Moses 7: Influence on the Development of Zion


In chapters 17–19 we explored the as-yet unparalleled impact of Enoch as a prophet, seer, and revelator on the establishment of Zion in his day. This chapter traces the influence of Moses 7’s expansive concept of Zion on the unfolding goal of establishing Zion as part of the Restoration. The revealed account of Enoch’s Zion thrilled the Prophet Joseph Smith and in turn became a driving force for many early Latter-day Saints, as illustrated by Steven Olsen:

Joseph Smith observed that Zion “was the most important temporal object in view” of the early Latter-day Saints. . . . The founding of this millennial urban society was so important for the early church that thousands of converts from several different countries sacrificed their homes, careers, families, native lands, comfort, health, and even their lives to realize Joseph Smith’s vision of an earthly kingdom that was, like Enoch’s primordial City of Zion, worthy to become God’s “abode forever” (Moses 7:21).[1]

In line with the themes depicted in Moses 7, a May 1842 editorial of the Times and Seasons illustrates how much significance the early Latter-day Saints attached to Zion. It also places emphasis on the people who build this type of community, a concept and principle encountered in Moses 6–7:

The cause of God is one, common cause, in which all the Saints are alike interested, we are all members of the one common body, and all partake of the same spirit, and are baptized into one baptism, and possess alike the same glorious hope. The advancement of the cause of God and the building up of Zion is as much one man’s business as another. . . . The building up of Zion is a cause that has interested the people of God in every age; it is a theme upon which prophets, priests and kings have dwelt with peculiar delight; they have looked forward with joyful anticipation to the day in which we live; and fired with heavenly and joyful anticipations they have sung, and wrote, and prophecied of this [HC 4:609] our day;— but they died without the sight; . . . it is left for us to see, participate in, and help to roll forward the Latter Day Glory; “the dispensation of the fulness of times, when God will gather together all things that are in heaven, and all things that are upon the earth, even in one.” . . . The heavenly priesthood will unite with the earthly, to bring about those great purposes. . . ; and generations unborn will dwell with peculiar delight upon . . . the untiring zeal that we have manifested; the insurmountable difficulties that we have overcome in laying the foundation of a work that brought about the glory and blessings which they will realize; a work that God and Angels have contemplated with delight, for generations past; that fired the souls of the ancient Patriarchs and Prophets— a work that is destined to bring about the destruction of the powers of darkness, the renovation of the earth the glory of God, and the salvation of the human family.[2]

Developing attitudes and communities eventually capable of achieving these millennial conditions would be the challenge of the earliest members of the restored Church, and it remains an overarching goal that Latter-day Saints strive to achieve to this day.[3]

Joseph Smith received numerous revelations in company with Moses 7, revelations that furthered the Saints’ understanding of how God was going to accomplish the goal of creating a society like Enoch’s Zion and what all that would entail. Before the reception of Moses 7, little was known from scripture about Enoch and his Zion.[4] As Robert J. Matthews has observed:

The Church in 1830 was entirely dependent on a new revelation in order to know anything substantial about Enoch, his ministry, the people of his city (Zion), or their laws. However, the Lord was about to reveal to the Church much about Enoch and the laws pertaining to both the ancient and the future Zion. The first introduction to these things was in November and December 1830 while the Prophet was translating from Genesis. In the next few months came the revelations in Doctrine and Covenants 42–43, 45–51, and 57–59 (February–August 1831). Can you see what a marvelous prelude the prophecy of Enoch in JST Genesis chapter 7 (Moses 7) was in laying the foundation for these later revelations?[5]

With the reception of Moses 7 in December 1830, Zion and its building became a major preoccupation of the Lord’s revelations to the Prophet Joseph Smith. It is interesting to note that on April 6, 1830, the Church was named the “Church of Christ”;[6] in 1834 it was referred to as the “CHURCH OF THE LATTER DAY SAINTS”;[7] and on April 26, 1838, a revelation came naming the Church the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Doctrine and Covenants 115:3–4).[8] The name implies a former-day church of Jesus Christ. While it is unquestionably true that the church established by Jesus and his apostles in New Testament times fits that description, Enoch and his Zion also match that description. In fact, Enoch and ancient Zion arguably served as a template for that church and its New World counterpart (see Acts 2:44; 4:32; 3 Nephi 26:19; 4 Nephi 1:3). At the establishment of the Church in April 1830, the Lord revealed how much the concept of Zion had already begun to weigh on Joseph Smith’s mind:

Wherefore, meaning the Church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words, and commandments, which he shall give unto you, as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me: for his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith; for by doing these things, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you: yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you; and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.—

For thus saith the Lord God, him have I inspired to move the cause of Zion in mighty power for your good; and his diligence I know, and his prayers I have heard: yea, his weeping for Zion <I> have I seen, and I will cause that he shall mourn <for her> no longer, for his days of rejoicing are come unto the remission of his sins and the manifestations of my blessings upon his works.[9]

The appellation “Zion,” as used in this revelation, encompassed more than the restored Church established on the same day Joseph received this revelation. “Zion” broadly included Enoch’s ancient Zion society as well as the latter-day Zion that the Lord endeavors to establish. But even these are only a small part of God’s ever-expanding, celestial society: “Zion . . . shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made” (Moses 7:64). The restored Church as a smaller subset of the Lord’s larger Zion project is evident in his description of the Church as “my church in Zion” (Doctrine and Covenants 115:3). Thus, the Lord’s use of the designation “Zion,” on one level, binds ancient and modern Zion together as representing the same cause and unites both to the Lord’s larger cosmic project.[10]

The revelations revealed a pattern of the Lord building latter-day Zion upon the foundational principles of ancient Zion. In Moses 7 we find where the very “template of the Zion society [Joseph] Smith was called to build is first laid out.”[11] Regarding the Saints’ historical and doctrinal interest in Enoch’s Zion as the pattern for the latter-day establishment of Zion, Robert J. Matthews has observed the following:

An extensive revelation about Enoch and his people was given to Joseph Smith in December 1830 while he and Sidney Rigdon were translating from the fifth chapter of the King James Version of Genesis. Chronologically this came after Doctrine and Covenants section 35 and before section 37. This revelation, called in early Latter-day Saint literature the “Prophecy of Enoch,” deals with the ministry of Enoch, his faith in Jesus Christ, his preaching of the gospel, his city which was called Zion, the righteousness of his people, the fact that there were no poor among them, the taking of the people into heaven, and a declaration that they would return to the earth in the last days and be joined with the New Jerusalem that would be built upon the earth. This information about Enoch contains many items of history and doctrine of particular interest to the Latter-day Saints because it deals with the work of the Lord on the earth in our day—the establishment of latter-day Zion.[12]

In other words, in revealing the content of Moses 7, the Lord gave Joseph Smith and the early Saints Enoch’s Zion as a doctrinal blueprint for latter-day Zion.

Other religious movements in the region had attempted millennialist communitarian projects. Indeed, converts to the Church coming from this background entered the covenants of the restored Church with great zeal and hopes of participating in the millennial reign of Christ, who would return to Zion, a New Jerusalem (see Revelations 3:12; 21:2; Ether 13:4).[13] However, the picture of Enoch’s Zion given in Moses 7 suggested possibilities far surpassing the visions of these other communitarian projects: the role of Enoch’s people in creating the conditions in which the Lord could receive their city and society to himself presented the early Saints with a model for how they might build Zion on earth in order to receive Enoch’s Zion returning from above.[14]

In the twenty-first century, it is still common for Christians to speak of and envision an imminent eschatological “rapture” in which believers are evacuated (almost vacuumed) out of a world that has become too sick to survive. In stark contrast, the vision of latter-day Zion in Moses 7 required the Saints’ full participation in bringing heaven down to earth, as it were:

62 And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem.

63 And the Lord said unto Enoch: Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us; and we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other;

64 And there shall be mine abode, and it shall be Zion, which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made; and for the space of a thousand years the earth shall rest.

