Our tenth article of faith contains the phrase:
that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent;
In compliance with the Lord’s command in Section 52 of the Doctrine and Covenants the elders of the church traveled from Kirtland to Missouri. After they arrived the prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation which is Section 57 which begins thus:
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. Wherefore, it is wisdom that the land should be purchased by the saints, and also every tract lying westward, even unto the line running directly between Jew and Gentile; and also every tract bordering by the prairies, anasmuch as my disciples are enabled to buy lands. Behold, this is wisdom, that they may obtain it for an everlasting inheritance.
It seems reletively clear that the Lord has revealed that Zion, the New Jerusalem, will be built in Jackson County, Missouri. Both Talmage and McConkie in their popular books on the Articles of Faith affirm this revelation. McConkie makes clear that this event is to happen before the second coming (A New Witness … p. 586).
I have often wondered about all this. This New Jerusalem being built in Missouri is revelation given to Joseph Smith and is recorded in the D&C. It is part of one of our articles of faith. It has been affirmed by a couple of apostolic heavy-weights in Talmage and McConkie. Yet we don’t talk about it much. Here are a list of a few of my questions:
Do we really believe this (the saints gathering in Missouri) is going to happen, and happen prior to the Millenium?
Do we anticipate a time when saints in North America (if not the western hemisphere) will be called to gather there?
Is it foolishness to entertain ideas of quitting your job, selling your home, and moving to Missouri? Avoid the rush, buy some land, start a business or a farm. If we really believe this, then it is inevitable right? Why not act on it?
I assume there are a reasonable number of saints in Missouri right now. What do they make of all this?
The revelations about this seem fairly clear and specific. They also seem a little odd in a modern context. What national or worldwide events might lead up to this? What will conditions be like when and if such an announcement is made? Is it only a matter of our preparation and righteousness (as McConkie suggests)?
Sorry. I’m full of questions today. I tend to believe all this, but it does seem a bit strange to me. Today we gather to our stakes. Today we are a world-wide church. What think ye?