Reason #101: The LDS Church itself doesn’t sponsor research into Masonic-LDS Connections

Recently Sunstone, an independent Mormon studies magazine, announced its Mapping Mormon Issues Project, which aims to make available in multiple formats (including online) scholarship on controversial subjects. It lists topics such as polygamy, blacks and the priesthood, folk magic, the translation of the Pearl of Great Price, Mormonism and Freemasonry, among others. It aims to provide “fair, reliable, and comprehensive windows into these issues,” charting a course between LDS apologist sites and those critical of Mormonism.[1] I am glad that such research is emerging, if only from “non-official” LDS sources. [1] “Sunstone Announces the Mapping Mormon Issues Project.”  Online at Sunstone. For more information, see The Mormon Mirage 3rd...

Reason #100: Masonic Symbols in LDS Temples

Traditional Masonic symbols are rampant in older LDS temples. Representations of beehives, heavenly bodies, clasped hands, the All Seeing Eye, the square, the compass, and cloud-painted ceilings are abundant in 19th-century Utah temples.[1] Many Masonic symbols which were part of LDS temple ceremonies have been dropped since 1990. Even so, Mormon initiates of the 21st century, like their Masonic counterparts, wear special garments with symbolic markings on them and soft shoes, hats, and fig-leaf aprons. They give special handshakes, make ritualistic arm motions, whisper passwords into someone’s ear, chant and receive new names. Over both rites hangs a heavy atmosphere of secrecy and fear of retribution for exposure. There are simply too many books written about...

Reason #99– Un-divine Source of LDS Temple Ceremonies: Masonry

Any Mason who reads even such an abbreviated account of the temple ceremony as I have outlined in The Mormon Mirage will be amazed at the similarities between temple ordinances and Masonic lodge ordinances. Joseph Smith claimed that he got much of the substance of the temple ceremony from the Book of Abraham papyri (though there is no evidence of the ceremony in any extant “translations.”) The truth is that Joseph Smith was himself a Mason of “the Sublime degree.”[1] He joined, he said, just to find out how far Masonry had “degenerated” from the original temple ceremony he said was first practiced in Solomon’s temple. Joseph Smith claimed that some Old Testament rites were the source of both Mormon and Masonic rites. Masonic ceremonies do of course...

Reason #98: Changes in LDS Doctrine regarding Freemasonry

Alexander Campbell once noted that the Book of Mormon managed to comment on a surprisingly large percentage of the religious issues of their time.[1] In addition to infant baptism, authority and ordination, the nature of the Trinity, free agency of man, the fall, and the resurrection, here is a more complete listing: freemasonry (Helaman 6:21-29; 3 Nephi 4:7), spiritual regeneration (Alma 5:14-21), rights and responsibilities of civil governments (Mosiah 29:11-17), church government (Moroni 4:6-9), the atonement (2 Nephi chapter 9), eternal reward and punishment (Alma 41:3-7), Catholicism (1 Nephi chapters 13 and 14), fasting (Alma 17:3), repentance (Alma 5:49), “religious experience” (Mosiah 27:24-29), and transubstantiation (3 Nephi 18:28-30). Not...

Dan Brown’s Lost Symbol and Latter-day Cipher: The Masonic Connection

When I began writing Latter-day Cipher (Moody, 2009), one of the themes I wanted to explore was the uneasy relationship that Freemasonry would have with Mormonism in the mind of someone who was a faithful Mormon.  Here’s an excerpt from Latter-day Cipher that illustrates that connection: This Masonic temple. . .was wedged up against the city’s mountain to the northeast. Its name was Ballut Abydos or something like that, he recalled. It was no accident that the parking lot was sheltered from view from the street. Being a Mason in Salt Lake City was a statement that even those who’d moved in from other places didn’t always want to make publicly. So you could drive behind this temple and park as securely as at any of the adult video stores that peppered...