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Criticism of Mormonism/Online documents/For my Wife and Children (Letter to my Wife)/Chapter 6
Response to "For my Wife and Children" ("Letter to my Wife"): Chapter 6 - The Endowment
|Chapter 5 - The Word of Wisdom||
A FairMormon Analysis of: For my Wife and Children (Letter to my Wife), a work by author: Anonymous
|Chapter 7 - Polygamy|
Response to claims made in "For my Wife and Children" ("Letter to my Wife"): Chapter 6- The Endowment
Jump to Subtopic:
- Response to claim: "Church leaders claim that the connection between Masons and Mormons date back to the stonemasons who built Solomon’s temple in the Old Testament"
- Response to claim: "Unfortunately for the Church, Freemason historians cite its origins to the late 14th to early 15th century in Scotland as a trade guild; not 950 BC in Jerusalem"
- Response to claim: "Joseph’s family and several of the first members of the Church were Masons"
- Response to claim: "Just seven weeks after his initiation as a first-degree mason, on April 4, 1842, Joseph introduces the endowment ceremony"
- Response to claim: "What exactly was Joseph exposed to during this initiation and is it possible that any of it made its way into the endowment ceremony?"
- Response to claim: "Masonic Symbol Use on Early Temples"
Response to claim: "Church leaders claim that the connection between Masons and Mormons date back to the stonemasons who built Solomon’s temple in the Old Testament"
Church leaders claim that the connection between Masons and Mormons date back to the stonemasons who built Solomon’s temple in the Old Testament
Some Church leaders have claimed that Freemasonry dated back to the stonemasons who built Solomon's temple.
Jump to Detail:
Question: Where did 19th-Century Latter-day Saints believe that Freemasonry came from?
It was a common 19th century belief of both Mormons and Masons that Masonry had it origins in the Temple of Solomon
The Saints of Joseph Smith's era accepted the then-common belief that Masonry ultimately sprang from Solomon's temple. Thus, Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball understood Masonry to be a corrupted form of a pristine ancient temple rite.  One author later wrote that masonry as an "institution dates its origins many centuries back, it is only a perverted Priesthood stolen from the Temples of the Most High." 
It was a common 19th century belief of both Latter-day Saints and Masons that Freemasonry had it origins in the Temple of Solomon. Some modern Masons continue to hold to this idea, or believe Masonry is (at least in part) derived from other ancient sources. Although this is a minority view that has been forcefully challenged, it was the view held by the early Latter-day Saints and apparently the prophet Joseph Smith himself.
Early Latter-day Saints' views of Freemasonry
Joseph Fielding wrote during the Nauvoo period:
Many have joined the Masonic institution. This seems to have been a stepping stone or preparation for something else, the true origin of Masonry. This I have also seen and rejoice in it.... I have evidence enough that Joseph is not fallen. I have seen him after giving, as I before said, the origin of Masonry. 
Heber C. Kimball wrote of the endowment:
We have received some precious things through the Prophet on the Priesthood which would cause your soul to rejoice. I cannot give them to you on paper for they are not to be written so you must come and get them for yourself...There is a similarity of Priesthood in Masonry. Brother Joseph says Masonry was taken from Priesthood but has become degenerated. But many things are perfect. 
Thus, to Joseph's contemporaries, there was much more to the LDS temple endowment than just warmed-over Freemasonry. None of Joseph's friends complained that he had simply adapted Masonic ritual for his own purposes. Rather, they were aware of the common ritual elements, but understood that Joseph had restored something that was both ancient and divinely inspired.
Early Church leaders believed that Freemasonry was an "apostate" form of the Endowment
- Willard Richards (16 March 1842): “Masonry had its origin in the Priesthood. A hint to the wise is sufficient.” 
- Heber C. Kimball (17 June 1842): “There is a similarity of priesthood in Masonry. Brother Joseph [Smith] says Masonry was taken from priesthood.” 
- Benjamin F. Johnson (1843): Joseph Smith “told me Freemasonry, as at present, was the apostate endowments, as sectarian religion was the apostate religion.” 
- Joseph Fielding (December 1843): The LDS temple ordinances are “the true origin of Masonry.” 
- Saints in Salt Lake City (1849–50): “Masonry was originally of the church, and one of its favored institutions, to advance the members in their spiritual functions. It had become perverted from its designs.” 
- Heber C. Kimball (9 November 1858): “The Masonry of today is received from the apostasy. . . . They have now and then a thing that is correct, but we have the real thing.” 
- Church Authorities (1842–1873): “The Mormon leaders have always asserted that Free-Masonry was a . . . degenerate representation of the order of the true priesthood.” 
Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, "Freemasonry and the Origins of Modern Temple Ordinances"Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, (June 5, 2015)
Joseph Smith taught that the origins of modern temple ordinances go back beyond the foundation of the world.1 Even for believers, the claim that rites known anciently have been restored through revelation raises complex questions because we know that revelation almost never occurs in a vacuum. Rather, it comes most often through reflection on the impressions of immediate experience, confirmed and elaborated through subsequent study and prayer.2 Because Joseph Smith became a Mason not long before he began to introduce others to the Nauvoo endowment, some suppose that Masonry must have been the starting point for his inspiration on temple matters. The real story, however, is not so simple. Though the introduction of Freemasonry in Nauvoo helped prepare the Saints for the endowment — both familiarizing them with elements they would later encounter in the Nauvoo temple and providing a blessing to them in its own right — an analysis of the historical record provides evidence that significant components of priesthood and temple doctrines, authority, and ordinances were revealed to the Prophet during the course of his early ministry, long before he got to Nauvoo. Further, many aspects of Latter-day Saint temple worship are well attested in the Bible and elsewhere in antiquity. In the minds of early Mormons, what seems to have distinguished authentic temple worship from the many scattered remnants that could be found elsewhere was the divine authority of the priesthood through which these ordinances had been restored and could now be administered in their fulness. Coupled with the restoration of the ordinances themselves is the rich flow of modern revelation that clothes them with glorious meanings. Of course, temple ordinances — like all divine communication — must be adapted to different times, cultures, and practical circumstances. Happily, since the time of Joseph Smith, necessary alterations of the ordinances have been directed by the same authority that first restored them in our day.
Response to claim: "Unfortunately for the Church, Freemason historians cite its origins to the late 14th to early 15th century in Scotland as a trade guild; not 950 BC in Jerusalem"
Unfortunately for the Church, Freemason historians cite its origins to the late 14th to early 15th century in Scotland as a trade guild; not 950 BC in Jerusalem. Jerusalem. President Kimball and Elder Ballard appear to be mistaken about the origins of masonry and thus the Church’s historical connection for the endowment ceremony.
