By 1838, many saints had left Ohio to join those in Missouri who had been driven from their homes in Ohio. They gathered in the wilderness area in Caldwell County and built the city of Far West. Joseph Smith arrived with his family to Far West in March 1838. God revealed to the Prophet Joseph that Far West was located on holy ground and the saints were commanded to build a temple there. During a celebration in early July, the saints laid the the four corner stones of the temple. Even though persecution on the saints arose, Joseph continued to receive revelation from God. In Far West it was revealed that the church was to be called "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." They also received the law of tithing there.

in the fall of 1838 the Prophet and other church leaders were captured by a mob. Most were soon released, but Joseph and five others were taken to the Liberty Jail. By early spring of 1839 the saints had again fled, this time to safe havens in Illinois and Iowa.

in 1908 the church purchased 80 acres in Far West, including the temple lot with the original corner stones still in place. In 1968 President David O. McKay dedicated monuments at the temple site.