mormonism and masonry
Origins, Connections and
Coincidences Between Mason and Mormon Temple/Templar Rituals
S. H. Goodwin
PLACE is made here
for a brief discussion of several disconnected, though essential particulars,
which cannot well be presented in the chapters that follow.
The first contact
of Mormonism with Masonry ante-dated the Nauvoo period by somewhat more than
fifteen years. In fact, the present writer is convinced that the years which
saw the preparation and publication of the "Golden Bible" of this new faith,
also witnessed the very material prenatal influence of Masonry upon Mormonism,
proof of which lies thickly sprinkled over the pages of the Book of Mormon.
This phase of the
subject has been treated elsewhere, and at some length, by the writer of these
lines, and only so much of the story will be repeated here as may seem to be
necessary to provide needed background for certain facts in the present study.
In September, 1826,
one William Morgan disappeared from his home in Batavia, New York, and so far as
reliable records show, was never thereafter seen by family or friends. But for
two circumstances this incident would have attracted no more than passing
notice, for William Morgan was not a man in whose movements or fortunes the
public was likely to have any particular interest.
But gossip had it
that he was at work upon an expose of Masonry and that Miller, the proprietor of
the local newspaper, was to print the book and share in the profits of the
venture. Rumor was also responsible for the information that certain
Freemasons, members of the lodge in that village, had vowed that Morgan's book
should never see the light of day. These, in conjunction with subsequent events,
closely connected therewith, were the immediate cause of that unparalleled
outburst of anti-Masonic excitement (which had been slowly preparing for two
decades, or more), that swept the people of western New York far beyond the pale
of reason, spread west, and south, and east in its devastating course, and
wherever it came, it left no person, or relationship; or institution as it found
To one at this
distance, that episode in our history appears to have been much more than an
ebullition of emotion-it has more the aspect of a deep-seated disease, a
peculiar paranoia, in fact, from which none, whatever his rank or attainments,
At Manchester, not
many miles distant from Batavia, Joseph Smith, Sr., had his home. So far as
known there was nothing in the character or environment of this family to lead
one to suppose that any of its members remained untouched by the tremendous
agitation which so visibly affected all others. Indeed, from the characteristics
of the several members of this family, as these have been detailed by those who
are supposed to have first-hand information, they would appear to be peculiarly
susceptible to such influences.
Joseph Smith, Jr.,
the future prophet, was nearing his twenty-first year at the outbreak of the
Morgan furor. He, in common with his neighbors, we must believe, was thoroughly
familiar with all the stories afloat, for these tales more and more supplanted
every other topic of conversation and filled the columns of. the newspapers of
the day. He, with others no doubt, attended the anti-Masonic mass meetings which
were of frequent occurrence and of increasing and absorbing interest. He must
often have listened to the highly colored and vicious attacks on the Fraternity
which marked every public gathering of those days, and many times have witnessed
the burlesquing of Masonry and the alleged exemplification of various degrees by
renouncing Masons. In fact, there is no reason for thinking that his experience
would be different, in any material particular, from the experience of those in
whose midst he lived.
One year, almost to
a day, from the disappearance of Morgan, and while the excitement occasioned by
that event was still moving toward its peak, the "golden plates" were committed
to the keeping of Joseph Smith. The work of "translation," however, did not
begin for some months. The book was made ready for the press, and copyrights
secured by "Joseph Smith, Jr., Author and Proprietor," in the latter part of
June, 1829, and was ready for distribution early in the following year.
A glance at the
dates given ---1827-1829--- shows that while the prophet was busy at his task,
the fires of anti-Masonic hatred were burning fiercer and fiercer, for they did
not reach their maximum until after the Book of Mormon had been given to the
To the writer, the
evidence of the Mormon prophet's reaction to the anti-Masonic disturbance is as
clear and conclusive in the Book of Mormon, as is that which points out, beyond
controversy, the region in which that book was produced, and establishes the
character of the religious, educational and social conditions which constituted
the environment of Joseph Smith.
The reader is asked
to bear in mind the facts of the foregoing paragraphs when weighing the claims
made of the supernatural origin of the Temple ceremonies. If the writer is not
mistaken, those facts suggest a natural and rational explanation of the
statement often repeated by church writers, and copied by others, to the effect
that when the prophet became a Mason, "he was able to work right ahead of them
consideration of the general subject, "Mormonism and Masonry," the advocate of
the closed door between these organizations will be told, by a few, at least,
that in maintaining this position he flies squarely in the face of two of the
basic principles of our institution. These are its universality and its
non-interference with the religious beliefs or opinions of those who seek to
enter its portals.
"universality" we do not mean that every man can be, or should be, a Mason. To
take that position is absurd on the face of it. In practice it would mean that
every provision relating to qualifications ofpetitioners must be swept from our
codes and by-laws, for they would be meaningless, and that Grand Masters would
no longer be harassed for dispensations to permit the application for the
degrees of one who is minus the tip of the little finger, or whose left leg is a
hair's breadth shorter than the right one.
orators dwell in glowing terms on the fact that our Fraternity is made up of
"selected material," of "picked men''---and in a very real sense that is true.
But that being true, in any sense, what becomes of this doctrine of
So also with
reference to the second ground of criticism, namely, that in drawing the line
against the admission of members of the Latter Day Saints' organization we are
shattering a time-honored principle of Masonry; we are excluding would-be
petitioners on account of their religion. A little reflection, based upon
information that has been derived from investigation, will show that such
criticism is not well founded. This phase of the subject cannot be argued here:
the reader is referred to the succeeding chapters of this book for evidence in
support of this statement. But room must be made for certain observations
pertinent to the subject.
A matter with
reference to which there appears to be not a little of confusion in the minds of
Masons, quite generally, pertains to the extent and character of the religious
requirements which may properly find place in Masonry. With surprising frequency
one hears the statement that Masonry does not concern itself with the beliefs of
a petitioner, beyond ascertaining that he accepts the one dogma, of belief in
God. Many teachers of things Masonic, including Grand Masters, do not hesitate
to affirm that our institution keeps hand off everything touching a man's
religious beliefs. But is that true, in practice? This writer ventures to
assert that it is not true, and further, he is willing to go on record as
holding that if the occasion required it, he could make good his contention by
testimony drawn from many of the jurisdictions in which this doctrine is
proclaimed, and do this to the satisfaction of any impartial jury.
For a suggestive
and interesting illustration of the lengths to which Masonic teachers may go,
while proclaiming the sole requirement of avowal of belief in the "one dogma,"
the interested Craftsman is referred to Mackey's nineteenth, twentieth and
twenty-first "Landmarks," and he is advised to make a careful analysis of those
delightfully interesting and inspiring teacher of teachers, has a fascinating
chapter under the caption: "On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings." Due to some
vagrant chain of association, that chapter-heading flashed a signal to the
writer as he turned in thought toward the unaccountable attitude of some
intelligent people with respect to the matters presented in this volume.
Reference here is to those Masons who assume that this subject can have only an
academic interest for those who do not live in Utah; in other words, that it is
of local concern, only!
Let the fact be
borne in mind, in passing, that the Latter Day Saints have missions in
practically every state in the union; that students from this state are to be
found in many of the eastern colleges and universities, and that no year passes
in the course of which members of that organization do not apply for, and
receive, degrees in one, or all the branches of Masonry in some of these foreign
jurisdictions. Space limitations restrict the writer to the briefest possible
suggestions by way of indicating the untenableness of the position referred to.
It is local, true
enough, if clandestine, and the application for Masonic degrees by members of a
clandestine organization, concern only the Craft of a single jurisdiction.
If the acceptance
of a plurality of gods, who are exalted men-including male and female
deities-endowed with all the "parts and passions" of men, including procreative
powers and functioning in this particular, meets the requirements of all other
If the Bible on the
altar is simply a pleasant memory, or a mere vestigial reminder of what once
held place in Anglo-Saxon Masonry, long since superceded by the more recent
utterances of the "living oracles," who speak for God, and as God, and whose
words are of greater value than "all the bibles put together."
If the Old
Regulation, numbered four, no longer has any significance. That specifies, as a
necessary qualification of one who would be 'made a Mason, that he "must be also
his own master." How can that requirement be met by one who admits, must admit,
that another is authorized, by any power whatsoever, to direct him in all
things, spiritual and temporal?
If these and other
considerations of similar import are of no concern to Masonry at large, then it
may be true that this is a local matter only-but not otherwise.
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MORMONISM AND MASONRY
rapid growth; introduction of Masonry; how this step was regarded by Masons
elsewhere; forces that unfavorably affected Nauvoo Masonry.
IN the latter part
of April, 1839, the first steps were taken toward the establishment in Illinois,
of a semi-theocratic community under the leadership of Joseph Smith, the Mormon
prophet. Similar attempts had been made by this teacher of a new' faith at
Kirkland, Ohio, and at several points in the state of Missouri, all of which had
come to a disastrous conclusion. The why of these failures does not lie within
the province of these chapters.
date named certain of the Mormon leaders came up from Quincy, some fifty miles
down the Mississippi River, whither they had fled from their troubles in
and definitely fixed upon a location for a new
settlement. The site of this new Zion included the straggling village of
On the first of
May, the initial purchase of land was made by a committee headed by Joseph
Smith. Soon other extensive holdings were secured and a year later, when a post
office was established there, the Postmaster General rechristened the place
"Nauvoo," in deference to the wishes of the settlers.
To this chosen spot
came the Saints(3) in
large numbers, especially from Missouri, where multiplied troubles had beset
them. In consequence of this movement Nauvoo experienced a phenomenal growth,
for those times. Within two years from the date of the first purchase of land by
Joseph Smith the population had grown from almost nothing to more than three
thousand, and when Grand Master Jonas instituted Nauvoo Lodge, March 15th, 1842,
between eight and ten thousand people made their homes there. Three years later
Nauvoo enjoyed the distinction of being the largest city in the state of
Illinois, and, with the exception of St. Louis, (4)
it had no rival in the Northwest.
These people, for
the most part, came originally from the older sections of the country and from
foreign lands, more particularly from England, and were largely the fruits of
the aggressive missionary policy which has distinguished this church from its
Among those who
were attracted by the proclamation of this new evangel were a number who were,
or had been, members of the Masonic fraternity. Prominent among these were Dr.
John C. Bennett, an Ohio Mason; Heber C. Kimball, one of the first apostles and
a trusted friend of both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, who had received the
degrees at Victor, New York; Hyrum Smith, the prophet's older brother, who
likewise was a New York Mason, and others. Of this number, too, was W. W.
Phelps, a renouncing Mason of the anti-Masonic period and for a time, at least,
a bitter foe of the Fraternity.(5)
Early in the summer
of 1841 these Masons addressed a communication to Bodley Lodge No. 1, located at
Quincy, in which they asked for the usual recommendation in order that they
might establish a lodge at Nauvoo. This request was denied, the reason assigned
by Bodley Lodge being that "* * * as these persons are unknown to this Lodge as
Masons, it was thought prudent not to do so." A recent writer informs us that
not only was the recommendation withheld, but also that Bodley Lodge protested
against the granting of a dispensation to the Nauvoo brethren.
However that may be, on October 15, 1841, ten days after the close of Grand
Lodge, Grand Master Jonas issued a dispensation authorizing a lodge at Nauvoo,
and five months later, March 15, 1842, he paid an official visit to that place
and set the lodge to work.
In this connection
it may not be amiss to note the fact that the Grand Lodge of Illinois was barely
one year old when the Nauvoo dispensation was granted, and that there were few,
if any, over one hundred members in the constituent lodges of the state. The
natural desire for increase of numbers may have influenced the action of Grand
Master Jonas in this instance. But there were other considerations. The fact
should be remembered that he was a practical politician, having been trained in
the Kentucky school of politicians during the stormy political period from 1828
to 1833, when he was in the legislature of that state. And at this time he
appears to have been a candidate for a seat in the lower branch of the Illinois
legislature, to which he was elected a few months after lie had instituted
Nauvoo Lodge. These facts should be borne in mind, too, in connection with the
highly laudatory letter concerning Nauvoo and its people which he published in
his paper immediately after his return home from this official visitation, which
covered three days, and during which he was the personal guest of the Mormon
From the very
first, the movement to establish a Masonic lodge in Nauvoo appears to have been
regarded with suspicion and distrust by Masons elsewhere in the state, more
particularly by the members of Bodley Lodge No. 1, at Quincy.
(8) This attitude may have been due, in
part, at least, to the tales and rumors of misdoings which had followed the
Mormons from Ohio and Missouri. But there were other factors. The history of the
period now under review points unmistakably to certain political, religious,
social and personal forces and considerations which were not without a positive
and a very great influence on the character and fortunes of the Mormon lodges,
and which did much to shape Masonic opinion concerning those lodges and their
membership. At the risk of a seeming digression, space must be given here to a
consideration of some of these elements of the situation, for otherwise we shall
find ourselves without either clew or background.
back to top
appointment of John C. Bennett Master in Chancery; Joseph Smith's pronouncement
with reference to candidates; favors Stephen A. Douglas; extraneous influences
AMONG the sinister
forces of the time which reacted unfavorably, politics played no inconspicuous
part. With the rapid increase of
population at the
Mormon capital came a realization, on the part of the politicians of the state,
that the Mormon vote was a factor that must be reckoned with. And the concern
of the leaders of the two political parties was in no way lessened when they
discovered that for all practical purposes, the leaders of the church could turn
the Mormon vote to the one party or the other, as their plans or needs might
If there lingered
any doubt on this score in the minds of those who had reason for solicitude it
must have disappeared when the prophet unequivocally declared that he and his
people would support the men and party who were friendly to their interests.
In consequence of this declaration both Whigs and Democrats sought by
obsequiousness and flattery, and by ostentatious acts of service and promises of
further assistance, to secure this support. Nor were these religionists slow in
taking advantage of this situation and using to the utmost the power thus
unexpectedly placed in their hands.
At the general
conference of the church held early in October, 1840, the decision was reached
to petition the Legislature for the incorporation of Nauvoo. In accordance with
this plan a committee, including Joseph Smith and Dr. Bennett, was selected to
draft the necessary petition and bill. These documents Bennett carried up to
Springfield in December of that year. He appears to have been possessed of some
ability as a lobbyist, and this, coupled with the persuasive dimensions of the
Mormon vote, operating under the "unit rule," accomplished wonders. When the
matter finally came up, it met with no opposition. In the lower branch only one
or two dissenting votes were recorded against the measure, and in the senate,
none at all. Indeed, a recent writer declares that in the house, the bill was
read by title only. Yet, among the members of the Assembly at that time, were
such men, of later national prominence, as Lincoln,(10)
Trumbull, Bissell, Hardin, Logan and others. And Stephen A. Douglas, then
Secretary of State, of Illinois, and leader of the Democratic party, used his
influence to expedite-the passage of the bill. . This act, granting charter to
Nauvoo, was signed by Governor Carlin, December 16, 1840.
This charter, which
"included charters for the Nauvoo Legion and the University of the City of
Nauvoo," was of an extraordinary character. The only limitations placed on the
powers of the city council were that no law should be passed which was repugnant
to the Constitution of the United States, or to that of the state of Illinois.
Among other unusual features of this remarkable instrument, was that which
authorized the municipal court to issue writs of habeas corpus.(11)
This provision, as. the sequel shows, was fraught with danger; it was so liable
to abuse. And it was abused. It was the misuse of such writs that brought the
city and state authorities into conflict, fed the fires of hatred and
opposition, and furnished a pretext for mob action.
About the time that
the Nauvoo Masons were taking the initial steps in the organization of the
lodge, Judge Stephen A. Douglas, then one of the Justices of the State Supreme
Court and located at Quincy, visited Nauvoo, addressed the people, was
entertained by Joseph Smith, and while there appointed Dr. Bennett Master in
Chancery. As noted above, Douglas had aided in securing the passage of the act
of incorporation for Nauvoo, and thereby had won the gratitude of the Saints.
His action in the present instance greatly increased his popularity with Joseph
Smith and his followers, but it subjected him to severe criticism, and
"astonished members of both parties by its indiscretion," the editor of the
Warsaw Signal would have us believe. The same writer paid his respects to the
appointee with so much of vigor that his strictures drew from Joseph Smith a
vitriolic communication, in the course of which the prophet ordered his
subscription to the Signal cancelled(12).
That Douglas did not fail to appreciate the political possibilities of the
situation and to cultivate the. good will of the people of Nauvoo is clearly
apparent. On one occasion, for example, he adjourned court,. then in session at
Quincy, and went up to Nauvoo to witness a review of the Nauvoo Legion(13).
In connection with
the political campaign of that year Joseph Smith issued a political
pronouncement, referred to on a previous page, which removed all uncertainty
concerning the position of the Mormon people and their leaders with reference to
the political issues and parties of the day. In this the prophet declared that
the Saints did not care a fig for Whig or Democrat; that they all looked alike,
and that he would support those who had shown themselves to be friends of the
Mormons. Then he added: "Douglas is a master spirit, and his friends are our
friends. We are willing to cast our banners on the air and fight by his side."(14)
In the gubernatorial election which resulted in the choice of Thomas Ford for
governor, the situation had become so tense that the opposing candidate, Joseph
Duncan, felt constrained to make opposition to the political activities of the
Mormons one of the chief planks in his platform.(15)
The election of Ford was counted as "a great Mormon victory."(16)
Enough has been
said in the foregoing paragraphs to indicate somewhat of the methods employed by
the politicians of those days, and the sacrifices they were willing to make for
personal and party advantage. The effort to win the Saints to the support of one
political party or the other continued to be a factor in their affairs as long
as they remained in Nauvoo, and it was this rivalry to secure their political
adherence that made it possible for them to obtain in return such unusual favors
and to wield the influence they did in. political affairs, and it was this
rivalry that made them alternately courted and hated by those who would use
which at first blush might seem to be rather remote from the subject, but which
none the less militated against the Masonry of Nauvoo, developed in the county
to the south of that in which the city of the saints was located.
