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Mormonism and Freemasonry

Mormonism and Freemasonry

The relationship between Mormonism and Freemasonry began early in the life of Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement. Smith's older brother, Hyrum, and possibly his father, Joseph, Sr. were Freemasons while the family lived near Palmyra, New York. In the late 1820s, the western New York region was swept with anti-Masonic fervor.

Nevertheless, by the 1840s, Smith and several prominent Latter Day Saints had become Freemasons and joined the Masonic Lodge in Nauvoo, Illinois. Soon after joining Freemasonry, Smith introduced the temple endowment ceremony including a number of symbolic elements that were very similar to those in Freemasonry. Smith remained a Freemason until his death; however, later leaders in the movement have distanced themselves from Freemasonry. In modern times, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) has clarified in its Now You Know series that its members may become Freemasons.

Historical connections

A significant number of leaders in the early Latter Day Saint movement were Masons prior to their involvement in the movement, including Heber C. Kimball and John C. Bennett.

Joseph's brother, Hyrum, was a Freemason; their father, Joseph, Sr. is also believed to have been a Freemason:

[The Joseph Smith family] was a Masonic family which lived by and practiced the estimable and admirable tenets of Freemasonry. The father, Joseph Smith, Sr., was a documented member in upstate New York. He was raised to the degree of Master Mason on May 7, 1818 in Ontario Lodge No. 23 of Canandaigua, New York. An older son, Hyrum Smith, was a member of Mount Moriah Lodge No. 112, Palmyra New York.

In regard to Joseph Smith Sr, however, nine men in total lived in Ontario County, New York (where Canandaigua is located) named Joseph Smith, according to the 1820 census for that county. There is, therefore, only a 1 in 9 chance that the documentation cited in Terry Chateau's quote references Joseph Smith Sr and not some other man by the same name.

On 15 October 1841, Abraham Jonas (then the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge AF&AM of Illinois) issued a dispensation empowering a Lodge in Nauvoo and appointed the following individuals to be its officers: George Miller, Esq. as its first Worshipful Master; John Parker as its first Senior Warden; and Lucius Scovil as its first Junior Warden. This dispensation empowered the Masons in Nauvoo to meet as a Lodge. The Lodge met on 29 December 1841 and accepted this dispensation. Officers for the Lodge were then elected and appointed. Bylaws for the Lodge were thereafter penned and adopted.

On 17 February 1842, the Lodge voted to hold off on installing its officers until 15 March; a request was also sent to Grand Master Jonas for him to preside over that Installation, which he accepted. Joseph Smith (who was not yet a Mason) was appointed to serve in a pro-tempore position as Grand Installing Chaplain for this Installation. He and Sidney Rigdon were initiated as Entered Apprentices in the evening after the Installation, thereby became members of the newly-formed Nauvoo lodge; Abraham Jonas presided over that degree ceremony.

Tuesday, [March] 15. — I officiated as grand chaplain at the installation of the Nauvoo Lodge of Free Masons, at the Grove near the Temple. Grand Master Jonas, of Columbus, being present, a large number of people assembled on the occasion. The day was exceedingly fine; all things were done in order, and universal satisfaction was manifested. In the evening I received the first degree in Freemasonry in the Nauvoo Lodge, assembled in my general business office.

It appears that John C. Bennett had a particularly strong influence in the spread of Freemasonry among the Mormons. Within the year, there were over 300 Masons in Nauvoo Lodge, which resulted in Meredith Helm (the then-Grand Master who had succeeded Jonas) to issue dispensations to form two other Lodges in the Spring of 1843. One was called Nye Lodge (named for Rev. Jonathan Nye, who would later become Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar, USA) and Helm Lodge (named for the Grand Master who issued this dispensation).

Soon after this, over 1,500 Mormon men in the city of Nauvoo were practicing Masons.

"By 1840, John Cook Bennett, a former active leader in Masonry had arrived in Commerce and rapidly exerted his persuasive leadership in all facets of the Church, including Mormon Masonry. ... Joseph and Sidney [Rigdon] were inducted into formal Masonry ... on the same day ..." being made "Masons on Sight" by the Illinois Grandmaster.("Is There No Help for the Widow's Son?" by Dr. Reed C. Durham, Jr., as printed in "Joseph Smith and Masonry: No Help for the Widow's Son", Martin Pub. Co., Nauvoo, Ill., 1980, p. 17.) (This freed Joseph from having to complete the ritual and memorization necessary to work one's way through the first three degrees.) Making one "A Mason on Sight" is generally reserved as an honor and is a rarity in occurrence.

