Freemasonry in Mormonism

I’ve only recently become aware of the influence of Freemasonry on Mormonism’s founders.

I’d suggest those interested in the topic just Google “Freemasonry and Mormonism”.

Joseph Smith came from a family heavily influenced by Masonic thinking and practices.

It’s obvious where some of the rituals came from, and since Smith was involved in “money digging”, the gold plate wasn’t far behind in being “found”.

I’ve posted a couple of the more obvious links below -

irr.org/mit/masonry.html

signaturebookslibrary.org/essays/mason.htm

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freemasonry_and_the_Latter_Day_Saint_movement

I haven’t read the book “Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon Temple Worship” yet (still planning on it), but of course Mormon apologists aren’t too happy with it:

mi.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=10&num=1&id=278

But yes, the connections between Freemasonry and Mormon temples (both ceremony and architecture) is interesting.

I have posted a couple of links below for your reading pleasure:

fairlds.org/Misc/Similarities_between_Masonic_and_Mormon_Temple_Ritual.html

en.fairmormon.org/Temple_endowment_and_Freemasonry

eom.byu.edu/index.php/Freemasonry_and_the_Temple

jefflindsay.com/LDSFAQ/FQ_masons.shtml

I hope that this information will answer your questions in a satisfactory manner.

Joseph Smith was 19 or 20 years old when he was involved in ‘money digging’ but many people were involved in such activities at that time in his area. It was not uncommon. However, it is best to read more about it from a better source such as Richard Bushman’s biography of Joseph Smith published by Knopf called Rough Stone Rolling in 2005.

en.fairmormon.org/Joseph_Smith/Money_digging

You will find much information from the site below about money digging:

fairlds.org/apol/ai249.html

Heavily influenced? I don’t know if I’d run with that level of hyperbole. Sure there were Masons in his immediately extended family, and his father later joined (if my memory serves me well). I might be misinterpreting you over this medium, but it sounds as if the association between the two is almost conspiratorial in nature. I don’t think the evidence really mounts up to that.

My experience of the Temple Endowment is rather modern (2003) and with the evolution of the Endowment itself, I wouldn’t expect a Mason’s Lodge Meeting to resemble my experience too much. It’s much more likely that the Endowments my Grandparents took out (or even my parents for that matter) are much more faithful to the original Masonic influences. I unfortunately cannot find out for sure as I cannot time travel, cannot read minds, nor can I convince my parents to share with me their Temple experiences from decades ago.

Please do be careful with the types of site you post as evidentiary. I’m not familiar with the second one, so I will read it when I have time, but IRR is notoriously error laden. Trust me, I’m no LDS apologist, but they get some big stuff awfully wrong.

I think that there are clear differences between the Endowment and Freemasonry ceremonies. The Endowment is focused on Christian themes, or at least the unique Mormon view of creation, the fall, etc. (the role of St. Michael the Archangel in creation, St. Michael becoming Adam, etc). Such themes are obviously not found in freemasonry. What is interesting to study is the use of signs and tokens in both ceremonies, as well as the symbols found on the veil in the endowment (which are also found on the garments worn by Endowed Mormons).

when do scholars date the origins of Freemasonry? It seems that a number of Mormon apologists (and maybe authorities? I can’t remember) claim that some of the similarities between the Endowment and Freemasonry can be seen as both having the same original source.

From what I read, the earliest accounts of Freemasonry as we know it come from the 17th century. Certain LDS apologists are able to make this claim since the Freemasons themselves believe their fraternal organization predates the 17th century estimate and has had esoteric knowledge about King Solomon’s Temple lost to the rest of the world.

I’ve actually had conversations with particular Mormons who believe that Freemasonry is further evidence of the alleged apostasy. They believe that the Freemasons “did the best they could” in restoring the Temple rites, but Joseph Smith had to be called by God to finish the job.

So Freemason’s actually think that the organization(s) goes back to Solomon’s Temple? I found this on a freemasonry site:

“Masonry is distinguished from other fraternal orders by its emphasis on
moral character, its ornate rituals, and its long tradition and history,
which dates back to at least the 17th century in modern form, the 14th
century (c. 1350-1390) in the written evidence of its precursors, and back
to the mists of antiquity in its origin. Masonry has a continuously
documented paper history (i.e., Lodge to Lodge) since 1717, though
historical analysis shows Masonry to be much older.”

web.mit.edu/dryfoo/masonry/

"Freemasonry is the world’s oldest and largest Fraternity. While its traditions look back to earliest history, Masonry in its current form appeared when its public events were noticed by the residents of London, England in 1717. Although Masonry - particularly in its earliest days - had some elements of secrecy, the first ‘exposure’ of the supposedly highly-secret Masonic ritual actually appeared in 1696! Since that time, there have been tens of thousands of books published about this ‘secret organization’. And for over three hundred years, despite the good works done by its members, Freemasonry has continually suffered the slings and arrows of those who seek to use it’s quiet nature against it."
masonicinfo.com/primer.htm

This site also seems to say that the source of allegory used in Freemasonry is from the Bible, specifically Solomon’s Temple. It seems to acknowledge the origins of Freemasonry in more recent history:
dcgrandlodge.org/content/origins-freemasonry

It’s interesting that so much is attributed to King Solomon and the temple, including various occult texts (some speculate that Dan Brown’s new book (which I’ll be reading :wink: ) will include something about the “Key of Solomon”, one of those texts).