Some time previous
to the date upon which Grand Master Jonas issued his dispensation to the Nauvoo
brethren, a campaign was begun to secure the removal of the county-seat from
Quincy to Columbus. Quincy was the home of Bodley Lodge, while Grand Master
Jonas lived in Columbus. Naturally, the Grand Master was in favor of the
proposed change, while quite as naturally the prospect of losing the county seat
did not commend itself to the people of Quincy and the membership of the Masonic
lodge there. A good deal of bitterness was engendered as a result, and feeling
ran so high that when the Grand Master sent communications to the Quincy papers
in advocacy of the change, those reflectors of public feeling and opinion
refused to print them.(18)
Not to be baffled in his purpose to carry on the fight, Grand Master Jonas and
some of his friends went to St. Louis, purchased the necessary printing outfit,
shipped it to Columbus and began the publication of the COLUMBUS ADVOCATE, the
very name of which indicated the purpose for, which it was established. While
this furnished the Grand Master with a medium through which he might express his
views, it did not tend to mollify the feelings of the people of Quincy. One
result was, apparently, that the members of Bodley Lodge lost no opportunity to
embarrass the Grand Master, and the lodge minutes and the proceedings of Grand
Lodge show how this situation reacted unfavorably on the Nauvoo lodges.(19)
back to top
Beginning of the practice of
polygamy; Brigham Young's statement to Schuyler Colfax; knowledge and practice
of the principle extends; denials and explanation of the same; Bennett's
BUT, while the
machinations of self-seeking, sycophantic politicians, and the venom and
ill-feelings engendered in an extraneous squabble over the location of a county
seat were each influential in the affairs of Nauvoo and its Masonry, neither was
as baleful in its effects or as portentous of evil for all concerned as were
certain events which even then were taking place within the community itself.
Exactly one month
before the visit of Judge Douglas to Nauvoo, when he appointed John C. Bennett
Master in Chancery, that is, April 5th, 1841, Joseph Smith took his first plural
Although this, so far as available records show, was the first instance of the
practice of polygamy, or the "great and glorious principle of plural marriage,"
the doctrine had been taught by Smith, or strongly hinted at, to certain of his
followers fully ten years earlier than this.(21)
It was first impressed upon his mind in 1831 and immediately made known to a few
of his close, personal friends, who in turn passed it on to others. But,
beginning with the prophet's marriage to Louisa Beaman in April, 1841, as noted
above, the evidence is conclusive that plural marriage was abundantly practiced
in Nauvoo during the two years immediately preceding the date at which the
revelation was committed to writing, July 12, 1843. At the time when this
revelation was given permanent form, as it appears in Doctrine and Covenants,
the prophet had no less than twelve plural wives, and other leaders of the
church had followed him quite extensively in this practice. However, it was not
officially proclaimed as a doctrine of the church until some years subsequent to
the settlement of the Saints in Utah
The fact is worthy
of noting here that on one occasion, at least, Brigham Young gave the impression
that he was responsible for the revelation on plural marriage. He may not have
been careful in the choice of his words, but certainly his language seems to
convey that meaning (23).
Although, as stated
elsewhere in these pages, Joseph Smith began teaching this principle, actively,
within a year after settling at Nauvoo,(24) he
proceeded with the utmost caution. At first he confided it only to those in whom
he had absolute confidence, and not to them until after he had exacted from them
the most solemn assurances that they would keep the secret inviolable, for it
was not yet lawful to proclaim it within hearing of the multitude. And secrecy
was enjoined for the further reason that not only would this doctrine run
counter to the traditions and prejudices of many of the Saints, but its
proclamation would place a powerful weapon in the hands of their enemies
(25). However, the
prophet did venture to test the feelings of the people concerning this doctrine,
some time prior to the return of the apostles from Europe, namely, before July
1, 1841. On the occasion named he preached a sermon on the "Restoration of All
Things," in which he strongly hinted that the "patriarchal, or plural order of
marriage, as practiced by the ancients, would again be established." We learn
that this statement created great excitement and consternation among those who
heard the discourse, delivered at a morning service, so much so, in fact, that
the prophet "deemed it wisdom, in the afternoon, to modify his statements by
saying that possibly the Spirit had made the time seem nearer than it really
was, when such things would be restored."(26)
But, though the
prophet taught this doctrine in secret, and so far as possible guarded against a
general knowledge of the same, he did not hesitate to bring pressure to bear to
secure converts to its practice among those who were high in church esteem and
authority. Three times he ordered his staunch friend and comrade Heber C.
Kimball-"to go and take a certain woman as his wife" (plural) and finally,
"Heber was told by Joseph that if he did not do this he would lose his
apostleship and be dammed."(27)
From the evidence
in hand the facts appear to be that, although at this time, that is, during the
first half of the year 1841, a knowledge and an acceptance of the doctrine of a
plurality of wives were confined to the leaders and principal men in the church,
and that not all of them had been enlightened in this respect, within two years
information on the subject had been quite generally disseminated among the
To believe that
such a revolutionary practice could be taught and indulged in for any
considerable length of time, and restrict a knowledge of that fact to those for
whom it was intended; would place too great a tax upon our credulity, and would
flatly contradict the teaching of experience concerning human nature. Besides,
the presence of "apostates" in the community, and in adjoining settlements, some
of whom had stood high in the councils of the church, would preclude the
possibility of maintaining secrecy.. Gradually, knowledge of what was going on
in respect to plurality of wives percolated throughout the community, and was
taken up and given trumpet-voice by the enemies of the church.
secrecy which a reasonable prudence demanded," with reference to the
promulgation and practice of the doctrine of plural marriage, bore fruit in
another perplexing and troublesome situation for the prophet and his followers,
for it gave color to the charge of bad faith and double-dealing. The fact that
the leaders of the church, and others prominent in its affairs, were practicing
polygamy was a matter of common belief, if not of general knowledge. Yet, those
same leaders did not hesitate 'to deny, directly and by implication, that such
was the case, and to do this in such terms as to leave no room for any other
construction. This conflict between the public utterances and the practices of
Joseph Smith and others was used with telling effect by those who, for one
reason or other, had entered the lists against the Mormons. A present-day
historian and member of the church when considering the particular facts under
review, regretfully admits that "wicked men took advantage of the situation and
brought sorrow to the hearts of the innocent and reproach upon the church."(29)
An incident that
occurred a few months before the prophet's death illustrates the lengths to
which the leaders would go in the matter of denials of this doctrine as having
any place in the faith or practice of the Latter Day Saints, and may not
unfairly be characterized as involving duplicity. It appears that an elder of
the church, who had been taught this principle, was sent up into Lapeer County,
Michigan, as a missionary. Whatever may have been the character of the
instructions he was given, with reference to teaching this principle, his zeal
outran his discretion. His preaching of the new evangel created such a stir in
that region that the prophet was constrained to take official notice of the
situation. This he did by publishing the following "Notice" in the church paper:
"As we have lately
been credibly informed, that an elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-Day Saints by the name of Hiram Brown, has been preaching Polygamy, and
other false and corrupt doctrines, in the county of Lapeer, state of Michigan.
"This is to notify
him and the church in general, that he has been cut off from the Church, for his
iniquity; and he is further notified to appear at the Special Conference on the
6th of April next, to answer to these charges.
When that "Notice"
appeared in the Times and Seasons, both of the men whose names were
attached to it were teaching and practicing polygamy, and Joseph Smith was the
husband of not less than twenty wives.(31)
In effect, that
would seem to be a fairly plain denial of polygamy, as having any part or place
in the church system of precept or practice. Other examples of denials, quite as
pointed as the one given, and if anything, even more emphatic, are to be found
in the literature of the church, some years after the prophet's death. It
appears, however, that such statements, and even the paragraphs in Doctrine and
Covenants which deal with monogamy, are not to be considered as denials of the
principle by church leaders, but rather, as "an evasion to satisfy popular
disaffection of Dr. John C. Bennett, which occurred early in May, 1842, did more
to focus attention upon the practice of polygamy by Joseph Smith and others in
Nauvoo than any other event. The estimate one shall place on the character of
this man, or how he shall be regarded, in the light of the strangely
contradictory testimony concerning him, is not material to the purpose in view.
He appears to have been a very devil incarnate, or a gentleman and a scholar,
according to the point of view, or end to be served.(33) This
much appears to be beyond dispute: he told the truth, and not "wicked lies about
Joseph," when he asserted that the prophet taught doctrines in secret that he
dared not make public; that lie practiced polygamy and taught the principle in
private and denounced it publicly; that one of his plural wives was Louisa
Beaman, and that he assured his followers that "It is your privilege to have all
the wives you want."(34)
The fact is equally beyond dispute that Bennett was in a position greatly to
injure Joseph Smith, and no less certain that he used that power to the utmost.
Indeed, the statement has been made by a recent writer that Bennett, more than
any other person or influence, was responsible for the downfall of the Mormon
power and church in Illinois.(35)
One needs but to be
reminded of the important part Bennett had played in church and community life
to appreciate the character and extent of the peculiar power he held in his
hands, and to understand why the prophet hastened to use such means as were
available to discredit him before the world, in advance of the final rupture.
For nearly, or quite, a year and a half, Bennett had been in a position to know
the inner counsels of the leaders of the church, for he was himself one of those
leaders. When he became a member of the church, he was Quarter Master General of
the state of Illinois. He helped to draft the famous charters, and the bill for
the incorporation of Nauvoo, and himself carried them up to Springfield, and
successfully urged the passage of the act. He had served as the first mayor of
Nauvoo under the new charter; he was second in command in the Nauvoo Legion; he
had been appointed Master in Chancery by Judge Stephen A: Douglas, and for a
time, he occupied Sidney Rigdon's place as a member of the first presidency of
the church, and with all the rest, he appears to have practiced his profession,
that of a physician. By means of these various points of contact he would
know-could not help knowing-what was going on in church and community.
That Joseph Smith
did not underestimate Bennett's power to do harm is apparent in the unusual
steps taken to counteract his influence. Through lodge, church, legion, and city
council-in all of which he had played a prominent part-the prophet moved to
humiliate, discredit and overwhelm him. Finding these means insufficient to
accomplish the ends sought, he called a special conference of the church, which
assembled in Nauvoo early in August, of that year, "for the purpose of calling a
number of elders to go out in different directions and by their preaching deluge
the states with a flood of truth, to allay the excitement which had been raised
by the falsehoods put in circulation by John C. Bennett." Nearly four hundred
men volunteered to do this work.(36)
On his part,
Bennett left no stone unturned that promised to be of service in his struggle
with the prophet. He used voice and pen so persistently and effectively that
Joseph Smith decided it to be the part of wisdom to go into seclusion for a
time, to avoid officers from Missouri, whose attention had again been turned
toward Nauvoo, by Bennett's representations. For almost a month, immediately
preceding the special conference referred to above, no one, outside of his
family and a few of his closest friends, had any information as to his
whereabouts. A passage in his journal gives an animated account of the effect of
his unexpected appearance at that conference.(37)
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Masonry established act
Nauvoo; the Grand Master's report over conditions there; Bodley Lodge No. 1
requests that investigation be made; dispensation suspended
THE foregoing facts
will aid to an understanding of the situation in. the Mormon capital at the time
of the planting of Masonry in that community. They also suggest that perhaps the
soil in the place was not the best in which to develop the principles of our
art. And further, they leave little room for doubt that the irregularities
permitted in the lodge room and the "contumacious" treatment of the edicts and
messengers of the Grand Master were not the only considerations, although they
were quite sufficient in themselves, that had weight in determining the status
of Freemasonry among the Latter-day Saints. We may now proceed with the story of
the Nauvoo lodges.
As noted above,
Grand Master Abraham Jonas instituted Nauvoo Lodge U. D., and set it to work,
March 15, 1842. Our knowledge of the circumstances attending this interesting
function is, necessarily, meager, but such fragmentary records and vagrant bits
of information, touching this occasion, as have survived, furnish illuminating
glimpses of some of the conditions under which organized Masonry had its birth
Jonas., it should be remembered, was a practical politician, and at this time
had his eye on a seat in the state legislature, to which he was elected, later
in the year. Under the circumstances, he could hardly close his eyes to the
opportunity for securing support for his candidacy which this occasion afforded.
Upon his return home he wrote a suspiciously glowing account of his impressions
of Nauvoo and its people, which was published in his paper, the Columbus
Advocate, and a week later reproduced in the church paper at Nauvoo.(38)
Among other things the Grand Master wrote: "During my stay of three days, I
became well acquainted with their principal men, and more particularly with
their prophet, the celebrated `Old Joe Smith.' I found them hospitable, polite,
well informed and liberal. With Joseph Smith, the hospitality of whose house I
kindly received, I was well pleased."
From the prophet's
journal we derive a few bits of information touching the things that are of
special interest. Unlike the Grand Master, Joseph Smith was not writing for the
purpose of confounding his critics, or of making votes. Under date of Tuesday,
March 15, he wrote: "I officiated as Grand Chaplain at the installation of the
Nauvoo Lodge of Freemasons, at the Grove near the Temple. Grand Master Jonas, of
Columbus, being present, a large number of people assembled on the occasion. The
day was exceedingly fine; all things were done in order. In the evening I
received the first degree in Freemasonry in Nauvoo Lodge, assembled in my
general business once." Under date of March 16th, the entry reads: "I was with
the Masonic Lodge and rose to the sublime degree."(39)
From one other
source a little indirect light falls upon the events connected with the
institution of Nauvoo Lodge.
Not long after this
lodge had been set to work, rumors of unusual proceedings therein became
current. Report had it that the Nauvoo brethren set at naught certain
established and well-known Masonic laws and usages. This gossip persisted and
finally crystallized into open and unequivocal charges. On the 16th of July,
following, Bodley Lodge No. 1, of Quincy, held a special meeting called for the
purpose of considering the matter and taking such action as the facts might seem
to warrant. After discussion, the sentiment of the meeting took the form of
resolutions. One of these called upon Grand Master Jonas to suspend the
dispensation of Nauvoo Lodge until the annual communication of Grand Lodge.
Another throws a little light back upon the events connected with the
institution of that lodge. This resolution reads: "Resolved, That Bodley Lodge
No. 1, of Quincy, request of the Grand Lodge of the state of Illinois, that a
committee be appointed at the next annual meeting of said lodge, to make enquiry
into the manner the officers of the Nauvoo Lodge, U. D. were installed, and by
what authority the Grand Master initiated, passed and raised Messrs. Smith and
Sidney Rigdon to the degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master
Mason, at one and the same time, and that the proceedings of the committee be
reported for the benefit of this lodge."(40)
resolution shows that the Quincy brethren were not pleased with the action of
the Grand Master in conducting a public installation of officers "at the grove
near the Temple," in the presence of a vast throng of people, and later making
the two Mormon leaders Masons "at sight," undoubtedly, other considerations were
not entirely absent. The fact should be remembered that the dispensation granted
the Nauvoo brethren was issued in spite of the protest of Bodley Lodge, and
after that lodge had refused to give the usual recommendation. Further, as
noted elsewhere in these pages, at this very time a contest was being waged
between Quincy and Columbus over the location of the county seat, and not
unnaturally, members of Bodley Lodge and the Grand Master had taken opposite
sides on that question. It is almost too much to ask us to believe that reaction
to these conditions finds no reflection in the resolution quoted above.
motives responsible for this movement on the part of the Quincy brethren, the
resolution brought the desired action. On August 11th, less than six months from
date of its institution, the Grand Master suspended the dispensation of Nauvoo
Lodge until the annual communication of Grand Lodge.
During the short
period covering its activities, this Lodge initiated 286 candidates and raised
almost as many. John C. Bennett reports an instance in which sixty-three persons
were elected on a single ballot.(41)
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The matter of Nauvoo Lodge
presented to Grand Lodge; committee appointed to investigate conditions; report
of committee to the Grand Master; he authorizes the lodge to resume labor; again
in disfavor, and dispensation revoked
AT the annual
communication of Grand Lodge, held at Jacksonville, October 3rd, 1842, Grand
Master Jonas did not present a formal address, but appears to have given a
verbal report, instead. In this connection he announced that he had granted
dispensations for the organization of lodges in several communities, Nauvoo
among others. He also "made an explanation and presented a number of letters in
relation to Nauvoo Lodge U. D., which were referred to the Committee on Returns
and Work of Lodges." Those letters, and the Grand Master's "explanation"!
What a priceless
boon they would be to the Masonic student who laboriously picks his way back
along an overgrown, obscured path to that fascinating bit of Craft history! To
this same committee went a communication from Bodley Lodge No 1, on the same
subject, and addressed to Grand Lodge. Some of these letters have been
preserved-or fragments of them- and reach us, like a half-told tale on a bit of
flotsam. We would. have the story completed, with all gaps filled. We would hear
the Grand Master's defense of his action, and cross-examine the witnesses!
deliberation the Committee having the matter in hand presented a divided report.
The majority regretted that the
lodge had disregarded the instructions of the Grand Master-to send up the
records of the lodge but expressed the belief that probably the work done
conformed to the requirements of Grand Lodge. However, evidence submitted seemed
to show that the "intention and ancient landmarks of our institution have been
departed from, to an inexcusable extent," but that the actual situation could be
ascertained only by an investigation of the proceedings and an inspection of the
original records of the lodge. The committee therefore recommended that the
dispensation be suspended till the next annual communication of Grand Lodge, and
that a committee be appointed to visit Nauvoo, make a thorough examination and
report its findings to Grand Lodge at its next annual communication.
The minority report
partook somewhat of the character of a "Scotch verdict." The evidence submitted
had failed to establish any irregularities, but fearing that such irregularities
could be shown, the third member of the committee joined his colleagues in the
resolution prevailed which provided for the appointment of a special committee
whose duty it should be to proceed at once to Nauvoo, make the investigation
contemplated by this resolution and report their findings to the Grand Master.
