Episode 145b: Mormonism and Masonry: Into the Restoration Part 2

97 comments on “Episode 145b: Mormonism and Masonry: Into the Restoration Part 2”

  1. Anonymous Reply

    Remember that I will be answering questions at the beginning of the next podcast. This is your chance to ask for more details, information or clarification on any of the first four parts of the podcast. Also if there is any burning Mormon-Masonic question you would like answered before we finish up this series, then please post now.

    • Erico Reply

      Wow, I count these podcasts on the connection between Mormonism and masonry as the greatest ever on ME.  There is a lot of explanatory power here.  Anxiously awaiting all further installments, papers, books, etc. on the topic.  Thank you GeorgeMillerPm for sharing and John for hosting.

  2. Watcher Reply

    George

     

    I really
    appreciate the tremendous amount of research you have put into Masonry and
    related topics and your willingness to share it.

    I
    particularly enjoyed the information about the gold book and Enoch’s
    underground temple. I just built an earth-sheltered greenhouse and it may just
    be my imagination, but it seems so incredibly holy and peaceful whenever I go down
    into it… I love the idea of an underground temple.

    Perhaps it
    is an underground temple that Isaiah refers to when he speaks of his people
    going into the “chambers” while his wrath chastens the wicked in the end times.

    I want to
    play the devils advocate with you if I may and hope to do so outside of the
    spirit of contention.

    One of the
    things you seem to imply is that masonry had a huge, consistent influence on
    Joseph Smith and the development of Mormon doctrine during Joseph’s early life
    and the entire duration of Joseph’s public ministry.

    Yet, when
    John pointed out the apparent inconsistency in Joseph’s embracing of Masonry in
    Nauvoo against the backdrop of the Kirtland years and the “Anti-Masonry”
    reputation of the Book of Mormon and it’s translator, you seemed to acknowledge
    that it did appear to be a flip flop, but then you provided your theory as to
    how JS justified the flip flop, having to do with the dual Masonic tradition.

    Perhaps I
    misunderstood what you were saying… but I got the impression you were suggesting
    that the Book of Mormon describes two different Masonic traditions and that
    Joseph Smith (and perhaps the author of the Book of Mormon? Were you suggestion
    that JS or some other human being authored the BofM and used Masonic theory
    from George Oliver?) had been influenced by the writings of George Oliver.

    Yet you
    mentioned that George Oliver was “rewriting Masonic history”.

    Were you
    suggesting that he was restoring the true Masonic history or were you suggesting
    that he was simply being a historical revisionist?

     

     

    From my
    study, I would have to disagree with your suggestion that Masonry was a
    continual integrating experience in the life of JS and that it played an
    important role during the Kirtland years.

     I think LDS history fails to substantiate that
    belief.

    First of
    all, why would Joseph wait until the Nauvoo period before becoming a Mason and
    working so hard to integrate masonry among the saints if it was such a strong
    positive influence on the entire family during all of those years?

    He stated in
    Kirtland that everything necessary for the salvation of the church had already
    been restored.

    Secondly,
    Masonry and it’s effect on what eventually became known as the temple endowment
    becomes deeply intertwined with the spiritual wife doctrine when Joseph finally
    does embrace masonry in Nauvoo, that makes the flip-flop so much more
    significant in my opinion.

    During the Kirtland
    Years there was a huge doctrinal emphasis on the doctrine of Monogamy as being
    an integral part of gospel law (sections 42, 49 & the Article on Marriage)
    despite allegations that polygamy was being introduced into the church early
    on.

    In my
    opinion, the integration of Masonic tradition with the spiritual wife doctrine
    and that brand of polygamy in Nauvoo creates an industrial strength flip-flop for
    Joseph Smith because the Book of Mormon was not only viewed as anti-masonic, it
    was also viewed as an anti-polygamy book!

    Not only
    were pride and secret combinations linked with the downfall of the Nephite
    nation, but polygamy was also!

    Sometimes I
    think that things are so obvious that we have a tendency to assume that they
    are presenting a “trick question”. We then let our imaginations go wild trying
    to justify what we want to believe and we try to find mystical loopholes that
    allow us to discredit and discard the obvious.

    I always
    found it so obnoxious when LDS apologists would try to distance the historical
    roots of the temple endowment from the obvious Masonic origins that so obviously
    played an integral part.

    Although you
    are being more creative than traditional apologists, I find your theory that
    the Book of Mormon presents two traditions of masonry just as difficult to digest.

    I actually
    like your theory, but I find virtually no substance to back it up.

    When John
    asked you for references in the Book of Mormon that suggest a positive Masonic tradition
    where true masonry is handed down from God to Adam etc, I found your responses
    to be less than compelling.

    It seems to
    me that when the Book of Mormon went to such great and graphic detail to
    document the historical beginnings of the craft to Satan, surly it would also
    have provided just as clear documentation of the true positive beginnings of
    the tradition to God… if in fact that theory was true.

    I just don’t
    see George Oliver as being the reason that joseph did a complete turn around
    nor does it provide a compelling reason for Joseph getting involved in Masonry and
    polygamy during his last years after speaking against both of those practices in
    the earlier years.

    You claim that
    The book of Mormon documents two differing traditions of Masonry but I felt you
    failed to show any clear passages from the Bof m the ties the pure gospel to
    masonry….

    Nephi
    building a temple hardly ties masonry into the book of Mormon!

    The doctrine
    of the Holy order of Melchizedek in the BofM also fails to provide a compelling
    tie to Masonry.

    While the
    quest to obtain “The real name of God”  in
    masonry and in the later years of Joseph’s life is intriguing, the standard works
    fail to document the need to find a secret name of God!

    Indeed they remind us
    that no other name under heaven besides that of Jesus Christ can save a person…
    hence why try to find a secret name?

    I think it
    is difficult to dispute the fact that Joseph warned the saints about getting
    into secret societies with secret oaths during the early years of his ministry.

    As late as
    1839 He was warning the saints from getting involved with “secret bands” with
    “covenants or oaths” even “penal oaths”-

    “”I
    would further suggest the impropriety of the organization of bands or
    companies, by
    covenant or oath, by penalties or secrecies; but let the time
    past of our experience and sufferings by the wickedness of Doctor Avard suffice
    and let our covenant be that of the Everlasting Covenant, as contained in the
    Holy Writ and the things that God hath revealed to us. Pure friendship always
    becomes weakened the very moment you undertake to make it stronger by penalty oaths and
    secrecy.”

    Even when he
    did get involved in Masonry in the later years of his ministry, he still taught
    that masonry was “the apostate endowment…” and he was trying to restore it to
    its original purity, which supposedly began at the time of Solomon.

    I would
    suggest that Joseph was very much anti-Masonic during the early Kirtland years
    and that he went through a very significant paradigm change after the
    defilement of the Kirtland Temple and the expulsion of the saints from Jackson
    and eventually Kirtland.

    The Joseph
    Smith of the Kirtland era was quite different from the Joseph Smith of the
    Nauvoo era in many of the doctrines that he taught as well as his personal
    practices.

    To suggest
    that the practice of masonry was largely accepted by the Joseph Smith Sr family
    the entire time is inconsistent with William Smiths condemnation of Brigham and
    his fellow apostles when he said-

    “… we do
    solemnly protest against the doctrine of secret oaths and covenants and we also
    view this as among the principal causes that have overthrown our brethren…”

    Didn’t William grow up in the same family with the same world view as his brother Joseph?

    Emma also
    stated with disdain something to the effect that it was “secret things” that
    caused the death of Joseph and Hyrum. She seemed to be less than impressed with the outcome of the secret anointed quorums and secret practices that resulted in the death of Joseph and Hyrum.

    To suggest
    that the “Smith family” was categorically Pro-Masonic in their world view
    simply is not accurate.

    Some time
    ago I wrote a short series regarding my view of the masonically inspired temple
    endowment.

    I realize
    you are pretty busy, but if you ever had the time to read it and respond to my
    claims from a doctrinal point of view, I would love to review your responses
    and see how you would defend masonry in light of the significant amount of
    prophetic and doctrinal material that warns of a false Satanic covenant
    entering into the restored church in the latter days and the commandment from
    the Lord to never swear by ones neck, etc..

    http://onewhoiswatching.wordpress.com/2009/04/24/black-and-white-robes-part-one/

    http://onewhoiswatching.wordpress.com/2009/06/21/black-and-white-robes-part-two/

    http://onewhoiswatching.wordpress.com/2010/04/22/black-robes-final/

    Again, I
    really appreciate the tremendous amount of research you have done and your
    willingness to share it and field questions and hope I have not offended you
    with the implications I am making about the craft you have chosen to
    participate in.

    Watcher

     
     Watcher

  3. Anonymous Reply

    Hey Watcher- I think we would all appreciate it if you could reformat your post so that it is easier to read.

    One of the major points you raised was the Speculative Masonic tradition in the Book of Mormon. Let me see if I can provide you with some more perspective. The Mormon idea of priesthood is really quite unique. If you look through early 19th century religious writings you will find two main conceptions of priesthood. (1) Priesthood is simply “the quality of being one of the Elders (presbyters) of the congregation” and references to the priesthood mainly use the word as a job title. (2) The second and more common usage was the “priesthood of all believers” in which every member of the church was considered to hold the priesthood.

    On the other hand Mormon conceptions of the priesthood are very different. Priesthood requires being specifically called of God, usually requires a ritual to confer the priesthood, and often required one to be of a certain lineage. For Mormons priesthood was also a power which seemed to emanate from God, and more importantly Mormons talk about priesthood as something that God himself possesses. While there is biblical precedent for some of these beliefs, it is in stark contrast to Joseph Smith’s contemporaries.

    Remember that the Bible talks about priesthood only sparsely. It is mentioned that Melchizedek was a priest and then the record is completely silent about priesthood until the time of Moses when you have the Levitical and Aaron priesthoods introduced. Finally, in the New Testament their is a very brief reference in Hebrews 7 to priesthood.

    Joseph Smith’s conception of the priesthood is odd for his time period. For Joseph Smith the priesthood is something that was first possessed by God, was given to Adam and the propagated throughout time with Seth, Enoch, Noah, Shem/Melchizedek, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and on down to Christ and eventually Joseph Smith. (D&C 107:40-57) Having grown up with this conception, I don’t think most Mormons have realized how out of the ordinary is this conception of priesthood.

