Mormon Endowment and Freemasonry
Introductory note: In putting together my web site, I have used links to give the viewer the information they need. Unfortunately, some of these web pages "go down" and are no longer accessible. I had the following web page as a link to James David's web page URL: http://www.mindspring.com which was no longer connecting for some unknown reason. Having the page in my files, I have simply reproduced it. The credit for this page, goes to Mr. James David. Another web page you can visit with the Mormon Endowment compared to the Masonic Lodge is http://www.exmormon.org/journey/journey_g.htm
In 1827 Capt. W. M. Morgan, a disillusioned Mason, published a book entitled Freemasonry Exposed, which reveals a detailed description of their ceremonies in word and illustration. Because of this exposé, Morgan was murdered three months later by members of his lodge. (See President John Quincy Adams for the full story) After Morgan's death, his widow, Lucinda Pendleton Morgan, a very pretty and intelligent woman married George W. Harris on January 12, 1831. While married to Harris, Lucinda became one of the first plural wives of the prophet Joseph Smith in 1838. It seems likely that Smith married her while living at the Harris home.
Joseph Smith became a Mason on March 15, 1842 and rose to the sublime degree the following day. This initiation took place in his upper business office or Masonic lodge room (History of the Church, vol. 4, p. 550-551). Only a few weeks after Joseph's initiation into Masonry, he taught the other LDS Church leaders in the same Masonic lodge room. Joseph's interest in Masonry became so infectious that many Mormon elders hastened to follow his lead, and within six months the lodge had 286 candidates. He gave instructions on the principles and order of the Priesthood, attending to washings, anointing, endowments, and the communication of keys. (Ibid. vol. 5, p. 2) There is no doubt that Joseph's primary interest in Masonry was because of its ritual. Like Solomon, he became a temple builder. Joseph Smith's own temple records indicate his temple endowment took place on May 4, 1842, just seven weeks after his Masonic initiation. In Smith's own words he said: "In the evening I received the first degree in Freemasonry in the Nauvoo Lodge." The next day he stated: "I was with the Masonic Lodge and rose to the sublime degree." This qualified Joseph to be a Master Mason. (Ibid. 1842 vol. 4, p. 552)
To see an on-line video of the Masonic initiation ritual, click here! If you are a Mormon, you should be able to see the many similarities of the Masonic ritual, and the LDS Endowment!
Here is Mr. David's web page!
LDS ENDOWMENT AND MASONIC INITIATION
This article will quote transcripts from both the LDS endowment ceremony and the Masonic initiation.
The description of the Masonic initiation and the figures were taken from "Illustrations of Masonry by One of the Fraternity", by Captain William Morgan, Batavia, New York, 1827. This expose on Masonry can be obtained from Utah Lighthouse Ministry, P.O. Box 1884, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84110, (801) 485-8894 for around five dollars. Also, extracts from the "Monitor of Free-Masonry", by Jabez Richardson, Chicago;(n.d). illustrates some of the higher degrees not mentioned in Morgan's book. The statements for Richardson's book were taken directly from Jerald and Sandra Tanner's book "The Evolution of the Mormon Temple Ceremony: 1842-1990" and will be identified with astericks "***". Although I present the "higher" degrees along with the degrees described from William Morgan's book, please note that they are from two different Masonic rituals.
If you do not choose to know about these two ceremonies or think that you may be offended by reading them DO NOT READ ON! If you are a Mormon who has not been through the LDS temple some of the temple rites are disclosed, likewise for Masons. This article was not meant to offend the reader, only to educate them on the similarities between the two ceremonies. In keeping with this purpose, I have purposefully only included areas of where there are similarities between the two rites. My inclusion of some similarities does not exclude others. Also, note that the similarities were reduced after the 1990 Temple Ceremony revisions. Mormons that only participated in post 1990 ceremonies may not recognize the five points of fellowship and penalty signs. You can read about these changes at http://www.saintsalive.com/mormonism/templechanges.htm
MASONIC PREPARATION ROOM
"He is ushered into the "preparation room" where he meets the Junior Deacon and Stewards who divest him of all his clothing except his shirt. He is then handed an old pair of drawers which he puts on; ..."
MORMON DRESSING ROOM
"The candidate, being directed to these washing and dressing rooms and having divested himself of all his clothing, awaits his time in bath with his special inner garments over his shoulder."
"The candidate then enters, the Senior Deacon at the same time pressing his naked left breast with the point of the compass,..."
"... on the garments -- the compass on the left [breast]..."
"As he enters, the angle of the square is pressed hard against his naked right breast,..."
"...the square on the right side [of the garment]..."
