The Lord gathers his people spiritually through covenants, and geographically through creating places where Saints come together and establish the Church.
“Gathering to Ohio,” from Mapping Mormonism, ed. Brandon Plewe, 24-25.
This map shows how members of the fledgling church moved in groups from New York to Ohio in spring 1831, fulfilling the command given in D&C 37. First the families in Colesville (such as the Knights) gathered in Ithaca and then traveled north by boat on Cayuga Lake. They rode barges down the Cayuga and Seneca Canal and then the Erie Canal to Buffalo. They went by boat on Lake Erie to Fairport Harbor and overland to Kirtland, Ohio. The Fayette branch (including the Whitmer family) and the Manchester-Palmyra branch followed soon afterward along the same travel lines.
“Settlement in Ohio,” from Mapping Mormonism, ed. Brandon Plewe, 29.
This map shows significant concentrations of Saints in the Kirtland area in the 1830s. It shows the dozens of branches of the Church that were the result of constant missionary work in the area. Hiram, Ohio, was the location where Joseph Smith received many revelations.
“Ohio-Missouri Travels,” from Mapping Mormonism, ed. Brandon Plewe, 38.
This map shows the route Joseph Smith took from Kirtland to Independence in 1831, the route of the 1830-1831 mission to the Lamanites, and the 1831 journey of the Colesville branch from Kirtland to Independence.
“Gathering,” Ronald D. Dennis, Encyclopedia of Mormonism
For Latter-day Saints, the gathering of Israel involves bringing together the heirs of the covenant to designated places where they can enjoy the blessings of temples.
“Mormonism in the Methodist Marketplace: James Covel and the Historical Background of Doctrine and Covenants 39-40,” Christopher C. Jones, BYU Studies, Vol. 51, no. 1
Joseph Smith received two revelations in January 1831 (Doctrine and Covenants 39 and 40) directed to one “James Covill.” Here is a short biography of James Covel and his Methodist (not Baptist) ministry.