Smith and Rigdon were raised to the third degree of Master Mason "on sight" by Grand Master Jonas of the Grand Lodge of Illinois. At the time and in the jurisdiction of that Grand Lodge, this meant that Joseph and Sidney could go through the three degree ceremonies in a relatively short time without having to prove their respective proficiencies between each degree. They each were passed to the degree of Fellowcraft on the morning of 16 March 1842 and raised to the degree of Master Mason later that day.

Wednesday, March 16. — I was with the Masonic Lodge and rose to the sublime degree.

Note that Joseph Smith's journal does not mention the sublime degree on Mar 16, 1842, stating only "Continued with the Lodge". However, minutes from the Nauvoo lodge on the same day do state, "Joseph Smith applied for the third and sublime degree...he was duly raised..."

On 17 March 1842, the Relief Society was established as an auxiliary group for the female members of the church. Its structure originally had similarities to that of the Masonic Lodge; however, the Relief Society never had its own degree ceremonies nor did it ever purport to confer degrees of any kind on its members.

Hyrum Smith was not only one of Joseph's older brothers but also succeeded their father as Presiding Patriarch and Cowdery as Assistant President of the Church.

Bodley Lodge No. 1 in Quincy, IL presented concerns that the special dispensation granted to Nauvoo Lodge, U.D., was improper, and on August 11, 1842, the special dispensation was suspended by Grand Master Abraham Jonas until the annual Communication of the Illinois Grand Lodge. "During the short period covering its activities, this Lodge initiated 286 candidates and raised almost as many. John C. Bennett reports an instance in which 63 persons were elected on a single ballot." This suspension was later lifted and the Mormon Lodges resumed work although several irregularities in their practice were noted. The irregularities centered on mass balloting (voting on more than one candidate at a time) and not requiring proficiency in each degree before proceeding to the next degree (in many cases, initiates were being passed to the Fellowcraft degree and raised to the Master Mason degree within two days of being initiated as an Entered Apprentice).

There were 5 Masonic Lodges in Mormon communities by April 27, 1843:

  • Nauvoo Lodge, U.D. (Nauvoo, IL)
  • Helm Lodge, U.D. (Nauvoo, IL)
  • Nye Lodge, U.D. (Nauvoo, IL)
  • Rising Sun Lodge No.12 (Montrose, IA)
  • Keokuk Lodge, U.D. (Keokuk, IA)

There were eventually 1,492 members of these lodges, but only a total of 414 Masons in all the other Illinois lodges. A resolution passed in the Grand Lodge of Illinois on October 3, 1843 to revoke the charter of Rising Sun Lodge, revoke the dispensations of and refuse to provide charters for the rest of these Lodges for the following reasons:

Rising Sun Lodge No. 12

  • had not paid its dues to the Grand Lodge
  • was doing its Masonic work irregularly (or improperly).

Nauvoo Lodge, U.D.

  • was doing its Masonic work irregularly.
  • failed to bring its record books to the Grand Lodge for inspection.
  • was making men Masons without regard to character.
  • was not requiring its candidates to become proficient in one degree before being pushed through another degree.

Helm Lodge, U.D.

  • was doing its Masonic work irregularly, particularly by "acting on four petitions in one day".
  • was pushing candidates from the first degree to the third within two-day time-periods.
  • failed to present their records to the Grand Lodge for inspection.
  • had only paid a portion of its dues to the Grand Lodge.

Nye Lodge, U.D.

  • had the same problems as Helm Lodge.
  • initiated candidates within a day of receiving their petitions (thereby not leaving any time for the petitions to be examined, the petitioner to be investigated, and the Lodge to elect the petitioner to become a candidate for the degrees).

Keokuk Lodge, U.D.

  • was doing its Masonic work irregularly.
  • had allowed petitions to be received and acted upon "within one lunar month."

