After being forced to leave the Independence area in 1833, Mormon refugees resettled to the north in the sparsely populated Caldwell County founding the community of Far West. Venturing further north in to Daviess County, the Mormon community of Adam-ondi-Ahman grew to over 1500 in the summer of 1838 shortly after Joseph Smith declared that this was where Adam and Eve had been exiled to after their fall from Grace in the Garden of Eden. Joseph had revealed earlier that the Garden of Eden had actually been located in Independence, so when the faithful were exiled from the modern day Garden of Eden what better paths to take then ones taken in ancient times. It was also here that many of the Kirtland, Ohio refugees - the Kirtland Camp - came to be settled. Alas, their stay was not long as conflict with non-Mormons who feared Mormon political control led to retreat to Far West and eventually to Nauvoo, Illinois.
Many prime sites in Mormon history are owned not by the main Mormon branch - the Utah-based LDS church - but they do own the 3000 acres making up Adam-ondi-Ahman - the name Mormons believe derive from the original Adamic language though translations run from ‘Adam’s grave’ to ‘Valley of God where Adam dwelt’ to ‘Adam with God’. The significance of the site to Mormons is that it was here Adam met his children three years before his death and bestowed his blessing upon them. It is also here that before the Second Coming, Adam will convene another meeting to turn the government of the human family over to Jesus Christ.
Located on River Road a few miles north of the center of Independence on a ridge sitting south of the Missouri River, Mound Grove Cemetery is neither the largest nor the most historic burying ground in Independence, but it is here that four former president/prophet/leaders of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ (RLDS)/Community of Christ are buried - Joseph Smith III, Frederick M. Smith, Israel Smith, W. Wallace Smith - their works on earth complete. The graves are grouped together with a view towards the office towers of Kansas City off ten miles to the west - another World and time.
One of the smallest surviving branches of the Mormon schismata of 1845 is the Church of Jesus Christ - Cutlerite branch. Their history is a fairly complicated one - an incomplete version can be found on their website - suffice it to say that those who followed Alpheus Cutler as Mormon leader following the death of founding prophet Joseph Smith came to settle in the small southwestern Iowan town of Manti. Cutler died in 1864 and his successor, Chauncey Whitney, led the faithful to the Minnesota community of Clitherall (“Old Town”). A communal Order of Enoch became the order of the day, but defections to the RLDS due to an extremely rigid ordered lifestyle - much as was the case at the Amana Colonies further south in Iowa - kept the movement small. In 1928, the church decided to return to Zion - Independence - where all but one member live today. Supposedly, the 30-some members still live the communal Order of Enoch to this day. The small church building lying a few blocks south of the Temple Lot is a two-storied building in which the ground floor is where normal worship services are held. The upstairs is reserved for special rituals not unlike those found in LDS temples.
In 1836, shortly after the expulsion of Mormons from Independence and Jackson County, the town of Far West was founded. With the failure of the Kirtland Bank and all that followed in Ohio, Joseph Smith and most of his Kirtland followers came west to Missouri transforming Far West overnight. A temple was to be built but debt was not to be incurred for this edifice as it had been in Kirtland. The cornerstones were laid on July 4,1838 and these cornerstones have been uncovered and preserved in an LDS-owned monument. Across the way is a local Community of Christ congregation church with a monument showing a map of the original town. Besides these two monuments and the little chapel, nothing else remains from the once flourishing town of 5000. Residents were forced from their homes during the late fall and winter of 1838-39.
Important features of some branches of the Mormon tree that were revealed in Far West to Joseph Smith included a new name to the church - "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" - and the principle of tithing 10% of one's profits which became the financial cornerstone for the church replacing the earlier Law of Consecration which was more oriented to a more communal way of living.
Train enthusiasts take note! This little depot isn't on many lists of Independence attractions, but it is a neat find. When moved from its original location to this spot, it was in deplorable condition. It is now a testimony to the hard work and determination of a number of dedicated volunteers and fund-raisers. Nancy and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the station as it would have been during the peak days of railway traffic in this country.
We discovered this attraction while visiting the National Trails Museum.
The first floor contains the waiting room (with the original benches), the station master's room (shown here), and the baggage room.
The station master and his family were housed on the second floor, and these quarters have been faithfully restored. Another room on this level houses an interesting display of C&A RR memorabilia.