Date: November 01, 2017 11:18AM
I'm a Master Mason and a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason. I've been inactive and nonpracticing for over a year now. I joined Freemasonry shortly after my faith crisis. The majority of my Provo, Utah Lodge are LDS. Some were BYU students. One TBM said his Bishop said it was OK to join as long as he didn't put Freemasonry above his Church membership. Another's Bishop told him not to join because Freemasonry's rituals are an apostate version of the Endowment. Many never told their Bishops.
So many of the LDS members of my Lodge had a lot of cog-dis going on in trying to reconcile the many similarities of Masonic rituals and the LDS Endowment. One very TBM BYU student said that the original Masonic rituals came from Adam and were passed down from Dispensation to Dispensation. The common reasoning I heard from TBM's in my Lodge was that Joseph Smith was very inspired and influenced when he received his Masonic Degrees. They said JS incorporated much of the Masonic rituals into the Endowment Ceremony because God inspired him to do so. I heard many other weird and lame arguments from TBM Masons. I would just listen and not say anything, but I had a very hard time not to roll my eyes.
When I received my Masonic Degrees, I was astounded and shocked at the many similarities and outright copying Joseph Smith did. The Endowment has so many traits of the Masonic ritual (secret handshakes, secret passwords, three taps of the mallet, a Holy Bible on an altar, the layout of the Lodge Room, and the secrecy that Masons are under to not reveal parts of the ceremony). The Original Endowment Ceremony (Nauvoo Era) has so many more Masonic similarities. Through the years, the morg has slowly removed many of the Masonic elements of the Endowment. But still, so many similarities remain.