Question: Why is the Masonic symbol of the "All Seeing Eye" present on the Salt Lake Temple?

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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[1] 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.”[2]

4 January 1833 – “the eyes of my Maker are upon me.”[3]

May 1835 – “the scrutinizing eye of ‘Him with whom we have to do.’”[4]

29 January 1836 – “[the] Lord had [His] eye upon thee.” [5]

9 May 1836 – “they stand naked and exposed to the piercing eye of Jehovah.” [6]

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.” [7]

April 1837 – “the scrutinizing eye of Jehovah is ever upon them.” [8]

June 1837 – “In vain do they attempt to hide from the scrutinizing eye of Jehovah.” [9]

20 March 1839 – “Behold, mine eye seeth and knoweth all their works.” [10]

3 July 1839 – “the God of Jacob has His eye upon you.” [11]

September 1840 – “the all-searching eye of an Omnipresent God.” [12]

January1841 – “God that sheweth mercy; having His eye at the same time directed towards His covenant people.” [13]

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.” [14]


Notes

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. Letter by Joseph Smith Jr. in ibid., 298.
  4. Statement by Oliver Cowdery in Messenger and Advocate, vol. 1, no. 8, May 1835, 121; hereafter cited as M&A.
  5. 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.
  6. Letter by Parley P. Pratt dated 9 May 1836 in M&A, vol. 2, no. 8, May 1836, 318.
  7. [citation needed]
  8. Statement by William Marks in ibid., vol. 3, no. 7, April 1837, 493.
  9. Comment by William Marks in ibid., vol. 3, no. 9, June 1837, 525.
  10. Letter by Joseph Smith Jr. in PWJS, 435.
  11. 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.
  12. Orson Pratt, An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions (Edinburgh: Ballantyne and Hughes, 1840), 27.
  13. Article by Brigham Young and Willard Richards in Millennial Star, vol. 1, no. 9, January 1841, 223.
  14. 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.