Did the Temple Ordinances Come From The Masons?

Dr. Hugh Nibley lecturingToday a commenter on the site mentioned how I should include more parallels with the practices of the Masons, since that is plainly where the temple ordinances came from. And I would respond, did they? Did they really, so easily, come from the Masons? Can we dismiss Joseph as a prophet, seer, and revelator as simply as that?

I am reminded of a quote by our eloquent Dr. Nibley:

Off-hand, one may say that Joseph Smith could have gotten his ideas from any or many of a great number of sources, ancient and modern. Here is an illustration. On Easter Day in 1954 at about noon, the writer was standing with Brother Virgil Bushman, that doughty missionary to the Hopis, before the house of the celebrated Tewaquetewa in Old Oraibi, when a small delegation of leading men from the village came up and informed us that they had just learned from the local Protestant missionaries how the Mormons got a lot of their stuff. It seems that when the famous chief Tuba became a Mormon, Jacob Hamblin took him to Salt Lake City to marry his wives in the temple there. While the chief was in town, Joseph Smith, none other, got him aside and interrogated him very closely, prying the tribal secrets out of him; from what Chief Tuba told Smith, he proceeded to write the Book of Mormon, establish the temple ordinances, and found the Church. And that, sir, is why the Hopi traditions are so much like the Mormon.

The point is, that would be quite a plausible explanation had the two men been contemporary, or had either ever been in Salt Lake; Joseph Smith just might have gotten his knowledge that way. There are in fact countless tribes, sects, societies, and orders from which he might have picked up this and that, had he known of their existence. The Near East in particular is littered with the archaeological and living survivals of practices and teachings which an observant Mormon may find suggestively familiar. The Druzes would have been a goldmine for Smith. He has actually been charged with plundering some of the baggage brought to the West by certain fraternal orders during the Middle Ages-as if the Prophet must rummage in a magpie’s nest to stock a king’s treasury! There are countless parallels, many of them very instructive, among the customs and religious of mankind, to what the Mormons do. But there is a world of difference between Ginzberg’s Legends of the Jews and the book of Isaiah, or between the Infancy Gospels and the real Gospels, no matter how many points of contact one may detect between them. The LDS endowment was not built up of elements brought together by chance, custom, or long research; it is a single, perfectly consistent organic whole, conveying its message without the aid of rationalizing, spiritualizing, allegorizing, or moralizing interpretations.1

Instead of making Joseph out as someone he clearly was not (a one-of-a-kind religious scholar of the most keen intellect and a knowledge a good two hundred years ahead of his time), it makes much more sense to me that he was actually a prophet of God who received the ordinances of the temple in the same way the ancients did, by revelation from God.

Notes:
  1. The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri: An Egyptian Endowment, intro []

22 Comments

  1. Posted March 13, 2008 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    It seems to me that you have swung the pendulum into the hinterlands. It is no secret that Joseph Smith was a mason and that the ritual methods of the endowment are similar to those of the masonic rituals. To be sure the content of the rituals are strikingly different, but to assert that Joseph didn’t learn some of the teaching methods from his experience is somewhat naive.

  2. Aha
    Posted March 13, 2008 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    While its true that temple elements can be found throughout a broad range of historical cultures, I don’t think its wise to completely discount the masonic influence in the Nauvoo period of the church. I think you will find Richard Bushman’s discussion of this very interesting when you reach that point in “Rough Stone Rolling.”

    I think the key is to accept that there is a distinction between “the message,” and “the messenger.” The “message” of the temple is clearly inspired and came to the prophet Joseph Smith by revelation. The concepts of the Abrahamic promises as they relate to a covenant with Christ in the scope of eternal progression is unique to the temple and bear no resemblance to any masonic functions. However, when Joseph was left to present these eternal truths and covenants to the Saints, I don’t find it at all unreasonable that he, at least in part, formulated the presentation in a way that the participants would be able to understand well.

    Most of the men in Nauvoo were experienced masons, and as such, were familiar with a ritualistic form of learning and instruction. A traditional lecture or workshop would certainly not do justice to the complex and abstract concepts of the temple, and as such, it would seem that some semblance of Masonic rituals was used to bring the message to the people. When the endowment was presented to these experienced masons, none of them reported to believe Joseph was plagiarizing; it seems they took it *as a given* that is was being presented in a masonic style, and such they were more fully able to absorb the message and teachings.

