Few Mormons realize that the LDS temple ceremony is not of ancient origin, nor of modern revelation. Instead, the ceremony originated around 1790 when the Masons first conceived it for use in their secret society. Until 1990 the Mormon Temple Ceremony closely resembled the Masonic Initiators Ceremony, signs, tokens and penalties included.
In 1827 Capt. W. M. Morgan, a disillusioned Mason, published a book entitled Freemasonry Exposed, which reveals a detailed description of their ceremonies in word and illustration. Because of this exposé, Morgan was murdered three months later by members of his lodge. After Morgan's death, his widow, Lucinda Pendleton Morgan, a very pretty and intelligent woman married George W. Harris on January 12, 1831. While married to Harris, Lucinda became one of the first plural wives of the prophet Joseph Smith in 1838. It seems likely that Smith married her while living at the Harris home. This circumstance would seem to corroborate the story of Mrs. Sarah Pratt, who related in an interview with W. Wyl, "Mrs. Harris was a married lady, a very great friend of mine. When Joseph made his dastardly attempt on me [in 1842], I went to Mrs. Harris to unbosom my grief to her. To my utter astonishment, she said, laughing heartily: "How foolish you are! Why, I am his mistress since four years.'" (No Man Knows My History by Fawn Brodie, p. 460.)
Joseph Smith became a Mason on March 15, 1842 and rose to the sublime degree the following day. This initiation took place in his upper business office or Masonic lodge room (History of the Church, vol. 4, p. 550-551). Only a few weeks after Joseph's initiation into Masonry, he taught the other LDS Church leaders in the same Masonic lodge room. Joseph's interest in Masonry became so infectious that many Mormon elders hastened to follow his lead, and within six months the lodge had 286 candidates. He gave instructions on the principles and order of the Priesthood, attending to washings, anointing, endowments, and the communication of keys. (Ibid. vol. 5, p. 2) There is no doubt that Joseph's primary interest in Masonry was because of its ritual. Like Solomon, he became a temple builder. Joseph Smith's own temple records indicate his temple endowment took place on May 4, 1842, just seven weeks after his Masonic initiation. In Smith's own words he said: "In the evening I received the first degree in Freemasonry in the Nauvoo Lodge." The next day he stated: "I was with the Masonic Lodge and rose to the sublime degree." This qualified Joseph to be a Master Mason. (Ibid. 1842 vol. 4, p. 552)
The Temple Endowment ceremony is simply a modified version of the Freemasonry ceremony which existed long before Joseph Smith was born. Joseph and Hyrum Smith were both active Masons. Many parts of the Temple Endowment Ceremony (verbiage, handgrips, arm positions, whispering in ear, fig-leaf apron, secret passwords, chanting, etc.) were plagiarized from Freemasonry ceremonies. Joseph Smith introduced the Mormon Temple ceremony within 2 months of becoming a Mason. There were Masons in the mob that killed Joseph as he had his arms raised in the Masonic distress call, "Oh Lord, my God! Is there no help for the poor widow's son?" when he was shot. They had a problem with him plagiarizing the Masonic ceremony in the Mormon Temple ceremony. Please note that neither the Freemasonry ceremony nor the Mormon Temple Endowment Ceremony are secret, as all details of both are in the public domain. [Mormon version can be found here]
* Heber C. Kimball wrote to Parley P. Pratt: "We have organized a Lodge here of Masons ... near 200 have been made Masons. Brother Joseph and Sidney [Rigdon] were the first that were received into the Lodge. All of the twelve have become members except Orson P. [Pratt] ... Brother Joseph says Masonry was taken from the Priesthood, but has become degenerated .... We have the true Masonry." (From an underground typewritten copy of Dr. Durham's talk carefully compared with a tape recording thereof and certified to be accurate by Mervin B. Hogan, Secretary of the Masonic Research Lodge of Utah in Salt Lake City, No Help For the Widow's Son, by Reed C. Durham, p. 25.)
The Mormon term "Celestial Kingdom" is disturbingly similar to the older Freemasonry term "Celestial Lodge Above."
"Every Masonic Lodge is a temple of religion, and its teachings are instructions in ... the universal, eternal, immutable religion...." Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, by Albert Pike, Washington D.C., 1958, pp. 213, 219.
"[Masonry is] ... the custodian and depository (since Enoch) of the great philosophical and religious truths, unknown to the world at large...." Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, by Albert Pike, Washington D.C., 1958, p. 210.
