Selected Teachings on
Masonry and Mormonism

Heber C. Kimball (Quorum of the Twelve)

There is a similarity of priesthood in Masonry. Bro[ther] Joseph says Masonry was taken from priesthood but has become degenerated, but many things are perfect. (Letter from Heber C. Kimball to Parley P. Pratt, 17 June 1842; quoted in Parry, Temples of the Ancient World: Ritual and Symbolism, p.577)

The Endowment and Freemasonry

Benjamin F. Johnson (friend of Joseph Smith)

[O]ne night [Joseph] showed me his garments and explained that they were such as the Lord made for Adam from skins, and gave me such ideas pertaining to endowments as he thought proper. He told me Freemasonry, as at present, was the apostate endowments, as sectarian religion was the apostate religion. (Johnson, My Life's Review, p. 96)

Melvin J. Ballard (Quorum of the Twelve)

It has been asserted by some that the Prophet Joseph Smith obtained from masonry some or most all of the ceremonies had by us in our temples. Recently I have had an opportunity to investigate most thoroughly the history and connection of the membership of the Church with masonry, when certain lodges were organized in the city of Nauvoo and other places; and I satisfied myself, and without giving you the detailed evidence, I assert to you that the evidence given by masons themselves proves conclusively that Joseph Smith never knew the first thing of masonry until years after he had received the visit of Elijah, and had delivered to men the keys of the holy priesthood, and the ceremonies and ordinances had by us in these sacred temples, and had given the endowments to men long before he knew the first thing pertaining to the ordinances and the ceremonies of masonry. What is masonry? Why, a fragment of the old truth coming down perhaps from Solomon's temple of ancient days, and but a fragment, as Christianity is but a fragment of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was only to be had and enjoyed by those who hold the holy priesthood. The prophet Elijah revealed these truths; he possessed them anciently and he gave them in their perfectness, and simplicity and purity to the Prophet Joseph Smith. (CR, October 1913, p.126–127)

Andrew Ehat (LDS Scholar)

Those who were [initial] recipients of these [temple] ordinances [in Nauvoo] were aware that these ordinances resembled non-Mormon rituals. In fact, the resemblance to Freemasonry was one case of which Joseph Smith made particular mention. Joseph Smith taught that these ordinances would serve as a standard by which the subcelestial impurities of surviving remnants of earlier Gospel dispensations could be judged. To [these recipients], therefore, parallels (such as Freemasonry) provided external confirmation of the breadth of the restoration impulse and was an evidence of Joseph Smith’s divine calling as a prophet. The endowment was a new and an everlasting way of entering covenants with God, a new revelation renewing an ancient order of priesthood covenants and power. (Joseph Smith’s Introduction of Temple Ordinances, p. 24-25)