    This idea holds even more ground when we consider what changes have been made to the form of the ordinance over the years. The message of the temple has never changed, but the “messenger” of this message has, giving credence to the notion that while the content of endowment was obtained by revelation, Joseph was given more personal liberty in terms of formulating its presentation, and according to the needs and disposition of the church, this presentation can be continually altered as needed.

    If we think about the Book of Mormon, which was brought into existence by divine means, we see that while its contents are inspired, it is presented to in the English language. English is not the language of God, and it does not need to be a divine tongue in order for us to accept the contents of the English Book of Mormon as authentically divine.

    Again, I think its important to see the difference between the message and the messenger. In the case of the temple, the message was certainly received by revelation, but I don’t think that means we have to believe that every presentational element of the ceremony was also. That said, the “borrowing-from-masonry” theory does not hold its ground when we consider the myriad of other temple elements found elsewhere in the world and throughout history, but on at least a limited level, I don’t think it should be entirely discounted.

  3. Posted March 13, 2008 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Yes, Joseph Smith was a Mason, and the ritual methods of the endowment are similar to those of the Masons. Is that where he got the temple ordinances from? No. But did he learn something from his experience with the Masons? Absolutely!

    I believe the LDS temple ordinances were revealed by God to a prophet, and are much older than the Masons or the Saints. The ordinances are primordial. Joseph did not get them from an adaptation, translation, or pilferage of Masonic ceremony. I believe the Masons got their rites from the same place the Joseph got them, from God, albeit the Masonic forms came through the grapevine and have become corrupted down through the ages of time.

    But that does not mean the Masonic rites are without value or meaningless? No. I believe the Masonic ceremonies were very helpful to Joseph and the early Saints in becoming accustomed to rituals, rites, and ceremonies, and helped prepare them for the revelation and restoration of the original and genuine forms of the ordinances and worship of God in the temple. The Masonic forms were a type of forerunner for the real deal.

    When Nibley was asked about the similarities between the temple ordinances and the Masons, he replied that the Hopi Indian rites “come closest of all as far as I have been able to discover—and where did they get theirs?” (Boyd Jay Petersen. Hugh Nibley: A Consecrated Life. 282)

  4. Posted March 13, 2008 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Aha for your very well-worded commentary! I believe you are right. Yes, I believe Joseph might have borrowed some masonic elements to present the endowment to the Saints. But if these same “Masonic” elements are to be found in other cultures, customs, religions, and ancient traditions, can they be called “Masonic” any longer? We have to dig a little deeper to find the original source.

    My point is that Joseph didn’t get the whole thing from the Masons, as our critics are apt to venture. Much of the ritual, including many presentational elements, are much older than the Masons, but a Masonic influence in the early temple ordinances is not to be discounted. Perhaps the Lord consciously utilized the Masons as part of the restoration of some of the presentational elements of the ceremony.

    Your noting of some of the more peculiar “Masonic” elements of the presentation that have been dropped through the years is good. I do believe that the content and form of the ordinances are separate, and that while the content is eternal, the form may change depending on the needs of the Saints and their present-day experience and culture. The Lord speaks plainly to His people, not only in word, but in deeds and actions which they will understand and absorb.

  5. Posted March 13, 2008 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    Forgive my lack of humility, but I think I participated in one of the best, inter-Mormonism discussions on Masonry on the web. And here is the link: Swick On Masonry

    Great post Bryce!

    -David

  6. Posted March 14, 2008 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    As an historical note, it wasn’t considered a scandal by Joseph Smith’s contemporary followers that he got some of the Temple ritual from Masonic rites. They actually considered it a Restoration in the same way that Mormonism as a whole was considered a Restoration of Christianity. It was an inspired redaction of the Masonic message of the “brotherhood” of human kind. On the other hand, that doesn’t take away from the possible ancient and cross-cultural similarities or influences.

    I think Mormons have bought too much into the anti-Catholic and anti-Masonic beliefs of the Protestants. That has diluted some of the most profound teachings and historical Mormon moments. We should never deny our Christian identity, but we shouldn’t follow the lemmings or defend ourselves against them as much as we have.

  7. Elijah Sandalphon
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    JS- To be sure the content of the rituals are strikingly different, but to assert that Joseph didn’t learn some of the teaching methods from his experience is somewhat naive.