The Lord’s plan was not to evacuate the Saints from the wicked world, but to bring heaven into the world through Zion. In other words, the Lord intends to transform the world through Zion (see Jacob 5:61–75). Enoch’s Zion and latter-day Zion constitute two halves of what is destined to become a whole, as Zion from above becomes “one” with Zion from beneath (see Doctrine and Covenants 84:100).

As the concept of Zion further developed, the Prophet Joseph Smith received both broad and specific revelations from the Lord to guide the establishment of the Church.[15] Robert J. Matthews highlighted the genetic relationship between Joseph Smith’s reception of Moses 6–7 and Doctrine and Covenants 38–59:

If we want to get a correct historical perspective of how the Lord educated His Prophet and His people about Zion, we must first read the revelations that were received while Joseph was translating the Bible. This is perfectly proper, because that is the order in which they were given. It is only in publishing them in different books that we have created an artificial separation between JST 6–7 and Doctrine and Covenants 42–59. In other words, if one is studying the Doctrine and Covenants and wishes to get a proper orientation about the sections dealing with consecration and the establishment of Zion and the New Jerusalem, an appropriate procedure would be to first study JST Genesis 6–7 (Moses 6–7) about Enoch and his people who were called Zion, their laws, their absence of poverty, and their glory, before reading Doctrine and Covenants 38–59. From the vantage point of the information about Enoch and Zion, as first presented in the translation of the Bible, the next twenty sections or so of the Doctrine and Covenants fall neatly into place.[16]

As part of reading scripture in historical context, one must read and understand Moses 6–7 in order to understand Doctrine and Covenants 38–59 in their full scriptural or revelatory context.

Time Line

When we examine how the Lord used the term Zion in the early canonized revelations, we get a sense of how the conception of “Zion” developed, especially with Joseph Smith’s reception of the Enoch/Zion material in November and December 1830. The following is an outline charting some of the major revelations and events surrounding the development of the concept of Zion for Joseph Smith and the early Church of this dispensation.

April 1829: Doctrine and Covenants 6:6—seek to bring forth cause of Zion; first time Zion is referenced in Doctrine and Covenants

May 1829: Doctrine and Covenants 12:6—bring forth and establish the cause of Zion

March 1830: First copies of the Book of Mormon are printed; Zion is mentioned 45 times in the Book of Mormon

6 April 1830: Doctrine and Covenants 20:1—the Church organized

6 April 1830: Doctrine and Covenants 21:7—Joseph Smith is inspired by the Lord to move the cause of Zion forward

June 1830: Reception of earliest revelations associated with the Joseph Smith Translation,[17] laying the foundation for later revelations that will reveal much more to the Saints about Zion

July 1830: Doctrine and Covenants 24:7–8—service in Zion despite persecution

July 1830: Doctrine and Covenants 25—Emma Smith is informed that she will have an inheritance in Zion; Zion is pronounced as more than just a cause

September 1830: Doctrine and Covenants 28, 30—the Lord notes that Zion will be built in the borders by Lamanites[18]

October 1830: Doctrine and Covenants 32–33—the Lord sends Oliver Cowdery and others on a mission that would be instrumental in opening doors in Ohio and Missouri

November–December 1830: The Lord reveals extensive information about Enoch and the city of Zion while Joseph Smith is translating from KJV Genesis 5[19]

December 1830: Doctrine and Covenants 37—Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon are instructed to halt translation and move to Ohio

January 1831: Doctrine and Covenants 37—the Lord commands the Saints to gather to Ohio

2 January 1831: Doctrine and Covenants 38—the Lord gives revelation concerning Enoch and doctrine in Moses 7

February 1831: Doctrine and Covenants 42–43—elders called to preach the gospel; site of the New Jerusalem

9 February 1831: Doctrine and Covenants 42—principles of the law of consecration revealed based on Enoch’s city[20]

7 March 1831: Doctrine and Covenants 45—the Lord commands Joseph Smith to stop translating Genesis, start translating New Testament; Joseph receives Doctrine and Covenants 45 (gospel restored to Gentiles; signs of Second Coming, New Jerusalem/Zion; God of Enoch; city reserved until a day of righteousness)[21]

March 1831: Doctrine and Covenants 48, 49—Saints in Ohio must share land; laws of inheritance

26 April 1832: Doctrine and Covenants 82:13–14—Zion must expand, stakes strengthened, beautiful garments

May 1831: Doctrine and Covenants 51—Bishop Edward Partridge to regulate settlements for saints in Ohio; consecration, the law

June–July, 1831: Joseph Smith and others travel from Ohio to Jackson County, Missouri[22]

20 July 1831: Doctrine and Covenants 57—Joseph Smith instructed on location for the settlement for Zion; “land of inheritance” will be in Independence, Missouri[23]

1 August 1831: Doctrine and Covenants 58—Zion is as a place where all nations shall be invited; purchase of lands; inheritance

2 August 1831: The land of Zion is consecrated and dedicated for the gathering of the Saints[24]

3 August 1831: The temple site in Independence, Missouri, is dedicated[25]

7 August 1831: Doctrine and Covenants 59—those who have been obedient in coming to Zion “shall receive for their reward the good things of the earth” and “crowned with blessings from above”

September 1831: Doctrine and Covenants 64—the Lord will provide Zion as the inheritance for his Saints

3 November 1831: Doctrine and Covenants 133—Second Coming; Lord will come to Zion and crown Saints with glory

16 February 1832: Doctrine and Covenants 76—City of Enoch associated with celestial kingdom

22–23 September 1832: Doctrine and Covenants 84:2–4, 99–100—physical location of Zion

2 August 1833: Doctrine and Covenants 97:19–21; compare Old Testament Revision 1, p. 16 (Moses 7:18–19)—Zion is the pure in heart

October 1833: Doctrine and Covenants 100:13—“Zion shall be redeemed, although she is chastened for a little season”

December 1833: Doctrine and Covenants 101:17—“Zion shall not be moved out of her place”

16 November 1835: Joseph quotes prophecy of Enoch, Zion, New Jerusalem[26]

March 1836: Doctrine and Covenants 109—come forth to Zion and her stakes

26 April 1838: Doctrine and Covenants 115:3–4—Church will be called Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

19 July 1840: Zion includes “north and south America”[27]

15 March 1842: Joseph Smith proclaims, “The holy city New Jerusalem [shall] come down from God out of heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”[28]

March 1842: The Relief Society is organized on Zion principles[29]

8 April 1844: Joseph Smith reveals, “Wherever the Elders of Israel shall build up churches . . . unto the Lord throughout the States, there shall be a stake of Zion”[30] ; Zion is defined as all of “North and South America”[31]

January 1847: Brigham Young receives Doctrine and Covenants 136 at Winter Quarters—“My people must be tried . . . that they may be prepared to receive . . . the glory of Zion,” v. 31)

Although the number and frequency of revelations invoking or mentioning Enoch’s Zion diminished over time, the ideal of Zion as a society perfected by Christ and his people’s adherence to celestial law remained firmly fixed as the goal toward which the early Church members earnestly strove, even after the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The concept of an Enochic Zion society merged with Isaiah’s and Moroni’s geographical model of Zion as an ever-expanding tabernacle-temple with anchoring stakes, lengthening cords, and ever enlarging borders. These prophets declared: “And awake, and arise from the dust, O Jerusalem; yea, and put on thy beautiful garments, O daughter of Zion; and strengthen thy stakes and enlarge thy borders forever, that thou mayest no more be confounded, that the covenants of the Eternal Father which he hath made unto thee, O house of Israel, may be fulfilled” (Moroni 10:31, quoting Isaiah 52:1–2; 54:2).