We are not sure why this is "unfortunate for the Church," despite President Kimball's and Elder Ballard's opinions, since the Church believes that the endowment was revealed to Joseph from God, and that it was not derived from Freemasonry.
Jump to Detail:
- Question: What criticisms are associated with the temple ritual and its relationship to Freemasonry?
- Question: Why would Joseph Smith incorporate Masonic elements into the temple ritual?
- Question: Did Joseph Smith copy Masonic material in order to create the Mormon temple rites?
- Question: Did Joseph Smith make up the temple ordinance or borrow them from an earthly source?
Question: What criticisms are associated with the temple ritual and its relationship to Freemasonry?
Critics of the LDS Church often point to similarities between the rituals of Freemasonry and the LDS temple endowment
Critics of the LDS Church often point to similarities between the rituals of Freemasonry and the LDS temple endowment and claim that since Joseph Smith was initiated as a Freemason in Nauvoo, Illinois shortly before he introduced the full endowment to the Saints (as opposed to the partial endowment given in the Kirtland Temple), he must have incorporated elements of the Masonic rites into his own ceremony. Implicit in this charge is the idea that Joseph Smith's ritual was not revealed to him by God and thus not a legitimate restoration of ancient Israelite and early Christian ordinances.
It is worthwhile to note that these critics are also often critical of Freemasonry, and thus attempt guilt by association.
Some of the endowment was developed and introduced in the weeks following Joseph Smith's initiation as a Master Mason, but other elements were developed prior to his association with Freemasonry
While it is true that some of the endowment was developed and introduced in the weeks following Joseph Smith's initiation as a Master Mason. This oversimplifies the issue considerably. The endowment and other parts of LDS temple worship developed slowly over a period of years. It did not happen all at once. Joseph Smith's critics want to label him as an intellectual thief by claiming that he stole some of the ritual elements of Freemasonry in order to create the Nauvoo-era temple endowment ceremony. The greatest obstacles to this theory are the facts that
- Joseph Smith claimed direct revelation from God regarding the Nauvoo-era endowment,
- Joseph Smith knew a great deal about the Nauvoo-era endowment ceremony long before the Nauvoo period—and thus long before his entry into the Masonic fraternity, and
- the Nauvoo-era temple endowment ceremony has numerous exacting parallels to the initiation ceremonies of ancient Israelite and early Christian kings and priests—parallels which cannot be found among the freemasonry available to Joseph Smith.
Furthermore, Joseph's contemporaries saw the parallels to Masonry clearly, and yet they did not charge him with pilfering.
In order to understand this issue, a few facts need to be understood:
- Joseph Smith, Jr. was initiated as a Freemason in Nauvoo, Illinois on the 15th and 16th of March 1842; his brother Hyrum and (possibly) his father Joseph Sr. were Masons before the Church's organization in April 1830.
- A few of the early leaders of the Church were Masons before the Church's organization while many others were initiated into the Masonic institution in the Nauvoo period.
- Masonry was a well-known and highly regarded fraternity in mid-19th century America.
- There are similarities between the rituals of Freemasonry and those of the LDS Temple endowment. These similarities center around
- the use of a ritual drama—the story of Hiram Abiff is used by the Masons, while the LDS endowment uses the story of Adam and Eve and the creation (the LDS versions have parallels to ancient Israelite temple worship).
- similar symbolic hand gestures in the course of the rituals (which also have ancient antecedents)
- small portions of similar verbiage
Symbolist F. L. Brink suggested that Joseph Smith successfully provided an "innovative and intricate symbology" that suited well the psychic needs of his followers. 
Question: Why would Joseph Smith incorporate Masonic elements into the temple ritual?
There are two aspects of temple worship: The teaching of the endowment, and the presentation of the endowment
In order to understand the relationship between the temple endowment and Freemasonry it is useful to consider the temple experience. In the temple, participants are confronted with ritual in a form which is unknown in LDS worship outside of that venue. In the view of some individuals the temple endowment is made up of two parts:
- The teachings of the endowment, i.e., the doctrines taught and the covenants made with God.
- The method of presenting the endowment, or the "ritual" mechanics themselves.
It is in the ritual presentation of the endowment teachings and covenants that the similarities between the LDS temple worship and Freemasonry are the most apparent. The question is, why would this be the case?
Joseph's challenge was to find a method of presenting the endowment that would be effective
It is the opinion of some people that in developing the endowment Joseph Smith faced a problem. He wished to communicate, in a clear and effective manner, some different (and, in some cases, complex) religious ideas. These included such abstract concepts as
- the nature of creation (matter being organized and not created out of nothing)
- humanity's relationship to God and to each other
- eternal marriage and exaltation in the afterlife
The theory is that Joseph needed to communicate these ideas to a diverse population; some with limited educational attainments, many of whom were immigrants; several with only modest understanding of the English language; all of whom possessed different levels of intellectual and spiritual maturity—but who needed to be instructed through the same ceremony.
Ritual and repetition are important teaching tools
Joseph Smith's very brief experience with Freemasonry before the introduction of the full LDS endowment may have reminded him of the power of instruction through ritual and repetition. Some people believe that Joseph may have seized upon Masonic tools as teaching devices for the endowment's doctrines and covenants during the Nauvoo era. Other people are of the opinion that since these elements were previously present in the worship of the Kirtland Temple they were not 'borrowed' by the Prophet at all.
Regardless, the use of symbols was characteristic of Joseph Smith's era; it was not unique to him or Masonry:
Symbols on buildings, in literature, stamped on manufactured goods, etc. were not endemic to Mormons and Masons but were common throughout all of mid-nineteenth century American society (as even a cursory inspection of books, posters, buildings and photos of the periods will bear out.) So, assuming [Joseph] Smith felt a need to communicate specific principles to his Saints, he might naturally develop a set of easily understood symbols as were already in familiar use about him. 
Question: Did Joseph Smith copy Masonic material in order to create the Mormon temple rites?
The Masonic rites and the temple endowment likely trace back to the same source
It is claimed that Joseph Smith copied Masonic material in order to create the Mormon temple rites. Below are several quotations from Dr. Hugh W. Nibley regarding this issue.
