The Church and Freemasonry

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latterdaytemplar
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Re: The Church and Freemasonry

Post by latterdaytemplar »

Physics Guy wrote:
Tue Jun 07, 2022 2:49 pm
Perhaps the similarities between Mormon and Masonic ceremonies didn't seem as significant to anyone in Smith's day as they do now, because people didn't have as broad a perspective on how many kinds of religious or social rituals could be possible. There were Christian sacraments, and there were the lodges, and that was about it as far as most people in Smith's time and place knew. If you had pointed out to an early Mormon that their endowment ceremony was similar to a Masonic rite, they'd probably have said something to the effect of, "Well, yeah, they're both initiations. Duh!" You're not surprised that someone else is wearing exactly the same color that you are when your clothing industry only has one kind of dye.
What's more is that even those who had been Masons who had been excommunicated from the Church (John C. Bennett, for example) don't seem to have thought that it was worth mentioning in any of their publications antagonistic towards the Church. Bennett in particular would have had every reason and may have felt every liberty to write concerning this matter, given that he had also been expelled from Freemasonry.

I would note, though, that many early members/leaders of the Church thought that Freemasonry was some apostate/corrupt form of the Church's temple endowment ceremony, and that the temple endowment ceremony was the restored, true form of it. This opinion seems to have been based on the common view among Masons of that time that Masonry had a direct connection to or descendance from King Solomon's Temple; however, this opinion was never added to the Church's doctrinal canon.
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Re: The Church and Freemasonry

Post by George MillerPM »

latterdaytemplar wrote:
Tue Jun 07, 2022 8:18 pm
I appreciate you referencing Brothers Town and Woodworth; I had not previously read their comments and you provide some great context as to how many might have interpreted Masonic ritual during that time. However, even if half of the Masons at that time held this or similar opinions and interpretations concerning Masonic ritual, this would not have had any bearing on Masonry itself unless such opinions/interpretations were adopted by a regular Grand Lodge as a part of the ritual or codified elsewhere in its constitution, by-laws, etc. I am personally not aware of any American Grand Lodge that ever mentioned in its ritual Adam, his Fall, or his reception of light.
Thanks for your thoughtful and kind response. Conversation about Mormon-Masonic topics can often become heated and it is nice to discuss things civily and with someone with knowledge on the subject.

Above you note "even if half of the Masons at that time held this or similar opinions ... this would not have had any bearing on Masonry itself." I would agree with you on this point. One of the underlying tenets of Freemasonry is that men can come together and reason together and come to truth. While the common view of Masonic ritual is, as you have stated, may not have "any bearing on Masonry itself," I think it problematic to suggest that the common view of Masonry during the time period does not weigh into the historical question of if Joseph Smith and and Mormon ritual was influenced by that common Masonic view of Freemasonry during the early 1800s.

While you are "not aware" of ritual mentioning Adam, Masonic ritual (while not American) did in fact discuss Adam and the fall. One way of viewing the narrative presented in Mormon temple ritual is that it tells how Adam was ritually initiated into the mysteries and presented with signs and tokens. I don't think I have overstepped bounds as Mormon apostles have said as much in public statements. Let us now turn to the biblical Masonic legends that were known to American masons during this time period.

