Question: Are the Gadianton robbers in the Book of Mormon actually references to the anti-Masonic panic of Joseph Smith's era?


Question: Are the Gadianton robbers in the Book of Mormon actually references to the anti-Masonic panic of Joseph Smith's era?

Joseph's contemporaries did not embrace the allegedly obvious link between the Book of Mormon and masonry

Some claim that the Gadianton robbers are thinly disguised references to the anti-Masonic panic of Joseph Smith's era. However, 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.

Any similarities in language between some anti-Masonic agitators and the Book of Mormon are more plausibly explained by the fact that similar words can be—and were—used to describe a variety of different tactics and organizations.

The claim that "secret combinations" was always used to refer to Masons is clearly false.

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