    The only analog of this I have ever found is George Oliver’s conception of Masonry. He views God as a Mason who initiated Adam as a Mason, and his progeny was in turn initiated a Mason including the biblical characters such as Seth, Enoch, Noah, Shem/Melchizedek, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and on down to Solomon.

    When we look at the Book of Mormon there is not a lot discussed about priesthood, but in the Book of Alma there is a lot of such discussion. For example the “order” is mentioned in Alma 4:20; 5:44,49,54; Alma 6:1,4,8; Alma 7:22; Alma 8:1,4. Particularly interesting is Alma 7 where Alma discusses his leaving the judgement seat to take up full time his calling as High Priest. He says the following.

    Alma 7:4  But blessed be the NAME OF GOD, that HE HATH GIVEN ME TO KNOW, yea, hath given unto me the exceedingly great joy of knowing that they are established again in the way of his righteousness.

    As we move on to Alma 13 we have Alma emphasizes his authority by enjoining them that they “should remember that the Lord God ORDAINED PRIESTS, after his HOLY ORDER” and that they were “being called and prepared from the foundation of the world”. (Alma 13:1:3) Alma then talks about the nature of this priesthood.

    Alma 7:7  This HIGH PRIESTHOOD being after the ORDER of his Son, which order was from the FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD; or in other words, being without beginning of days or end of years, being prepared from eternity to all eternity, according to his foreknowledge of all things—Alma 7:8  Now they were ordained after this manner—being called with a holy calling, and ordained with a holy ordinance, and taking upon them the HIGH PRIESTHOOD OF THE HOLY ORDER, which calling, and ordinance, and HIGH PRIESTHOOD, is WITHOUT BEGINNING OR END—Alma 7:9  Thus they become high priests forever, after the order of the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, who is without beginning of days or end of years, who is full of grace, equity, and truth. And thus it is. Amen.

    Note that this description of the priesthood originating before the foundation of the world was common in Masonry. Joseph Smith’s contemporaries, such as George Oliver, claimed Freemasonry emerged. Soon after the Grand Lodge of England was organized, James Anderson would write a constitution for Freemasonry. This constitution would be read to every new freemason and would start with the words “The Origin of Masonry is indisputably traced from the Creation of the Universe.” William Preston would publish Illustrations of Masonry in which he would state “From the commencement of the world, we may trace the foundation of Masonry. Ever since symmetry began, and harmony displayed her charms, our Order has had a being.” After quoting from Preston, Antiquities of Freemasonry continues and informs the reader, “But ancient masonic traditions say, and I think justly, that our science existed before the creation of this globe.” and that “Masonry originated with God; like that Eternal Being, it existed before time was, and shall exist when time shall be no more.”

    But it is the Book of Mormon’s description of Melchizedek which help us realize that Joseph Smith’s conception of the priesthood derives from Antiquities of Freemasonry.Alma 7:17  Now this Melchizedek was a king over the land of Salem; and his people had waxed strong in iniquity and abomination; yea, they had all gone astray; they were full of all manner of wickedness;Alma 7:18 But Melchizedek having exercised mighty faith, and received the office of the high priesthood according to the holy order of God, did preach repentance unto his people. And behold, they did repent; and Melchizedek did establish peace in the land in his days; therefore he was called the prince of peace, for he was the king of Salem; and he did reign under his father.Since the bible tells us that Melchizedek was the “prince of peace” and a “King of Righteousness” there was little reason for Joseph to think from the bible alone that Melkizedek’s people had “all gone astray”. However this is repeatedly mentioned in Antiquities of Freemasonry.The patriarch Shem continued, until the time of his death, to practise those principles of the Masonic science which he had learned of Lamech, Methusaleh and Noah before the Flood. He communicated to his immediate descendants the mysteries of Enoch’s pillar, and hence his sons, the Cabiri, became fraught with that knowledge which rendered them so celebrated throughout the world. At their migration, they entered into a solemn league with Thoth or Pathrusim the son of Mizraim, who was intent on converting the imperfect knowledge of Masonry which he had learned from Ham, to his own individual advantage. Finding the sons of Shem in possession of that information to which he so ardently aspired, he eagerly embraced their offers of friendship and mutual amity, and even gave them a share in the government of Egypt. Their ambition being thus excited, little further was necessary to engage the prostitution of their acquirements to the furtherance of any scheme, dictated by their patron, the powerful king of Egypt. The great end to be accomplished was their own apotheosis; and this could scarcely be effected but through the medium of superstition. To awaken this feeling, and enthral the mind most successfully, it was determined, after mature deliberation, to institute mysteries founded on the plan of Masonry. This produced the desired effect. The numerous rites and imposing ceremonies attached to these mysteries were celebrated in the most secret places, and covered with the shades of midnight. … The scheme succeeded but too well. Founded on the same general principles with ancient Masonry, the mysteries were modelled so as to serve the very worst purposes of idolatry; and through their influence idolatry assumed a gross and bestial form, even in the early ages of the Egyptian monarchy. (Oliver, G. Antiquities of Freemasonry p. 148-50)

    It is evident that, before the call of Abraham to restore the true worship along with the purity of Masonry, the efforts of the Cabiri, in conjunction with Thoth and others, had succeeded in substituting their mysteries for truth amongst the posterity of Shem, as well as of Ham and Japheth … (Oliver, G. Antiquities of Freemasonry [1823] p. 154) 

    The Persians were descended from Shem through his son Elam, and adhered to these principles for some time after they became a distinct nation ; until, either by the Cabiri themselves or their descendants, they were seduced into the worship of the sun, moon, and stars, by the fascinating mysteries of these eminent men. The patriarch Abraham had the honour to convince them of their own erroneous practice. He reformed amongst them the rites of Masonry, and converted them to the worship of God their creator. The fame of his opposition to the Chaldean mysteries, the credit he had acquired in his disputations with the Egyptian priests, as well as his knowledge of ancient Masonry, had reached Persia; which induced some learned Persians to pay him a visit, for the purpose of studying a science so much celebrated. Abraham complied with their wishes, and taught them the superiority of Masonry over the absurd rites of idolatry; shewed them how the Light shined amidst the Darkness of the heathen world, which the darkness could not possibly comprehend ; and imparted many valuable theological and philosophical secrets, to regulate their faith and practice, and wean them from the superstitious mysteries of their own depraved worship.

    On their return these men succeeded in restoring the primitive religion; which, however, retained its influence only a very short time, for the wild and marvellous fables of error being more fascinating than the sober dictates of truth, they became more enamoured with the license of their former follies, after having reluctantly submitted to the restraints imposed by reason and religion. The disquisitions of Abraham on the comparative merits of Light and Darkness, being voluntarily misunderstood, were perverted to lend a sanction to new and improbable superstitions. So great was the avidity with which they returned to their former errors, that, not content with practising Zabiism, they added to it the horrid and unnatural rites of Magiism: which embraced the acknowledgment of a God called Yazdan or Light, who had existed from all eternity ; in opposition to an evil daemon called Ahraman or Darkness, to whom they ascribed every evil that fell upon them. (Oliver, G. Antiquities of Freemasonry [1823] p. 161-163)

    This should give you some taste for what I have found. In fact there is much more that backs up this position of the Speculative Masonry in Joseph Smith’s teachings. The fact that this shows up in the JST and the Book of Abraham is further proof.

  4. Anonymous Reply

    Hey Watcher- I think we would all appreciate it if you could reformat your post so that it is easier to read.

    One of the major points you raised was the Speculative Masonic tradition in the Book of Mormon. Let me see if I can provide you with some more perspective. The Mormon idea of priesthood is really quite unique. If you look through early 19th century religious writings you will find two main conceptions of priesthood. (1) Priesthood is simply “the quality of being one of the Elders (presbyters) of the congregation” and references to the priesthood mainly use the word as a job title. (2) The second and more common usage was the “priesthood of all believers” in which every member of the church was considered to hold the priesthood.

    On the other hand Mormon conceptions of the priesthood are very different. Priesthood requires being specifically called of God, usually requires a ritual to confer the priesthood, and often required one to be of a certain lineage. For Mormons priesthood was also a power which seemed to emanate from God, and more importantly Mormons talk about priesthood as something that God himself possesses. While there is biblical precedent for some of these beliefs, it is in stark contrast to Joseph Smith’s contemporaries.

    Remember that the Bible talks about priesthood only sparsely. It is mentioned that Melchizedek was a priest and then the record is completely silent about priesthood until the time of Moses when you have the Levitical and Aaron priesthoods introduced. Finally, in the New Testament their is a very brief reference in Hebrews 7 to priesthood.

    Joseph Smith’s conception of the priesthood is odd for his time period. For Joseph Smith the priesthood is something that was first possessed by God, was given to Adam and the propagated throughout time with Seth, Enoch, Noah, Shem/Melchizedek, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and on down to Christ and eventually Joseph Smith. (D&C 107:40-57) Having grown up with this conception, I don’t think most Mormons have realized how out of the ordinary is this conception of priesthood.

    The only analog of this I have ever found is George Oliver’s conception of Masonry. He views God as a Mason who initiated Adam as a Mason, and his progeny was in turn initiated a Mason including the biblical characters such as Seth, Enoch, Noah, Shem/Melchizedek, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and on down to Solomon.

    When we look at the Book of Mormon there is not a lot discussed about priesthood, but in the Book of Alma there is a lot of such discussion. For example the “order” is mentioned in Alma 4:20; 5:44,49,54; Alma 6:1,4,8; Alma 7:22; Alma 8:1,4. Particularly interesting is Alma 7 where Alma discusses his leaving the judgement seat to take up full time his calling as High Priest. He says the following.

    Alma 7:4  But blessed be the NAME OF GOD, that HE HATH GIVEN ME TO KNOW, yea, hath given unto me the exceedingly great joy of knowing that they are established again in the way of his righteousness.

    As we move on to Alma 13 we have Alma emphasizes his authority by enjoining them that they “should remember that the Lord God ORDAINED PRIESTS, after his HOLY ORDER” and that they were “being called and prepared from the foundation of the world”. (Alma 13:1:3) Alma then talks about the nature of this priesthood.