In 1823 the Reverend George Oliver published a book known as Antiquities of Freemasonry which was a retelling of portions of the Old Testament from a Masonic perspective. Of Adam he had the following to say.
Oliver, AoF, 39-40 wrote:Placed in the Garden of Eden, Adam was made acquainted with the nature of his tenure, and taught, with the worship of his Maker, that SCIENCE WHICH IS NOW TERMED MASONRY. This constituted his chief happiness in Paradise, and was his only consolation after his unhappy fall. ... In this state, enjoying almost unlimited faculties of comprehension, the first created pair were the companions of angels, and in full communion with God.
Thus George Oliver recapitulated a common Masonic myth that Freemasonry went all the way back to Eden and even further to heaven itself. He further suggests that Adam was in fact initiated a Freemason in the Garden of Eden. George Oliver then continues with a discussion of the fall.
Oliver, AoF, 42 wrote:In Paradise he was the perfection of God's created works, because every thing was placed under his dominion; but may be conjectured that after the Fall, when the whole creation became deformed with sin, he might be changed from his original state, and lose a portion of that knowledge which he enjoyed in the immediate communication with God and angels. He might, indeed, forfeit, with his purity, the inestimable gift of divine inspiration, by HE WOULD CERTAINLTY RETAIN A RECOLLECTION OF THOSE DEGREES OF KNOWLEDGE WHICH WERE WITHIN THE COMPASS OF HUMAN CAPACITY. Amongst the rest, or as a general designation, common to them all, HE RETAINED A PERFECT RECOLLECTION OF THAT SPECULATIVE SCIENCE WHICH IS NOW TERMED MASONRY.
Thus according to George Oliver, not only was Adam initiated a Mason, but he retained a recollection of those degrees after the Fall. Oliver would then discuss how the events of the fall were worked into Masonic ritual after the Fall.
Oliver, AoF, 43 wrote:Seduced by these specious declarations, the mother of all Masons violated the sacred injunctions of God, and through her intreaties, Adam followed the pernicious example and both miserably fell from a state of innocence and purity, to experience all the bitter fruits of sin; toil and labour, misery and death. ON THIS UNHAPPY DERILICTION FROM PURITY ARE FOUNDED THOSE CHARACTERISTIC INSIGNIA OF MASONRY, WHICH CONVEY A LASTING REMEMBRANCE OF OUR DEGENERATE STATE, AS WELL AS THE GLORIOUS PROMISE OF REDEMPTION. These TOKENS were unnecessary when man was in a state of perfection; but AFTER THE FALL THEY WERE PRACTICED BY ADAM, and are considered the immovable landmarks of our order unto this day. The FIVE events attending his transgression and expulsion from Paradis; viz, the transgression, shame, sentence, prayer and promise, are DISTINGUISHED AMONGST MASONS BY SUCH SIGNIFICANT TOKENS OF REVERENCE, PENITENCE, SYMPATHY, FATIGUE, and FAITH, that the unhappy consequences of the the three former, as well as the hope derived to mankind from the two latter, can never be blotted from recollection.
Thus George Oliver claimed that Adam was given TOKENS during his Masonic initiation which are considered "insignia of Masonry" and the "immovable landmarks" of Masonry which came down "unto this day." We will return what George Oliver is saying in a moment. Antiquities of Freemasonry then turns one of the main rituals of Adam's Freemasonry and the moral teaching it was meant to convey.
Oliver, AOF, 44 wrote:ONE GRAND PRINCIPLE OF ANCIENT MASONRY WAS TO PRESERVE ALIVE IN MEN's MINDS THE TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, and the great idea of an atonement for sin by animal sacrifices; typical of the one sacrifice of the Lamb whiteout spots, as propitiation for the sins of the world. THIS WAS THE ANIMATING IDEA WHICH INCREASED FAITH, WHERESOEVER MASONRY WAS PRACTICED; an idea which was never entirely obliterated, even amongst the idolatrous nations.
Thus according to George Oliver one of the most important things taught to Adam was the law of sacrifice as part of his Masonic education. George Oliver then continued by discussing Adam initiating his progeny.
Oliver, AOF, 45-46 wrote:The wants and calls of nature impelled our first parents to labour for their subsistence; and the inclemency of the seasons called for habitations to shelter them from heat and cold; from the scorching fervour of the meridian sun, and from the overwhelming influence of midnight damps, arising from mists and vapours with which the earth was watered. Here they cultivated the barren ground, and with infinite fatigue procured their daily food. Cheered by the divine goodness, however, and penetrated with gratitude and love to the great Father of Mercy, they never again deviated from the path of purity and devotion. The PRINCIPLES OF SPECULATIVE MASONRY, WHICH HE HAD BEEN COMMUNICATED TO ADAM IN PARADISE, WERE NEVER FORSAKEN after having tasted the bitter fruit of the forbidden tree; and AS HIS PROGENY INCREASED, HE [ADAM] COMMNUINCATED TO THEM THE DIVINE PRECEPTS AND INJUNCTIONS WHHCH WERE ENFOLDED IN THAT PURE AND SUBLIME SCIENCE.
Here George Oliver suggests that Adam was initiated into the Masonic degree in Garden of Eden and that after his expulsion from the Garden that he initiated his progeny as Freemasons. Thus George Oliver taught as Masonic lore that Adam had been initiated in the Garden of Eden.

