Wikipedia definition [as of Dec 14, 2010]: Adam-ondi-Ahman is an historic site along the east bluffs above the Grand River in Daviess County, Missouri. According to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), it is the site where Adam and Eve lived after being expelled from the Garden of Eden and will be a gathering spot for a meeting of the priesthood leadership, including prophets of all ages and other righteous people, prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
It is the proposed site for a Latter Day Saint temple, although efforts to build a temple there were halted in the 19th century as a result of the 1838 Mormon War to evict the Mormons from Missouri. Adam-ondi-Ahman was a flash point in that confrontation.
After the Mormons were evicted, the site was renamed Cravensville. It was the site of a skirmish during the American Civil War on August 4, 1862, when Union troops attempted to stop Confederate reinforcements in the First Battle of Independence. Six Confederates were killed and 10 wounded. The Union forces had five wounded. Most of the site is now owned by the LDS Church and remains predominantly farmland.
Valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman (the Grand River valley) Panorama of Adam-ondi-AhmanAdam-ondi-Ahman is the subject of a revelation recorded in the LDS edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, a book of scripture within the Latter Day Saint movement: "Spring Hill is named by the Lord Adam-ondi-Ahman, because, said he, 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."
In the 1830s, Mormons being forced out of Jackson County, Missouri settled just south of Daviess County in Caldwell County, Missouri in the settlement of Far West. In February 1838, Lyman Wight built a home and established a ferry on the Grand River at a spot known as "Wight's Ferry."
That spring, Joseph Smith, Jr. visited the site. He proclaimed there were either two or three (depending on subsequent interpretations) altars built by Adam at the site. One altar called the "altar of prayer" was by Lyman's house on Tower Hill. It was described as "sixteen feet long, by nine or ten feet wide, having its greatest extent north and south. The height of the altar at each end was some two and a half feet, gradually rising higher to the center, which was between four and five feet high — the whole surface being crowning." The other altar — called the "altar of sacrifice" — was said to be a mile to the north on top of Spring Hill.
On May 19, 1838, Smith formally revealed his belief that Adam-ondi-Ahman was indeed the place where Adam ultimately went after being exiled from the Garden of Eden. On June 25, 1838, at a conference in Wight's orchard, a Mormon settlement at Adam-ondi-Ahman was formally established. Within a few months its population grew to 1500.
Non-Mormon settlers grew worried that the Latter Day Saints would seize political control of Daviess County. On August 6, 1838, a group of non-Mormons tried to prevent Latter Day Saint settlers from voting in the local elections at Gallatin, Missouri. The Mormons fought back and defeated the mob in a skirmish that came to be known as the Gallatin Election Day Battle. This was the opening skirmish in the Mormon War.
In the course of the conflict, non-Mormon vigilantes from neighboring counties came to Daviess and burned Mormon homes, which caused Mormon refugees to gather at Adam-ondi-Ahman for protection. Latter Day Saints responded to the attacks by leading their own forces from Caldwell County. Missouri Governor Lilburn Boggs reacted by issuing Missouri Executive Order 44, in which he called out 2500 militiamen and threatened to "exterminate" the Mormon community.
In October 1838, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and other Latter Day Saint leaders gathered to dedicate the temple square on the highest point on the bluff. Smith, Wight and others surrendered on November 1, 1838 on charges of murder, arson, theft, rebellion, and treason. A preliminary court hearing was held November 12 to 29 in Richmond, Missouri, and Smith and Wight were transferred to the Liberty Jail in Liberty, Missouri.
On November 7, 1838, the Mormons were told they had 10 days to abandon the settlement, and they moved to Far West, Missouri. On April 9, 1839, Smith was sent to the Daviess County Jail in Gallatin, where a grand jury indicted him. On April 15, following the granting of a change of venue, Smith was allowed to escape while en route to Boone County, Missouri a day after getting supplies at Adam-ondi-Ahman.
Most of the Latter Day Saints had left Missouri by early 1839. The refugees gathered in Illinois and later regrouped at the new Mormon center of Nauvoo. Although many Latter Day Saints were tried for their part in the war, no non-Mormon vigilantes were brought to trial.
Because the Latter Day Saints held their lands in Adam-ondi-Ahman by preemption, all of their rights and improvements were lost when they were forced to leave their homes. Their losses are recorded in a set of "Mormon Redress Petitions" collected and edited by Clark V. Johnson. Most of the land in Adam-ondi-Ahman was purchased by John Cravens, who renamed the town "Cravensville."
Today 3000 acres (12 km²) of Adam-ondi-Ahman is owned and maintained as a historic site by the LDS Church and remains largely undeveloped farmland.
According to the belief of some Latter Day Saints, the term Adam-ondi-Ahman is part of the Adamic language. The name was first referenced in about 1832, in Doctrine and Covenants section 78, prior to being attached to a specific place. The name was also the title of a hymn that was popular in the early church.
The term Adam-ondi-Ahman has been speculatively translated as the "Valley of God, where Adam dwelt" (by Orson Pratt), Adam-ondi-Ahman "the valley of God in which Adam blessed his children" (by John Corrill), "Adam's grave" (by Community of Christ historian Heman C. Smith), or "Adam with God," because elsewhere in the Doctrine and Covenants "Son Ahman" is said to refer to Jesus.
Joseph Smith, Jr. taught that the Garden of Eden was located in the vicinity of Independence, Missouri, and that after Adam and Eve were banished from the garden, they went to Adam-ondi-Ahman.
According to the Doctrine and Covenants, Adam met his children at the site three years before his death to bestow his blessing. LDS Church leader Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr. has stated that before the Second Coming Adam will convene another meeting there to turn the government of the human family officially to Jesus Christ.
Brigham Young, second LDS Church president, said he heard about the location of the biblical Garden of Eden from Joseph Smith. Wilford Woodruff reported Young saying, “Now Jackson County is the garden of Eden Joseph has declaired [declared] this & I am as much bound to believe it as much as I am to believe Joseph is a prophet of God” (Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 5:33, entry for Mar. 15, 1857; see also 7:129).