A Young Folks' History of the Church
The Land Of Zion
The Book of Mormon (13th chapter of Ether) tells us that this land of America is a
"choice land above all other lands;" and the Lord has said that the people who lived here
must serve him or in time be destroyed. This you will remember was proved so often in
the history of the Nephites.
Strictly speaking, the whole of America is the land of Zion, but the Lord revealed to
Joseph that there should be a "center place," where a great city should be build which
should be called the city of Zion, or the New Jerusalem. This city will be the capital or in
the center of a large district of country full of people who serve the Lord. A grand temple
will be built in the central city, and the glory of the Lord will rest upon it by day and by
night. Then shall there be peace in the earth for a thousand years, and the Saints will be
busy working to save all the people who live or have ever lived on the earth. Jesus with
his angels will no doubt visit the earth from time to time to look after his work at this
Now all this was to have a beginning, one of these small beginnings we have spoken
June 7th, 1831, the Prophet Joseph received a revelation instructing him and twenty-eight
other elders to go on missions. They were to travel two and two by different routes
through the Western states, preaching the gospel and building up the Church on the way.
They were to meet in the state of Missouri about a thousand miles from Kirtland and
there hold a conference. At this time, if they were faithful, the Lord would reveal to them
the location of the central place and the spot where the temple should sometime stand.
The brethren went on their missions as they had been instructed, and Joseph and his party
arrived at Independence, Missouri, about the middle of July, 1831. Oliver Cowdery and
the other brethren who had been sent on the mission to the Indians, you will recollect,
stopped at Independence. They were very glad to meet Joseph and his companions again.
Shortly after the prophet's arrival, the Lord made known the exact spot for the city of
Zion. It is where the town of Independence is located, in Jackson County, Missouri, and
the site for the temple was pointed out as lying westward on a lot not far from the court
Some of the Saints now moved to Jackson county, the first to arrive being what was
called the Colesville Branch of the Church. These Saints had come from Colesville, State
of New York, having stopped but a short time near Kirtland.
The first step towards the founding of Zion was taken on the 2nd day of August, 1831.
On that day twelve men, of which Joseph was one, carried and placed the first log for the
first house. This was in Kaw township, twelve miles west of Independence, where the
Colesville branch was locating. Sidney Rigdon then dedicated the land. The next day
eight of the brethren went to the temple lot, and Joseph dedicated that sacred spot.
Shortly after, Joseph with some of the other brethren went to Kirtland.