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I've got the idea from somewhere that Mormons aren't allowed to be freemasons. Is this true? If so, what is the reasoning?

I think I've heard allegations of similarity between Freemasonry and some Mormon temple activities (neither familiar to me). How are such claims answered by the LDS church?

Related: How is freemasonry related to Christianity?

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You can read en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormonism_and_Freemasonry to see more. –  James Black Oct 9 '11 at 17:47
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Early Mormonism and Freemasonry were linked due to Brother Smith's membership in the fraternity. Masons can be Mormon, Masons can be Catholic, Masons can be Muslim, Masons can be Jewish. I have met Masons that were of those faiths and they are brothers and fellow Masons. I've never met more people in clergy, rectors, pastors, etc since joining. –  user1054 Feb 24 '12 at 21:48

2 Answers 2

up vote 15 down vote accepted

First question:

Mormons can be Masons, and in fact many early leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were Masons. In the early days of restoration, political control of the local Masonic lodge was part of the contention between Mormons in Nauvoo, Illinois and their neighbors. The political role that Masonry played at that time contributed to the assassination of church leaders Joseph and Hyrum Smith. When the next church president Brigham Young led the Saints to settle the Mountain West of the United States, they did not immediately establish a Masonic lodge. Rather, the lodge was established by the first groups of non-Mormon settlers, and played a part in the political establishment of Salt Lake City as a counter-point to the Mormon majority. That Masonic lodge excluded Mormons from joining until the mid-twentieth century. In this environment, some Church leaders saw the Masonic groups as being anti-Mormon and discouraged members from joining. As far as I know, this was never official Church policy.

Second question:

As stated earlier, many early leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were Freemasons. When Joseph Smith introduced the temple endowment in Nauvoo, one leader referred to the practice by letter as a restoration of "True Masonry". Though early Mormons used Masonry as a template for restored temple worship, there are significant differences between the two sets of ordinances.

As a teenager active in the Mormon faith, I was interested in joining the local Masonic lodge. My father encouraged me to wait until after I had attended the Mormon Temple to see if I still felt like I needed anything more. I still have an interest in Masonry, but don't have much time for additional fraternal organizations outside of my service in the LDS Church, professional groups, kids sports teams, etc. However, I know faithful Mormons who are Masons. They find that both ceremonies share some common metaphors, but play very different roles in their lives.

There are two really good articles on this topic in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, available here:

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Welcome to Christianity.SE and thanks for the great answer! –  dancek Oct 19 '11 at 14:11

Short answer: It depends on the Mormon. The Church has no official view on other organizations except for what is contained in the eleventh Article of Faith:

"We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."

Unofficial View:

I was an LDS missionary in Philadelphia where they have a very large Masonic Temple. I had the opportunity to visit the temple and take a tour with a group of fellow missionaries, it was curious to see how the free-masons took a special interest to us visiting them. I learned many things from the Elders I was serving with and the Masons I met in the temple that day.

The rumor I was told is that Freemasonry dates back to the construction of Solomon's temple, the masons were exactly as their name suggests, they were Masons, stone setters, they built Solomons temple. Supposedly, during construction, the masons built secret passageways in the temple, which they later used to spy on the ceremonies. Those sacred ceremonies were preserved in part by the masons, and it was they to whom Joseph Smith was commanded to go to recover those ancient ceremonies and rituals.

Joseph Smith was a very prominent Mason in Pennsylvania, the temple museum had a second edition Book of Mormon gifted to them by Joseph Smith himself, apparently he was a Mason of the highest level, and achieved such a level in an unusually short period of time, supposedly because of the divine instruction he was receiving about temple ceremonies the same time he was learning from the Masons.

The Masons I met were eager to talk to us, and took delight in commenting on how Masons and Mormons share many similarities. It's my opinion that some Masons consider Mormonsim to be a schism of Masonry.

I met several members of the church down there that were also masons. One of the most intelligent High Priests of the church I have ever met, who taught me a great deal about the 'evolution' of the bible, was himself a level 32 mason.

To be frank, the church doesn't really take positions on organizations of men, or other churches for that matter. That was one thing that was very foreign to me when I was a missionary, was how much other religions were taught about Mormons by their pastors, or in seminars, or retreats. Whereas I knew nothing about the other sects of christianity or how they worshipped different to us. In my 20 years of active church going, all I had been taught were the doctrines of Christ and the teachings of the prophets, other churches and organizations are simply not discussed as lesson material in LDS churches.

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Interesting view. I would be interested in some sources for some of this, like "some Masons consider Mormonsim to be a schism of Masonry" and "Free-masonry dates back to the construction of Solomon's temple." –  fredsbend Jul 29 at 21:34
    
@fredsbend Some theories link Freemasonry back the construction of Solomon's temple. Some theories, further back. Either way, discussion of Freemasonry's history and theories are off topic on this SE. I would be more than happy to attempt to create Freemasonry.stackexchange.com again should there be interest - this is something that may be on topic there, but clearly not here. –  The Freemason Jul 29 at 23:20
    
@TheFreemason Well, I guess it is kind of off-topic. We keep running in this, don't we? I would commit to that SE but I wouldn't be much help. –  fredsbend Jul 29 at 23:30
    

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