Valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman: Modern & Ancient Ancestral Stories

Valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman: Modern & Ancient Ancestral Stories August 20, 2022

For me, the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman is such a meaningful Church historical site.  I hadn’t been to the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman since I was 16 years old. I took a lot of hopes and expectations with me on my recent trip.  Discovering the town site contributed to a fantastic overall visit. 

My cousin Jenni shared an old copy of the town map and prophetic quotes and scriptures about the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman. I’m excited to share those along with a story of our ancestor, Lucius Nelson Scovil.

valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman

Adam-ondi-Ahman Town Map

 

Aerial Map of Adam-ondi-Ahman taken in 1960
Aerial Map of Adam-ondi-Ahman taken in 1960
  1. Tower Hill Altar Site
  2. Site of Adam’s Last Blessing on His Posterity (John D. Lee Cabin Site)
  3. Valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman
  • Chapman Duncan Cabin Site destroyed by mob
  • Surrender of church militia to Brig. General H.G. Parks and Robert Wilson on November 10, 1838.
  • Adam blessed his posterity in the valley
  1. Lyman Wight Cabin Site No.2
  • Lyman Wight 1st Church member at Adam-Ondi-Ahman
  • Unable to complete this second home before mobs expelled the Saints in November 1838
  • Kept a ferry on Grand River
  • Replaced David Patten, who was killed at Crooked River, as an Apostle
  • Home used for church meetings, council meetings with mob/militia leaders, as a “hotel” for visitors, etc.
  • Wight imprisoned in Liberty Jail with Joseph Smith
  1. Lyman Wight Spring

6-8 Cabin Sites

Adam-ondi-Ahman pole indicating John Smith's house
Adam-ondi-Ahman pole indicating John Smith’s home
  1. John Smith Cabin Site
  • 1st (and only) Stake President of Adam-ondi-Ahman Stake (3rd organized stake of the Church)
  • 1st Stake President of Zarahemla Stake in 1839 in Lee County Iowa (5th organized stake of the Church)
  • 1st Stake President of Salt Lake Stake (12th organized stake of the Church)
  • Also served as the presiding church patriarch
  • Known to everyone as “Uncle John” because he was the prophet’s uncle
  1. Public Square or Possible Religious Center
Adam-ondi-Ahman
Adam-ondi-Ahman Public Square

Lucius Scovil (1806-1889)

Dad’s 3rd great-grandfather

Lucius Nelson Scovil
Lucius Nelson Scovil

Lucius Scovil and his family traveled with a large group of Saints from Kirtland to Adam-ondi-Ahman. They arrived on 6 October 1838.  Despite the many sufferings they experienced, Lucius wrote, “I feel very grateful for the privilege I had in traveling with so large a body of Saints as we had a good opportunity to observe and learn human nature.”

 

At Diahman, Lucius Scovil, with the help of Oliver Snow, an uncle of his wife, found them a lot in town. Scovil immediately set to the work of getting building materials and buying provisions for the approaching winter.

 

The mobs were still busy, and some two weeks after the arrival at Diahman, they again started to stir up trouble, threatening all who were in any way connected with the Church. They began their actual depredations in Dewitt, and the Saints upon being driven from that town, came to Far West, but it was not long before they began their hostilities against those living in Far West, in fact, all the Saints in Daviess County.

Fleeing from the Mob

These persecutions were carried so far as the burning of homes and the destroying of property in various ways. Conditions at last became so bad, that it was necessary for a guard to be placed night and day. As all members were required to take their turn at this guard duty, Lucius Scovil in company with Noah Rogers was doing picket guard duty about four or five miles from town. They had been riding through timber most of the time but had left the timberline sometime before.

They were about a mile and a half from it, when they suddenly found themselves confronted by a large mob that had seen them leave the timber and had ridden into a gully to hide until the two men approached. Lucius and Noah were almost upon them when they rode into view and told them to halt. Instead of doing as they were ordered, Lucius and Noah turned their mounts and rode hard for the timberline.

Two members of the mob had much faster horses than the others and were rapidly overtaking the two men, who were riding for their lives. It was known to them that if they allowed themselves to be caught, the mob might shoot them down in cold blood. All of them were heavily armed and it was the practice of the mobs to fire upon the Saints whenever the opportunity arose.

