Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Mormons Did Not Plagiarize Freemasonry *Revisited*
I have heard so much static and noise about "Joseph Smith" stealing the temple stuff from Freemasons. Their arguments just do not trump what has been established in the written records of the church, observations of the early saints, and the timeline of events which put the Lord's revelations ahead of Joseph Smith even joining his local lodge / joining this fraternity. (I am not a Freemason and don't really have a dog in the fight...)
But for me, saying that Joseph Smith plagiarized the Masons makes about as much sense as saying that the Trekkers west to Utah plagiarized the Pioneers on the Oregon Trail for using covered wagons which we all should clearly see were used by non-Mormons heading to the NorthWest Territories. Mormons copied their methods in order to travel. Each trek west had a different purpose altogether. Likewise, each ceremony in the LDS temples and supposedly in freemasonry have entirely different purposes and meanings.
Some critics of Mormonism see similarities between the rites of Freemasonry and LDS temple ceremonies and assume that since Joseph Smith was initiated as a Freemason shortly before he introduced the Nauvoo-style endowment he must have plagiarized elements of the Masonic rituals. This viewpoint leads them, in turn, to conclude that the LDS endowment is nothing but a variant form of Masonic initiation and therefore not from a divine source.
Joseph Smith was initiated as a Freemason on the 15th and 16th of March 1842. But previously, on the 19th of Janaury 1841, the Lord issued a revelation wherein He stated that He was going to "restore again," through Joseph Smith, the "lost" ordinances which had once been practiced in the Tabernacle built by Moses and the house built in the land of promise. (So 18 months later, he joins the fraternity) This then meaning he would restore the organization and the blessings that God gave to Ancient Israel from the days of the temple of Solomon (D&C 124:28, 38).
The Lord also provided a list within this revelation of many ritual elements that would eventually be practiced inside of the Nauvoo Temple. Some of the elements mentioned in this revelation are the same ones that Joseph Smith is accused of plagiarizing from the Freemasons.
A detailed look at LDS Church history before the 15th and 16th of March 1842 reveals that Joseph Smith and some of his colleagues were well aware of a number of Nauvoo-style temple ritual items early on - including ideology, vestments, actions, forms, language, and architecture. Knowledge of many of these things even predated the revelation given on 19 January 1841 (D&C 124). A careful look at the pre-1842 scriptural texts produced through Joseph Smith's instrumentality is also very instructive because they include a wealth of information connected with the rites that would be introduced among the Saints during the Nauvoo period.
Joseph Smith and other nineteenth century Mormons had a definite stance on why there were similarities between the initiation rituals of the respective groups. They taught that there was an original "Priesthood" source of divinely-determined ceremonies: the Masons derived their system from degenerated branches of this source while pristine material was restored to the Latter-day Saints.
One of the strongest evidences that Joseph Smith did not plagiarize Masonic sources in order to 'create' the LDS temple endowment is that 20th and 21st century scholarship has greatly clarified the picture of initiation rites in the biblical and early Christian periods. A comparison of this picture with Joseph Smith's model and the Masonic model shows that what the Prophet gave to the Saints is indeed a restoration, while the Freemasons only possess fragments of the God-given scheme.
(Text came courteous of TheLdsLife Channel; which posed as a rebuttal to a Utah News Channel Exclusive Story in the differences or similarities between Mormons and Masons.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TMar7X9YzM Whether you are a Christian or a Mormon or an atheist, nothing but the Temple Endowment, for me, has helped me to best answer my questions as to what Revelation 1:5-6 means and how men on earth are prepared for their "Kingly Reign" as mentioned by John the Revelator. For they TOO were made clean through the blood of the lamb and they too were made into Kings and Priests unto the Most High God. Is this NOT the inheritance of man? If your church is not teaching this, then I suggest that you examine closer as to what rich blessings GOD has in store for you!
I share this information with you because to me, I don't think it is FAIR that I have these wonderful blessings and others do not, while on this earth. Doesn't mean that I will convert everyone or find everyone while in this life. I have been richly blessed and whatever grace has been afforded to me, I want to do ALL that I can and ALL within my power to PREACH the gospel of Jesus Christ unto ALL THE WORLD! This I do, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ who is mighty to save; whose bowels are filled with mercy, AMEN!