Zion: A Definition in Flux

The concept of Zion for early Church members evolved over time as more revelation came to the Prophet Joseph Smith. The definition of Zion and explanation of its early use in this dispensation offered in The Joseph Smith Papers summarizes how the notion of “Zion” developed in the earliest years of the restored Church:

[Zion:] A specific location in Missouri; also a literal or figurative gathering of believers in Jesus Christ, characterized by adherence to ideals of harmony, equality, and purity. In JS’s earliest revelations “the cause of Zion” was used to broadly describe the focus of the work JS was called to do. However, the term Zion was soon used more specifically to describe a community of believers living in harmony and equality. The Book of Mormon explained that in the last days Jesus Christ would gather the house of Israel and again establish Zion. In JS’s translation of the Bible, he added passages about the prophet Enoch establishing a righteous, unified, poverty-free community called Zion. Thereafter, Zion came to mean the ideal society JS sought to establish, patterned after Enoch’s community. The term also meant the location where the Saints were to build the city of Zion, also called the New Jerusalem or Mount Zion. Like the biblical Zion, this would be a place of refuge and a place to prepare for the Second Coming. JS prophesied that inhabitants of Zion would live with Christ, the “king of Zion.” On 20 July 1831, a revelation designated Missouri as the “land of Zion” and Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, as the “center place” at which to build the city of Zion. “An house,” or temple, was to be “built unto the Lord” in the city of Zion. Communities of Saints outside the central location of Zion were called stakes, to which the tent of Zion was figuratively tethered, and were to strengthen Zion and enlarge its borders. The term Zion subsequently referred to the Missouri church centered in Clay County and then Caldwell County. In 1844, JS further defined Zion as all of North and South America.[32]

Because the concept of Zion would evolve from a general, abstract community who would dwell with God to specific locations encompassing the gathering of Saints, the project of Zion building would, as Taunalyn Rutherford has explained,

include the enlarged borders of new cities appointed as gathering places for the saints who came increasingly from outside the United States. When the Saints left Missouri and settled in Nauvoo, Joseph’s conception of Zion enlarged, and he is recorded as declaring “that Zion referred to all of North and South America and anywhere Saints gathered.”[33] One example of Joseph’s enlarged conception of Zion is a March 1841 revelation giving “the will of the Lord concerning the saints in the Territory of Iowa.” They were told to “gather themselves together unto the places which I shall appoint unto them by my servant Joseph, and build up cities.” Furthermore, the Lord spoke to “all those that come from the east, and the west and the north and the south” were to “take up their inheritance” in an appointed city “and in all the stakes which” the Lord had appointed.[34]

The Book of Moses, particularly Moses 7 with its revelation on Enoch’s city of Zion, would exert a profound influence on these efforts. Moses 7 revealed a city of righteousness founded on principles of unity, consecration with the intent of eliminating poverty, and cooperation in working toward obtaining the presence of God and establishing heaven on earth. Steven Olsen writes:

Zion’s inhabitants were to live in an equal and self-sufficient society. They would accomplish this through the covenant of consecration, required of all who would receive an “inheritance in Zion.” By this covenant, residents of Zion would abandon ownership rights to all their property in return for a “stewardship,” or conditional, perpetual use rights over a portion of Zion’s material resources. Working together with these resources, families would provide for their own needs and donate their surplus for the blessing of the poor and the growth of the Kingdom (D&C 42:30–38). Thus Zion’s inhabitants would be equal in their relationship to the centers of authority and the means of production (78:5–6). This would eliminate from Zion the power relations of politics and the individualizing and stratifying tendencies of market economies, private property, and class distinctions. Because all inhabitants would be equal in earthly things, they could then become equal in and thus united by heavenly things, making them worthy of being God’s people.

. . . Interpersonal interaction was to be governed by the highest moral principles, all of which are embodied in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Charity, unity, service, compassion, cooperation, mercy, respect, and honesty were among the social values of Zion, as were purity, integrity, obedience, justice, and virtue (see D&C 42). Scripture characterizes Zion’s inhabitants thus: “They were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them” (Moses 7:18).[35]

The establishment of Zion constituted the goal of the great unfolding latter-day Restoration and remains the goal as articulated in the tenth article of faith: “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.” That future reality remains a central tenant of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints across the globe. More than at any time in its modern history, the Church has numerous well-established temporal and economic mechanisms that draw from the consecrated donations of Church members in the form of time and monetary resources in order to care for the poor and the needy and further the cause of Zion and its principles.

The Development of Zion—1830

In September 1830 the Prophet Joseph Smith prayed to know where Zion would be located.[36] The Lord responded that it would be revealed “on the borders by the Lamanites” (Doctrine and Covenants 28:9). In that same and subsequent revelations (see 28:8; 31:5; 32:1–3), Oliver Cowdery and three companions were sent on missions to the “Lamanites” just west of the Missouri border where US president Andrew Jackson had signed into law the Indian Removal Act on May 28, 1830, and where Native American tribes had begun settling. This group of missionaries, after traveling through Ohio and having much missionary success that would later pave the way for settlement in Kirtland, arrived in Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, in mid-January 1831.[37] This happened just a month after the reception of Moses 7, and plans would quickly move forward for the establishment of Zion in the region:

JST Genesis 7 is an overview of the glory and greatness of Enoch’s Zion given to the Church as a prelude before the Lord revealed in detail the laws and requirements that would enable the Latter-day Saints to build a similar Zion. Note this sequence: In October 1830 (D&C 32) the Lord sends Oliver Cowdery and others to Missouri. In November and December in New York, the Lord reveals extensive information about Enoch and his Zion while the Prophet is translating Genesis. Later in December (D&C 37) the Lord tells the Prophet to move to Ohio, which he does in January 1831. In February (D&C 42) the Lord promises that in due time the exact spot for the city of Zion shall be revealed. Also, in this same revelation the law of consecration and other economic provisions that pertain to Zion are set forth. In June 1831 several of the elders are sent to Missouri. In July a conference is held in Missouri and the site for the city of Zion or the New Jerusalem is at last made known (D&C 57). Thus, we see in the winter and spring of 1830 to 1831, the Lord was about to reveal the law that pertains to Zion so that Zion could be established and the New Jerusalem could be built. That is, before He gave the particulars outlining the details of the law for use in this Church, He gave to Joseph Smith and to the Church an informative overview and historical backdrop or pattern by means of the “prophecy of Enoch” obtained in November and December 1830 while the Prophet was translating the Bible. The Enoch material from Genesis gave them the “big picture,” or the necessary perspective.[38]

Terryl Givens and Brian Hauglid summarize how Moses 7, Enoch, and the teachings of Enoch would influence the revelatory process and how they would guide the Prophet Joseph Smith toward interpreting and understanding the revelations of God:

The vision of Enoch’s city has immediate and dramatic effect on his designs for the fledgling church, and in the days ahead, the person and precedent of Enoch fill his mind. After the September revelation, another comes in January in which God identifies himself as “the same which have taken the Zion of Enoch into my own bosom.” And Smith immediately lays out a plan for his latter-day incarnation of Enoch’s city. In February, he encourages the Isaac Morley “family,” a group of some fifty individuals, to abandon their communal experiment for a more perfect version, captured in what comes to be known as the Law of Consecration—but was originally called, Orson Pratt informs us, tellingly, the Law of Enoch. Weeks later, in March 1831, Smith pronounces a revelation confirming that Enoch is his inspiration for this new initiative.[39]

The Zion commandments of Doctrine and Covenants 45 thus amounted to a modern revealed application of the ancient doctrine and principles described in Moses 6–7.

