The Independence Visitors’ Center, located in Independence, Missouri, is a Latter-day Saint visitors’ center that interprets the 1830s Latter-day Saint community that formed in this city. In 1831 the Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that Independence, in Jackson County, Missouri, would become a “city of Zion,” a gathering place for Saints, and a location for a future temple.
About a year after organizing His Church, the Lord designated Independence, Missouri, as “the center place” of Zion (Doctrine and Covenants 57:3). Latter-day Saints gathered there, began to establish a new community, and prepared to build temples, but their actions and their large population concerned settlers who had arrived there previously. Some of those settlers drove the Saints out of the county in 1833. Today, the Independence Visitors’ Center includes exhibits about the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Missouri and about Heavenly Father’s eternal plan for His children. President N. Eldon Tanner dedicated the building on May 31, 1971.
In August 1831, Sidney Rigdon dedicated Jackson County as a place of gathering for the Latter-day Saints, and Joseph Smith dedicated a temple site in Independence. By July 1833, between 1,000 and 2,000 members of the Church lived in Jackson County. Dissension among Church members and contention with others in the area led to violent attacks and the expulsion of the Saints from the region later that year.