Liberty Jail is an important LDS Church Historical site located in Liberty, Missouri. This reconstructed prison was the holding cell for Church leaders, including Joseph Smith, for five months during the winter of 1838-1839.
This jail is operated by missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Though it is built on the exact site of the original, there is nothing original about this building. In fact, it is housed in a Visitor Center. As you enter, you will watch a short video of the arrest of Smith and his followers. Then you will be directed into a large amphitheater. The replica of the jail is in the amphitheater.
The reconstruction has an open front so you can see the inside of the jail including the thickness of the walls, the three stories of the jail, and the dim living conditions. You’ll walk around the jail to see the front door, and go below to get up close to the underground cell where the prisoners were held.
During your visit to Liberty Jail, the lights are dim, and the missionaries share stories of the jail and the time that Joseph Smith spent there. It takes 30-60 minutes to visit depending on when you arrive and how long the telling takes.
Visiting this Church History site is a powerful reminder for Latter Day Saints of a dark chapter in the history of the Church. If you are planning a Church History tour or trip, Liberty Jail is an essential stop near Independence, Missouri. For other Church History sites, use this link.