He, in turn, was authorized to remove the injunction suspending labor, or to
continue it until the next annual communication of Grand Lodge,
according as the facts presented by the committee warranted.
entered at once upon the task assigned to it and in due time reported its
findings to the Grand Master. Among other matters mentioned, it found that the
"principal charges" made against the Lodge
(43), were groundless and without
proof to sustain .them. Very grave irregularities, in the judgment of the
committee, had marked the proceedings. of the Lodge. One of these was what is
now known as "collective balloting," referred to in. a previous paragraph, and
which the committee felt, interfered with the expression of individual
preference with reference to applicants. Another indicated a tendency, to make a
reformatory out of the lodge, and a third undesirable feature was a misuse of
the black ball. In review of the whole situation, however, although the
committee found much to regret and much to deplore it was of the opinion that
the case did not demand that the injunction suspending labor should be made
perpetual, but "that justice should be tempered with mercy." It therefore
recommended that the Lodge be permitted to resume its work, the dispensation
being continued until the next annual communication of Grand Lodge. The
committee also recommended that some member of the Craft should
be appointed to visit Nauvoo Lodge, remind the brethren of the irregularities to
which objection had been made, and admonish them to avoid the same in the
In accordance with
these recommendations, Grand Master Helm (Nov. 2, 1842, issued an order
permitting the Lodge to resume labor, at the same time admonishing the brethren
to avoid "the mistakes heretofore committed."
The evidence at
hand indicates that the Nauvoo brethren lost no time in taking up Lodge
work-after an enforced respite of less than two months-and that most astonishing
results rewarded their labors.
The fact should be
remembered that the returns of Nauvoo Lodge, presented to Grand Lodge, October
3rd, 1842, showed a membership of 243, and that during the period of its
activities, covering less than six months, there had been 285 initiations, of
which number 256 had been made Master Masons. Surprising as these figures are,
they are a mere trifle in comparison with what was accomplished in the eleven
months following the return of their dispensation. Exact figures cannot be given
as no statistical report of work done is in existence. But facts quite as
significant are at hand. These are found, primarily, in the address of Grand
Master Helm who, as is clearly manifest, was very kindly disposed toward the
several Mormon lodges.
At the outset the
Grand Master very adroitly placed upon Grand Lodge responsibility for return of
dispensation to Nauvoo Lodge-he
merely acted in compliance with the implied wish of that Grand Body as found in
the resolutions adopted. Then he directed attention to the fact that "the whole
matter is again before the Grand Lodge, upon their application for a charter."
In order that the
brethren might be fully advised concerning the general situation the Grand
Master reported, that this subject had excited a great deal of discussion, both
in and out of Grand Lodge; that the action taken at the last annual
communication had been severely criticized; that communications had reached him
from eminent Masons which called in question the correctness of that action, and
vigorously protested against permitting Masonic work to be done in Nauvoo. In
view of these facts, and in order that justice may be done the Nauvoo brethren,
due respect be paid to the opinions of those who had objected, and regard had
for the good opinion and welfare of the fraternity at large, the Grand Master
urged that the course finally decided upon "should be marked by the utmost care,
caution and deliberation." Then follows this significant recommendation, which
leaves little room for doubt as to the feverish haste which must have
characterized the operations of Nauvoo Lodge during the eleven months in which
it had been at work:
"Should you finally
determine to grant a charter to Nauvoo Lodge, and thus perpetuate its existence,
I would suggest the propriety, nay,' the necessity of dividing it into at
least four, if not more, distinct lodges."(44)
And that tells only
a part of the story. In eleven months the Grand Master issued dispensations for
two new lodges in the Mormon capital-daughters of Nauvoo Lodge! Here is the
spectacle of a ,single lodge, in eleven months, increasing its membership to
such an extent as to make imperative the breaking up of that membership into six
additional lodges which, with Nauvoo Lodge, would make seven, and the Grand
Master strongly implied that it should be still further divided-eight lodges,
say, where eleven months before there was only one! Nauvoo Lodge was certainly
an energetic and prolific mother of Lodges! Somehow, figures do not seem to be
necessary to give emphasis to this astonishing situation, and the only incident
that comes to mind, at all comparable to this, is that one which is wrapped up
in the story of the five loaves and two small fishes!
In due time this
whole matter was referred to the Committee on Returns and Work. A preliminary
report from this committee was to the effect that it had examined the abstract
of returns of the three Nauvoo lodges (Nauvoo, Nye and Helm) and found itself
unable to complete the
work assigned without further explanation and amendment of the returns. At the
evening session of the next day, however, the committee presented an extended
report in which it reviewed conditions in all five of the Mormon Lodges there
were three in Nauvoo, one in Keokuk and one at Montrose. One of these, Rising
Sun No. 12, at Montrose, had been chartered.
Among its findings
the committee reported that the work of Rising Sun Lodge No. 12 was irregular,
that its returns were informal and its dues had not been paid. The work of
Nauvoo Lodge had been mainly correct, but there were irregularities which the
Committee could not understand, in view of what had already taken place; the
records of the lodge had not been submitted as required by law; members of
doubtful character had been accepted, and instances were altogether too numerous
in which candidates had been pushed on through the Second and Third degrees
without reference to their proficiency in the preceding degree. Helm Lodge had
been guilty of irregular work, and had rushed applicants through without regard
to time between the degrees; it had passed and raised candidates within two days
of initiation. Nye Lodge had also done irregular work in that it had received
petitions for the degrees on one day and initiated petitioners on the next. The
Committee found itself in a quandary as to what it should suggest with reference
to Nye and Keokuk Lodges. Finally, having considered all available evidence, the
That the charter of
Rising Sun Lodge No. 12 be suspended and the officers cited to appear before
Grand Lodge to show cause why that instrument should not be revoked.
That it is
inexpedient and prejudicial to the interests of Freemasonry longer to continue a
Masonic Lodge at Nauvoo and for the disrespect and contempt shown by Nauvoo and
Helm Lodges, in refusing to present their records to Grand Lodge, their
dispensations be revoked and charters refused.
That for irregular
work and disregard of Grand Lodge instructions and resolutions, the
dispensations of Keokuk and Nye Lodges be revoked and charters refused.
of the committee; the substance of which is given here, were adopted by Grand
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Grand Lodge orders ignored;
Masonic Temple at Nauvoo dedicated; final action by Grand Lodge; closing scenes
in the life o/ Joseph Smith; the EXPOSITOR, and its destruction; arrest of the
prophet and Hyrum Smith and their death
THE drastic action
provided for by the resolutions with which the last chapter closed, would seem
to have been sufficient to solve all the problems connected with Mormon Masonry.
But such was far from being the case. Subsequent events clearly demonstrated
that it is one thing to adopt resolutions and quite another to enforce their
The records show
among other things, that soon after the close of Grand Lodge, the Grand Master
dispatched a messenger to Nauvoo to secure the dispensations and books of the
three Lodges there; that both the message and the messenger were treated with
contempt; that the request for books and records was denied, and that the
representative of the Grand Master was informed that the Lodges intended to
proceed as though no action had been taken by Grand Lodge.(45)
And this declared purpose, apparently, was carried out by all three of the
Nauvoo Lodges, although the evidence at hand touching continued Masonic
activities there, is general in character, for the most part.
From the historian
of Illinois Freemasonry, we learn that Bodley Lodge No. 1, being disturbed by
the situation at Nauvoo finally
took steps to make known to the proper authorities the actual conditions in the
Mormon capital. The records of Bodley Lodge show that at a meeting held April 1,
1844, the situation was fully discussed, all the available facts presented, and
the secretary was directed to notify the Grand Master that the lodges in Nauvoo
and Keokuk continued to work, and that notice had appeared in public print that
the lodges of Nauvoo would dedicate their Masonic hall in that place on April S,
the members of those lodges claiming that they had received no notice of the
action of Grand Lodge withdrawing their dispensations.
The journal of
Joseph Smith furnishes certain interesting details of the exercises connected
with the dedication of the
Masonic Hall which are not to be met with elsewhere. Under date of Friday, April
5, (1844) , he records that he attended the ceremonies; that about five hundred
fifty Masons "from various harts of tote world" were present and took part; that
a procession was formed, which was accompanied by the Nauvoo brass band; that
the exercises were in charge of Hyrum Smith, Worshipful Master; that the
principal address of the occasion was given by Apostle Erastus Snow; that he,
Joseph Smith, and Dr. Go forth also addressed the assembly, and that all the
visiting Masons were given dinner in the Masonic Hall, at the expense of the
An echo of these
dedicatory exercises is to be found in action taken by St. Clair Lodge No. 24,
Belleville. The records show that this lodge disciplined one of its members for
having marched in the procession on the occasion named. The position of the
Lodge in this matter was that the brother participated in the work of a
clandestine organization, and such appears to have been the view of Grand Lodge,
as set forth in resolutions adopted at the annual communication of 1846. The
matter had come up, repeatedly, it seems, in the form of questions as to the
standing of former members of the Nauvoo lodges, but was not clarified until the
adoption of the report of a special committee, to which it had
been referred, at the communication of Grand Lodge in the year just noted above.(48)
Another fragment of
proof that Nauvoo Lodge, at least, continued its activities after its
dispensation had been annulled is furnished by the prophet's journal. As will be
seen, presently, certain men who had stood high in church councils, had become
estranged, and were dissatisfied with some features of church government and
practice, as well as with the arbitrary exercise of "one-man power" by Joseph
Smith. They proposed to themselves the task of changing this condition, so far
as it related to civic affairs, and to this end provided
themselves with a printing outfit, and laid their plans for the publication of
an opposition paper. Through its columns they hoped they could reach the people
in advocacy of the repeal of the Nauvoo charter, do away with the teaching and
practice of polygamy, and bring about correction of oilier abuses complained of.
Such a challenge of
the prophet's power could not pass unanswered, and, as it were, in kind. At a
council meeting, April 18, 1844, William and Wilson Law and Robert D. Foster
were excommunicated from the church, and under date of April 30th, Joseph Smith
wrote in his journal: "A complaint was commenced against William and Wilson Law
in the Masonic Lodge &c."(49)
Such was the
situation with reference to the recalcitrant lodges when Grand Lodge met,
October 7, 1844. If there was any uncertainty as to the significance of the
action of Grand Lodge at its session the year before, no such criticism would
apply to its pronouncement on this occasion. A brief statement of the facts in
the case was followed by resolutions which declared that all fellowship with
those lodges was withdrawn; that the members thereof were clandestine; that all
who hailed there from were suspended from all the privileges of Masonry within
the jurisdiction of Illinois, and that the Grand Lodges of other jurisdictions
"be requested to deny them the same privileges." An other resolution
directed the Grand Secretary to notify all Grand Lodges with which the Grand
Lodge of Illinois was in correspondence, of the facts, and to publish the same
"in all the Masonic periodicals."(50)
This terminated the
official connection of the Grand Lodge of Illinois with the Masonry of Nauvoo.
Records of action
taken with reference to. the lodges at Warsaw and Keokuk are to be found in the
proceedings for the years 1845 and 1846, but these are of no special interest to
us in this connection.
The story of the
closing months of the life of the Mormon prophet is one of exceptional interest
to the student of the period now under review. And this, not so much as
biography, but as a basic part of the story of his people with which it is
inextricably interwoven, and to which it gave vivid and fadeless color. We
should be drawn too far afield from the purpose of this study if time were given
to the details of that story, but pause must be made for such a hasty glance at
succeeding events as will serve to round out this part of the narrative.
With the advent of
spring (1844) , events moved rapidly toward the fatal culmination in Carthage
jail. Early in May the prospectus of the expositor made its appearance in
Nauvoo, and one month later, Friday, June 7th, the initial and only number of
that publication issued from the press. The Expositor was published by the small
coterie of men, including Emmons, Wilson and William Law, the Fosters, Higbees
and others, most of whom had been prominent in church and civic affairs, and
some, even, had been made the subjects, or beneficiaries, of special
revelations. Now, however, although insisting upon their loyalty to the Mormon
church, they had taken up the cudgels against what they considered the arbitrary
rule of Joseph Smith, and in opposition to some of the doctrines he was promulgating,
The Expositor was to be the organ of this dissenting party, and, promoted
as it was by men of ability, who had enjoyed exceptional opportunities for
securing first-hand information concerning the abuses and evils they proposed to
correct, this project was fraught with gravest consequences to the prophet. In
the light of these facts may be found a sufficient explanation of tile intense
bitterness and unparalleled excitement which this publication aroused, and
equally of the prophet's declaration that "he would rather die tomorrow and
have the thing smashed, than live and lave it go on."(52)
As noted in a
previous paragraph, the first number of the Expositor made its
appearance Friday, June 7t1. The prospectus issued a month before had stirred
up great excitement in Nauvoo, and proceedings of one sort or other had been
instituted against the promoter of the enterprise. But the paper itself seemed
to sweep the people, and more particularly the authorities, off their feet. The
City Council met at ten o'clock on the following morning and remained in session
until six-thirty that evening. The entire day appears to have been devoted to
the taking of testimony as to the standing and character of the men who had
thrown this firebrand into their midst. To one removed by more than
three-quarters of a century from the excitement and
passions which marked those early June days, the proceedings of the Council are
something of an enigma.(53)
The men being investigated were not strangers in the community-they were well
known there, and, as noted elsewhere, several of them had held positions of
trust and influence in church and city. Apparently, they had given ample and
satisfactory proof of their loyalty and devotion to the new faille, and lad been
acceptable to their superiors up to the time when they expressed dissatisfaction
with certain conditions in Nauvoo. Then witnesses were called to show that
these men were the vilest of the vile; they were "bogus-makers" (counterfeiters)
; adulterers, highway-robbers, murderers, "covenant breakers with God and their
wives," and guilty of nearly every crime in the catalogue. And the testimony
seemed to show that these misdeeds were not due to some sudden outbreak of
devilishness, but had been characteristic of these men from the beginning of
their connection with the church!
No decision was
reached on Saturday and the Council adjourned to meet on Monday following, June
10th. Upon coming together at the appointed hour on Monday the discussion was
renewed. An entry in the prophet's journal shows that the entire day was given
to this all-important subject.(54)
From the first, Joseph Smith, who
was Mayor, urged the destruction of the printing plant from which had come the
obnoxious publication. Nothing appears of record to show why action was delayed
until near the close of the second day given to a consideration of the subject.
Taking the recorder's report of the proceedings, as it stands, the Council, with
a single exception, was of one mind, practically from the beginning of Saturday
morning's session. Only ogle voice was raised against the proposed action of the
Council, and that, of a non. member of the church. For that reason, perhaps, he
was in a better position than the others to appreciate the gravity of such a
course, and to shrink from the storm which he could see would certainly follow.
He suggested that in place of destroying the Expositor, a heavy fine
should be imposed, naming three thousand dollars as the amount. The Mayor
expressed regret that' there should be "one dissenting voice in declar. ing the
Expositor a nuisance." An ordinance was framed to meet the expressed wish
of the Mayor and adopted by the Council, and this was immediately followed by a
resolution which declared the offending paper a nuisance and directed the Mayor
"to cause said printing establishment and papers to be removed without delay, in
such manner as he shall direct." An order was at once dispatched to the city
marshal in which that official was instructed to destroy the press, pi the type,
burn any copies of the paper that might be found, and further directing him, in
case of resistance on the part of the proprietors, to demolish the building. The
orders were executed on the evening of the same day, June 10 ---and the die was
The project of
publishing an opposition paper in Nauvoo had come to a sudden end, but not so
with the troubles of the prophet and his people. The destruction of the
Expositor, under the circumstances, was about the worst thing that could have
happened to Joseph Smith and his followers ---it was the match applied to the
Two days after the
destruction of the printing office warrants were secured by the owners of the
paper for the arrest of Joseph Smith and the members of the City Council, on a
charge of riot. When the Mayor was arrested he immediately applied to the
Municipal Court for a writ of habeas corpus which was granted, and he was
brought before that court for trial. After examination he was
released and the costs of the case were assessed against the proprietors of the
Expositor. The same course was pursued when members of the Council were
arrested, with this difference, that the Mayor presided over the court, sitting
as Chief Justice. In each of these cases the accused were discharged and the
costs were taxed against the complaints.(56)
As was to be
expected these proceedings in no way allayed the excitement or lessened the
force of the opposition which had arisen against the prophet and his adherents.
Mass meetings were held in various communities in the county, inflammatory
speeches were freely indulged in, and active preparations were made to use
force, if necessary, to bring about the arrest of Joseph Smith and his
Before the storm
which he had so ill-advisedly invoked, the prophet appears to have quailed, and
presently began to make preparations to seek safety in flight. During the night
of June 22, he and his brother, Hyrum, with two or three others, were rowed
across the Mississippi in a leaky skiff, and the next morning O. P. Rockwell was
sent back to Nauvoo to secure horses for the two men. In the meantime, pressure
was brought to bear upon Joseph Smith to induce him to return to Nauvoo and give
himself up, and when Rockwell came with a message from the prophet's wife, Emma,
to the same effect, and another messenger placed in his hands a letter from her, he decided to
acquiesce. Several of his companions went so far as to accuse him of cowardice
for wishing to leave his people in such straits. The party finally returned to
the east side of the river on the night of the 23rd.(57) Two days later Joseph
and Hyrum were arrested on a charge of treason, for having called out the Nauvoo
Legion, were taken to Carthage jail where, on the afternoon of the 27th of June,
they were murdered by a mob.
back to top
A study in
resemblances; symbols and inscriptions; sources of information; articles used in
HAVING thus traced
the variegated fortunes of the Nauvoo Lodges, and noted some of the outstanding
features of their environment, we are now prepared to enter another phase of the
subject which may well be characterized, "A study in Resemblances."
the question is asked. "Does the Mormon church make use of the Masonic ritual in
its Temple ceremonies?" For obvious reasons no attempt will be made here to give
a categorical answer to this question; nor is it the writer's purpose to point
out any "resemblances" that may be discovered. What purports to be facts will be
presented-the reader will make his own deductions.
Craftsman cannot be long among the Mormon people without noting the frequent use
made of certain emblems and symbols which have come to be associated in the
public mind with the Masonic fraternity. Now and again he will catch expressions
and phrases in conversation, and meet with terms in literature, which are
suggestive, to say the least. If he should continue his residence in Utah, he
will sometimes be made aware of the fact, when shaking hands with a Mormon
neighbor or friend, that there is a pressure of the hand as though some sort of
a "grip" is being given.
residents of Utah often remark upon the extensive use made of certain emblems,
as, for example, the conventional beehive. This familiar figure occupies the
center of the great seal of the state; a model of immense size rises from the
roof of the beautiful "Hotel Utah," and one of smaller proportions crowns the
platform on the cupola of the "Beehive House," once, and for many years, the
official residence of the president of the church. It is noticeably prominent
on the great bronze doors which guard the entrance to the sacred precincts of
the Salt Lake Temple, as well as on doors of commercial and other buildings. It
crowns newel posts of cement steps which lead to the entrance of meeting houses
and tabernacles, and public buildings, and frequently appears with effect in the
decorative schemes of interiors and lobbies of hotels.