- "Latter-day Saints believe that their temple ordinances are as old as the human race and represent a primordial revealed religion that has passed through alternate phases of apostasy and restoration which have left the world littered with the scattered fragments of the original structure, some more and some less recognizable, but all badly damaged and out of proper context. . . . There are, in fact, countless tribes, sects, societies, and orders from which [Joseph Smith] might have picked up this and that, had he known of their existence. The Near East in particular is littered with the archeological and living survivals of practices and teachings which an observant Mormon may find suggestively familiar. The Druzes would have been a goldmine for Smith. He has actually been charged with plundering some of the baggage brought to the West by certain fraternal orders during the Middle Ages -- as if the Prophet must rummage in a magpie's nest to stock a king's treasury! Among the customs and religions of mankind there are countless parallels, many of them very instructive, to what the Mormons do. But there is a world of difference between Ginzberg's Legends of the Jews and the book of Isaiah, or between the Infancy Gospels and the real Gospels, no matter how many points of contact one may detect between them. The Latter-day Saint endowment was not built up of elements brought together by chance, custom, or long research; it is a single, perfectly consistent, organic whole, conveying its message without the aid of rationalizing, spiritualizing, allegorizing, or moralizing interpretations." John Gee and Michael D. Rhodes, eds., The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri: An Egyptian Endowment, 2d ed. (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 2005), xxvii-xxviii.
- "The most consistent thing about histories of Freemasonry by its most eminent historians is the noncommittal position in the important matter of origins." Don E. Norton, ed., Temple and Cosmos (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1992), 419.
- "[I]t was Joseph Smith who first pointed ['patternism'] out, recalling a common heritage from what he calls the archaic religion, coming down from Adam in such institutions as Freemasonry, and clearly pointing out their defects as time produced its inevitable corruption. What he himself supplied single-handedly is the original article in all its splendor and complexity." Don E. Norton, ed., Temple and Cosmos (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1992), 48.
- "Question: Where did the Masons get the ceremonies they have today? Did they come from these documents? Answer: Their ceremonies didn't come from these documents. Nobody had the texts until recently. They do give us an interesting check. The Masonic rites have a lot in common with ours. Of course in part they do have the same source, if you trace them way back. But what a different picture you see. The Masons don't give any religious meaning to them. They think of them as symbolic, as abstract. They don't see any particular realities behind them. The rites have nothing to do with salvation, but consist only of broken fragments. . . . They have been picked up from various times and places, and you can trace them back." Don E. Norton, ed., Temple and Cosmos (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1992), 319.
- "Did Joseph Smith reinvent the temple by putting all the fragments -- Jewish, Orthodox, Masonic, Gnostic, Hindu, Egyptian, and so forth -- together again? No, that is not how it is done. Very few of the fragments were available in his day, and the job of putting them together was begun, as we have seen, only in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Even when they are available, those poor fragments do not come together of themselves to make a whole; to this day the scholars who collect them do not know what to make of them. The temple is not to be derived from them, but the other way around. . . . That anything of such fulness, consistency, ingenuity, and perfection could have been brought forth at a single time and place -- overnight, as it were -- is quite adequate proof of a special dispensation." (Ensign, February 2007).
- Nibley quotes the 17 June 1842 letter from Heber C. Kimball (a long term Freemason) to Parley P. Pratt in which Kimball reported that the Prophet had said, "Masonry was taken from the Priesthood, but has become degenerated." Nibley also quotes the Benjamin F. Johnson report that the Prophet had said, "Freemasonry, as at present, is the apostate endowments, as sectarian religion [is] the apostate religion." Stephen D. Ricks, ed., Eloquent Witness: Nibley on Himself, Others, and the Temple (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 2008), 381.
- "[T]he Freemasons . . . put heavy emphasis on the allure of Egypt and the theatrical trappings of pseudo-temples and rites." Hugh W. Nibley and Michael D. Rhodes, One Eternal Round (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 2010), 474.
- "[There are] parallels between Mormon rituals and those of the Hopi . . . . [including an] initiation ritual [regarding parts of the body and the pronouncement of blessings] . . . . Parallels appear between the language of the Mormon temple ceremony and the Hopi myths of origin . . . . Responding to someone who asked about similarities between the Mormon temple endowment and the Masonic ceremony, Nibley wrote that the parallels between the Mormon endowment and the rites of the Hopi 'come closest of all as far as I have been able to discover -- and where did they get theirs?'" Boyd J. Peterson, Hugh Nibley: A Consecrated Life (Salt Lake City: Kofford Books, 2002), 282.
- "an extensive reading of Masonic and Mormon teachings and history should make it clear to any reader that the former is the shadow, the latter the substance. The one is literal, the other allegorical." "What is a Temple?" in Truman G. Madsen, ed., The Temple in Antiquity (Provo, UT: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1984), nt. #71.
Many researchers have been able to point out that most of the suppposed "copying" isn't what critics make it out to be as the elements incorporated into the endowment have a place in documented antiquity. One of the best published was by Greg Kearney, a Latter-day Saint and active Mason.
- Greg Kearney: Similarities between Masonic and Mormon temple ritual
- Stephen Ricks, "Dexiosis and Dextrarum Iunctio: The Sacred Handclasp in the Classical and Early Christian World" (Provo, UT: FARMS Review 18/1, 2006) 431–36. ISSN - 1550-3194 (print), 2156-8049 (online).
- This video was recently released by the Church History Department:
Question: Did Joseph Smith make up the temple ordinances or borrow them from an earthly source?
No, there are many statements by the Church and its leaders that indicate that the temple ordinances were revealed by the Lord and restored from antiquity
It is claimed that the LDS temple ordinances were either made up by Joseph Smith or borrowed, by him, from an earthly source. However, there are many statements by the Church and its leaders that indicate that the temple ordinances were revealed by the Lord and restored from antiquity.
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.
- Apostle Russell M. Nelson, “Prepare for Blessings of the Temple,” Ensign, March 2002.
“The temple endowment was given by revelation. . . . Temples, ordinances, covenants, endowments, and sealings have been restored, precisely as prophesied. . . . A review of the Old Testament and the books of Moses and Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price may be especially enlightening after one is more familiar with the temple endowment. These books of ancient scripture underscore the antiquity of temple work and the enduring nature of its ordinances.”
- Temple Preparation Seminar Manual, 2003 / Lesson 3.
“the Lord has always commanded His people to build temples. He has revealed the work to be done in temples. . . . Temple work in its fulness has been restored in our day through the Prophet Joseph Smith.”
- Apostle Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, September 1993.
“Isn’t it marvelous to ponder how much the Prophet Joseph Smith learned throughout the extended process of restoring the holy apostleship, the holy priesthood, the holy endowment, the holy sealing power.”
- Temple Preparation Seminar Manual, 2003 / Lesson 6.
President Harold B. Lee: “The temple ceremonies are designed by a wise Heavenly Father who has revealed them to us in these last days.”
- Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple, 2002 / “Taught from On High,” adapted from The Holy Temple by Apostle Boyd K. Packer.
Apostle John A. Widtsoe, “The endowment and the temple work as revealed by the Lord to the Prophet Joseph Smith.”
