Question: Were anti-Mason's opposed to the Book of Mormon?

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Question: Were anti-Mason's opposed to the Book of Mormon?

Even prior to the Book of Mormon's publication, anti-Masonic individuals were opposed to the book

The Palmyra Reflector noted the opposition of "anti-Masons" to the Book of Mormon:

We understand that the Anti-Masons have declared war against the Gold Bible.—Oh! how impious.[1]

Thus, those contemporaries most interested in anti-Masonic polemic were not impressed by the Book of Mormon. And, when some claimed that the Mormons were an "anti-masonic" religion, one newspaper editor shot back:

Our neighbor-in-law, Billy Perkins, says that Mormonism is the Antimasonic religion, because all who have embraced it are antimasons. This is quite a random shot, Billy. But your great eagerness to draw from any source, however filthy, a little help for the handmaid, has probably led you into this error. You appear not to be aware that some “zealous masons” and several “republican jacks,” have beset Jo Smith for “more light.”—And perhaps you have yet to learn that the Mormon bible was printed and sent forth to the world, from a masonic printing office, under a masonic, or some [other injunction, of secrecy. You may also discover a very striking resemblance between masonry and mormonism. Both systems pretend to have a very ancient origin, and to possess some wonderful secrets which the world cannot have without submitting to the prescribed ceremonies, and appropriating a portion or all of their property, as common stock. The secrets of masonry are kept from the world by blasphemous oaths, under a penalty of death—the secrets of mormonism by making the candidate believe that it will be violating the “express command of Heaven,” and the penalty is the eternal displeasure of God, and all “worthy and well qualified” mormons. Billy seems willing to encourage and support any thing that he thinks will be calculated to divert public attention from the iniquitous character of Freemasonry. Mormonism, Billy, will fail in doing it, unless you give it a hoist with your press, which it is rumored you are half inclined to do, as another Bible is in a state of forwardness,for the press (emphasis added) (italics in original).[2]

A similar claim earned a similar retort from another editor:

Antimasonic Religion.—The Mormon Bible is Antimasonic, and it is a singular truth that every one of its followers, so far as we are able to ascertain, are antimasons. Now, probably we are to know what is meant by “Church and State.”—Geauga Gazette.

The above is from the Gazette of last week. We know of but one other pretence of a like nature, equally ridiculous—and that is, that Masonry is the “Handmaid of Religion.”[3]

Another paper argued that Mormonism was actually attacking anti-masonry

The Morning Courier and New-York Enquirer:

A new excitement—Mormonism versus Anti-masonry.—An elegant new excitement recently started up, like Jonah’s gourd, in the anti-masonic district of Ohio, which is marching like a giant, and attacking the very citadels of anti-masonry itself. It is called “Mormonism.” It is already making great progress in the Ohio Reserve, and possesses more fanaticism than even anti-masonry itself.[4]

Notes

  1. The Reflector (Palmyra, New York) 1, no. 4 (23 September 1829): 14. off-site
  2. “Our neighbor-in-law . . .,” Painesville Telegraph (Painesville, Ohio) (22 March 1831). off-site
  3. “Antimasonic Religion,” Ohio Star (Ravenna, Ohio) (24 March 1831). off-site
  4. “A new excitement: Mormonism versus Anti-masonry,” Morning Courier and New-York Enquirer (New York City, New York) 7, no. 1247 (21 May 1831). off-site