* "Without this religious element it would scarcely be worthy of cultivation by the wise and good...." An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, by Albert G. Mackey, 1921, pp. 618-619.
Freemasonry's god is a triune deity called JaoBulOn. It is a form of Baal. It's Lucifer worship. Note in the third quotation below that Freemasonry reverses the roles of God and Satan. And remember that Joseph Smith embraced Freemasonry when he plagiarized it for the Mormon Temple ceremony.
* "Masonry, like all the religions, all the Mysteries, Hermeticism and Alchemy, conceals its secrets from all except the Adepts and Sages, or the Elect, and uses false explanations and misinterpretations of its symbols to mislead those who deserve only to be misled; to conceal the Truth, which it calls light, from them.... Truth is not for those that are unworthy...." Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, by Albert Pike, Washington D.C., 1958, p 104-105.
"The Blue Degrees are but the outer court...of the Temple. Part of the symbols are displayed there to the [lower] Initiate, but he is intentionally misled by false interpretations. It is not intended that he shall understand them, but it is intended that he shall imagine he understands them." Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, by Albert Pike, Washington D.C., 1958, p. 819.
"God is known as "the nameless one of a hundred names." Henry Wilson Coil, "A Comprehensive View of Freemasonry," Richmond: Macoy Publishing, 1973, p. 192.
"God is equally present with the pious Hindu in the temple, the Jew in the synagogue, the Mohammedan in the mosque, and the Christian in the church." Albert Mackey, "Mackey's Revised Encyclopedia of Freemasonry," Richmond: Macoy Publishing, 1966, 1:409-410.
Freemasonry is not Christian. If it's not Christian, but it is a religion (which Masons have confirmed above), then it by definition conflicts with Christianity. Thus one can't simultaneously be a Christian and a Mason.
"Freemasonry is not Christianity ... it admits men of every creed within its hospitable bosom...."An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, by Albert G. Mackey, 1921, pp. 618-619.
"[Masonry] ... sees in Moses ... in Confucius and Zoroaster, in Jesus of Nazareth, and in [Mohammed] great teachers of morality and eminent reformers...." Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, by Albert Pike, Washington D.C., 1958, pp. 277, 525.
The Jesus of Masonry did not create the universe, instead Ormuzd from the Zend-Avesta did. "Creations took place by emanation from Him. The first emanation was the primitive Light, and from that the King of Light, Ormuzd." Page 256, p. 3
The star that guided the Magi was actually a pentagram and a pagan god. "The Blazing Star of five points is an allusion to the Star that is said to have guided the Magi…the forerunner of the inundation of the Nile; the God Anubis, companion of Isis in her search of the body of Osiris, her brother and husband. Then it became the image of Horus, (the Sun god), the son of Osiris, himself symbolized also by the Sun, the author of the Seasons, and the God of Time." Page 14, p. 4
The Jesus of Masonry is only a great teacher of morality. "It reverences all the great reformers. It sees in Moses, the Law-giver of the Jews, in Confucius and Zoroaster, in Jesus of Nazareth, and in the Arabian Iconoclast, Great Teachers of Morality, and Eminent Reformers, if no more: and allows every brother of the Order to assign to each such higher and even Divine Character as his Creed and Truth require." Page 525, p. 3
The Jesus of Masonry suffered in appearance only when on the cross. "But the Chief of the Empire of Darkness caused Him to be crucified by the Jews. Still He suffered in appearance only…" Page 567, p. 1
The Jesus of Masonry is equated with the pagan Sun-god. "The cross of Light is called…Christ, the SUN." Page 567, p. 1
The Jesus of Masonry is also said to be Hercules. "God," says Maximus Tyrius, "did not spare His own Son [Hercules], or exempt Him from the calamities incidental to humanity." Page 592, p. 2
Early Masons, "Templars were gravely accused of spitting upon Christ and denying God at their receptions, of gross obscenities, conversations with female devils, and the worship of a monstrous idol. The end of the drama is well known, and how Jacques de Molai and his fellows perished in the flames. But before his execution, the Chief of the doomed Order organized and instituted what afterward came to be called the Occult, Hermetic, or Scottish Masonry." Page 820, p. 1-2
Jesus used and revealed the Kaballah, which is a book of ancient Jewish mysticism and magic, to John the Apostle. "The Holy Kaballah… was revealed by the Saviour to Saint John." Page 97, p. 9
The Jesus of Masonry founded the religion of hate. "Christ, teaching the Religion of Love, was crucified, that it might become a Religion of Hate;" Page 294, p. 1
The Jesus of Masonry was an Atheist. "Jesus of Nazareth was crucified as an unbelieving blasphemer, by the Jews." Page 643, p. 2
Masonic ritual is concerned with the recovery of the "Lost Word," presumed to be the name of God—supposedly lost through the murder of the architect, Hiram Abiff, during the building of Solomon’s Temple. This quest is attained during the ritual of the Royal Arch Degree. It is here that the Secret Name of the Deity of Masonry is revealed. That name is "JAOBULON." "JAO" is the Greek word for Jehovah. "BUL" is a rendering of the name, BAAL. "ON" is the term used in the Babylonian mysteries to call upon the deity "OSIRIS"!
