top of page

The Two Jerusalem’s and the Gathering


Articles of Faith:10

10 We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory


D&C 109:61-64

61 But thou knowest that thou hast a great love for the children of Jacob, who have been scattered upon the mountains for a long time, in a cloudy and dark day.
62 We therefore ask thee to have mercy upon the children of Jacob, that Jerusalem, from this hour, may begin to be redeemed;
63 And the yoke of bondage may begin to be broken off from the house of David;
64 And the children of Judah may begin to return to the lands which thou didst give to Abraham, their father.


D&C 109:64

"the children of Judah may begin to return"

". . . the tribe of Judah will return to old Jerusalem. [Sec. 133:8, 13, 35.] . . . Judah shall obtain deliverance at Jerusalem. (See Joel 11:32; Isaiah 16:20 and 21; Jeremiah 34:12; Psalm 1:5; Ezekiel 34:11, 12 and 13.) These are testimonies that the Good Shepherd will put forth His own sheep, and lead them out from all nations where they have been scattered in a cloudy and dark day, to Zion, and to Jerusalem." (Joseph Smith, HC 1:315.)


Ezra Taft Benson, CR, April 1950, pp. 72, 74

"This great event . . . is one of the signs of the times, and is very important, it seems to me, particularly to all Christian people. It is transpiring in a small strip of country about one hundred and ten miles long and fifty to sixty miles wide, in an area about the size of the state of Vermont. . . .

"The number of Jews has multiplied in recent years in this area in a rather remarkable manner. Plans are underway for the incorporation of about a million and a half more during the immediate months ahead, and projected plans call for an eventual population of some four million in this area. . . .

"This miracle of the return of the Jews was to be one of the events to precede Christ's second coming, and the scriptures are very clear with reference to this fact. [Isa. 11:11-12; Jer. 30:3; 33:7.] . . .


Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Doctrine and Covenants, 2 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 1: 561

"The prophets of the Book of Mormon even more clearly predict the conditions under which they will gather. These prophets also foresaw the time when they would begin to believe Jesus Christ [2 Nephi 30:7], that the kings of the Gentiles would be as nursing fathers and their queens nursing mothers in helping to bring about their return. [2 Nephi 10:3-9.] These prophets make it clear that eventually the fulness of the gospel will be carried to Jerusalem and to the descendants of Judah. [3 Nephi 20:29-31.]"


Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1-4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 722


Latter-day Saints view Jerusalem as a holy city, as do other Christians, Jews, and Muslims. The existence of Jerusalem as a unique holy place stems from at least the time that David captured the city and made it his capital. With Solomon's efforts, the temple stood in Jerusalem as God's dwelling place (1 Kgs. 6). For a Millennium, Jehovah was worshiped there, and his people looked for redemption in Jerusalem (Luke 2:38). Tradition holds that its former name was Salem (Gen. 14:18; Ps. 76:2), where Melchizedek reigned and Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac. Later, Jesus Christ died there to atone for the sins of mankind. Concerning Jerusalem's future importance, latter-day scripture affirms biblical prophecies that Jerusalem is to be the scene of important events in the last days.

Old Testament prophets spoke of the rise and demise of Jerusalem (e.g., 1 Kgs. 9:3; Micah 3:12). About 600 B.C., the future Book of Mormon prophet Lehi lived in the land of Jerusalem and encountered opposition when he called its inhabitants to repentance and prophesied the coming of the messiah. He and his family were subsequently commanded by the Lord to flee the city, eventually journeying to the Western Hemisphere, where his descendants became two rival Book of Mormon Peoples, the Nephites and the Lamanites. Thus, from Jerusalem sprang the Book of Mormon saga.

Jerusalem was the scene of important events in Jesus' ministry. He taught and performed miracles there. No place was more holy to his followers than the temple, which Jesus considered the legitimate sanctuary of God, calling it "my Father's house" (John 2:16) and "my house" (Matt. 21:13). In an upper room of a house in Jerusalem, Jesus celebrated the Passover with his apostles, instituted the Sacrament, gave special meaning to the washing of feet, and revealed who would betray him. In Gethsemane and on Golgotha, Jesus accomplished the most selfless suffering in history, leading to his atoning sacrifice and resurrection.

Jesus mourned over the city as he recalled its past and envisioned its future (Matt. 23:37-39; Luke 19:41-44; 13:34-35). Like Jesus, Jerusalem would suffer indignities, anguish, and death (JS-M 1:18-22). But as Jesus lives again, so will Jerusalem (Isa. 52:1-2, 9; D&C 109:62). As part of the restoration of all things, the holy city must be restored. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, "Judah must return, Jerusalem must be rebuilt, and the temple,…and all this must be done before the Son of Man will make His appearance" (HC 5:337).

Jerusalem will be restored in its former place, be sanctified, and become a city of holiness, graced with a new temple (Zech. 2:12; 12:6; Ether 13:5, 11; 3 Ne. 20:29-36; D&C 77:15). Elder Orson Hyde, an apostle, journeyed to Jerusalem in 1841 to dedicate the land "for the building up of Jerusalem again…and for rearing a Temple in honor of [the Lord's] name" (HC 4:456).

Other events are yet to occur in Jerusalem: a major struggle will yet rage in Jerusalem's streets, that of Armageddon (Zech. 14); an earthquake will divide the Mount of Olives; and the Savior will appear to the Jews (D&C 45:48-53).

