Joseph Smith left Kirtland about June 19, 1831, and arrived in Missouri about July 14. There he received revelations concerning the building up of Zion and the proper observance of Sunday, the Lord’s holy day.
Establishment of Zion
“‘Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise’: Building Zion by Becoming Zion,” Scott C. Esplin, You Shall Have My Word: Exploring the Text of the Doctrine and Covenants
A history of the revelations of summer 1831. Section 57 located the City of Zion. Section 58 outlines being faithful in tribulation and obedience to law as principles upon which Zion must be built. Section 59 tells the principles of proper observance of the Lord’s Day.
“Sabbath Day,” William B. Smart, Encyclopedia of Mormonism
Since its beginning, the LDS Church has observed the Sabbath on the first, rather than the seventh, day of the week. The key revelation giving the pattern, scope, and purpose of Sabbath observance came to Joseph Smith on August 7, 1831, a Sunday.
“A Holy Day, a Holy Place, a Holy Life,” P. Scott Ferguson, Religious Educator
Throughout our scriptural history, the Lord has set apart a day of worship, as is seen in Old Testament imagery and the Temple. A holy day prepares us for a holy place.
Journey of the Colesville Branch (The Knight Family)
The Journey of the Colesville Branch, by Joseph Darowski, explains the origins of D&C sections 21, 51, 54, 56, and 59. “Leaving Thompson, Ohio, in early June 1831, sixty members of the branch reached Kaw Township in Jackson County, Missouri, on July 26 after a journey of about a thousand miles. Though Joseph Smith had arrived shortly before the Colesville Saints, they had the distinction of being the first branch of the Church to settle the land that had been dedicated as Zion on August 2, 1831, by Sidney Rigdon. Sadly, Joseph Knight Sr.’s wife, Polly, died a few days after their arrival. According to his later history, Joseph Smith ‘attended the funeral of sister Polly [Peck] Knight. . . . This was the first death in the church in this land, and I can say a worthy member sleeps in Jesus till the resurrection.’ That same day, Joseph received the revelation now known as Doctrine and Covenants 59, outlining how the Church was to observe the Lord’s day.”
Ohio-Missouri Travels, map by Brandon Plewe, shows the route taken by the Colesville Branch from Thompson, Ohio, to Clay County, Missouri, as well as routes of the Joseph Smith Party in 1831, the Hyrum Smith &John Murdock mission in 1831, and the Kirtland Camp of 1838.
Jackson & Clay Counties, map by Brandon Plewe, shows where the Colesville Branch and other groups settled in Clay County.