Masonry advocates worship to Lucifer. "To you, Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, we say this, that you may repeat it to the Brethren of the 32nd, 31st, and 30th degrees—The Masonic Religion should be, by all of us initiates of the high degrees, maintained in the purity of the Luciferian Doctrine. If Lucifer were not God, would Adonay (The God of the Bible) whose deeds prove his cruelty, perfidy and hatred of man, barbarism and repulsion for science, would Adonay and his priests, calumniate him? Yes, Lucifer is God, and unfortunately Adonay is also god…Thus, …the true and pure philosophical religion is the belief in Lucifer, the equal of Adonay; but Lucifer, God of Light and God of Good, is struggling for humanity against Adonay, the God of Darkness and Evil." (Instructions to the 23 Supreme Councils of the World, Albert Pike, Grand Commander, Sovereign Pontiff of Universal Freemasonry, July 14, 1889.)
Masons can become God and actually stand in the place of Jesus. "Man is a god in the making, and as in the mystic myths of Egypt, on the potter’s wheel he is being molded. When his light shines out to lift and preserve all things, he receives the triple crown of god-hood and joins that throng of Master Masons who, their robes of Blue and Gold, are seeking to dispel the darkness of night with the triple light of the Masonic Lodge…The voice speaks from the Heavens, its power thrilling the Master until his own being seems filled with its divinity, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ He [The Master Mason], in truth has become the spokesman of the Most High. He stands between the glowing fire light and the world. Through him passes Hydra, the great snake, and from its mouth there pours to man the light of God." (The Lost Keys of Freemasonry, Manly P. Hall, pages 92, 54-55, Macoy Publishing and Supply Co., Richmond, Va., 1976)
Masonry usurps the priesthood of Jesus. In the 19th level of Scottish Rite Freemasonry, the Initiate receives the degree of Grand Pontiff. The initiate then gets anointed with oil on his head and is told, "Be Thou a Priest Forever, after the order of Melchizedek."
Masonry’s saying upon initiation is "From Darkness to Light" (Acts 26:18). However, Lucifer is the light and God of Freemasonry. "Lucifer, the Light-bearer! Strange and mysterious name to give to the Spirit of Darkness! Lucifer, the Son of the Morning! Is it he who bears the Light, and with its splendors intolerable blinds feeble, sensual, or selfish Souls? Doubt it not!" Page 321, p. 1
Joseph and Hyrum's Freemasonry Lodge was becoming the largest Freemasonry Lodge in Illinois. The non-LDS Masons in the state felt threatened by the LDS takeover of Masonry.
The "sacred" garments only 'worthy' Mormons wear have pagan Freemasonry symbols sewn into it, such as the compass and the square.
Until they were removed from the Mormon Temple ceremony, (around 1990), Temple patrons swore an oath to:
1. bind themselves to the penalty of having their throats cut from ear to ear
2. bind themselves to the penalty of having their hearts plucked out of their chests
3. bind themselves to the penalty of having their bodies disemboweled.
These three former-Mormon Temple Endowment ceremony oaths were copied directly from Freemasonry ceremonies.
Freemasonry is a religion that preaches another gospel--a gospel of good works--which is condemned in Galatians 1:6-8. It is a spiritual counterfeit that endorses and practices beliefs which have nothing to do with Christianity, and are in direct violation of the teachings of Christ.
What the hell does this have to do with Mormons?
Simple. They are taught, (and most believe) that the ONLY reason Joseph Smith became a Mason was to learn the temple ceremonies so that God could reveal to him what changes needed to be made in order to conform to the restoration of Christ's church.