Two separate Jerusalems, the old and the new, will serve as headquarters of the millennial kingdom of God from which Jesus will rule. Old Jerusalem will be built up by Judah. The New Jerusalem, also to be known as Zion (D&C 45:66-67), will be built up in Jackson County, Missouri, by Ephraim, whose descendants largely make up The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Isaiah foresaw the day when this second Jerusalem or Zion would be established: "For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Isa. 2:3; cf. 64:10). Moroni 2, the last Book of Mormon prophet, first described the Jerusalem of old, then quoted the prophecy of Ether that "a New Jerusalem should be built up upon the land, unto the remnant of the seed of Joseph," and finally mentioned the "New Jerusalem, which should come down out of heaven" (Ether 13:3-12). John the Revelator also envisioned this final "Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven" (Rev. 21:2, 10). From this New Jerusalem, the city of Zion, God and the Lamb will reign over a celestialized earth (Moses 7:62-63; cf. DS 3:55-79).



Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1-4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 907

John the Revelator saw that at the commencement of the Millennium a New Jerusalem would descend to earth from heaven. Traditional Christianity has generally associated this with a renewing of the city where Jesus ministered among the Jews during the meridian of time. However, the revelations given to the Prophet Joseph Smith show that the New Jerusalem in the Western Hemisphere will coexist with the old Jerusalem, each as a hemispheric capital. From them laws, decrees, and leadership in the kingdom of God will emanate. Thus the nuances found in Isaiah 2:3 that "out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" telling of two locations are not redundant or merely rhetorical. According to modern scripture, a New Jerusalem will yet be established within the borders of the state of Missouri in North America (D&C 84:2-4; cf. 57:2-3; A of F 10).


 Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1-4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 1626.


Zion (Hebrew, early the Jerusalem mountain on which the City of David was built) is employed in LDS scripture both geographically and spiritually: the land of Zion and "the pure in heart" (D&C 84:99; 97:21; 100:16; cf. Moses 7:18-21). The declaration that "we believe in the literal gathering of Israel and the restoration of the ten tribes" refers to a new Zion in America as well as a renewed Jerusalem in the Old World. Latter-day scripture declares that Jerusalem will become the spiritual-temporal capital of the whole Eastern Hemisphere, "One Great Centre, and one mighty Sovereign" (MFP 1:259), while Zion will be the place of refuge and divine direction in the Western Hemisphere.

In 1831, less than two years after the organization of the Church, Joseph Smith received a revelation that included the imperative "Let them who be of Judah flee unto Jerusalem, unto the mountains of the Lord's house" (D&C 133:13). In 1833 he wrote that the tribe of Judah would return and obtain deliverance at Jerusalem, citing Joel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Psalms, and Ezekiel (cf. TPJS, p. 17).

In March 1836, the dedicatory prayer given by Joseph Smith at the Kirtland temple-since canonized and used as a pattern in later LDS temple dedications-pleaded that "Jerusalem, from this hour, may begin to be redeemed; and the yoke of bondage may begin to be broken off from the house of David" (D&C 109:62-63). In 1840-1841, Orson Hyde, an apostle, was commissioned by the Prophet to go to Jerusalem and dedicate the land. His prayer petitioned for the gathering home of the exiles, the fruitfulness of the earth, the establishing of an independent government, the rebuilding of Jerusalem, and "rearing a Temple in honor of thy name" (Heschel, p. 18). Two years later, Joseph Smith prophesied that the gathering and rebuilding would occur "before the Son of Man will make his appearance" (TPJS, p. 286). These prayers and prophecies have been frequently reiterated by other apostolic authorities, both on the Mount of Olives and on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land and in official convocations of the Saints throughout the world.

Jewish tradition warns that commitment to "sacred soil" without faith in the living God is a form of idolatry. Early in the twentieth century the Zionist movement advocated a compromise between secular Zionists, who envisioned a state without traditional Judaism, and religious Zionists, who argued that the state must be grounded in traditional Judaism. History in the modern political state of Israel has thus far implemented that compromise.

Spiritual Zionism among Latter-day Saints is advocated in the setting of concern for all of the children of God. It does not pronounce on specific geopolitical struggles or endorse speculations on the exact "when" and "how" of the fulfillment of ancient and modern prophecy. Many LDS leaders see events of the past 160 years as a preface. They continue to plead for peace and for coexistence with all the peoples who lay claim to old Jerusalem and the Holy Land: Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and others.

The term Zion, pertaining to a spiritually significant New Jerusalem in America, is one of the central themes of the Doctrine and Covenants (see new Jerusalem).


 Victor L. Ludlow, Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 499.

Isaiah recognized that the people establishing a Zion society needed to recognize the Lord as the Savior and love others (vs. 16, 21). Chapter 60 describes many other characteristics of Zion's capital city, Jerusalem. The following chart indicates how some of these characteristics can be applied to both the Old Jerusalem in the Holy Land and the New Jerusalem in America:

Conditions to Be Fulfilled Old Jerusalem New Jerusalem

(Isa. 60)

vs. 1-2
The Lord will appear there.
D&C 133:20-21 D&C 84:4-5, Zech. 13:6; 14:4,

vs. 3-5
Gentiles and kings will gather there.
Zech. 14:16 D&C 133:12

vs. 6
It will be adorned with wealth.
Zech. 14:14 D&C 124:11

vs. 7
Sacrifice will take place there.
Zech. 14:21 D&C 128:24

vs. 10
Gentiles and kings will help build its walls.
3 Ne. 21:23-24

vs. 11
Its gates will be continually open.

vs. 12
Nations not subservient to it will be smitten.
Zech. 12:6, 9 D&C 97:18-22

vs. 13
A temple will be erected.
Ezek. 47:1-10 D&C 57:1-3

vs. 14
The city will be called the Zion of the Holy one of Israel.
Zech. 14:20 D&C 45:66-67

vs. 15
The city was once forsaken and hated, but will be made a joy
Ezek. 36:34-36 D&C 45:70-71

vs. 16
It will have power over other kingdoms.
Zech. 14:1-3, D&C 64:43

vs. 17-18
Perfect peace will prevail.
Zech. 14:11 D&C 45:66-71


vs. 19-20
The Lord will be its light.
3 Ne. 20:30-31 Rev. 22:5

vs. 21
The people will inherit its land.
2 Ne. 10:7 2 Ne. 10:10-12

As indicated above, the same general conditions will eventually develop in both Old and New Jerusalem. It appears, though, that the Zion society of the New Jerusalem will precede that which is established in Old Jerusalem. (See DS 3:67-79; AGQ 5:70-74.)



Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 18: 347 - 348.)

I propose making a few remarks in relation to that city, for the benefit of strangers, should there be any present. We look upon the New Jerusalem, separate from the old Jerusalem. The old Jerusalem will be re-built by the Jews upon its former site, and during the Millennium it will become a very glorious city, and its inhabitants will be a blessed and honored people. We are told by the Prophet Ether, that the Lord will build a city on this American continent, which will be called the New Jerusalem. The reason it will be called new is because it never before existed here. Both of these cities will be caught up, when the earth undergoes its final dissolution, and when made new, they will come back again, the New Jerusalem first, followed by the old Jerusalem.

A great many have supposed that the description of the glory and beauty of the city that comes down from heaven was the New Jerusalem, but it is not so. That description given by John in relation to the second city, was a holy city—old Jerusalem. We have an account of its walls and the height of them, we have, too, an account of its twelve gates, its houses and its inhabitants, and also of the glory of God that shall be in the city. But have we any enlarged description of the New Jerusalem? No. I have no doubt, however, that the city of the New Jerusalem will be equally glorious with the one that John saw and described.

John saw the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven and speaks of its inhabitants. Then one of the angels took him away to a high mountain, and showed him the second city, when descending to the earth.

The Book of Mormon speaks very plainly upon this subject. The Prophet Ether, as recorded in the latter part of the book, speaking of these two cities, says, that both are built by man, under the direction of the Almighty; and that the Lord has decreed that when they are built, they shall not waste away nor be destroyed. There are a great many of our houses that are wasting. You may build them of granite, and half a thousand of years will begin to waste them away. Thus it is with whatever material, used in building our cities; while man is under the curse there will be a constant wasting away of his habitations. But not so, with regard to the old Jerusalem, which is to be re-built; and not so with regard to the New Jerusalem, which is to be build on this Continent. Why not? Because God is all-powerful, and when he makes a decree in relation to anything, it must be fulfilled. If he said to the ancient Nephites, Record your prophecies and writings upon plates of gold, and I will preserve them, that they shall not wax dim, that time shall not have power to waste them; but the records shall be preserved, he was abundantly able to preserve them by his power, and fulfill his promise. The same Being, who is able to preserve the sacred records, has power to preserve sacred and holy habitations.



 Bruce R. McConkie, The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 89

But it is more. It is also governments and kingdoms. It is lands and properties and peoples. The church and kingdom of God on earth is to be set up again. Israel is to be gathered into the church. In due course the political kingdom is to be restored to Israel. The Book of Mormon shall come forth, including the sealed portion. The lost portions of the Bible shall again be read from the housetops. The gospel is to go to the Lamanites, and they shall become again a pure and a delightsome people. Jerusalem of old shall be rebuilt in its old place, and a New Jerusalem shall arise in America. The knowledge of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea, and once again men shall speak a pure language. Men shall be resurrected, and all of the eternal purposes of the Lord shall come to pass.


 Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 586.

Israel Builds the New Jerusalem

There is no occasion for uncertainty or anxiety about the building up of Zion—meaning the New Jerusalem—in the last days. The Lord once offered his people the chance to build that Zion from which the law shall go forth to all the world. They failed. Why? Because they were unprepared and unworthy, as is yet the case with those of us who now comprise the kingdom. When we as a people are prepared and worthy, the Lord will again command us and the work will go forward—on schedule, before the Second Coming, and at the direction of the President of the Church. Until then, none of us need take any personal steps toward gathering to Missouri or preparing for a landed-inheritance there. Let us, rather, learn the great concepts involved and make ourselves worthy for any work the Lord may lay upon us in our day and time. Some things must yet precede the building up of Jackson County.

First, Israel shall gather to prepare for the Second Coming of the Son of Man; she shall gather to Zion in all nations; she shall gather into the stakes created everywhere among all peoples. "I will gather my people together as a man gathereth his sheaves into the floor," was the promise of the Risen Lord to his Nephite sheep. "And it shall come to pass that I will establish my people, O house of Israel." This is the gathering that is now going on. And every gathering place, for the scattered remnants who there assemble, becomes to them as a New Jerusalem. It becomes a City of Holiness, a place where they can worship the Father in spirit and in truth, a place where temples are available in which they may receive the fulness of the priesthood, a place where no blessing is denied them.

Then, before the Second Coming, gathered Judah, as directed by Ephraim, shall build up anew the Old Jerusalem and prepare therein a holy temple; and gathered Ephraim, aided by Manasseh, shall build a New Jerusalem in an American Zion and prepare therein a holy temple. It is to these two temples in particular that the Lord shall come at his glorious return, and it is from these two cities—Zion in America and Jerusalem in Old Canaan—that the governance and worship of the world will be directed. Thus Jesus, continuing his preaching to the Nephites, said: "And behold, this people"—this Lehite remnant of Israel—"will I establish in this land, unto the fulfilling of the covenant which I made with your father Jacob; and it shall be a New Jerusalem." Jacob is Israel, and Israel is the one with whom the Lord made covenant that his seed should inherit the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. "And the powers of heaven shall be in the midst of this people; yea, even I will be in the midst of you." (3 Nephi 20:18, 21-22.) After gathered Israel builds the New Jerusalem, the Lord will come and dwell with his people.

