Mormonism and Freemasonry
This page is a summary or index. More detailed information on this topic is available on the sub-pages below.
This summary page contains bibliographic references for various electronic and print items that discuss -- or are related to -- the 'Mormonism and Freemasonry' issue. The materials that are listed here represent a variety of opinions that are held by Latter-day Saints on this topic. They also represent differing levels of review and publication processes and divergent degrees of documentation.
In response to a letter "received at the office of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" in 1912, Charles W. Penrose of the First Presidency wrote:
- Question 17: Was Joseph Smith, Jr., a Mason?
- Answer: Joseph Smith the Prophet was a Mason.
Mormonism and Freemasonry
- Origins of Freemasonry—
When studying the relationship between Mormonism and the fraternal order known as Freemasonry it is important to acknowledge and understand the perspective expressed by nineteenth century Latter-day Saints. This article includes examples of what some Mormons thought about where the rites and teachings of the Masons came from (some of these people were also Masons). (Link)
- Temple endowment and Freemasonry—
Some critics of Mormonism see similarities between the rites of Freemasonry and LDS temple ceremonies and assume that since Joseph Smith was initiated as a Freemason shortly before he introduced the Nauvoo-style endowment he must have plagiarized elements of the Masonic rituals. This viewpoint leads them, in turn, to conclude that the LDS endowment is nothing but a variant form of Masonic initiation and therefore not from a divine source. (Link)
- Temple ordinances: revealed—
Critics claim that the LDS temple ordinances were either made up by Joseph Smith or borrowed, by him, from an earthly source. This collection of quotes has been divided into two sections. The first section consists of statements from the LDS Church's official website indicating that the temple ordinances were 'revealed' by the Lord and 'restored' from antiquity. The second section consists of statements from scripture and the General Authorities of the LDS Church. (Link)
- All Seeing Eye—
The claim is sometimes made by critics that since the All-Seeing Eye of God is displayed on the exterior and interior of the Salt Lake Temple and the All-Seeing Eye is an emblem utilized by the Freemasons then the Mormon usage must be an indication of a connection between Mormon temples and Freemasonry. (Link)
- Masonic Cry of Distress—
It is reported that Joseph Smith uttered the words "Oh Lord, my God" as he stood at a second floor window in Carthage Jail -- just before he was shot by members of a mob. The words that accompany the Masonic 'Grand Hailing Sign of Distress' are "Oh Lord, my God, is there no help for the widow's son?" (Link)
- Hugh W. Nibley on Freemasonry—
Critics assert that Joseph Smith copied Masonic material in order to create the LDS temple rites (Link)
- Reed C. Durham Regarding His 1974 Talk—
Reed C. Durham responds to criticism of his 1974 speech “Is There No Help for the Widow’s Son?” (Link)
- Symbols on the Nauvoo Temple—
"I've heard there are some strange symbols on the Nauvoo and Salt Lake temples. My non-member friend claims these have an occult significance. Some people are of the opinion that they are Masonic." (Link)
- Book of Mormon: Gadianton masons?—
Critics of the Book of Mormon claim that the Gadianton robbers are thinly disguised references to the anti-Masonic panic of Joseph Smith's era. (Link)
- Review of "Search for the Truth" DVD section on Joseph Smith's character—
FAIR responds to claims made in the "Search for the Truth" DVD regarding Joseph Smith's character: "Joseph Smith's Character: The Occult" (Link) (blue bars 3-7)
- Claim that the Endowment Came from Masonry—
FAIR responds to a claim made by the critical website MormonThink that "The temple endowment ceremony would not have come from the Masonry rituals that began in the middle age." (Link)
- "Chapter 2: Moroni, Magic, and Masonry"—
FAIR reviews and responds to critical claims made in the book One Nation Under Gods, Chapter 2: "Moroni, Magic, and Masonry." (Link) (last three points)
- [note] Charles W. Penrose, "Peculiar Questions Briefly Answered," Improvement Era 15 no. 11 (September 1912).