Uncovering Adam-ondi-Ahman

Uncovering Adam-ondi-Ahman March 3, 2020

I stood on a green bluff, taking in the rolling fields of grass and vibrant trees, a quiet summer breeze stirring the air.  I saw foliage as far as I could see.  I wondered what untold stories unfolded in that beautiful place. Some of its oldest stories are my stories, too.

PC: Daylen Bushman

Adam-ondi-Ahman is a valley, a city, and a temple site. In this place, Adam and Eve offered sacrifices, Adam blessed their posterity and the Lord appeared to them! Modern prophets viewed the ancient altars.

Still another grand council at Adam-ondi-Ahman was foretold by Daniel, the Lord, and latter-day prophets.  During that momentous event, all who have held priesthood keys will deliver their keys up to those with stewardship, ultimately culminating in Adam receiving all keys of the kingdom. Adam will present Jesus Christ with all the keys disseminated over time and the Savior’s reign as King of Kings officially commences.

Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord revealed that Adam-ondi-Ahman became Adam and Eve’s home after their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. This place is where they toiled by the sweat of their face and traversed their paths back to the presence of the Lord.

That revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 107:53-56 describes a grand family council called by Father Adam when he blessed his living children and prophesied about the ones yet to be born.

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.

And the Lord appeared unto them, and they rose up and blessed Adam, and called him Michael, the prince, the archangel.

And the Lord administered comfort unto Adam, and said unto him: I have set thee to be at the head; a multitude of nations shall come of thee, and thou art a prince over them forever.

And Adam stood up in the midst of the congregation; and, notwithstanding he was bowed down with age, being full of the Holy Ghost, predicted whatsoever should befall his posterity unto the latest generation.

PC: Daylen Bushman

Discovery of Adam-ondi-Ahman in 1838

According to History of the Church, 3:34-35, Adam-ondi-Ahman was identified for the first time in this dispensation on May 19, 1838.

Saturday, 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.

 On the same day, May 19, 1838, the Lord explained why the spot is named Adam-ondi-Ahman in Doctrine and Covenants 116:1.

Spring 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.

rock purportedly in the spot of Adam's altar
PC: Daylen Bushman

Ancient Altars

As the Saints explored the area, they discovered towers which Joseph Smith identified as ancient altars used by Adam.

Moses 5:4-8

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.

About the sacrifice, Wilford Woodruff taught,

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. (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p.18)

In an 1873 General Conference talk, Wilford Woodruff quoted Briagham 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.” (Wilford Woodruff, p. 481)

Again President Young said Joseph the Prophet told him that the Garden of Eden was in Jackson Co., Missouri and when Adam was driven out of the Garden of Eden, he went about 40 miles to the place which we named Adam Ondi Ahman, and there built an altar of stone and offered sacrifice. That altar remains to this day. I saw it as Adam left it as did many others, and through all the revolutions of the world, that altar had not been disturbed. (Diaries of Wilford Woodruff, p.305)

Joseph Fielding Smith also spoke about the altars at Adam-ondi-Ahman.

Of necessity the first sanctified temples were the mountain tops 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. (Doctrines of Salvation 2, p.232)

Discovery of the Altars

A BYU Studies article on Adam-ondi-Ahman speaks to the discovery of the altars.

Abraham 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. (BYU Studies, Vol. 13, No. 4, p.565)

From Chapman Duncan’s autobiography.

I think the next day, he said to these present: Hyrum Smith, Bishop Vincent Knight, myself and two or three others, “Get me a spade and I will show you the altar that Adam offered sacrifice on.” I believe this was the only time Joseph was in Ondi-Ahman. We went about forty rods north of my house. He placed the spade with care, placed his foot on it. When he took out the shovelful of dirt, it barred the stone. The dirt was two inches deep on the stone I reckon. About four feet or more was disclosed.

He did not dig to the bottom of the three layers of good masonry well put up wall. The stone looked more dressed like stone nice joints, ten inches thick, 18 inches long or more. We came back down the slope, perhaps 15 rods on the level. The prophet stopped and remarked this place where we stood was the place where Adam, gathered his posterity and blessed them, and predicted that should come to pass to later generations. The next day he returned to Far West.

Heber C. Kimball’s recollection of visiting the altars.

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 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. (Life of Heber C. Kimball, p. 209-210)

A Holy Place

Brigham Young dedicated a temple site at Adam-ondi-Ahman in October 1838.