The building of these two world capitals will commence before the Second Coming and continue during the Millennium. Classifying scattered Israel as Gentiles, because they are not nationals of the kingdom of Judah (the Jews), the Lord Jesus said: "If they will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance." We are the ones here named; the gospel spoken of came through Joseph Smith; we are of the house of Joseph to whom the land of America has been given as an inheritance, even as it was given to the Nephite portion of Joseph's seed. "And they [the Latter-day Saints] shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem." Israel—all gathered remnants assisting each other—shall build the New Jerusalem in America.


Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 632.

Signs of the Times / 20.

The two Jerusalems will be built.

As we have heretofore set forth in some detail, the building up of Old Jerusalem in Palestine and the establishment of the New Jerusalem in America are both destined to occur before our Lord returns. Both events are yet future. As to the American Zion that is to be, one of our scriptures proclaims: "The Son of Man cometh. . . . But before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness. . . . Zion shall flourish upon the hills and rejoice upon the mountains and shall be assembled together unto the place which I have appointed." (D&C 49:22, 24-25.) We, as the seed of Jacob, now flourish in the wilderness of western America, and at the appointed time the saints shall gather to their promised Zion in Missouri.

Signs of the Times / 21.

The Jewish portion of Israel will be gathered.

As with the Ten Tribes, so with the Jews—the day of their real gathering is Millennial. Scattered representatives of the Kingdom of Judah and the Kingdom of Israel will be gathered into the true fold of Christ before he comes, but the great day of the gathering of these ancient peoples will be after the King of Israel has taken his place as the ruler of the earth. "The Jews which are scattered," Nephi says, "also shall begin to believe in Christ; and they shall begin to gather in upon the face of the land; and as many as shall believe in Christ shall also become a delightsome people." (2 Nephi 30:7.) This is now in process. A few of these ancient covenant people are returning to the sheepfold of their fathers, but most of them are not. When the Lord comes, in the midst of that Armageddon then in process, the Jews, as a body and as a people, will look upon him and inquire about the wounds in his hands and feet. He will then introduce himself as that Jesus whom their fathers crucified. They will then weep for the sins of their ancestors, be converted, and become the valiant souls that the children of the prophets should be.


 Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection [Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1949], 125


Among Latter-day Saints it is well understood, for the Lord has revealed it, that the American Continent is Zion. Many of the predictions made of Zion could not be fulfilled if the small parcel of ground in Jerusalem by that name were meant. Zion and Jerusalem are two separate places. The Lord makes of one the capital of his kingdom for Judah and his fellows. The other is made the capital for his Kingdom in Zion which is the land of Joseph and his fellows. These are the holy cities: Jerusalem of old, when it is purified; and Zion, the New Jerusalem, on this continent. Here Ephraim presides in his birthright, holding the power of Priesthood for his fellows.

Judah also is to be gathered, but to Jerusalem and Palestine. The tribes of Israel will come to Zion where they will be crowned and eventually many of them will find their way back to the land of their inheritance, for so it has been promised. (See Ether 13:10-11.) When Judah is gathered, and we may be happy in the knowledge that he is being gathered, he too must receive his blessings from his brother Ephraim. And the time will come-it is near at hand-when all Israel shall be cleansed. The covenants made with Abraham. Isaac, and Jacob in days of old, and renewed with Joseph Smith in the present day, shall all be fulfilled.


Hyrum L. Andrus, Preparing for Christ's Millennial Government [1962], 1

The Gathering of Israel

Joseph Smith announced that God had "set his hand again the second time" to gather and establish Israel. fn The modern remnants may be classified as the Latter-day Saints, the Jews, the American Indians, the lost tribes of Israel to return as a body from the North, and remnants of all tribes mixed among the people of the earth. Israel will be gathered to two great centers: the old Jerusalem and the City of Zion (New Jerusalem), to be built in America. The remnant of Joseph and those identified with them will possess the western hemisphere, while Judah returns to Palestine. fn Those from the North will come initially to Zion, but will receive an inheritance around the old Jerusalem. fn Eventually the Saints will inherit the whole earth.

The prophets envisioned Israel's redemption as an era of new revelation, when fishers and hunters would gather and seek out the scattered remnants amid great judgments upon the nations. fn While it commenced with the Restoration of the Gospel, Israel's redemption will come largely after the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. In that day of the Lord's power, when His fury is poured out without measure upon the wicked, His Spirit will rest upon the scattered remnants, and they will be gathered and saved. fn They will then worship their God (Jesus Christ) in the true way, while Israel's divine social, economic, and political order is developed upon the earth.


Joseph Fielding McConkie, Answers: Straightforward Answers to Tough Gospel Questions [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1998], 127 - 128

Speaking of the Jerusalem of old, Joseph Smith said, "Judah must return, Jerusalem must be rebuilt, and the temple, and water come out from under the temple, etc.; and all this must be done before the Son of Man will make His appearance" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 286). In restoring the prophecy of Enoch relative to these events, the Prophet recorded these words: "And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem" (Moses 7:62).


George Reynolds and Janne M. Sjodahl, Commentary on the Book of Mormon, edited and arranged by Philip C. Reynolds, 7 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1955-1961], 4: 292

In a communication to a Rochester paper, dated Jan. 4, 1833, the Prophet Joseph, speaking of the Book of Mormon, says in part:

"By it we learn that our Western Indians are descendants of that Joseph who was sold into Egypt, and that the land of America is a promised land unto them, and unto it all the tribes of Israel will come, with as many of the Gentiles as shall comply with the requirements of the new covenants. But the tribes of Judah will return to old Jerusalem. The city of Zion, spoken of by David in the 102nd Psalm, will be built upon the land of America, 'and the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with songs of everlasting joy upon their heads' (Isa. 35:10 Isa. 35:10 ), and then they will be delivered from the overflowing scourge that shall pass through the land. But Judah shall obtain deliverance at Jerusalem. See Joel 2:32Joel 2:32 Joel 2:32 ; Isa. 26:20Isa. 26:20 Isa. 26:20-1 ; Jer. 31:12Jer. 31:12 Jer. 31:12 ; Ps. 1:5Ps. 1:5 Ps. 1:5 ; Ezek. 34:11Ezek. 34:11 Ezek. 34:11-13 ." (Hist. of the Church, Vol. 1, p. 315)

From which it is clear that the Book of Mormon is very much a book of gathering of the children of Israel.


Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the New Testament: The Four Gospels [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 108

Gathering to Zion

"By it [Book of Mormon] we learn that our western tribes of Indians are descendants from that Joseph which was sold into Egypt, and that the land of America is a promised land unto them, and unto it all the tribes of Israel will come, with as many of the Gentiles as shall comply with the requisitions of the new covenant. But the tribe of Judah will return to old Jerusalem." (Joseph Smith, HC 1:315.)

"I received, by a heavenly vision, a commandment in June following [1831], to take my journey to the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and there designate the very spot which was to be the central place for the commencement of the gathering together of those who embrace the fullness of the everlasting gospel. Accordingly I undertook the journey, with certain ones of my brethren, and after a long and tedious journey, suffering many privations and hardships, arrived in Jackson County, Missouri, and after viewing the country, seeking diligently at the hand of God, He manifested Himself unto us, and designated, to me and others, the very spot upon which He designed to commence the work of the gathering, and the upbuilding of an 'holy city,' which should be called Zion—Zion, because it is a place of righteousness, and all who build thereon are to worship the true and living God, and all believe in one doctrine, even the doctrine of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (Joseph Smith, HC 2:254.)

Gathering of Judah

"The promise is . . . made to the Jews that they shall be gathered again, after their pain and suffering. They will gather as predicted by Zechariah and by the Lord in . . . revelation (D&C 45) in their unbelief. They will begin to believe in Christ but will not be ready to accept him in his full right as their Deliverer and as the Son of God. (See 2 Nephi 30:5-8.) In this state they shall gather to Jerusalem and its vicinity. When their enemies come upon them and part of the city is taken, there shall come a great earthquake and the mount of Olives shall cleave in twain forming a valley into which the Jews shall flee for safety. At that time, Christ will appear to them and show them his hands and his feet, and they shall fall down and acknowledge him as their King and Redeemer." (Joseph Fielding Smith, CHMR 1:265.)

"In our day, in that first visit of Moroni to the Prophet Joseph Smith, mention was made that the 'dispersed of Judah would be gathered from the four corners of the earth.' Thirteen years later, when Moses delivered the keys for the gathering of Israel and the Kirtland Temple was dedicated, the Prophet Joseph made further reference to the promises made to Judah and appealed to the Lord that the time may soon come when the children of Judah would return to the land promised to their father, Abraham. [D&C 109:61-64.]" (Ezra Taft Benson, CR, Apr. 1950, pp. 72, 74-77.)


 The Tribe of Joseph , Evening and Morning Star, vol. 1 (June 1832-May 1833), Vol. I. October, 1832. No. 5. 42

Here let us pause. The Lord is great and his words fail not. The shepherd of Israel, which comes leading Joseph like a flock, stir up thy strength before Ephraim, and Benjamin, and Manasseh. Ah what precious words! Judah is to be gathered at old Jerusalem; the lost tribes, with the half tribe of Manasseh, will be restored by Elijah, which leaves Ephraim, the remaining half tribe of Manasseh, and Benjamin to be stirred up by the good shepherd.


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], 1: 315

The Book of Mormon is a record of the forefathers of our western tribes of Indians; having been found through the ministration of an holy angel, and translated into our own language by the gift and power of God, after having been hid up in the earth for the last fourteen hundred years, containing the word of God which was delivered unto them. By it we learn that our western tribes of Indians are descendants from that Joseph which was sold into Egypt, and that the land of America is a promised land unto them, and unto it all the tribes of Israel will come, with as many of the Gentiles as shall comply with the requisitions of the new covenant. But the tribe of Judah will return to old Jerusalem. The city of Zion spoken of by David, in the one hundred and second Psalm, will be built upon the land of America, "And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads" (Isaiah 35:10); and then they will be delivered from the overflowing scourge that shall pass through the land. But Judah shall obtain deliverance at Jerusalem. See Joel 2:32; Isaiah 26:20 and 21; Jeremiah 31:12, Psalm 1:5; Ezekiel 34:11, 12 and 13. These are testimonies that the Good Shepherd will put forth His own sheep, and lead them out from all nations where they have been scattered in a cloudy and dark day, to Zion, and to Jerusalem; besides many more testimonies which might be brought.



H. Dean Garrett, ed., Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint History: Illinois [Provo: Department of Church History and Doctrine, 1995], 140 - 141

However, the Saints understood that the gathering of the Jews and the gathering of "Zion," or the Latter-day Saints, would happen in two separate and distinct occurrences. Joseph Smith wrote, "The tribe of Judah will return to old Jerusalem. The city of Zion spoken of by David, in the one hundred and second Psalm, will be built upon the land of America…. But Judah shall obtain deliverance at Jerusalem."fn Joseph Smith seems to have taken it for granted that Judah would return to "old Jerusalem" and that that would be their home. It would be the place of their protection just as Zion would be for the Saints. He continually stressed the idea of two separate places of safety and refuge: "In the last days, God was to call a remnant, in which was to be deliverance, as well as in Jerusalem and Zion…. Where will we find Zion and this remnant?…God will have a place of deliverance in his remnant, and in Zion."fn Old Jerusalem is not a second-class city in any respect; God will deliver Judah there as surely as he will deliver the Saints at the new Zion in America. Joseph clearly stated the reason God would gather and protect them: they were the "Shepherd's own sheep."fn6 Even in their p.141] apostate and fallen state, the Prophet recognized that they held a special place in the Lord's kingdom.

