Mormons have two things to say about the Masonry-Endowment connection:
(1) There's no connection at all
(2) The Masons trace their ceremonies back to Solomon's Temple.
As usual these two "answers" contradict each other. Mormon history clearly shows that (1) is false, and even Masonic historians have debunked (2). Masonry came from the medieval guild of stonemasons. In that context the whole ideas of levels, grips (tokens, in Mormonism) names, signs, and penalties (removed in 1990 from the endowment) made perfect sense.
During medieval times there was a lot of work going on all over Europe building great structures in stone. Cathedrals, palaces, Municipal buildings etc. were built by the gazillions. It was important that the people building them, stone masons, were competent at what they did. A mistake could lead to the collapse of a building killing a lot of people.
This is where the Guild of Stone Masons comes in.
Suppose you're a prince who wants to commission a large stone building. It will take a lot of people to build it. Skilled workers will have to be brought in from far and wide. And they will have to be paid. There would be an incentive for some unskilled person to lie and tell you they were skilled and experienced in stone masonry to get paid. But this is long before the internet, or telephones or even a reliable, wide-spread mail system. How can you know if someone from a neighboring country really is as competent as they claim? Written documents could be stolen or forged. You couldn't phone a neighboring country to check on the credentials. There were no photo IDs. What to do?
The solution was to have a Guild of Masons and it had to involve secrecy. The project engineer, a well-known master mason and member of the guild would take the applicant into a private place and test him. Was he actually a credentialed member of the guild? Well if he was then he should know the secrets of the guild. He should be able to give the signs and handshakes and names and tell the associated penalties with the level to which he claims.
Of course secrecy was paramount. That's why there were sacred blood oaths associated with each degree. That's why each mason swore, on his very life, not to reveal any of the signs, grips, names, penalties etc. This knowledge was valuable only if it was kept secret within the guild.
In this setting it all makes perfect sense.
As part of the "Gospel of Jesus Christ" it makes no sense at all.
Smith was a liar and con man. He stole the ideas from the Masons.
Today, TBM's can continue the despicable traditions and rituals of thieves. They have to lie to get a TR. They continue the deception by assuring themselves that they too can lie, swindle, and cheat thru their secret handshakes in the temple.
In addition, the compass and square were essential tools in getting things right--in a building that is.
Joe Smith was such an outright thief that he stole those too, and gave them "mormon" meanings--actually I just read that John Taylor, in the 1880's, gave them different meanings than David O. McKay did in the 1920's!
Anyway, the point (pun not intended) is: in Masonry the compass and square make sense since...you know...masons, and there's no reason for them in mormonism. As a matter a fact (unless I'm wrong) the mormons get the "compass" meaning wrong anyway, because in architecture a compass is a device for drawing circles & arcs, or transferring/comparing measurements, NOT for finding your way on the high seas.
If JS had stolen the symbols and rituals from another organization, LDS garments might have a rotary gear or a moose on them..... :-)
Seems to be boundless info regarding masons...some such as hiram abiff going back to egypt yadda yadda..even a trail up through the templars ..the holy grail and that mysterious little church in scotland...most will just have to remain conjecture it seems...until the whole story is told...but it is interesting to read if your into mysteries with open endings
On another post, Hie wrote that he wondered why (during his own Endowment) an all-powerful God needed a handshake when such a deity would already know him. I, too, asked that question. Although you and Hie reached a different conclusion than me, I think it's fair to say all three of us felt the temple was a sham. One thing that really weirded me out about the temple was the lack of natural light. I felt imprisoned in the temple. Da Bone.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/2017 09:52PM by BYU Boner.
The Masonic Lodge is actually based on the Knights Templar. The grand secret of the Masonic lodge and its parental Knights Templar is that the New Testament with its central character the Jewish Messiah Jesus Christ is an absolute fraud, but they NEVER say it directly, they demonstrate it with ritualized signs and tokens that hopefully leads lodge members to wake up to the truth on their own after such demonstrative prodding because the Lodge does not want to be like THE church by dictating what people believe. NOT wanting to be exposed as a fraud is why the Roman Empire as THE (Catholic) church has basically always been at odds with the Knights Templar and the Masonic Lodge. The Knights Templars were able to skirt the wrath of THE church and make a lot of money for a while by out Christianing them.
How comical that pervert MORmON Joe Smith used the Masonic signs and tokens as the highest form of Christian worship in MORmONISM.
Mason, or Maison means Son Of The Goddess Mai. I don't believe there is any connection with the guild of stonemasons in the origins of the term. Joseph Smith got much of his Temple ceremony from the Masons, who probably considered it a violation of their strict oath of secrecy regarding the aspects of it.
Masons were among the many who wanted Joseph Smith dead that fateful day at Carthage. I like to think they had a hand in it. They believed in blood atonement, and Joe broke the oaths besides making a mockery of Masonry. The kicker is that he was shot to death, in the back, making the Masonic call of distress.
If you've read "Pillars Of The Earth," a great, though long, book BTW, you read a lot about the tradesmen and their levels and the secrecy (signs and tokens) surrounding them. Yes, they NEVER revealed them. Doing so could mean death because it put all tradesmen at risk of not being to prove they authentically achieved that level of skill when trying to sell themselves and get a job.
That's what masonry evolved from and masonry is the original basis of the temple ceremony. The temple ceremony is THE thing that keeps TSCC from really ever being able to mainstream. Change it too much and people start wondering if it's really what it claims to be. The temple is the money machine so you gotta keep them coming and gotta keep the gullibles convinced that it really is some secret knowledge about the passageway to God. It's not.
That's why they're doing the "put a frog in boiling water and he jumps, so warm it up slowly" thing with the members. Change the offensive stuff a little at a time, give them time to get used to and accept it, then change another little thing. It will take years to get there, but they've made big strides just since I went through in 1976. The problem, however, is that we didn't know the things that had been changed before our time because they were hard to find out. But in the internet days, it's hard to hide what changes they have made and that begs the question of "If it was so important and God is never changing, how come it's changed so much?"
I was an active Freemason for eight years. I was a Blue Lodge Master Mason (3rd Degree) and a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason. The Blue Lodge Degree Rituals and the layout of the lodge room has so many similarities to the Temple Endowment.Through the years, the LDS Church has removed Masonic elements of the Endowment: death penalties, five points of fellowship, etc.
The meaning of the the Masonic rituals are different from the Endowment. The rituals are not religious and are not essential for "exaltation". Freemasonry is a fraternity and not a religion. But, some obsessed Masons treat it like a religion. To me, it's obvious that Joseph Smith copied much of the Masonic rituals and put them into the Endowment. Both LDS and Freemason scholars agree that neither Masonic rituals or the Endowment came from Solomon's Temple.