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Why did Joseph Smith become a freemason?

Discussion in 'Latter-day Saints DIR' started by Sola*5, Jan 31, 2007.

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  1. Sola*5

    Sola*5 New Member

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    Why did Jospeh Smith become a free mason after condeming secret societies as did moroni?

    After Joseph Smith went to Nauvoo, he again took an interest in secret societies. In fact, it was in Nauvoo that Joseph Smith became a Mason, formed the Council of 50, and established the secret Temple ceremony. Many of the converts to the Mormon Church were Masons or had been Masons in the past. The Mormon Apostle John A. Widtsoe stated: "Many members of secret societies have joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." (Evidences and Reconciliations, 3 Volumes in 1, page 113) On pages 357-358 of the same book, Dr. Widtsoe stated:
    "Many of the Saints were Masons, such as Joseph's brother Hyrum, Heber C. Kimball, Elijah Fordham, Newel K. Whitney, James Adams, and John C. Bennett. . . .
    "With the acquiescence of the Prophet, members of the Church already Masons petitioned the Grand Master of Illinois for permission to set up a lodge in Nauvoo. In answer they were granted permission, in October, 1841, to hold lodge meetings; but it was March 15, 1842, before authority was given to set up a lodge in Nauvoo and to induct new members. JOSEPH SMITH BECAME A MEMBER."

    ether 8v 19 For the Lord worketh not in secret combinations, neither doth he will that man should shed blood, but in all things hath forbidden it, from the beginning of man.

    "We further, caution our brethren, against the impropriety of the organization of bands or companies, by covenant, oaths, penalties, or secresies, . . . pure friendship, always becomes weakened, the very moment you undertake to make it stronger by penal oaths and secrecy." (Times and Seasons, Vol. 1, page 133)

    "We have passed a resolution that men who are identified with these secret organizations shall NOT be preferred as bishops, or sought for as counselors; the same when it comes to selecting M.I.A. officers. The men who have done this have disqualified themselves and are NOT FIT to hold these offices." (Provo Enquiror, November 12, 1900, as quoted in Mormonism and Masonry, by S.H. Goodwin, page 76)

    I followed this link (from which all the quotes are from) from a wikipedia article not from any anti mormon website.
    http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/mormonkingdomvol1ch13masonicinfluence.htm#EMBARRASSING%20QUESTIONS
     
  2. Bishka

    Bishka New Member

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    Just a quick note before I head off to school - UTLM, is a highly anti-mormon site. They goal is to 'minister to Mormons to bring them back to Christianity.' (my words, but it's basically what they do). You wouldn't have known that, so don't worry about it.

    I'm sure the others will address this topic while I'm gone. :yes:
     
  3. SoyLeche

    SoyLeche meh...

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    6,933
    I don't have my resources with me right now, so I can't do the research I would like to. If this thread hasn't self-destructed by this evening, I'll see what I can find.
     
  4. Polaris

    Polaris New Member

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    951
    First off, there is a big difference between the secret society documented in the Book of Mormon (the Gadianton robbers) and that of the Freemasons. The Gadianton robbers were a wicked band of men who secretly sought and planned the overthrow of the established government through murderous and evil means. Their membership, their plots, and their very existance was intended to be kept secret. They were a wicked and dangerous society. Freemasonry is not a secret society in that sense. From what I know of it, it is a service and charity oriented fraternity that only keeps a few certain rituals and practices private among its members. There is a big difference.

    Certain leaders have discouraged joining Freemasonry mainly because we believe we have what we need within our own organization: a strong fraternal priesthood organization, and divinely inspired saving ordinances. Freemasonry requires a certain amount of time and dedication and some church leaders believe that decidation would be better off focused on the building of God's Kingdom through Christ's church. The church however, has no official statement against its members becoming Masons.

    Now to answer your question...

    This is not official LDS belief (I don't know that the church has taken a confirmed and detailed position on this issue), but I personally believe that Joseph Smith became a Freemason for two purposes:

    1. He was attracted to the strong faithful fraternal nature within Freemasonry and joined as an attempt to gain influential support against the persecution of the Mormon people.

    2. Parts of our temple ordinances include inspired adaptations of Masonic ceremonies and rituals. I believe parts of the Masonic ceremonies contain adaptations of certain ancient elements and I believe that some of those may very well have come from authentically divine sources. I believe Joseph became a Freemason in part to help restore some of those authentic elements.


    I hope you're not that naive to think that wikipedia is completely immune from anti-mormon content;)
     
    Hacker likes this.
  5. silvermoon383

    silvermoon383 Well-Known Member

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    I have no idea why Joseph joined the Freemasons. Don't worry though, it's number 14 on my list of questions for when I meet him in the afterlife or resurrection (whichever comes first).
     
  6. Polaris

    Polaris New Member

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    951
    What are you referring to?

