Independence, Missouri

Associated Locations:

  • Temple Lot, Independence, Missouri

Providential Importance in History

Independence, Jackson County, Missouri is the location of the Garden of Eden.1The location of the Garden of Eden in America, and at Independence, Missouri, clears up many a problem which the Bible account of Eden and its garden has left in the minds of students. 2

On July 20, 1831 the Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that Independence, Missouri was the site for the city of Zion (the New Jerusalem)3. The Independence Temple was the first temple commanded to be built in this dispensation. However, because of persecution, the temple was never built. Prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, a magnificent edifice—the New Jerusalem Temple—will be erected on the location of the Temple Lot.

Sacred Events

Location of The Garden of Eden

“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.” 4

“The spot chosen for the garden of Eden was Jackson County, in the State of Missouri, where Independence now stands; it was occupied in the morn of creation by Adam and his associates who came with him for the express purpose of peopling this earth.” 5

“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. 6

“The location of the Garden of Eden in America, and at Independence, Missouri, clears up many a problem which the Bible account of Eden and its garden has left in the minds of students.” 7

“It is not difficult for me, as we travel from Adam-ondi-Ahman down to Independence and back and forth to Liberty and up to Kingston and to Far West, to think of this as the Garden of Eden. It is in truth today a beautiful and verdant place. It may not be known to you people, but to us it is the center place because it is here where the commencement of the inhabitation of human beings upon the earth began.” 8

“Latter-day Saints know, through modern revelation, that the Garden of Eden was on the North American continent and that Adam and Eve began their conquest of the earth in the upper part of what is now the state of Missouri. It seems very probable that the children of our first earthly parents moved down along the fertile, pleasant lands of the Mississippi valley.” 9

“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.” 10

“The Garden of Eden, we know from the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, is in the region of Jackson County, Missouri.” 11

“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.” (Gen. 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.” 12

Independence, Missouri Temple

Hearken, O ye elders of my church, saith the Lord your God, who have assembled yourselves together, according to my commandments, in this land, which is the land of Missouri, which 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.

And thus saith the Lord your God, if you will receive wisdom here is wisdom. Behold, the place which is now called Independence is the center place; and a spot for the temple is lying westward, upon a lot which is not far from the courthouse. 13

  1. “You have been both to Jerusalem and Zion, and seen both. I have not seen either, for I have never been in Jackson County. Now it is a pleasant thing to think of and to know where the Garden of Eden was. Did you ever think of it? I do not think many do, for 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, March 15, 1857
  2. Evidences and Reconciliations, by John A. Widtsoe, p. 395-397
  3. see D&C 57A of F 1:10
  4. Wilford Woodruff, Wilford Woodruff, His Life and Labors, comp. Matthias F. Cowley [Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1916], 481.
  5. Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 10: 235.
  6. Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 3: 74.
  7. John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations [Salt Lake City: Improvement Era], 397.
  8. Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 35.
  9. John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations [Salt Lake City: Improvement Era], 127.
  10. Orson F. Whitney, Gospel Themes [Salt Lake City: n.p., 1914], 99 – 100.
  11. Mark E. Petersen, Noah and the Flood [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 36.
  12. John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations [Salt Lake City: Improvement Era], 396.
  13. D&C 57:1–3
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