Other emblems, with
which the public is more or less familiar, are used extensively, more especially
in and about the Salt Lake Temple, and, presumably, in all other temples of the
Mormon church. On the interior of this building, we learn from an unquestioned
authority, there are in the walls several series of stones of emblematical
design and significance, representing the earth, moon, sun and stars. On the
east central tower is an inscription, the letters deep cut, lined with gold,
which reads: "Holiness to the Lord." This inscription, it might be noted,
appears over the doorways of some of the business establishments conducted by
the church and over the entrance to the church
tithing-houses, and it is given place on the stationery used in the official
correspondence conducted by church authorities. Immediately beneath this
inscription, over the central casement of the east tower of the Temple, is the
emblem of the clasped hands. On the corresponding stones, above the upper
windows, in each of the central towers, is carved the "All Seeing Eye." Covering
the plate glass double doors on the east and west sides of the Temple, each of
which is four by twelve feet, are bronze grills of intricate pattern which carry
medallions of the beehive, while an escutcheon cut in relief shows the clasped
hands circled by a wreath. In the "Garden Room" of the Temple the ceiling is
embellished with oil paintings to represent clouds and the sky, in which appear
the sun, moon and stars. In the center of this room, and against the south wall,
is a platform which is reached by three steps. On the platform is an altar upon
which rests the Bible. In the "Terrestrial Room," at the east end, is a raised
floor, reached by three steps.
Passing now from
this phase of the subject we come next to the language used in a part of the
Temple ceremonies. Here we are dependent for authorities, mainly, upon certain
exposes, though collateral evidence is not wanting. The exposes referred to
here, are three in number, and they appeared practically a generation apart. A
brief list of other authorities is given in the notes below.
comparison of the three accounts shows that the first, or oldest one, differs
from the other two, or later ones, in one significant particular, at least. The
first, or van Duseri account, presents a larger number of stages than the later
ones, and leaves the impression of carrying a larger amount of material that had
not been as carefully worked over as has the ceremony more recently in use. This
fact seems to point to the conclusion that the work was in a preliminary or
experimental stage at Nauvoo, and that later it was developed and perfected into
its present form, which included the practical omission of the last four
degrees. A well informed member of the Mormon Church, in conversation with the
writer, accounted for the character of the Van Dusen
statements upon a different supposition-though upon what authority was not
disclosed. He said that "Van Dusen was a liar," and further, that "he was a
Mason." It may very well have been that, he was a Mason, although no records are
known to the writer which support that assertion. The followers of Joseph Smith
believe that the Temple ceremonies were revealed to the prophet, complete, and
more than a year before he became a Mason, and that proof of this is to be found
in the Doctrine and Covenants.(58)
As a preliminary to
a consideration of some of the language of the Temple ritual, it may not be
amiss to note certain objects and articles used in connection with that ritual.
The garments worn
by both men and women during a goodly portion of the ceremonies are of white
cloth and of the one-piece pattern. On the right breast is a "square," and on
the left, "compasses."(59) There are other marks or openings which are of no special interest to us here.
As used in the
Temple at Nauvoo, the slits representing a pair of
compasses, were on the knees, rather than on the left breast. The pattern of
this garment, the wearer is informed, was revealed to Joseph Smith direct from
heaven, and is the same as that, worn by Adam and Eve. It must not be removed,
in which case assurance is given that it will protect from danger, temporal and
At one point in the
ceremonies, the "devil" comes in wearing a silk hat and having on a Masonic
apron. This apron is embellished with two columns, having a serpent suspended
midway between them, and another serpent entwined about the base of each. The
aprons worn by the men and women are alike, and are described as being a "square
half yard of green silk with nine fig leaves worked on them in brown sewing
silk." Those in use at Nauvoo were of "white cloth about eighteen inches square
with green silk leaves pasted on."(61)
In the old
endowment house at Salt Lake, the ceiling of the "Garden of Eden Room" was
painted much the same as that described above, with these additions: In each
corner there was a Masonic emblem; in one, "compasses," in another a "square,"
and in the other two a "level" and a "plumb."
back to top
Temple ceremonies; characterized by Mormon writer; Nauvoo
Masonry, as understood by a present-day Apostle; Temple ordinances the only
THE opening part of
the Temple ceremonies, which have been characterized by a Mormon writer "# * *
as the Masonic sacred drama of the Fall of Man,"(62)
need not detain us. Here occur the washings and anointings and assumption of
the garment, before referred to, and a representation, in dialogue, of the
creation of the world and of man and woman. Following this preparatory part, the
first obligation, or oath, is taken. One of the several couples, representing
Adam and Eve, kneels at the altar, and all participate in the ceremonies. The
audience stands, each with the right hand raised to a square, when the following
oath is taken: "We, and each of us, solemnly bind ourselves that we will not
reveal any of the secrets of the first token of the Aaronic priesthood, with
its accompanying name, sign or penalty. Should I do so, I agree that my, throat
may be cut from ear to ear, and my tongue torn out by its roots."
"Grip. The grip is
very simple: Hands clasped, pressing the point of the knuckle of the index
finger with the thumb."
"Sign. In executing
the sign of the penalty, the hand, palm down, is placed across the body, so that
the thumb comes
directly under and a little behind the ear. The hand is then drawn sharply to
the right across the throat, the elbow standing out at a position of ninety
degrees from the body; the hand is dropped from the square to the side." In the
earliest form of these ceremonies, as used in Nauvoo in 1846, this obligation,
or a part of it at least, appears to have been given in what was termed the
The exercises then
proceed. Various characters appear and carry on a dialogue, and then a robe and
sandals are put on the candidates, and the apron replaced and the second oath is
administered: "tee, and each of us, do solemnly promise and bind ourselves never
to reveal any of the secrets of this priesthood, with the accompanying name,
grip and penalty. Should we do so, we agree that our breasts may be torn open,
our heart and vitals torn out and given to the birds of the air and the beasts
of the field."
"Grip. Clasp the
right hand and place the thumb into the. hollow of the knuckles, between the
first and second fingers.
"Sign. The sign is
made by extending the right hand across the left breast, directly over the
heart; then drawing it rapidly from left to right, with the elbow at the square;
then dropping the hand to the side."
The candidates are
then conducted into what is known as the "Celestial Room." Here also characters appear and carry on
conversation, relating to the ceremonies, and other preparations are made for
the administering of the third oath, which is as follows: "You, and each of you,
do covenant and promise that you will never reveal any of the secrets of the
priesthood, with any accompanying name, sign and penalty. Should you do so you
agree that your body may be cut asunder and all your bowels gush out."
"In this, the left
hand is placed palm upright, directly in front of the body, there being a right
angle formed at the elbow; the right hand, palm down, is placed under the elbow
of the left; then drawn sharply across the bowels, and both hands dropped to the
side."(64) The grip is given by "grasping the right hands so that the little
fingers are interlocked and the forefinger presses the wrist. This is known as
the patriarchal grip, or the true sign of the nail."
The Neophytes are
then ready for the three-fold obligation which relates to "The Law of
Sacrifice," " The Law of Chastity," and the "Law of Vengeance." The last named
law, it might be noted in passing, is given with but slight variation, by all
three of the authorities quoted here. The character of the second law is
indicated by its title, and is not without significance, though it need not
obligations the candidates are seated and a long sermon or lecture is given, in
which the entire history of the Temple work is rehearsed. They are then
instructed in the true order of prayer. In this, when all is in
readiness, an elder kneels at the altar, his right arm raised to the square, his
left hand extended, as if to receive a blessing. A form of prayer is then
offered which, it is said, is used in all priesthood meetings. The candidates
are then ready to pass through the veil.
"In the veil are to
be seen the square and compasses; also other openings which represent the slits
in the knees of every garment." In the room where this veil is placed, there is
also a platform upon which the candidates take seats when their names are
called, and which is ascended by three steps. With the aid of an attendant the
Neophyte gives the required answers and grips, which include the two grips of
the Aaronic priesthood and the two grips of the Melchizedek priesthood.
Following the last grip, a dialogue ensues...
second grip of the Melchizedek priesthood, patriarchal grip, or sure sign of the
"Elohim-`Has it a
give it to me'?"
cannot, for I have not yet received it; for this purpose I have come to converse
with the Lord behind the veil'."
receive it upon the five points of fellowship through the veil. These are foot
to foot, knee to knee, breast to breast, hand to back, and mouth to ear'."(65)
Here we may take
leave of the Temple ceremonies, and consider briefly a few significant
utterances derived from the written and spoken words of those who, presumably,
speak from first-hand information.
First, is language
used by a brilliant writer of the Mormon faith. In a chapter that deals with the
Temple at Logan, Utah, he contrasts the views of this 'structure held by
Latter-day Saints and Gentiles, and then proceeds "To the Mormons the Logan
Temple is a grand Masonic fabric, reared unto the name of the God of Israel,
where endowments, are given, and ordinances administered, and services performed
which concern salvation and exaltation, both of the living and the dead, and
connected with the Mormon Church."
After referring to
a supposed "Polygamic Theocracy," which he says, is popularly supposed to exist
in the Logan Temple, the author continues:
"And what makes
this matter of so much importance and interest is that the Logan Temple today is
looked upon as the Masonic embodiment of that `Polygamic Theocracy."'
The author then
passes upon the relative merits of two exposes of the endowment house secrets,
Mormon apostles and elders with a becoming repugnance and Masonic reticence
quite understandable to members of every Masonic order have shrunk from a public
exhibition of the sacred things of their Temple." When
describing certain scenes enacted in the endowment ceremonies, he refers to the
Garden of Eden representation as "* * * the Masonic sacred drama of the Fall of
Man." And again, "A sign, a grip, and a keyword were communicated and impressed
upon us, and the third degree of Mormon endowment, or the first degree of the
Aaronic priesthood was conferred."
And finally our
author refers to the "oath of chastity," alluded to above, and marks with
especial emphasis the fact that "the oath implies that no man dare, under
penalty of death, to betray his brother's wife or daughter."(66)
Perhaps the most
interesting and significant utterance on the subject, from one who is in a
position to know whereof he speaks, is attributed to a member of the present
quorum of the Twelve Apostles.. In an address delivered in the Salt Lake
Tabernacle, on the last Sunday of 1919, as reported in one of the daily papers,
the speaker said "Modern Masonry is a fragmentary presentation of the ancient
order established by King Solomon, from whom it is said to have been handed down
through the centuries."
that some details of the Mormon Temple ordinances resemble Masonic rites, led him to refer to
this subject," the speaker declared, and he added, "that he was not sorry there
was such a similarity, because of the fact that the ordinances and rites
revealed to Joseph Smith constituted a reintroduction upon the earth of the
divine plan inaugurated in the Temple of Solomon in ancient days."
"Plans for the
ordinances to be observed in the Temple built at Nauvoo * * * were revealed to
Joseph Smith, as recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants, more than a year prior
to the time the founder of the Mormon Church became a member of the Masonic
order. The latter order," the speaker affirmed, "claimed origin with King
Solomon, but through lapses and departures, which had naturally come into the
order in the course of time, it had fallen somewhat into imperfection of detail.
The temple plan revealed to Joseph Smith * * * was the perfect Solomonic plan,
under which no man was permitted to obtain the secrets of Masonry unless he also
held the holy priesthood."
The speaker then
explained that authentic proof in Masonic history goes to show that "the five
lodges of the order, established by Joseph Smith and other members of the Mormon
Church, had been discountenanced by the great organization through mistaken non.
observance of a mere technicality." The Mormon lodges, Apostle Ballard
declared, "had been accepting and advancing members in the order by viva voce
vote, instead of by secret ballot, as the rule required." "But," he said, "the
technical offense had been seized upon as a cause for
repudiating the lodges established by members of an unpopular church."(67)
It is not our
purpose to examine critically any of the assertions made by this speaker. Enough
has been said in the preceding pages, and more evidence could be adduced, to
show that the Apostle here ignored some very material facts and that the action
of the Grand Lodge of Illinois with reference to the Mormon lodges was due to
other causes than the one named by the speaker quoted.
objections will be urged here to the acceptance on the part of anyone of the
statement that the temple ritual, parts of which have been presented in these
pages, was revealed to Joseph. Smith, or to anyone else, direct from heaven. The
writer will only say that no evidence has come to his knowledge which points to
any such supernatural derivation, while on the other hand he is oŁ the opinion
that in the preceding pages attention has been directed to the real source and
origin of the temple ceremonies.
In taking leave of
this part of the subject, the fact is worthy of record that Joseph Smith fixes
the date of the introduction of the endowments as May 4, 1842, nearly two months
after he became a Mason. Under that date he wrote that he instructed certain of
his followers "in the principles and order of the priesthood, attending to
washing, anointing, endowments and the communication of keys pertaining to the Aaronic priesthood
and so on to the highest order of the Melchizedek priesthood setting forth the
order pertaining to the Ancient of Days" * * * and that, "in this Council was
instigated the ancient order of things for the first time in these last days."
This, of course, does not preclude the possibility of the "revelation" of this
order having been received much earlier than the date given, as is held by the
historian of the church.(68)
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Certain teachings of Mormonism appear to be in conflict
with fundamental principles of the Fraternity; power of priesthood
circumstances great care should be exercised in the selection of material for
membership in Masonic Lodges. This holds true everywhere and at all times and is
a duty that in an especial sense devolves upon those who in a representative
capacity first pass upon the qualifications of applicants for our mysteries in
Utah, and the same holds true elsewhere. A number of reasons for this might be
given, some of which it is the purpose of- the following chapters to set forth.
At the outset it
should be stated that the historic, well known and consistent position held by
the Craft of this jurisdiction, practically from the very inception of organized
Masonry, back in '65, to the present time furnishes one reason for caution on
the part of Utah investigating committees, in particular(69). Further, there is
a notable tendency on the part of some who are young in Masonry, and of others
who, though older, are inclined to be lenient toward a relaxation of
requirements, to take account only of the superficial and
to base their conclusions and action upon an imperfect apprehension of facts
which cannot be ignored with safety. In what follows attention is directed to
certain facts no one of which, perhaps, taken alone may seem to be of any great
consequence, but which in the aggregate are worthy of serious consideration. In
seeking to attain the object in view we may pass boundaries which, somehow, have
acquired a pseudo-sanctity and find ourselves in fields all too rarely entered
by those who, for the time being, are charged with the duty of guarding well the
outer portals of the Craft.
That there may be
no uncertainty as to what is here undertaken, the statement may be made that we
are dealing with the general subject of "Mormonism and Masonry," and that the
particular phase of the subject upon which we now enter relates to the
eligibility of any would-be applicant for the mysteries of Freemasonry, who at
the same time is a member of the Latter-Day Saints' organization.
Masonry requires of
its initiates, among other things, that they shall come of their own free will
and accord. By implication, principle and teaching it assumes that those who
come into its fellowship are, and will remain, free, from any influence or power
that might interfere with the performance of such duties as may devolve upon
them by reason of such membership.(70)
In order to ascertain the facts, a petitioner for the degrees in Utah is required
to furnish a list of the fraternal and religious organizations with which he is
now, or has been affiliated. This .is not done in criticism of any organization
that may, or that seems to, curtail the freedom of thought or action of its
adherents. Such criticism does not fall within the province of this study, or of
Masonry. But Masonry, like all other organizations, both claims and exercises
the right to erect such standards as may seem to be necessary; to formulate and
apply tests; to pass upon the qualifications of those who knock at its doors,
and to decide in any and every case whether the requirements thus laid down have
been, or can be, satisfactorily complied with. In the exercise of these and all
other powers and prerogatives Masonry is a law unto itself.
With the ground
thus cleared we may now proceed to consider certain facts the bearing and
significance of which can hardly be mistaken.
Those who are
authorized to speak for the church have left little room for doubt that the
Latter Day Saints' organization makes such demands upon its adherents that the
results do not accord with the genius of Freemasonry.
For example. The
utmost emphasis is laid upon the authority and power of the priesthood. A man
may not honestly differ from the presiding priesthood without being guilty of
apostasy and subject to excommunication. Indeed, this is carried so far that
even to criticize the authorities is declared to be a dangerous thing.
One should do as the priesthood directs, whether one likes it or not.(71)
Such teachings differ not at all, in principle, as the present writer sees the
matter, from those enunciated by the authorities back in '69. Said George Q.
Cannon on one occasion, Brigham Young being present, "It is apostasy to differ
honestly with the measures of the president. A man may be honest even in hell."
And President Wells said, on the same occasion, and wills nothing wanting in the
way of emphasis: "One might as well ask the question whether a man had the
right to differ honestly with the Almighty."(72)
and rather startling assertions afford less grounds for astonishment when the
fact is remembered that they imply the acceptance of another doctrine quite as
unusual as the one involved. This basic principle is that the President of the
church is "the very mouthpiece of God"; "His vicegerent on earth," and the sole
channel through which He communicates His will and
purposes concerning all that pertains to His kingdom on earth.
If illustrations of
the practical workings of the power of the priesthood are desired, they are
easily to be found and their meaning appears to be perfectly clear.(73)
W. S. Godbe and his
colleagues were cut off from the church because they presumed to deny the right
of Brigham Young to restrict freedom of thought and speed, and to discipline
them for opinion's sake, and because they did not accept his financial policy.
Moses Thatcher held opinions concerning his rights and privileges as an American
citizen which did not accord with those of the First Presidency and the other
members of the quorum of Apostles, and he "declined to take counsel." For this
he was ousted from his position as an Apostle, and disfellowshipped. Charles A.
Smurthwaite felt that the President of the church should not enter the
commercial field in competition with persons less highly placed, and he gave
voice to this opinion to his Bishop and was cut off from the church. B. H.
