Few Mormons realize that the LDS temple ceremony is not of ancient origin, nor of modern revelation. Instead, the ceremony originated around 1790 when the Masons first conceived it for use in their secret society. Until 1990 the Mormon Temple Ceremony closely resembled the Masonic Initiators Ceremony, signs, tokens and penalties included. I never made the connection between Masonry and Mormonism until I began a serious study of the Mormon temple ceremony.

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. 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. This circumstance would seem to corroborate the story of Mrs. Sarah Pratt, who related in an interview with W. Wyl, "Mrs. Harris was a married lady, a very great friend of mine. When Joseph made his dastardly attempt on me [in 1842], I went to Mrs. Harris to unbosom my grief to her. To my utter astonishment, she said, laughing heartily: "How foolish you are! Why, I am his mistress since four years.'" (No Man Knows My History by Fawn Brodie, p. 460.)

Mormon leaders proclaim that the temple endowment was given to Joseph Smith by revelation, but after reading the book Freemasonry Exposed, I seriously questioned the validity of the Church's claim. After reading only a few pages of the book I could see the unmistakable similarities between the Masonic Initiation Ceremony and the Mormon Temple Ceremony.

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)

Joseph Smith Sr., Joseph Smith Jr., Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Newel K. Whitney, John C. Bennett, John Taylor, Sidney Rigdon, and other Mormons were Masons. Shortly after their temple endowment ceremonies, Joseph Smith Jr. and other Mormons were expelled from the Masonic order for violating their oaths. It was May 4, 1842 that Joseph Smith introduced the Masonic Ceremony as the Mormon Temple Ceremony and declared that it was "received as a revelation from God." (History of the Church, vol. 5, pp. 1-2)

When Dr. Reed Durham, director of the LDS Institute of Religion, made this discovery in 1974 and gave a speech on the subject of the Mormon-Mason connection before the Utah History Association on April 20, 1974, he was highly criticized for making this matter public. He also showed the Jupiter talisman during that speech, and explained that Joseph had carried it on his person since 1826 (the same year he was convicted of money-digging charges and being a believer in magic), and that he had the Jupiter talisman on him at the time of his death. The talisman contains symbols relating to astrology and magic, and there were other magical items discovered at the same time that belonged to Hyrum Smith.

Although most Mormon historians do not mention these facts in their church-authorized writings (including Mormon deception, intimidation, repression, theft, and violence as well as other matters that might call into question the sacred nature and integrity of the Mormon experience), they have to admit that the endowment ceremony contains many details that are similar to the Masonic initiation rites of the 1800's, especially since Joseph became a Mason such a short time prior to the "revelation."

Similarities Between the Masonic Temple Ceremony
and the Mormon Temple Ceremony, Nauvoo, Ill.

1) Masonic Preparation Room
The candidate 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 initiate is divested of all his clothing, and then directed to the washing and anointing dressing rooms where he eventually puts on a special pair of under garments.

2) Masonic Compass
The candidate then enters, the Senior Deacon at the same time pressing his naked left breast with the point of the compass.

Mormon Compass
The point of the compass is sewn into the left [breast] of the garment.

3) Masonic Square
As the candidate enters, the angle of the square is pressed hard against his naked right breast.

Mormon Square
The square is sewn into the right side of the garment.

4) 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 anoints 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
The initiate is washed, and various organs of his body (head, lips, breast, ears, hand and feet, etc.) are anointed with holy consecrated oil.

5) 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
" I give you a new name which you should always remember, and which you must keep sacred, and never reveal ... The name is ____."

6) 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"

7) 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
A temple worker dressed in white clothing, representing Elohim, comes from behind the curtain.

8) 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

9) 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
"The Execution of the Penalty is represented by placing the thumb under the left ear, the palm of the hand down, and by drawing the thumb quickly across the throat to the right ear, and dropping the hand to the side."

10) Masonic Grip
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.

Mormon Grip
The token is giving by clasping the right hands and placing the joint of the thumb directly over the first knuckle of the hand.

11) 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 second token of the Melchizedek Priesthood."
Peter - "Has it a name?"
Adam - "It has."
Peter - "Will you give it to me?"
Adam - "I can not, I have not yet received it.

12) Masonic Oath
"... binding myself under no less penalty than to have my throat cut across, my tongue torn out by the roots ..."

Mormon Oath
"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

13) Masonic Oath
"...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."

Mormon Oath
"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 "

14) 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
"This is the sign. The Execution of the Penalty is represented by drawing the thumb quickly across the body and dropping the hands to the side."

15) Masonic Grip
"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."

Mormon Grip
"This token is given by clasping the right hand and placing the joint of the thumb between the first and second knuckles of the hand."

16) 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 of this token is your own first given name."