In sum, the Saints understood that there were to be two concurrent gatherings: Israel to Zion, and Judah to Jerusalem. The question arises as to what extent the Saints felt responsible to assist the Jews in their gathering. We will try to answer this question as we consider those activities which their belief generated.

Though the Saints knew that Judah would be gathered as part of the general gathering of all Israel, Church leaders took no direct action toward Jews until the Nauvoo period. At that time general interest was stirred with the call of Orson Hyde and John Page to the Jews and to Jerusalem. The statement printed in Times and Seasons clearly identified the grounds for the Saints' interest: "Like all other Christians, we believe in the great restoration of Israel, and the rebuilding of Jerusalem, in Palestine…. We believe that the gathering of Israel and the second advent of Messiah…are near at hand. That it is time for the saints to gather together and prepare for the same."fn The statement was a little generous concerning the attitude of much of the Christian community toward the Jews. Some of those "other Christians," like those following the extremely vocal Reverend Miller, actually denied the literal gathering of the Jews to Palestine, and interpreted the scriptures to mean that the righteous Christians would be gathered to Zion. However, the Saints continued to insist on a literal restoration. Brigham Young noted that the teachings of Reverend Miller and his followers were "false and contrary to the restoration of the house of Israel, as predicted by all the prophets."fn

The early Brethren felt that the gathering of the Jews coincided with their work of finding and gathering the greater body of Israel. Further, there was a kinship about the two gatherings, and Church leaders felt they were responsible for direct action in behalf of their Jewish brethren. The "great work" of the gathering, though it would occur separately, would not occur independently. The priesthood and apostolic authority were necessary for its accomplishment. Though the Jews would gather to their own place, it would not be without direct support of apostolic authority and priesthood. At a general conference of the Church, Orson Hyde stated that


it had been prophesied, some years ago, that he had a great work to perform among the Jews; and that he had recently been moved upon by the Spirit of the Lord to visit that people, and gather up all the information he could p.142] respecting their movements, expectations, &c., and communicate the same to this Church, and to the nation at large; stating that he intended to visit the Jews in New York, London, and Amsterdam, and then visit Constantinople and the Holy land.fn

John Page also spoke out in favor of the mission to the Jews. Thus it was that in April of 1840 Orson Hyde and John Page received the call to dedicate the land of Palestine for the gathering of the Jews. The two set out for Palestine. Hyde felt sure that he and Page had a divine calling which had been prophesied by Isaiah. That prophet had declared the following, speaking of bereft Israel:

And there is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth; neither is there any that taketh her by the hand of all the sons that she hath brought up. These two sons are come unto thee; they shall be sorry for thee, thy desolation, and destruction, and the famine, and the sword; and by whom shall I comfort thee? Thy sons have fainted save these two, they lie at the head of all the streets, as a wild bull in a net; they are full of the fury of the Lord, the rebuke of thy God. Therefore, my people shall know my name; yea, in that day they shall know that I am he that doth speak; behold, it is I. (JST Isa. 51:18-20 )

Elder Hyde wrote, "As Jerusalem has no sons to take her by the hand and lead her among all the number whom she hath brought forth, Bro. Page and myself feel that we ought to hurry along and take her by the hand; for we are her sons but the Gentiles have brought us up."fn In his eyes, the Church had a direct role in the gathering-that of guide. The gathering was not something which could come to pass without the Church's aid. However, guidance of Judah into Palestine did not include guidance into the Church. Joseph Smith instructed Hyde that "converted Jews must come here," to Zion in America.fn Though the Lord favored the Jews, there was a definite difference between those who converted and those who did not. Palestine was not to be the home of converted Israel, but of unconverted Judah. Thus, Orson Hyde's prophesied mission to the Jews was not as a proselytizing missionary, but as an instrument of gathering.

Unfortunately John Page soon returned home, having "utterly failed to fulfill his appointment," while Orson Hyde persevered.fn He dedicated the land of Palestine for the Jews, thus fulfilling a blessing Joseph Smith had pronounced upon him earlier: "In due time thou shalt go to Jerusalem, the land of thy fathers, and be a watchman unto the house of Israel; and by thy hand shall the Most High do a great work, which shall prepare the way and greatly p.143] facilitate the gathering together of that people."fn The great work of the apostle was not to restore Judah to her Messiah, but to dedicate the land for her return. On 24 October 1841, Orson Hyde offered his prayer of dedication, standing on the Mount of Olives, overlooking the miserable remains of a once great city.

Although John Page had returned to Nauvoo, Orson Hyde was not working alone; the Saints felt that the Spirit of the Lord was assisting him. As the Times and Seasons noted:


From the events which have taken place in Europe within a few years[past…[and] the liberal and enlightened policy of the Pacha of Egypt…the day of their liberty has already dawned, and [we see] that God has prepared the way, and set his hand again, the second time, to gather them to their beloved city. Surely the "work of the Father," as spoken of in the Book of Mormon, has commenced, which shall roll forth with power and great glory, until Jerusalem shall be built up-the land of Canaan become as the garden of Eden, and Zion be established to be thrown down no more forever.fn

Orson Hyde gave credit for his perseverance to his sense of "divine mission," which he received not only at the hands of Joseph Smith, but through vision as well. In March 1840, he related, "The vision of the Lord, like clouds of light burst into my view…. The cities of London, Amsterdam, Constantinople, and Jerusalem, all appeared in succession before me; and the spirit said unto me, `Here are many of the children of Abraham whom I will gather to the land that I gave to their fathers; and here also, is the field of your labors.'"fn

The information given to Orson Hyde during that divine communication is most interesting because it revealed the connection between Judah and the Latter-day Saints. The gathering proper was in God's hands ("whom I will gather"). Nonetheless, Elder Hyde had a task to perform. According to the vision, he was to encourage the Jews to begin gathering to Jerusalem, and he was to "Declare these words unto Judah, and say: `Blow ye the trumpet in the land: cry, gather together, and say, assemble yourselves and let us go into the defended cities. Set up the standard towards Zion-retire stay not; for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction.'"

