Adam-ondi-Ahman is an historic site along the east bluffs above the Grand River
Grand River (Missouri)
The Grand River is a river that stretches from northernmost tributary origins between Creston and Winterset in Iowa approximately to its mouth on the Missouri River near Brunswick, Missouri....

 in Daviess County, Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

. According to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), it is the site where Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve were, according to the Genesis creation narratives, the first human couple to inhabit Earth, created by YHWH, the God of the ancient Hebrews...

 lived after being expelled from the Garden of Eden
Garden of Eden
The Garden of Eden is in the Bible's Book of Genesis as being the place where the first man, Adam, and his wife, Eve, lived after they were created by God. Literally, the Bible speaks about a garden in Eden...

. They believe it will be a gathering spot for a meeting of the priesthood leadership, including prophets of all ages and other righteous people, prior to the Second Coming
Second Coming
In Christian doctrine, the Second Coming of Christ, the Second Advent, or the Parousia, is the anticipated return of Jesus Christ from Heaven, where he sits at the Right Hand of God, to Earth. This prophecy is found in the canonical gospels and in most Christian and Islamic eschatologies...

 of Jesus Christ.

The Latter Day Saints proposed to build a temple there. Such efforts were halted in the 19th century as a result of the 1838 Mormon War to evict the Mormon
The term Mormon most commonly denotes an adherent, practitioner, follower, or constituent of Mormonism, which is the largest branch of the Latter Day Saint movement in restorationist Christianity...

s from Missouri. Their having declared Adam-ondi-Ahman as a sacred site for a temple was a flash point in that confrontation.

After the Mormons were evicted, residents renamed the site Cravensville. It was the site of a skirmish during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 on August 4, 1862, when Union troops attempted to stop Confederate reinforcements in the First Battle of Independence
First Battle of Independence
-External links:** *...

. Six Confederate
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

s were killed and 10 wounded. The Union forces had five wounded.

Most of the site is now owned by the LDS Church and remains predominantly used as farmland.


In the 1830s, Mormons being forced out of Jackson County, Missouri
Jackson County, Missouri
Jackson County is a county located in the U.S. state of Missouri. With a population of 674,158 in the 2010 census, Jackson County is the second most populous of Missouri's counties, after St. Louis County. Kansas City, the state's most populous city and focus city of the Kansas City Metropolitan...

, settled just south of Daviess County in Caldwell County
Caldwell County, Missouri
Caldwell County is a county located in the U.S. state of Missouri. , the population was 8,969. Its county seat is Kingston. The county was organized in 1836 as a haven for the Mormons, who had been previously driven from Jackson County, Missouri in November of 1833 and had been refugees in...

, in the settlement of Far West
Far West, Missouri
Far West, Missouri, was a Latter Day Saint settlement in Caldwell County, Missouri.-Foundation and early history:The town was founded by Missouri Mormon leaders, W. W. Phelps and John Whitmer in August 1836 shortly before the county's creation. The town was platted originally as a square area,...

. In February 1838, Lyman Wight
Lyman Wight
Lyman Wight was an early leader in the Latter Day Saint movement. He was the leader of the Latter Day Saints in Daviess County, Missouri in 1838. In 1841, he was ordained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. After the death of Joseph Smith, Jr...

 built a home and established a ferry on the Grand River at a spot known as "Wight's Ferry."

That spring, Joseph Smith, Jr. visited the site. He proclaimed there were either two or three (depending on subsequent interpretations) altars built by Adam at the site. One altar called the "altar of prayer" was by Lyman's house on Tower Hill. It was described as "sixteen feet long, by nine or ten feet wide, having its greatest extent north and south. The height of the altar at each end was some two and a half feet, gradually rising higher to the center, which was between four and five feet high — the whole surface being crowning." The other altar — called the "altar of sacrifice" — was said to be a mile to the north on top of Spring Hill.

On May 19, 1838, Smith formally revealed his belief that Adam-ondi-Ahman was the place where Adam went after being exiled from the Garden of Eden. On June 25, 1838, at a conference in Wight's orchard, a Mormon settlement at Adam-ondi-Ahman was formally established. Within a few months, its population grew to 1500.