The Adam-ondi-Ahman Temple was the third temple planned but never constructed by the early Saints in Missouri. The beautiful site of Adam-ondi-Ahman lies at a bend in the Grand River in northern Missouri, about 70 miles north of Kansas City. On the highest elevation of Spring Hill, 124 feet above Grand River, a temple block was dedicated. No cornerstones were laid or temple constructed, however, as just days later, the Saints were ordered to leave the settlement. The Church has since acquired the site and much of the surrounding area [3,000 acres], which is leased to local farmers.

When the Saints abandoned Adam-ondi-Ahman in October 1838, between 500 and 1,000 Latter-day Saints lived in the settlement.

PC: Daylen Bushman

Elder Alvin R. Dyer traveled to Adam-ondi-Ahman with President David O. McKay. He reminisced about the trip in his 1967 General Conference talk.

I 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 ofDaniel, 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.” (Conference Report, October 1967, p.41)

President McKay’s visit caused great reflection in Joseph Fielding Smith.

In connection with President McKay’s visit at Far West, it is to be noted that while there the President appeared somewhat overwhelmed. The place made a deep impression upon him; so much so that he referred to Far West a number of times in the ensuing days as a place of deep impression.

The feeling that President McKay had at Far West registered upon me once again, but now with greater impact. The events that transpired there are significant: (a) The Lord proclaimed Far West a holy and consecrated land unto him, declaring to Joseph Smith that the very ground he stood on there was holy. (b) The Prophet Joseph Smith contended with the devil face to face for some time, upon the occasion of the power of evil menacing one of his children in the Prophet’s home just west of the temple site. Lucifer declared that Joseph had no right to be there, that this was his place. Whereupon the Prophet rebuked Satan in the name of the Lord, and he departed and did not touch the child again. (c) The overwhelming feeling that President McKay had when he visited this sacred place.

The Answer: I have often pondered the holy significance of Far West, and even more so since President McKay’s visit. The sacredness of Far West, Missouri, is no doubt due to the understanding that the Prophet Joseph Smith conveyed to the brethren, at these early times, that Adam-ondi-Ahman, the place to which Adam and Eve fled when cast out of the Garden of Eden, is where Adam erected an altar unto God, and offered sacrifices, and that Far West was the spot where Cain killed Abel.

This information tends to explain why the Lord declared Far West to be a holy consecrated place; and no doubt explains why Satan claimed that place as his own, as it was here that he entered into a covenant with Cain, resulting in the death of Abel, the first of mortal existence [to die] upon this earth.

It would appear that President McKay while there felt the spirit and significance of this holy place.”  (The Life of Joseph Fielding Smith, p.340)

PC: Daylen Bushman

In one of his landmark addresses, President Ezra Taft Benson taught about the holiness that occurred at Adam-ondi-Ahman.

When our Heavenly Father placed Adam and Eve on this earth, He did so with the purpose in mind of teaching them how to regain His presence. Our Father promised a Savior to redeem them from their fallen condition. He gave them the plan of salvation and told them to teach their children faith in Jesus Christ and repentance. Further, Adam and his posterity were commanded by God to be baptized, to receive the Holy Ghost, and to enter into the order of the Son of God. (See Moses 6.)

To enter into the order of the Son of God is the equivalent today of entering into the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood, which is only received in the house of the Lord.

Because Adam and Eve had complied with these requirements, God said to them, “Thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years” (Moses 6:67).

Three years before Adam’s death, a great event occurred. He took his son Seth, his grandson Enos, and other high priests who were his direct-line descendants, with others of his righteous posterity, into a valley called Adam-ondi-Ahman. There Adam gave to these righteous descendants his last blessing.

The 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.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Joseph Fielding Smith ed., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book co., 1938, p. 159.)

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. (“What I Hope You Will Teach Your Children About the Temple,” Ensign 15 [August 1985]: 8-10)

Daniel’s Prophetic Vision of Adam-ondi-Ahman

Daniel 7:13-14, 22

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. …

Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.

Spring 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.

PC: Daylen Bushman

Joseph Smith spoke often about the world’s winding up scenes. He referred several times to Daniel’s apocalyptic vision of the last days.

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. 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. This 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. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.157)

Joseph Fielding Smith also discoursed on Daniel’s vision.

