When did Joseph Smith learn about masonry? Was it in Nauvoo or Kirtland? And when did he become a mason? Historian Cheryl Bruno will tell us more about Joseph’s Masonic connections and his involvement with Masonry.
Cheryl: Some people believe that Joseph may have been a Mason earlier than Nauvoo, but I don’t believe that. I believe that he knew quite a bit about Masonry. It was in his family. His brother-in-laws, his uncles, his father and his brother were Masons. With the Morgan affair, there were many books written, exposes written about it, so I’m sure that he knew a lot about it. In fact, there used to be traveling companies that would go around and give shows, showing what the Masonic ritual looked like. So he could have attended those and seen the actual ritual being played out. But I do not believe he was a Mason before Nauvoo.
GT: Okay, so it was really the Nauvoo period when he got into that.
GT: So as I understand it, I believe that he was–I don’t know the right language, but he was like commissioned as a Mason on sight or something? Can you tell us about that?
Cheryl: This is another thing I sort of don’t agree with the common wisdom. They believe that he was made a Mason at sight. Abraham Jonas was the Grand Master in Illinois. He had the ability to just make someone a Mason, instead of the person learning about Masonry and learning all the ritual and then becoming [a Mason.] It usually took quite a period of time between the Entered Apprentice and the Fellow Craft and the Master Mason. They could just make you Master Mason right away. But I don’t believe that that particular thing happened, that he was made a Mason on sight, because there were certain things that had to happen. You had to open up a certain kind of a lodge in order for that to happen. Those things were not done exactly the way they needed to be done. I also write about that in the book. But it is true that he was made a Mason, a Fellow Craft and then a Master Mason, quickly within the period of two days, an Apprentice and a Fellow Craft and a Master Mason very quickly.
We will also talk about the Morgan Affair and how that started the anti-Masonic movement in the United States, as well as the involvement in masonry by Joseph’s family. Check out our conversation….