Adam-ondi-Ahman, Daviess County, Missouri

Near the location of Adam-ondi-Ahman. Photo courtesy of Alexander L. Baugh
Near the location of Adam-ondi-Ahman.
Photo by Alexander L. Baugh.

The area known as Adam-ondi-Ahman is located in Daviess County, 70 miles northeast of Independence, Missouri. It is a place of beginnings, departures and returns. This is where Adam and Eve first dwelt when they left the Garden of Eden. Three years before his death, Adam called his posterity together, blessed them, and the Lord appeared unto them.1 Also, “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.”2

Adam-ondi-Ahman. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
Adam-ondi-Ahman. Photo (2008) by Kenneth Mays.

Wilford Woodruff gave an account of President Brigham Young saying that “Joseph, the Prophet, told me that the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri. When Adam was driven out he went to the place we now call Adam-ondi-Ahman, Daviess County, Missouri. There he built an altar and offered sacrifices.”3

Orson Pratt defined the words Adam-ondi-Ahman from the Adamic language as, “valley of God, where Adam dwelt.”4

Adam-ondi-Ahman. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
Adam-ondi-Ahman. Photo (2003) by Kenneth Mays.

At the time the Saints began moving into Daviess County the land was not yet available for sale, but individuals could lay claim to land through preemption rights. It allowed someone to move onto a property, improve it, and then they would have the first claim to purchase the property from the government when it became available.

The first homesite of Lyman Wight, Adam-Tondi-Ahman. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
The first homesite of Lyman Wight, Adam-ondi-Ahman. Photo (2011) by Kenneth Mays.

Lyman Wight was the first person to construct a home at Adam-ondi-Ahman and built a ferry which became known as Wight’s ferry.5 It was near this ferry that Joseph identified Adam-ondi-Ahman. In a conference held on June 28, 1838, a stake at Adam-ondi-Ahman was organized with John Smith, the Prophet’s uncle, as the president of the stake, Reynolds Cahoon as first counselor and Lyman Wight as the second counselor.6

Temple site designated by Joseph Smith, Adam-ondi-Ahman. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
This site at Adam-ondi-Ahman was designated by Joseph Smith to be for a temple. Photo (2011) by Kenneth Mays.

While here, the Saints laid out a city and placed stakes for the cornerstones of a temple block which was dedicated by Brigham Young.7 Persecution from the Missourians forced the the Saints to flee to Illinois and abandon their land. The preemption rights did not protect them from losing their land and so they lost all claim to it.

In 1944, Wilford C. Wood purchased 38 acres of land at Adam-ondi-Ahman and additional land was later puchased.8


1 Doctrine & Covenants 107:53-54.

2 Doctrine & Covenants 116:1.

3 Wilford Woodruff, Wilford Woodruff, His Life and Labors, comp. Matthias F. Cowley (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1916), 481.

4 Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. (London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886), 18:343.

5 Robert J. Matthews, “Adam-ondi-Ahman,” BYU Studies, Volume 13, No. 1, (Autumn 1972), 32.

6 Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols., introduction and notes by B. H. Roberts (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1932-1951), 3: 38.

7 Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball (Salt Lake City: Kimball Family, 1888), 209.

8 Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1-4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 1:20.

Ownership Status

The site known as Adam-ondi-Ahman is owned and maintained by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is open to the public with no fee. Access to the site is gated and locked after dark.

Map & Directions

View Larger Map

Address: Koala Road, Jameson, Missouri 64647

Hours of Operation: Daylight to dark

Admission: Free


A feature at Adam-ondi-Ahman traditionally known as preacher rock. Photo (2008) by Kenneth Mays.
View of Adam-ondi-Ahman during a period of drought. Photo (2018) by Kenneth Mays.

Articles & Resources

Various Accounts of Adam's Altar at Adam-ondi-Ahman

Edward Stevenson's Account of Joseph Smith at Adam-ondi-Ahman

Author(s): Edward Stevenson
Type: First-person account
Source(s): They Knew the Prophet (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1974), 86.

I have often seen the Prophet indulge in a game of checkers. He was cheerful-often wrestling with…

Doctrine & Covenants' Account of Adam at Adam-ondi-Ahman

Type: Third-person account
Source(s): Doctrine & Covenants 107:53-56; Doctrine & Covenants 116.

Three years previous to the death of Adam, he called Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah, who were all high priests, with…

pring Hill, at Doctrine & Covenants Revelvation Sites Website

Alexander L. Baugh, “From High Hopes to Despair: The Missouri Period, 1831-39,” Ensign, July 2001.

Lamar C. Berrett, “Adam-ondi-Ahman,” Encyclopedia of Mormonism, ed. Daniel H. Ludlow et al., 1992.

Janet Brigham, “Church History Sites-Separating Fiction and Fact,” Opens in a New Window Ensign, March 1979.

Leland H. Gentry, “Adam-ondi-Ahman: A Brief Historical Survey,” BYU Studies, 1973.

Leland H. Gentry, “Was a Temple Site Ever Dedicated at Adam-ondi-Ahman?Opens a New Window Ensign, April 1974.

Leland H. Gentry, “The Land Question at Adam-ondi-Ahman,” BYU Studies, 1986.

Andrew Jenson, “Adam-ondi-Ahman,” Historical Record, 1886.

Robert J. Matthews, “Adam-ondi-Ahman,” BYU Studies, 1972.