    ES- Thanks for you comments here. As a Mormon and a Master Mason I found your comments interesting. You seem to hold a position on this similar to Greg Kearney who has presented at FAIR conferences. However, in contrast to Kearney’s opinion, from another who has experienced both sides of the coin, I would suggest to you that the content of the rituals, while they have their differences, are strikingly similar in content. Additionally, I would comment that my understanding of Masonic ritual has helped me understand the Temple ritual. Finally, I will politely say that many of the differences in the Masonic rituals and Temple rituals that Mormons point to as significant, while convincing to non-Masons, are in IMHO are entirely the differences we would expect from the Masonic tradition of creating an appendage degree system. Joseph’s stance towards masonry becomes comprehensible when you understand the Masonic view of itself in the 1820-1840. If you are interested in this I would suggest the book Revolutionary Brotherhood. To understand how Joseph may have viewed Masonry from a religious view I would suggest you read any of the work by Rev. George Oliver which can be found on Google books.

  8. Stephanie
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    This is an issue that caused me to question my faith when I was younger. I accidentally came across an anti-Mormon website that said the church can’t be true because Joseph Smith copied the Masons for the temple ritual. But, as has been put so eloquently here already, I don’t believe that is true. Assuming that at the beginning of the earth, the Lord gave the rituals to the people, and assuming that the people have broken apart and spread out, is it so hard to believe that different groups of people have different pieces of the truth? Even though Joseph Smith received the temple ceremony in revelation, it’s not hard to believe that parts of it are similar to parts of ceremonies passed down through the ages that originated from the same source.

  9. Posted March 14, 2008 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Thank you all for your comments. I think we can all agree that there was at least some influence from Masonry when Joseph instituted the Mormon endowment. But I strongly believe that Masonry was not the source of the endowment. You could no sooner have got the endowment from the Masons than you could have got it from the Hopis, or the Egyptians, or the Catholics, or any of a host of peoples who display similar patterns in their forms of worship – all showing signs of the same archetype, but still very different.

    Joseph didn’t build the pinnacle of Christian worship around the rites of a fraternal brotherhood. And this can plainly be seen when we comparatively study the parallels which run through ancient societies – they had the same things too. The temple was a restoration and revelation of the highest ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ which were also had in times past. Masonry is the continuation of those same ordinances as they were given to the ancients, but which have devolved through time.

  10. Manuel
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    I think the answer is yes.

    The Temple Endowment, in my opinion, is a modification of the Masonic Rite, and more explicit in many levels. Nevertheless, I find perplexing that such a statement will simply translate into dismissing Joseph Smith as a prophet, seer and revelator.

    Many revelations received by Joseph Smith were a result of his inquiries to God regarding something he encountered in his life or in the scriptures. This is how Joseph received the First Vision, the Priesthood, explanations for prophecies from Daniel and Revelation, reliability of the Apocrypha, etc etc etc etc etc.

    One thing I personally believe is that the Masosn left a powerful and extremely valuable lesson on Joseph Smith, and that is the principle of honor and how it can be used to make covenants, even if it means to put one’s life before breaking them, to keep things sacred, etc. The Masons have a systematic, symbolic, instructive and powerful way to teach this main principle. And that was exactly what the Church needed per the events that were going to unfold later in history.

    The endowment reflects this very nature of the covenant making process, with a very explicit context of the interactions between the nature of God and the nature of man. A true treasure and in my belief, divinely inspired. Like most of our doctrines, it builds upon something that already existed, like baptism, religious marriage, confirmation, etc etc etc. It’s not like Joseph Smith plagiarized these doctrines from other religious traditions; rather, the semantics that we use is that he “restored” them to the extent we need to gain salvation.

    Well, that was my quick apologetics version of how I reconcile both sources.

  11. Posted March 14, 2008 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Manuel for your comment. Your comments are honest and sincere, however, I believe you are mistaken in that the temple endowment is a “modification of the Masonic rite.” Yes, Joseph encountered Masonry in his life, and probably inquired of God about it, and that may have been how he received the revelation of the endowment. But the endowment did not come from a modification of the Masonic rite. I agree with Nibley who said of Joseph, “He has actually been charged with plundering some of the baggage brought to the West by certain fraternal orders during the Middle Ages-as if the Prophet must rummage in a magpie’s nest to stock a king’s treasury!”

    I would note that the revelations that Joseph received as a result of inquiry were oft times not what he probably expected (i.e. polygamy). The revelations that he received were full-fledged and detailed restorations of principles, doctrines, practices and ordinances which were in some ways very different from the practices and teachings of the day. He didn’t need to take the Masonic rite and modify it. He was given the original by God. Might he have been influenced by Masonry in the introduction of it to the Saints? Yes, because it did have similarities. But he did not get the endowment from the Masons. To believe that, in my opinion, is to believe Joseph did not receive it from God through revelation, and I believe dismisses Joseph as the prophet he claimed to be.