The Law, the Location, and Purifying the Heart—1831

The year 1831 saw considerable progress in the development of Zion. Revelations from the Lord regarding Zion multiplied, offering guidance in the form of the laws that were to govern Zion, physical locations and inheritances, and efforts to produce a people pure in heart.[40] These efforts were initiated by a conference of the Church in January 1831, and Enoch and his Zion society would constitute a crucial component of these revelations.

After transacting the necessary business, Joseph the seer addressed the congregation, and exhorted them to stand fast, looking forward considering the end of their salvation. The solemnities of eternity rested on thm the congregation, and having previou[s]ly received a revelation to go to Ohio, they desired to know somewhat more concerning this matter. Therefor the Seer enquired of the Lord in the presence of the whole congregation, and thus came the word of the Lord saying:

Thus saith the Lord God, even Jesus Christ the great I AM, Alpha and Omega, the begining and the end. The same which looked upon the wide expance of eternity, and all the seraphic host of heaven, before the world was made; the same which knoweth all things, for all things are present before his mine eyes. I am the same which spake and the world was made, and all things came by me: I am the same which have taken the Zion of Enoch into mine own bosom, and verily I say, even as many as have believed on my name, for I am Christ, and in my own name by the virtue of the blood which I have spilt, have I plead before the Father for them. . . .

Behold, verily, verily I say unto you, that mine eyes are upon you; I am in your midst and ye cannot see me, but the day soon comeeth that ye shall see me and know that I am.[41]

The next day on January 2, 1831, the Lord gave a revelation referencing Enoch and numerous aspects and principles found in Moses 7 and told the Saints to “go to the Ohio; and there I will give unto you my law; and there you shall be endowed with power from on high” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:32).[42] The next month the Lord revealed principles of the law of consecration, based on the economic order of Enoch’s city.[43] According to Orson Pratt, the law was originally characterized as the Law of Enoch,[44] a law that taught the principles of caring for the poor and alleviating poverty. The revelation additionally instructed:

if thou shalt ask thou shalt receive Revelation upon Revelation knowledge upon knowledge that thou mayest know the mysteries & the peacible things of the kingdom that which bringeth joy that which life Eternal thou shalt ask & it shall be revealed unto you in mine own due time when the New Jerusalem shall be built thou shalt ask & it shall be revealed in mine own due time & behold it shall come to pass that my Servants Shall be sent both to the East & to the west the north & to the South. . . . Behold thou shalt observe all these things & great Shall be thy reward thou shalt observe to keep the mysteries of the Kingdom unto thy Self for it is not given unto the world to know the mysteries & these Laws which ye have received are sufficient for <you> both here & in the New Jerusalem but he that lacketh knowledge let him ask of me & I will give him liberally & & upbraid him not Lift up your hearts & rejoice for unto you the Kingdom is given.[45]

The revelation described the milieu in which Joseph Smith and the early Saints found themselves as similar to that of Enoch and his people: the preaching of the everlasting gospel, missionary work, and gathering amid wickedness and trying times. The New Jerusalem, like Enoch’s city, would serve as the requisite city of refuge. The “revelation upon revelation” of “mysteries” and “that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal” (Doctrine and Covenants 42:61), recalls what the Lord taught Adam (and relayed by Enoch) about being “born again . . . into the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” and “enjoy[ing] the words of eternal life” (Moses 6:59, OT1).

Over the next few months more missionaries and, in the summer of 1831, early Church members from Colesville would head to Missouri in efforts to settle and establish Zion.[46] On July 20, 1831, Joseph received the revelation that Independence would be the “center place” of the “city [of] Zion,” or the “city of New Jerusalem” (Doctrine and Covenants 57:3; 28:9; 84:2), and this would initiate a large-scale effort revealed by the Lord to build, gather, and construct temples with the view of creating a modern-day Zion patterned after the ancient city of Enoch.[47] It was to this temple, as described in Moses 7, where the Savior would return.[48] The centrality and focus of the physical location of Zion became an important shift in understanding what the Lord intended “Zion” to become.

Details of Zion’s location emphasize centripetal symbolism. Images of Zion as the “center” abound in the verbal and graphic descriptions of this ideal city. Joseph described the ideal settlement destined for Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, as the “center place” (D&C 57:3). This place was metaphorically central in that it was an explicit model for the establishment all subsequent settlements, called “stakes” of Zion (Journal of Discourses 22:35; hereafter JD; HC 1:358). It became the first fixed location in the earthly Kingdom of God when Joseph Smith dedicated the land of Zion and ritually laid the cornerstone of its chief temple on August 2–3, 1831 (HC 1:196). Located “on the borders by the Lamanites” (D&C 28:9), the “center place” also symbolically mediated the relationship between the two major scriptural divisions of the family of God: Israel, of which the Lamanites were a “remnant” (see BofM Title page), and the Gentiles. This center place anticipated the “marvelous work and a wonder” prophesied in the Book of Mormon whereby God’s ancient covenants of salvation would be restored among scattered Israel and extended to righteous Gentiles (see 2 Nephi 25–30). Zion’s centripetal significance is further defined in the revelations identifying its location as fixed and unalterable, as the source from where the gospel’s message will go “unto the uttermost parts of the earth,” and as the destination of the “gathering of the saints” in the last days (D&C 97:18–21; 58:64; 84:4). The ultimate spiritual significance of Independence as Zion’s center place came when it was identified as the site of the primordial Garden of Eden and as the spot to which Enoch’s Zion would descend from heaven at the end of time (see JD 4:105; 10:235).

In short, the City of Zion in early Mormon thought served as an “axis mundi,” the ultimate sacred location, the point of contact between heaven and earth, and the beginning and end of human time (see Eliade 12; Wheatley 12–16). Thus Zion made sacred and of eternal value two of the basic dimensions of human consciousness—space and time. As a result, human perception of and action within the world as ordered by the principles of Zion would be thoroughly and completely sacred.[49]

Joseph’s revelations on the location of the New Jerusalem thus established continuity between the dispensations of Adam, Enoch, and the fullness of times—and also between the Garden of Eden (the first temple),[50] the city of Enoch with its temples,[51] and the New Jerusalem with its many planned temples.[52]

A revelation on August 1, 1831, now canonized as Doctrine and Covenants 58, further guided the Saints along the path toward building Zion. Scott C. Esplin notes how the Lord urged early Church leaders to purify their hearts as preparation for his later qualification of Zion as the “pure in heart”:

Finally, consistent with how Zion was later equated with “the pure in heart” (D&C 97:21), the Lord called both Martin Harris and William W. Phelps to repent in section 58. If Enoch’s Zion was a group of people who were “of one heart” and who “dwelt in righteousness” (Moses 7:18), modern Zion was to become the same. Rebuking Harris and Phelps for seeking “the praise of the world” and “to excel” (D&C 58:39, 41), the Lord counseled them that they could purify their hearts by confessing and forsaking their sins (see v. 43). Indeed, if they did so, the Lord promised he would “remember [their sins] no more” (v. 42). These principles of faithfully enduring trials, obeying God’s laws, exercising agency, preaching the gospel, and purifying hearts—delivered as the Prophet sought instruction regarding Zion’s establishment—provide a pattern for how the Lord’s people would become a modern Zion.[53]