    Alma 7:7  This HIGH PRIESTHOOD being after the ORDER of his Son, which order was from the FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD; or in other words, being without beginning of days or end of years, being prepared from eternity to all eternity, according to his foreknowledge of all things—Alma 7:8  Now they were ordained after this manner—being called with a holy calling, and ordained with a holy ordinance, and taking upon them the HIGH PRIESTHOOD OF THE HOLY ORDER, which calling, and ordinance, and HIGH PRIESTHOOD, is WITHOUT BEGINNING OR END—Alma 7:9  Thus they become high priests forever, after the order of the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, who is without beginning of days or end of years, who is full of grace, equity, and truth. And thus it is. Amen.

    Note that this description of the priesthood originating before the foundation of the world was common in Masonry. Joseph Smith’s contemporaries, such as George Oliver, claimed Freemasonry emerged. Soon after the Grand Lodge of England was organized, James Anderson would write a constitution for Freemasonry. This constitution would be read to every new freemason and would start with the words “The Origin of Masonry is indisputably traced from the Creation of the Universe.” William Preston would publish Illustrations of Masonry in which he would state “From the commencement of the world, we may trace the foundation of Masonry. Ever since symmetry began, and harmony displayed her charms, our Order has had a being.” After quoting from Preston, Antiquities of Freemasonry continues and informs the reader, “But ancient masonic traditions say, and I think justly, that our science existed before the creation of this globe.” and that “Masonry originated with God; like that Eternal Being, it existed before time was, and shall exist when time shall be no more.”

    But it is the Book of Mormon’s description of Melchizedek which help us realize that Joseph Smith’s conception of the priesthood derives from Antiquities of Freemasonry.Alma 7:17  Now this Melchizedek was a king over the land of Salem; and his people had waxed strong in iniquity and abomination; yea, they had all gone astray; they were full of all manner of wickedness;Alma 7:18 But Melchizedek having exercised mighty faith, and received the office of the high priesthood according to the holy order of God, did preach repentance unto his people. And behold, they did repent; and Melchizedek did establish peace in the land in his days; therefore he was called the prince of peace, for he was the king of Salem; and he did reign under his father.Since the bible tells us that Melchizedek was the “prince of peace” and a “King of Righteousness” there was little reason for Joseph to think from the bible alone that Melkizedek’s people had “all gone astray”. However this is repeatedly mentioned in Antiquities of Freemasonry.The patriarch Shem continued, until the time of his death, to practise those principles of the Masonic science which he had learned of Lamech, Methusaleh and Noah before the Flood. He communicated to his immediate descendants the mysteries of Enoch’s pillar, and hence his sons, the Cabiri, became fraught with that knowledge which rendered them so celebrated throughout the world. At their migration, they entered into a solemn league with Thoth or Pathrusim the son of Mizraim, who was intent on converting the imperfect knowledge of Masonry which he had learned from Ham, to his own individual advantage. Finding the sons of Shem in possession of that information to which he so ardently aspired, he eagerly embraced their offers of friendship and mutual amity, and even gave them a share in the government of Egypt. Their ambition being thus excited, little further was necessary to engage the prostitution of their acquirements to the furtherance of any scheme, dictated by their patron, the powerful king of Egypt. The great end to be accomplished was their own apotheosis; and this could scarcely be effected but through the medium of superstition. To awaken this feeling, and enthral the mind most successfully, it was determined, after mature deliberation, to institute mysteries founded on the plan of Masonry. This produced the desired effect. The numerous rites and imposing ceremonies attached to these mysteries were celebrated in the most secret places, and covered with the shades of midnight. … The scheme succeeded but too well. Founded on the same general principles with ancient Masonry, the mysteries were modelled so as to serve the very worst purposes of idolatry; and through their influence idolatry assumed a gross and bestial form, even in the early ages of the Egyptian monarchy. (Oliver, G. Antiquities of Freemasonry p. 148-50)

    It is evident that, before the call of Abraham to restore the true worship along with the purity of Masonry, the efforts of the Cabiri, in conjunction with Thoth and others, had succeeded in substituting their mysteries for truth amongst the posterity of Shem, as well as of Ham and Japheth … (Oliver, G. Antiquities of Freemasonry [1823] p. 154) 

    The Persians were descended from Shem through his son Elam, and adhered to these principles for some time after they became a distinct nation ; until, either by the Cabiri themselves or their descendants, they were seduced into the worship of the sun, moon, and stars, by the fascinating mysteries of these eminent men. The patriarch Abraham had the honour to convince them of their own erroneous practice. He reformed amongst them the rites of Masonry, and converted them to the worship of God their creator. The fame of his opposition to the Chaldean mysteries, the credit he had acquired in his disputations with the Egyptian priests, as well as his knowledge of ancient Masonry, had reached Persia; which induced some learned Persians to pay him a visit, for the purpose of studying a science so much celebrated. Abraham complied with their wishes, and taught them the superiority of Masonry over the absurd rites of idolatry; shewed them how the Light shined amidst the Darkness of the heathen world, which the darkness could not possibly comprehend ; and imparted many valuable theological and philosophical secrets, to regulate their faith and practice, and wean them from the superstitious mysteries of their own depraved worship.

    On their return these men succeeded in restoring the primitive religion; which, however, retained its influence only a very short time, for the wild and marvellous fables of error being more fascinating than the sober dictates of truth, they became more enamoured with the license of their former follies, after having reluctantly submitted to the restraints imposed by reason and religion. The disquisitions of Abraham on the comparative merits of Light and Darkness, being voluntarily misunderstood, were perverted to lend a sanction to new and improbable superstitions. So great was the avidity with which they returned to their former errors, that, not content with practising Zabiism, they added to it the horrid and unnatural rites of Magiism: which embraced the acknowledgment of a God called Yazdan or Light, who had existed from all eternity ; in opposition to an evil daemon called Ahraman or Darkness, to whom they ascribed every evil that fell upon them. (Oliver, G. Antiquities of Freemasonry [1823] p. 161-163)

    This should give you some taste for what I have found. In fact there is much more that backs up this position of the Speculative Masonry in Joseph Smith’s teachings. The fact that this shows up in the JST and the Book of Abraham is further proof.

    • Watcher Reply

      George-

      First of all, I apologize for the format of my first remarks.

      I am technically challenged.

      I copied and pasted the remarks from a word doc and then noticed there were no spaces, just straight text for my long winded diatribe.

      When I put in the spacing and hit enter, I got spacing but also the fragmenting.

      If I knew how to go back and edit an existing comment on someone else blog I would.

      Please just pretend that the fragmented sentence structure is simply an ancient cryptic Masonic method of communicating the mysteries of the universe to only the initiated members of the inner circle.

      No response to any of the other things is necessary if you don’t feel compelled to respond them them.

      Regarding some of the comments you made regarding priesthood, I think you and I are on the same page about some of these things.

      In fact I think I have uncovered some interesting things that happened during the LDS restoration that actually substantiate some of what you are postulating. I would love to talk with you sometime about this topic.

      Although the first two priesthoods that were restored by angels had application to patriarchal, or lineal priesthood, there is an amazing event that took place in 1831 that has largely been misinterpreted and suppressed.

      That event had to do with restoring the holy order that you have referred to (and is referred to in the Book of Mormon.)

      It has to do with the restoration of the highest priesthood that is not patriarch and lineal with a beginning and ending point but rather it is without “beginning of days or end of years”

      Instead of being called of man, it has to do with being called directly by God… by his voice out of the heavens as documented in the passages from the JST below-

       “And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch,

       It
      being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man,
      nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning
      of days nor end of years; but of God;

       And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name.” (JST Gen 14)

      In 1831 there was a facinating event that had to do with a third and separate division of priesthood (holy order) which governs the other two priesthoods (patriarchal).

      JS gave a discourse on the three division of priesthood in Nauvoo (1- Aaronic named after Aaron, 2- Patriarchal named after Abraham and 3- Melchizedec named after Melchizedec)

      I do agree that many of the principles found in Masonry are correct. I just don’t believe there was a true and a false Masonry from the beginning.

      Again, I thank you for your willingness to share your research and the personal opinions you have arrived at as a result of your research.

      Watcher

      • Anonymous Reply

        At the lower right hand corner of you post is an ‘edit’ button. Click on that and reformat your text. You don’t need a return after every sentence.

        • Watcher Reply

          I don’t see an edit button. Perhaps you logged into the blog differently using your google account or something. I logged in as a guest.

          • Undercover Brother

            Hi Watcher,

            To help with the formatting if you are using Word (may not be the quickest way, but it helped me):
            1) Cut and paste your remarks from Word in Notepad;
            2) Cut and paste your remarks from Notepad into your reply.

            Notepad should remove all of the formatting issues. It worked ok for me. Hope it works for you.

            Please keep your comments and questions coming. I am finding them very thought provoking.

            Thanks.

          • Anonymous

            Hey Watcher- I think you are right that you need to log in to make changes.

  5. Anonymous Reply

    Watcher wrote: “While the quest to obtain “The real name of God” in [M]asonry and in the later years of Joseph’s life is intriguing, the standard works fail to document the need to find a secret name of God!”

    Note that Antiquities makes a big deal of Enoch knowing the name of God.

    Enoch practised Masonry, of which he was now installed Grand Master, with such effect, that God vouchsafed by immediate revelation, to communicate to him some peculiar mysteries, in token of his approbation. The most valuable of these, according to old traditions, was that Sacred Name Or Word, which demands our utmost veneration; and enables man to reflect on the goodness of his Maker, with renewed sentiments of reverence and devotion. (Oliver, Antiquities of Freemasonry (1823) p. 88)

    Joseph Smith was well aware of this legend and the fact that both Adam and Enoch knew the name of God in the ‘pure language’. Joseph Smith tried to restore this name, which he did in 1832 in the Sample of Pure Language revelation. This revelation was revised in 1835 and Joseph Smith added the Enochian written pictograph which gave the Adamic name of God as “Ahman” and the name of Christ as “Son Ahman”. Joseph Smith recorded in scripture that Enoch was aware of this name.

