or church officer of whatever degree—all who have held keys shall stand before him who holds all of the keys. They will then be called upon to give an account of their stewardships and to report how and in what manner they have used their priesthood and their keys for the salvation of men within the sphere of their appointments. “This,” the grand council of Adam-ondi-Ahman, “may take place before some of us leave this stage of action. The Son of Man stands before him, and there is given him glory and dominion. Adam delivers up his stewardship to Christ, that which was delivered to him as holding the keys of the universe, but retains his standing as head of the human family.” This explanation is descriptive of the priesthood order of things. Every man is honored in his position; every man is accountable for the manner in which he performs under his divine commission. Adam is at the head, and he supervises all others. “The Father called all spirits before Him at the creation of man, and organized them.” This was the grand council in heaven of which we so often speak. “He (Adam) is the head, and was told to multiply.” He, under Christ, was at the head in preexistence; and he, under Christ, is at the head so far as all things pertaining to this earth are concerned. “The keys were first given to him, and by him to others. He will have to give an account of his stewardship, and they to him.” And as all the spirits of men attended the grand council in preexistence, so all the righteous shall attend a like council at Adam-ondi-Ahman before the winding-up scenes…. Christ comes to Adam, who is sitting in glory. He comes to conform to his own priestal order. He comes to hear the report of Adam for his stewardship. He comes to take back the keys of the earthly kingdom. He comes to be invested with glory and dominion so that he can reign personally upon the earth. As President Joseph Fielding Smith expresses it: “Our Lord will then assume the reigns of government; directions will be given to the Priesthood; and He, whose right it is to rule will be installed officially by the voice of the Priesthood there assembled.” 21…. Adam-ondi-Ahman, the land of God, the dwelling place of Adam—surely it is a blessed and holy place! There Adam our Prince will give an accounting to Christ our King. The Prince serves the King! The King always is supreme, though he honors the Prince by giving him power and dominion over his realms for an appointed season. But when the King returns, the Prince steps aside, and the Supreme Lord of all rules and reigns on earth. And thus, as the Lord lives, has it been and will it be. 22
Orson PrattThere is one revelation that this people are not generally acquainted with. I think it has never been published, but probably it will be in the Church History. It is given in questions and answers. The first question is, “What is the name of God in the pure language?” The answer says “Ahman.” “What is the name of the Son of God?” Answer, “Son Ahman–the greatest of all the parts of God excepting Ahman.” “What is the name of men?” “Sons Ahman,” is the answer. 23
Nephite AltarSaturday, 19.–This morning we struck our tents and formed a line of march, crossing Grand River at the mouth of Honey Creek and Nelson’s Ferry. Grand River is a large, beautiful, deep and rapid stream, during the high waters of Spring, and will undoubtedly admit of navigation by steamboat and other water craft. At the mouth of Honey Creek is a good landing. We pursued our course up the river, mostly through timber, for about eighteen miles, when we arrived at Colonel Lyman Wight’s home. He lives at the foot of Tower kill (a name I gave the place in consequence of the remains of an old Nephite altar or tower that stood there), where we camped for the Sabbath.24
And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence.
And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord.
And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.
And then the angel spake, saying: This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth.
Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore.
History of the Church, 3:34-35Saturday, May 19, 1838–This morning we struck our tents and formed a line of march, crossing Grand River at the mouth of Honey Creek and Nelson’s Ferry. Grand River is a large, beautiful, deep and rapid stream, during the high waters of Spring, and will undoubtedly admit of navigation by steamboat and other water craft. At the mouth of Honey Creek is a good landing. We pursued our course up the river, mostly through timber, for about eighteen miles, when we arrived at Colonel Lyman Wight’s home. He lives at the foot of Tower Hill (a name I gave the place in consequence of the remains of an old Nephite altar or tower that stood there), where we camped for the Sabbath. In the afternoon I went up the river about half a mile to Wight’s Ferry, accompanied by President Rigdon, and my clerk, George W. Robinson, for the purpose of selecting and laying claim to a city plat near said ferry in Daviess County, township 60, ranges 27 and 28, and sections 25, 36, 31, and 3 0, which the brethren called “Spring Hill,” but by the mouth of the Lord it was named Adam-ondi-Ahman, because, said He, it is the place where Adam shall come to visit his people, or the Ancient of Days shall sit, as spoken of by Daniel the Prophet.
D&C 116 – May 19, 1838SPRING Hill is named by the Lord Adam-ondi-Ahman, because, said he, it is the place where Adam shall come to visit his people, or the Ancient of Days shall sit, as spoken of by Daniel the prophet.