The next two days, on August 2–3, the temple lot and the land of Zion were dedicated and the cornerstone for the temple was laid.[54] Regarding these events and their relationship to Enoch, Terryl Givens and Brian Hauglid have observed the following:

That summer of 1831, Smith personally journeyed to Missouri to locate the site for the city of Zion. . . . In June 1833, a few months after publishing Enoch’s prophecy, Smith sent the actual blueprint, the plat for the city of Zion, to his colleagues in Missouri. It is easy to see Joseph Smith as a Moses figure, giving a new law, producing scripture, leading his people out of spiritual bondage and into a promised land, speaking with God and angels face to face. But his own words suggest a different parallel. “Moses sought to bring the children of Israel into the presence of God, through the power of the Priesthood, but he could not. In the first ages of the world they tried to establish the same thing—and there were Elias’s raised up who tried to restore these very glories but did not. . . . But Enoch did for himself and those that were with Him” (emphasis added). Smith was deeply attuned to this record of lamentable failure both before and after the accomplishment of Enoch. Apostasy and restoration were a ceaseless cycle in the world’s history, but Smith believed that Enoch offered the model and blueprint for getting all the way to Zion.[55]

In other words, Enoch and his people provided a successful model for achieving Zion vis-à-vis almost every other people in every other dispensation. Melchizedek arguably represents one exception, but he too used Enoch as his model (see Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 14:25–33). The Saints of this dispensation would need to follow that model if they were to succeed where many predecessors had come up short.

Later in the fall of November 1831, another revelation would describe the significance of modern-day Zion in relation to the holy city of Enoch:

Enoch also & they which were with him the Prophets which were before him & Noah also & they which were before him & Elijah also & they which were before him & from Elijah to Moses & from Moses to John who were with Christ in his resurrection & the Holy Apostles with Abraham Isaac & Jacob shall be in the presenc[e] of the lamb & the graves of the saints shall be opened & they shall come forth & stand on the right hand of the Lamb when he shall stand upon mount Zion & upon the Holy City the New Jerusalem wherefo & they shall sing the Song of the lamb day & night for ever & ever— & for this cause that men might be partakers of the glories which were revealed the Lord sent forth the fullness of the gospel & the everlasting covenant.[56]

As the culmination of all gospel ideals and the “work to [God’s] glory” (Moses 1:39 OT1), Zion is timeless in its origins, numberless in its iterations among all God’s creations, and boundless in the scope and breadth of its impact on the eternal lives of God’s righteous children (compare Moses 7:31, 53, 62–64).

Zion from Above and Zion from Beneath—1832

In February 1832 the Lord revealed a connection between those who would inherit the celestial kingdom alongside the church of Enoch and those who would come unto Mount Zion unto the city of the living God:

these are they who shall have part in the first resurection these are they who shall come forth in the resurection of the just these are they who are come unto mount Zion and unto the city of the Living God the heavenly place the holiest of all these are they who are come to an innumerable company of Angels to the general assembly and church of Enoch and of the first born these are they whose names are writen in heaven where God and Christ is judge of all[.] these are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenent who wrought out this perfect attonement through the shedding of his own blood these are they whose bodies are celestial whose glory is that of the sun.[57]

By September 1832 the Lord had explained to the Saints that they would be gathered and stand upon Mount Zion, the New Jerusalem, which was to be crowned with a temple built in Independence, Missouri:

A Revelation of Jesus Christ unto his Servant Joseph and Six elders as they united their hearts in lifting their voices on high y[e]a the word of the Lord concerning his church established in the last days for the restoration of his people as he has spoken by the mouths of his prophets and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon mount Z[1]on which Shall be called the city New Jerusalem which city shall be built beginning at the Temple lot which is appointed by the finger of the Lord in the westeren boundaries of the state of Missouri and dedicated by the hand of Joseph and others with the whom the Lord was well pleased verily this is the word of the Lord that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the Saints beginning at this place even the place of the temple which temple shall be reared in this generation.[58]

This revelation would continue to emphasize the vital role the temple would play in modern-day Zion, “for verily this generation shall not all pass away untill an house shalt be built unto the Lord and a cloud shall rest upon it which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord which shall fill the house, and the sons of Moses according to the holy Priesthood which he received under the hand of his father in Law Jethro.”[59] The revelation would continue to emphasize the connection between the ancient and the modern Zion communities that, as foretold in Moses 7:62–63, would eventually “meet” and become one at the coming of the Lord:

All shall know me who remain even from the least to the greatest and shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord and shall see eye to eye, and shall lift up the voice, and with the voice together sing this new song, saying the lord hath brought again Zion the Lord hath redeemed his people Israel, according to the election of grace which was brought to pass by the faith and covenant of ther fathers, the Lord hath redeemed his people and Satan is bound and time is no longer the Lord hath gathered all things in one the Lord hath brought down Zion from above the Lord hath brought up Zion from benieth.[60]

The Zion community was to consist of residencies and a temple complex that reflected in very name the themes of Moses 7, and it was to be united with the ancient city of Zion.

“This Is Zion—the Pure in Heart”: The Expanding Geography of Zion—1833

By 1833 Joseph’s revelations had helped define the character of Zion. The New Jerusalem would be filled with temples consecrated for various types of priesthood service. On June 24, 1833, Joseph noted the various temples that would be built in the New Jerusalem and briefly explained their respective functions:

photo of the plat map of zionFigure 2: Plat Map of the City of Zion. The Prophet Joseph Smith's plat of the City of Zion, June 25, 1833. Courtesy of Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

The names of the Temples to be built on the painted squares as represented on the plot of the City of Zion which is now about to be forwarded thither. Nos 10, 11, & 12, are to be called, House of the Lord for the presidency of the High and most holy priesthood after the order of Melchizadeck which was after the order of the son of God upon Mount Zion City of the New Jerusalem. Nos. 7, 8, & 9 The Sacred Apostolic Repository for the use of the Bishops. Nos, 4, 5, & 6 The holy evangelical House for the High Priesthood of the holy order of God. Nos 1, 2, & 3 The house of the Lord for the Elders of Zion, an ensign to the nations. Nos 22, 23 & 24 House of the Lord for the presidency of the high Priesthood after the order of Aaaron, a Standard for the people. Nos 19, 20, 21 House of the Lord for the high Priesthood after the order of Aaron, the Law of the Kingdom of heaven, Messenger to the people. Nos. 16, 17, & 18 House of the Lord for the Teachers in Zion, messenger to the Church. Nos 13, 14, & 15 House of the Lord for the Deacons in Zion, helps in government. Underneath must be written on each House— Holiness To the Lord 24 June 1833.[61]

The names of these temples reflected priesthood and priestly functions that were to bless the world in establishing God’s kingdom on earth with both temporal and spiritual relevance. What seems clear is that “this concept of the City of Zion—as identified in ancient scriptures, elaborated in modern revelations, and specified in drawings and descriptions by the First Presidency in 1833—seems to have crystallized for the early Saints a form or understanding of exaltation.”[62]

Nevertheless, the Saints did not succeed in building the city. The Lord explained, “Behold, I say unto you, there were jarrings, and contentions, and envyings, and strifes, and lustful and covetous desires among them; therefore by these things they polluted their inheritances” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:6). They had been “afflicted, and persecuted, and cast out from the land of their inheritance . . . in consequence of their transgressions” (vv. 1–2). With the loss of the geographic land of Zion, the Lord revealed an expanded conception of Zion: “Therefore, verily, thus saith the Lord, let Zion rejoice, for this is Zion—the pure in heart; therefore, let Zion rejoice, while all the wicked shall mourn” (97:21).