Roberts, noting an unmistakable partiality in the
application of a church rule in the interest of one political party and against
the other, entered politics without the approval of the church authorities, and
was made to feel the sting of their displeasure, but later was "reconciled" with
B. H. Roberts who
is, perhaps, the brainiest man in the church, as he is the most independent
thinker, the most prolific writer, and possibly, the fairest controversialist,
recently gave frank expression, in a: conference address, to his belief that the
Mormon people had not always been blameless in the things they had done; that
their conduct had not always been defensible; that "there was much of
fanaticism, much of narrowness, and bigotry, and unwisdom on the part of
individuals among the Latter Day Saints;" that the disasters which overtook the
followers of the prophet in Missouri were due, in part at least, to
boastfulness, over-zeal, fanaticism and unwisdom on the part of the people. Even
the Prophet, Joseph Smith, the speaker pointed out, made mistakes, for which the
Lord rebuked him. In these statements there would seem to be nothing deserving
rebuke, yet for this frank avowal of facts, of the truth of which his historical
studies had convinced him, he was taken sharply to task in the same session of
the conference by the President of the church, Joseph F. Smith.(75)
Such results as are here indicated, need occasion no surprise, for it must be
remembered, as already remarked, that the authorities, the Priesthood, are "in
very deed a part of God," and as such they can fix, irrevocably, the ultimate
status of man, for to them belongs the power "to bind on earth that which shall
be bound in heaven and to loose on earth that which shall be loosed in heaven;"
"to remit sin;" "to say what shall be done and how it shall be done and on what
occasions it shall be done," and when the President of the church speaks
"anything as the mind and will of the Lord, it is just as binding upon us as if
God spoke personally to us."(76)
Those who are
acquainted with the teachings and literature of the Mormon church need no proof
to convince them that obedience to the Priesthood on the part of adherents of
this faith, is one of the fundamental requirements, now, as it always has been.
As already pointed out, denial of this principle was one of the chief offenses
of those who were responsible for the "Utah Schism." "It had been argued that we
must passively and uninquiringly obey the Priesthood because otherwise
we could riot build up Zion," complained 1;. L. T. Harrison, iii "An Appeal to
the People and Protest." And such obedience appears to lie required iii all the
relations of life-iii things spiritual and temporal.(77)
Some of us who are
unacquainted with the refinements, modifications, or qualifications to which
such teachings may be subjected in their application to individual cases may
well be pardoned if we question whether a member of an organization which makes
such demands upon its votaries-demands so unusual, far-reaching and seemingly
opposed to freedom of action--is in any
position to act freely, as our teachings require. And if he is not really free:
if because of a primary allegiance such as that involved in the doctrines we
leave been considering, another could command. instant and implicit obedience in
all the concerns of life could one so circumstanced be considered good material
for our Rites?
We are not
unmindful of the fact that leaders of the Latter Day Saints' organization leave
insisted, arid do insist, that their members are as free to choose their course,
to follow their preferences in all the affairs of life, as are the disciples of
any other faith or philosophy of life. The reconciliation of such assertions
with unquestioned facts does not lie within the field of our present
undertaking. But, when issues the most vital, having to do with time and
eternity, are made to hinge upon acceptance of the fundamental principle of
obedience to a priesthood, then we freely confess that such assertions make an
unwarranted and impossible demand upon our stock of credulity.
back to top
Other significant facts and
teachings; polygamy in Mormon books o f instruction, literature, and teaching;
"living one's religion;" influence of leaders
Another set of
facts which cannot well be ignored in this study has to do with the subject of
polygamy. The writer appreciates the fact that by many this is set down as a
dead issue, and that others, not n few, deprecate ally reference to the matter.
He is also mindful of the fact that the President of the Church, back in 1890,
issued a Manifesto, in which. he advised the people that he proposed to obey the
law, and to use his influence to induce them to do the same. And further, that
later, this famous document was construed as prohibiting not only new plural
marriages, but also a continuance of the old relations.(78)
Nor is the significance of a recent incident overlooked, wherein the present
head of the church-Heber J. Grant-declared, with so much earnestness that he
afterwards apologized for the manner in which he had spoken, having been, as he
expressed himself, "gloriously mad," that "No man on earth has power to perform
plural marriages," and, "We have excommunicated two patriarchs who have
pretended to perform plural marriages."
All of this and
these, for reasons that follow, do not remove the subject beyond the -purview
of the Mason, or of the Lodge, that may be seeking information concerning the
fitness of applicants for admission into the Fraternity. To be sure, and for
reasons that are obvious, the matter under consideration does not have the
interest or bulk as large as it did when Grand Secretary Diehl, in compliance
with resolutions adopted by Grand Lodge, prepared and sent out his Circular on
Mormonism and Masonry some forty years ago
(80). But after all allowances have
been made with reference to this subject there still remain considerations
pertinent to the purpose of this study, at all events, such is the conviction of
the present writer. He is not convinced that this is a "dead issue," for he
remembers that a president of the church, the
"very mouthpiece of God," as we have been repeatedly assured, in the most solemn
manner and without any qualification, declared concerning the doctrine and
practice of polygamy: "it is one of the most vital parts of our religious
faith; it emanated from God and cannot be legislated away ....take this from us
and you rob us of our hopes and associations in the resurrection."(81)
And a later
president of the church in his statement to the court, before receiving sentence
for violation of Federal law, declared: "Though I go to prison, God will not
change His law of celestial marriage."(82)
The uninitiated may
experience some difficulty, perhaps, when they undertake to reconcile one set of
facts with another set oŁ facts that appear to be at opposite poles. That,
however, is not a part of our problem; with the facts which follow, though, we
are concerned. Here is the situation:
It is known that
the practice of polygamy has been abandoned, according to repeated statements to
that effect by those who are in authority, and that the principle, or doctrine,
is no longer taught by the church: And yet,
there are certain facts and conditions which are bound to prove troublesome to
any one who would take such assertions at their face value. For example, it is a
matter of common knowledge that the present head of the Mormon church is a
polygamist, as also was his immediate predecessor, and as were all those who
have occupied that position before him. Associated with him are other leaders
similarly situated as to marital relations. These men are molders of the thought
and exemplars of the principles of the organization, and they are "living their
This matter is not
referred to here in any unkindly or carping spirit of criticism, but for the
purpose of directing attention to the teaching value of such facts. "Your
actions speak so loud that I cannot hear what you say," is an adage that is not
without suggestiveness in this connection. "How more forcibly could you teach it
(polygamy) than by practicing it openly as the head of the church," was a
question asked President Joseph F. Smith, at Washington, for which he seemed to
have no adequate answer.(84) Now, unquestionably the influence of the First
Presidency, more particularly of the President of the church, is greater, more
potent and far-reaching than that exerted by any other man or set of men. How
can it be otherwise, all
personal considerations aside, in view of the fact-as accepted by Latter Day
Saints-that he is the very mouthpiece of the Almighty, and that God does
actually speak through his lips? Necessarily it must follow that the words, the
actions, the daily life of one vested with such singular prerogatives exert an
influence not to be measured by any ordinary standards. It reaches the springs
of action, silently but surely shapes opinion and belief, and goes far, very
far, in determining the attitude of many thousands toward the institutions and
the laws of the country.(85)
For a man, or for
men, so placed to hold and to teach for any considerable length of time, that a
law with which they do not find themselves in agreement, is unconstitutional and
therefore should be ignored and this in spite of the fact that the highest
tribunal in the land had declared such law to be consistent with the
constitution; (86) or for them to insist that the practice of polygamy "is
ordained of God . . . . . . is ecclesiastical in its nature and government," and
because this is so, "it is therefore outside of constitutionallaw," and hence
"being within the pale of the church, its free exercise cannot be prohibited;"
or, again, for the "vicegerent of God" to testify in the most conspicuous manner
(though not of his own free will) that he had been, was then, and expected to
continue living in known violation of the laws of his country, his church, and
his God, and was willing to take his chances with the laws of his state; and for
other leaders, only a little less prominent, to testify to similar conditions
in their marital relations and to the possession of a like purpose with regard
to the law-for such a situation to develop, and to exist for years, and to be
taken quite as a matter of course, or even approved and commended and rewarded
by such a considerable body of people, cannot but be productive of results that
are far from being reassuring.(87)
How can it be
otherwise than that this attitude toward law, and these examples of the most
influential men in the church, should have a far-reaching effect upon the young
men and women of the Latter Day Saints' organization? As Masons, and as
citizens, we hold that it is not desirable, certainly it is not in accord with Masonic
ideals and teachings, to subject young people to character-forming influences
which must tend, at least, to make them indifferent to the basic law of our
country." Many thoughtful Craftsmen are profoundly convinced that these are
times in which unhesitating and unequivocating regard for law should be
emphasized on all suitable occasions, and that the all too general practice, in
effect, of nullifying and repealing law by disregard of law, in place of making
use of the means provided by law, is a proceeding dangerous beyond calculation;
it is a positive, subtle menace threatening the very foundations of those
institutions of which we boast and in which we glory.(88)
Another angle of
this phase of the subject must not be neglected. Hardly less pertinent than the
matter just discussed is the fact that this principle, like the revelation which
established it, continues to hold its place in the teachings, the beliefs and
the literature of the Mormon people. Not only is this doctrine taught by
example, and that by the most influential men in the church, but it appears in
the instructional and other literature provided by the church, or issued with
its approval, and in verbal instructions and testimony given at various
gatherings of the people.(89)
The Doctrine and
Covenants is one of the four standard works adopted by formal action of the
Church. It is the word of God, and is of equal authority with the Bible, the
Book of Mormon, and the Pearl of Great Price-these being the four standard books
of the Latter Day Saints' organization. In section, or chapter 132 of this book
is the revelation on plural marriage. If that chapter ever taught this principle
-and there is no controversy on that point-it still teaches it, for the late
President of the church, Joseph F. Smith, testified under oath that it had not
been annulled or repealed, and so far. as known to the present writer, no action
of this sort has been taken, or contemplated; it is still part and parcel of the
authoritative teachings of the church, as also is the severe sentence which it
pronounces upon those who fail to accept this teaching.(90)
In the material
provided for study in the young people's organizations of the church
considerable stress is placed on the "Lives" of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Brigham
Young, John Taylor and other leaders in the history of this people, all of whom
"lived their religion," and suffered "persecution," when the Government sought
to have its laws obeyed. These men are presented as heroic characters, whose
words and example are given for instruction and emulation.(91)
speakers, when addressing large numbers of this faith, declare their adherence
to the principle under consideration, and condemn the Government for suppressing
it. Several years after the Manifesto was issued an Apostle declared that the
principle of plural marriage is as true today as it ever was, and that those
"who prevent you from obeying are responsible to God for so doing."(92) B. H.
Roberts, in a church periodical published for the guidance and instruction of
young people-members of the Mutual Improvement Associations-has a long article
in explanation and defense of this principle
of the matter under consideration could easily be assembled, but they are not
deemed necessary. Enough has been said, it would seem, to make clear what is
being done along this line. It is no part of the present undertaking to
harmonize the contradictions which must be apparent to every observant
Craftsman. The purpose here is to call attention to facts.
As these pages are
written primarily for the benefit of Utah Masonry-though the subject is one that
concerns Masons throughout the land-there is another point of view that should
be introduced here.
The statement is
sometimes made concerning one who has applied, or is desirous of applying, for
the degrees: "He does
not practice polygamy; never has done so, and though a member of the Mormon
church he never has accepted it even in principle. Why is not he good material
for the mysteries of Masonry?" Such a statement of facts would seem to leave but
one answer possible, to that question, and yet, just here is a very important
consideration that is usually ignored or overlooked by those who have given
little thought to this subject.
There is a
principle in law which exactly illustrates the point to be emphasized here.
Perhaps no statement of this is better suited to the present purpose than that
to be found in the Report of the Committee on Privileges and Elections in the
At the beginning of
his argument on one of the subheads of the report, the Chairman said: "That one
may be legally, as well as morally, responsible for unlawful acts which he does
not himself commit is a rule of law too elementary to require discussion." Then
in the concluding paragraph he restates the principle in these words:
"The rule in civil
cases is the same as that which obtains in the administration of criminal law.
One who is a member of an association of any nature is bound by the action of
his associates, whether he favors or disapproves of such action. He can at any
time protect himself from the consequences of any future action of his
associates by withdrawing from the association, but while he remains a member of
the association he is responsible
for whatever his associates may do."(94)
might be given, but none that would more clearly represent the writer's view of
the problem presented by the man who would retain membership in the organization
and yet be absolved from certain of its teachings and practices. The second
sentence in the quotation above suggests the proper and the only honorable
course under the circumstances indicated.(95)
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"belief" in Masonry; illustrated in naturalization laws; the Great Light and
"living oracles"; the Deity; many gods, including female deity; attitude o f
Mormon church toward MasonrY
Craftsman, and sometimes those who are in a position to know, find a stumbling
block in the fact that a Grand Lodge does, or should, consider the matter of
"belief," in connection with qualifications of applicants for the degrees, for
membership by affiliation, or for the privilege of visitation. Attention will be
directed to certain facts presently which-in addition to those set forth in the
preceding pages-may help to a more nearly correct appreciation of the actual
situation in Utah, and of the principles which through the years have
determined, and do now determine, the position of the Grand Lodge of the Beehive
state. But first, it is quite worth our while to take a little nearer view of a
claim often made in behalf of Masonry, but which like many another assertion
that comes, presumably, from authoritative sources, should be received with a
due amount of caution.
quite generally prevails that Masonry does not presume to question a petitioner
concerning his belief, or religion. "He may believe what he pleases," so the
Craft is informed by those who have given the matter hardly a second thought,
"so long as lie accepts the one Masonic dogma, of the existence of God,
the Great Architect of the Universe." But is that true? Do Grand Lodges stop
with that? Is there one Grand Lodge, at least in Anglo-Saxon countries, that is
content to take as it stands, Article 1 of the "Charges of a Freemason," for
example, and abide by the definition of "religion," found therein? Hardly. The
creed-maker must needs come forward with his pet target!(96)
To point out the
fallaciousness of the assumption under consideration may seem to be a work of
supererogation, but there may be some readers of this, who have been misled by
oft-repeated declarations. " Significant testimony relating to the matter in
hand will be drawn from two sources. First, from records. Space permits only the
Here is a great
eastern jurisdiction, with more than 100,000 members on its rosters, laying down
in its Constitution as an essential part of the foundation of its Masonic
edifice, the dogma of Monotheism in connection with belief in
will be seen from later paragraphs in this study, that one word has a very
direct bearing on the Utah situation, and would ,exclude Latter Day Saints from
Masonic affiliation in the jurisdiction referred to.
Down along the
Mexican border is another great jurisdiction-great in many respects-which has
placed in its Code the requirement, that must be met by all applicants, of "a
belief in the Divine authenticity of the Holy Bible."(98)
Eastward, but still in the most southern tier
of states, is another jurisdiction which has adopted a "Declaration of Masonic
Faith as to God and the Holy Bible" and has nailed it down by requiring that it
shall be read in each lodge, that it shall be spread upon the minute-book, and
that report that this has been done shall be made to the Grand secretary by the
secretary of the lodge, and further, that this "Declaration" shall be printed in
the next Manual.(99)
And yet, that creed contains no less than five distinct, qualifying, dogmatic,
doctrinal statements with reference to Deity. Turning East again, we hear a
Grand Master declare in his annual address "Our Book of Constitutions teaches us
that that Sublime Person, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, is Christ, the Son of
the Living God; and if our Book of Constitutions does not so teach, then is our
Masonry a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal"; and a Grand Orator of the same
jurisdiction asserted that. "True Masonry...... recognizes the church as having
been founded by God, with his Son Jesus Christ as the Chief cornerstone."(100)
Illustrations such as these could be greatly multiplied, did space permit, or
the occasion require them.
The other line of
evidence is to be found in the ritual, lectures and ceremonies of Masonry. For
obvious reasons this cannot be presented here. But one cannot follow a candidate
through the work of the several degrees, from the first question that is asked
till the work is completed, and note the explicit teachings touching religion,
and scarcely less definite implications and inferences, and have much room for
doubt that Masonry does make very considerable demands in this respect. Masonry
does claim, and exercise, the right to insist that the candidate shall profess
belief in certain principles. Failing to meet this condition, and his petition
would not even be presented to the lodge, to say nothing of proceeding with the
work. The fact is no less apparent that the range of inquiry within which the
search for information concerning an applicant may be prosecuted, is not fixed
by any "immutable landmarks," for the law on "qualifications" varies greatly in
the different jurisdictions. Masonry has erected certain standards to which
applicants must conform; it does pass on qualifications; necessarily, too, it
must, and does, rate character, and in order to judge character, somewhat must
be known concerning the
stuff that has gone into the making of character. And so it comes about that
when the desired information is not at hand, many questions are asked, or should
be asked, which do not find place on the forms of petition. Circumstances might
be such that members of an investigation committee would desire to satisfy
themselves whether or not an applicant for initiation is a drug addict, or a
user, or maker of intoxicants, or a "libertine"; whether he abuses his wife,
neglects his children, defrauds his creditors, or is wedded to the gaming-table.
And it is within the province of this committee to make enquiries with reference
to the physical condition of a petitioner; whether he is a cripple, or subject
to any chronic or other disease which might lessen his efficiency, or cause him
to be a burden to the lodge. All these intimate matters of health, moral
qualities, business, social and domestic relations of a candidate are of vital
concern to the lodge, and upon them it should be fully advised.
Now, to maintain
that the most powerful of all character-shaping forces should be excluded from
the field of inquiry, and that' no standard may be erected by which the
religious bearing of a life may be calculated--that these are matters of
indifference to a Masonic Lodge, or, if you please, "none of its business"-is an
absurdity, in the opinion of the present writer. Certainly, such a contention
does not conform to facts or to practice. The statement may not be necessary,
and the writer's fear of being misunderstood may be groundless,
but he would remind his readers that in dealing with this phase of the subject,
he has in mind, always, religion not sectarianism.
In this connection,
and as further emphasizing the importance that may be attached to a state of
mind, to a "belief," as a determining factor in the evaluation of character, the
decision of a Salt Lake Judge, in the Third District Court, is illuminating and
suggestive. The matter came up on the petition of an alien to become a citizen
of the United States.