- Apostle Marion G. Romney, Ensign, March 1971.
Prophet Joseph Smith: “What was the object of gathering the Jews, or the people of God in any age of the world? . . . . [T]o build unto the Lord a house whereby He could reveal unto His people the ordinances of His house.”
- Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple, 2002 / “Come to the Temple,” adapted from The Holy Temple by Apostle Boyd K. Packer.
“In the temples members of the Church who make themselves eligible can participate in the most exalted of the redeeming ordinances that have been revealed to mankind. There, in a sacred ceremony, an individual may be washed and anointed and instructed and endowed and sealed.”
- Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, ch. 44, 2007.
“During the Prophet’s ministry, all things were restored that were necessary to lay the foundation of the greatest dispensation of all time. The priesthood, with its essential keys, was restored; the Book of Mormon was translated; the Church was organized; and doctrines, ordinances, and covenants were revealed, including the ordinances and covenants of the endowment and the marriage sealing.”
- “Endowed with Covenants and Blessings,” Ensign, February 1995.
It was through the Prophet Joseph Smith in the nineteenth century that the Lord restored again to earth the holy ordinances of temple covenants and blessings. The following recollection of President George Q. Cannon of the First Presidency describes the intense interest that members of the Church had in the 1840s when the blessings of the temple were again made available to mankind: “When the Prophet Joseph [Smith] first communicated that the Lord had revealed to him the keys of the endowment, I can remember the great desire there was on every hand to understand something about them. When the Prophet would speak about his desire to complete the temple in order that he might impart unto his fellow servants that which God had delivered to him, a thrill went through the congregation and a great desire for this filled their hearts” (Gospel Truth, Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, 2 vols., comp. Jerreld L. Newquist, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974, 1:228).
- Apostle Mark E. Peterson, Ensign, January 1972.
“As the gospel was restored in these last days, temple building and temple ordinances also were restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith.”
- D&C and Church History Teacher’s Manual, 1999, Lesson 18.
“Explain that the Kirtland Temple was not like today’s temples, where saving ordinances are performed for the living and the dead. The Lord restored temple ordinances a few years later while the Saints were in Nauvoo.”
“I commanded Moses that he should build a tabernacle, that they should bear it with them in the wilderness, and to build a house in the land of promise, that those ordinances might be revealed which had been hid . . . . let [the Nauvoo Temple] be built unto my name, that I may reveal mine ordinances therein unto my people.”
- Jesus Christ (D&C 124:38, 40).
“God sitting upon his throne, revealing through the heavens the grand Key-words of the Priesthood.” “the grand Key-words of the Holy Priesthood, as revealed to Adam in the Garden of Eden, as also to Seth, Noah, Melchizedek, Abraham, and all to whom the Priesthood was revealed.”
- Joseph Smith, explanations 3 and 7 for Facsimile #2 in the Book of Abraham.
“These [temple] ordinances have been revealed to us; we understand them, and unless we attend to them we shall fall under condemnation.”
- Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 13:32.
“the Prophet Joseph . . . communicated that the Lord had revealed to him the keys of the endowment.”
- George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth, 179.
“I think that portion of this revelation which I have read, will give you a general idea of the sacredness of the house of the Lord, which is to be built in the latter times, a place wherein the angels may come and visit, as they did in the ancient Temple; a place wherein you can receive all those ordinances which the Lord has revealed and which He will hereafter reveal from time to time.”
- Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, vol. 16: --; 7 October 1873.
“When the [Kirtland] Temple was built, the Lord did not see proper to reveal all the ordinances of the endowments, such as we now understand. He revealed little by little.”
- Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, vol. 19: ---, 20 May 1877.
“We build temples. What for? To administer the ordinances of God. What ordinances? Those that God has revealed, and those that the world know nothing about.”
- President John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 21: -- 2 January 1881.
“Today we enjoy the great happiness of having . . . these sacred structures completed, dedicated to and accepted of the Lord, wherein the Saints can enter and attend to those ordinances which He, in His infinite goodness and kindness, has revealed.”
- Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon, Joseph F. Smith, Messages of the First Presidency, 3:--, 18 March 1893; cited by James E. Talmage in The House of the Lord.
“In Kirtland, the brethren were not endowed with the same ordinances that are now bestowed upon the people, because they had not yet been revealed. It was in the days of Nauvoo that these blessings and ordinances of endowment were made known to the Prophet Joseph.”
- Franklin D. Richards, Collected Discourses, 5:--, 5 October 1896.
“the pattern of endowment garments was revealed from heaven.”
- Joseph F. Smith, Messages of the First Presidency, 5:--, 1918.
“the endowment and the temple work as revealed by the Lord to the Prophet Joseph Smith.”
- John A. Widtsoe, "Temple Worship," in The Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, 12 [April 1921]: 58; cited in Boyd K. Packer, The Holy Temple.
“The Ancient Order of the Endowment Revealed . . . . The ancient order of the endowment restored.” “He tried to impress upon the Saints the great responsibility which was upon them in having a house of the Lord where these sacred ordinances which had been revealed to him could be given to the Saints.”
- Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1949), 4: lesson 133/34 and 138/39; Melchizedek Priesthood quorum manual; copyrighted by LDS Church President George Albert Smith.
“The temple ritual as revealed to Joseph Smith and communicated by him to his brethren is essentially symbolic. Its ordinances are not only ancient but also represent profound truths.”
- John A. Widtsoe, Joseph Smith – Seeker After Truth (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1951), --.
“temple ordinances for the living and the dead were revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith.”
- Presiding Bishop Joseph L. Wirthlin, Conference Report, October 1956.
“In 1836 Elijah came and restored the sealing power, the power to bind on earth and have it sealed eternally in the heavens (D&C 110:13-16; 132:45-47). At a still later date, temple endowments and other ordinances were revealed -- all of which are a necessary prelude to the performance of an eternal marriage.”
- Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed. 1966.
“The temple ceremony was given by a wise Heavenly Father . . . . The endowment was revealed by revelation.”
- Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson (chapter on Temples and Temple Work).
“the Prophet Joseph Smith . . . the endowment ceremony was given to him.” “It is the Lord's house. He directs the conditions under which it may be used. He has revealed the ordinances that should be performed therein.”
- Boyd K. Packer, The Holy Temple.
Response to claim: "Joseph’s family and several of the first members of the Church were Masons"
Joseph’s family and several of the first members of the Church were Masons
This is correct. Quite a few Church leaders were Freemasons. There was a Masonic Lodge (now restored) in Nauvoo, Illinois.
