The Prophet Joseph Smith lived in Nauvoo, Illinois, for the last five years of his life. During that time, there was not a single building built exclusively for meetings and worship. The temple was under construction and was used as a site to meet on occasion, but it was not really suitable for use until after Joseph’s death. Even then, only the third floor was utilized for ordinance work. The two large halls on the first and second floors were never completed.
There were, however, designated sites in Nauvoo where the Prophet and other church leaders could preach to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints outdoors. These were called the groves. There, listeners could sit on the stumps of felled trees, split-log benches, the ground, or they could bring their own chairs. One researcher has noted that the groves were used for “funerals, Fourth of July celebrations, general conferences, Sabbath meetings (weather permitting), and lectures by visiting lecturers” (see "In Old Nauvoo: Everyday Life in the City of Joseph," by George W. Givens, page 145).Comment on this story
There was a grove immediately west of the temple where the bluff begins its slope down to the flats. This was sometimes referred to as the West Grove or Temple Stand. There was another grove or open-air meeting place several blocks east of the temple near the intersection of Knight and Robinson streets (see "Sacred Places, Vol. 3: Ohio and Illinois," edited by LaMar C. Berrett, Keith Perkins and Donald Q. Cannon, pages 169, 175).
The former or West Grove was more commonly used by the Saints, but the East Grove was the site of several important events. One was the Prophet’s general conference address of April 1844, often referred to as the King Follett Sermon. A second event of note held at the East Grove was that when Sidney Rigdon and, later, Brigham Young addressed the Saints with regard to who should lead the church following the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.