    All the points you mention as coming from the Masonic forms may have just as easily come from God, and the fact that they are also present in other ancient civilizations is evidence that these things were not exclusive to the Masons. As with the incompleteness of the practice of baptism without the authority of the priesthood, so were the corrupted forms of the rituals practiced by the Masons. I don’t believe that the principles and ordinances that Joseph received were built upon or modifications of the scattered fragments of the apostate gospel, but were actually brand new revelations on those important subjects. Put another way, you can’t put new wine into old bottles (Mark 2:22, etc.).

  12. Posted March 14, 2008 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    And I largely agree with Manuel.

    The wider LDS population needs to escape from some of the views we have assimilated from a small minded protestant (not all protestants are small minded) culture.

    -David

  13. Posted March 14, 2008 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I am also uncomfortable with the phrase “a modification of the Masonic rite” because it is then often misunderstood, as meaning it was ripped-off, and is not legitimate.

    I believe Masonry is the fragmented remains of earlier gospel dispensations. To use the language found in those remains to frame the restored ascension ritual, is only logical.

    -David

  14. Manuel
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    I understand your position but I see several problems.

    “He didn’t need to take the Masonic rite and modify it.”

    The problem I see with this sentence is that it implies that Joseph Smith of his own will modified the rite, which I think is incorrect. Whether there is a hesitant nature among the Saints to use the word “modify,” I believe per the sources available it is not congruent to deny the possibility, and by not denying that possibility, still allow for the Prophet to work through the revelations of God.

    “He was given the original by God.”

    It needs to be mentioned that the “Endowment” that Joseph Smith established has had significant modifications in content/substance, and that the current Endowment Ceremony does not encompass many of the things the original had. There are quite a few sources on this subject, but due to its nature, it is not easy to openly discuss on a public forum; nevertheless, it is no secret today’s Endowment is not the same Joseph Smith/Brigham Young practiced in the Nauvoo temple.

    Furthermore, prophets have continued to modify this ritual to better accommodate the needs and concerns of the saints. I don’t see why the word “modify” would imply that no divine inspiration/revelation was involved in the process.

    Also, I we have to take into account the availability of the source (Freemasonry). Joseph Smith became a Mason after he became a Prophet. I don’t think he was moving backwards in the progression line, and I believe him becoming a Mason was an important factor in the development of his character and part of the training God had planned for him.

    We can assume that Egyptian rituals, apocryphal descriptions, early Christian traditions, etc resemble the Temple Ceremony, but these sources were not as readily available to Joseph as Freemasonry was. And the early leaders of the Church did not embrace any other tradition as much as they did Freemasonry. It seems also a bit silly to deny the word per word similarities of the Masonic rite and the Temple endowment.

    “Yes, because it did have similarities. But he did not get the endowment from the Masons. To believe that, in my opinion, is to believe Joseph did not receive it from God through revelation, and I believe dismisses Joseph as the prophet he claimed to be.”

    I see your point above. I don’t think Joseph “got the endowment from the Masons.” But I strongly believe God himself used the Masons to teach Joseph Smith the principles and format that would later prove adequate for the restoration of the Endowment of the Saints. I find it a weak argument to try to divorce Joseph Smith’s teaching from his Masonic training. I also find unethical to completely discredit the Masons as factors in Joseph Smith’s formation of both doctrine and character, and I do believe they deserve a place in the process.

    Brigham Young stated:

    “I want to say to my friends that we believe in all good. If you can find a truth in heaven, earth or hell, it belongs to our doctrine. We believe it; it is ours; we claim it.”

  15. Posted March 14, 2008 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Bryce:

    I think we have a problem with nomenclature here, I suspect most us of here agree.

    There is not a fragmented “authority” that is being revitalized, or something like that, but words and teachings. Earlier, someone used the example of baptism. Baptism has been from antiquity. Joseph did not need to call it something else, he took a practice that was had among the apostate remains of earlier gospel dispensations, he said it will be done like this (immersion), with the authority of God, and these are the words that will be said. But an understanding of baptism already existed, with varying degrees of corruption. Joseph chose to call it the same thing, he framed it in the English language, with words representative of the original words. This is the extent that I am comfortable with Mormonism’s connection to Masonry.

    While I love Hugh Nibley, and I take his point, in all fairness, there was no Hopi lodge in Navuoo, and as far as I know, none of the early brethren had been initiated in a Hopi lodge.