MASONS WASHING CEREMONY
"Master orders the basin of the perfumed water and a clean napkin to be brought to him, and directs candidate to wash his hands, which he does...Master takes a box of perfumed ointment and annoints candidate on his head, eyes, mouth, heart, the tip of his right ear, hand, foot, and says -- You are now, my dear brother, received a member of our society;..." ***
MORMON WASHING CEREMONY
"As the candidate is washed, the official hurries through the lustration ritual .... the candidate is passed on to another attendent and is anointed with oil. The oil is very definitely applied to various organs of his body."
MASONS PRESENTING NEW NAME TO CANDIDATE
"I also present you with a new name; it is CAUTION"
MORMON TEMPLE WORKER PRESENTS NEW NAME TO CANDIDATE
"With these garments I give you a new name which is never to be divulged to anyone ... The name I shall give you is ________."
MAN REPRESENTING ADAM IN MASONIC CEREMONY
"Thrice Puissant Grand Master, representing Father Adam, is stationed in the east." *** (This occurs in the Knight of the Sun Degree.)
MAN REPRESENTING ADAM IN MORMON CEREMONY
"Elohim -- (Turning to the audience) -- 'This man who is now being operated upon is Michael who helped form the world. When he awakes ... he will be known as Adam"
MAN REPRESENTING DEITY IN MASONIC CEREMONY
"One of the members now personates the Deity, behind the bush, and calls out Moses! Moses!" *** (This occurs in the Royal Arch Degree.)
MAN REPRESENTING GOD IN MORMON CEREMONY
"When all is quiet, a man dressed in white flannels, representing Elohim, comes from behind the curtain..."
MASONS USE A MALLET
"...he gives a rap with the common gavel or mallet, ..."
MORMONS USE A MALLET
"...one of the temple workers, ... gives three raps with a mallet..."
MASONIC ENTERED APPRENTICE VS. FIRST TOKEN OF THE AARONIC PRIESTHOOD
MASONIC PENALTY SIGN
"Made from the due-guard by dropping the left hand carelessly; at the same time raise the right arm and draw the hand, still open, across the throat, thumb next [to] the throat, and drop the hand perpendicular by the side."
MORMON PENALTY SIGN
"In executing the sign of the penalty, the right hand, palm downward, is drawn sharply across the throat, then dropped from the square to the side"
"The right hands are joined together as in shaking hands and each sticks his thumb nail into the third joint or upper end of the fore finger."
"The Grip -- Hands clasped, pressing the knuckle of the index finger with the thumb"
MASONIC WORDING CONCERNING THE GRIP
"The Master and candidate holding each other by the grip, as before described, the Master says. 'What is this?'
"Ans. 'A grip.'
"A grip of what?'
"Ans. 'The grip of an Entered Apprentice Mason.'
"'Has it a name?'
"Ans. 'It has.'
"Will you give it to me?'
"Ans. 'I did not so receive it, neither can I so impart it.'
MORMON WORDING CONCERNING THE GRIP
"Peter -- 'What is that?'
"Adam -- 'The first token of the Aaronic Priesthood.'
"Peter -- 'Has it a name?'
"Adam -- 'It has.'
"Peter -- 'Will you give it to me?'
"Adam -- 'I can not, for it is connected with my new name, but this is the sign.'
"... binding myself under no less penalty than to have my throat cut across, my tongue torn out by the roots ..."
"We and each of us, covenant and promise that we will not reveal any secrets of this... Should we do so, we agree that our throats be cut from ear to ear and our tongues torn out by their roots."
MASONIC FELLOW CRAFT VS. SECOND TOKEN OF THE AARONIC PRIESTHOOD
"...binding myself under no less penalty than to have my left breast torn open and my heart and vitals taken from thence and thrown over my left shoulder."
"We and each of us do covenant and promise that we will not reveal the secrets of this ... Should we do so, we agree to have our breasts cut open and our hearts and vitals torn from our bodies "
MASONIC PENALTY SIGN
"The sign is given by drawing your right hand flat, with the palm of it next to your breast from the left to the right side with some quickness, and dropping it down by your side"
MORMON PENALTY SIGN
"The Sign is made by placing the left arm on the square at the level of the shoulder, placing the right hand across the chest with the thumb extended and the drawing it rapidly from the left to right and dropping it"
"Take each other's hands as in ordinary hand-shaking and press the top of your thumb hard against the space between the first and second knuckles of the right hand."
"The Grip is given by clasping the hand and pressing the thumb in the hollow between the first and second knuckle of the hand."
MASONIC NAME GIVEN
"Brother, I now present you with my right hand, in token of brotherly love and confidence, and with it the pass-grip and word of a Fellow Craft Mason .... the name of it is Shibboleth."
