Mormonism and Freemasonry

Table of Contents

Mormonism and Freemasonry

Summary: 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.

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Improvement Era, "Peculiar Questions Briefly Answered"

Charles W. Penrose,  Improvement Era, (September 1912)
Question 17: Was Joseph Smith, Jr., a Mason?
Answer: Joseph Smith the Prophet was a Mason. [1]

"It has always been commonly reported, and to a great extent believed, that the mysteries of the Endowment House were only a sort of initiation…of the rites of Masonry; but I need hardly say that this statement when examined by the light of facts, is altogether ungrounded and absurd.”
— Fanny Stenhouse, Nineteenth Century Anti-Mormon Author[2]


Relationship between Freemasonry and temple ceremonies

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Relationship between the Endowment and Freemasonry

Summary: Important note: Members of FairMormon take their temple covenants seriously. We consider the temple teachings to be sacred, and will not discuss their specifics in a public forum. 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.

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The use of ritual in gospel ordinances

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The ordinance versus the ritual used to present the ordinance

Summary: Important note: Members of FairMormon take their temple covenants seriously. We consider the temple teachings to be sacred, and will not discuss their specifics in a public forum. Critics of Mormonism often confuse an ordinance with the manner in which the ordinance is administered. They therefore claim that changes to the presentation of the ordinance are not allowed.

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Freemasonry and the Book of Mormon

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Joseph Smith's involvement in Freemasonry

Masonic Cry of Distress

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?"

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Reed C. Durham Regarding His 1974 Talk

Summary: Reed C. Durham responds to criticism of his 1974 speech “Is There No Help for the Widow’s Son?”


Brigham Young's involvement in Freemasonry

Was Brigham a Mason?

Summary: Brigham Young joined the Freemasons in Nauvoo at Joseph Smith's encouragement.

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Was Brigham a "33rd Degree" Mason

Summary: Brigham was not a 33rd Degree Mason; such a designation did not exist until the Saints had moved west to Nauvoo.

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Symbolism in Mormon temples

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Claims made by critical books, videos and websites related to Mormonism and Freemasonry

Review of "Search for the Truth" DVD section on Joseph Smith's character

Summary: FairMormon responds to claims made in the "Search for the Truth" DVD regarding Joseph Smith's character: "Joseph Smith's Character: The Occult"

Claim by the critical website MormonThink.com that the endowment came from freemasonry

Summary: FairMormon 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."

"Chapter 2: Moroni, Magic, and Masonry"

Summary: FairMormon reviews and responds to critical claims made in the book One Nation Under Gods, Chapter 2: "Moroni, Magic, and Masonry."


Notes

  1. Charles W. Penrose, "Peculiar Questions Briefly Answered," Improvement Era 15 no. 11 (September 1912).
  2. Mrs. T.B.H. [Fanny] Stenhouse, "Tell It All": The Story of a Life's Experience in Mormonism (Hartford, Conn.: A.D. Worthington & Company, 1875 [1874]), 354.