It was in the night vision that all this was shown to Daniel, and he saw the Son of Man come to the grand council, as he did to the first grand council in the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and there he received the keys from Adam “and there was given to him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7: 13-14)

In this council Christ will take over the reigns of government, officially, on this earth, and “the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him,” even Jesus Christ. Until this grand council is held, Satan shall hold rule in the nations of the earth; but at that time thrones are to be cast down and man’s rule shall come to an end — for it is decreed that the Lord shall make an end of all nations. (Doctrine and Covenants 87:6)

Preparation for this work is now going on. Kingdoms are already tottering, some have fallen; but eventually they shall all go the way of the earth, and he shall come whose right it is to rule. Then shall he give the government to the saints of the Most High.

This council in the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman is to be of the greatest importance to this world. At that time there will be a transfer of authority from the usurper and impostor, Lucifer, to the rightful King, Jesus Christ.

Judgment will be set and all who have held keys will make their reports and deliver their stewardships, as they shall be required. Adam will direct this judgment, and then he will make his report, as the one holding the keys for this earth, to his Superior Officer, Jesus Christ. Our Lord will then assume the reins 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. This grand council of Priesthood will be composed, not only of those who are faithful who now dwell on this earth, but also of the prophets and apostles of old, who have had directing authority. Others may also be there, but if so they will be there by appointment, for this is to be an official council called to attend to the most momentous matters ‘ concerning the destiny of this earth. (The Way to Perfection, p.289-291)

Pre-Millennial Grand Council at Adam-ondi-Ahman

Doctrine and Covenants 27:5, 11

PC: Daylen Bushman

Behold, this is wisdom in me; wherefore, marvel not, for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth…And also with Michael, or Adam, the father of all, the prince of all, the ancient of days;

John Taylor discussed what would happen during that latter-day grand council.

A great council will then be held to adjust the affairs of the world, from the commencement, over which Father Adam will preside as head and representative of the human family. . . .

Then they will assemble to regulate all these affairs, and all that held keys of authority to administer will then represent their earthly course. And as this authority has been handed down from one to another in different ages, and in different dispensations, a full reckoning will have to be made by all. All who have held the keys of priesthood will then have to give an account to those from whom they received them. Those that were in the heavens have been assisting those that were upon the earth; but then, they will unite together in a general council to give an account of their stewardships, and as in the various ages men have received their power to administer from those who had previously held the keys thereof, there will be a general account.

Those under the authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have to give an account of their transactions to those who direct them in the priesthood; hence the elders give an account to presidents of conferences; and presidents of conferences to presidents of nations. Those presidents and the seventies give an account to the twelve apostles; the twelve to the First Presidency; and they to Joseph, from whom they, and the twelve, received their priesthood.

This will include the arrangements of the last dispensation. Joseph delivers his authority to Peter, who held the keys before him, and delivered them to him; and Peter to Moses and Elias, who endowed him with this authority on the Mount; and they to those from whom they received them. And thus the world’s affairs will be regulated and put right, the restitution of all things be accomplished, and the kingdom of God be ushered in. The earth will be delivered from under the curse, resume its paradisiacal glory, and all things pertaining to its restoration be fulfilled. (The Gospel Kingdom, p.217)

Elder Bruce R. McConkie also shared prophetic insight into the happenings and reasons for this great event.

Before the Lord Jesus descends openly and publicly in the clouds of glory, attended by all the hosts of heaven; before the great and dreadful day of the Lord sends terror and destruction from one end of the earth to the other; before he stands on Mount Zion, or sets his feet on Olivet, or utters his voice from an American Zion or a Jewish Jerusalem; before all flesh shall see him together; before any of his appearances, which taken together comprise the second coming of the Son of God — before all these, there is to be a secret appearance to selected members of his Church. He will come in private to his prophet and to the apostles then living. Those who have held keys and powers and authorities in all ages from Adam to the present will also be present. And further, all 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 Davies County, Missouri, at a place called Adam-ondi-Ahman. …

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”? (Revelation 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.” (Revelation 20:4) (The Millennial Messiah, pp. 578-588)

PC: Daylen Bushman

History of the Adam-ondi-Ahman

The site’s modern history is fraught with struggle and violence.  Lamar Berrett concisely summarized Adam-ondi-Ahman’s history for the Encyclopedia of Mormonism.