Elder Hyde's vision clearly showed the Lord's renewed concern for Judah and why she, after so many centuries, was now to gather home: "Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto p.144] her, that her warfare is accomplished-that her iniquity is pardoned for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins." Elder Hyde was not bashful in pointing out that Judah's troubles originated from their crucifying the Lord. However, that was now forgiven and a new age had dawned. While God had forgiven her, Judah was not absolved from all responsibility; she must return with full purpose of heart to her God. In this light the apostle spells out his role: "It appears, from the prophets, that Jerusalem has none to guide-none to take her by the hand among all the sons whom she hath brought forth and reared: But these two sons are come unto thee! The sons of strangers shall build up thy walls." Had John Page come along, there would indeed have literally been "two sons of strangers," but the fact that he was operating alone did not seem to daunt Orson Hyde. Using his divine mandate, he declared to Judah, "Jerusalem is thy home. There the God of Abraham will deliver thee." He understood that he was to prepare the way for the gathering.fn

In this effort, Elder Hyde was in good company. Parley P. Pratt, in an open letter to the Queen of England, wrote, "Connected with the ushering in of this new era will be the restoration of Judah and Israel from their long dispersion…. This restoration will take place by a series of miracles, signs, wonders, revelations, judgments, &c., which will far exceed the dispensation of Moses and the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage."fn Elder Pratt's views certainly conformed to those of Orson Hyde and others. Parley P. Pratt's writings show the belief that the Jerusalem temple would be built by Jews, and he believed that God would be directly and miraculously involved in the restoration of their kingdom.fn

After Elder Hyde's mission, the Latter-day Saints' interest in the gathering of Israel continued, although more immediate concerns dominated the pages of their newspaper. However, the Saints continued to connect the idea of the dual gathering and the Second Coming, and appreciated their importance. Joseph Smith wrote of the "fulness of times," when

God will gather together all things that are in heaven, and all things that are upon the earth, "even in one," when the Saints of God will be gathered in one from every nation, and kindred, and people, and tongue, when the Jews will be gathered together p.145] into one, the wicked will also be gathered together to be destroyed, as spoken of by the prophets; the Spirit of God will also dwell with His people, and be withdrawn from the rest of the nations, and all things whether in heaven or on earth will be in one, even in Christ.fn

Here we see that the Prophet continued to link the gathering of the Saints, the gathering of the Jews, and the gathering of the wicked to the dispensation of the fulness of times. The phrase "the spirit of God will also dwell with His people" seems to refer to both Saints and Jews. This great and final gathering before the Second Coming was a way off. However, Joseph Smith noted that "Judah must return, Jerusalem must be rebuilt, and the temple, and water come out from under the temple, and the waters of the Dead Sea be healed. It will take some time to rebuild the walls of the city and the temple, Etc.; and all this must be done before the Son of Man will make his appearance."fn

Judah's gathering was but one of the signs of the times which included the gathering of Israel in America.

Even after the Saints' active role ceased, the Church's concerns continued to be closely connected to the restoration of Jerusalem. In a letter sent in 1845, Church leaders noted that the temple was nearing completion and the endowment would soon be administered. Among other things it would allow the Saints to "be prepared to go forth to the nations of the earth and build up the kingdom in all parts of the world; gather up Israel, redeem Zion; rebuild Jerusalem; and fill the whole earth with the knowledge of God."fn One must be careful not to infer too much from the imprecise language of this letter, but it does suggest that Church leaders believed the Saints to be somehow involved not only in building up the kingdom of God on the earth, but in gathering Israel and rebuilding Jerusalem as well. Whether or not the statement is to be taken literally, it does show a continued connection between what the Saints were doing on this continent and what the Jews were to do on another.

The gathering of Judah was meaningful to the Saints for another reason: "Thus it is, we can witness the hand of the Mighty God of Jacob, moving on his glorious work of restitution, and fulfilling the words of his anointed, and answering the prayers of his saints in mighty deed. Let us struggle on, the world will yet be compelled to acknowledge the divine mission of the Prophet Joseph."fn The gathering of the Jews, among other things, confirmed the divine mission of Joseph Smith, and served as a testimony p.146] of God's active involvement in history. The Saints clearly saw Heavenly Father's hand in events:

The movements now in Palestine and the invasion of Jerusalem, which some would think accidental, we consider providential. Christianity must protect itself, and if Palestine passes into the hands of Great Britain it will in due time revert to its original owners, and the predictions of the prophets will be fulfilled. We begin to believe in the oft repeated assertion that the year 1847 will produce greater events in the East.fn

Clearly, the Saints viewed the gathering of Judah as providential. Not since the days of Orson Hyde's ministry had the Church taken any direct action in behalf of the Jews. This did not indicate any change in interest or belief, only in where the Church had to put its resources. However, the hectic months after the death of the Prophet did not cause a dimming of memory of the connection between the gathering of Saints and Jews, nor the role the Church had to play in the gathering.