Then, as they were about to ride into the timber, which meant safety, Lucius and Noah were confronted by a deep ravine with perpendicular walls. This ravine was fully sixteen feet wide, and the horses were running with such speed that stopping was almost out of the question. But it was not left for the men to decide. The horses kept straight on and, making a tremendous leap, spanned the ravine, landing safely on the other side.

Members of the mob who were close behind at once started to fire upon them. None of the shots took effect but were so close they could be heard whistling by their heads. One shot, just before they rode out of range, grazed Lucius’ ear which caused a slight deafness he was to suffer all his life.

They were soon in the timber, out of range and for the present moment, safe. After winding their way through the heavily wooded country, in order to lose anyone that might be following, they, at last, arrived back in town, thankful to have escaped the assassins who would have taken their lives, for no other reason than that they believed in a different faith.

Valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman
Adam-ondi-Ahman

Valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman in Ancient Times

While several of our ancestors lived at and experienced Adam-ondi-Ahman, I couldn’t help but remember that our first ancestors actually lived there, too.

The following prophetic quotes and scriptures were taken from Rick Satterfield’s quotes on Adam-ondi-Ahman.

 

Adam lived in Adam-ondi-Ahman after being cast out of the Garden of Eden.

Wilford Woodruff: 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.” (Wilford Woodruff, p. 481)

Valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman

Adam Offered Sacrifices in Adam-ondi-Ahman as commanded by the Lord.

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.

Wilford Woodruff:  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)

Adam-ondi-Ahman
Adam-ondi-Ahman

Adam was Baptized, Received the Holy Ghost, and Obtained Temple Ordinances in Adam-ondi-Ahman

Moses 6:64-68  And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water.

And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man.

And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever;

And thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity.

Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons. Amen.

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

Valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman
Adam-ondi-Ahman

Adam Met with His Righteous Posterity and Gave them the Temple Ordinances

Doctrine and Covenants 107:53–56

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.

 

Joseph Smith: This is why Adam blessed his posterity; he wanted to bring them into the presence of God. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.159)


Ezra Taft Benson
: 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)
Adam-ondi-Ahman at sunrise
Adam-ondi-Ahman at sunrise

The Valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman in Modern Times

Joseph Smith revealed the location of the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and saints living at Adam-ondi-Ahman were organized into a stake of Zion.

Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 3:34-35 – 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 watercraft. 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, 1838 – 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.

Leland H. Gentry (CES Teacher) – 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)

Heber C. Kimball – 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, pp. 209-210)

 

Robert J. Matthews (Professor, BYU) – Elder 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. (BYU Studies, Vol. 13, No. 1, p.31)

Joseph Fielding Smith – 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]

Adam-ondi-Ahman

Valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman: Future Grand Council

Joseph Smith: 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:  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.” (Dan. 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. (D.C. 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)

Elder Alvin R. Dyer – 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 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.” (Conference Report, October 1967, p.41)

John Taylor: 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]

Erastus Snow: Speaker: Erastus Snow

Date: May 6, 1883

I say to those who are able to see and comprehend these things, it is clear and plain that God has had His eye upon this American continent as the place where He first commenced His great work on the earth, where the greatest manifestations of His power were exhibited in the days of the fathers before the flood,

  • when the fathers were gathered in the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman and received their last instructions and blessings from Father Adam, the Patriarch of this earth (D&C 107:53-57),
  • where Enoch gathered his people and established Zion (Moses 7:19),
  • where Noah preached righteousness (2 Pet. 2:5) to the people and prepared the ark of safety, and
  • where He has determined ultimately to
    • establish His Zion and gather together His people (D&C 57:1-3, D&C 84:2-5)
    • establish, maintain and defend His government and the Priesthood which he has revealed for the salvation of the human family,
    • where He will bring again Zion that He has taken away, even the Zion of Enoch ( 9:21-23 (JST), Isa. 52:8, D&C 84:98-100) for when He shall bring again Zion, says the Prophet, the Lord will appear in His glory. (Ps. 102:16 )

Delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Friday Afternoon (Annual Conference), April 6, 1883. Reported By: Gibbs and Irvine. Page Header: A Providence Over the Nation.

 

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