Author: Berrett, Lamar C. in Encyclopedia of Mormonism

Adam-ondi-Ahman, a settlement in Daviess County, Missouri, received its unusual name from the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1838 when Latter-day Saints were moving into the area. Members of the Church had been forced out of Jackson County, Missouri, in 1833 after three years of temporary asylum, and were subsequently asked to leave Clay County. When they appealed to the state legislature to make a new county “for Mormons,” Caldwell and Daviess counties were organized. The Saints immediately moved into Caldwell County with Far West as the county seat, and soon also began settling in adjoining Daviess County. In May 1838

Joseph Smith led surveyors to a horseshoe bend of the Grand River, seventy miles north of present-day Kansas City, and proclaimed a new community, which he 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” (HC 3:35; D&C 116). Orson Pratt interpreted the name to mean “Valley of God, where Adam dwelt” (JD 18:343).

The Prophet’s revelations indicated several things about the area: (1) the Garden of Eden was located in Jackson County, Missouri, and after Adam was expelled from the garden, he went north to Adam-ondi-Ahman; (2) three years before Adam’s death, he gathered the righteous of his posterity to Adam-ondi-Ahman and bestowed upon them his last blessing; (3) this site would be the location of a future meeting of the Lord with Adam and the Saints, as spoken of by the prophet Daniel (Dan. 7:9-14, 21-27;12:1-3).

When Joseph Smith arrived in the valley with the survey team, he found three or four Latter-day Saint families already living there and made the log cabin of Lyman Wight his headquarters. From June to October 1838, the population of the two-mile-square Adam-ondi-Ahman increased to about 400 people. Another 600 scattered throughout Daviess County viewed Adam-ondi-Ahman as their capital city.

Approximately 90 percent of the Saints in Daviess County settled on land under “preemption rights,” which meant that the government had not yet made the land available for purchase. Believing that they would eventually own the land, the Latter-day Saints worked hard to develop their farms. In June 1838, when the third stake of the Church was organized at Adam-ondi-Ahman, with John Smith as stake president, a peaceful atmosphere seemed to prevail. However, in July the settlers were served public notice to leave Daviess County or face serious consequences. The Saints placed their militia in a state of readiness to defend themselves. When hostilities erupted in August, the militia from Church headquarters at Far West went to Adam-ondi-Ahman, but no battle ensued. Similar action occurred in September.

On October 11, mobs forced the Latter-day Saints from DeWitt in Carroll County and then turned to Daviess County, intent on driving them all out of the state. They burned cabins, stole animals, and harassed families. When the Far West militia arrived for the third time, in October 1838, Church members throughout Daviess County gathered to Adam-ondi-Ahman for safety, and the community’s population swelled to more than a thousand. Confinement in tents and wagons and a sudden snowstorm added to their miseries.

While Joseph Smith and the Far West militia were in Adam-ondi-Ahman during October, the Church members assembled to witness the dedication of the public square by Brigham Young. At this time, Joseph Smith pointed out a location where Adam had once built an altar. In May the Prophet had identified this same site as one that had also been used by early American Indians.

After the October plundering and burnings by the mobs and retaliatory actions by the Latter-day Saints, who were intent on defending themselves, the state militia forced them to surrender their arms on November 7, 1838, and gave them ten days to move to Far West. Adam-ondi-Ahman was abandoned and fell into the hands of non-Mormon settlers. Church families from Daviess County spent the winter at Far West before being expelled from the state in the spring of 1839.

The Missourians who were responsible for expelling Church members from Daviess County knew that in four days their land would be offered for sale by the U.S. government. With the Mormons gone, these residents purchased the improved land and reaped the benefits of the Saints’ labor.

John Cravens purchased most of the central area of the city of Adam-ondi-Ahman and renamed it Cravensville. The town existed for thirty-two years and had enough residents to vie with Gallatin for the county seat of Daviess County, but after 1871 the land was returned to farming and grazing.

In 1944 Wilford C. Wood purchased thirty-eight acres at Adam-ondi-Ahman for the Church, and an additional 3,000 acres have since been purchased. Archival research and archaeological excavation have helped to determine the location, size, nature, and history of the city.

This beautiful land, full of history and promise, full of stories of ancient fathers and visits from Deity and the promise of the continuation of those stories as the Savior begins His millennial reign on the earth.  Adam-ondi-Ahman is the collective story of mankind’s past and future.

Browse Our Archives