“The New Jerusalem and the Temple Will Be Built in Missouri”
Doctrine and Covenants 84:1–5, 31–32
1 A revelation of Jesus Christ unto his servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and six elders, as they united their hearts and lifted their voices on high.
2 Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem.
3 Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased.
4 Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation.
5 For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house. . . .
31 Therefore, as I said concerning the sons of Moses—for the sons of Moses and also the sons of Aaron shall offer an acceptable offering and sacrifice in the house of the Lord, which house shall be built unto the Lord in this generation, upon the consecrated spot as I have appointed—
32 And the sons of Moses and of Aaron shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, upon Mount Zion in the Lord’s house, whose sons are ye; and also many whom I have called and sent forth to build up my church.
President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote:
“In September 1832, the elders who had been out through the eastern states returned to Kirtland and were anxious to be instructed further regarding Zion and in matters pertaining to their callings. In the presence of six elders, who united with the Prophet in earnest prayer, this revelation [D&C 84] was given. The Lord declared that His Church had been established in these last days for the restoration of the people (Israel) as spoken of by the ancient prophets. From the time of Moses to the time of Ezekiel and Daniel the Lord predicted the scattering and also the return of Israel in the latter days [see Deuteronomy 4:26–31]. The elders were to go forth and fulfill the predictions of the prophets by the gathering of the Saints to Mount Zion, which is the city of New Jerusalem.
“‘Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased’ [D&C 84:3]. This city is to be built by the gathering of the Saints, and, as we have discovered in other revelations, those who gathered there were to be Saints, and not half-hearted members of the Church giving indifferent service and heed to the commandments the Lord offered them. The word of the Lord to these elders was that the city New Jerusalem should be built beginning at the place of the temple, which was to be reared in this generation. ‘For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it’ [D&C 84:5]. This statement has been a stumbling block to some and there have been various interpretations of the meaning of a generation. It is held by some that a generation is one hundred years; by others that it is one hundred and twenty years; by others that a generation as expressed in this and other scriptures has reference to a period of time which is indefinite. The Savior said: ‘An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign’ [Matthew 12:39]. This did not have reference to a period of years, but to a period of wickedness. A generation may mean the time of this present dispensation. Moreover, the statement is qualified in this revelation in the above quotation. ‘For verily this generation shall not all pass away’ [D&C 84:5], etc. It is not our intention to place any interpretation on this expression, but to say that these matters are in the hands of the Lord and He will accomplish His purposes when He considers that the time has come. It is also held by some members of the Church, that the Saints were released from this promise to build the temple in this generation because of the opposition of their enemies, and the Lord has indicated that the Saints are not bound when their enemies prevent them from doing the thing He has commanded, but He will accept the intent and willingness on their part to do His will [see D&C 124:49–52]. However this may be, the time must come when the City of Zion, or New Jerusalem, must be built and also the Holy Temple which the Lord has commanded the Saints to rear and on which His glory shall be made manifest. This promise was made to the ancient prophets [see Ether 13]; and we have not been released from this responsibility which will be carried out when the Lord desires it. But only the ‘sons of Moses and of Aaron’ [D&C 84:32], who have proved themselves true to the oath and covenant of the priesthood, will take part in the great labor.”
(Church History and Modern Revelation, 2 vols. , 1:336–37.)