It was revealed to the prophet Joseph Smith that Independence Missouri would be the "center place" of Zion. Through this revelation many member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made their way to Missouri to build their homes. The communities in Missouri were not ready for a large influx of Latter-day Saints and tensions rose. The atrocities committed against the member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were horrendous. All through Missouri the historical sites of the Latter-day Saints have echos of sadness and cruelty. Although, the Latter-day Saints were driven out of the land of Missouri, the Saints still believe in the revelations given to the prophet Joseph Smith, and Missouri is still a special place for members.
For more information on the background of the Latter-day Saints in Missouri click here.
Independence as the "center place" Joseph Smith received a revelation laying out the temple lot. Now there are three different Churches that own different parts of the lot, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The Community of Christ Church and the Church of Christ. All three Churches and others feel that this are in Independence is special because it was once dedicated for the construction of a temple in the center place of Zion, in preparation for the Savior’s millennial reign. To learn more about the Independence Temple Lot click here: https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/content/historic-sites/missouri/questions-and-answers-about-the-temple-lot-in-independence-missouri?lang=eng
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints owns 25 acres of land in Independence in 1904. Prophet Joseph F. Smith was president of the Church when the 25 acres were purchased. Part of that acreage consisted of the original temple lot, where the visitors center was built. President David O. McKay and President Joseph Fielding Smith attended the centers groundbreaking ceremony on June 1, 1966. The Independence Missouri visitors center was dedicated by President N. Eldon Tanner on May 31, 1971. The Independence Visitors Center is built on a portion of land that the Church once purchased to establish the center place of Zion (see D&C 57:1–3).
Across the street and to the northwest of the visitors’ center is a plot of land that was once dedicated for a temple in the center place of Zion. The land is now owned by the Church of Christ.
In the Independence Visitors Center a tour is led by a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The missionary goes through different stories of pioneers, there is a pioneer home replica, a printing press replica, and more. The missionaries do a great job teaching about the Plan of Salvation, along with the early Missouri Saints who sacrificed so much.
"Sacred Places, Missouri" by LaMar C. Berrett, and Max H. Parkin p. 17-19