    IMHO, the discussion on the Mormon-Masonic connections has been made hyper-sensitive because the enemies of both Mormonism and Masonry have driven a wedge between us. We are afraid (for good reason) to give an inch, conceding that a word, phrase, idea, or imagery was used from Masonry, because we know how that concession will be used against us. Even though that “ word, phrase, idea, or imagery” originated or approximates the earliest temple teachings.

    -David

  16. Posted March 14, 2008 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Manuel for the clarifications. Your explanations make more sense to me now.

    “Modify” is a strong word, and does have connotations that he took from one and changed it slightly for the Saints, which I don’t believe is what happened, and is an argument that our critics love to use to show that Joseph was not a prophet. I believe he was “influenced” by Masonry, but that the endowment was received by revelation.

    The fact that the endowment has had changes in it since Joseph Smith’s time is not to be misunderstood that he did not receive it fully as an original from God. It is only further evidence that the endowment is given by revelation, and that continued revelation today will modify it as God so desires.

    I don’t believe that Joseph had to become a Mason in order to introduce the endowment, but it was a sort of training for what was to be revealed to him. As for the word per word similarities, whether Joseph got them from the Masons or direct from revelation they came from the same source. Just because the Masons were using the same language does not mean that they are the source of it. They may have got it from somewhere much more ancient. Put differently, if two things exist that are similar it does not necessarily mean that one came from the other, but that they may have both sprung from the same source, which is what I believe happened here.

    I’m glad we agree that Joseph didn’t “get the endowment from the Masons.” I, like you, believe that God may have used the Masons to teach Joseph in the modes of ceremony and ritual in preparation for the endowment.

  17. Posted March 14, 2008 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    David,

    Your example of the Hopi lodge is instructive. If there had been a Hopi kiva in Nauvoo, and if Joseph and the early Saints had been initiated into the Hopi rites instead of the Masonic ones, would the world have then cried, “Oh, Joseph clearly got it from the Hopis”? I think they would have. But is that correct? Is it accurate to say that he “modified” the Hopi rites? No.

    Masonry has similarities with the temple, and the similarities were instructive to Joseph, perhaps even as a precursor or training in the process of the restoration, but I believe he received the endowment by revelation.

  18. Posted March 14, 2008 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Bryce Said: “… I believe he received the endowment by revelation.”

    And I fully 100% agree.

    I believe if a Hopi lodge was in Navuoo, and the people of Navuoo were active in it, the temple experience of today would have a Hopi flavor to it. But the kernel that is required to be an endowment would still be there, as it is with a Masonic influence.

    In the same way that Joseph restord the church by revelation, I’ll guarantee you LDS worship services resemble more of the protestant services of Joseph’s time, than the first century worship services (they would have had a Jewish flavor to them). The flavor of the meeting is not what makes the church.

    -David

  19. Posted March 14, 2008 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    I suspect that in the millennium, the time it will take to do a vicarious endowment session will be less than half an hour. A lot of what is done there is for effect, and is not essential for the ordinances.

    -David

  20. Sporgsmal
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Aha said: “Most of the men in Nauvoo were experienced masons, and as such, were familiar with a ritualistic form of learning and instruction. . . . it seems they took it *as a given* that [the endowment] was being presented in a [M]asonic style, and such they were more fully able to absorb the message and teachings.”

    This assertion is not historically accurate. The small number of Mormon Masons in Nauvoo before the endowment was first given is clearly noted in the Founding Minutes of the Nauvoo Lodge.

    Aha said: “the notion that while the content of endowment was obtained by revelation, Joseph was given more personal liberty in terms of formulating its presentation.”

    Which historical document states that “Joseph” formulated the presentation?

    Aha said: “In the case of the temple, the message was certainly received by revelation”

    But much MORE of the temple ceremony was received by revelation – as noted in D&C 124.

    Bryce Haymond said: “I believe Joseph might have borrowed some masonic elements to present the endowment to the Saints.”

    Are you sure that “Joseph” did such a thing? Have you read all of the accounts of that first day provided by the participants?

    Bryce Haymond said: “Perhaps the Lord consciously utilized the Masons as part of the restoration of some of the presentational elements of the ceremony.”

    Why would He need to do that when He listed the elements that are allegedly ‘Masonic’ right in D&C 124 (read the ENTIRE section carefully)?

    Bryce Haymond said: “Your noting of some of the more peculiar “Masonic” elements of the presentation that have been dropped through the years is good.”

    If the elements that were dropped (or modified) are truly ‘Masonic’ then why can they be found among the temple worship of the Bible? You might want to pay attention to what is said at the next FAIR conference.

