Far West Temple

This model, based on the Kirtland Temple, is modeled on the footprint of the Far West Temple cornerstones.
Far West Temple mockup (Center) compared to Independence, Kirtland, (Left) Nauvoo and Salt Lake (Right.)

Far West Wiki

The Far West Temple was the second temple to be commenced by the early Saints in Missouri, and the Third Temple commenced by the Church as a whole. Like the Independence Temple, the far west temple was never completed.



The temple was not announced, so much as it was planned for. The town was founded by W. W. Phelps and John Whitmer in August 1836 shortly before the county’s creation. The town was platted originally as a 1-mile (1.6 km) square area, centered on a public square which was to house a temple. The design of the town resembled Prophet Joseph Smith Jr.’s plan for the City of Zion, which had been planned to be built in the town of Independence, Jackson County, Missouri. As the town of Far West grew, the plat was extended to 4 square miles (10 km2).[1]

Saints began to settle in northwestern Missouri soon after the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized in 1830. According to a revelation given by Joseph Smith Jr., Independence would be the “centerplace” of the City of Zion when Jesus returned. However, disputes between Members and Missourian settlers in Independence led to the expulsion of the Saints from Jackson County in 1833. Most Members temporarily settled in Clay County, Missouri. Towards the end of 1836, Caldwell County was created specifically for Mormon settlement to recompense Mormon losses in Jackson County. Shortly after the creation of Caldwell County, Far West was made the county seat.[2]

Groundbreaking And Site Dedication

Excavation for the foundation of the Far West Temple, measuring 80 by 120 feet, was accomplished by more than 500 men in half a day on July 3, 1837.

while visiting Latter-day Saints in Far West, 6 Nov. 1837, JS gave instructions to postpone work on temple until “the Lord shall reveal it to be his will to be commenced.”

Far West became the headquarters of the Latter-day Saint movement on March 14, 1838 when Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon relocated to the town from the previous church headquarters, Kirtland, Ohio. Joseph Smith taught the Latter-day Saints that the Garden of Eden had been in Jackson County and when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden, they moved to the Caldwell County and Daviess County areas of Missouri. While headquartered in Far West, the official name of the church was changed from Church of Jesus Christ to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

The cornerstones were laid for the Far West Temple on July 4, 1838, in the following order: southeast by the stake presidency, southwest by the elders quorum presidency, northwest by the bishop, and northeast by the teachers quorum presidency.

At the cornerstone laying for the Far West Temple, President Sidney Rigdon gave his famous Independence Day oration. The speech’s passionate declarations fueled tension between the Saints and the citizens of Missouri, eventually culminating in the issuance of Governor Lilburn W. Boggs’ extermination order on October 27, 1838.

Mormon–Missourian conflict of 1838

New problems erupted between the Members and their neighbors when the Mormons began to settle in the counties surrounding Caldwell, including De Witt in Carroll County and Adam-ondi-Ahman in Daviess County. A series of escalating conflicts followed and the Governor of Missouri eventually called out 2,500 state militiamen to put down what he alleged to be a “Mormon rebellion.” Latter Day Saints poured into Far West for protection and found themselves under siege. Joseph Smith Jr., Sidney Rigdon and others surrendered at the end of October, 1838, and were put on trial by the state for treason. The main body of the Mormons were then forced to sign over their property in Far West and Caldwell County to pay for the militia muster and then leave the state. The main body later settled in Nauvoo, Illinois.

Recommencing the work

Despite the great risk of danger, five apostles—accompanied by several others—returned to the Far West Temple site just after midnight on the morning of April 26, 1839, in fulfillment of prophecy. A large stone was rolled on the southeast cornerstone as recommencement of work on the foundation, and the apostles left to prepare for their overseas missions. It would be the first and last work performed on Far West Temple.[3]

Aftermath and Far West today

Far West became a ghost town soon after the departure of most of the Mormon population. The county seat was moved to Kingston, Missouri[4] and many of the log houses in Far West were relocated. Former Mormon John Whitmer continued to live in the nearly empty town, where he owned a large farm.

Today Far West is a historic site seven miles (11.26 km) south of U.S. Route 36 on Route D. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints maintains a historic site there, including the cornerstones of the planned temple. Some Latter Day Saints expect that a temple will be located on this spot at some time in the future. The Community of Christ, formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, has a branch congregation that meets in Far West.

In 2004 construction began on a historic village adjacent to the temple site. It is operated by the Far West Historical Society to accommodate and increase tourism. The Country Store has been in operation since 2006. Future plans include overnight housing and conference facilities. The progress of this project indicates a major shift in the growth of the area.

On May 2012, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints confirmed that it purchased 6,000 acres of Missouri farmland and three historical sites from the Community of Christ.[5]

Sources and Links

External links

Additional Articles

History of Far West – UnderstandingMormonism.org
Far West = MissouriLife.com
Historic Sites, Missouri – Far West – Caldwell County
House of the Lord – Planned Site – Far West, Missouri – JosephSmithPapers.org
Far West Missouri – JosephSmithPapers.org


  1. [1]H. Roger Grant (April 1970). “National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Far West” (PDF). Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2016-09-01.
  2. [2] “Caldwell County Place Names, 1928–1945 (archived)”. The State Historical Society of Missouri. Archived from the original on 24 June 2016. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  3. [3]“LDS Apostles Fulfill Prophecy”, Moroni 10. accessed 5 May 2017.
  4. [4] “Disappearing Missouri Names”. The Kansas City Star, 19 March 1911. p. 15. Retrieved August 15, 2014 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. [5]Askar, Jamshid Ghazi. “LDS Church buys farmland, Haun’s Mill, Far West, Kirtland property from Community of Christ”, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, 5 May 2012. Retrieved on 14 Sep 2012.