    Moses 6:57 ” Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, IN THE LANGUAGE OF ADAM, MAN OF HOLINESS is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time.

    Here Joseph Smith is giving the English definition of Ahman, and he continues in this same vain in describing the name of Jesus. This also appears in the next chapter.

    Moses 7:35 Behold, I am God; MAN OF HOLINESS IS MY NAME; Man of Counsel is my name; and ENDLESS and ETERNAL is MY NAME, also.

    I should point out that Antiquities of Freemasonry also goes into an in depth discussion of how the Mason’s word, the sacred name of God, was revealed to Moses. We find the same thing in the Book of Moses.

    Moses 1:1  The words of God, which he spake unto Moses at a time when Moses was caught up into an EXCEEDINGLY HIGH MOUNTAIN,

    Moses 1:2  And he saw God FACE TO FACE, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence.

    Moses 1:3  And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and ENDLESS IS MY NAME; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless?

    The truth is that Joseph Smith was very taken with this idea of the Adamic name of God and this obsession appears well before the Nauvoo period.

    • nielper Reply

      George, might the word Ahman be related to the Sanskrit word Brahman – the Hindu word for God which is also related to the word “Abraham”. Would JS have know this?  I’ve been doing online research into this for a couple of hours now and it led me straight into Hermetics.  This rabbit hole is really, really deep.  I’ll email you when I get a minute. 

      • Anonymous Reply

        That is a REALLY interesting question Debbie. I think it is possible, but my own research has suggest another possible derivation. According Light on Masonry the secret lost name of God, while spelled with many variants, is Jah Bul On. In Joseph Smith’s day it was commonly believed that this was actually the name of God in three different religions. The “Jah” referred to the Hebrew God of “Jehovah” and/or the Roman god Jove who is also Jupiter. (Jupiter talisman anyone]. The god name Bul referred to the Canaanite god of Baal, but interesting to note is that in scripture it is common to see בעל–אל (baal-el) written thus linking this to אל (el) or אלהים (elohim). The finally god name was On which some Masons believed was an Egyptian name for god. Some commentators suggest that this was originally not On but was instead Ammon. On Ammon AoF had the following to say.

        ‘We adore, said he, no other but the great Ammon, that is to say, the unknown God; we consider him sometimes as he is in himself, and at other times as manifested by nature. In the first sense we call him Eicton, Kmeph, Ptha, Life, Light, and Love; all whose operations, thoughts, and affections being concentrated in himself, he remains in his solitary unity incomprehensible to mortals; thus considered, we adore him only by silence, or by the name of incomprehensible darkness thrice repeated; and we represent him by the clouds which you see towards the top of the obelisk.”

        It is then no surprise that when Joseph Smith inquired of the lord about the Adamic name of God that the answer was phonetically similar – Ahman. One possible interpretation of this data is that Joseph Smith was trying to restore the Master’s word back to its original Adamic purity. Since he felt that the Hebrew language was a direct descendant of the Adamic; and since he thought that the Egyptians had, at least in part, borrowed from the Adamic written Enochian script to produce their symbolic hieroglyphic language, Joseph Smith now had the original Adamic Master’s word. יהוה–אל–אהמנ (jehovah-el-ahman) which he could use to draw down the powers of heaven, to seal on earth and in heaven, to ask and receive, to knock and be answered.

        In support of this we find Joseph Smith attributing the power of divine kingship help by God as being pronounced “Ah” and when he spells out Abraham’s name in the GAEL he spells in Ah broam or Ah brah oam with the “brah” referencing God giving Abraham a “new name” and when he translates this phrase in Abraham 1:2 he uses this concept in the pronunciation. Note that in the Adamic that Ahman means a “righteous man” potentially suggesting that ones’ kingship is dependent on ones righteousness. This may also be why Joseph Smith thought of Abraham as one of the “noble and great ones.”

        That would be my interpretation at least. As you can see the rabbit hole goes very deep. What do you think?

        • Anonymous Reply

          George, your analysis of the word Ahman makes a lot of sense.  It also fits with this passage from page 82 of “The Spirit of Masonry” http://books.google.com/books?id=oc8hEGwONiAC&pg=PA82&dq=William+Hutchinson&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=3#v=onepage&q&f=false

          LOL, I can barely think – my brain is fried.  One thing leads to another.  I googled Abraham and Brahman which led to an article by Gene Matlock on hermetics.org which led to an 1833-1836 book “Anacalypsis” by Godfrey Higgins (in which he argues that Mexicans are descendants of ancient Jews!) which led me to Lord Kingsborough’s Antiquities of Mexico (1836) –  and there were LOTS of tangents along the way.  

          For example, George Oliver mentions Godfrey Higgins and his book “Anacalypsis” in his 1879 “Book of the Lodge and Officer’s Manual”. …   All this led me back to “View of the Hebrews”.   After  many hours and countless open tabs, it seems to me that the primary sources for the BOM were  “A View of the Hebrews” and “Antiquities of Freemasonry”.      

          I also learned that George Oliver was riffing off William Hutchinson’s book “The Spirit of Masonry” (QUITE an interesting book).  So now I’m wondering who were Ethan Smith’s sources for “View of the Hebrews”?       Aaahhhhh the rabbit hole is so deep and my mind is so weary.  

          *****This is why we need someone like you to put it all together in a book.  ****** : )

          • Anonymous

            Yep I knew about Spirit of Masonry but I just didn’t want to spoil the surprise.  😉  Spirit of Masonry was a VERY popular Masonic book during Joseph Smith’s lifetime. You are correct that AoF is largely a reworking and large expansion of sections of Hutchinson’s text. In fact when a new edition of Spirit of Masonry was produced, Oliver was asked to prepare the text for republication and add explanatory notes as its editor.

            Since you have found this lovely gem, you might like looking to see that the Masonic Universal language is defined as the language spoken by Adam. Also Hutchinson’s description of Adam discusses his receiving an endowment. 😉

            Remember to be a little careful in making connections. Joseph likely only had access to Oliver’s works published before 1830. Also don’t expand Joseph Smith’s library beyond what is reasonable. 

            You are SOOO right that the rabbit hole goes VERY VERY VERY deep.

          • Anonymous

            George, part of the reason it goes deeper and deeper for me is because my family has no experience with Freemasonry (except for some Snow ancestors who belonged to the Nauvoo Lodge).  I’m looking forward to the next podcast where you explain how Freemasonry lost it’s popularity among the church members. 

            You’re right about being careful about stretching too far in making connections but AoF doesn’t, on it’s own, satisfy for me the supposed Jewish heritage of the Native Americans claimed by the BOM but the “View of the Hebrews” provides a fairly satisfactory explanation of this. Whereas the “Anacalypsis” explains the origin of the notion that Native Americans are descendants of Jews, it was published after the BOM.  However, the “View of the Hebrews” was published in 1823 in Vermont by a man who was the pastor for the Congregational Church attended by Oliver Cowdery’s family which seems way too coincidental. 

            Another question I have is about the practice of the-laying-on-of-hands to confer the priesthood or to give a blessing.  What are the origins of that ritual?  Masonry?????

          • Anonymous

            I agree with you that it doesn’t explain the Jewish/Hebrew link. The truth is that in Joseph Smith’s environs that this was a VERY common idea. FWIW I have several Masonic texts, including one by Salem Town and one by George Oliver that discuss the ten tribes of Israel = Native American theory. It was in fact so common that we really don’t need “View of the Hebrews” to explain Joseph Smith’s thoughts on this. However, I think that View of the Hebrews was the reason why Oliver Cowdery, on arriving in Palmyra, became so interested in Joseph Smith’s project.

            As far as the practice of laying on of hands, well Joseph Smith got the idea from multiple places in the bible, and it also occurs in the Catholic, Anglican and Presbyterian traditions. Anointing is also important in the Masonic tradition and is found in the Masonic degree called alternately the Order of Melchizedek, Order of High Priesthood and Order of High Priesthood. Joseph Smith combined these various traditions, each one reenforcing the other, and went with that methodology.

          • Nielper

            Thanks George for taking the time to answer my questions. I need to keep reading A of M to really appreciate it’s contribution to the Mormon church, (can I get the audio version, LOL). I’m really looking forward to your next podcast.

          • Anonymous

            You are more than welcome. I too wish there was an audio version.

  6. Anonymous Reply

    Watcher wrote: “First of all, why would Joseph wait until the Nauvoo period before becoming a Mason and working so hard to integrate masonry among the saints if it was such a strong positive influence on the entire family during all of those years? ”

    First of all the Smith family WAS actively involved in Masonry in Vermont and New York. Both Joseph Smith Sr. and Hyrum Smith were Freemasons in New York. As discussed in the first podcast, the Morgan Affair decimated the Masonic lodges throughout the area and most shut down, thus making it difficult if not impossible for Joseph Smith to start a Masonic lodge. When Joseph Smith moved to Kirtland things got even more problematic because of all of the religions, the most outspoken against Masonry was likely the Baptists. Note that Sydney’s followers were a splinter group from the Baptists. In Missouri Joseph Smith decided to try his hand at his own Masonic organization outside the confines of official Masonry in the form of the Danites. It was not until Illinois, after the turmoil of Freemasonry had subsided, that Joseph Smith was able to form an official connection with Freemasonry.

  7. Anonymous Reply

    Watcher wrote: “Secondly, Masonry and it’s effect on what eventually became known as the temple endowment becomes deeply intertwined with the spiritual wife doctrine when Joseph finally does embrace masonry in Nauvoo, that makes the flip-flop so much more significant in my opinion.”

    Really??? I have found no evidence for this. In fact Joseph Smith’s polygamy is clearly going on in Kirtland and Missouri long before Joseph Nauvoo. You should really read some of the current historical research on this. I would highly recommend “The Persistence of Polygamy: Joseph Smith and the Origins of Mormon Polygamy” which would likely disabuse you of your preconceptions about the timeline of polygamy.

  8. Anonymous Reply

    Watcher wrote: “Even when he did get involved in Masonry in the later years of his ministry, he still taught that masonry was “the apostate endowment…” and he was trying to restore it to its original purity, which supposedly began at the time of Solomon.”