    Jettboy said: “it wasn’t considered a scandal by Joseph Smith’s contemporary followers that he got some of the Temple ritual from Masonic rites.”

    Please feel free to produce historical documents where the Prophet or contemporary Saints claimed that he did any such thing.

    Jettboy said: “[The temple ritual] was an inspired redaction of the Masonic message of the ‘brotherhood’ of human kind.”

    Does your viewpoint mean that we should all ignore the Lord’s own definition of the temple ritual provided in D&C 124?

    Elijah Sandalphon said: “To understand how Joseph may have viewed Masonry from a religious view I would suggest you read any of the work by Rev. George Oliver.”

    No thanks. Mindreading of dead historical figures isn’t terribly compatible with good scholarship.

    Bryce Haymond said: “I think we can all agree that there was at least some influence from Masonry when Joseph instituted the Mormon endowment. . . . Joseph didn’t build the pinnacle of Christian worship around the rites of a fraternal brotherhood.”

    I don’t agree ( I need real evidence to be convinced). Again, you might want to study the accounts of the first endowment session from all of the participants. Taken together, both of your statements almost sound contradictory.

    Manuel said: “The Temple Endowment, in my opinion, is a modification of the Masonic Rite.”

    This ‘opinion’ contradicts the Lord’s own words in D&C 124.

    Manuel said: “I believe [Joseph Smith] becoming a Mason was an important factor in the development of his character and part of the training God had planned for him.”

    Those are some major assumptions. Do you have ANY historical documents to back them up?

    Manuel said: “We can assume that Egyptian rituals, apocryphal descriptions, early Christian traditions, etc resemble the Temple Ceremony, but these sources were not as readily available to Joseph as Freemasonry was. And the early leaders of the Church did not embrace any other tradition as much as they did Freemasonry.”

    But the temple ceremony can be seen in great detail in the Book of Mormon (yes, that’s right), the Bible, the Pearl of Great Price, and the D&C revelations. A careful study of all of these “readily available” sources indicates that Joseph Smith’s knowledge of Nauvoo-era endowment rites were accessible to Joseph Smith long before he became a Freemason.

    Manuel said: “I strongly believe God [H]imself used the Masons to teach Joseph Smith the principles and format that would later prove adequate for the restoration of the Endowment of the Saints.”

    See the comment directly above.

    Manuel said: “Brigham Young stated . . . . . .”

    Yes, he certainly did. But you are taking his viewpoint on this matter out of context.

    David Littlefield said: “Baptism has been from antiquity. Joseph did not need to call it something else, he took a practice that was had among the apostate remains of earlier gospel dispensations, he said it will be done like this (immersion), with the authority of God, and these are the words that will be said. But an understanding of baptism already existed, with varying degrees of corruption. Joseph chose to call it the same thing, he framed it in the English language, with words representative of the original words.”

    You are ignoring all of those revelations from God on the matter of restoring baptism – including God-given and angel-delivered instructions on the form and the wording.

    David Littlefield said: “We are afraid . . . to give an inch, conceding that a word, phrase, idea, or imagery was used from Masonry”

    There is no need to concede when those allegedly ‘Masonic’ words, phrases, ideas, and images in the LDS endowment keep being found among God’s ancient Covenant people, verifying that a restoration has taken place – especially when the context of these similarities matches the LDS version as opposed to the Masonic version. These discoveries are still happening (even as recently as last year). There is no need to throw in the towel.

  21. Reed Russell
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    Greg Kearney, in his podcast interview with John Dehlin, had a great line –
    something along the lines of:
    (speaking of the Nauvoo saints and their Yankee mason roots)

    “Joseph used something they already knew
    to teach them something new.”

    http://mormonstories.org/?p=14

  22. Posted March 15, 2008 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Sporgsmal,

    Thanks for your comments. They are well taken.

    Bryce Haymond said: “I believe Joseph might have borrowed some masonic elements to present the endowment to the Saints.”

    Are you sure that “Joseph” did such a thing? Have you read all of the accounts of that first day provided by the participants?

    No I am not, and I have not. That is why I said “might.” I’m not ruling out the possibility.

    I think we have to recognize that Joseph was a Mason, as well as several other early Church leaders and members. We can’t discount the possibility that there might have been some amount of influence of Masonry in the Church. But I think we can be clear that the endowment did not come from the Masons. Masonry was not the source. It was given by revelation from God.

    Thanks again for all who commented on this post.

Olark Livehelp