“The Tabernacle of the Lord Shall Be with Them”: 1834–1835

Over the next two years, the Saints continued to purchase lands according to the revealed law of consecration.[63] The Prophet Joseph Smith offered his own exegesis of what has since become Moses 7:62, explaining the significance of Zion as a New Jerusalem. He further explained the deeper meaning of righteousness and truth as a flood, along with the concepts of gathering, a Holy City, God’s tabernacle in the midst of it, and Zion as a New Jerusalem:

[R]ighteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine own elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare; a holy city, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming: for there shall be my tabernacle; and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem. Now I understand by this quotation, that God clearly manifested to Enoch, the redemption which he prepared, by offering the Messiah as a Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world: by virtue of the same, the glorious resurrection of the Savior, and the resurrection of all the human family,—even a resurrection of their corporeal bodies: and also righteousness and truth to sweep the earth as with a flood. Now I ask how righteousness and truth are agoing to sweep the earth as with a flood? I will answer:—Men and angels are to be co-workers in bringing to pass this great work: and a Zion is to be prepared; even a New Jerusalem, for the elect that are to be gathered from the four quarters of the earth, and to be established an holy city: for the tabernacle of the Lord shall be with them.[64]

Joseph Smith’s description “the tabernacle of the Lord shall be with them” is expressly drawn from the Lord’s statement “for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem.” Joseph’s explanation helps us appreciate the tabernacle-temple as the great symbol of the Lord’s presence with those laboring for Zion in the latter days. The Kirtland temple would constitute the first of many such edifice-symbols and the only one that Joseph would live to see completed during his lifetime.

As the temple dedication in Kirtland neared, and the endowment of power was revealed to the Saints for the first time in ritual in Kirtland, the concept of Zion as a “New Jerusalem” found expression in the hymns of the Saints:

1 We’re not ashamed to own our Lord,

And worship him on earth;

We love to learn his holy word,

And know what souls are worth.


2 When Jesus comes as flaming flame,

For to reward the just,

The world will know the only name,

In which the saints can trust.


3 When he comes down in heav’n on earth,

With all his holy band,

Before creation’s second birth,

We hope with him to stand.


4 Then will he give us a new name,

With robes of righteousness,

And in the New Jerusalem,

Eternal happiness.[65]

Through the development of temple ritual in Kirtland and into the Nauvoo period, Zion and its principles became inextricably tied to the temple and its ordinances. The temple and its covenants, priesthood, and ordinances would supply the strength people needed to accomplish and actually become the ideals of Zion. Even today the personal commitment to establish Zion constitutes a key element in the Latter-day Saint temple covenant pertaining to the Enochic law and principle of consecration.

As time went on, the Prophet Joseph Smith would expound more clearly what Zion, the New Jerusalem, entailed:

“And he that sits upon the throne shall proclaim, Behold I make all things new.” Then to the eternal joy of the redeemed, and according to his promise, a new heaven and earth shall be brought into existence by his almighty power. “Then shall the holy city New Jerusalem come down from God out of heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” This most glorious event shall be hailed by the angelic throng who shall exclaim, “Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Seeing then that we look for these things it behoveth us to give all diligence that we may be found of him in peace without spot and blameless.[66]

The goal became clear: “converts [were] to build up the new Jerusalem, and the Temple.”[67] During the organization of the Relief Society on March 30, 1842, the Prophet Joseph Smith declared that “he was going to make of this Society a kingdom of priests [as] in Enoch’s day.”[68] Jennifer Mackley notes that “on December 2, 1843, the day Wilford received his endowment and instruction from Joseph, he recorded in his journal their discussion of ‘the light, blessings, and glory that awaiteth Zion.’”[69]

As the gospel began to extend to the four corners of the earth, the notion of Zion began to bind and unite congregations across the globe, as described in the following epistle of the Twelve Apostles written “to the Saints scattered abroad in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, the Isle of Man, and the Eastern Continent”:[70]

Cities cannot be built without houses, houses cannot be built without materials, or occupied without inhabitants, the inhabitants cannot exist without food and clothing; food and clothing cannot be had without planting, sowing and manufacturing, so that Zion and her Stores cannot be built without means, without industry, without manufacturing establishments, unless the windows of heaven were opened and cities and their appendages were rained down among us. But this we do not expect until the New Jerusalem descends, and that will be some time hence; therefore it is necessary and according to Godliness and the plan of Salvation in these last days, that the brethren should see to all these things and clothe and adorn themselves with the labor of their own hands, build houses and inhabit them, plant vineyards and eat the fruit thereof.

Brethren pray for us, and the First Presidency, the leader of the people, even Joseph, that his life and health may be precious in the sight of heaven, till he has finished the work which he has commenced; and for all the Elders of Israel, that every man may be faithful in his calling, the whole household of faith, and all subjects of prayer. Brethren farewell. May the blessings of heaven and earth be multiplied unto you, in spirit and in body, in basket and in store, in the field and in the Shop, on the land and on the sea, in the house and by the way, and in all situations and circumstances, until you shall stand on Mount Zion, and enter the Celestial City, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Brigham Young,

Heber C. Kimball

Orson Pratt,

William Smith,

Lyman Wight,

Wilford Woodruff,

John Taylor,

George A. Smith,

Willard Richards.[71]


It would be difficult to overstate the extent to which the account of Enoch’s Zion and the Lord’s promises concerning latter-day Zion and the New Jerusalem (now canonized in Moses 7 in the Pearl of Great Price) influenced Joseph Smith and the early Saints. For one thing, this account offered direction for what the Lord meant by such descriptions as “the cause of Zion” in earlier revelations. Many revelations that followed Joseph’s reception of the Enoch material in Moses 6–7 instructed the Church on how to implement the doctrines and principles that were crucial to establishing Zion, such as those especially evident in Moses 7:18. These revelations marked the path forward for the Saints on how to realize the Lord’s promises regarding latter-day Zion and a New Jerusalem in Moses 7:62–64, which will lead to the millennial conditions that will attend Jesus Christ’s second coming and his personal reign on the earth as described in Moses 7:64–67.

Contrary to how many Christians read prophecies related to Christ’s second coming (e.g., 1 Thessalonians 4:17)—interpretations that often picture the rapturous removal of believers from the earth—Moses 7 describes the coming together of latter-day Zion from beneath and Enoch’s Zion from above as one. Steven Olsen provides a helpful summary on this point:

From a religious perspective, the City of Zion defined a spiritual cosmology that integrated in powerful and compelling ways the ultimate concepts of earth and heaven, time and eternity, and humanity and God. Specifically, heaven was an actual place where God dwelled with his ransomed Saints. Its physical and social orders were characterized by purity, righteousness, and power. Joseph Smith was called by God to prepare the earth and its inhabitants for the extension of heaven into this sphere of God’s creation. Zion’s territorial order thus served the early Saints as a material symbol of the lofty spiritual realities that the restoration of the gospel would establish.[72]

Moses 7 and subsequent revelations to Joseph Smith made it clear that the Lord intended not merely to evacuate Saints to heaven but to bring heaven down to earth. These revelations gave clarity regarding the gradual triumph of good over evil and offered a roadmap for how the Saints were (and still are) to achieve this triumph. This divinely ordained project of monumental proportions involves the Saints’ full participation on both sides of the veil between heaven and earth (see especially Doctrine and Covenants 138:29–30, 57–58).


[1] Olsen, “Concept of the City of Zion, 203; see History, 1838–1856, volume A-1 [23 December 1805–30 August 1834], p. 146, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[2] History, 1838–1856, volume C-1 [2 November 1838–31 July 1842], pp. 1327–28, The Joseph Smith Papers; see Times and Seasons, 2 May 1842, p. 776, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[3] See D. Todd Christofferson, “Come to Zion,” Ensign, November 2008.