    I simply stated that Freemasonry is very different from the secret society that is documented in the Book of Mormon. The Gadianton robbers were a secret society in every sense of the word and were a dangerous threat to those who weren't part of that society. Freemasons are not a secret society in that sense: they have publically identifiable meeting places (lodges), in many cases they don't try to keep their membership secret, and I sincerely doubt they are secretly planning a violent overthrow of the government. Call me naive, but the few Masons that I know seem to be good and reasonable people. Sure, there may be some dark spots in Masonic history, and there may be some truth concerning their intentions to establish influential connections among their members, but there are definitely plenty of lies about their "secret" intentions.
     
  7. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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  8. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Religion:
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    *** MOD POST ***

    Okay, I'm going to nip this one in the bud. A lot of people have strong feelings about Freemasonry. That's fine. The DIR on Mormonism is not the place to discuss them. I believe the OP has been answered. If any other Latter-day Saints have anything to add in response to Sola's question, please feel free. But let's NOT turn this into a debate over the perceived merits or evils of Masonry. Thank you all!
     
  9. Comprehend

    Comprehend Res Ipsa Loquitur

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    4,564

    This is a perfect example of why reading second hand garbage rather than the primary source will get you in trouble. The link you gave says that Masonry somehow influenced our temple ceremony, coincidentally, the quote you have provided is from a section in Widstoe's book that was expressly written to disprove what you are attempting to prove. He actually predicts your argument here:

    John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations, p.111
    Whence Came the Temple Endowments?

    It was inevitable that those who have sought to destroy the truth of the Prophet Joseph Smith's message would misinterpret the temple endowment. They have set up the theory that Joseph Smith merely adapted the temple conception and ritual from the rituals of fraternal, secret organizations.

    Here is a little more of the text you provided out of context:

    John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations, p.113
    Many members of secret societies have joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They have been faithful to their covenants. But as they have come to the temple of the Lord, they have said, in the words of one former member, "Secret societies have nothing to teach the Latter-day Saints."

    Carefully and intelligently studied, the proposition that the Mormon endowment was built upon secret fraternal rituals cannot be accepted by any thoughtful person.

    Joseph Smith received the temple endowment and its ritual, as all else that he promulgated, by revelation from God. \\\


    This would actually indicate the opposite of what you are trying to imply, namely that the temple ceremony did not come from masonry.




    Here you again have provided a quote that is taken out of context. If you had only bothered to check original sources, you would have actually answered your own question. If you want to know why Joseph Smith became a mason, it would be a good idea to read the section you took the quote from, since it is titled "Why Joseph Smith became a Mason"

    Here it is:

    Looks like the persecution is still going on today...



     
  10. Comprehend

    Comprehend Res Ipsa Loquitur

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    4,564
    The quote above is also chopped up to give a different impression, here is the full quote:

    "We further, caution our brethren, against the impropriety of the organization of bands or companios, by covenants, oaths, penalties, or secresies, but let the time past of our experience and sufferings by the wickedness of Docter Avard suffice, and let our covenants, be that of the everlasting covenant, as it is contained in the holy writ, and the things which God has revealed unto us; pure friendship, always becomes weakened, the very moment you undertake to make it stronger by penal oaths and secrecy. Your humble servants intend from henceforth to disapprobate every thing that is not in accordance with the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and which is not of a bold, frank, and upright nature; "

    The letter is obviously talking about Dr. Avard and the Danites who formed a secret society in 1838 and decided to take the law into their own hands and caused a lot of problems in the LDS community, not the masons, of which Hyrum Smith, one of the signers of the letter above was already a member when he signed...

    More evidence:

    any questions?
     
  11. Comprehend

    Comprehend Res Ipsa Loquitur

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    4,564
    also interesting that Sola's quote is from Charles Spurgeon. What did Spurgeon think of LDS? That we are a cult.

    http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/cultists.htm

    cute...
     
  12. astarath

    astarath New Member

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    1,825
    The same claims have been made towards Christ.. we call this smear campaigning and the mere discussion of it is a prophagation of half truths and deception,

    p.s. may Yahweh illumine your path and guide you to truth
     
    Bishka likes this.
  13. Comprehend

    Comprehend Res Ipsa Loquitur

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    4,564

    I can find no such quote anywhere. S.H. Goodwin was an anti-mormon and a mason in Salt Lake City: Grand Lodge F. & A. M., 1925.

    Do you have an independant source for this quote?

    Also, like all of your other quotes, it is out of context, do you have the full quote?

    who is "we" in the article?
     
  14. Sola*5

    Sola*5 New Member

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    99
    :foot: Whoa whoa whoa, I was invited to ask a question on this topic and since i knew very little of it I went to wikipedia and followed a link which was from a book i think, i did not think for one minute that it was anti mormon, i thought that it was secular as it was a link from a secular site (wiki). When i read it I thought it was a valid a question to ask and that might encourage discussion from which i could learn, it was not attempt to prove or disprove anything, the vehemence of the defence against the link i copied shows i have caused offence and i apologise, i never intended it at all i was simply looking for a question to ask on the topic and quickly incase Becky thought i was ignoring her.

