He Cometh to Adam-Ondi-Ahman
We now come to the least known and least understood thing connected with the Second Coming. It might well be termed the best-kept secret set forth in the revealed word. It is something about which the world knows nothing; it is a doctrine that has scarcely dawned on most of the Latter-day Saints themselves; and yet it is set forth in holy writ and in the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith with substantially the same clarity as any of the doctrines of the kingdom. It behooves us to make a needed brief commentary about it.
Before the Lord Jesus descends openly and publicly in the clouds of glory, attended by all the hosts of heaven; before the great and dreadful day of the Lord sends terror and destruction from one end of the earth to the other; before he stands on Mount Zion, or sets his feet on Olivet, or utters his voice from an American Zion or a Jewish Jerusalem; before all flesh shall see him together; before any of his appearances, which taken together comprise the second coming of the Son of God-before all these, there is to be a secret appearance to selected members of his Church. He will come in private to his prophet and to the apostles then living. Those who have held keys and powers and authorities in all ages from Adam to the present will also be present. And further, all the faithful members of the Church then living and all the faithful saints of all the ages past will be present. It will be the greatest congregation of faithful saints ever assembled on planet earth. It will be a sacrament meeting. It will be a day of judgment for the faithful of all the ages. And it will take place in Daviess County, Missouri, at a place called Adam-ondi-Ahman.
Adam-ondi-Ahman, of eternal fame, first comes to our attention because of a great conference held there by Father Adam in his day. "Three years previous to the death of Adam, he called Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah, who were all high priests, with the residue of his posterity who were righteous, into the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and there bestowed upon them his last blessing." Nearly a thousand years had then passed since the first man and the first woman had stepped from Eden's garden into the lone and dreary world, there to begin the procreative processes that peopled a planet. We do not know how many million mortals made this earth their home in that day, or how many of them were true and faithful to that Lord whom Adam served. Disease and plagues were not then as common and horrendous as they are now. The physical bodies of earth's inhabitants had not yet degenerated to the disease-ridden, germ-governed shells of their former glory that is now the norm. We can suppose the population of the earth far exceeded that of later ages when the ills of the flesh and a rising infant mortality set a sin-inflicted limit on the numbers of men. And it is not unreasonable to suppose that many righteous spirits were born in that blessed day and that the numbers of the righteous were exceedingly great. We may not be amiss in supposing that many millions responded to the call to come to a general conference in Adam-ondi-Ahman.
This we do know, however: "The Lord appeared unto them"-Jesus Christ their King stood in their midst-"and they rose up and blessed Adam, and called him Michael, the prince, the archangel." How great and glorious is the eternal stature of the first man! "And the Lord administered comfort unto Adam, and said unto him: I have set thee to be at the head; a multitude of nations shall come of thee, and thou art a prince over them forever. And Adam stood up in the midst of the congregation; and, notwithstanding he was bowed down with age, being full of the Holy Ghost, predicted whatsoever should befall his posterity unto the latest generation." Such is an abbreviated account of what happened at Adam-ondi-Ahman in that pristine day. Our revelation that recites these words closes with the statement: "These things were all written in the book of Enoch, and are to be testified of in due time." (D&C 107:53-57.)
When the full account comes to us, we suppose we shall read of the offering of sacrifices in similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten; of the testimonies borne by both men and women; of great doctrinal sermons delivered by the preachers of righteousness who then ministered among them; and of the outpouring of spiritual gifts upon the faithful then assembled. What visions they must have seen; what revelations they must have received; what feelings of rapture must have filled their bosoms as they feasted upon the things of eternity! Did Adam speak of the great latter-day gathering at Adam-ondi-Ahman, and did the faithful see with their spirit eyes what was then to be? These and a thousand other things "are to be testified of in due time." But this we do know: All that happened at Adam-ondi-Ahman in those early days was but a type and a shadow-a similitude, if you will-of what shall happen at the same blessed place in the last days when Adam and Christ and the residue of men who are righteous assemble again in solemn worship.
(Bruce R. McConkie, The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man, p.578-580)
Before the Son of Man comes to reign personally upon the earth; before he descends in flaming fire with ten thousands of his saints to execute judgment upon the ungodly; before he comes in the clouds of heaven, in all the glory of his Father's kingdom; before he sets his feet once again upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem; before he stands with 144,000 high priests on Mount Zion in Missouri; before he suddenly comes to his temple; before he utters his voice from the land of Zion and from Old Jerusalem; before all flesh shall see him together; before all of the appearances that, taken together, comprise the Second Coming-before all these, he will come in private to Adam-ondi-Ahman. Why and for what reason? To receive back from his servants of all ages the keys they have used to govern his earthly kingdom. Then and then only will he deign to reign personally. Now the voice of his servants is his voice, and they act pursuant to the divine commission he has given them. Then the keys will vest again in their rightful owner, and his voice and his power will be manifest to all men.
(Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p.640)