Response to claim: "Just seven weeks after his initiation as a first-degree mason, on April 4, 1842, Joseph introduces the endowment ceremony"
Just seven weeks after his initiation as a first-degree mason, on April 4, 1842, Joseph introduces the endowment ceremony in the upper room of his red brick store; the same room where his Masonic initiation took place.
- Joseph Smith, Journal Dec. 1841–Dec. 1842. Also in History of the Church, vol.4, pp.550
There is a great deal more historical evidence that the Prophet Joseph Smith knew of Nauvoo-era endowment ritual, phraseology, vestments, and theology long before he ever became a Freemason.
Jump to Detail:
Question: When did Joseph Smith demonstrate knowledge of the elements of the endowment ritual?
Joseph Smith knew of Nauvoo-era endowment theology early on in his prophetic career
Critics have noted that Joseph's initiation into Freemasonry (15–16 March 1842) predates his introduction of the full temple endowment among the Saints (4 May 1842). They thus claim that Masonry was a necessary element for Joseph's self-generated "revelation" of the Nauvoo-era temple ceremonies.
Joseph demonstrated knowledge of temple theology very early on in his prophetic career. Matthew Brown offered this timeline for consideration:
- 16 February 1832 (D&C 76:50-70): Joseph Smith learned by vision about being sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, Kings and Priests, the Church of the Firstborn, and godhood.
- 22 September 1832 (D&C 84:18-26, 31-34): Joseph Smith learned by revelation that Moses knew of Melchizedek Priesthood ordinances that would enable one to enter into the Lord's presence.
- 2 February-2 July 1833 (JST Isaiah 34:16): Joseph Smith learned that none of those whose names are written in the book of the Lord "shall want [i.e., lack] their mate," suggesting the permanent sealing together of husband and wife. 
- 5 July 1835 (HC, 2:235-36): The Church acquired several ancient Egyptian papyrus scrolls that contained, among other things, the writings of Abraham and Joseph. It has been demonstrated that some of the material on these scrolls is related to Egyptian temple ceremonies (compare Abraham 1:26; see explanations to Facsimile 2).
- 20 January 1836 (HC, 2:377-78): The Prophet conducted a marriage ceremony "after the order of heaven." The couple took each other by the hand, and the Prophet invoked upon them "the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."
- 3 April 1836 (D&C 110): Keys pertaining to the temple ordinances that were eventually practiced in the Nauvoo period were restored to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple.
- 15 March 1839 (HC, 3:286): Joseph Smith informed a member of the Church" "I never have had [an] opportunity to give [the Saints] the paln that God has revealed unto me."
- 27 June 1839 (WJS, 6): The Prophet made the first of several known references to methods of discerning between spiritual beings sent from God and deceptive spirits who attempt to pass themselves off as heavenly messengers. These methods were considered to be some of "the keys of the kingdom of God." The Prophet's teachings are now published in section 129 of the Doctrine and Covenants.
- 18 June 1840 (HC, 4:137): Joseph Smith stated his desire to continue translating the Egyptian papyrus scrolls obtained by the Church in 1835.
- 15 August 1840 (WJS, 37, 49; HC, 4:231): During a funeral sermon the Prophet read 1 Corinthians 15:29 and announced that baptism for the dead would be practiced in the Nauvoo Temple.
- 31 August 1840 (HC, 4:184-87): The First Presidency stated in a general letter to all Latter-day Saints that the priesthood was yet to be established in its fullness and the Kingdom of God built up in all of its glory. They announced that they had been given "the pattern and design" to accomplish this and emphasized that everything the Saints had accomplished so far would pale in comparison to what was about to occur. In connection with this they spoke of the necessity of building the Nauvoo Temple.
- 19 January 1841 (D&C 124:28, 34, 38-41, 95, 97): The Lord revealed that the fullness of the priesthood would be restored and practiced in the Nauvoo Temple, spoke of certain "keys" whereby one could ask for and receive blessings, and provided a detailed outline of what the Nauvoo Temple ordinances would consist of. The Lord also stated that the ordinances that were about to be restored were once practiced in the tabernacle built by Moses and in the temple constructed by king Solomon.
- 5 May 1841: William Appleby visited the Prophet who showed him the three Egyptian facsimiles that are now published in the Book of Abraham and evidently showed him written explanations of their various parts. These explanations, as recorded in Appleby's journal, closely match the printed explanations that now accompany the Book of Abraham facsimiles. Appleby recorded that one part of Facsimile #2 presented "the Lord revealing the Grand Key Words of the Holy Priesthood to Adam in the Garden of Eden, as also to Seth, Noah, Melchizedek, Abraham, and to all whom the Priesthood was revealed." The note from Appleby is found in his journal a little less than a year before Joseph's initiation into the Masonic Lodge at Nauvoo (15-16 March 1842).
- 31 October 1841 (HC, 4:443-44): Hyrum Smith informed a group of Latter-day Saints that within the Nauvoo Temple "the key of knowledge that unfolds the dispensation of the fullness of times may be turned, and the mysteries of God be unfolded."
- 4 March 1842 (HC 4:543): The Prophet gave Reuben Hedlock instructions regarding the "explanations" that were to accompany Facsimile #2 when it was published in the Times and Seasons. These "explanations" made mention of "the grand Key-words of the Holy Priesthood" and also indicated that this Egyptian hypocephalus contained "writings that cannot be revealed unto the world but [are] to be had in the holy temple of God."
In evidence of these fact, we find that upon his initiation into Masonry Joseph Smith was already explaining things which the Masons themselves did not comprehend. According to one witness:
"the Prophet explained many things about the rites that even Masons do not pretend to understand but which he made most clear and beautiful." 
Response to claim: "What exactly was Joseph exposed to during this initiation and is it possible that any of it made its way into the endowment ceremony?"
What exactly was Joseph exposed to during this initiation and is it possible that any of it made its way into the endowment ceremony?
The ceremony involved in the presentation of the endowment is simply a teaching tool - a means to an end, rather than the end itself.
Jump to Detail:
- Question: Why would Joseph Smith use a non-religious vehicle for presenting a temple ordinance?
- Question: What is the value of a ritual presentation?
Question: Why would Joseph Smith use a non-religious vehicle for presenting a temple ordinance?
The Endowment is not a Masonic ritual
First off, the endowment is not a Masonic ritual. Freemasonry has no actual relationship to Solomon's temple, and has no actual religious elements. No one ever became a Mason in an LDS Temple and no one has ever been endowed in a Masonic Lodge. However, rituals have proven pedagogical value. Some critics of the temple ceremony would seem to want to paint the LDS Church and the faith as some sort of restorationist version of Calvinism where an unflinching and unforgiving God metes out eternal separation of families. This ignores the reality of the universalist nature of LDS theology and its view of a supremely loving Father providing a plan where ALL of His children can continue to advance and make themselves better both as individuals and as wider families through the atoning sacrifice of Christ..