MORMON NAME GIVEN
"The Name is the given name of the candidate."
MASONIC MASTER MASON VS. FIRST AND SECOND TOKEN OF THE MELCHIZEDECH PRIESTHOOD
"The sign is given by raising both hands and arms to the elbows, perpendicular, one each side of the head, the elbows forming a square."
"The sign is made by bringing both hands to the square, palms to the front
MASONIC PENALTY SIGN
"The Penal Sign is given by putting the right hand to the left side of the bowels, the hand open, with the thumb next to the belly, and letting it fall; this is done tolerably quick."
MORMON PENALTY SIGN
"As the last words are spoken the hands are dropped till the thumbs are in the center of the stomach and drawn swiftly across the stomach to the hips, and then dropped to the sides."
"binding myself under no less penalty than to have my body severed in two in the midst..."
"We and each one of us do covenant and promise that we will not reveal any of the secrets of this... Should we do so, we agree that our bodies be cut asunder in the midst and all our bowels gush out."
"Grasp each other's right hands very firmly, the spaces between the thumb and first finger being in interlocked and the tops of the fingers being pressed hard against each other's wrist where it joins the hand, the fingers of each being somewhat spread."
MORMON GRIP (Slightly Different Method of Grip)
"The Grip is made by grasping the hand, the forefinger on center of the wrist and little fingers locked"
MASONIC GRAND HAILING SIGN AND DUE GUARD
"The sign is given by raising both hands and arms to the elbows, perpendicularly, one on each side of the head, the elbows forming a square."
"The due guard is made by holding both hands in front, palms down..."
MORMON PAY, LAY, ALE
"The sign is made by elevating both the arms above the head ... the arms dropped to the square,... and then to the sides."
"While the Wardens are examining the candidate, the Master returns to the east and gets an apron, and as he returns to the candidate... The Master then says to the candidate, "Brother, I now have the honor to present you with a lamb-skin or white apron..."
"Adam-- (Turning to the audience)-- 'In your bundles brethren and sisters, you will each find an apron, you will now put it on."
MASONIC RAISING OF HIRAM ABIFF vs. MORMON VEIL
MASONIC FIVE-POINTS OF FELLOWSHIP AS HIRAM ABIFF's DEAD BODY IS RAISED
"He (the candidate) is raised on what is called the five points of fellowship, which are foot to foot, knee to knee, breast to breast, hand to back and mouth to ear."
MORMON FIVE-POINTS OF FELLOWSHIP AT THE VEIL
"The five points of fellowship are given by putting the inside of the right foot to the inside of the Lord's, the inside of your knee to his, laying your breast close to his, your left hands on each other's backs, and each one putting his mouth to the other's ear...."
MASTER MASON RAISING CANDIDATE
"The Master, in raising him, is assisted by some of the brethren, who take hold of the candidate by the arms and shoulders; as soon as he is raised to his feet, they step back, and the Master whispers the word M__H__B__ in his ear, and causes the candidate to repeat it, telling him that he must never give it in any manner other than that in which he receives it. He is told that M__H__B__ signifies marrow in the bone. They then separate ..."
MORMON PASSING THROUGH THE VEIL
At the five points of fellowship "... one putting his mouth to the other's ear, in which position the Lord whispers: Lord--'This is the sign of the token: 'Health to the navel, marrow in the bones, strength in the loins and sinews, and power in the priesthood be upon me and my posterity through all generations of time and throughout all eternity."
When did Joseph Smith have intimate access to the Masonic Rites?
On March 15, 1842 Joseph Smith became a Mason in his general business office (History of the Church, vol. 4, pg. 551)
When did Joseph Smith instruct the other LDS Church leaders regarding the endowment and communication of key?
On May 4, 1842 Joseph Smith instructed the other LDS Church leaders on the principles and order of the Priesthood, attending to the washings, anointing, endowments and communication of keys. (History of the Church, vol. 5, pg. 2) This instruction took place only weeks after Joseph Smith became a Mason and in Joseph Smith's business office, the exact same place where he received the Masonic rites just weeks earlier. In addition, Joseph Smith's business office was the Masonic lodge room. Joseph Smith's temple records even indicate that he received his endowments on May 4, 1842 (Family Group Sheet-Father Temple Index Bureau).
In my opinion, the many similarities between the LDS endowment ceremony and the Masonic initiation could NOT have occurred by chance. There are definitely more than slight resemblances as even Gilbert Scharffs would not even concede to in his book "The Truth About the God Makers".
Do the two ceremonies have significant similarities? I think so, but you should decide for yourself.
Mormon Endowment and Masonry
Last Updated September 28, 1997
Copyright © 1996, 1997 All Rights Reserved.