In framing the
naturalization laws under the statute certain requirements are set-forth.
Failure to satisfy any one of these conditions results in defeating application
for citizenship. Among other declarations required the petitioner must state
under oath that he is not "a polygamist or believer in the practice of
polygamy." And further, he must make it "appear to the satisfaction of the
court," that he is attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United
the case under consideration the applicant for citizenship took oath as
required, with reference to being a polygamist and his belief in the practice of
polygamy. At the hearing, however, he was interrogated with respect to
fulfillment of conditions required for admission to citizenship. The testimony
showed, with reference to belief in the practice of polygamy, that the
petitioner based his disbelief in the practice upon the conviction, and upon no
other ground, that so long as they exist, the prohibitory rules of. church and
state should be obeyed.
He did not disbelieve in it because of any objection to the practice itself: "*
* * * apart from its relationship to ecclesiastical and legal prohibitions he
does believe in it now." He was willing to obey the law, and to have it obeyed,
but it was shown that he did not believe in, and was unsympathetic with, the
forbidding canons of both church and state. The Court held that "One cannot
honestly believe in a practice apart from the fact that it is against the law,
and at the same time be honestly attached to the law forbidding it." And further
that "* * * since his testimony shows a lack of attachment to the law against
polygamy, a law fundamental in our scheme of government, he has failed to
fulfill that important condition requiring petitioners to show to the
satisfaction of the court that they are `attached to the principles of the
Admission to citizenship. was therefore denied him.
The point to which
attention is specially directed in this incident is the significance attached to
a "belief," as disclosing an unfavorable attitude of mind toward the laws of the
lard. Masonry, like citizenship acquired through naturalization, is a privilege,
not a right, and a privilege conditioned upon compliance with certain
requirements, and those requirements are fixed by the written and unwritten laws
of the Fraternity.
Another matter, not
without significance in this connection, concerns the Book
of the Law. Masonry directs the attention of its initiates to the Bible, "the
inestimable gift from God to man as the rule and guide to his faith and
conduct." (103)The Great Light, in Anglo-Saxon Masonry, occupies a prominent and well
known position in the Ritual and Lodge room. For these reasons the attitude of
the Latter Day Saints' organization towards this "moral manual of civilization"
is of no small significance.
The Bible is
accepted as the "Word of God, so far as translated correctly."(104) The Book of
Mormon is equally the word of God, as also are the Doctrine and Covenants and
the Pearl of Great Price-these are the standard books of the Mormon church.(105)
In this respect,
then, there would seem to be little ground for objection, for with four bibles
surely, a Book of the Law could be placed upon the altar, axed if not one, then
two; or three, or all four. But there is another angle to this feature of the
Among the many
doctrines, or principles, held by the Mormon church-and in this instance, given
place among its fundamental teachings, is that of continuous, or "immediate
revelation." By this is understood that the President of the church, who, as we
have seen, is the "very mouthpiece of God,"(106)
may at any time substitute
something better than any one of the four books named, or than all of them
together, and such pronouncement would be the very word of God, binding alike
upon all the adherents of that faith. "The whole of them, (i. e. the four books
listed above) are not all we need * * * the Lord has his `mouthpiece to say what
shall be done and how it shall be done and on what occasion it shall be done.' "(107)
The authorities of the church are the "living oracles of God and they are word
pore to the L. D. S. than all the Bibles, all the Books of Mormon and all the
Books of Doctrine and Covenants that are written. If we could have but one of
them, give me the living oracles of the Priesthood for my guidance."(108) "When
compared with the living oracles," declared Brigham Young, "those books are
nothing to me; those books do not convey the word of God direct to us now, as do
the words of the Prophet or a man bearing the Holy Priesthood in our day and
generation. I would rather have the
living oracles than all the writing in the books." These words, quoted by
President Woodruff, were spoken in the presence of Joseph Smith, who immediately
arose and said: "Brother Brigham has told you the word of the Lord and he has
told you the truth."(109)
directed to these teachings, not in any captious spirit, nor in criticism of
those who hold these views.
more especially those touching the relative importance of the Bible and the
"living oracles" of the Mormon church, are for those who can, and who care to,
accept them. The paint emphasized here is that such views do concern
Masons-wherever Masons are to be found-when those who hold them seek the
fraternal fellowship and the more intimate relations of Lodge membership.
Freemasons can hardly look unmoved, or with any measure of favor, upon the
application of one who seeks the benefits and privileges of the Craft, and who
yet, at any moment, because of conscientious scruples, might turn from the Great
Light of Masonry, substituting for the "inestimable gift from God to man," the
dictum of some man whom accident has lifted to a place of great influence, but
in whose pronouncements Masonry finds no marks of divine authority. That this
may not appear in the light of a mere suppositious case, or a vastly removed
possibility, the reader's attention is invited to the
paragraphs dealing with the attitude of the Mormon church toward secret
As will be seen by reference to that passage, a late "living oracle" declared
secret societies-and the connection shows that Masonry was included-are of the
"evil one," and the same authoritative voice asserted that the church had passed
a resolution that Latter Day Saints who were members of secret societies were
not fit for offices in the church or positions of responsibility. This latter
fact leas a further significance in that it indicates that such applicants as
are being considered here, are not free to choose such course as might appeal to
them, as was brought out in an earlier passage: pressure, of the character
indicated above makes freedom of action impossible, for honors and dignities in
the church are among the strongest incentives to loyalty to the organization.
In view of such
facts as are here set forth: with "living oracles" whose words may at any time
supersede the rule and guide of the Mason's faith and practice, and with fairly
definite information as to the character of such pronouncements, where Masonry
might be concerned-members of the Craft may be pardoned, perhaps, for exercising
a large measure of caution when the petition of a Latter Day Saint is presented.
And the necessity for this course is not lessened by the fact that two of the
four standard works or bibles of the Mormon church condemn in unsparing and
unmistakable terms, all secret organizations.(111)
Another aspect of
the subject in hand which is worthy of more than passing notice relates itself
to Deity. Masonry requires of its initiates an avowal of belief in Deity. It
does not undertake to prescribe what one's conception shall be,(112)
so that in this particular, Latter Day Saints would seem to be qualified to meet
requirements. But these facts do not preclude a consideration of conceptions so
fundamental in character and life as one's apprehension of Deity. Speaking in a
general way, according as one's idea of God is exalted or otherwise, will the
ideals be lofty or debased.
Here, again, the
writer would disclaim any intention or attempt to criticize those whose views
are under consideration. The chief object in view is to present as much
information as possible concerning the influences and forces and beliefs which
operate together in the task of shaping the character of adherents of the
system, some aspects of which are here being passed under review.
Latter Day Saints
are taught, and, we assume believe, in a plurality of gods. "When I lave
preached on the subject of Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods."(114)
"The head God organized the heavens. In the beginning the heads of the Gods
organized the heavens and the earth." "In the beginning the Bible shows there is
a plurality of Gods beyond the power of refutation." "The head of the Gods
appointed one God for us."(115)
"Jesus Christ and His Father are two distinct persons, in the same sense as John
and Peter are two persons." "Each of these Gods, including Jesus Christ and His
Father . . . . . . is subject to the laws which govern, of necessity, even the
most refined order of physical existence."(116)
Further, not only
is the doctrine of plurality of gods taught, and believed, by the Mormon people,
but the materiality of the gods as well. A statement with slight variations
often heard in Utah is: "God Himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted
man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens."(117)
This doctrine " . . . . . .affirms that God the Father, as well as God the Son,
is a corporeal personage; that he has a body of flesh and bones; that he has
form, and dimensions, organs and parts as to his body .. . . . ."(118)
". . . . . . the principle of procreation. By it, and through that principle the
worlds are peopled ..... God possesses it, and we as His children inherit that
"Jesus Christ and His Father are two persons . . . . . . Each of them has an
organized, individual tabernacle, embodied in material form, and composed of
material substance; in the likeness of man, and possessing every organ, limb and
physical part that man possesses."(120) "What is God? He is a material
intelligence, possessing both body and parts. He is in the form of man, and is
in fact of the same species; . . . . . . He can go, come, converse, reason, eat,
drink, love, hate, rejoice, possess and enjoy ..........."
(121) Associated with
this God, who "sits enthroned in yonder heaven," is a female Deity. By this
arrangement provision appears to be made for the pre-existence of spirits. These
spirits possess "every organ after the pattern and in the likeness or similitude
of the outward or fleshly tabernacle they are destined eventually to inhabit . .
. . . . This individual, spiritual body, was begotten by the Heavenly Father, in
His own likeness and image, and by the laws of procreation."(122)
Whatever allowance may, and should, be made,
in respect to leaving every man free to conceive of God as he will, due
consideration should be given to this fact, namely: The conception of God herein
set forth differs so radically from that held by Masons generally, but
especially in this country, that the question might well arise, whether those
who accept it-and who are absolutely within their rights in doing so would, or
could, fit into the Masonic institution and system. If sincere in their faith,
they could hardly feel at home in an organization, some of whose fundamental
teachings are so at variance with their own beliefs and ideals. And, on the
other hand, Masons are fully warranted
in exercising the greatest care when considering any matter which might
threaten, or actually disturb, the peace and harmony of a Lodge.
Reference has been
made to the unfriendly attitude of the Mormon church toward all secret
societies. The reason for this opposition, according to the late President of
the church, Joseph F. Smith, "must be apparent to every intelligent Latter Day.
Saint."(123) The reader who does not come within this classification must look
elsewhere for information on this point. As briefly as possible some of the
considerations bearing on this matter will be given here, and in order to
conserve space, all the references will be assembled under one numeral.
The Latter Day
Saints' organization is opposed to secret societies because, among other
"They are of the
evil one." Satan was the originator of secret societies, he having made Cain a
"Master Mahan," so that he might slay his brother Abel and avoid punishment;
revelation has condemned them; "covenants they impose are liable to conflict
with religious obligations;" a prophet of God has emphatically raised his voice
against these "institutions which threaten the liberties of all people and
portend the destruction of whatever nation fosters them;" membership in such
organizations interferes with performance of church duties, such as attending
meetings of their quorums,
paying tithing and going on missions; affiliation with such societies means that
the Latter Day Saint forfeits his "inheritance in the Zion of God;" such
membership means that the advice of the First Presidency has been ignored and
disregarded; "nothing can be permitted in the members (of the church) that is
calculated to bring division and weakness to the church;" those who have been
led to join such societies should repent and withdraw "from that which threatens
their standing;" these organizations are no place for a Latter Day Saint, for by
becoming identified with them he leaves the teachings of the gospel and plays
"into the hands of the Gentiles."(124)
So strong is the opposition of the church to any connection with secret
societies, on the part of its members, that the authorities some years ago took
drastic action, going so far as to declare that those who were identified with
these organizations should not be selected for any church office, for they "are
not fit to hold these offices," and later, the President of the church
threatened such with excommunication.
Now, such being the
attitude of the Latter Day Saints' church toward Masonry, the matter appears to
be plain and beyond dispute that a person who would act in opposition to such
counsel and to the most solemn and positive asseverations of such
authorities-including the president of the church, who speaks for God to his
people, and who binds on earth .and it is bound in heaven--would, necessarily,
be a "bad" Mormon. And Masons may be pardoned, perhaps, should they seriously
doubt if a "bad" Mormon can be made over into a good Mason.
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CONCLUSION - SUMMARY
IN the preceding
pages many matters, of varying
degrees of interest
and importance in connection with the subject, have been presented. Owing to the
exigency of space limitations, none of these has been fully discussed, and, as a
result, the study, as a whole, may give the impression of being fragmentary and
incomplete. The following brief summary will assist the reader to see at a
glance the ground that has been covered in the discussion, and it may serve,
further, to remind him that not in the character or significance of any one
consideration here set forth is to be found the object sought in these chapters,
but that the cumulative weight of all the facts presented is relied upon to
sustain the writer's position and contention. Expressed differently, the writer
believes that the facts here assembled fully vindicate the position of the Grand
Lodge of Utah, and afford ample reasons why the Masonry of Utah, and the Masonry
of the entire country (for manifestly this is not, and cannot be, merely a local
problem), should not open its doors to members of the Latter Day Saints'
Now, the summary
MORMONISM AND MASONRY
Attitude of the Mormon Masons in Nauvoo; Grand Lodge summonses and edicts
ignored; Lodge work continued after dispensation was annulled, and even after
the Lodges had been declared clandestine.
Temple ceremonies; use of language and symbols.
Claims unlimited power over members of the organization; speaks for God, and as
God; binds on earth and in heaven; to question or disobey, the same as though
the Almighty had commanded and had been disobeyed.
a. By the
original revelation, which still holds its place in' the Doctrine and Covenants,
and which has not been repealed or annulled, nor can it be erased.
b. By positive
declarations of belief in the principle at the lips of the leaders and prominent
c. By the
literature prepared for study in all the
subdivisions of the system.
d. By the
example of leaders, who "live their religion" today, and by the "Lives" of the
leaders of other days, from Joseph Smith to the present time.
Toward Law: Enforcement of law against polygamy was "persecution;" still so
held and taught; another phase illustrated by the testimony of leaders in the
MORMONISM AND MASONRY
6. The Great
Light: Substitution of pronouncements of "living oracles" (specifically, of
the President of the organization) for the Bible; further, it is displaced by
the Book of Mormon, as a teacher of righteousness;(127)
it is one of the four standard books of the organization, two of which
condemn secret societies in unmeasured terms, and trace their origin,
particularly of Masonry, to the evil one.
7. The Deity:
"Many gods" clearly and emphatically taught; God an "exalted man;" male and
female deities; these conceptions out of harmony with teachings of Anglo-Saxon
Prohibited: Masonry originated with Satan, and because of its evil
tendencies must be avoided; disregard of teachings of priesthood on this subject
deprives adherents of the faith of their standing, of official preferment, and
may subject them to excommunication.
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(1) Seq. p. 42, Note 6.
(2) The following from a "dodger," bearing date
of Feb. 28, 1839, indicates the circumstances of these people at the time under
review. "Public Meeting of the Citizens of Quincy." "A public meeting will be
held this evening at the Court House for the purpose of devising ways and means
for the permanent relief of the distress existing among the strangers who have
lately been driven from Missouri, known as the `Latter Day
(3) Saints'; and
for affording them immediate aid, as their wants are pressing, a collection will
be taken up at the close of the meeting for that purpose." For proceedings of
this meeting, see History of the Church, Period 1, Joseph Smith, Roberts, Vol.
3, p. 270.
contains the center of the Zion of God; there Adam dwelt; there the smoke of his
sacrifices rose to God, and to that spot he will return and gather the hosts of
God. 75th s-anl. Conf. Rpt., p. 72.
(5) Life of Heber C. Kimball, Whitney, pp.
26-27; Catalogue of Anti-Masonic Books, Gassett, p. 88 ; Hist. of Freemasonry in
N. Y., McClenachan, vol. II, p. 518. Records available do not show that Phelps
had any part in organizing Nauvoo Lodge.
(6) Reynolds' Hist. of .Freemasonry in
Illinois, p. 154; Mormonism and its Connection with Freemasonry, 1842-3-4,
Nauvoo, Ill., Smith, The American Tyler, Feb. 1, 1905.
(7) The Ashler, Jan., 1860, article reproduced
in The Masonic Trowel, vol. 1 of the year following. The letter of Grand Master
Jonas was published in the Columbus Advocate, March 22, 1841, and reproduced in
Times and Seasons (Nauvoo), issue of April 1st.
(8) Proceedings, Grand Lodge of Illinois, 1842,
(9) Times and Seasons, vol. III, p. 651. In a
communication by Ex-Gov. C. Duncan, of Ill., written in March, 1843, he deals
with this very situation in vigorous language. "Let them see," he writes, "the
cringing of ambitious office seekers of both parties at the feet of the Mormon
prophet; especially since he published his manifesto, in the shape of a
proclamation ..........". Miss. Valley Hist'l Ass'n, vol. V, pp. 183-84.
(10) Abraham Lincoln not only voted for this
bill, as indicated in the text, but congratulated Bennett upon its passage, and
this in spite of the fact that many * of the Saints erased his name and
substituted that of his opponent at the last election. Masonic Voice-Review,
(new series) vol. X, p. 261; ' Rise and Fall of Nauvoo, Roberts, p. 81.
(11) Historical Record, vol. VIII, p.
?54; Masonic Voice-Review (new series) vol. X, pp. 261-62; Times and
Seasons, vol. 11, pp. 284-86.
(12) The letter referred to reads: "You will
please discontinue my paper; its contents are calculated to pollute me. And to
patronize that filthy sheet, that tissue of lies, that sink of iniquity, is
disgraceful to any moral man. Yours with contempt. Joseph Smith. P. S. Please
publish the above in your contemptible paper." Warsaw Signal, June 2, 1841;
Masonic Voice-Review (new series) vol. X, p. 262. This letter was dated at
Nauvoo, May 26, 1841. A careful reading of the editorial objected to (Warsaw
Signal, May 19, 1841) fails to disclose sufficient grounds for so much heat.
However, the prophet's communication was given place in the Signal, accompanied
by a half jocular, half ironical response, in the course of which the editor
dunned Smith for back subscription amounting to three dollars. Warsaw Signal,
June 2, 1841. The foregoing matters have a further interest in connection with
the subject, in that the criticisms of Bennett and Douglas, in the columns of
the Warsaw Signal, brought a response from the editor of the church
paper, in the course of which Bennett is given a clean bill of health. Times
and Seasons, vol. 11, (June 1, 1841) , pp. 431-32.
(13) Historical Record, vol. VII, p. 494, 761.
A letter from Joseph Smith, under date of May 6, 1841, which appeared in the
Times and Seasons, gives an account of this occasion, and notes the fact that
Cyrus Walker was also present, and that he and Judge Douglas addressed the
(14) Times and Seasons, vol. III, p. 651;
Sangamo Journal, June 3, 1842. In the issues of the Warsaw Signal for
June 2, and 9, 1841, the editor deals with various matters touching the
political power wielded by the Saints. Among others is an article on the "Lee
County Whig Convention," at which the Mormon delegates, 180 in number, declared
that if their candidates were not nominated the Latter Day Saints' vote would be
thrown to the other party.