Masonic Master Mason vs. First and second token of the Melchizedek Priesthood

17) Masonic Sign
"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."

Mormon Sign
"The sign is made by raising both hands high above the head."

18) 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 drawing it across the belly, and letting it fall; this is done tolerably quick."

Mormon Penalty Sign
"The Execution of the Penalty is represented by placing the right hand on the left breast, drawing the hand quickly across the body, and dropping the hands to the sides."

19) Masonic Oath
"binding myself under no less penalty than to have my body severed in two in the midst..."

Mormon Oath
"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."

20) Masonic Grip
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.

21) 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.

22) Masonic Apron
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..."

Mormon Apron
Adam-- (Turning to the audience)--"Brethren and sisters, put on your apron."

Masonic raising of Hiram Abiff vs. Mormon Veil

23) 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 "inside of right foot by the side of right foot, knee to knee, breast to breast, hand to back, and mouth to ear."

24) 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 "Mah-Hah-Bone," 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 Mah-Hah-Bone 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: "This is the name of the token: Health in the navel, marrow in the bones, strength in the loins and in the sinews, power in the priesthood be upon me and upon my posterity through all generations of time and throughout all eternity." The patron repeats the token and then they separate...


It may seem surprising that Joseph Smith would incorporate so much Masonry into the endowment ceremony in the very weeks when all his leading men were being inducted into the Masonic lodge. They would have been blind indeed not to see the parallelism between the costuming, the grips, passwords, keys, and oaths. However, Smith covered his bases when he told the men that the endowment ceremony had to be restored to the original and pure form of Adam's time. According to Smith the Masons had corrupted the ceremony originated by God in Solomon's time by removing and changing many parts.

Smith also made free use of other Masonic symbols--the beehive, (Utah is known by Mormons as the Beehive State) the all-seeing eye (which is still visible in the St. George, Utah Tabernacle), the clasped hands, and the point within the circle. The Masonic square and compass are cut into the temple garment on the breast and a slash is made across the knee. There is also a slash in the garment across the abdomen, symbolic of the disemboweling that would be the fate of anyone who reveals the sacred oaths.

Former BYU historian Michael Quinn has done extensive research on rites and ancient mysteries related to occultism. Quinn states, "The following are ten essential characteristics common to both occult rituals and the Mormon Temple ceremony."

1) They are revealed by God from the beginning, but distorted through apostasy.
2) They place an emphasis on the worthiness of initiates.
3) They include washings and anointing, a new name and garments.
4) They emphasize vows of non-disclosure.
5) There are both lesser and greater rituals.
6) They feature presentation of the ritual through drama.
7) They contain an oath of chastity requiring strict purity and virtue of the participants.
8) They feature prominent use of the sun, moon and stars as key symbols.
9) The purpose of the ritual is to assist the mortals to godhood.
10) They employ titles and offices of prophets, priests and kings to those in leadership.

Michael Quinn commented that the ancient occult mysteries and the Mormon endowment manifest both philosophical and structural kinship.

While Mormon apologists have a hard time explaining the fact that the Bible does not support the doctrine of baptism for the dead or temple marriage, they are faced with an even greater problem when they turn to The Book of Mormon. Since The Book of Mormon is supposed to contain the fullness of the gospel, why doesn't it contain even one passage to support either of these two doctrines? It's interesting to note that the same revelation in the Doctrine and Covenants that contains the information concerning Temple Marriage is also the revelation that contains the teaching of polygamy. Therefore, 'polygamy' and 'temple marriage' must stand or fall together.

The Blacks...
Until 1978, persons with any known trace of black African ancestry were not permitted to enter a Mormon temple, even if they were otherwise worthy members of the Church. Joseph Smith taught that Negroes (blacks) are the descendants of Cain. (J. S. History, vol. 4, p. 501) Brigham Young was equally adamant about the status of the blacks. Young said; "Blacks are cursed with a flat nose and black skin". (Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, pp. 290-291) "Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African Race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so." Brigham Young also said "…that if the priesthood was ever given to the Blacks, on that very day and hour, if we should do so, the priesthood will be taken from this church." (Brigham Young Addresses, p. 61) Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith said: "They are an inferior race, and their intelligence is stunted." Apostle Bruce McConkie said: "The Negroes were less valiant in the preexistence, and therefore spiritually restricted."

In spite of earlier revelations concerning the blacks, in 1978 the leaders of the Mormon Church announced that they had received a revelation allowing all worthy male members to receive the Priesthood. (D&C, p. 293). On June 13, 1978 the Salt Lake Tribune reported that President Kimball refused to discuss the revelation that changed the Church's 148-year-old policy against ordination of blacks, saying it was a personal thing. Kimball said: "The revelation came at this time because conditions and people have changed. It's a different world than it was 20 or 25 years ago. The world is ready for it."

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