Question: What is the value of a ritual presentation?
Ritual forms are a useful teaching tool in a semi-literate society
Nothing is divine about Freemasonry and indeed Freemasonry has rejected any and all attempts to portray it as a religion. However, masonic ritual forms are very useful as a teaching tool, particularly in situations such as were found in Nauvoo in the 1840's where many members could not read. The 1850 Illinois census was the first to gather data on literacy. According to the aggregate data taken from the census, in 1850 almost 11% of all white adults 20 and older in Illinois couldn't read or write. 
Literacy was higher in the East. However, the literacy of the populous areas to the east is a poor marker for what it would have been on the western frontier. Women in particular often had markedly lower literacy rates than men. This lower literacy rate for women was also true of the western frontier, with some affidavits from women in Nauvoo signed with an X: they couldn't even write their own names. Even in 1870, 24 years after the exodus from Nauvoo, 11.5% of the total white population of the United States over age 14 was functionally illiterate.  Consider also the introduction of immigrant groups among the Saints from Scandinavia and other countries.
Thus, a participatory form of teaching the temple concepts makes perfect sense. Using ritual forms found in masonry as instructive tools to teach a divine message is what we are dealing with here.
Response to claim: "Masonic Symbol Use on Early Temples"
Masonic Symbol Use on Early Temples...Masonic All Seeing Eye on Salt Lake Temple...Masonic Order of the Eastern Star on Nauvoo Temple...Masonic use of Sun, Moon and Stars also on Nauvoo Temple.
The symbolic images used on the templates can be matched up with information provided in the Joseph Smith Translation of the 12th chapter of the book of Revelation.
Jump to Detail:
- Question: Does the Nauvoo Temple display symbols that are either occult or Masonic?
- Question: Isn't the inverted five-pointed star on some Mormon temples really a symbol of evil?
- Question: Why is the Masonic symbol of the "All Seeing Eye" present on the Salt Lake Temple?
Question: Does the Nauvoo Temple display symbols that are either occult or Masonic?
The "occult connection" exists only in the mind of the critic
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. 
LDS Temples are directed to the worship of the Lord Jesus Christ. Symbols can have multiple applications in different cultures; the intent of LDS symbols have been explicitly described by the prophets, architects, and craftsmen involved. All are focused on the worship of God and His Son. The "occult connection" exists only in the mind of the critic.
Creepy...This article’s intent is not to condemn Mormonism as a faith, but rather to analyze the symbols in Temple Square in an objective matter. A visitor of this religious area finds himself surrounded with symbols esoterically associated with Black Magic, evil or ancient paganism. Why are these symbols visible on supposedly Christian buildings, of all places? Many ex-Mormons have claimed that the LDS secretly leads followers to the worship of Lucifer. Are they right?
— Anti-Mormon author "Vigilant, Saints Alive in Jesus website, "Sinister Sites – Temple Square, Utah," (6 April 2010).
Symbols Shown By Vision
The symbols located on the exterior of the Nauvoo Temple can be directly connected with a vision shown to the Prophet Joseph Smith.
In a revelation given on 19 January 1841 (which is about the Nauvoo Temple) the Lord Jesus Christ stated: "I will show unto my servant Joseph all things pertaining to this house" (D&C 124:42; emphasis added).
Joseph Smith later confirmed to the temple's chief architect, William Weeks, "I have seen in vision the splendid appearance of that building." The Prophet insisted that it be built according to the "pattern" that he had been shown.
The Prophet was once asked by a stone carver, with regard to one of the sunstones he was working on, - "Is this like the face you saw in vision?" To which the reply was, "Very near it".
Sequence of the Symbols
Even though the exterior symbols on the pilasters of the Nauvoo Temple are the sun, moon, and stars it should be understood that they are not arranged in the sequence that is associated with the three degrees of glory (i.e., star on bottom = telestial kingdom; moon in the middle = terrestrial kingdom; sun on top = celestial kingdom). Rather, the sequence on the Nauvoo Temple is moon (bottom); sun (middle); star (top). The physical arrangement of the symbols on the outside of the Nauvoo Temple indicate that they do NOT represent the three degrees of glory.
Meaning of the Symbols
These symbolic images can be matched up with information provided in the Joseph Smith Translation of the 12th chapter of the book of Revelation. There it is said of a vision that was shown to the ancient apostle John, "And there appeared a great sign in heaven, in the likeness of things on the earth; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars" (vs. 1). Thus, the moon is placed at the bottom, the sun in the middle, and the stars on top. In verse 7 of the same chapter the Prophet clarifies that "the woman . . . was the church of God."
Wandle Mace—the foreman for all of the framework done on the Nauvoo Temple—left behind a statement that makes a clear connection between the visions of John the Revelator and Joseph Smith. He said,
The order of architecture [on the Nauvoo Temple] was unlike anything in existence; it was purely original; being a representation of the Church, the Bride, the Lamb's wife. John the Revelator, in the 12[th] chapter [and] first verse of [the book of Revelation] says, 'And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.' This is portrayed in the beautifully cut stone of this grand temple.
Thus, the symbols on the outside of the Nauvoo Temple are a representation of the Church of God. And since the symbols are displayed in a heavenly setting they can naturally be associated with the Lord's heavenly Church, or what is sometimes referred to as The Church of the Firstborn. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism indicates that "the Church of the Firstborn is Christ's heavenly Church, and its members are exalted beings."This is significant because on 4 May 1842 Joseph Smith gave the Nauvoo-era temple endowment for the first time to several of the Saints. The Prophet said that these ordinances consisted of "washings, anointings, endowments and the communication of keys pertaining to the Aaronic Priesthood, and so on to the highest order of the Melchisedek Priesthood, setting forth the order pertaining to the Ancient of Days, and all those plans and principles by which anyone is enabled to secure the fullness of those blessings which have been prepared for the Church of the Firstborn." Therefore, it appears that the Lord had symbols placed on the outside of the Nauvoo Temple that represented the nature of the ordinances that were to take place inside of that building.
Inverted Five-Pointed Stars
Critics of the LDS Church are uncomfortable with the inverted five-pointed stars found on the stones and in the round windows of the Nauvoo Temple because in modern times they have come to be associated with Satan and devil worship. It should be noted, however, that this association did not occur until after the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
It should be further noted that Latter-day Saints publicly disclosed their interpretation of the inverted five-pointed star when they built the Logan Temple in northern Utah. A contemporary newspaper report states that the star was symbolic of "the Star of the Morning"—which in the New Testament is a title of the Lord Jesus Christ (Revelation 22:16).