    I will avoid asking you guys questions from now on as you are clearly easily offended and were very judgemental of my intent and have perceived me to be malicious. And will remember not to bring the topic up if i get a missionary at my door.

    Adieu :run:
     
  15. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Apology accepted (at least on my part).

    If your apology was sincere (as I believe it was), then you will probably want to rethink this statement. Maybe we over-reacted, maybe we didn't. At any rate, holding a grudge and deciding never again to ask a question is every bit as judgmental on your part as our answers to you were. I hope you will reconsider.
     
  16. Bishka

    Bishka New Member

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    Whoa...Don't go away. Yes, we can be a judgemental bunch (and we are working on it), we've just had a lot of people come and accuse, accuse, accuse. Some topics as well with us, are a little touchy and sometimes we just get set off. It happens.:eek:

    I'd love to answer you question to the best of my intent. I don't have much time (as I'm in school), but I'll do my best.

    From my recollection and what you have posted, you want to know what the link was between Joseph Smith and freemasory?

    All I can really tell you at the moment, is that he is one. What further parth or question are we pursuing with that (if you don't mind me asking)? You must remember that anything that has been said by members of the Church (such as apostles and such) is not canoncial. Anything that is canonical is found in our scriptures (which can be located here). Anything else is the opinion of a man or woman. Some thing that they say are true, but that is because it is also found in our scriptures and has been repeated often by other people (if that makes any sense).

    I hope I answered some bit of your question.......???? Let me know.

    :) ~Becky
     
  17. Comprehend

    Comprehend Res Ipsa Loquitur

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    I am guessing nobody actually bothered to read my posts that have thoroughly answered the questions... sounds about normal.
     
  18. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    I read them, Comprehend, and thought you did an excellent job of addressing the OP. I'm just trying to give Sola the benefit of the doubt. That's why I accepted his apology. At the same time, I think he needs to give us the benefit of the doubt, too. When people are under such constant attack as we are, we can hardly be expected to react any differently than we do when we see disparaging remarks posted about us -- even if the poster did so innocently.
     
  19. Comprehend

    Comprehend Res Ipsa Loquitur

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    4,564
    Well I thought I answered all of his questions. As for the honest mistake, lets take a look shall we?

    1. His quote is from Charles Spurgeon, an anti-mormon who categorized us as a cult.
    2. He said he innocently followed a link from a wiki article. That article was this:

    Freemasonry and the latter Day Saint Movement

    At the top of the article are two BIG notices, the first one reads "Some information in this article or section has not been verified and may not be reliable. Please check for inaccuracies, and modify and cite sources as needed." The second reads "This article or section needs a complete rewrite."

    From that alone, I would have looked elsewhere for reliable information. However, our questioner decided to go ahead with the article.

    3. After (I suppose) reading the article, he did not come up with any questions even though the article goes into great detail. It appears he needed some "different" information.

    4. He proceeds to the external links and then passes over the first 4 links including Anthony W. Ivins, The Relationship of "Mormonism" and Freemasonry which is an LDS explanation of the connection, until he gets to this link : "Captain Morgan and the Masonic Influence in Mormonism" Does that sound terribly reliable to you? Me either, however it does happen to be one of the two anti-mormon links out of six.

    5. The Captain Morgan link takes him to a page that has six links for the page, here are the six in order:

    a. Reflected in Book of Mormon
    b. Joseph Smith becomes a Mason
    c. Masonry in Temple Ritual
    d. Only One Explanation
    e. Embarrassing Questions
    f. Conclusions

    Now which one did our innocent questioner happen to select? Yep, embarrassing questions. Amazing coincidence don't you think? He chose one of the two anti-mormon links from Wik, then selected "embarrassing questions" from his next six choices, that is unless you would like to believe that he happened to read the 38 pages (when copied into Word) before he finally gets to the embarrassing questions section. And, if you choose to believe that, then he would have read things like the following that make it quite clear he was on an anti-mormon website:

    "In The Case Against Mormonism, Vol. 2 we show that..."

    He would have also seen that the page has published some of our sacred temple ceremony (much of it incorrectly) and openly ridiculed it.

    The anti-mormon stuff goes on and on for 38 pages. So he either read through all of that and could not fail to know it was anti-mormon. Or he just skipped it and clicked on "embarrassing questions".

    I do not mind giving people the benefit of the doubt but I am not a sucker. Did you notice that he didn't bother address anything when I showed his quotes were garbage? Nope, he took the opportunity to take another shot at mormons, and then you guys all groveled.

    Neville Chamberlain would have been proud.
     
  20. Bishka

    Bishka New Member

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    You guys....it doesn't seem like he's taking a direct shot at anyone of us.

    Just chill. :yes:

    I've personally PM'ed him and he's very earnest and trying to figure out what he's heard and sorting through everything that's ever been said.
     
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