    Actually you and just everyone else who has read the quotes about Joseph Smith’s conceptions of the link between priesthood and Masonry have severely misunderstood their meaning. We will be discussing these quotes in their proper context in the next podcast.

    • Juangarciaortiz Reply

      joseph got influenced greatly on freemasonry very early in his life,Hyrum was member in a lodge in palmyra,exmormon.org i think has some documentation on the matter.

  9. Craig Paxton Reply

    What is the name of the 1823 masonic history book
    (published in England) that you made mention of? Is  it available anywhere? Has
    there been a comparative analysis done of the similarities between The Book of
    Moses, The Book of Abraham and the Book of Mormon that you claim were
    influenced by this book? I would love to read more on this subject and see a
    side by side comparison.

    • Anonymous Reply

      The book is written by George Oliver and is entitled Antiquities of Freemasonry. It is available on Google Book in several editions, but I would suggest reading the 1823 version. Mike Reed and I are working on a series of papers carefully laying out the comparison including a side by side comparison table. Until our work is published you will need to wade through the two works yourself.

      • Joe Geisner Reply

        Thanks to both “George” and John for the informative and interesting podcasts.

        I am curious when the first American edition of George Oliver’s book would have been published. It seems that the English edition would be difficult to place in Smith’s hands, at least before missionaries had traveled to and from England in 1839.

        • Joe Geisner Reply

          Sorry for my question. This is a lesson learned. I should finish the podcast before I ask a question.

  10. Brock Sampson Avard Reply

    Hey George, I’m LOVING this series. I’m not entirely done yet, i’m just a little ways into this last segment, but I have a moment to post now.

    As part of my journey out of Mormonism, I spent a brief period in Freemasonry. I only participated in the Blue Lodge degrees, but I found that the experience was extremely interesting for a temple-going Mormon.

    Anyway, I have a few comments:

    First off, I think that your knowledge on the subject is extremely impressive, and I feel like you’ve really helped illuminate a difficult area of church history. 

    However, there have been a few times where I’ve felt like you’re attempting to fit things into your theory. For example, I felt that your explanation of the Masonic penalties as allegory of biblical sacrifices as a bit of a self-serving stretch. Sure you slit the throat and stomach of an animal for sacrifice, but there are other elements of the penalties that bear no similarities (tongue torn out, etc…). Now I’m sure you glossed over the entire case for that theory, and that you’re massively more versed on the subject than I am, but from what I have read and experienced, I just don’t see that connection as being genuine.

    Secondly, (and I admit, I’m only part-way into your argument for this case) I think that your explanation that the Gadianton robbers in the Book of Mormon is not actually Joseph’s inclusion of Anti-Masonic sentiment, but rather spurious Masonry to be weak.

    Joseph’s modus operandi with writing the Book of Mormon appeared to be taking and implementing contemporary ideas, depending on what he happened to believe at the time. It doesn’t seem like a stretch to me that even if Joseph was raised with ideas that were sympathetic to Freemasonry, that he could have included anti-Masonic ideas in the Book of Mormon narrative. Your argument that he was actually making a distinction between true and spurious Masonry doesn’t appear to have much support in the Book of Mormon itself. In the BOM, (if I remember correctly, it’s been a while since I’ve read it!) it is the secret combinations themselves and not just the bad kind that are evil. There isn’t any sort of “true” secret combination that is spoken of at all in the book. 

    Again, maybe I just haven’t reached your silver bullet in the podcast yet, but it just seems like a stretch that paints Joseph as a intellectual Freemason purposely adding contemporary Masonic history into the narrative as opposed to a clever opportunist who saw a compelling parallel in anti-Masonic rhetoric of his day. I may be wrong, but you appear to be attempting to make the exact same mistake as the other Masonic historians that you mentioned who re-wrote history to fit Freemasonry by saying that Enoch was a Mason, or Solomon was a Mason. 

    I concede that you have adequately shown that Joseph probably had access to and was most likely familiar with and influenced by some Masonic ideas. But I just don’t see your evidence as compelling with regards to the Gadianton robbers. It still seems more likely to me that anti-freemasonry was more to blame.

    (Now that I’ve posted this, I’m probably going to turn on the podcast and have to eat all my words! If that happens, I promise to jump back on here and take it all back! Anyway, all-in-all, GREAT work George!)

    • Anonymous Reply

      Hey Avard- I didn’t handle the penalties subject in full. That interpretation is contained as a footnote in Duncan’s Ritual and was likely contemporary with Joseph Smith. It is in effect AN interpretation of the ritual contemporary with Joseph and therefore AN interpretation Joseph Smith MAY have held. I will try and handle this point better in the follow up questions.

      As for the Book of Mormon parallels, I think you need to see the big picture and the intricate details of Joseph Smith borrowing the SAME story in the SAME way in each and everyone of the scriptures. Let me just cut to the chase on this one. Joseph Smith’s conception of priesthood is VASTLY different than that of his contemporaries. However, it matches perfectly with Antiquities of Freemasonry’s idea of Masonry. IOW for Joseph Smith Masonry = Priesthood. For Joseph Smith the Speculative tradition is the same as Priesthood. 

      • Brock Sampson Avard Reply

        I gotta say that after listening to the rest of the podcast, you’re definitely onto something. As of right now I’m officially reserving judgment until I can read your book (I hope you’re actually writing a book on all this!). Thanks again for doing this podcast.

        Side question: Are you still (believing) LDS?

    • Anonymous Reply

      Something else you ought to consider with regards to the argument that the Gaddianton robbers as a reference to Masonry. Quinn has done a pretty exhaustive search of Masonic literature (as have I) and the idea that Masonry was formed by Satan is drastically different than his contemporaries. For example, can you imagine it even passing through Joseph Smith’s mind that his father, brother and uncles belonged to a Satanic organization. Really? Does that make any sense?

    • Mistercurie Reply

      Interesting.  When I first went to the temple my first impression was that it felt an awful lot like the stories about the Gadianton robbers. When I was believing the only way I was able to contextualize the temple experience was to decide that the Gadianton robbers were Satan’s attempt at making a false temple ceremony.  The Masonic connections are providing a lot of additional context for my reinterpretation of Mormonism.

  11. JackUK Reply

    Hi George; this series has been outstanding. As both an active (though questioning) member of the Church and as a Mason (Craft and Royal Arch) here in the UK I really appreciate the detail that you’re including in the podcast. It’s helping broaden my understanding of Masonry in the US. I think after the amalgamation of the Antients and the Moderns we jettisonned some of the symbolism over here when our Masonic forebears created Emulation Ritual, symbolism that you’ve kept in the York Rite. Perhaps I should look into Mark Masonry and Royal and Select Masters? Your discussion with John of the Royal Arch legend was really enlightening and I’m looking forward to hearing more.

    • Anonymous Reply

      It is always enjoyable to hear from a brother. While there are somethings that were lost with the creation of the Emulation ritual, there were also some things which were gained. For example, I really like the symbolism associated with the three working tools for each degree. I hope you enjoy the rest of the discussion.

      If you are ever in the US in the Michigan area please look me up and I would be more than happy to treat you to dinner and some great conversation. Also if you ever need anybody to chat with about struggles then please contact me backchannel.

      Sincerely and Fraternally,
      George Miller.

  12. Question for George Reply

    George and John,

    I am a huge fan of Mormon Expressions.  This series is one of my favorite so far.  Outstanding!!!

    I have a question. Is there any connection between the painting of “The Apotheosis of Washington” in the eye of the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol and Masonry, and Polygamy.?Is Polygamy in any way associated with Masonry?  From the painting you would think that there might be.When I first saw it, I immediately thought and Joseph Smith and polygamy. Thanks!http://www.aoc.gov/cc/art/rotunda/apotheosis/Overview.cfm

    • Anonymous Reply

      Dan Brown discusses this idea in his book “The Lost Symbol”. Dan weaves a fairly wild tale about apotheosis in the Masonic tradition. However, the only signs of this I have found, with the exception of Joseph Smith, of apotheosis ideas in Masonry are well after Joseph Smith’s day and in the discussions of anti-Masons. 

      To be honest with you I can’t fathom for the life of me how you get polygamy out of that picture. Also I am unaware of any Masonic text which advocates polygamy.

  13. Fred W. Anson Reply

    This keeps scratching at the back of my head (call me a cynic) … 

    If all of this is true (and I admit George’s arguments are quite persuasive) then doesn’t it just prove that: 

    a) Mormonism is nothing more than a 19th Century human contrivance springing from the dark genius of Joseph Smith, Jr. 

    b) Joseph Smith, Jr. was a brilliant data assimilator, synthesizer, story-teller and charmer.
    (which we already knew – both his contemporary allies and enemies agreed on this but interpreted it differently)

    Therefore: 
    c) Claims of Mormonism’s divine origins are pure fiction.

    Summary:
    In the end, George’s arguments are leading me to conclude yet again that the religion of Joseph Smith, Jr. (though admittedly brilliant, even elegant in it’s core construct) is a completely man-made.  

    In other words, it’s no different than Ellen G. White – who ironically plagiarized from Smith and many other sources for Seventh-day Adventism; Or than L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology – who plagiarized from everyone who had gone before and then put it space in an attempt to eliminate the need for “supporting evidence” that so often fueled the critics of his predecessors (nice variation on a theme that last part!).

    And thank you in advance for indulging my cynicism.

    • Anonymous Reply

      Ahhh I enjoy your cynicism. Having been the one to discover how deep this bunny hole goes, I have come away with much less cynicism than I did going into my research. In fact many of the usual jibes I hear about Joseph Smith have been shown completely false by my research. This was in fact a huge surprise to me BTW. While I have had to give up completely that Joseph Smith’s revelations are historical accurate renditions of the past, I have found beauty and majesty in what he created; and I have found Joseph’s theology to be one of the most accurate metaphysical maps of the spiritual (emotional/subconscious) realms and of the potential of humanity and society.

      • Fred W. Anson Reply

        OK, let’s go with that. 

        And, I understand that you and John have more podcasts coming, BUT I can’t help but wonder if what I’m hearing in your responses thus far isn’t confirmation bias. 