Question: Isn't the inverted five-pointed star on some Mormon temples really a symbol of evil?
A connection between the "inverted pentagram" and Satan "is almost certainly a 19th century invention by Eliphas Levi"
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.
The Prophet Joseph Smith indicated that he received the pattern for the Nauvoo Temple by revelation (cf. D&C 124:42). He told the architect of the project, "I have seen in vision the splendid appearance of that building illuminated, and will have it built according to the pattern shown me." The Prophet also stated that he had seen at least one of the exterior symbols of that temple in this vision.
One of the foremen who helped to build the Nauvoo Temple recorded what the emblems on its exterior represented. He said,
"The order of architecture was unlike anything in existence; it was purely original, being a representation of the Church, the Bride, the Lamb’s wife. John the Revelator, in the 12 chapter [and] first verse of [the book of Revelation,] says, 'And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.' This is portrayed in the beautifully cut stone of this grand temple."
Joseph Smith revealed the connection between the heavenly woman of the apostle John's vision and the restored Church. In the Prophet's revision of the King James Bible he modified Revelation chapter 12 verses 1 and 7 to read: “And there appeared a great sign in heaven, in the likeness of things on the earth; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars . . . the woman . . . was the Church of God.” (JST Revelation 12:1,7).
This is the same arrangement of the symbols on the exterior pilasters of the Nauvoo Temple -- moon (bottom), sun (middle), and stars (top).
The stars are associated in the book of Revelation passage with a "crown" which is a symbol of royalty. In another section of the book of Revelation Jesus Christ proclaims His descent through the royal lineage that is within the house of Israel and then pronounces one of His titles: "I am the . . . offspring of David, and the bright . . . morning star" (Revelation 22:16). This is the title that nineteenth century Latter-day Saints assigned to the inverted five-pointed star. One of these emblems was put into place on the east tower of the Logan, Utah temple in 1880. An eyewitness to the event reported the following which was printed in a major newspaper: "Carved upon the keystone is a magnificent star, called the Star of the Morning."
In 1985 LDS Church Architect Emil B. Fetzer stated that the inverted stars on early LDS temples were not sinister but were “symbolic of Christ.” He said that when the LDS Church “uses the pentagram or sunstone in an admirable, wholesome and uplifting context, this does not preclude another organization’s using the same symbols in an evil context.”
A connection between the "inverted pentagram" and Satan "is almost certainly a 19th century invention by Eliphas Levi," who was a "defrocked priest." He did not begin publishing references to this idea until 1854, a decade after the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Examples of the inverted five-pointed star in ancient Christian usage and also numerous modern usages that have nothing to do with the occult or satanism
Below are links to examples of the inverted five-pointed star in ancient Christian usage and also numerous modern usages that have nothing to do with the occult or satanism.
- Kaarma, Estonia, Church of Sts. Peter and Paul - 1261 AD off-site
- Amiens, France, cathedral, north transept window off-site
- Market Church, Hanover, Germany off-site
- Church pew, Europe, 12th century off-site
- Chartres, France, niche surrounding Madonna and Child statue off-site
- St. Mary's church, Adderbury, Oxfordshire off-site
- St. Bartholomew church, Ucero, Spain off-site
- Lisbon, Portugal cathedral cloister off-site
- St. Paul's cathedral, Melbourne, Australia off-site
- Orthodox Church, Olyphant, Pennsylvania - 2009 AD off-site
- Schenkenschanz, Germany - 1634 AD [video] off-site
- Berthold Missal, Germany, ca. AD 1215 off-site
- Portfolio of Villard de Honnecourt off-site
- Christmas Creche off-site
- Christmas Star off-site
- Armagh Observatory Seal (watermark-mitre) off-site
- Camp Stella Maris off-site
- 1862, Los Angeles, California off-site
Medal of Honor
- Congressional Medal of Honor off-site
Boy Scouts of America
- Boy Scouts off-site
Coat of Arms
- Dutch municipality flag off-site
- Arkansas state flag off-site
- Micronesia flag off-site
- "Great Star" flag (USA) off-site
- Faultless Starch off-site
- Tempstar Heating and Cooling logo off-site
- Republican Party logo off-site
- Victoria Police Department badge off-site
- United States Navy off-site
- Order of the Eastern Star off-site
- Grammy Awards logo off-site
- Nutrition Program off-site
- Micmac Sign for Heaven off-site
- Post Civil War Parade Stand off-site
- Steamboat Decoration off-site
Question: Why is the Masonic symbol of the "All Seeing Eye" present on the Salt Lake Temple?
The All-Seeing Eye of God was not a symbol created by the Masonic fraternity and, in fact, was utilized as an emblem in Christian architecture long before Speculative Freemasonry became an organization
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.
The All-Seeing Eye of God was not a symbol created by the Masonic fraternity and, in fact, was utilized as an emblem in Christian architecture long before Speculative Freemasonry became an organization.
Latter-Day Saints as a group became involved in Freemasonry in early 1842 but, as noted in the timeline below, the All-Seeing Eye of God was a well-established symbol among the Mormons long before this affiliation.
1828–29 – “I pray the God of my salvation that He view me with His all-searching eye” (2 Ne. 9:44).
1828–29 – “under the glance of the piercing eye of the Almighty God” (Jacob 2:10).
1828–29 – “the glance of [God’s] all-searching eye” (Mosiah 27:31).
December 1830 – “I can stretch forth mine hands and hold all the creations which I have made; and mine eye can pierce them also” (Moses 7:36).
2 January 1831 – “Thus saith the Lord your God, even Jesus Christ, the Great I AM, Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the same which looked upon the wide expanse of eternity, and all the seraphic hosts of heaven, before the world was made; The same which knoweth all things, for all things are present before mine eyes. . . . mine eyes are upon you. I am in your midst and ye cannot see me” (D&C 38:1–2, 7).
13 August 1831 – “mine eyes are upon those who have not as yet gone up unto the land of Zion” (D&C 62:2).
1 November 1831 – “Hearken, O ye people of my church, saith the voice of Him who dwells on high, and whose eyes are upon all men” (D&C 1:1).
November 1831 – “Behold and lo, mine eyes are upon you” (D&C 67:2).
31 July 1832 – “my heart is naked before [God’s] eyes continually.”
4 January 1833 – “the eyes of my Maker are upon me.”
May 1835 – “the scrutinizing eye of ‘Him with whom we have to do.’”
29 January 1836 – “[the] Lord had [His] eye upon thee.” 
9 May 1836 – “they stand naked and exposed to the piercing eye of Jehovah.” 
May 1836 – “God is not mocked with impunity. His all seeing eye beholds you at all times. . . . His all-seeing eye surveys the whole of His vast creation.” 
