Adam-ondi-Ahman has past, future import
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It’s the shortest revelation in the Doctrine and Covenants – a mere 37 words – but Section 116 regarding Adam-ondi-Ahman reflects substantial historical and doctrinal import, according to Alexander L. Baugh.
A professor in the department of Church history and doctrine at BYU, Brother Baugh addressed a Sperry Symposium session Oct. 26, giving a textual and historical analysis of the section, which he said is significant for two reasons.
First, it reveals that the region of Spring Hill, Daviess County, Mo., was the ancient homeland of Adam and Eve following their expulsion from the Garden of Eden.
Second, it mentions the biblical prophecy in Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14, that describes a latter-day event in which the resurrected Jesus Christ and the resurrected Adam (called “the ancient of days”) will preside at an assemblage of Adam’s posterity at Adam-ondi-Ahman prior to Christ’s Second Coming to all the world.
Brother Baugh traced the origin of the concept of Adam-ondi-Ahman, saying that the Prophet Joseph Smith and others first visited the region in May 1838 as they were laying claims for the gathering of the Saints for the benefit of the poor following the expulsion of the Church from Jackson County.
He quoted this entry in the Prophet’s journal made by his clerk, George W. Robinson: “Spring Hill a name appropriated by the bretheren [sic] present, But afterwards named by the mouth of [the] Lord and was called Adam Ondi Awmen [Adam-ondi-Ahman], because said he 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.”
After the exodus of the Latter-day Saints to Utah, the editors of the Deseret News on April 2, 1858, in collaboration with the Church Historian’s Office, printed the entry, but with some editorial changes to the text, none of which altered the meaning. This revised version made its way into the Doctrine and Covenants, as apostle Orson Pratt edited and revised revelations for printing.
Brother Baugh concluded his presentation with a statement from Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915-1985), a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, relative to the future appearance of Jesus Christ at Adam-ondi-Ahman. Elder McConkie wrote: “He will come in private to his prophet and to the apostles then living. Those who have held keys and powers and authorities in all ages from Adam to the present will also be present. And further, all the faithful members of the Church then living and the faithful saints of all the ages past and present will be present. It will be the greatest congregation of faithful saints ever assembled on planet earth. It will be a sacrament meeting. It will be a day of judgment for the faithful of all ages.”
Brother Baugh noted that some have wondered how the locale will be able to accommodate such a large assemblage. But he noted that the bulk of the congregation would either be resurrected beings or disembodied spirits of those who have died.