Mormonism and Freemasonry

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PERSPECTIVES MEDIA QUESTIONS RESOURCES 2014 CONFERENCE

    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.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responds to these questions

Charles W. Penrose,  "Peculiar Questions Briefly Answered," Improvement Era, (September 1912)


Question 17: Was Joseph Smith, Jr., a Mason?
Answer: Joseph Smith the Prophet was a Mason. [1]


Topics




  • Origins of Freemasonry
    Brief Summary: 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). (Click here for full article)
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  • Temple endowment and Freemasonry
    Brief Summary: 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. (Click here for full article)
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  • Temple ordinances: revealed
    Brief Summary: It is claimed 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. (Click here for full article)
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  • Hugh W. Nibley on Freemasonry
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that Joseph Smith copied Masonic material in order to create the LDS temple rites (Click here for full article)
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  • Should the temple ceremony be based upon an earlier version of Freemasonry?
    Brief Summary: If the temple ceremony is based upon Freemasonry, why doesn’t it more closely resemble an earlier form of Freemasonry than that of Joseph Smith's day? (Click here for full article)
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  • Freemasonry did not originate with Solomon's Temple
    Brief Summary: Why is the endowment considered sacred if Freemasonry is unrelated to Solomon's Temple and has no religious elements? (Click here for full article)
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  • Alterations to temple ceremonies
    Brief Summary: Why was it allowable to alter the temple ceremonies over the years if they were revealed by God? (Click here for full article)
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  • Gadianton Robbers as Masons?
    Brief Summary: Some claim that the Gadianton robbers are thinly disguised references to the anti-Masonic panic of Joseph Smith's era. Joseph's contemporaries did not embrace the "obvious" link between the Book of Mormon and masonry. Proponents or opponents of Masonry simply tended to blame their opponents for Mormonism. Given Joseph Smith's long family involvement with the institution of Freemasonry and the fact that he would, in 1842, become a Mason himself, it seems unlikely that anti-Masonry was the "environmental source" of the Gadianton robbers found in the Book of Mormon. The members of his day likewise had little enthusiasm for anti-Masonic sentiments. (Click here for full article)
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  • Masonic Cry of Distress
    Brief Summary: 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?" (Click here for full article)
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  • Reed C. Durham Regarding His 1974 Talk
    Brief Summary: Reed C. Durham responds to criticism of his 1974 speech “Is There No Help for the Widow’s Son?” (Click here for full article)
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  • Symbols on the Nauvoo Temple
    Brief Summary: 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. (Click here for full article)
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  • Inverted Stars on LDS Temples
    Brief Summary: Some critics of the LDS Church claim that the inverted five-pointed star on some of its temples are a symbol of evil and thereby demonstrate that Mormonism is not really a Christian religion. (Click here for full article)
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  • All Seeing Eye
    Brief Summary: 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[1] 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. (Click here for full article)
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Notes


  1. Charles W. Penrose, "Peculiar Questions Briefly Answered," Improvement Era 15 no. 11 (September 1912).

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