Missouri Historic Sites
Independence Visitors’ Center: Independence, Missouri
A Latter-day Saint visitors’ center is located in Independence, Missouri. In 1831, the Lord designated Independence, in Jackson County, as “the center place” of Zion (Doctrine and Covenants 57:3). Latter-day Saints gathered there, began to establish a new community, and prepared to build temples, but their actions and their large population concerned settlers who had arrived there previously. Some of those settlers drove the Saints out of the county in 1833. Today, the Independence Visitors’ Center includes exhibits about the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Missouri and about Heavenly Father’s eternal plan for His children. President N. Eldon Tanner dedicated the building on May 31, 1971. For information about how to visit the Independence Visitors’ Center, click or tap here. In August 1831, Sidney Rigdon dedicated Jackson County as a place of gathering for the Latter-day Saints, and Joseph Smith dedicated a temple site in Independence. By July 1833, between 1,000 and 2,000 members of the Church lived in Jackson County. Dissension among Church members and contention with others in the area led to violent attacks and the expulsion of the Saints from the region later that year.
Historic Liberty Jail: Liberty Missouri
Historic Liberty Jail, located in Liberty, Missouri, is a reconstruction of a jail that once stood in the city. The reconstructed jail is housed within a visitors’ center. It is presented as a cutaway, giving visitors a view inside. A brief audio presentation tells the story of the jail. On December 1, 1838, the Prophet Joseph Smith and five other men were falsely accused of treason and imprisoned in the original Liberty Jail. One of those men, Sidney Rigdon, was released from the jail in early February 1839. The others—Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Lyman Wight, Caleb Baldwin, and Alexander McRae—remained there until early April 1839. For Joseph Smith and his imprisoned companions, Liberty Jail was a place of intense suffering and glorious revelation. In Liberty Jail, Joseph Smith and his companions endured many trials, not the least of which was the knowledge that their family members and friends were enduring intense persecution throughout western Missouri. Toward the end of their confinement, Joseph prayed to God for understanding and deliverance. He received a revelation that he sent in a letter to the Saints. Portions of that letter are now recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 121, 122, and 123. President Joseph Fielding Smith dedicated the re-created jail and the surrounding visitors’ center on September 15, 1963. For information about how to visit Liberty Jail, click or tap here.
Far West Temple Site: Far West, Missouri
The Far West Temple Site, located in Kingston, Missouri, includes a small fenced area with monuments featuring scripture references about events that occurred there. Although the Far West Temple Site does not house a temple, it exhibits the original four cornerstones, showing the place where members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints once planned to build a temple. Farmland surrounds the site. In August 1836, Latter-day Saints began to establish a stake of Zion at Far West. By 1838, Far West was home to 4,900 Saints. They were forced to abandon the place about two years later. After they left, members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and a few others returned and dedicated a temple site there, in obedience to a commandment from the Lord (see Doctrine and Covenants 115:11; 118:5). For information about visiting the site, click or tap here.
Hawn's Mill Site, Braymer, Missouri
Today, the Hawn’s Mill Massacre Site, located in Braymer, Missouri, is a large, open field with trees and Shoal Creek on one side and farmland on the other. In the late 1830s, Hawn’s Mill was a bustling center of action and productivity—a small community centered on a mill owned by Jacob Hawn. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints lived in the community, and some worked for Hawn, who was not a member of the Church. On October 30, 1838, a mob attacked the Latter-day Saints there, killing 14 men and 3 young boys and wounding 14 others. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints owns the land where the attack occurred. The only markers on the land are signs placed by Community of Christ, who once owned the land. For information about visiting the site, click or tap here.
Adam-ondi-Ahman: Jameson, Missouri
A group of Saints settled briefly in the area in 1838. Spring Hill was named “Adam-ondi-Ahman” by the Prophet Joseph Smith, as indicated by the Lord in revelation (see D&C 116). Five weeks later, on June 28, 1838, the third stake of Zion was organized there. Today it is a place of beauty and quiet contemplation.
What to Expect When You Visit the Church’s Historic Sites in Missouri