Question: What are the differences between the Endowment and Freemasonry?

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Question: What are the differences between the Endowment and Freemasonry?

Researcher Matthew B. Brown offers the following list of elements found in Masonic ritual that have no analogue to LDS temple worship

It is common to point out similarities between Masonic and LDS temple ritual. This may give uninformed readers the impression that vast amounts of the LDS ceremony and the Masonic ritual are the same or show clear evidence of borrowing. If we consider the many areas of Masonic ritual with no analogue in LDS temple ritual, it becomes obvious that this is not the case.

Masonic elements with no analogue to LDS temple worship

Researcher Matthew B. Brown offers the following list of elements found in Masonic ritual (as Joseph Smith and his contemporaries would have experienced it) that have no analogue to LDS temple worship:[1]

  • officers who are present during ceremonies (master, wardens, deacons, treasurer, secretary),
  • three candles/lights,
  • circumambulation,
  • emphasis on cardinal directions,
  • call from labor to refreshment,
  • the Great Architect of the Universe,
  • opening and closing prayer,
  • business proceedings,
  • balloting for candidates,
  • blindfold,
  • cable-tow/rope,
  • space is called a lodge,
  • the holy lodge of St. John at Jerusalem,
  • candidate declares trust in God,
  • sharp object being pressed against candidate’s body,
  • reading of a Psalm,
  • ritualized walking steps,
  • touching of the Bible to take an oath,
  • mention of the parts,
  • points,
  • and secret arts of Freemasonry,
  • clapping of hands/“the shock,”
  • stamping the floor,
  • pillars Jachin and Boaz,
  • Solomon’s temple,
  • different ways of wearing an apron,
  • working tools of a mason (twenty-four-inch gauge, gavel, trowel)
  • jewels,
  • check-words,
  • divested of all metals,
  • candidate asked to give a metallic memorial,
  • ritualized method of standing,
  • motion given for closing the lodge,
  • asking if the assembly is satisfied with proceedings,
  • entire lecture of each degree in Q&A format,
  • placement of legs and feet in a symbolic shape,
  • clothing configuration that signifies distress/destitution,
  • the teaching that the left side is the weakest part of the body,
  • the ancient pagan deity called Fides,
  • the apron represents innocence,
  • cornerstone placement in the northeast,
  • mention of a charter that enables work to be performed,
  • wisdom-beauty-strength,
  • Jacob’s ladder,
  • faith-hope-charity,
  • ornaments/checkered pavement-indented tessels-blazing star,
  • Bethlehem,
  • trestle board,
  • rough ashlar,
  • perfect ashlar,
  • churches and chapels,
  • Moses and the Red Sea,
  • King Solomon as an ancient Grand Master,
  • St. John the Evangelist and St. John the Baptist,
  • politics,
  • the value of two cents and one cent,
  • swearing to support the constitution of the Grand Lodge,
  • the valley of Jehosaphat,
  • Succoth and Zaradatha,
  • changing configuration of mason tools,
  • kissing the scriptures,
  • lettering or syllabling words,
  • symbol-filled floor carpet,
  • mention of speculative activity,
  • maps of the heavens and the earth,
  • mythological material on the pillars of Solomon’s Temple serving as archives,
  • the winding staircase in Solomon’s Temple,
  • five orders of architecture,
  • the five human senses,
  • seven sabbatical years,
  • seven years of famine,
  • seven years in building Solomon’s Temple,
  • seven golden candlesticks in Solomon’s Temple,
  • seven planets,
  • seven wonders of the world,
  • seven liberal arts and sciences,
  • Jeptha and the Ephraimites,
  • army-war-battle,
  • the river Jordan,
  • the letter “G” denoting Deity,
  • the destruction of Solomon’s Temple,
  • emphasis on geometry (and claiming geometry and Masonry were originally synonymous),
  • Grand Master Hiram Abiff,
  • corn and the waterford,
  • charge to conceal another initiate’s secrets,
  • no help for the widow’s son,
  • humanity-friendship-brotherly love,
  • so mote it be,
  • white gloves,
  • three ruffians,
  • physical assault with weapons,
  • enactment of a murder,
  • coast of Joppa,
  • Ethiopia,
  • buried in the rough sands of the sea at low watermark,
  • kingly court/judgment scene,
  • execution of murderers,
  • discovery of a grave,
  • substitute word,
  • faint letter “G” on the chest,
  • raising of a dead body from a grave,
  • the “traditional accounts”/Old Charges,
  • the drawing of architectural plans and designs,
  • a sprig of acacia/the immortal soul,
  • a cavern in the cleft of a rock,
  • a coffin,
  • being buried for two weeks,
  • monument of a weeping virgin and broken column,
  • an urn with ashes,
  • a depiction of Time,
  • no rain for seven years in the daytime while the temple was being built,
  • thousands of pillars and columns made of Parian marble to support the temple of Solomon,
  • the king of Tyre,
  • a pot of incense,
  • the beehive,
  • a book of constitutions,
  • Tiler’s sword,
  • heart,
  • anchor,
  • all-seeing eye,
  • Noah’s ark,
  • 47th problem of Euclid,
  • hourglass,
  • scythe,
  • Pythagoras,
  • Eureka,
  • Greek language,
  • sacrifice of a hecatomb,
  • three stairs/three stages of life/Entered-Apprentice-Fellowcraft-Master Mason,
  • a spade,
  • a death-head,
  • and due-guards.


To see citations to the critical sources for these claims, click here

Notes

  1. Matthew B. Brown, Exploring the Connection Between Mormons and Masons (American Fork, UT: Covenant, 2009), Kindle edition, location:268–297, converted to bullet list for readability.