Of course, there are MANY similarities between Catholic and Orthodox churches and Solomon’s temple.

I’m wondering if there is any evidence of the use of signs and tokens in Solomon’s temple or in early Christian worship.

Because I am an idiot, I posted this reply in the WRONG thread. I am reposting it here.


The original temple rituals were introduced in Nauvoo after Joseph Smith and most of the elders of the LDS church joined Masonry. Although the meaning is different, there are similarities (which have been noted at some sites), including the oaths people took to keep its ceremony secret.

President Brigham Young once made a statement to the effect that the ceremonies that the Masons use is a corrupted version of the ones that are in use by the LDS, which restored the ancient usage and practice. This is frankly something I find unbelievable, given that Masonry is only a few centuries old. Freemasonry despite its claims, doesn’t go back to the time of Solomon, and neither do its rituals.

Interestingly enough, there ARE some similarities between the temple ceremony and the original Christian liturgies… the time. They kept compressing the liturgy for length. The St. James liturgy in compressed form evolved into the St. Basil’s liturgy which in compressed form evolved into the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. The Roman Rite history is a bit messier and involved in the liquidation and borrowing of elements from the now-unused (in the RCC) liturgies such as the Gallican Rite. So something which was hours long can be done now in less than an hour and a half in the Christian East… and under the Novus Ordo rite in the west, even less

The original Christian liturgies were also kept from outsiders, typically in “house churches”. Of course, back then, people feared for their own safety.

I don’t know what length the LDS temple ceremonies are now, but I’ve read they were originally somewhere in the orbit of 9 hours years and years ago. LDS do not discuss changes to the ceremonies - “sacred not secret” - but there’s anecdotal evidence out there that they’ve gone through a similar process.

thanks for the informations bro…

As far as secrecy in the ancient Church liturgies, yes, we do see this with the Liturgy of the Eucharist, where I believe the deacon would say “the doors, the doors”, and non-Christians (i.e. the non-initiated) would have to leave before the consecration of the Eucharist and the distribution of the Eucharist. This occurs in many Catholic churches today, where the catechumens in RCIA leave after the Liturgy of the Word, since they cannot partake. Of course, many other programs also allow the catechumens to stay for the entire ceremony for various spiritual reasons.

It seems like today, Freemasons are straying away from claiming that its origins are in Solomon’s Temple. Again, it seems that many are claiming or have claimed origins in Solomon’s temple, whether Mormons, Freemasons, or various medieval occult texts.

There are many similarities between Catholic/Orthodox churches and Solomon’s Temple in liturgies and church architecture and use/delineation of sacred space. You can also add in the use of water for purification in Roman Catholic parishes as well.

What similarities do you see between the Endowment and Catholic/Orthodox liturgy?

None, other than that the LDS (appear to have) taken something which took a long time and compressed down over the generations. And that early Church liturgies were longer than they are now. That’s pretty much it.

The LDS don’t have the Eucharist, certainly not as we understand it, and their endowment rituals have little do with the sacraments as we understand them. Temple Marriage has some parallels, and even that is different, because their marital seal is intended to last beyond the grave. Throw in Temple Baptism, which is another seal. I guess that’s about as far as comparisons go. They have a completely different notion of priesthood as well, different from Catholic, Orthodox or Reform.

Whatever claims Joseph Smith and company made in connection to the antiquity and/or corruption of Masonic rituals I don’t think holds much water.

As far as temple baptisms go, remember those are baptisms for the dead. Personal baptisms occur in the ward.

The endowment seems to be about getting knowledge needed to get into the Celestial Kingdom.

“Your endowment is to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give them the keywords, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the holy priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell.”-Brigham Young

This website has a brief discussion on Mormonism and Masonry, as well as the Endowment script, and all other temple ordinance scripts.

ldsendowment.org/masonry.html

It is always best to go to the horse’s mouth than to the horse’s backside. Once a person gets the information from the mouth, if he or she wishes to hang out by the backside, they are free to do so. :slight_smile:

The podcast from mormonstories is great. Greg is a mormon and a mason. He has no problems with both and gives a wonderful explanation of the differences.

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