April 1837 – “the scrutinizing eye of Jehovah is ever upon them.” 
June 1837 – “In vain do they attempt to hide from the scrutinizing eye of Jehovah.” 
20 March 1839 – “Behold, mine eye seeth and knoweth all their works.” 
3 July 1839 – “the God of Jacob has His eye upon you.” 
September 1840 – “the all-searching eye of an Omnipresent God.” 
January1841 – “God that sheweth mercy; having His eye at the same time directed towards His covenant people.” 
13 December 1841 – “Let it not be supposed that the sick and the destitute are to be denied the blessings of the Lord’s house; God forbid; His eye is ever upon them for good.” 
- See Footnote 30, Matthew B. Brown, "Of Your Own Selves Shall Men Arise, Review of The Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon Temple Worship by David John Buerger," FARMS Review of Books 10/1 (1998): 97–131. off-site
- H. Belnap, "A Mysterious Preacher," The Instructor 21 no. ? (15 March 1886), 91.; cited in Matthew B. Brown, "Of Your Own Selves Shall Men Arise, Review of The Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon Temple Worship by David John Buerger," FARMS Review of Books 10/1 (1998): 97–131. off-site
- Andrew F. Ehat, "'They Might Have Known That He Was Not a Fallen Prophet'—The Nauvoo Journal of Joseph Fielding," Brigham Young University Studies 19 no. 2 (1979), 145, 147, spelling and punctuation standardized.
- Heber C. Kimball to Parley P. Pratt, 17 June 1842, Parley P. Pratt Papers, LDS Church Archives, Salt Lake City, Utah, spelling and punctuation standardized.
- Letter, 7–25 March 1842, Willard Richards to Levi Richards, published in Joseph Grant Stevenson, ed., Richards Family History (Provo, UT: Stevenson’s Genealogical Center, 1991), 3:90.
- Stanley B. Kimball, Heber C. Kimball: Mormon Patriarch and Pioneer (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1981), 85.
- Benjamin F. Johnson, My Life’s Review (Heber City, UT: Archive Publishers, 2001), 113.
- Brigham Young University Studies, vol. 19, no. 2, Winter 1979, 145; hereafter cited as BYUS.
- John W. Gunnison, The Mormons, or Latter-day Saints, in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake (Philadelphia: Lippincott and Company, 1856), 59.
- BYUS, vol. 15, no. 4, Summer 1975, 458.
- Thomas B. H. Stenhouse, The Rocky Mountain Saints (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1873), 698.
- T. L. Brink, "The Rise of Mormonism: A Case Study in the Symbology of Frontier America," International Journal of Symbology 6/3 (1975): 4; cited in Allen D. Roberts, "Where are the All-Seeing Eyes?," Sunstone 4 no. (Issue #15) (May 1979), 26. off-site off-site
- Allen D. Roberts, "Where are the All-Seeing Eyes?," Sunstone 4 no. (Issue #5) (May 1979), 26. off-site off-site(emphasis added)
- Line written 20 March 2019
- William I. Appleby Journal, 5 May 1841, MS 1401 1, LDS Church Archives, Salt Lake City, Utah.
- Horace H. Cummings, "True Stories from My Journal," The Instructor 64 no. 8 (August 1929), 441.; cited in Matthew B. Brown, "Of Your Own Selves Shall Men Arise, Review of The Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon Temple Worship by David John Buerger," FARMS Review of Books 10/1 (1998): 97–131. off-site
- Illinois Census 1850: A) Total population: 851,470. This is made up of 1) Total white males: 445,544 2) Total white females: 400,490 3) Total free colored (male and female): 5,436. White adult males unable to read and write: 16,633. White adult females unable to read and write: 23,421. off-site
- "Literacy from 1870 to 1979," National Center for Education Statistics.
- "Vigilant, Saints Alive in Jesus website, "Sinister Sites – Temple Square, Utah," (6 April 2010).
- Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 6:196–197. Volume 6 link
- Josiah Quincy, Figures of the Past: From the Leaves of Old Journals (Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1883), 389.
- Wandle Mace, autobiography, 207, L. Tom Perry Special Collections Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.
- Ivan J. Barrett, "Church of the Firstborn," in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow, (New York, Macmillan Publishing, 1992), 1:276.
- Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 5:1–2. Volume 5 link
- Deseret Evening News (20 August 1880): 3.
- Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 6:196-97. Volume 6 link
- Josiah Quincy, Figures of the Past From the Leaves of Old Journals (Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1883), 389.
- Wandle Mace, Autobiography, 207, Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.
- Deseret Evening News, vol. 13, no. 228 (20 August 1880): 3.
- "The Public Forum," Salt Lake Tribune (13 November 1985): A–15.
- The Mathematical Gazette, vol. 78, no. 483 (November 1994): 319.
- The All-Seeing Eye of God can be seen on east and west center towers of the Salt Lake City temple and also in the interior in the Garden Room (see Ensign, October 1990, 39; March 1993, 33).
- Letter by Joseph Smith Jr. in Dean C. Jessee, ed., Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, rev. ed. (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and BYU Press, 2002), 269; hereafter cited asPWJS.
- Letter by Joseph Smith Jr. in ibid., 298.
- Statement by Oliver Cowdery in Messenger and Advocate, vol. 1, no. 8, May 1835, 121; hereafter cited as M&A.
- Joseph Smith Sr. statement in Dean C. Jessee, Mark Ashurst-McGee, and Richard L. Jensen, eds., The Joseph Smith Papers: Journals Volume 1, 1832–1839 (Salt Lake City: The Church Historian’s Press, 2008), 176.
- Letter by Parley P. Pratt dated 9 May 1836 in M&A, vol. 2, no. 8, May 1836, 318.
- 
- Statement by William Marks in ibid., vol. 3, no. 7, April 1837, 493.
- Comment by William Marks in ibid., vol. 3, no. 9, June 1837, 525.
- Letter by Joseph Smith Jr. in PWJS, 435.
- Epistle of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles signed by Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, John E. Page, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, and George A. Smith in Brigham H. Roberts, ed., History of the Church (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1930), 3:394; hereafter cited as HC.
- Orson Pratt, An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions (Edinburgh: Ballantyne and Hughes, 1840), 27.
- Article by Brigham Young and Willard Richards in Millennial Star, vol. 1, no. 9, January 1841, 223.
- Epistle of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles signed by Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, William Smith, Lyman Wight, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, George A. Smith, and Willard Richards in Times and Seasons, vol. 3, no. 4, 15 December 1841, 626. Notice that the all-seeing eye is being indirectly connected with the temple.