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Masonry from Solomon to Kirtland (Part 1 of 3)

It has been said that as King Solomon was building his temple, masons learned the temple ceremonies and passed them down through the centuries.  Joseph Smith claimed these ceremonies were corrupted, and by revelation, Joseph was restoring true masonry.  Is this a true story?  We’ll learn more about this with historian Cheryl Bruno who has a new book coming out this year.

GT:  The story that I understand, and I think this is what most Mormons hear, so we’ll go with the stereotype and then you can tell us whether that’s right or wrong. So, the story is that there were some masons in King Solomon’s temple, and they learned the temple ceremonies, and those were corrupted, and then Joseph Smith restored them to their proper frame. Is that a fair framing?

Cheryl:  No.

GT:  Somehow, I knew you were going to say that.

Cheryl:  No, the Masons have a legend that talks about King Solomon and when he was building his temple. He used masonry. But in Masonic parlance, it goes all the way back to Adam, who was a mason. They have lots of different legends. It’s not necessarily that they have a temple ceremony per se, but they do have rituals that speak about temple work and King Solomon. It’s said that Joseph Smith borrowed extensively from the Masonic ritual, when he formulated the temple ceremony.

GT:  Okay.  So from what I understand, masonry doesn’t go back to King Solomon’s time in reality.

Cheryl:  That’s just their legend.

GT:  That’s the legend.  Okay. But is it true that Joseph Smith believed that?

Cheryl:  Yes, many people in the United States in the 19th century did believe that that was a true story. But I don’t know. History was quite different back then. Truth wasn’t like we believe truth is today.  It was more of, like the George Washington story of when he cut down a cherry tree, was a historical story that was told to show that he was an honest man. So it was a legitimate story to tell of the history. They didn’t care whether it was literally true or not. So today we would not use that as history. Because whether he was honest or not, we want to know what actually happened.

GT:  So one of the things that I understand with masonry, is that it really, instead of dating to King Solomon’s time, which is like, 1000 BC, it really dates to the Middle Ages, which is off by what, 2000 years?

Cheryl:  Yeah, we’re not exactly sure when masonry, as we know it, began. We know that in 1717, they had the first Grand Lodge meeting. We have Masonic documents from the 1300s. So we’re not real sure when exactly between those two dates it began as we know it today.

I have just one note I want to add.  I spoke with Cheryl last summer and we thought the book was coming out this month, but there have been some production delays.  It is definitely coming out this year and should be an amazing book.  Check out our conversation….

There is a Masonic legend that says Masonry dates to King Solomon. Is it true?

Don’t miss our conversation with Dr. Richard Bennett on the evolution of Temple Worship?

026: 1st International Temple was almost a Temple Ship!

025: Ouija boards, Spiritualism, and the Endowments for the Dead

024: Sealing to GA’s by Law of Adoption

023: Temple Worship:  From Speaking in Tongues to Masonry

022: Selling Temples!!!!

021: Open Temples

017: Origins of Baptism for the Dead

015: Reclamation of Revelation

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*7th Day Sabbath Mormons & Other Teachings (Part 6 of 6)

Mormons and most Christians observe Sunday, the first day of the week, as a day of worship.  James Strang taught his followers, on the other hand, that they should observe a 7th day Sabbath.  It turns out that  Strang had a revelation saying the proper day of worship was the 7th day, rather than the first.  What other differences are there in Strangite belief?

Bill:  Strang would teach that the Sabbath was changed from the seventh to the first day of the week by the mission of the Catholic Church. They did it through their power and they felt they had a right to make that change.  Strang is going to teach that the Sabbath is really important to us. We should keep the Sabbath in spirit and in unity and in studying and relaxation.  It’s not a crazy interpretation meaning you’ve got to pray all day or like this. You can feed your sheep if you have to, and things like that. But the idea was, it’s a day of rest and recharging.

GT:  But it’s the seventh day as opposed to the first day.

Bill:  That’s right.

GT:  What I found really interesting from your book was the explanations why Joseph Smith didn’t keep the seventh day as opposed to the first day. Can you talk about that?

Bill:  I believe the interpretation is that Joseph Smith, in general, understood a number of things such as the sonship of Christ, Strang is going to say that he understood this or that he understood about the Sabbath.   I believe it’s in 1843, in the History of the Church, Joseph is going to say, “Some folks say I am a fallen prophet, but I say unto you, that you are not able to understand the things that you have brought forth….”  It was designated that Strang would bring forth this information a little bit in the restoration of the Book of the Law.