Following this resolution, Grand Master Alexander Dunlap later sent a representative of the Grand Lodge to Nauvoo Lodge to revoke its dispensation. According to the records of the Grand Lodge, its representative was "treated with contempt," the Lodge refused to part with its charger, and the Lodge stated that they would continue to do Masonic work. Because of this, a resolution in the Grand Lodge of Illinois passed on October 10, 1844 that withdrew all fellowship with Nauvoo Lodge, Helm Lodge, Nye Lodge, and all members thereof; that the Masons working in these Lodges be considered clandestine (or illegitimate), and that all members thereof be suspended from the privileges of Masonry in Illinois. The Lodge in Keokuk seems not to have been given the courtesy of being properly informed by the Grand Lodge of its charter being revoked or its members suspended following the 1843 resolution:

On September 24, 1844, the Mormon brethren from the Keokuk lodge addressed a long communication to the Grand Lodge, demanding an explanation for the attitude toward the Mormon brethren. "We have written twice to the Grand Secretary," they asserted, "and received no answer." They concluded by saying that since they had been informed from outside sources that they had been suspended, "We have ceased to meet and work as a lodge of Masons."

It is theorized that, when Smith was in Carthage Jail in 1844, after he fired his last round in a small pepper-box pistol, he ran to the window and held up his arms in what may have been a Masonic call of distress, hoping Masons in the contingent would honor this call and not fire on him. It is recorded that he ran towards the open window with uplifted hands, and proclaimed, "O Lord my God." Most people see this as only a plea to God for aid, although others suspect otherwise. There is no evidence that any Masons participated in the attack on Carthage Jail (aside from the four victims of the attack; namely, Joseph Smith, Jr, Hyrum Smith, John Taylor, and Willard Richards). Three of the five men who were later indicted for conspiring to murder Smith were later initiated as Freemasons in Warsaw Lodge:

  • Levi Williams
  • Thomas Sharp
  • Jacob Davis

However, because Freemasonry requires its members to be law-abiding citizens, this resulted in the Grand Lodge of Illinois initiating an investigation into improper conduct of Warsaw Lodge. Warsaw Lodge later relinquished their charter (which allowed it to meet and work as a Masonic Lodge) to the Grand Lodge of Illinois, citing lack of space as the reason why they did not want to meet anymore; since their meeting space was never an issue prior to the investigation, many assume that Warsaw Lodge used this as a pretext to avoid investigation and save face. There are claims that Mark Aldrich, another of the five men who were indicted for conspiracy to murder, was already a Mason of Warsaw Lodge. These five men were cleared of all wrongdoing by the courts.

The Lodge in Nauvoo continued its activities until April 10, 1845, when Brigham Young and George A. Smith advised Lucius Scovil to suspend the work of the Masons in Nauvoo. Only a few additional meetings were held prior to departure of those who followed Young to the Great Basin in 1846 after the succession crisis.

After arriving to the Great Basin, some Latter-day Saints who were Masons sent requests for dispensations to other Grand Lodge jurisdictions in the hopes of being able to meet regularly as a Lodge. Such requests were sent to the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) and to one of the Grand Lodges in Mexico; the UGLE never received the letter, and the Grand Lodge in Mexico denied the request.

Lodges were later established in the Utah Territory by Masons who were not adherents of the LDS Church. Four such Lodges were formed: Rocky Mountain Lodge No. 205 (formed by dispensation by the Grand Lodge of Missouri), Mount Moriah Lodge No. 62 (formed by dispensation by the Grand Lodge of Kansas), Wasatch Lodge, U.D. (formed by dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Montana Territory, now the Grand Lodge of Montana), and Argenta Lodge, U.D. (formed by dispensation by the Grand Lodge of Colorado). Rocky Mountain Lodge was a military Lodge made up of US Army soldiers who had come out to what is now Utah because of Buchanan's Blunder; the Lodge eventually came to an end because of the Civil War, which required that these troops withdraw out of the area; in January 1872, the other three of these Lodges went on to establish the Grand Lodge AF&AM of Utah.

From 1872 until 1925, the Grand Lodge of Utah had an informal ban against Latter-day Saints due to the question of polygamy. Polygamy was a federal crime and, although the LDS Church had issued a prohibition against the practice in 1890, it was believed by many outside of the Church that it still practiced polygamy in secret.

In 1925, the Grand Lodge of Utah adopted a formal ban against members of the LDS Church (including church members who had already become Freemasons under other recognized grand lodge jurisdictions)—no reason was given except that the church was not compatible with Freemasonry; this ban was lifted in 1984. In 2008, a Latter-day Saint served as the Grand Lodge's first LDS Grand Master; it was estimated that he was the first Latter-day Saint to serve as Grand Master of any jurisdiction in approximately 100 years.