Even if I could believe that, there are several questions left unanswered by Mormon leadership:
Why would Joseph continue his affiliation with the Masons even after attaining the 33rd degree? This he did rather quickly, and even retained his membership and began lodges wherever the Mormons moved to, eventually creating a Grand Lodge right in Nauvoo. He and many other prominent members of the church were also Freemasons, and made no secret of it. There are tons of records and historical documents proving the affiliation [GOOGLE is your friend...]
Why is this a big deal? Because the AVERAGE member has no idea HOW prominently the Freemason theology is involved with their own temple endowment ceremony. The handclasps, the words and phraselogy of the ceremony itself is almost word for word, with few variations to it. [I know because I have been to the temple and participated in the endowment ceremonies myself....more than once, and I have also bothered to learn what the masonic connection is]
Why should the average member care? Because the LDS church goes through GREAT efforts to conceal this 'not very useful' but true fact. It reveals more about their prophet Joseph Smith than they would like the average member to know. It takes away from his 'mystique' and has him appear to be just an ordinary man, borrowing ideas from others. And the members can't be allowed to see him as a man who borrows ideas, because it would become apparent that it isn't the only time he has borrowed philosophies of previous writers.
Case in point: Ethan Smith's A View of the Hebrews
"View of the Hebrews" was published in 1823 and a second edition was published in 1825.
The Book of Mormon was published in 1830.
View of the Hebrews" flooded the area in which Joseph Smith lived.
The author (Ethan Smith) was the pastor of the religious congregation in which the (Oliver) Cowdery's family attended.
The (Oliver) Cowdrey family was related to the (Joseph) Smith family, and Oliver Cowdrey assisted in the "translation" of the Book of Mormon.
On what was probably a promotional tour for his book, Ethan Smith visited the small hometown (Palmyra) of Joseph Smith in late 1826.
Case #2 : Josiah Priest's The Wonders of Nature and Providence Displayed (1825),
This book also includes numerous parallels to the Book of Mormon, quotes extensively from Ethan Smith's book and is known to have been available in the local Manchester Rental Library when Joseph Smith lived in the village.
Case #3: E.T.A Hoffman's The Golden Pot
The magical worldview of the Smith family and the mystical world of the "The Golden Pot" story are remarkably similar. Archivarius (meaning archivist) Lindhorst is the principle guardian of the treasures at his "ancient residence," just as Moroni is the primary guardian of Cumorah's treasures. Young Anselmus has a working relationship with Lindhorst that centers around his house. Joseph Smith has a recurring relationship with Moroni at the latter's cave headquarters. Anselmus and Joseph Smith can conveniently walk to their nearby house and cave in a short time. The house and cave both open upon their approach. Anselmus is greeted by Lindhorst and Smith is greeted by Moroni. Both of these beings are the last archivists of their respective civilizations. They are in charge of vast treasures including numerous "rolls of parchment" and from the destroyed civilization of Atlantis on one hand and plates of precious metal from the Jaredites and Nephites on the other hand.
Still wondering why it matters so much? Think about it! Joseph used his authority and power as a high level Freemason AND prophet of the church to abuse and control his "flock" to the extent that he was finally lynched for it.
He was general of the Nauvoo Legion, prophet of the church, Grand Mason of the Lodge, and was a candidate for the presidency (and had a large voting block backing him). He was definitely a force to be reckoned with. When he made the decision to have the Nauvoo Expositor ransacked, and the printing press destroyed (because they were about to reveal his true nature and identity as a secret polygamist), he was arrested for treason.
The LDS church would have its members still believing that Joseph Smith was an innocent man, a martyred saint. The truth is, he made it all up. He gathered his ideas from the world around him, created a following, exploited them and their labors, and then finally crossed the line when he interfered with the laws of the United States. He couldn't control the flow of information any longer, and he was killed because a mob of Freemasons had discovered that he lied about who he was. He was murdered, to be sure, but it wasn't "like a lamb to the slaughter". Joseph actually prophesied that it would happen, (though I doubt he realized who he was talking about at the time).
D&C 3:4. "For although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him."
FULFILLMENT: On May 26, 1844, Joseph Smith made the following statement in a public sermon (Brodie p 374, HC 6:408-412):
"Come on, ye persecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! For I will come out on the top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet."
At this time he was secretly married polygamously to over 40 women, some of them wives of men still living. Many who knew of these secret marriages accused him of changing the doctrine of the church to satisfy his own carnal desires, in violation of the Book of Mormon (Jacob 2:23-29, 3:5) and D&C 49:16.
Almost exactly one month after this boast, on June 27, 1844, he was killed by his enemies in a gun battle at Carthage Jail.
Wow, he actually got one right...