On 6 April 1845, the Quorum of the Twelve issued a proclamation to the leaders of the world, proclaiming the restoration of the gospel and requesting their assistance in the work of the Lord. The antecedent of this document seems to have been a revelation given to Joseph Smith on 19 January 1841. In it the Lord declared that a solemn proclamation should "be made to all the kings of the world, to the four corners thereof, to the honorable president-elect" and others, "for, behold, [the Lord is] about to call upon them to give heed to the light and glory of Zion, for the set time has come to favor her" ( D&C 124:3, 6 ). The Brethren assigned Wilford Woodruff the responsibility of writing the proclamation, and he produced it in pamphlet form and also published it in the Millennial Star, 22 October 1845. The proclamation outlined the future history of Zion, and also of the Jews, and the relation of the Church to it. The proclamation stated that the Jews among all nations are hereby commanded, in the name of the Messiah, to prepare, to return to Jerusalem in Palestine; and to rebuild that city and temple unto the Lord: And also to organize and establish their own political government, under their own rulers, judges, and governors in that country. For be it known unto them that we now hold the keys of the priesthood and kingdom which is soon to be restored unto them. Therefore let them also repent and prepare to obey the ordinances of God.fn

The proclamation commanded the Jews, in the name of the Messiah, to return and establish their own state. The proclamation stated p.147] why the Saints were in a position to give such a commandment: they held the keys of the priesthood and of the kingdom. Interestingly, the leaders promised the Jews neither the priesthood nor the kingdom for the present; but it would "soon" be restored to them. In the meantime, they were to gather as commanded.

Of special note is the insistence that they return to rebuild not only the city but the temple as well. However, the building of a temple by the Jews is problematic. The declaration by the Quorum of the Twelve seems to authorize them to begin the project. But the very scripture which generated the proclamation also states that "it is ordained that in Zion, and in her stakes, and in Jerusalem, those places which I have appointed for refuge, shall be the places for your baptisms for your dead" ( D&C 124:36 ). This section clearly connects Jerusalem with the practice of baptizing for the dead. Surely the Jews will not be doing baptisms for the dead in a temple under their care. Only Latter-day Saints would build such a temple. A solution to that problem can be realized if Latter-day Saints of Jewish descent build the temple under the direction and authority of the First Presidency.

The proclamation then outlines the work that must be accomplished to prepare for the Second Coming:

A great, a glorious, and a mighty work is yet to be achieved, in spreading the truth and kingdom among the Gentiles-in restoring, organizing, instructing and establishing the Jews-in gathering, instructing, relieving, civilizing, educating and administering salvation to the remnant of Israel on this continent; in building Jerusalem in Palestine; and the cities, stakes, temples, and sanctuaries of Zion in America; and in gathering the Gentiles into the same covenant and organization-instructing them in all things for their sanctification and preparation; that the whole Church of the Saints, both Gentile, Jew and Israel, may be prepared as a bride, for the coming of the Lord.fn

Three distinct groups are noted which will make up the Church and be prepared for the Second Coming: Gentile, Jew, and Israel, but the Jews of Jerusalem are excluded from the list. They are to be restored, organized, instructed, established, and to build Jerusalem in Palestine; but, unlike the remnant of Israel, "administering salvation" will not be done. Again, although there will be Jewish members of the Church, there is no indication that the Jews who build up Palestine will be Latter-day Saints.

The proclamation enlisted the assistance of the kings and rulers of the earth in the work of the Lord and warns that if they do not respond to the call, they will become the Jews' inveterate enemy, and oppose them by every means in [their] power. To such an extreme will this great division finally extend, that the nations of the old world will combine to oppose these things by military force. They will send a great army to Palestine, against the Jews; and they will besiege their city…. In that day all who are in the siege, both against Judea and against Jerusalem, shall be cut in pieces; though all the people of the earth should be gathered together against it…. And we once more invite all the kings, presidents, governors, rulers, judges, and people of the earth, to aid us, the Latter-day Saints; and also, the Jews, and all the remnants of Israel, by your influence and protection, and by your silver and gold, that we may build the cities of Zion and Jerusalem, and the temples and sanctuaries of our God; and may accomplish the great restoration of all things, and bring in the latter-day glory.fn

Thus the proclamation clearly outlines the position of the Latter-day Saints regarding the gathering of Judah and its consequence. Much of what it declares still lies in the future. It is of note that the Brethren acted in authority to enlist national leaders' assistance for the cause of gathering both Saints and Jews. Further, they declared a warning that those nations which refuse to assist will be found on the wrong side of the great battle and be destroyed by God when he comes to save Judah. The admonition for assistance is twofold, closely linking Zion and Jerusalem.

The cause of the Saints continued to remain linked to that of Judah, even when other concerns took over the front pages of the Church periodical. The last article about the Jewish gathering in the Times and Seasons, in July 1845, noted,

This interest [in Jerusalem] is not confined to Christians-it is shared and avowed by the whole body of the Jews, who no longer conceal their hope and belief that the time is not far distant when the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people…and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and shall gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.fn

From this point on, the more immediate concerns of the day overshadowed any further statements about Judah.

It can be seen from the above that, with time, the Saints' active participation in the Jewish gathering slowed. After Orson Hyde returned from the Holy Land, there was a marked decrease in the space devoted to the Jews and Jerusalem in Latter-day Saint publications. p.149] However, interest in the gathering of Judah did persist, and the leaders of the Church continued to request assistance for both Zion and Jerusalem.

By 1845 the gathering of the Jews was not front page material. The Saints had other matters to occupy their time and attention. But a contributing factor to this slackening interest was that after the Church, through Orson Hyde, had acted as guide and had dedicated the land, it had little if anything to do directly with the gathering of Judah to a homeland. Rather, their task was to gather and prepare Israel (which included the Lamanites) for the Second Coming. Judah was, as yet, outside their direct concern. Nonetheless, the Saints were interested in the developments which affected the Jews and saw in them the fulfillment of prophecy. There was a kinship between the progress of the Jews in building Old Jerusalem and their own success in rebuilding the New Jerusalem. Thus, during the Nauvoo period and afterward, the Saints exhibited continued interest in the gathering of the Jews, and saw it and their own progress as part of the same divine process and plan.


bottom of page