Prophets who were Freemasons

At least the first four presidents of the LDS Church were confirmed Freemasons:

  1. Joseph Smith Jr
  2. Brigham Young
  3. John Taylor
  4. Wilford Woodruff

They had all joined while living in Nauvoo, Illinois, bringing the practice westward when the Saints migrated to Utah.

Lorenzo Snow also went through the degree ceremonies in Nauvoo Lodge; however, he was initiated on 5 June 1843 after Nauvoo Lodge's dispensation had been suspended by the Grand Lodge of Illinois in the spring of that year; in October of that year, the dispensation was revoked. He therefore would not have been considered a regular (legitimate) Mason by the mainstream Masonic community, as his initiation—as well as his passing and raising, for that matter—was done by a Lodge acting without a dispensation.

Similarities in symbolism and ritual in the LDS Church

LDS Church temple worship shares a limited commonality of symbols, signs, and vocabulary with Freemasonry, including aprons, tokens, ritualistic raising of the arms, etc. Many of these symbols have been adopted and adapted from Masonry to illustrate the principles taught in the movement. For example, whereas Masons exchange secret tokens to identify fellow Freemasons, the ceremonies of the church teach that these tokens must be given to sentinel angels so that disciples of Jesus Christ may be admitted into the highest kingdom of heaven. The LDS Church's temple garments also bear the symbols adopted and adapted from Masonry: those of the Square and Compass; although the movement has imbued these symbols with religious meaning that wholly differs from the meaning of the symbols as used in Freemasonry. The Square and Compasses were a part of the first Angel Moroni statue, hanging above a horizontal Moroni (which doubled as a weather vane). Additionally, the symbols of the square and compasses exist in other ancient traditions far older than Masonry such as in Christian art and the Chinese legend Fuxi and Nüwa.

Portions of the temple ritual resembled Masonic rites that Joseph had observed when a Nauvoo lodge was organized in March 1842 and that he may have heard about from Hyrum, a Mason from New York days. The Nauvoo endowment was first bestowed just six weeks after Joseph's induction. The similarities were marked enough for Heber Kimball to quote Joseph saying that Freemasonry "was taken from the priesthood but has become degen[e]rated. but many things are perfect."

Brigham Young is quoted as describing the origin of the temple rituals in a fashion that directly relates to the story of Hiram Abiff from Masonic folklore. Although Young changed some of the key Masonic aspects about Abiff to fit better with the view of LDS Church temples, the story is the same:

It is true that Solomon built a temple for the purpose of giving endowments, but from what we can learn of the history of that time they have very few if any endowments and one of the high priests [Hiram Abiff] was murdered by wicked and corrupt men, who had already begun to apostatize, because he would not reveal those things appertaining to the priesthood that was forbidden him to reveal until he came to the proper place.

Historical position and official policy of the LDS Church

After the Saints' failed attempts to obtain charters from England and Mexico, Brigham Young decided not to pursue the goal any further.

Eventually, trade unions that were ritualistic and oath-bound started to come into the Utah Territory that were perceived by the leadership of the church to be destabilizing the territorial economy. We see an example of this in a letter written by church president Wilford Woodruff and his two counselors, George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith concerning whether members of the Ancient Order of United Workmen could hold temple recommends in the church:

"You Ask the question, Are members of the A. O. U. W., who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints entitled to recommends to the Temples for marriages and Temple work?" In reply, we would say that we are not in favor of our Brethren joining organizations of any kind outside of our Church. But we are more especially impressed with the wrongfulness of their joining organizations which interfere with the rights of their fellow citizens in regard to labor. To illustrate: We think it is wrong, contrary to our religion, and contrary to good citizenship, for men to combine together in any organization to prevent their fellow men from working because they do not join them or work for such an amount as they think workmen ought to have. This, we think, states our position clearly in regard to those organizations. But this A. O. U. W., as we understand, is not in the strictest sense an organization of that kind. Still we think it would be better for our brethren not to join it. It would not do, however, to refuse a young man who wanted to be married in the Temple a recommend because of his being a member of the Church and from its ordinances. At the same time we would not like this to be a precedent and for others to say, "Well, the Church has no objection to our belonging to the A. O. U. W., because So and So has received a recommend and he is a member of that Order." From this we think you will understand our position. If a man desires a recommend, and this is the only objection, we think you should grant it to him, at the same time giving him these views."

