Clair: Lucy Mack Smith writes about this. She says, “Joseph said, ‘Do not be uneasy, mother. All is right. See here, I have got a key.'” He calls it a key. “I knew not what he meant. I took the article of which he spoke into my hands and upon examination found it consisted of two, smooth three-quarter diamonds set in glass. And the glasses were set in silver bows.” This is Joseph Smith’s translating device, but he calls it a key, the same word that is used in the Royal Arch Masonic myth. The high priest puts on a breastplate, uses the key, and he translates the characters that were originally from a gold plate. So I think there’s something going on there. I think this may be what inspired Joseph Smith to go on and allow Mormonism to come forth.
GT: So you think there’s a Masonic connection to the origins? The origin story of the golden plates? Is that [right]?
Clair: I think so. I think that at some point Joseph shifts from a common treasure-seeker to a restorer of ancient scripture, buried scripture written by ancient prophets.
Clair: I think that story and then the idea of how do we translate these and what do we even wear while we’re translating it? I think that also comes from masonry.