Non-Mormon settlers grew worried that the Latter Day Saints would seize political control of Daviess County. On August 6, 1838, a group of non-Mormons tried to prevent Latter Day Saint settlers from voting in the local elections at Gallatin
Gallatin, Missouri
Gallatin is a city in Daviess County, Missouri, United States. The population was 1,789 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Daviess County.-History:...

. The Mormons fought back and defeated the mob in a skirmish that came to be known as the Gallatin Election Day Battle. This was the opening skirmish in the Mormon War.

In the course of the conflict, non-Mormon vigilantes from neighboring counties came to Daviess and burned Mormon homes. Mormon refugees gathered at Adam-ondi-Ahman for protection. Latter Day Saints responded to the attacks by leading their own forces from Caldwell County. Missouri Governor Lilburn Boggs
Lilburn Boggs
Lilburn Williams Boggs was the sixth Governor of Missouri from 1836 to 1840. He is now most widely remembered for his interactions with Joseph Smith and Porter Rockwell, and Missouri Executive Order 44, known by Mormons as the "Extermination Order", issued in response to the ongoing conflict...

 issued Missouri Executive Order 44, in which he called out 2500 militiamen and threatened to "exterminate" the Mormon community.

In October 1838, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young
Brigham Young
Brigham Young was an American leader in the Latter Day Saint movement and a settler of the Western United States. He was the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1847 until his death in 1877, he founded Salt Lake City, and he served as the first governor of the Utah...

, Heber C. Kimball
Heber C. Kimball
Heber Chase Kimball was a leader in the early Latter Day Saint movement. He served as one of the original twelve apostles in the early Latter Day Saint church, and as first counselor to Brigham Young in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1847 until his...

 and other Latter Day Saint leaders gathered to dedicate the temple square on the highest point on the bluff. Smith, Wight and others surrendered on November 1, 1838 on charges of murder
Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

, arson
Arson is the crime of intentionally or maliciously setting fire to structures or wildland areas. It may be distinguished from other causes such as spontaneous combustion and natural wildfires...

, theft
In common usage, theft is the illegal taking of another person's property without that person's permission or consent. The word is also used as an informal shorthand term for some crimes against property, such as burglary, embezzlement, larceny, looting, robbery, shoplifting and fraud...

, rebellion
Rebellion, uprising or insurrection, is a refusal of obedience or order. It may, therefore, be seen as encompassing a range of behaviors aimed at destroying or replacing an established authority such as a government or a head of state...

, and treason
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

. After a preliminary court hearing was held November 12 to 29 in Richmond
Richmond, Missouri
Richmond is a city in Ray County, Missouri, United States. The population was 5,797 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Ray County.-Geography:Richmond is located at...

, Smith and Wight were transferred to the Liberty Jail
Liberty Jail
Liberty Jail is a former jail in Liberty, Missouri, USA where Joseph Smith, Jr., founder of Latter Day Saint movement, and other associates were imprisoned from December 1, 1838 to April 6, 1839 during the 1838 Mormon War...

 in Liberty
Liberty, Missouri
Liberty is a city in Clay County, Missouri and is a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri. At the 2007 population estimate, the city population was 29,993...


On November 7, 1838, the Mormons were told they had ten days to abandon the settlement. They moved to Far West, Missouri.

On April 9, 1839, Smith was sent to the Daviess County Jail in Gallatin for a hearing, where a grand jury
Grand jury
A grand jury is a type of jury that determines whether a criminal indictment will issue. Currently, only the United States retains grand juries, although some other common law jurisdictions formerly employed them, and most other jurisdictions employ some other type of preliminary hearing...

 indicted him. On April 15, following the granting of a change of venue
Change of venue
A change of venue is the legal term for moving a trial to a new location. In high-profile matters, a change of venue may occur to move a jury trial away from a location where a fair and impartial jury may not be possible due to widespread publicity about a crime and/or its defendant to another...

, Smith was allowed to escape while en route to Boone County, Missouri
Boone County, Missouri
Boone County is a county centrally located in the U.S. state of Missouri. It is the eighth most populous county in Missouri. In 2010, the population was 162,642. Its county seat, Columbia, is the fifth largest city in Missouri and the anchor city of the Columbia Metropolitan Area.-History:Boone...