        Wouldn’t a Seventh-day Adventist say the same thing about Ellen G. White and a Scientologist the same about L. Ron Hubbard? Isn’t it easy for outsiders to cry “Hooey!” because in their  case confirmation bias isn’t bending the facts to fit the preconceived conclusion that their belief system is true and their group’s founder inspired?  They’re counting BOTH the “hits” and the “misses” while insiders only count the “hits”.

        Speaking for myself, as a non-Mason, non-Mormon I understand, appreciate, and respect your research but I find the body of evidence leading to an entirely different conclusion than you do.  

        Do you think you might feel differently if you were a Mason who wasn’t a Mormon first? And I’m sure that many (if not most) non-Mason Mormons may take exception to your conclusions while still respecting the research.  

        In addition, I would be curious to hear what non-Mormon Masons think of your conclusions.

        • Anonymous Reply

          “For example, I would be curious to hear what non-Mormon Masons think of your conclusions?”
          At the request of my lodge, I presented my findings after the lodge meeting. They were absolutely flabbergasted at the presentation, they thought this was some of the coolest Masonic research they had ever seen and they overwhelmingly agreed with my conclusions. One member who go his masters in history called me the next day and said this research should go to the highest level academic journal. Another member of the lodge suggested that my research would be instantly accepted into the the best Masonic journal. None of the members of the lodge was a Mormon.

          I do not consider myself an apologists for either organization. As for a seventh-day Adventist, I think they would think of their leader as inspired. I think this also true of Joseph Smith. Of course I think Einstein, the Dalai Lama and Four Horsemen of the Anti-Apocalypse as also inspired. If I am showing confirmation bias, then at least I apply that “bias” equally across the spectrum. 🙂

          FWIW I think it perfectly reasonable and understandable for you to come to a different conclusion than I would. In fact your conclusions as stated above, to me, seem perfectly reasonable. We ALL weigh evidence differently, and some people would pay five dollars for a good piece of chocolate cake while others hate chocolate altogether. For many people the ahistorical nature of Joseph Smith’s records is a deal breaker. I can fully and completely understand that view of the world.

          • Fred W. Anson

            Thank you for the response.  

            I concur with your lodge brothers – this is some of the best Masonic research that I’ve ever seen.  Granted it’s not my main area of focus but I’ve still seen quite a bit. This needs to be published and given a LOT of visibility – there’s enough here to keep some scholars busy for a long, long, long time to come.  This is just the beginning. 

            And I appreciate the fact that you’re not offended at differing conclusions as long as they’re reasonable – that tells me that we’re dealing with some real scholarship here not an agenda-driven apologetic.

            So when are we going to get the next installment?  

            We’ve yet to hear about Seer Stones and Jupiter Talismans. 

            😉 

      • Patrick McCleary Reply

        George: I am a Mormon Mason, living in Utah. I enjoyed the podcasts and have some questions for you, but I don’t want to clog up the board with them. Could you email me at pc@readytek.net ? Thanks

      • JT Reply

        George,

        I would be interested to hear the evidence that supports your claim to have “found Joseph’s theology … and of the potential of humanity and society.” Perhaps it derives from his post-Book of Mormon teachings … but then again I have problems with that too.  The following scriptures point to a bit of what I find problematical with Joseph’s construal of a loving God.

        3 Nephi 9 (forges a retributive link between a crucified diety an ocean away and innocent women and children – quite sim[ply, genocide)

        Abraham 1 (supported institutionalized racism)

        D&C 132 (support polygamy or face destruction)

        Alma 14:11 ( … still the best LDS attempt at theodicy?)

        Again, I am really interested in hearing the counter argument … the exceptional metaphysical bits.

        JT 

  14. Porter Rockwell Reply

    Thanx for a fabulous discussion! This was just a wealth of information that has my mind going wild! I’m very interested in learning more about mason influence on mormonism, and here I thought I had some basic understanding of this stuff – how wrong was I!

    Excellent work. Keep it coming 🙂

  15. Jason Reply

    George, John, I think I’ve listened to everything John Dehlin has produced (and that’s a lot) and I’m a big fan of his.  I’m relatively new to MoExp, but I have to say, this has been absolutely amazing!!  I’ve been glued to my seat!!!(or headphones as the case may be).  Keep up the good work!  Can’t wait until the finale!!!!

  16. Debbie Reply

    Wow!  I am blown away by this podcast and I am listening to it for a second time.  Can’t wait for the subsequent episodes.  I even started reading “The antiquities of Freemasonry” in Google books.   I came across this passage in the paragraph at the end of the preface to the 1823 edition:  “”….This indeed is the true cement and intention of Masonry, which embraces all the graces and perfections of holiness: unites mankind in the strictest bonds of amity, as children of a common parent; and incessantly urges them to ask that they may have, to seek and they shall find, and to knock that the door may be opened unto them…”  
    Hmmmmmm…… isn’t this the passage from the Bible that JS was reading when he decided to go to the grove and pray about which church to join? The paragraph goes on to say, ” And this is the conclusion that Masonry draws from all her illustrations: he who practices all the virtues recommended in FAITH, will rejoice in HOPE, be in perfect CHARITY with all mankind, and finally receive a PASS WORD into the Grand Lodge above, where peace, order, and harmony eternally preside.”     Traditional Christianity talks a lot about Faith, Hope, and Charity, but only Mormonism talks about Pass Words for getting into heaven (the Grand Lodge above, LOL).  Question:  1. Do Masons still subscribe the two types of Masonry mentioned in the book, namely practical Masonry and speculative Masonry?  The way George Oliver writes about Masonry makes it, in its truest form, seem more like a religion than a craftsmen’s guild or men’s club.  2. Are Master Masons (or whatever they highest leaders are called) considered to have a more direct line to God than common lay people?  I really hope you will put all of this information in a well organized book complete with charts and pictures, etc.  In the meantime I will continue to read “The antiquities of Freemasonry” because this book explains more about the origins of Mormonism than anything else I’ve ever seen or read.  Thank you for making this information available.  And thank God for Google books…….

    • Juangarciaortiz Reply

      pass word that debbie mention to enter the celestial kindom in the mormon temple is also known as the new name they give you-you can’t forget it,this day what the church is quoting what bible passage smith used to pray on what church to join is james 1;10 ask for wisdom and he will answer you.

  17. Anonymous Reply

    Wow!  I am blown away by this podcast and I am listening to it for a second time.  Can’t wait for the subsequent episodes.  I even started reading “The antiquities of Freemasonry” in Google books.   
    I came across this passage in the paragraph at the end of the preface to the 1823 edition:  “”….This indeed is the true cement and intention of Masonry, which embraces all the graces and perfections of holiness: unites mankind in the strictest bonds of amity, as children of a common parent; and incessantly urges them to ask that they may have, to seek and they shall find, and to knock that the door may be opened unto them…” 
     Hmmmmmm…… isn’t this the passage from the Bible that JS was reading when he decided to go to the grove and pray about which church to join? 

    The paragraph goes on to say, ” And this is the conclusion that Masonry draws from all her illustrations: he who practices all the virtues recommended in FAITH, will rejoice in HOPE, be in perfect CHARITY with all mankind, and finally receive a PASS WORD into the Grand Lodge above, where peace, order, and harmony eternally preside.”     

    Traditional Christianity talks a lot about Faith, Hope, and Charity, but only Mormonism talks about Pass Words for getting into heaven (the Grand Lodge above, LOL).  

    Question:  1. Do Masons still subscribe the two types of Masonry mentioned in the book, namely practical Masonry and speculative Masonry?  The way George Oliver writes about Masonry makes it, in its truest form, seem more like a religion than a craftsmen’s guild or men’s club.  
    2. Are Master Masons (or whatever they highest leaders are called) considered to have a more direct line to God than common lay people?  

    I really hope you will put all of this information in a well organized book complete with charts and pictures, etc.  In the meantime I will continue to read “The antiquities of Freemasonry” because this book explains more about the origins of Mormonism than anything else I’ve ever seen or read.  Thank you for making this information available.  And thank God for Google books…….

    • Anonymous Reply

      sorry this is posted twice.  I reposted it after logging in so I could correct the formatting and I couldn’t delete the original post. Actually this is the first time I’ve commented in ME – lol.  : )

    • Anonymous Reply

      “Do Masons still subscribe the two types of Masonry mentioned in the book, namely practical Masonry and speculative Masonry?”Masons today still talk about two type of Masonry: (1) operative and (2) speculative masonry. Operative masonry is the art of building building while the speculative tradition is philosophical. Oliver introduced the dichotomy of (1) Spurious vs. (2) Speculative; and while this became popular during Joseph Smith’s lifetime, in 1870s as Masonic historians used modern historical tools to investigate the history of Masonry, George Oliver’s theories feel into the trash can of Masonic history as they were simply ahistorical. Today no responsible Masonic historian believes Oliver’s rendition of history, and in fact almost no Mason today knows Oliver even existed.

      “Are Master Masons (or whatever they highest leaders are called) considered to have a more direct line to God than common lay people? ”
      No they do not claim this at all. In America the Christianization movement of Freemasonry was largely abandoned in the aftermath of Morgan Affair. Freemasonry is not a religion nor has it ever claimed to be a religion. Even George Oliver claimed that it was at most the handmaid of religion.

    • Anonymous Reply

      I am glad you found those interesting quotes from George Oliver. The phrase “knock seek and they shall find, and to knock that the door may be opened” is common in Masonic ritual; and it probably for this reason that it was an important one for Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith took both the emphasis on the family of God from both the Universalist and Masonic and further elaborated on these principles to create his doctrine.

      Brigham Young’s definition of the endowment is indeed derived from Masonic sources, and George Oliver is not the only example of this phrasing. 

  18. JT Reply

    George,

    I mat be way off the mark … but is there a connection between the bad form of masonry and the 24 gold plates of the Jaredites which describe  the “secret works of those people who have been destroyed (Alma 3:21).

    Do you know when you’ll be returning for the next/final installment?

