The Lord in the past gathered his people geographically through creating places where Saints came together and established the Church. Today we gather throughout the world in local congregations, we gather spiritually through covenants, and we gather virtually as a whole church for general conferences.
“Gathering to Ohio,” from Mapping Mormonism, ed. Brandon Plewe, 24-25.
Find on this web page “Weeks 10-16: The First Year (1830, D&C 20-40),” “Leaving New York.” 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.
“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.
“Gathered In,” in Saints: 1815-1846, The Standard of Truth
This chapter narrates the history of the Church from fall 1830 to February 1831. Joseph Smith received revelation that he and the New York Saints should move to Ohio.
“Historical Context and Background,” by Steven C. Harper and Casey Paul Griffiths, at Doctrine and Covenants Central
Here are short synopses of the history behind each section: