Saturday, October 24, 2009

Far West Missiouri Is Most Holy - Why? (D&C 115:7)

D&C  115:7
 7 Let the city, Far West, be a holy and consecrated land unto me; and it shall be called most holy, for the ground upon which thou standest is holy.

On June 1, 1966 President David O. McKay, President Joseph Fielding Smith, and President Alvin R. Dyer made a trip to Missouri to tour Church History site there.  After they left Adam-Ondi-Ahman they drove to the Far West temple site.

"At the site our car turned east so that the temple excavation baring the four cornerstones was to our immediate left and the site of the city square, now a cornfield, was to our immediate right. . . . Four of the brethren stood one each on the four cornerstones of the temple excavation. This enabled President McKay to judge the outline of the temple. . . .   
"Elder Dyer related to President McKay that the two counties, Caldwell, of which Far West was the center of gathering for the saints, and Daviess, of which Adam-ondi-Ahman was the center, had been created largely for the 'Mormon settlers' through the efforts of the Honorable Alexander W. Doniphan of the Missouri legislature. . . .   

"Caldwell County in 1836 was a wilderness. By the spring of 1838, it had a population of 5,000, 4,900 of whom were Mormons. The city of Far West at one time had 150 houses, four dry goods stores, three family groceries, half a dozen blacksmith shops, a printing establishment and two hotels. A large and comfortable school served as a church and courthouse. . . .   

"As President McKay gazed out at the temple site with thoughtful contemplation, President Smith got out of the car and walked the short distance to the temple site. Elder Dyer told of the persecution of the saints at that time, which reached a climax at Far West. To the right of the car, once the city square, is where the exterminating order of Governor Boggs was read. . . .   

"President Smith told of his father being born somewhere just west of the temple site. He lived to become the sixth president of the Church.   
"At Far West we all stood amazed at the fact that there remained nothing of Far West except the four stones of the temple excavation which at one time was dug and cleared by 500 brethren in preparation for a house of the Lord. President McKay seemed pleased and elated at the fact that the Church owns 80 acres at Far West, including the dedicated temple site. He seemed visibly affected in the reflections of that which transpired at this hallowed and sacred place designated by the Lord as most holy. . . .   
"It was a momentous and historically important trip. All marvelled at that which had been accomplished in just a little over one day. President McKay was in fine spirit and had been all during the trip. . . . President Smith too was feeling fine and enjoyed the visit, speaking of his happiness that President McKay had visited these historically sacred places in Missouri. . . ."   

Elder Dyer, whom President McKay subsequently ordained an apostle and later set apart as a counselor in the church presidency, offered some interesting after-thoughts on Far West:   
"In connection with President McKay's visit at Far West, it is to be noted that while there the President appeared somewhat overwhelmed. The place made a deep impression upon him; so much so that he referred to Far West a number of times in the ensuing days as a place of deep impression.   

"The feeling that President McKay had at Far West registered upon me once again, but now with greater impact. The events that transpired there are significant: (a) The Lord proclaimed Far West a holy and consecrated land unto him, declaring to Joseph Smith that the very ground he stood on there was holy. (b) The Prophet Joseph Smith contended with the devil face to face for some time, upon the occasion of the power of evil menacing one of his children in the Prophet's home just west of the temple site. Lucifer declared that Joseph had no right to be there, that this was his place. Whereupon the Prophet rebuked Satan in the name of the Lord, and he departed and did not touch the child again. (c) The overwhelming feeling that President McKay had when he visited this sacred place.   

"The Answer: I have often pondered the holy significance of Far West, and even more so since President McKay's visit. The sacredness of Far West, Missouri, is no doubt due to the understanding that the Prophet Joseph Smith conveyed to the brethren, at these early times, that Adam-ondi-Ahman, the place to which Adam and Eve fled when cast out of the Garden of Eden, is where Adam erected an altar unto God, and offered sacrifices, and that
Far West was the spot where Cain killed Abel.

"This information tends to explain why the Lord declared Far West to be a holy consecrated place; and no doubt explains why Satan claimed that place as his own, as it was here that he entered into a covenant with Cain, resulting in the death of Abel, the first of mortal existence [to die] upon this earth.   

"It would appear that President McKay while there felt the spirit and significance of this holy place."   
One reason President McKay chose to tour the Missouri historic sites was to gain impressions helpful in making decisions in regard to further church expenditures for buildings and monuments in that area. He gave his approval to construction of a half million dollar visitor center near the temple lot site in Independence and to monuments and improvements at and near the Far West temple lot site. (emphasis added)  
(Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr., and John J. Stewart, The Life of Joseph Fielding Smith, p.338-340,342)


Reflections Over Daily Ponderings ~ "B.O.M. Blog" (JCC) said...

Wow ~ this is interesting! I believe my Averett ancestors were ones involved in laying the foundation stones I saw when I was there on a tour a few yrs back. I LOVED it there. I had been in the SLC Temple looking at the pic of Adam Ondi Ahman, realizing I had been to all of the paintings in that hall except that one. The VERY NEXT DAY I got an e-mail from a friend about going on that tour, which included that sacred site. I was thrilled to get to go later that fall. I was able to thru the Nauvoo Temple for the 1st time, not knowing that only yrs later I would come to find out that 2/3 of my lines lived there w/ Joseph.

Jennifer O. said...

What a great bit of information - thank you, Brother Norman!