Robert J. MatthewsElder Dyer also has gathered reports of early brethren and residents of Daviess county which describe Adam-ondi-Ahman as the site of two ancient altars (neither of which is now to be seen) used by Adam. One of these, an “altar of prayer” he locates not far from the Lyman Wight house on Tower Hill. The other, an “altar of sacrifice,” is said to have been situated a mile or so away near the top of Spring Hill. 25
Leland H. GentryAbraham O. Smoot, a member of the survey team for Adam-ondi-Ahman, is quoted as having said that Joseph Smith was not present when “Adam’s Altar” was discovered: President Smoot said that he and Alanson Ripley, while surveying at the town [i.e., Adam-ondi-Ahman], which was about 22 miles from Jackson County, Missouri, came across a stone wall in the midst of a dense forest of underbrush. The wall was 30 feet long, 3 feet thick, and 4 feet high. It was laid in mortar or cement. When Joseph visited the place and examined the wall he said it was the remains of an altar built by Father Adam and upon which he offered sacrifices after he was driven from the Garden of Eden. He said that the Garden of Eden was located in Jackson County, Missouri. The whole town of Adam-ondi-Ahman was in the midst of a thick and heavy forest of timber and the place was named in honor of Adam’s altar. The Prophet explained that it was upon this altar where Adam blessed his sons and his posterity, prior to his death. 26
Elder Alvin R. DyerI have been privileged to feel the nearness of President McKay’s spirit. I have felt the majesty of his soul as we stood in the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, observing in the short distance a place there known as Spring Hill, referred to in Section 116 of the Doctrine and Covenants as the place where Adam, Michael, or the “Ancient of Days,” in accordance with the prophecy of Daniel, shall in the due time of the Lord visit the earth for an important reason, and while there hearing President McKay utter quietly, “This is a most holy place.” 27
Ezra Taft BensonThe Lord then appeared to them. The vast congregation rose up and blessed Adam and called him Michael, the prince and archangel. The Lord himself declared Adam to be a prince forever over his own posterity. Then Adam in his aged condition rose up and, being filled with the spirit of prophecy, predicted “whatsoever should befall his posterity unto the latest generation.” All this is recorded in section 107 of the Doctrine and Covenants (verses 53-56). The Prophet Joseph Smith said that Adam blessed his posterity because “he wanted to bring them into the presence of God.” 28 How did Adam bring his descendants into the presence of the Lord? The answer: Adam and his descendants entered into the priesthood order of God. Today we would say they went to the House of the Lord and received their blessings. 29
- Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah, 595).
- Dan. 7:9–10, 13–14; D&C 27; 107:53–57; 116:1
- “Christ will come, and Adam will make his report. At this council Christ will be received and acknowledged as the rightful ruler of the earth. Satan will be replaced.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 3:13)
- History of the Church, 3:34-35
- Rod L. Meldrum, Exploring the Book of Mormon in America’s Heartland, pp. 36
- Life of Heber C. Kimball , pp. 209-210
- Wilford Woodruff, Wilford Woodruff, His Life and Labors, comp. Matthias F. Cowley [Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1916], 481.
- The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p.18
- Wilford Woodruff, p. 481
- John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations [Salt Lake City: Improvement Era], 395.
- John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations [Salt Lake City: Improvement Era], 396.
- Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 3: 74.
- Joseph Fielding Smith, The Progress of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1964], 249 – 250.
- Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 2, pp. 232-233; as quoted in Exploring the Book of Mormon in America’s Heartland p. 36.
- Orson F. Whitney, Gospel Themes [Salt Lake City: n.p., 1914], 99 – 100.
- Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, pp. 209-210; as quoted in Exploring the Book of Mormon in America’s Heartland p. 36.
- Mormon Doctrine, 19-20.
- The Millennial Messiah, p.587
- The Millennial Messiah, p.578
- The Millennial Messiah, p.578-588
- The Way to Perfection, p. 291.
- The Millennial Messiah, p.578-588
- Orson Pratt, JD 2:342
- History of the Church 3:35
- BYU Studies, Vol. 13, No. 1, p.31
- BYU Studies, Vol. 13, No. 4, p.565
- Conference Report, October 1967, p.41
- Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Joseph Fielding Smith ed., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book co., 1938, p. 159.
- “What I Hope You Will Teach Your Children About the Temple,” Ensign 15 [August 1985]: 8-10