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Plat of Zion


"The original Plat of the City of Zion and the written instructions of Joseph Smith are in the Church Historian’s Office, Salt Lake City. The effects of this plat on community planning and development in later L.D.S. history are adequately discussed in two scholarly works:

Feramorz Y. Fox, "The Mormon Land System: A Study of the Settlement and Utilization of Land under the Direction of the Mormon Church." Ph.D. dissertation, Northwestern University, 1932.

Lowry Nelson, The Morraon Village: A Pattern and Technique of Land Settlement Salt Lake City, 1952. For additional background see: CHMR 1:412-416; CHC 1:310-313; RCH 1:107-113; DHC 1:362-364.

An EXPLANATION of the plat of the city of Zion, sent to the brethren in Zion, the 25th of June. 1833:

The plat contains one mile square; all the squares in the plat contain ten acres each, being forty rods square. You will observe that the lots are laid off alternately in the squares; in one square running from the south and north to the line through the center of the square; and in the next, the lots run from the east and west to the center line. Each lot is four perches in front and twenty back, making one half of an acre in each lot, so that no one street will be built on entirely through the street; but on one square the houses will stand on one street, and on the next one, another, except the middle range of squares, which runs north and south, in which range are the painted squares. The lots are laid off in these squares, north and south, all of them; because these squares are forty perches by sixty, being twenty perches longer than the others, their greatest length being east and west, and by running all these squares, north and south, it makes all the lots in the city of one size.

The painted squares in the middle are for public buildings. The one without any figures is for store-houses for the Bishop, and to be devoted to his use. Figure first is for temples for the use of the presidency; the circles inside of the squares, are the places for the temples. You will see it contains twelve figures, two are for the temples of the lesser Priesthood. It is also to contain twelve temples.

The whole plot is supposed to contain from fifteen to twenty thousand people: you will therefore see that it will require twenty-four buildings to supply them with houses of worship, schools, etc; and none of these temples are to be smaller than the one of which we send you a draft. This temple is to be built in the square market figure 1; and to be built where the circle is which has a cross on it on the north end.

South of the plot where the line is drawn, is to be laid off for barns, stables, etc., for the use of the city; so that no barns or stables will be in the city among the houses; the ground to be occupied for these must be laid off according to wisdom. On the north and south are to be laid off the farms for the agriculturist, and sufficient quantity of land to supply the whole plot; and if it cannot be laid off without going too great a distance from the city, there must also be some laid off on the east and west.

When this square is thus laid off and supplied, lay off another in the same way, and so fill up the world in these last days; and let every man live in the city, for this is the city of Zion. All the streets are on of one width, being eight perches wide. Also the space round the outer edge of the painted squares, is to be eight perches between the temple and the street on every side. No one lot, in this city, is to contain more than one house, and that to be built twenty-five feet back from the street, leaving a small yard in front, to be planted in a grove, according to the taste of the builder; the rest of the lot for gardens; all the houses are to be built of brick and stone. The scale of the plot is forty perches to the inch.

The names of the temples built on the painted squares as represented on the plot of the city of Zion, which I now about to be forwarded thither-numbers 10, 11, and 12, are to be called, House of the Lord, for the Presidency of the High and most Holy Priesthood, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of the Son of God, upon Mount Zion, City of New Jerusalem. Numbers 7,8, and 9, the Sacred Apostolic Repository, for the use of the Bishop. Numbers 4, 5, and 6, the Holy Evangelical House, for the High Priesthood of the Holy Order of God. Numbers 1,2, and 3, the House of the Lord for the Elders of Zion, an Ensign to the Nations. Numbers 22,23, and 24, House of the Lord for the Presidency of the High Priesthood, after the Order of Aaron, a Standard for the People. Numbers 19,20, and 21, House of the Lord, the Law of the Kingdom of Heaven, and Messenger of the People; for the Highest Priesthood after the order of Aaron. Numbers 16, 17, 18, House of the Lord for the Teachers in Zion, Messenger to the Church. Numbers 13, 14, 15, House of the Lord for the Deacons in Zion, Helps in Government. Underneath must be written on each house-


A DESCRIPTION of the House of the Lord, which is to be built first in Zion:

The house of the Lord for the Presidency, is eighty-seven feet long and sixty-one feet wide, and ten feet taken off of the east end for the stairway, leaves the inner court, seventy-eight feet by sixty-one, which is calculated and divided for seats in the following manner, viz: the two aisles four feet wide each; the middle block of pews are eleven feet ten inches long, and three feet wides each; and the two lines drawn through the middle are four inches apart; in which space a curtain is to drop at right angles, and divide the house into four parts if necessary. The pews of the side blocks are fourteen and a half feet long, and three feet wide. The five pews in each corner of the house, are twelve feet six inches long. The open spaces between the corner and side pews are for fireplaces; those in the west are nine feet wide, and the east ones are eight feet and eight inches wide, and the chimneys carried up in the wall where they are marked with a pencil.

The pulpit in the west end of the house is to be occupied by the High Priesthood, as follows:-Number 1, is for the President and his council; number 2, for the Bishop and his council; number 3, for the High Priests; and number 4 for the Elders: each of these is eight feet long, containing three coves or stands for the respective speakers; and those seats opposite them are for visiting officers, who are to occupy seats according to their respective grades. The two spaces in the middle are stairs two feet wide. The middle pulpit is to be elevated; the first seats one foot, the second two feet, the third three feet, and the fourth four feet. And those upon each side are also to be elevated: the first one eight inches, the second sixteen, the third twenty-four, the fourth thirty-two. The corner seats are to be occupied by singers, and elevated-the first seat six inches, the second twelve, the third eighteen, the fourth twenty-four, and the fifth thirty-two inches. The pulpit in the east end of the house is to be occupied by the Lesser Priesthood. Number 1, is for the Presidency of the Lesser Priesthood; Number 2, for the Priests; number 3, for the Teachers; and number 4, for the Deacons; and the seats by their sides, are also to be occupied by visiting officers; each one opposite his respective grade. The pulpits are to be finished with panel work, in the best workmanlike manner; and the building to be constructed of stone and brick of the best quality. Observe particularly that as there are pulpits at each end of the house, the backs of the congregation must be to one of them, and they will want occasionally to change. In order for this the house must have pew instead of slips, and in the pews let the seats be loose, that they may slip from on side of the pew to the other, so as to face either pulpit, as occasion may require.

The side view represents five windows in each story. The windows are to have each forty-eight lights, of seven by nine glass, six on way and eight the other; the sides and lintels of the windows to be hewn stone, and on the top of the lintel is to be a Gothic top, as you see, but the windows must have a lintel; and so with the outside doors, all with Gothic tops.

Make your house fourteen feet high between the floors. There will not be a gallery but a chamber; each story to be fourteen feet high, arched overhead with an elliptic arch. Let the foundation of the house be of stone; let it be raised sufficiently high to allow of banking up so high as to admit of a descent every way from the house, so far as to divide the distance between this house, and the one next to it. On the top of the foundation, above the embankment, let there be two rows of hewn stone, and then commence the brick-work on the hewn stone. The entire height of the house is to be twenty-eight feet, each story being fourteen feet; make the wall a sufficient thickness for a house of this size. The end view represents five windows of the same size as those at the side, the middle window excepted, which is to be the same, with the addition of side lights. This middle window is designed to light the rooms both above and below, as the upper floor is to be laid off in the same way as the lower one, and arched overhead; with the same arrangement of curtains, or veils, as before mentioned.

The doors are to be five feet wide, and nine feet high, and to be in the east end of the house. The west end is to have no doors, but in other respects is to be like the east, except the windows are to be opposite the alleys which run east and west. The roof of the house is to have one-fourth pitch, the door to have Gothic top, the same as the windows. The shingles of the root to be painted before they are put on. There is to be a fanlight, as you see. The windows and doors are all to have venetian blinds. A belfry is to be in the east end, and a bell of very large size.

You will be careful to have hooks and rings to suspend your veils on, so that they can be let down or raised at any time, at pleasure. Also, as you see, the pulpits are to have four seats, rising one above another; for instance, the Elder’s seat is the lowest, next comes the High Priest’s, next the Bishop’s; so each of these must have a veil that is suspended from the upper floor, so as to be let down; which at any time when necessary be let down, and shut off each stand or seat by itself.