[4] “A pivotal process of revelation that expanded latter-day understandings of Zion was Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible, particularly the narrative of Enoch, which from a mere 5 verses in Genesis extended to 110 verses in the Book of Moses.” Rutherford, “Evolving Conceptions of Zion,” 141. See Bushman, Rough Stone Rolling, 138.

[5] Matthews, “Joseph Smith Translation: A Primary Source,” 147–48.

[6] History, 1838–1856, volume A-1 [23 December 1805–30 August 1834], p. 37, The Joseph Smith Papers; and Articles and Covenants, circa April 1830 [D&C 20], p. [4], The Joseph Smith Papers.

[7] “Communicated,” The Evening and the Morning Star, May 1834, 160.

[8] See discussion in Baugh, “Redemption of Zion,” 151–94.

[9] History, 1838–1856, volume A-1 [23 December 1805–30 August 1834], pp. 37–38, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[10] “Eventually, Enoch’s entire city was taken into heaven without experiencing death, but during the millennial reign it would descend again to be joined with a new holy city, a New Jerusalem. . . . At that point, the sacred past merged with the Mormon present and future. In October of 1830, Joseph sent Oliver Cowdery to Missouri to locate a site for the New Jerusalem, where Enoch’s society and the Latter-day Saints were to be joined. Eventually, Joseph received a revelation for an economic system, ‘the Order of Enoch,’ to equalize property and eradicate poverty. The ancient and the modern Zion were thus to become one.” Barlow, Mormons and the Bible, 53.

[11] Givens and Hauglid, Pearl of Greatest Price, 4.

[12] Matthews, “Joseph Smith Translation: A Primary Source,” 147.

[13] See Addams, “Acquisition of the Original Temple Lot,” 25–26; and, generally, Underwood, Millenarian World of Early Mormonism. For the concept of Zion in the Book of Mormon, see Rutherford, “Evolving Conceptions of Zion,” 140–41.

[14] See Harper, “The Law.”

[15] “Though Zion certainly will be a place, throughout the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord seems to have expanded the Prophet’s vision beyond the destination to include Zion as a process. In particular, the revelations associated with Joseph Smith’s first trip to Zion (see D&C 57–64) outline much about how Zion can be established. When we study the principles contained in these sections in their historical context and in conjunction with other scriptural passages, a pattern emerges for becoming Zion-like while laboring for the city’s establishment.” Esplin, “‘Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise,’” 135.

[16] Matthews, “Joseph Smith Translation: A Primary Source,” 148.

[17] See the historical introduction to Old Testament Revision 1, The Joseph Smith Papers; and Visions of Moses, June 1830 [Moses 1], p. [1], The Joseph Smith Papers.

[18] Muhlestein, “Revelations Surrounding the ‘New Translation,’” 61.

[19] See Muhlestein, “Revelations Surrounding the ‘New Translation,’” 55.

[20] Harper, “The Law.”

[21] See the historical introduction for Revelation, circa 7 March 1831 [D&C 45], p. 76, The Joseph Smith Papers; and Maki, “Joseph Smith’s Bible Translation.”

[22] See “Place for the City of Zion,” 55.

[23] See Woodworth, “Center Place.”

[24] See “Place for the City of Zion,” 55.

[25] See John Whitmer, History, 1831–circa 1847, p. 32, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[26] See Letter to the Elders of the Church, 16 November 1835, pp. [209]–10, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[27] Discourse, circa 19 July 1840, as Reported by Martha Jane Knowlton Coray–A, p. [13[a]], The Joseph Smith Papers.

[28] Times and Seasons, 15 March 1842, p. 731, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[29] See Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book, p. 12, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[30] History, 1838–1856, volume E-1 [1 July 1843–30 April 1844], p. 1983, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[31] Discourse, 8 April 1844, as Reported by Wilford Woodruff, p. [241], The Joseph Smith Papers.

[32] “Zion,” in Glossary, The Joseph Smith Papers. The concept of Zion was also related to the conception of a “New Jerusalem”: “The Book of Mormon indicated that, in preparation for Jesus Christ’s second coming, a city should be built on the American continent and called the New Jerusalem. The Book of Mormon further explained that the remnant of the seed of Joseph (understood to be the American Indians in JS’s day) would gather to this city, where Christ would return in connection with his second coming. Several of JS’s early revelations stated that the New Jerusalem, sometimes referred to as Zion or Mount Zion, would also serve as a gathering place for the Saints and that the location for it would be revealed to them. Other revelations prophesied that Enoch and his people would join the New Jerusalem at the time of Christ’s second coming. The New Jerusalem was described as ‘a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the most high God.’ The term New Jerusalem was used synonymously with Zion by the early 1830s. While uncertainty initially existed regarding the location of the New Jerusalem, a July 1831 revelation designated Missouri as the place to build the city of Zion and identified Independence as the center place of Zion.” “New Jerusalem,” in Glossary, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[33] On April 8, 1844, the Prophet Joseph Smith “announced having received a ‘a great grand & glorious rev[elatio]n.’ that all of North and South America was Zion and that after the temple had been dedicated, the Saints would spread throughout the two continents building up churches wherever they went.” Historian’s Office General Church Minutes, Nauvoo, April 8, 1844; and Council of Fifty, Minutes, March 1844–January 1846; Volume 1, 10 March 1844–1 March 1845, p. [94], The Joseph Smith Papers. See Discourse, circa 19 July 1840, as Reported by Martha Jane Knowlton Coray–B, The Joseph Smith Papers; “Church History,” Times and Seasons, March 1, 1842, 710; Ehat and Cook, Words of Joseph Smith, 362–85; and Kenney, Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, April 8, 1844, 388.

[34] Rutherford, “Evolving Conceptions of Zion,” 144–45.

[35] Olsen, “Concept of the City of Zion,” 203–11.

[36] “While the concept of Zion is frequently repeated biblically, the first Doctrine and Covenants reference to Zion is in an April 1829 revelation to Oliver Cowdery, wherein the Lord directed him to ‘seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion’ (D&C 6:6). In subsequent sections, the Lord commanded Hyrum Smith and Joseph Knight Sr. to likewise ‘establish the cause of Zion’ (D&C 11:6; 12:6). A year later, he introduced Zion as more than a cause, promising Emma Smith that if she was faithful, she would ‘receive an inheritance in Zion’ (D&C 25:2). Shortly thereafter, the Lord called Zion a city for the first time, directing Oliver Cowdery to head a mission to the Lamanites in September 1830, when he declared, ‘It is not revealed, and no man knoweth where the city Zion shall be built, but it shall be given hereafter. Behold, I say unto you that it shall be on the borders by the Lamanites’ (D&C 28:9). Joseph Smith’s work on the translation of the Bible in December 1830 further highlighted the physicality of Zion, as this translation described the establishment of Enoch’s city by the same name with the promise that in the last days there would be ‘an Holy City . . . called Zion, a New Jerusalem’ (Moses 7:62). Finally, motivating the Saints to build this city, the Lord revealed that Zion would be ‘a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the Most High God’ (D&C 45:66).” Esplin, “‘Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise,’” 135.

[37] See Addams, “Acquisition of the Original Temple Lot,” 26–27. See Revelation, September 1830–B [D&C 28], pp. 40–41, The Joseph Smith Papers. Jackson County had only officially been federally organized in December of 1826. See Addams, “Acquisition of the Original Temple Lot,” 13–14.

[38] Matthews, “Joseph Smith Translation: A Primary Source,” 148–49.

[39] Givens and Hauglid, Pearl of Greatest Price, 57–58. See Doctrine and Covenants 45:11–15.

[40] This is borne out by various revelations. For example, in Doctrine and Covenants 38, received on January 2, 1831, the reference to Enoch in verse 4 (“I am the same which have taken the Zion of Enoch into mine own bosom”) “would hardly be meaningful without the information about Enoch and his translated city” that had just been revealed a few days earlier. “Two months later, in March 1831, the Lord again [made] reference to Enoch and his city. This [was] a very pointed reference to the JST Enoch material and says, ‘Wherefore, hearken ye together and let me show unto you even my wisdom—the wisdom of him whom ye say is the God of Enoch, and his brethren, who were separated from the earth, and were received unto myself—a city reserved until a day of righteousness shall come—a day which was sought for by all holy men, and they found it not because of wickedness and abominations’ (D&C 45:11–12). Both of these passages in the Doctrine and Covenants would be deprived of much of their meaning if they had not been preceded by the information in JST Genesis; without the JST these Doctrine and Covenants comments would have no reference since the King James Version offers none of this information about Enoch or his Zion.” Matthews, “Joseph Smith Translation: A Primary Source,” 149.

[41] John Whitmer, History, 1831–circa 1847, pp. 5–6, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[42] See Revelation, 2 January 1831 [D&C 38], p. 52, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[43] See Revelation, 9 February 1831 [D&C 42:1–72], p. [3], The Joseph Smith Papers. See also discussion in Harper, “The Law.”

[44] Pratt, in Journal of Discourses, 16:156.

[45] Revelation, 9 February 1831 [D&C 42:1–72], p. [5], The Joseph Smith Papers. These guiding principles and revelations would offer guidance and correction. The Isaac Morley family had been attempting to live a communal lifestyle according to principles revealed in Moses 7, but these new revelations put them on the proper path to Zion and away from “going to destruction very fast as to temporal things.” John Whitmer, History, 1831–circa 1847, p. 11, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[46] See Darowski, “Journey of the Colesville Branch.” A letter from Joseph Smith and John Whitmer in Fayette, New York, to the Church in Colesville on December 2, 1830, encouraged the members about Zion: “To the Church in Colesville —Having many things to write to you, but being assured that ye are not ignorant of all that I can write to you, finally I would inform you that Zion is prospering here, there are many serious inquirers in this place, who are seeking the Lord. It gave us much joy to hear from you, to hear that God is softening the hearts of the children of men.” Letter to the Church in Colesville, 2 December 1830, p. 197, The Joseph Smith Papers. Some of the Colesville Saints would journey to Missouri to engage in the work of establishing Zion.

[47] A revelation on June 7, 1831, addressed inheritances and spoke words of encouragement concerning the “City,” a likely reference to the New Jerusalem. See Revelation, 6 June 1831 [D&C 52], p. 89, The Joseph Smith Papers. A revelation the next month explained: “Hearken Oh ye Elders of my Church, saith the Lord your God, Who have assembelled yourselves together, according to my commandment in this land which is the land of Missorie which is the Land which I, have appointed & consecrated for the gethering of the Saints. Wherefore, this is the land of promise & the place for the City of Zion. yea thus saith the Lord your God, If ye will receive wisdom here is wisdom. Behold the place which is now called Independence is the centre place, & the spot for the Temple is lying westward upon a lot which is not far from the court-house. Wherefore it is wisdom that the land should be purchased by the saints & also every tract lying westward even unto the line runing directly betwen Jew & gentile And also every tract bordering by the Prairies in as much as my Deciples are enabled to buy lands. Behold this is wisdom that they may obtain it for an everlasting inheritance .” Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57], p. 93, The Joseph Smith Papers; compare Doctrine and Covenants 57:3. The demarcation here between Jew and Gentile seems to be a deliberate attempt of the Lord to avoid politically charged ethnic distinctions between Native American and residents in Missouri, and also to place these politically separated groups into a portrait of religious terminology wherein Zion would constitute a unifying effort in which all were welcome. See Woodworth, “Center Place.” The revelations also spoke of “the Jew, of whom the Lamanites are a remnant” (Doctrine and Covenants 19:27). For the layout of the temple complex to be built, see Addams, “Acquisition of the Original Temple Lot,” 45.

[48] See Pratt, in Journal of Discourses, 21:153–54. “From the late 1820s and early 1830s, Smith’s inspired utterances revealed America as the promised land and the place for the New Jerusalem. Before Christ could return, the city of Zion in Independence, Missouri, must be built. . . . What Mormons termed ‘the redemption of Zion’ was then twofold: calling in the lost and preparing a habitation for them. Temples would aid in these ends.” Howlett, Kirtland Temple, 20.

[49] Olsen, “Concept of the City of Zion,” 204–5.

[50] See Parry, “Garden of Eden: Prototype Sanctuary,” 126–51.

[51] Brigham Young averred that Enoch’s city had multiple temples: “I will not say but what Enoch had Temples and officiated therein, but we have no account of it.” Young, in Journal of Discourses, 18:303.

[52] See Smith, History of the Church, 1:357–62.

[53] Esplin, “‘Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise,’” 138.

[54] See Addams, “Acquisition of the Original Temple Lot,” 33–35; and Rust, “Mission to the Lamanites.”

[55] Givens and Hauglid, Pearl of Greatest Price, 58–59.

[56] Revelation, 3 November 1831 [D&C 133], p. 119, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[57] Vision, 16 February 1832 [D&C 76], p. 6, The Joseph Smith Papers. Olsen, in “Concept of the City of Zion,” 203–11, explains: “The symbolic harmony between the prescribed process of the gathering and its ideal result is both powerful and compelling. More important is the symmetry between the territorial order of earthly Zion and that of its heavenly counterpart. Since at the end of time, heavenly Zion would descend to unite with earthly Zion for eternity (Moses 7:61–64), earthly Zion would be an imitation of its celestial archetype. . . . In short, temporal Zion was to be an imago mundi, an earthly model of a spiritual ideal and a territorial symbol of the order of human relationships approximating the order that was found in the City of God. Thus the practical distribution and use of the land in Zion must be understood within the more profoundly and thoroughly religious meaning of its referring to the spiritual status of her people.”

[58] Revelation Book 1, p. 149, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[59] Revelation Book 2, p. 21, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[60] Revelation, 22–23 September 1832 [D&C 84], p. [4], The Joseph Smith Papers.

[61] Minute Book 1, p. 22, The Joseph Smith Papers. See Letterbook 1, p. 40, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[62] Olsen, “Concept of the City of Zion,” 203–11.

[63] See Revelation, 22 June 1834 [D&C 105], p. 101 [201], The Joseph Smith Papers.

[64] Letter to the Elders of the Church, 16 November 1835, p. [209], The Joseph Smith Papers. See Jackson, Joseph Smith’s Commentary on the Bible, 19.

[65] Collection of Sacred Hymns, 1835, pp. 20–21, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[66] Times and Seasons, 15 March 1842, p. 731, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[67] Times and Seasons, 15 October 1842, p. 954, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[68] Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book, p. 22, The Joseph Smith Papers; and Buerger, Mysteries of Godliness, 51.

[69] Mackley, Wilford Woodruff’s Witness, 83.

[70] History, 1838–1856, volume C-1 [2 November 1838–31 July 1842], p. 1244, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[71] History, 1838–1856, volume C-1 [2 November 1838–31 July 1842], p. 1249, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[72] Olsen, “Concept of the City of Zion,” 203–11.