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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
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
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1 Answer 1

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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
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