    • Anonymous Reply

      Yes there most definitely is a connection between the Spurious Masonic tradition and the secret combinations among Jaredites. 🙂

  19. JT Reply

    George,

    I went back to Alma 37 (note that I typed “Alma 3:21” rather than Alma 37:21) to refresh 

    Indeed, reading through verse 31, something odd is going on.  The Gazelem business … oaths, signs, covenants, abominations …and  “keeping the secret plans of their oaths … from the people.”  … secret combinations

    Is Joseph is setting himself up to lead the Latter-day battle against the bad guys when he inherits the stone?

    Thrilling mystery time!

    • Anonymous Reply

      Since Joseph Smith received his seer stone before the Morgan Affair, I think your interpretation may be a little off.

  20. Guest Reply

    You briefly discuss how Joseph Smith went about writing the Adamic language. Does this mean it would be possible to create an English to Adamic dictionary and people could start speaking it like Tolkien fans speaking Elvish or Star Trek fans speaking Klingon?

    • Anonymous Reply

      Joseph Smith actually began such a project. However he only revealed about ten words before he gave up the project. 🙂

      Sorry there is not enough there to make a whole dictionary.

      Kapla,
      George Miller

      • Fred W. Anson Reply

        Oh, I don’t know about that . . . 
        If someone wants to start attending Pentecostal Church meetings and cataloging the words used in Tongues Speaking they could pick up where Joseph Smith left off. And I’m quite sure that the results would be just as accurate as anything Joseph Smith’s “Lexicon of the Adamic Language”.
        (tongue firmly in cheek)

  21. JT Reply

    George,

    Is their a Masonic element to the renting of garments in Alma 46?  I do not believe the act is associated with covenant making in other scriptures – it seems more a custom for expressing mourning or righteous indignation.

    • Anonymous Reply

      That is unlikely to be a Masonic allusion. While the symbols and placement of the symbols on the Mormon garment are Masonic, I have not found any Masonic tradition of marked undergarments. The allusion here is to Old Testament practice of renting ones clothes either in mourning or IIRC the making of covenants.

      • JT Reply

        I’ll have to looking to the covenant part more deeply.  I did not find a connection between renting clothes and covenants in the Bible when I did a preliminary search prior to writing in this question.

        • Anonymous Reply

          JT you may be right that with regards to the covenant connection that I am incorrect. I did a quick google search and didn’t readily come across anything. 

  22. Watcher Reply

    George

    Have you read the book “The Adamic Language and Calendar: the true Bible Code” by David Cohen MD?

    If so, can you comment on it?

    Thanks

    Watcher

    • Anonymous Reply

      “Have you read the book “The Adamic Language and Calendar: the true Bible Code” by David Cohen MD?”
      I had never heard of the book before you mentioned it, but I did a little digging to find what information I could glean. The author provides a four pages except from Chapter 4 on his website which I did read. I can tell you that Cohen’s description of the Adamic language as contained on those four pages is in direct contradiction to Joseph Smith’s description of the Adamic language as contained in his revision the “A Sample of Pure Language” revelation, of which the only extant copy is contained in a letter written by W. W. Phelps to his wife in 1835. I did notice that this is a self-published book, meaning it didn’t pass the muster of an editor and that it has likely not undergone any  peer-review process. This is usually a bad sign; and as such it would immediately get shunted to the bottom of my very long reading/purchase list.

      • Watcher Reply

        George,Do you have any links to online articles, etc. written by you or anyone else that address Joseph Smith’s description of the Adamic
        language as contained in his revision of the “A Sample of Pure
        Language” revelation?

        • Watcher Reply

          For anyone interested, I found the following link leading to an interesting summation by Ben Park

          http://www.juvenileinstructor.org/from-the-archives-a-sample-of-pure-language-part-i-the-text/

          BTW George-

          Very little of what JS revealed would have passed by pass the muster of an editor or would have successfully undergone any  peer-review process by the leading religious scholars of his day.

          I find it interesting that you put so much stock in those who have been trained in the schools of Babylon…

          • Anonymous

            Perhaps I will take a sabbatical to Babylon University. I hear that the gardens there are quite beautiful this time of year.  😉

        • Anonymous Reply

          To get you started I would check out the following two journal articles. Then feel free read the text of both the “Sample of Pure Language” and the revision “Specimen of Some of the ‘Pure Language'” and then re-listen to the Kirtland section of the podcast. After doing that, if you still have questions with regards to Joseph Smith’s conception of the Adamic language, then I would be happy to answer them.

          Brown, Sam. Joseph (Smith) in Egypt: Babel, Hieroglyphs, and the Pure Language of Eden.  Church History Studies in Christianity and Culture (2009) 78(1) pp. 26-65

          Christopher C. Smith, “The Dependence of Abraham 1:1-3 on the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar,” John Whitmer Historical Association Journal 29 (2009): 38-54

      • Juangarciaortiz Reply

        don’t discard completely the unedited work like thesample of pure language by w.w.phelps it can show what they really thought back then and what the leaders were teaching.

    • Anonymous Reply

      “Have you read the book “The Adamic Language and Calendar: the true Bible Code” by David Cohen MD?”
      I had never heard of the book before you mentioned it, but I did a little digging to find what information I could glean. The author provides a four pages except from Chapter 4 on his website which I did read. I can tell you that Cohen’s description of the Adamic language as contained on those four pages is in direct contradiction to Joseph Smith’s description of the Adamic language as contained in his revision the “A Sample of Pure Language” revelation, of which the only extant copy is contained in a letter written by W. W. Phelps to his wife in 1835. I did notice that this is a self-published book, meaning it didn’t pass the muster of an editor and that it has likely not undergone any  peer-review process. This is usually a bad sign; and as such it would immediately get shunted to the bottom of my very long reading/purchase list.

  23. JT Reply

    George,

    The reference to “curious workmen” in Helaman 6 struck me as strange. I’m betting it has something to do with Masonry. Good or bad guess?

    • Anonymous Reply

      Hello JT- You asked about the phrase “curious workmen” in Helaman 6. The whole verse is as follows.

      HEL 6:11 And behold, there was all manner of gold in both these lands, and of silver, and of precious ore of every kind; and there were also CURIOUS WORKMEN, who did work all kinds of ore and did refine it; and thus they did become rich.

      You asked about the phrase “curious workmen” and if it might have some Masonic reference. While Helaman is the only one that uses the phrase “curious workmen” the phrase “curious workmanship” is multiply attested in Joseph Smith’s work.

      1 Nephi 18:1 And it came to pass that they did worship the Lord, and did go forth with me; and we did work timbers of CURIOUS WORKMANSHIP. And the Lord did show me from time to time after what manner I should work the timbers of the ship.

      1 Nephi 16:10 And it came to pass that as my father arose in the morning, and went forth to the tent door, to his great astonishment he beheld upon the ground a round ball of CURIOUS WORKMANSHIP; and it was of fine brass. And within the ball were two spindles; and the one pointed the way whither we should go into the wilderness.

      Alma 37:39 And behold, there cannot any man work after the manner of so CURIOUS A WORKMANSHIP. And behold, it was prepared to show unto our fathers the course which they should travel in the wilderness.

      Ether 10:27 And they did make all manner of weapons of war. And they did work all manner of work of exceedingly CURIOUS WORKMANSHIP.

      You asked if there is any Masonic about this phrasing. There may be a linguistic connection. Remember that Masons had to memorize long catechisms to progress from degree to degree, and because of this the Masonic vernacular would commonly become part of their everyday way of talking. The Master Mason catechism according to Bernard’s 1829 publication Light on Masonry has the following questions and responses.

      Q. What further supported [The Temple]?
      A. Three grand columns, or pillars.
      Q. What were they called?
      A. Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty.
      Q. What did they represent?
      A. The pillar of wisdom represented Solomon, king of Israel whose wisdom contrived the mighty fabric; the pillar of strength. Hiram, king of Tyre, who strengthened. Solomon in his glorious undertaking; the pillar of beauty, Hiram Abiff, the widow’s son, whose cunning craft and CURIOUS WORKMANSHIP beautified and adorned the temple.

      If you examine the Masonic literature from this time period, you can see how this phrasing worked it way into Masonic literature. Note that Joseph Smith uses the phrase in a similar context as that found in the catechism. Also remember that in one account of what was found with the gold plates, it is mention that they rested upon three pillars, similar to the three pillar mentioned in the building of King Solomon’s temple; and in some versions there are three pillars holding up the underground temple complex of Enoch.

      However, while this may seem like a strong argument, care should be taken in accepting it as there is a lot of mitigating evidence. While this term was used in Masonic parlance, it is not unique to Freemasonry. For example while “curious workmanship” is not used in the Bible, the phrase “curious works” does appear.

      Exodus 35:32 And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,

      Additionally, the phrase was far from uncommon in non-Masonic discourse of the early 1800s. For example the Google Books reports more than 9000 usages of “curious workmanship” during the years 1790-1870. Thus while it is definitely “possible” that Joseph Smith picked up this phrase from his father, brother and/or uncles who were Freemasons, I would not want to stake an academic reputation on such an assertion in the face of its wide usage in other contexts.

      • JT Reply

        George,

        Yes.  Thanks.

        Soon after I posted it dawned on me to check the Bible using LDS scriptures on-line. Indeed, I saw that piece mitigating evidence. But your answer adds much more and I appreciate your comment about mitigating evidence.  Very important in a climate of contending agendas.

        There is another interesting source for following up on phrases – Google Ngram viewer.  It spits out a graph of percentage of books containing a given phrase as a function of the year.  It links directly to Google Books.

        Type in “curious workman” and “curious workmanship” to see the hits.  Notice how the peaks occur at different dates.  But these are percentages, not absolute numbers.

        I also just went to Google books.  I got 11,000 hits for “curious workmanship” from between 1700 and 1870 – and 5000 hits from between 1700 and 1829, the latter being the time frame I am interested in.

        On the other hand, there are only 252 hits for “curious workman” between 1700 and 1829, and while I have not taken an exhaustive look, there are some duplicates and others that seem to be unlikely source material for Book of Mormon. 

        And, there are only 12 its when you add “masonry” as a second search term.

        This is hardly research on my part – but I think we are seeing a invaluable research tool (obviously, that’s why Google created it.  But I am sure that it is one that needs to be properly understood to reap its full value – probably being only the first step in exploring an hypothesis and combined with other lines of evidence.