In 1901, the following circular letter from church president Lorenzo Snow and his first counselor, Joseph F. Smith, to all stake presidencies concerning church members' desires to join "secret orders":


The following question has recently been asked us by one of our Stake Presidencies:

How strict shall we be with young men who wish to go to the temple who have united themselves with secret orders?

That our views might be known and acted upon by Presidents of Stakes generally, we send you herewith a copy of the same, as follows:

"The counsel of the First Presidency in all such cases has been against our brethren joining secret organizations, and where any of them have already done so their counsel to them is to withdraw themselves from such organizations as soon as circumstances permit and wisdom dictate.

"It is true that many of our people have been led to join some of these societies on the ground that their aims and objects are purely charitable and social in their character, and besides, inducements are held out of procuring life insurance at greatly reduced rates. But however worthy their aims and objects may be, this fact remains: They are outside the pale of the church and kingdom of God, and brethren in allying themselves with them divide their allegiance with organizations that are man-made, and which have not been devised of the Lord for the building up of Zion; and in doing this they render themselves liable to have their feelings alienated, in whole or in part, from the church which requires their all. We may say on this point, that it is the testimony of brethren who have joined organizations of this character and severed their connections with them, that their tendency is to draw away from the church; and it may be said and expected, without question, if the lines were sharply drawn between Mormon and non-Mormon, that all such organizations would be found in e ranks of our enemies, on the principle set forth in the saying of our Savior, "Those who are not for us are against us."

We understand that plausible excuses are given for joining these organization [sic] which amount to certain financial advantages which it is expected our brethren will obtain either for themselves during their lifetime or for their families, at their death. Like excuses might reasonably be given by brethren who have run after the things of the world in the hope of accumulating wealth and who, by doing so, have as a general thing made shipwreck of their faith. While we cannot consent to aught calculated to bring division and consequent weakness to the church, at the same time with have no desire whatever to deal harshly with brethren who have been led to become members of lodges or secret societies; but to all such who have faith enough to withdraw from them, and never be found again associating yourselves with any organization which has not been instituted of the Lord for the building up of His Zion in the earth, and to all brethren who manifest a desire to receive this advice we would give temple recommends, also permit them to join in prayer circles if found otherwise worthy.

In addition to the above we feel to direct your attention to the importance of the young men under your jurisdiction receiving proper instruction on this subject before they join secret societies; and we would suggest, instead of making this a subject for public discourse, that it be talked of at priesthood and quorum meetings.

Snow's outlook on secret societies in general may have been formed from:

  • the tense relationships between Nauvoo Lodge, U. D. (in which he was initiated after the Lodge had been suspended) and the Grand Lodge of Illinois.
  • the tense relationships between the members of the Church in Utah and the Grand Lodge of Utah.
  • the Rock Springs massacre (which had happened only about 15 years prior, in which members of a secret society called the Knights of Labor had killed scores of Chinese immigrants and drove the rest out of Wyoming).
  • the 1896 circular from the First Presidency concerning the A. O. U. W. quoted above.

Later policies in the church against joining secret societies in general had been formed more due to such trade unions and organizations as noted above; however, when the Grand Lodge of Utah lifted its formal ban against members of the Church, the Church removed mention of secret societies from its policies. Since this time, the LDS Church's First Presidency has not made an official statement as to whether Freemasonry in particular is compatible with its membership. Don LeFevre, a past church spokesman said that the LDS Church and in outdated reference to such policies, "strongly advises its members not to affiliate with organizations that are secret, oath-bound, or would cause them to lose interest in church activities." A more tolerant statement is found in the book Encyclopedia of Mormonism, written by church members, stating, "The philosophy and major tenets of Freemasonry are not fundamentally incompatible with the teaching, theology, and doctrines of the Latter-day Saints. Both emphasize morality, sacrifice, consecration, and service, and both condemn selfishness, sin, and greed. Furthermore, the aim of Masonic ritual is to instruct—to make truth available so that man can follow it."