, a day after getting supplies at Adam-ondi-Ahman. Most of the Latter Day Saints had left Missouri by early 1839. The refugees gathered in Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

 and later regrouped at the new Mormon center of Nauvoo
Nauvoo, Illinois
Nauvoo is a small city in Hancock County, Illinois, United States. Although the population was just 1,063 at the 2000 census, and despite being difficult to reach due to its location in a remote corner of Illinois, Nauvoo attracts large numbers of visitors for its historic importance and its...

. Although many Latter Day Saints were tried for their part in the war, no non-Mormon vigilantes were brought to trial.

Because the Latter Day Saints held their lands in Adam-ondi-Ahman by preemption
-Legal:*Federal preemption, displacement of U.S. state law by U.S. Federal law*"Preemption" is also sometimes used in the United States to refer to the displacing effect state laws might have on ordinances enacted by municipalities, especially in the context of alcoholic beverage laws, gun laws,...

, all of their rights and improvements were lost when they were forced to leave. Their losses are recorded in a set of Mormon Redress Petitions collected and edited by Clark V. Johnson. Most of the land in Adam-ondi-Ahman was purchased by John Cravens, who renamed the town "Cravensville."

Today 3000 acres (12 km²) of Adam-ondi-Ahman is owned and maintained as a historic site by the LDS Church and remains largely undeveloped farmland.

Religious significance

Adam-ondi-Ahman is the subject of a revelation
Revelation (Latter Day Saints)
Latter Day Saints teach that the Latter Day Saint movement began with a Revelation from God . They also teach that revelation is the foundation of the church established by Jesus Christ and that it remains an essential element of His true church today...

 recorded in the LDS Church edition of the Doctrine and Covenants
Doctrine and Covenants
The Doctrine and Covenants is a part of the open scriptural canon of several denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement...

, a book of scripture within the Latter Day Saint movement
Latter Day Saint movement
The Latter Day Saint movement is a group of independent churches tracing their origin to a Christian primitivist movement founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in the late 1820s. Collectively, these churches have over 14 million members...

: "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."

Joseph Smith, Jr. taught that the Garden of Eden was located in the vicinity of Independence, Missouri
Independence, Missouri
Independence is the fourth largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri, and is contained within the counties of Jackson and Clay. It is part of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area...

, and that after Adam and Eve were banished from the garden, they went to Adam-ondi-Ahman.

According to a revelation declared by Smith, Adam met his children at the site three years before his death to bestow his blessing. LDS Church leader Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr.
Joseph Fielding Smith
Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr. was the tenth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1970 until his death. He was the son of Joseph F. Smith, who was the sixth president of the LDS Church...

 has stated that before the Second Coming, Adam will convene another meeting there to turn the government of the human family officially to Jesus Christ.

Meaning of the name

According to the belief of some Latter Day Saints, the term Adam-ondi-Ahman is part of the Adamic language
Adamic language
The Adamic language is, according to certain sects within Abrahamic traditions, the language spoken by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, i.e., either the language used by God to address Adam, or the language invented by Adam ....

. The name was first referenced in about 1832, in Doctrine and Covenants, Section 78, prior to being attached to a specific place. The name was also the title of a hymn
Adam-ondi-Ahman (hymn)
"Adam-ondi-Ahman" is an LDS hymn and was included in the first Latter Day Saint hymnal and quickly became one of the most popular songs of the early church. It was published in 1835 in Messenger and Advocate and is hymn #49 in the current LDS Church hymnal.The hymn was written by W. W. Phelps, an...

 that was popular in the early church.

The term Adam-ondi-Ahman has been speculatively translated as the "Valley of God, where Adam dwelt" (by Orson Pratt
Orson Pratt
Orson Pratt, Sr. was a leader in the Latter Day Saint movement and an original member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles...

), Adam-ondi-Ahman "the valley of God in which Adam blessed his children" (by John Corrill
John Corrill
John Corrill was an early member and leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and an elected representative in the Missouri State Legislature...

), "Adam's grave" (by Community of Christ
Community of Christ
The Community of Christ, known from 1872 to 2001 as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints , is an American-based international Christian church established in April 1830 that claims as its mission "to proclaim Jesus Christ and promote communities of joy, hope, love, and peace"...

 historian Heman C. Smith), or "Adam with God," because elsewhere in the Doctrine and Covenants "Son Ahman" is said to refer to Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

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