        I’m still looking forward to your next segment and, again, I am very appreciative of the time and effort you are devoting to these questions.

        JT

        • Anonymous Reply

          Hey JT- Thanks for linking me to Google Ngram. That is a useful tool.

  24. Anonymous Reply

    George, I found a quote from Robert Wright’s book “The Evolution of God” which fits so well with this topic.  

    “In short, religions that reach great stature have a tendency to rewrite their history in the process.  They cast themselves as distinctive from the get-go, rather than as growing organically out of their milieu.  They find an epoch-marking figure – a Moses, a Jesus, a Muhammad – and turn him into an epoch-making figure.  They depict his message as contrasting sharply with the backdrop that, in fact, his message was infused with.”   

    Joseph Smith’s story fits perfectly with this.  I’m glad you have unearthed for the rest of us one of the very important sources of the BOM and Mormon doctrine.  It’s liberating to see that Joseph Smith was a really more of an epoch-marker and not an epoch-maker.  He was the product of his time and place.

    • Anonymous Reply

      Everyone and Everything is a product of its time and place. While Joseph Smith did borrow heavily from various religious and Masonic sources, the synthesis required deep reflection, perspiration and IMHO inspiration. 

      • Anonymous Reply

        You’re right George that we are all a product of our time and place but for many years the church would have us believe that God and Jesus appeared to Joseph Smith because of his faith and his simple prayer. 
        It reminds me of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz when she keeps getting blown off again and again and being told to “come back tomorrow”.  Toto finally goes over and pulls back the curtain and reveals a man working all kinds of contraptions.  The wizard yells out “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWyCCJ6B2WE     

        “Lucy! You got some splainin’ to do.”

  25. Watcher Reply

    George

    Have you in your research ever discovered a link between Albert Pike and Brigham Young or any of his brethren of the Twelve?

    I have wondered if there was a connection or communication between Pike and BY or any of his brethren and if Pike my have influenced some of the early leaders of the church in the evolution of the endowment.

    I have heard it said that P. P. Pratt was assassinated within a few miles of Pike’s home and that Pratt may have been going to or coming from a meeting with Pike to get him to intervene with the guy who  was after Pratt for taking his wife, etc.

    I don’t know if there is any validity to that story…

    Watcher

    • Anonymous Reply

      It is extremely unlikely as Albert Pike was not a member of the Masonic fraternity during this period of time.

      • Watcher Reply

        I wasn’t assuming that Brigham or others of his brethren would have had to communicated with Albert prior to their going to Utah. I am interested in any communications that might have taken place after the migration to Utah.

        I agree that there does not seem to be any hard evidence that such communications took place, I was simply wondering if you had come across any obscure documents that might have provided a link between Pike and the Mormon leadership.

        Another question related to the assassination of Pratt by a fellow Mason-

        Descendants of Pratt claim that the Mason who murdered Pratt carved a masonic symbol in his chest.

        Was that a somewhat common thing to do in Masonry when murdering someone or was it somewhat of an anomaly?

        Watcher

        • Anonymous Reply

          Hey Watcher- Given the ready availability of the Scottish Rite rituals through Light on Masonry and the fact that Pike had nothing really to offer Brigham or the saints with regards to doctrine or Masonry, I can’t think of a single reason why the saints would have been interested in Pike. Pike really doesn’t gain any prominence in Masonry until years after this period of time.

          As for the story about Pratt having a “masonic symbol” carved into him, do you have any documentation on that? I would be interested if you could find such a reference. Also you mention that his killer was a Mason. Do you have any documentation for this? As far as carving Masonic symbols in somebody, no there is no Masonic precedence for such an action that I have EVER either confirmed and I have never even heard it suggested by anyone before your comment today. I would be very interested if you could provide some evidence for this, as I would love to follow up on it.

          • Watcher

            George-

            Here is a link to the Jared Pratt Family Association website where you can find a piece written by Steven Pratt about the death of Parley P. Pratt.

            I doubt very much that Mr. Pratt conjured up the facts about the death of Parley or the fact that his murderer was in deed a Mason who recruited 12 of his Masonic brethren to help him track down and murder Pratt.

            http://jared.pratt-family.org/parley_histories/parley-death-stephen-pratt.html

            (Also see BYU Studies http://byustudies.byu.edu/PDFLibrary/15.2Pratt.pdf)

            Here is a direct quote from the thesis about the masonic symbol in the chest area for those who simply want to cut to the chase regarding the topic at hand-

            “Upon entering the Winn farm house they saw Parley’s body lying on a board. Mr. Winn told them about the murder and took them to the scene. They saw where Parley had fallen near a stump and had crawled to and used it to try to stop the bleeding. They also found several papers that he tried to use as a compress.

            Although Parley had lived about two hours after being attacked, he had bled to death.

            Examination of his body and clothing showed six bullet holes around the skirt of his coat and two knife marks in the front.

            One was in a V form over the left breast, but this did not penetrate to the body. The second, the fatal wound, was to the left of the first and about two inches long; this went directly to the heart. They also found evidence that a bullet had struck his collarbone and bounced off. Mr. Winn informed them that when asked if they should send for a doctor, Parley had said, “I want no doctors for I will be dead in a few minutes.”

            Here is another quote related to the Masonic connection-

            “The “marshal” took Eleanor to a hotel in the Indian town of North Fork. She saw twelve armed men in the gallery in a state of “great excitement.” These twelve men were some of Hector’s Mason friends gathered from “all parts of the territory” to aid him, should the “government take no notice” of his grievances”

            I was going from memory when I made the previous comments. Upon reading this account again, it appears that the Masonic symbol was cut into the clothes but did not penetrate into the dying body.

            Regarding my interest in a possible Pike- Young connection, it is, as I have admitted up front, total speculation  on my part based on research that is too broad to cover here and it would distract from the main theme of this thread.

            Nevertheless, Pike, who you generously refer to as an “interesting figure” was one of the most diabolical and despicable creatures to every walk the earth.

            He was, in my opinion, doing the bidding of the Pope in America, he was largely responsible for merging the Jesuit influence into one of the strands of American Masonry of the late 1800’s and he played a significant role in fanning the fires of the civil war.

            He was very probably involved with the secret group that the Lord refers to in section section 38 when the saints were warned that the enemy in the secret chambers was already “combined”  and seeking the destruction of the saints.

            I don’t see how you can authoritatively state or know that Pike did not become a free mason until 1850.

            Your information may only have to do with a particular lodge he joined.

            What makes you think that our incomplete documentation and associated view of history would categorically provide accurate information about when someone joined a secret society…

            ..after all, the secret of Masonry, according to Joseph Smith, is to keep a secret.

            Furthermore, our incomplete history does inform us that Pike was involved with the Odd Fellow Fraternity over a decade earlier… so his involvement with fraternal societies is in fact documented to be much earlier than 1850.

            The fact that Pike just happened to be in Independence Mo in 1831 may or may not be a coincidence.

            The real link between a secret society that Pike may have been involved in and Brigham Young’s connection with secret orders may well be Brigham Young’s friend, Jesuit, Peter De Smet, who counseled Brigham Young and the saints concerning their journey west.

            Although I have not researched the topic in depth, I suspect that De Smet and Pike did have association in their efforts to infiltrate and overcome those who were enemies to the Vatican.

          • Anonymous

            Thanks for sharing the references. I will certainly look at them in more detail.

          • Anonymous

            Thanks Watcher- I noticed the dead link but knew how to get at it through other ways. I think there is an interesting story here about Parley and I thank you for bringing it to my attention. I think a little hard historical research could yield some interesting things about this case.

          • Watcher

            If you dig up any juicy stuff I hope you will share it with us…

          • Anonymous

            “I don’t see how you can authoritatively state or know that Pike did not become a free mason until 1850.”

            I can authoritatively state it because of the extant membership records. Not being familiar with Masonic jurisprudence, you don’t understand that one only receives the three blue lodge degrees once in your lifetime. When you join another lodge you are not initiated, passed and raised a second time. We know that  Albert Pike first became a Mason in Western Star Lodge No. 2 at Little Rock, Arkansas and that he was initiated an Entered Apprentice in July 1850, was passed to the Fellow Craft degree later that month and raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason in August of 1850. If you would like to verify these facts you can check out Walter Lee Brown’s book “A life of Albert Pike” from the University of Arkansas Press (1997). For a more extensive and ddetailed history of Albert Pike’s Masonic career I would examine William L. Boyden’s treatment of the subject in his article “The Masonic Record of Albert Pike” published in 1920.

  26. Anonymous Reply

    When do we get the rest of this podcast?  I’m anxiously awaiting.   I also really hope you will publish this information in the form of a book.  In the meantime might I offer this revelation: 

    Revelation given through nielper the commentor to GeorgeMillerPM at mormonexpression.com, July 2011.  The message is intimately and impressively personal, in that the Lord tells of what was know only to GeorgeMillerPM and himself.  GeorgeMillerPM later becomes the principle author of the landmark book outlining the origins of the Book of Mormon and Mormon Temple Worship.  

    A Great and marvelous work is about to come forth unto the children of man.  Behold I am God; give heed to my word, which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two edged sword to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow; therefore give heed unto my word.  Hearken my servant GeorgeMillerPM and listen to the words of Jesus Christ your Lord and your Redeemer.  For behold, I speak unto you with sharpness and with power for mine arm is all over the earth.  And I will tell you that which no man knoweth save me and thee alone –  For many times you have desired of me to know that which would be of the most worth unto you.  Behold blessed are you for this thing, and for speaking of my words which I have given you according to my revealing them unto you.  And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare the truth of the origins unto my people, that you may bring the truth of the mysteries unto them, that you may rest with them in the knowledge of the source of the inspiration of my servant Joseph Smith, Amen. 

    • Anonymous Reply

      Thanks for the revelation my friend.  🙂 

      I guess I have a calling from God to actually publish this stuff as soon as possible.  😉

  27. Guest Reply

    John, were you uncomfortable with the high level of excitement and enthusiasm during this interview?

  28. CHI Flat Iron Reply

    I’m curious to find out what blog platform you are using?
    I’m experiencing some minor security problems
    with my latest website and I’d like to find something more
    secure. Do you have any solutions?

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