(15) Historicd Record, vol. VII, p.
530. Because of Duncan's position, " ... the Church universally voted for Mr.
Ford, who was elected Governor:'
(16) The Sangamo Journal, Sept, 9,
1842, quoting from the Wasp, a Nauvoo periodical edited at the time by a
brother of Joseph Smith, a representative-elect of Hancock county.
(17) History of the Church, Period 1,
Joseph Smith, Roberts, vol. IV, p. xxi., Introduction. Masonic Voice-Review
(new series) p. 263.
(18) Masonic Voice-Review, (new series)
vol. X, p. 299.
(19) Reynolds' History of Freemasonry in
Illinois, p. 174-75 ; Proceedings Grand Lodge, Illinois, 1842, pp. 52-53.
(20) Historical Record, vol. VI, pp. 232-33.
(21) Rise and Fall of Nauvoo, Roberts, pp.
114-118; Historical Record, vol. VI, p. 219; Deseret News, May 20, 1886; Cf.
History of the Church, Period 1, Joseph Smith, Roberts, vol. V, Introduction,
pp. 29-46. ,
(22) Deseret News, Extra, Sept. 14, 1852;
Historical Record, Vol. VI, p. 227.
(23) The incident referred to occurred on the
occasion of Schuyler Colfax's conversation with Brigham, June 17, 1865. The
matter of polygamy was brought up by Brigham, himself, and in the course of his
remarks he is reported to have declared that "... the revelations of the
Doctrine and Covenants declared for monogamy, but that polygamy was a later
revelation commanded by God to him and a few others, and permitted and advised
to the rest of the church." From Schuyler Colfax's Journal, quoted in The
Western Galaxy, Vol. I, p. 247.
(24) Historical Record, vol. VI, p. 221; Life
of Heber C. Kimball, Whitney, pp. 331-332; History of the Church, Period 1,
Joseph Smith, Roberts, vol. V, Introduction, p. 34.
(25) Life of Heber C. Kimball,
Whitney, pp. 333-335; One Hundred Years of Mormonism, Evans, p. 474; Succession
in the Presidency of the Church, Roberts, p. 120; Biography of Lorenzo Snow, by
his sister, E. R. Snow, p. 68.
(26) The words quoted in the text
are those of Helen Mar Kimball, a daughter of Apostle H. C. Kimball, who was
married to the prophet in May, 1843. Life of Heber C. Kimball, Whitney, p. 338.
(27) Life of Heber C. Kimball, Whitney,
p. 335, 336, Note; Compare the prophet's words to John Taylor, quoted by
Roberts, Rise and Fall of Nauvoo, p. 117.
(28) Historical Record, vol. VI, pp.
220-227; Rise and Fall of Nauvoo, Roberts, p. 118.
(29) Rise and Fall of Nauvoo, Roberts,
(30) Times and Seasons, vol. V, p. 423; Cf. Historical Record,
vol. Vl, p. 220.
(31) Historical Record, vol. VI, pp. 233-34.
(32) Millennial Star, vol. 45, p. 435. Concerning such denials, a
church historian says that the leaders were obliged to make such denials because
" . . . .over-zealous advocates and ill-informed denunciators never truly
represented the doctrine of the revelation on Marriage," and so, "the denial of
these misstatements of the doctrine and its practice was not regarded by the
leading elders of the church as a denial of the doctrine of the revelation; and
while this may be considered a refinement in presentation that the world will
not allow, it nevertheless represents a distinction that was real to those who
were struggling with a difficult proposition, and accounts for the seeming
denials made by John Taylor, public discussion wilt three ministers at Boulogne-
sur-Mer, France, 1850." History of the Mormon Church, Roberts, Americana, vol.
VI, p. 297. Another high church authority explains: "Until the open enunciation
of the doctrine of celestial marriage by the publication of the revelation on
the subject in 1852, no elder was authorized to announce it to the world," and
so, " . . . . . when assailed by enemies and accused of practicing things which
were really not countenanced in the church, they were justified in denying those
imputations and at the same time avoiding the avowal of such doctrines as were
not yet intended for the world." C. W. Penrose, Deseret News, May 29, 1886,
quoted in Proceedings Smoot Investigation, vol. II, p. 967. Another, frankly
admitting his own inability to account for such denials in view of the facts,
acknowledged that he had "no sufficient explanation of them:" R. W. Young,
Smoot Investigation, vol. II, p. 965 ; Other instances of such denials are,
a letter by Hyrum Smith, Times and Seasons, vol. V, p. 474, and Journal
of Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Period 1, Joseph Smith, Roberts,
vol. VI, p. 46_ See also, Joseph F. Smith, Historical Record, vol. VI, p.
(33) Historical Record, vol. VII, p. 495 ; History of the Saints, John C.
Bennett, pp. 10-35; History of the Church, Period 1, Joseph Smith, Roberts, vol.
V, Introduction and pp. 67-83. Less than a year before the rupture mentioned in
the text, the editors of the church paper wrote, in answer to an editorial in
the Warsaw Signal, "General Bennett's character as a gentleman, an officer, a
scholar, and physician stands too high to need defending by us, suffice it to
say, that he is 'in the confidence of the executive, holds the office of Quarter
Master General of the state, and is well known to a large number of persons of
the first respectability throughout the state. He has likewise been favorably
known for upwards of eight years by some of the authorities of the church, and
has resided three years in the state." Times and Seasons, vol. II, pp. 431-32.
(34) The History of the Saints,
Bennett, pp. 256, 287 ; Rise and Fall of 1Vauvoo, Roberts, p. 118 ;
Historical Record, vol. VI, pp. 221, 233; vol. VII, p. 495. Cf. Wm.
Clayton's statement, in which he quotes the prophet's words: "It is your
privilege to have all the wives you want." Historical Record, vol. VI, p. 225.
With Clayton's sworn statement, read Hyrum Smith's letter to the "Latter Day
Saints living on China Creek," in which lie denies that such doctrine was
taught. Times and Seasons, vol. V, p. 474.
(35) Masonic Voice-Review, (new series) vol. X, p. 334.
(36) Times and Seasons, vol. III, pp. 870-74; History of the Church, Period
1, Joseph Smith, Roberts, vol. V, pp. 71-82; 137-39; Historical Record, vol.
VII, p. 500; The History of the Saints, Bennett, Preface.
(37) History of the Church, Period 1, Joseph Smith, Roberts, vol. V, p. 137.
(38) Times and Seasons, vol. III, pp. 749-750; History of the
Church, Period 1, Joseph Smith, Roberts, vol. IV, 565-566.
(39) History of the Church, Period 1, Joseph Smith, Roberts, vol. IV, pp.
550-552. The prophet could not-or apparently, did not-foresee how this act
of-his, in becoming a Mason, would rise, Banquo-like, to trouble future
generations of his followers. The unsparing condemnation of secret societies, so
often to be met with in the Book of Mormon, seems to conflict with the prophet's
affiliation with one of those secret societies. This seeming contradiction
between teaching and practice in this matter, has frequently sent to church
headquarters the question: "Why did Joseph Smith become a Mason?" The present
writer, in a paper published elsewhere, has given attention to that question,
and in still another study, has jotted down his thoughts on the subject of,
"Anti-Masonry in the Book of Mormon."
(40) Reynolds' History of Freemasonry in Illinois, pp. 174-75. The
matter is worthy of passing notice, that probably it was this action of the
Grand Master, in making the two leaders Masons at sight, that led a present day
Apostle of the church to write: "Great Masonic honors were conferred upon Joseph
Smith and Sidney Rigdon." Deseret News, Editorial, July 16, 1906.
Sangamon Journal, July 22, 1842.
Proceedings, Grand Lodge of Illinois, 1842, pp. 52, 58-59.
(43) Just what
was the character of these "principal charges" is not indicated by any records
available to the writer. The suggestion has been made by another that they grew
out of the Bennett affair, and pertained to alleged discrimination on account of
religious or political affiliations. See History of Grand Lodge of Ia.,
Morcombe, vol. I, pp. 148-49.
explanation of this recommendation the Grand Master stated that the number of
members was "entirely too large for convenience in working, and is otherwise
objectionable; a fact of which they are themselves aware:" The fact appears from
the record, . that the Grand Master's recommendation with reference to the
additional Lodges in Nauvoo, was in accordance with a request made by the
brethren in that place. Proceedings, Grand Lodge of Illinois, 1843, pp. 85-86.
Proceedings Grand Lodge Illinois, 1844, p. 130; 1848, p. 476.
History of Freemasonry in Illinois, p. 244. In the Nauvoo Neighbor, March 13,
1844, is the following "notice," which appears in succeeding issues of the same
publication up to, and including that of April 3rd:
Notice. The officers and brethren of Nauvoo Lodge would hereby make known to the
Masonic world, that they have fixed on Friday, the 5th day of April, for the
dedication of their new Masonic Hall, to take place at 1 o'clock P.M. All worthy
Brethren of the Fraternity who feel interested in the cause, are requested to
participate with us in the ceremonies of dedication. Done by order of the Lodge,
Wm. Clayton, Secretary. March 13th, 1844." Between the leaves of the issue of
The Neighbor for April 3rd, the writer found a time-stained sheet of paper,
about six by seven inches in size, printed on one side, double column, and
headed: "Hymns to be sung at the Dedication of the Masonic Temple, on Friday,
April 5th." Among the songs listed were, "The God Carriers' Song," "The Entered
Apprentices' Song," and a "Glee." Evidently, copies of this "dodger" were
distributed to the subscribers of the paper in the manner indicated and to those
who participated in the exercises at the time the hall was dedicated.
of the Church, Period 1, Joseph Smith, Roberts, vol. VI, p. 287.
History of Freemasonry in Illinois, p. 255; Proceedings of Grand Lodge of
Illinois, 1846, pp. 328-329. Because of its bearing upon several important
matters, particularly upon the Masonic standing of Joseph Smith at the time of
his death, the resolution referred to in the text is here given in full.
Although this was not adopted by Grand Lodge until some two years after the
tragedy in Carthage jail, the principles set forth in this resolution appear to
have been recognized and accepted by Grand Lodge, even before the action taken,
which revoked the authority under which the Mormon lodges were working. The
that it is the sense of this Grand Lodge, that suspension of a subordinate lodge
by this Grand Lodge, only affects the standing of its individual members so far
as they participate in disregarding the edicts of the Grand Lodge after the
first information thereof coming to their knowledge, and providing such
individuals by their act shall not have been the cause of the action of this
Grand Lodge declaring such Lodge suspended or clandestine."
interpretation of the position of Grand Lodge seems to leave little room for the
good standing of any of the members of the Nauvoo lodges who lived or were in
Nauvoo during the period between October 3. 1843. and October 9, 1844, when
final action was taken by Grand Lodge.
of the Church, Period 1, Joseph Smith, by Roberts.vol. VI, p. 349.
Historical Record, vol. VII, p. 546.
(50) A curious
story is told by Mormon writers and speakers-and repeated by some others, not
Masons-in explanation of the action of the Grand Lodge of Illinois in annulling
the dispensations and revoking the charter of Mormon lodges. Feramorz Little
appears to have passed it on to Burton, who reproduces it in his "City of the
Saints," p. 350. "The angel of the Lord brought to Mr. Joseph Smith the lost
key-words of several degrees, which caused him, when he appeared among the
brotherhood of Illinois, to `work right ahead' of the highest, and to show them,
their ignorance of the greatest truths and benefits of Masonry. The natural
result was that their diploma was taken from them by the Grand Lodge!!" To those
who do not happen to be followers of the prophet, a more natural explanation of
Joseph Smith's ability to "work right ahead" of others, is to be found in the
fact that he lived in the very heart of the region affected by the anti-Masonic
excitement, 1826-1830; he was familiar with exposes widely distributed at that
time; undoubtedly he, with his neighbors, had often seen "renouncing Masons"
present at great public gatherings what was alleged to be all of the Masonic
degrees; beyond question, he frequently attended mass meetings where the
speakers vied with each other in depicting the blackness of the Masonic
institution, and rehearsing portions of the work, and also, beyond doubt, he
joined others in discussing the one topic of community gossip and interest.
During three years of the time in which anti-Masonic excitement swept everything
before it, Joseph Smith was at work upon the Book of Mormon, and his reaction to
his environment, in the opinion of the present writer, is conclusively shown in
dozens of passages in that book. (Cf. Note 2, p. 422) . The story repeated by
Burton, above, had been passed on to Lieut. J. W. Gunnison ten years earlier,
and appears in his "History of the Mormons," pp. 59-60.
Historical Record, vol. VII, pp. 480, 545.
of the Church, Period 1, Joseph Smith, Roberts., vol. m, p. 442.
"Synopsis of Proceedings of the City Council against the Nauvoo Expositor,
History of the Church, Period 1, Joseph Smith, Roberts, vol. VI, pp. 434f.
History of the Church, Period 1, Joseph Smith, Roberts, voI. VI, pp. 432,
Following the destruction of the Expositor, "The posse accompanied by some
hundreds of the citizens returned with the Marshal to the front of the Mansion,
when I gave them a short address, and told them they had done right and that not
a hair of their heads should be hurt for it . .. .. . I then blessed them in the
name of the Lord." This speech was loudly greeted by the assembly with
three-times-three cheers. History of the Church, Period 1, Joseph Smith,
Roberts, vol. VI, pp. 432-433. Compare letters to Governor Ford by Joseph Smith
and Dr. Bernhisel, pp. 466-468. From an entry in the prophet's journal it
appears that the building was burned at the time the plant was destroyed. lbid
written on the following morning by the wife of Heber C. Kimball has this
reference to the subject: "Nauvoo was a scene of excitement last night. Some
hundreds of the brethren turned out and burned the press of the opposite party.
This was done by order of the City Council " Life of Heber C. Kimball, Whitney,
History of the Church, Period 1, Joseph Smite, Roberts, vol. VI, pp. 4b0-61.
reader who desires more of detail in connection with the story of the last few
weeks of the prophet's life, will find much of material covering that particular
period. Only a few references are given here, and .these all give the Mormon
point of view. History of the Church, Period 1, p. 545; Historical Record, vol.
VII, p. 558; Life of Brigham Young, Anderson, p. 41;_ Life of Joseph Smith,
Cannon, p. 471; Succession in the Presidency, Roberts, p. 117. The foregoing
references relate to the charge of cowardice. A letter writer, already quoted,
whose words were set down as the prophet with his friends passed the house on
his way to give himself up to Governor Ford, gives vivid glimpses of the
situation during the last weeks of that fateful June. After apologizing for
delay in writing she said: "Since I commenced this letter, varied and exciting
indeed have been the scenes in this city I have been thrown into such confusion
I know not what to write. Nothing is to be heard of but mobs collecting on
every side . . . . . . Between three and four thousand brethren have been under
arms here the past week (letter was dated June 24th) . . . . . . The brethren
from the country are coming in to aid in the defense of the city . . . . . .
Yesterday... was a time of great excitement. Joseph had fled and left word for
the brethren to hang on to their arms and defend themselves as best they could.
Some were dreadfully tried in their faith to think Joseph should leave them in
the hour of danger. Before night yesterday, things put on a different
aspect-Joseph returned and gave himself up for trial." Life of Heber C.
Kimball, Whitney, pp. 350-51.
124. See Note 6, p. (37) . The Temple ceremonies were received by the prophet,
it is said, from one to five or six years before he became a Mason. Apostle
Ballard, Salt Lake Herald, Dec. 29, 1919; B. H. Roberts, Improvement Era, vol.
XXIV, pp. 937-939.
(59) The rents
in the garments are known as holy priesthood marks, or marks of the temple, and
remind the wearer what the penalty will be should he ever violate his covenants
or reveal any of the tokens. Proceedings, Smoot Investigation, vol. II, p. 182.
(60) Nauvoo and
Its Temple, Van Dusen, p. 8; The Salt Lake Tribune, February 12, 1906;
Revelation in the Mountain, Major, pp. 121f.
Salt Lake Tribune, Feb. 12, 1906, p. 2; Nauvoo and Its Temple, Van Dusen, p.
(62)Tullidge's Histories of Utah: Northern Utah and Southern Idaho, vol. II, p.
Salt Lake Tribune, Feb. 12, 1906. If this paper is not available, see The
Revelation in the Mountain, Major,. pp. 129-160, where the Tribune article is
reproduced; Nauvoo and Its Temple, Van Dusen, p. 13.
Salt Lake Tribune, February 12, 1906.
Salt Lake Tribune, Feb. 12, 1906, p. 3; Tell It All, Mrs. Stenhouse,
pp. 192-200; The Latter Day Saints, Kauffman, pp. 155-169; 312-328.
Histories of Utah: Northern Utah and Southern Idaho, vol. lI, pp. 425, 426, 444,
446, 4.50; also his life of Joseph Smith, pp. 391-393. The same author declares:
"Mormonism is Masonic," The Women of Mormondom, p. 75.
Salt Lake Herald, Dec. 29, 1919. See also, B. H. Roberts, Improvement Era,
vol. XXIV, pp. 937-939.
the entry in the prophet's journal, quoted in the text, B. H. Roberts states:
"This is the Prophet's account of the introduction of the Endowment ceremonies
in this dispensation, and is the foundation of the sacred ritual of the
temples." History of the Church, Period 1, Joseph Smith, Roberts, vol. V, p. 2,
Note. Roberts follows this statement: "There has been some controversies as to
the time when these ceremonies were introduced into the church." The intelli-
gent Craftsman will hardly need to be told that the matter has significance in
our present study. :One of the founders and first editors of Times and Seasons,
and who was editor-in-chief of that periodical up to the date on which Joseph
Smith took the first degree in Masonry, said, "that all these ceremonies were
introduced into the Church by the Prophet Joseph Smites at least as early as
1843." Quoted by Roberts, as above, p. 3, Note. Wilford Woodruff, then "virtual
head of the Church" (History of Utah, Whitney, vol. III, p. 587) in 1887,
in a letter which was read at the Semi-Annual Conference of the Church, that
year, fixed the time when Joseph Smith gave the endowments to the twelve
apostles, as being in the winter of 1843-44. An Epistle of the Council of the
Twelve Apostles, Oct. 10, 1887, p. 2.
