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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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3 Church Reconciliation? (Part 6 of 7)

The Church of Christ based in Independence, Missouri has made several attempts to reconcile with other restoration churches.  We will talk about one breach with the Church of Christ (Elijah Message) and then successful reconciliation.  We will also talk about other attempted reconciliations between the Church of Christ, the RLDS Church, and the LDS Church.

Jean:  In 1900, the elders in the Church of Christ met with the presidency in Lamoni of the RLDS church and wanted to know if they would agree to a three church get-together to see if they can resolve their differences. That meant, of course, making a trip to Salt Lake City. The RLDS church, wished them well and said, “Let us know how that turns out.”

GT:  So, the three churches were the RLDS, the Temple Lot and ours, LDS.

Jean:  But the main reason behind trying to work out differences is because they, the Church of Christ felt that the generation that was charged with building the temple was soon going to be gone, and that they needed to do something about building the temple. They would make the temple lot available, if we could all come together and figure out what to do and what to build. So they went to Salt Lake City, unannounced, and actually had a series of three different meetings with the First Presidency and others.  Lorenzo Snow conducted the meetings, and it was really at that point in time, that while we said no, we gladly paid for their expenses and they returned home, and they went ahead and had their meetings with the RLDS Church in terms of just resolving some differences. That’s when this baptism and switching churches and so forth, that all comes about as a result of that. But the LDS Church, at that very meeting, it’s in the minutes, George Q. Cannon spoke up and said, I’m paraphrasing, of course, “Maybe what we should be doing is getting our own selves back to Independence and start buying up the Temple Lot. As a result of that, within a very short period of time, they called James Duffin to be the mission president. He moved the LDS mission home out of St. John, Kansas, to Kansas City and back to Jackson County.

GT:  Oh really.

Jean:  In 1904, they turned him loose, and he was able to acquire the 20 acres of the original temple lot property that the LDS Church now owns.  [The LDS Church owns] a lot more property, on which the visitor’s center sits today.

We will also talk about Independence, Missouri’s most famous resident:  President Harry S. Truman!  Check out our conversation….

The Church of Christ tried to get the LDS & RLDS Churches to come back into communion in 1904.

Don’t miss our other conversations with Jean!

378: Comparing LDS & Church of Christ Theology

377: LDS/Church of Christ Alliance

376: Jones Flournoy’s Ties to Restoration

375: Dispute Over the Temple Lot

374: Intro to Church of Christ (Temple Lot)

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Masonic Golden Plates & Temple Theology (Part 7 of 12)

Historian Don Bradley says that masonic implements were found with the golden plates.  What were these implements, and how are they related to modern LDS temple ceremonies?

Don:  Joseph, Sr. tells this guy [non-Mormon named Fayette Lapham] about the plates. He tells him that on the top plate there were the implements of masonry, as used by Masons of the present day. So I found this really interesting. Wow, Masonic stuff way back at the beginning of Mormonism.

In every single masonic lodge in the world, one of the things that they have in common is that there’s an altar. On that altar, there’s a sacred book, usually the Bible, and in Muslim countries/Islamic countries, it can be the Quran, and so on. There’s a sacred book.  Do you know what’s on top of that book?  A compass and square. You set a compass and the square on top of that sacred book.

Joseph, Sr. was very steeped in, at the very least, Masonic lore, but he is apparently also a member of a Masonic Lodge, apparently a Mason.  He’s saying, based on Joseph, Jr.’s descriptions of the plates, and by this time he would have seen them himself, actually, as one of the eight witnesses, he’s saying, the basic Masonic implements, which at minimum, are going to be compass and square, were on the top of the Sacred Book. That’s how it is in masonic lodges. So, the specific Masonic implements that are on top of sacred books in the lodge are compass and square. So of course these are significant symbols for more than just Freemasons. They’re already showing up. Joseph Smith first goes to the hill, first sees the plates, first describes the plates to his father in 1823. Joseph Smith becomes a Freemason in 1842, when he’s 36.  Almost 20 years before Joseph becomes a Freemason, he’s already describing the sacred relics of the Nephites in Masonic terms that have extra-Masonic/more than Masonic relevance for Latter-day Saints of sacred symbols. So again, why is it that it seems that Latter-day Saints would, post-Nauvoo, really recognize as part of our faith? He’s already there in the 1820s.  Everything that I’ve talked about, where these Masonic or Nauvoo temple elements are popping up:  First Vision, Joseph Smith’s first encounter with the plates in 1823, Joseph Smith’s translation of the lost pages in 1828, Joseph Smith’s translation of the extant Book of Mormon text–book of Ether, 1829. That’s all 1829, so far, before he, himself, becomes a Freemason, and already you’ve got loads of symbolic and structural content elements of the Nauvoo endowment.  There’s something going on.  Nauvoo endowment isn’t just Nauvoo.  In fact, Nauvoo Mormonism is not really just Nauvoo.  It’s already there, since you have Nauvoo elements in the stories of the brother of Jared, and Mosiah. [With] the Nauvoo temple, what Joseph is about is trying to bring people into the presence of God. This is what he says in his sermons. So you’re trying to give them keys. You can go talk to God yourself. You can stand in God’s presence.

Check out our conversation….

Joseph Smith, Sr said masonic implements were with the Golden Plates.

Don’t miss our previous conversations with Don!

359: Temple Endowment in Lost Pages

358: Laban Killed During Passover

357: More than 116 Pages Lost?

356: How Much of BoM is Missing?

355: Re-Writing Oliver’s Words: Dirty, Nasty, Filthy Scrape?

354: Dating Fanny Alger