Today there is no formal obstacle in the Grand Lodge of Utah or in any other grand lodge preventing Latter-day Saints from becoming Freemasons. Exceptions have historically been those grand lodges that employ the Swedish Rite system, which requires a Christian Trinitarian belief of its members; these are located in the Nordic/Scandinavian countries. However, the Danish Order of Freemasons (whose Lodges use the Swedish Rite) is affiliated with two Grand Lodges that do not require its members to subscribe to Christian Trinitarian beliefs: The Ancient Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons of Denmark and the Saint John's Lodge Association. In Sweden and Finland, one can choose between joining the Swedish Order of Freemasons (which uses the Swedish Rite) or the Grand Lodge of Finland (which does not use the Swedish Rite and which does not have the requirement of Christian Trinitarian belief to join). So, even in some of the countries where the Swedish Rite is employed, there still exist alternate options for Latter-day Saints to become Masons.

In 2019, the LDS Church produced a YouTube video in its Now You Know series entitled "Joseph Smith and Masonry." The video states that "the policy [of whether it is acceptable for members of the Church to become Freemasons] is simple: members of the Church […] are not prohibited from becoming Freemasons. Nor are Masons prohibited from becoming members of the Church. Latter-day Saints believe that good can be found in many places."

Since 1984, there have been many Masons in Utah who are Latter-day Saints and who serve and/or have served in various leadership positions, including Grand Masters, other Grand Officers, and Worshipful Masters. Outside of Utah, there have been many members of the LDS Church who have been Masons continuously since its early days.

20th-century explorations of the issue

  • In 1924, S. H. Goodwin (who served as thirty-eighth Grand Master of the Grand Lodge F&AM of Utah in 1912) wrote Mormonism and Masonry (published by the Grand Lodge of Utah), a work defending the formal ban against members of the Church that was implemented the next year.
  • In 1934, Anthony W. Ivins (who served in the First Presidency of the LDS Church from 1921 until his death in 1934) wrote Relationship of Mormonism and Freemasonry, a response to S. H. Goodwin's above-mentioned work; it was published by Deseret News Press.
  • In 1947, E. Cecil McGavin (who worked in the Church Historian's Office) wrote Mormonism and Masonry, a response to S. H. Goodwin's above-mentioned work; it was published by Bookcraft Publishers.
  • In 1989, Robin L Carr (a Freemason but not a Mormon) wrote Freemasonry and Nauvoo, which was published by The Masonic Book Club and The Illinois Lodge of Research; this work explores the history of the "Mormon Lodges" that were established in Nauvoo during the early period of the Church.
  • In 1992, Michael W. Homer (a Mormon) wrote "'Similarity of Priesthood in Masonry': The Relationship between Freemasonry and Mormonism" for Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought.
  • In 1995, Glen A. Cook (a Mormon who later served as the 137th Grand Master of the Grand Lodge F&AM of Utah in 2008) wrote an article called “A Review of Factors Leading to Tension Between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Freemasonry,” which was published in Vol. XLVII, No. 4 of The Philalethes Magazine, the official publication of the Philalethes Society, a Masonic research society.
  • In 1999, Sir Knight Joseph E. Bennett, KYCH, 33°, FPS wrote a three-part series entitled "Buck and the Mormons", which includes some Masonic history in Nauvoo; it was published in the October, November, and December issues of Knight Templar, an official publication of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar, USA.