Proceedings Grand Lodge Nevada, 1866, pp. 28-53 ; Grand Lodge of Utah, 1872, p.
15 ; 1882, pp. 22, 28, 78 ; 1883, pp. 16, 24; 104 ; 1880, p. 18 ; 1884,. pp.
75-76, 79, 92 ; 1877, p. 11; 1879, p. 29, and many others. For more recent
expressions see Proceedings Utah, 1923, pp. 65-66; 1924, pp. 25, 56-58, 59, 81,
Investigation, vol. IV, pp. 343, 344, 345, 346, 487-88.
Semi-Annual Conference Report, pp. 6, 71; 83rd Annual Conference Report, p. 37.
Illustrations of this abound. Said Joseph F. Smith, late President of the
church: "When a man says you may direct me spiritually but not temporally, lie
lies in the presence of God." Deseret News, April 25, 1895, see also same paper,
December 6th, 1900. See, The Latter Day Saints, Kauffman, pp. 81f ; cf. Smoot
Investigation, vol. 111, pp. 274-277.
Tullidge's Quarterly Magazine, vol. I, p. 33. On the general subject of
obedience to the priesthood, see George Q. Cannon, Contributor, vol. XXIX, p.
745 ; Smoot Investigation, vol. IV, p. 414; Gospel Doctrine, Josepli F.
Smith, quoting Journal of Discourses, vol. XXIV, p. 187, 194.
Mutual Improvement Association 1901-02, pp. 8182; 69th Annual Conference Report,
pp. 5, 6, 7; 70th Annual Conference Report, p. 52; Outlines of Ecclesiastical
History, Roberts, p. 368; Thatcher Episode (B. Young Jr.) p. 14; Salt Lake
Tribune, April 4, 1921; Smoot Investigation vol. IV, p. 81, 414, 416; 72nd
Semi-Annual Conference Report, p. 2; 75th Semi-Annual Conference Report, p. 5,
and many other references; 68th Annual Conference Report, pp. 68, 69;
Improvement Era, vol. IV, p. 230; vol. VI, p, 180; Gospel Doctrine,
Joseph F. Smith, p. 45.
Tullidge's Quarterly Magazine, vol. 1, p. 32; Thatcher Episode, p. 19, 35,
compare pages 29-31; Smoot Investigation, Vol IV, pp. 78-81; vol. I, pp. 723,
1012 ; Supplement to Gospel Problems, Bennion, pp. 81-82.
(75) Mt. Meadow
Massacre, Gibbs, p. 5; 80th Semi-Annual Conference Report, pp. 103-104, 124,
125; Gospel Doctrine, Joseph F. Smith, p. 223; Smoot Investigation, vol. III,
pp. 274, 275, 276-277.
Annual Conference Report, p. 12; 72nd Semi-Annual Conference Report, p. 2; 75th
Semi-Annual Conference Report, p. 5; 69th Annual Conference Report, p. 17; Cf. Deseret News, Oct. 4, 1896 ; Journal of Discourses, vol. XXIV, pp.
187-194, quoted in Gospel Doctrine, p. 56; 83rd Annual Conference Report, p. 37.
Investigation, vol. IV, p. 348 ; 70th Annual Conference Report, p. 13; 68th
Semi-Annual Conference Report, p. 71; Tullidge's Quarterly Magazine, vol. 1, pp.
32, 33; Journal of Discourses, vol. 12, p. 59; vol. 5, p. 100, 187; vol. VI, p.
345; An Epistle to the Presidents, etc. John Taylor, 1882, pp. 7, 8, 9, 10;
Inside of Mormonism, McMillan, p. 67; Doctrine and Covenants, Section 12-1;
Deseret News, April 25, 1895: Logan Journal, May 26, 1898; Improvement Era, vol.
VIII, pp. 620, 623. Said President Wilford Woodruff: "I prophesy in the name of
Israel's God the day has come when the mouths of Wilford Woodruff, George Q.
Cannon, Joseph F. Smith and these twelve Apostles . should not be closed because
of the opinions of the children of men. There have been feelings that these men
. .. .. . should say nothing about politics... My mouth shall not be closed upon
these principles. I know it is the duty of the Latter Day Saints to unite
together in your local affairs, the election of your city councils, the election
of men to act for you in the affairs of state And this idea of a person being
afraid of somebody because he is a Democrat or a Republican, it is all wrong. I
feel like saying to you, as the President of this Church, and do state, that it
is your duty to unite together and appoint good men to act in every capacity for
the public welfare." 68th Semi-Annual Conference Report, p. 71.
Manifesto has been printed many times, in pamphlet form and as a part of other
works. It is included in the 1914 edition of Doctrine and Covenants, not, we
think, earlier. President Joseph F. Smith testified that its absence from that
vol. of revelations was due to an oversight. Smoot Investigation, vol. I, pp.
291, 336. The document itself is to be found in the vol. just referred to, pp.
340-341; also in Reminiscences of Early Utah, Baskin, p. 243. For an interesting
discussion of the Manifesto, see Smoot Investigation, vat. I, pp. 330-337. See
Supplement, Gospel Problems, Bennion, pp. 62, 64, 87, 88, for views of the
Manifesto of one who advocates and practices polygamy, and who insists that the
Manifesto was a "political declaration," and that it could not nullify a
revelation from God. Baskin in Reminiscences of Early Utah gives interesting
details of events which forced "the hand of the Lord," pp. 185-186. On this
subject see remarkable statement by Apostle Penrose, Deseret News, July 13,
1899, in which he refers to testimony of Woodruff and Lorenzo Snow, as the
personal opinions of two venerable citizens
(79) Salt Lake
Tribune, April 5th, 1921. Cf. 91st Annual Conference Report, pp. 201-202.
Proceedings Grand Lodge of Utah, 1882, p. 53; 1883, pp. 24-26.
John Taylor, Tullidge's Quarterly Magazine, vol. II, pp. 7, 8.
Snow, History of Utah, Whitney, vol. III, p. 471. The words quoted were in
answer to a statement by the prosecuting attorney, in his plea before the jury,
that if the jury would convict Snow, lie ( the attorney) "would predict that a
new revelation would soon follow, changing the Divine law of celestial
marriage:" With this compare Schuyler Colfax's Journal in The Western Galaxy,
vol. I, p. 24.7, and Gospel Problems, Bennion, p. 44, and Supplement to Gospel
Problems, Bennion, pp. 80, 87, 88.
Investigation, vol. I, p. 712; compare pp. 334, 336.
question in the text was asked by Senator Burrows, Chairman of the Committee,
Smoot Investigation, vol. I, p. 336; vol. IV, p. 481, also cf. vol. I, p. 195,
question by Senator Hoar.
Investigation, vol. III, pp. 603-605 ; compare vol. I, p. 336. With the
foregoing references, compare the words of a former Mormon Bishop M'Guffie: "
....the man that is placed between God and the people, that is the law." The
Latter Day Saints, Kauffman, p. 81.
(86) An Epistle
of the First Presidency, etc., 1886, entire; An Epistle oŁ the Twelve Apostles,
etc., October 1.0, 1887, p. 4; The Mormon Problem, quoting opinion of
Supreme Court of U. S., p. 70; Smoot Investigation, vol. III, p. 604; Blood
Atonement, C. W. Penrose, p. 31.
of Reference, A. H. Cannon, p. 102; Smoot Investigation, Vol. I, p. 334 (Joseph
F. Smith) ; 430 (F. M. Lyman) ; 718 ( B. H. Roberts) ; compare journal of
Discourses, Vol. V, pp. 1-38, 100; Inside of Mormonism, pp. ?9-80; Deseret News,
Jan. 16, 1889; Smoot Investigation, Vol. IV, p. 481. Says one who is a
polygamist, and who believes the Manifesto was worse than a mistake: "Many of us
have entered this principle since the Manifesto, and many of the leaders, living
openly in this principle, are being sustained in high positions of
responsibility in the church .. . ." Gospel Problems, Bennion, p. 44.
Investigation, vol. I, p. 336; III, pp. 603-605; IV, p. 481.
School Outlines, Series B, Theological Department, Third Year, pp. 37f ; Fourth
Year, pp 49-52; In these references, attention is directed to the penalties
attached to failure to obey this law when it has been made known; Young
Woman's Journal, July 1910, p. 405. Joseph F. Smith, when addressing the
Weber Stake Conference, at 0-,den, said, of the principle of polygamy that it
was "revealed to Joseph Smith by God, and the Latter-Day Saint who denies and
rejects that truth in his heart might as well reject every other truth connected
with his mission." Deseret News, June 25, 1903. See also Smoot Investigation,
vol. I, p. 192, also p. 193. In the Congressional Report on the Statehood Bill
for Utah, May 1894, and which was favorable, these words occur, as affording one
reason for granting the petition: "The Mormon Church, through all its officials,
publicly, privately, and in every way possible for mortals to do and proclaim,
have with bowed heads, if not in anguish, pledged their faith and honour that
never more in the future shall polygamy be in the Mormon Church either a
doctrine of faith or practice." In connec. tion with this quotation, see
Gospel Problems, Bennion, p. 44.
Investigation, vol I, p. 108. Several years after his fattier testified as
indicated in the text, Apostle Hyrum Smith, at an annual Conference of the
church, and in the presence of
his father, declared: "These revelations are written in the Doctrine and
Covenants, Book of Mormon and Pearl of Great Price. * * * They were proclaimed
by revelation as I have stated, and up to this time, after over seventy-seven
years of existence of the Church, not one principle or doctrine thus revealed
has been receded from by the members of the Church. We have never repudiated any
of the truths revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith and to his successors in the
office of Prophet, Seer and Revelator to the church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-Day Saints. We have never relinquished our belief in any one of these
doctrines and principles. * * * We have never been called upon or found it
necessary in any stage of our progress to eliminate any revelation from the
record. Neither have we ever denied any of them. We testify in all soberness
that these revelations are from God. They are therefore the same yesterday,
today and for ever, and are everlasting and essential to the salvation of those
unto whom they are given." Seventy-eighth Annual Conference Report, 1907, p. 31.
Apostle Mathias F. Cowley, in an address before a Quarterly Conference, Logan,
said: "None of these revelations of the prophets either past or present have
been repealed . . . . . . These revelations received by our prophets and seers
are all of God, and we cannot repeal or disannul them without making God out a
liar and God cannot lie." See Protest of Citizens, p. 20. Compare Lorenzo Snow,
ante p. 37; Historical Record, vol. VI, p. 144.
87th Annual Conference Report pp. 6, 7. See also Historical Record vol. VI p.
145 for account of release of ' Lorenzo Snow from the Utah Penitentiary.
Lake Herald, April 5, 1918, two thousand people said to have been present. Logan Journal, January 29, 1898.
Improvement Era, vol. I, pp. 472, 475, 478, 482.
Investigation, vol. III, p. 608; IV, pp. 454, 485, 486.
(95) In the
discussion of the matter quoted the fact is brought out, in connection with the
Haymarket Riots, Chicago, 1893, "that the anarchists were not convicted upon the
ground that they had participated in the murder of which they were convicted ..
. . . . . . . They were convicted because they belonged to an organization
which, as an organization, advised the commission of acts which would lead to
murder: Smoot Investigation, vol. IV, p. 485.
"Charges" are referred to here, because of the position they are supposed to
hold, and do hold in many jurisdictions, in Masonic thought and jurisprudence,
and because Article I furnishes the basis of the claim discussed in the text. An
interesting example of the devastating work of the creed-monger is to be found
in the Constitutions of the United Grand Lodge of England (1896) , p. 3, where
this Article is to be found, in its revamped form. The writer is not unfamiliar
with the fact that the premier Grand Lodge never has accepted the "Charges of a
Freemason" as "possessing any legislative authority, or as representing the
laws for the government of the modern Brotherhood." Hughan, letter to Lawrence
Greenleaf, Colorado, under date of Feb. 11, 1899. Utah Proceedings, 1901,
Correspondence Report, pp. 15-16. The matter is not without interest and bearing
in this connection, however.
Massachusetts Code, 1923, p. 4.
(98) Code of
Texas, 1908, p. 186.
Proceedings Alabama, 1919, quoted in full, Correspondence Report of Georgia for
Naturalization Laws and Regulations, 1915, p. 5.
Judge Harold M. Stephens (Mss.) 1917, pp. 2, 3, 8; cf. R. W. Young, Smoot
Investigation, vol. 11 , p. 968.
Builder, Newton, p. 265.
of Faith, Talmage, (1899) p. 240f.
Investigation, vol. I, p. 179.
A. O. Woodruff, 69th Annual Conference Report, pp. S, 6, 7; Apostle M. W.
Merrill, same Report, p. 17.
M. W. Merrill, 69th Annual Conference Report, p. 17; "Wilford Woodruff is the
prophet and seer of this church . . . . . . Joseph Smith was a prophet ; Brigham
Young was a prophet; Wilford Woodruff is a prophet, and I know that he has a
great many prophets around him, and he can make scriptures as good as those in
the Bible." Apostle John Taylor, Annual Conference, April 5, 1897, quoted in,
The Mormons and their Bible, p. 97.
M. W. Merrill, 68th Semi-Annual Conference p. 6; at the same Conference,
Apostle J. W. Taylor enlarged upon the same subject, taking certain of Apostle
Merrill's words as a text, p. 7; for the words of President Woodruff, quoted in
the teat, see same Report, pp. 22-23; cf. Y.M.M.A. Manual, 1901-1902, p. 81
Semi-Annual Conference Report, p. 23.
(110) Seq15. pp.
(111) Pearl of
Great Price, 1891, pp. 14-16; Book of Mormon, 1920, 2 Nephi 9:9; 26:22; Helaman
2:2-10; 7:25-27; 8:1, 4; 3 Nephi 6:25-30; 7:6-11; Ether 8:14-25, and many other
passages. See also the present writer's article on, Anti-Masonry in the Book of
statement in the text is modified by the fact that indirectly and by implication
Masonry does this very thing, beyond peradventure. To illustrate: Freemasonry
lays stress upon the great principle of the brotherhood of man. Now, such a
relationship necessarily strikes its roots into the greater fact of the
Fatherhood of God, and fatherhood suggests certain very definite relationships,
which in turn involve attributes of Deity.
suggestive sidelight on this comes from the experience of the missionaries of
the Roman Church among the Goths. Ulfilas, an outstanding figure in this work,
translated the Scriptures into the Gothic language, " ....omitting from his
version, however, the Books of the Kings, as he feared that the stirring recital
of wars and battles in that portion of the Word might kindle into too fierce a
flame the martial ardor of his new converts."
Smith, the prophet, Millenial Star, vol. XXIII, p. 246, quoted by Roberts
in his, The Mormon Doctrine of Deity, . p. 10. To the Mormons, the
Christian conception of Deity-better, the view, for the most part held by the
Christian churches-is "absurd, contradictory and unscriptural." B. H. Roberts,
Improvement Era, vol. I, p. 763; 75th Semi-Annual Conference Report, p. ?3;
Gospel Doctrine, Joseph F. Smith,
Mormon Doctrine of Deity, Roberts, pp. 10, 42, 231f; Millenial Star,
vol. XXIV, p. 108.
(116) Key to
Theology, P. P. Pratt, pp. 34, 37.
Millenial Star, vol. 246, quoted by Roberts, in Mormon Doctrine of Deity,
Improvement Era, vol. I, Roberts, p. ?62.
(119) George Q.
Cannon, 69th Annual Conference Report, p. 20.
(120) Key to
Theology, P. P. Pratt, p. 34.
(121) P. P.
Pratt, in the Prophet, quoted by B. H. Roberts in, Mormon Doctrine of
Deity, p. 255; Articles of Faith, Talmage, quoted by B. H. Roberts, Defense of the Faith, vol. II, p. 268.
(122) Key to
Theology, P. P. Pratt, pp. 51-52. The same thought finds expression in a
favorite hymn, "Oh, my Father," much used in Mormon gatherings. It was written
by Eliza R. Snow, sister of President Lorenzo Snow, and one of the plural wives
of the prophet Joseph Smith, and later, of Brigham Young. One should read all
the stanzas, only part of one can be given place here:
In the heavens
are parents single? No; the thought makes reason stare. Truth is reason; truth
Tells me I've
a mother there.
See any L. D. S. Hymnal)
Improvement Era, vol. IV, Joseph F. Smith, p. 59; vol. I, pp. 374-376; cf.
70th Annual Conference Report, M. W, Merrill, p. 30.
5:14-18, Joseph Smith's translation; Pearl of Great Price, pp. 14, 15, 16;
Improvement Era, vol. Iv. p. 59; vol. I, p. 375, 376; Gospel Doctrine, pp.
(125) For fear
that the statements of the text may seem to be exaggerated, or be charged to
prejudice of the writer, the exact words of the speaker are here reproduced.
President Smith s subject was "Secret Societies." Among other things he said:
"Think of the fallacies and wickedness in the people doing this. They are bound
to hold secret all that transpires and to defend their members whether they are
doing right or wrong .....Now, I'll tell you what the church has done about
We have passed
a resolution that men who are identified with these secret organizations shall
not be preferred as bishops, or sought for as counselors. The same when it comes
to selecting M. I. A. officers. The men who have done this have disqualified
themselves and are not fit to hold these offices." Provo Enquirer,
November 12, 1900. On another occasion, when addressing a Quarterly, Conference
in Provo, the same speaker took up this subject and declared that "The
authorities of the church have the right, and will use it, to excommunicate
members who will set aside the authority placed over them by God, for all
members must act in harmony with their bishops and the stake presidency."
Provo Enquirer, (Mormon) Jan. 13, 1902.
(126) The writer
prefers the word "organization," to "church," when referring to this group,
because it comprehends so much more, in principle and practice, than is
generally understood when the word "church" is used.
(127) "I told
the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth,
and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding
by its precepts, than by any other book." Journal of Joseph Smith, quoted
by B. H. Roberts in History of the Church, Period 1, Joseph Smith, p. 461.
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