[The color test] said I was yellow. I felt strangely like a boy obsessed with dating. -Olympus
Question #6457 posted on 07/05/2004 4:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,
I know members of the church that are Masons. We are discussing if this is allowed in the church. Is it? and if so are there any current or recent General Authorities that belongs to that fraternity?
- Diggity

A: Dear Diggity,

With regards to membership in the order of Freemasonry, I do not believe the church has any official doctrine on the matter. A search of the LDS site brings up no mention of the Masons other than references to the buildings or the events during Joseph Smith's time. I would harldy believe the church officially condemns membership in the Order of Freemasonry but yet doesn't mention it at all in any manuals or any publications.

Many people are aware that Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Brigham Young, and many many other prominent brethren of the church were Masons. Some people say that Joseph was learning essential aspects of the temple ceremony from them. Others say that they all joined in an effort to show they were "good citizens" as most men were members of the Masons. Still other say it was a combination of the two reasons. Joseph and Sidney only attended three meetings, from what I understand, so I am inclined to go with the former of the two reasons.

This leaves the reasons for why Masonry is such a taboo and seen as wrong in LDS culture and society. First, I did find a vague reference that Brigham Young blamed the martyrdom of the Prophet on the local Freemasons at the time and decreed that any member of the church who was found to be a part of that organization would be summarily excommunicated from the church but that this restriction has been recently lifted. As I said above, I cannot find anything in on the church's website which covers 30 years or so of church publications. Additionally, I do not have a reference for that information and neither did the person I got it from, so take all of that with several grains of salt.

I think the greater reason for this general aversion to the Freemason society comes from beliefs that the rituals performed in Masonic temples have strong similarities to LDS temple ceremonies (or vice versa). Now, I have never participated in any Masonic rituals, however I have been inside of a Masonic temple and there are stark similarities to different rooms of an LDS temple. Pictures that I saw in the Masonic temple of their members in ritual attire certainly resembled certain clothing in the temple. There are some sites online that compare the Masonic rituals to the LDS ones, but personally, I do not prefer to read such things. Why do I not participate in or read about them?

Having made certain covenants regarding the sacredness of the temple and the work that goes on in there, I would not want to make a mockery of what is sacred. To me, joining or participating in a group that makes approximations of temple rituals and participating in them would do just what I would rather not. Think of it as joining a club where one of the things the club requires you to participate is the blessing and partaking of a "sacrament" that closely approximates the sacrament you take each Sunday. Do you think the Lord would approve?

As for your second question, I am not aware that any of the current or recent General Authorities are members of the church and I highly doubt they would be for the above reasons.

There isn't a whole lot of reputable information on the Masons that you can turn to for further detail, but I did find this book referenced in the Ensign. It might be an appropriate source for further learning on the subject.

http://deseretbook.com/store/product?product_id=100051702

Before close and leave all of you believe that I condemn any endowed church member who is also a Mason as being a heretic and an apostate, let me qualify my remarks. I stand by Joseph Smith in that the people should govern themselves once they have been taught correct principles. If there are people out there who disagree with my conclusions, then that is fine with me. That is between them, the Lord, and, when appropriate, their bishop or other ecclesiastical leader.

-Pa Grape
A: Dear Diggity,

For one of my favorite answers to a similar question, try Board Question #1912 I was so happy to see Ambrosia's response, because I had always wondered about them. (And note the link to a statement by Elder John A. Widstoe says that Joseph Smith also joined in hopes of getting protection for the church.)

- FCSM