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Mormons* And Masons

December 5, 2019

They both have temples. Both are old institutions. The Mormons have been around for 189 years founded in 1830. The Masons were founded in 1717 and are formally 301 years old, but probably closer to 625 years based on a reference found in the Regius Poem in 1390.

Both claim a much older heritage however. The Mormon Church views itself as a restoration of the ancient Church that Christ founded. It’s why the Mormon Church has a quorum of 12 apostles and the president of the Latter-day Saints holds a position of prophet.

The Masons also claim an ancient heritage. Their mythology dates back even further than the Mormons. They trace their lineage back to Old Testament and the Temple of Solomon.

Both have ceremonies that are not for public viewing. For the Masons it is the initiation ceremonies and the oath that every Mason commits to. For the Mormons it’s a ceremony performed in their temples called “the endowment.”

The Mormons and the Masons share even more commonality. Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was raised as a Master Mason in Nauvoo, Illinois. Shortly after that he revealed the endowment ceremony. The Endowment is a ceremony for both men and women.

One of the tenets of Masonry is that it is strictly a fraternal order: no women allowed. In fact, sharing the masonic secrets with a woman is one of the things that will get you kicked out of masonry.

The Masons decided the Mormons’ temple ceremony was a little too similar to the Masonic ceremony. They kicked out Smith and all of the Mormons. The animosity between the two groups followed the Mormons to Utah. In fact, the Masons would not consider a man for Masonry in Utah unless he could prove he was not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Although they just said he couldn’t be a Mormon.) Although Mormons could petition in other states, it wasn’t until 1983 that the Grand Lodge of Utah lifted the prohibition on Mormons joining the fraternity.

I requested to join the Mormon Church in 1976. I was baptized in Olympia Washington. I’ve been a member in good standing ever since. I petitioned to join the Masons much later. It was about ten years ago. I’ve been a dues card carrying member ever since.

When I decided to join the Masons, I consulted my uncle. He’s been a Mason his whole life. He’s never been a Mormon.

Are you sure those Mormons are going to be okay with your joining the Masons?

I think so. They have a Masonic temple in Provo.

But, I had some trepidation. I talked to some friends in the Church.

Are you sure those Masons are going to be okay with a Mormon joining?

I’m pretty sure.

Turns out both groups were just fine with it.

I attended a Masonic ceremony today. It’s one of the three that are public. The others are a cornerstone laying ceremony and Masonic funeral rights.

Today’s ceremony was the installation of new officers for my home lodge “Story Lodge #4.” The new Worshipful Master is Craig Call. He will be in charge of lodge for the year 2020.

Good luck to Worshipful Brother Call and all the new officers of Story Lodge #4. I count myself privileged to be among you.

*The Mormons no longer want to be called Mormons. The term they prefer is Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint, or simply Latter-day Saints, but not LDS. The Masons, on the other hand are perfectly happy to be called Masons.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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