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TitleAdam-ondi-Ahman - Insight D&C 116
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsBlack, Susan Easton
Book TitleRestoration Voices Volume 2: Insights and Stories of the Doctrine and Covenants
Number of Volumes2
PublisherBook of Mormon Central
CitySpringville, UT

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At the dedication of the Kirtland Temple on March 27, 1836, the Saints sang “Adam-ondi-Ahman,” a hymn composed by William W. Phelps:

This earth was once a garden place,
With all her glories common,
And men did live a holy race,
And worship Jesus face to face,
In Adam-ondi-Ahman.

We read that Enoch walked with God,
Above the pow’r of mammon,
While Zion spread herself abroad,
And Saints and angels sang aloud,
In Adam-ondi-Ahman.

Her land was good and greatly blest,
Beyond all Israel’s Canaan;
Her fame was known from east to west,
Her peace was great, and pure the rest
Of Adam-ondi-Ahman.

Hosanna to such days to come,
The Savior’s second coming,
When all the earth in glorious bloom
Affords the Saints a holy home,
Like Adam-ondi-Ahman.[1]

The lyrics of the hymn celebrate a land called Adam-ondi-Ahman, where Adam bestowed upon his posterity his last blessing. The hymn also points to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and a millennial reign when Adam-ondi-Ahman would be restored to its former beauty and grandeur.

About two years after the Kirtland Temple dedication, the Prophet Joseph Smith and other Church leaders were looking for a place in northern Missouri for the Saints of Kirtland to settle. They came upon a beautiful spot of ground near the Grand River in Daviess County, Missouri, that had abundant water, wild game, and grassy prairies. That ground was known as Spring Hill.

It was near Lyman Wight’s Ferry on May 19, 1838, “at a place called Spring Hill” that the Prophet Joseph received a revelation in which Lord named the choice ground “Adam-ondi-Ahman [for] 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” (D&C 116:1). Orson Pratt later wrote that the name means “Valley of God, where Adam dwelt” in “the original language spoken by Adam.”[2]

The Kirtland Saints patterned their settlement of Adam-ondi-Ahman after the plat of Zion established by the Prophet Joseph in Independence, Missouri. Leaders organized the Adam-ondi-Ahman Stake, the third stake of Zion. The Saints built as many as two hundred homes, but their settlement at Adam-ondi-Ahman lasted only a few months. Violence erupted between the Latter-day Saints and other settlers in northern Missouri in fall of 1838. Saints dwelling in Adam-ondi-Ahman were forced at gunpoint to abandon their homes.

Although the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman was abandoned in 1838, it has an important role in the future. Before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, Adam and his righteous posterity, which includes prophets and Saints of all dispensations, will assemble in the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman (Daniel 7:9–10, 13–14; D&C 27; 107:53–57). Of this futuristic event, Willard Richards reported that the Prophet Joseph said,

Our Father Adam, Michael; he will call his children together. & hold a council with them. to prepare them for the coming of the Son of Man. He, (Adam) is the Father of the human family & presides over the Spirits of all men, & all that have had the Keys must Stand before him in this grand Council. This may take place before some of us leave this stage of action, The Son of Man Stands before him & there is given him glory & dominion.— Adam delivers up his stewardship to Christ, that which was delivered to him as holding the Keys of the Universe, but retains his standing as head of the human family. ...

The Keys were <​first​> given to him, <​& by him to others​> he will have to give an account of his Stewardship, & they to him. The Priesthood is everlasting. The Savior. Moses. & Elias— gave the Keys to Peter, James & John on the Mount when they were transfigured before him. The Priesthood is everlasting. without beginning of days or end of years, without Father. Mother &c.—

... I saw Adam in the valley of Adam ondi-ahman— he called together his children & blessed them with a Patriarchal blessing. The Lord appeared in their midst. & he (Adam) blessed them all & foretold what should befall them to the latest generation. ... This is why Abraham blessed his posterity; he wanted to bring them into the presence of God.[3]

[1] William W. Phelps, “Adam-ondi-Ahman,” Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1985), #45.

[2] Orson Pratt, “Daniel’s Visions, etc.,” Journal of Discourses, 18:343.

[3] See Discourses, between circa 26 June and circa 4 August, 1839, as Reported by Willard Richards, 63–70. Joseph Smith Papers.


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Scripture Reference

Doctrine and Covenants 116:1