According to Mormon doctrine, the New Jerusalem, also referred to as Zion, is the place where the Saints and the tribes of Israel (except Judah) will gather (see Revelation 21:1-5). Jesus Christ will reign from the New Jerusalem, as well as from the old Jerusalem, during the Millennium (see Micah 4:2). Article of Faith number ten, which was written by the Prophet Joseph Smith, states, “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon this the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.”The term New Jerusalem also refers to a holy city that will come down out of heaven during the Millennium. This idea can be found in Revelation 21:2, 10 where it states that “the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven.” This may refer to the return of the city of Enoch, whose people were so righteous that they were all taken up to live with God (see Moses 7:12-21, 59-64).
Joseph Smith received revelation in July of 1831 that the center of the New Jerusalem, with its temple, would be built in Independence, Missouri, and that the gathering of Israel would soon begin (Doctrine and Covenants 57:1-3). The term Zion refers to the “pure in heart,” so when Jesus Christ comes again there could be many places in the world that would be referred to as Zion, because the people have accepted the gospel and follow the commandments, but the New Jerusalem is to be a “center place” or the capital city of the pure in heart.
Mormons believe the building of the New Jerusalem and the rebuilding of Jerusalem must happen before the Second Coming of Christ. A proclamation from the Twelve Apostles in 1845 states:
He will assemble the Natives, the remnants of Joseph in America; and make them a great, and strong, and powerful nation: and he will . . . establish a holy city, and temple and seat of government among them, which shall be called Zion.
And there shall be his tabernacle, his sanctuary, his throne, and seat of government for the whole continent of North and South America for ever. In short, it will be to the western hemisphere what Jerusalem will be to the eastern. . . .
The city of Zion, with its sanctuary and priesthood, and the glorious fullness of the gospel, will constitute a standard which will put an end to jarring creeds and political wranglings, by uniting the republics, states, provinces, territories, nations, tribes, kindred, tongues, people and sects of North and South America in one great and common bond of brotherhood. Truth and knowledge shall make them free, and love cement their union. The Lord also shall be their king and their lawgiver; while wars shall cease and peace prevail for a thousand years. (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, ed. Daniel H. Ludlow, 1992, p.1010)