Historian Bill Shepard will tell us more, but the rest is available for free to our newsletter subscribers.  To subscribe, sign up at and I will send you a secret link to hear the conclusion to our conversation with Bill Shepard!

Strangites worship on the 7th day, rather than the 1st day of the week.

Don’t miss out other conversations with Bill!

401: Strangite Teachings about Jesus

400: Martyrdom of James Strang

399: Strang’s Prophetic Role as Translator

398: Strang’s Mormon Missions

397: “The Other Mormons”-Intro to James Strang

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Strangite Teachings about Jesus (Part 5 of 6)

Most Christians believe that God, not Joseph, is the biological father of Jesus.  I was surprised to learn that Strangites break with most Christians on this important point.  Historian Bill Shepard will tell us more about Strangite beliefs about Jesus.

GT:  I remember reading in your book that Strangites believe that God has a body of flesh and bone.

Bill:  That’s right.

GT:  So that would be very similar with the Utah church, in that regard.

Bill:  Yeah, it’d be similar, particularly with The Lectures on Faith, the first and sixth Lectures on Faith.

GT:  It’s interesting that you say that because I remember when I read Lectures on Faith, it seemed very Trinitarian to me.

Bill  60:14  I think it was, but it was saying that God cannot change. Where the difference would be, the Brighamites, with the eternal progression–I’m not shooting at Brighamites. I’m just saying that that the idea comes in that God can change.  There can be evolution in God, where the Strangites, of course, would be so strongly different is that God cannot change.

GT:  Okay.  So let’s move on to Jesus, because what you said, I think it is a very different belief with regards to Jesus.  Jesus was the son of Joseph and Mary, like the literal son, not [the son of] Mary and God.

Bill:  Yeah. That’s right.

GT:  I think that’s really surprising to people.

Bill:  The idea of the immaculate conception, Isaiah 7:14, “A virgin shall conceive and bear a child and it shall be [called Immanuel].”  So this idea is rejected. That prophecy is fulfilled. It was given to Ahaz and it was fulfilled at that time, and it was plucked out by the evolving Christian Church to make Christ more palatable to people who believed in virgin birth. So Strang is going to teach that Jesus…I think there’s a lot we don’t understand or maybe I don’t understand, but that Jesus is born in the natural way. Whether it was through administered by angels or something, but he is going to realize that, as he is evolving, that he is special. The Book of the Law is going to say that, during this period, that Jesus was wholly harmless, and without sin.  He never stepped aside once from the path of rectitude to do a single evil deed.  Jesus would never do anything to imperil his brethren and so forth like this. We believe that Jesus is caught up by the angel, taken into the wilderness, the 40 days, the 40 nights. We believe that he is ordained by an angel.  We don’t know when, but that when he comes out of the wilderness, he is armed. He is a first-degree law-giver prophet, or the prophet. He is not God. He is armed with the priesthood and through the power of the priesthood, and his immaculate good works. Again, the phrase the Strangites like to use is wholly harmless, and without sin. He is never stepping aside from the path of rectitude to do a single evil deed.  Christ maintained this sinless mortal life. Because he was able to maintain this with total allegiance to God, the relationship that he never seemingly took [upon himself], he gave the credit to God. So anyway, at the Mount of Transfiguration, the Strangites believe and it talks when Peter, James and John go to a high mountain apart, they believe that God appeared, himself, and ordained him.

GT: Ordained Jesus?

Bill:  [The angels] ordained Jesus to be the Son of God. He is elevated by the power of the priesthood. We say Jesus did not have his full power at that time. Strangites would say that it is only after he is resurrected, the only person Christ would resurrect. With the resurrection, Jesus is going to say to various people that he is now perfected, because he has the keys of death and hell. So he came by this on his total faith that he would be resurrected. They believe that the person that appeared to Peter and the other people and the ladies and so forth, that this was, indeed the Son of God.

Check out our conversation…

Strangites don’t believe in the Immaculate Conception. James Strang taught Jesus had human parents like everyone else.

Don’t miss our other conversations with Bill!

400: Martyrdom of James Strang (Shepard)

399: Strang’s Prophetic Role as Translator (Shepard)

398: Strang’s Mormon Missions (Shepard)

397: “The Other Mormons”-Intro to James Strang