21st-century explorations of the issue

  • In 2004, Clyde R. Forsberg authored Equal Rites: The Book of Mormon, Masonry, Gender, and American Culture, which was published by Columbia University Press.
  • In 2005, Greg Kearney, a temple-endowed Mormon who is also a Freemason, gave a presentation of the issue of Mormonism and Freemasonry at the annual conference of the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research.
  • In 2005, Sir Knight James A. Marples, 32°, wrote the article "A Tribute to Masonic Brother Hyrum Smith … A True Nauvoo Mason," which includes some history of Masonry in Nauvoo, in that year's September issue of Knight Templar, an official publication of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar, USA.
  • In 2006, Gilbert W. Scharffs wrote Mormons and Masons: Setting the Record Straight, which was published by Millennial Press.
  • Sometime during the years that the podcast Mormon Expression was active (2009-2014), there were a handful of episodes where a Mormon Mason under the pseudonym George Miller (after the Charter Master of Nauvoo Lodge) was interviewed concerning the history and relationship between Freemasonry and the LDS Church.
  • In 2009, Matthew B. Brown wrote Exploring the Connection Between Mormons and Masons, which was published by Covenant Communications, Inc.
  • In 2010, Kerry Shirts (a founder and former director of research of FAIR), a former believer of the LDS Church, and a Mason released a series of videos on his YouTube channel TheBackyardProfessor, both analyzing Brown's above-mentioned book and expounding on the general issue.
  • In 2012, Mark Koltko-Rivera (a Freemason and a Mormon) gave a presentation called "Of Masons and Mormons: The Relationship Between Freemasonry's Rituals of Initiation and the Latter-day Saint Temple Ceremonies" at a conference of the Worldwide Exemplification of Freemasonry (a project started by the Grand Lodge of Indiana and the Dwight L. Smith Lodge of Research).
  • In 2012, a Mormon Mason under the pseudonym George Miller (the same who gave interviews on Mormon Expression mentioned above) also spoke on the matter of Freemasonry and the LDS Church on FMH Podcast.
  • In 2014, the Joseph Smith Foundation produced the documentary Statesmen & Symbols: Prelude to the Restoration exploring Joseph Smith's involvement in Freemasonry. The DVD also details connections with Masonic symbols among the Chinese, Hopewell Indians, Early Christians, American Founding Fathers and the Egyptians.
  • In 2014, Michael W. Homer published Joseph's Temples: The Dynamic Relationship Between Freemasonry and Mormonism, a condensation of the last 40 years of scholarship on the issue.
  • In 2015, Jeffrey M. Bradshaw published a 78-page article entitled "Freemasonry and the Origins of Modern Temple Ordinances" in which he discusses how Freemasonry in Nauvoo helped prepare the Saints for the temple endowment — both familiarizing them with elements they would later encounter in the Nauvoo temple and providing a blessing to them in its own right. He also discusses evidence that the most significant features of modern temple-related doctrines and practices of the movement were already known to Joseph Smith by 1836, and provides a summary of resemblances between modern temple work and ancient ritual practices that pre-date Masonry.
  • Since at least 2017, the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon AF&AM have had a section of their online library dedicated to the relationship between Freemasonry and the LDS Church.
  • In 2019, the LDS Church published an essay entitled "Masonry" as a part of its Church History Topics series.
  • In 2019, Latter-day Saint History (a YouTube channel operated by the LDS Church) released a brief video called "Freemasonry and Relief Society in Nauvoo" wherein historians Christian Heimburger and Alex D. Smith discuss the effect that Freemasonry had in the formation of the Relief Society of the LDS Church.
  • In 2020, Saints Unscripted (a YouTube channel that explores issues concerning the LDS Church) released a video called "FREEMASON and MORMON?! | With Brandon Cole" in which a host of the channel interviewed Brandon Cole (a temple-endowed Mormon and a Freemason) concerning Freemasonry and its similarities with the LDS Church.
  • In 2022, Jason Smith (a former member of the LDS Church and a Freemason) gave a presentation on Sapere Aude (a YouTube channel geared towards Masonic education) entitled "Sapere Aude 282 - Freemasonry and Mormonism by Bro. Jason R. Smith" concerning Freemasonry, its general history, and its shared history/similarities with the LDS Church. A short while later, Mormon Book Review (a YouTube channel that explores issues concerning Mormonism) released a video called "A Freemason Talks About Mormonism and Masonic Connections! w/Jason Smith" in which the host of the channel interviewed Smith concerning the subject.
  • In 2022, Method Infinite: Freemasonry and the Mormon Restoration, authored by Cheryl L. Bruno (a member of the LDS Church), Joe Steve Swick III (a member of the LDS Church and a Freemason), and Nicholas S. Literski (a Freemason and a former member of the LDS Church), was made available by Greg Kofford Books after at least thirteen years of anticipated release.
  • In 2022, Freemasonry and the Origins of Latter-day Saint Temple Ordinances, authored by Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, was published.

See also

  • Christian attitudes towards Freemasonry
  • Walker Lewis
  • Master Mahan
  • Salt Lake Masonic Temple
  • Secret combination (Latter Day Saints)


Cited and general references

Further reading

  • Ivins, Anthony W. (1934), The Relationship of "Mormonism" and Freemasonry, Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret News Press, OCLC 9638443. Online reprint at
  • Murdock, Miriam (2000). ""Stepping Stones" of Understanding: Patterns of the Priesthood in Universalism, Freemasonry, and Mormonism". Summer Fellows' Papers 1997–1999: Archive of Restoration Culture: 51–58 – via Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History.

Text submitted to CC-BY-SA license. Source: Mormonism and Freemasonry by Wikipedia (Historical)