Many people know that there are similarities between Mormon temple ceremonies and Masonic ceremonies. What are the similarities and differences? Cheryl Bruno will answer these questions.
GT: I just had a conversation with somebody, and he says, “Do you know why they made these changes in 1990?” I know there was some big differences there. It sounds like there are different beliefs in that. My response was, “Well, it was due to The Godmakers, and that the church has tried to kind of sever some of the Masonic elements to make it more different. Is that is that a fair characterization?
Cheryl: I have a little different view and I am a believing Mormon, so that’s where I’m coming from. But I feel that the changes that they make in the temple ceremony make them more meaningful for people today. Symbolism is really important to me and sometimes I think it’s a real shame that some of those symbols are lost, but when it no longer means the same thing to people that are going through the temple, it needs to be removed. One of these [symbols] is women veiling their faces. That used to have a very different meaning to women than it does today. Today, it’s very oppressive. So it needs to be taken out of the ceremony, because it’s seen by women now as being oppressive. That’s not what the symbol was meant to convey, so it’s appropriate to change things so that the ritual now conveys something that it’s meant to convey. Because society has changed, and because people change, we need to also keep up with that in our [ceremonies].
GT: That’s interesting that you mentioned that. Tell me if this is a true statement. I believe in Joseph Smith’s day, in order to be a Mason, you had to be a man, you could not be a woman. So I’ve heard that when Joseph introduced the endowment ceremony, and he allowed women to participate, that that made a lot of Masons angry because women weren’t supposed to be part of this. Is that true?
Cheryl: No, and I wonder where that comes from, because I’ve tried to track down where that idea is coming from. First of all, there were women Masons in Joseph Smith’s time.
GT: Oh, really?
Cheryl: There were and we believe that some of the women in Nauvoo actually were part of, maybe the Heroines of Jericho. There’s a little bit of evidence there, which will be in my book, but I don’t think it had a lot to do with anything. But the Grand Lodge of Illinois had a lot of different problems with things that Joseph Smith was doing or that Masons were doing in Nauvoo. They come out with it quite clearly. “We’re having a problem with this or we’re having a problem with that,” and never was it ever said contemporaneously, that they had a problem with women being brought into ritual.
 The Godmakers was a movie put together by former Mormon Ed Decker that tried to make temple endowment ceremonies look strange. It was very popular among evangelicals and anti-Mormons in the late 1980s. Jerald Tanner, a critic of Mormonism, was equally critical of the movie as an exaggeration of Mormon temple ceremonies.
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