Thus it appears that the narrative of the Mormon temple ritual seems to echo Masonic lore of the 1800s. This would argue that the Mormon temple ritual does not just follow Masonic ritual in teaching method, but, in fact the narrative of temple ritual recapitulates Masonic legends. In my next post I will discuss how Adam shows up in Masonic ritual.
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Re: The Church and Freemasonry

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The text of AoF suggested that Adam’s own Masonic initiation into Masonry began in the Garden of Eden. It stated that “the principles of speculative Masonry, which had been communicated to Adam in Paradise, were never by him forsaken.” Thus Adam’s initiation into Divine Masonry took place in Paradise before “having tasted the bitter fruit of the forbidden tree”. “As his progeny increased” parts of this original initiation ritual were administered by Adam to his progeny as part of the education in the “pure and sublime science” of Masonry. (AoF, 46) What did this Masonic initiation look like?
Oliver, AoF, 43-44" wrote:On this unhappy dereliction from purity are founded some of those characteristic insignia of Masonry, which convey a lasting remembrance of our degenerate state, as well as the glorious promise of redemption. These TOKENS were unnecessary when man was in a state of perfection; but after the Fall they were practised by Adam, and are considered immovable landmarks of our order unto this day. The FIVE events attending this transgression and expulsion from Paradise; viz. The ❶transgression, ❷shame, ❸sentence, ❹prayer, and ❺promise, are distinguished amongst Masons by such significant tokens of ❶reverence, ❷penitence, ❸sympathy, ❹fatigue and ❺faith, that the unhappy consequences of the three former, as well as the hope derived to mankind from the two latter, can never be blotted from recollection. (AoF, 43-4)
Throughout the text of AoF, George Oliver commonly capitalized or italicized specific Masonic terms and references to wording and concepts in Masonic ritual. In this way Oliver could convey Masonic secrets in plain sight. According to George Oliver, Adams Masonic initiation included elements which were “considered immovable landmarks of our order unto this day.” The italicized word landmarks is a Masonic term which refers to the obligation, “signs, tokens, and words” as well as “the ceremonies of initiation [Entered Apprentice], passing [Fellowcraft], and raising [Master Mason]” that Masons were forbidden from “removing or altering”. Since Masons were not allowed to altar elements of the three degrees including the signs, tokens, and words associated with these degrees they were termed immovable landmarks. In particular, George Oliver referred to certain TOKENS “which were practiced by Adam” and remained unchanged since the time of Adam “unto this day.” The term TOKENS in Masonic parlance refers to the “signs, tokens words” which were “local marks whereby” Masons might “know each other.” AoF therefore informs its reader that the TOKENS, which were “some of those characteristic insignia of Masonry” had been passed down from Adam to the until the present day relatively unchanged.
Dictionary of Symbolic Masonry, 1855 wrote:LANDMARKS- With respect to the landmarks of Masonry, some restrict them to O.B., signs, tokens, and words. Others include the ceremonies of initiation, passing, and raising[.] … It is quite clear, however, that the order against removing or altering the landmarks was universally observed in all of the Craft. (DoSM, 158)

TOKENS- Signs, tokens, and words [that] are local marks whereby they know each other[.] (DoSM, 274)
While the TOKENS may have remained relatively unchanged since the time of Adam, it was plain from Masonic ritual that all of the “characteristic insignia of Masonry” could not have dated back to the time of Adam. For example, the Master Mason degree involved a ritual reenactment of Masonic legends surrounding the death of one of the chief architects of King Solomon’s temple- Grand Master Hiram Abiff. Since King Solomon was born generations after Adam had died, AoF was left to elucidate the biblical narrative and spiritual teaching that framed the Masonic initiation of Adam and his progeny?
Oliver, AoF, 1823 wrote:On this unhappy dereliction from purity are founded some of those characteristic insignia of Masonry, which convey a lasting remembrance of our degenerate state, as well as the glorious promise of redemption. These TOKENS were unnecessary when man was in a state of perfection; but after the Fall they were practised by Adam, and are considered immovable landmarks of our order unto this day. The FIVE events attending this transgression and expulsion from Paradise; viz. The ❶transgression, ❷shame, ❸sentence, ❹prayer, and ❺promise, are distinguished amongst Masons by such significant tokens of ❶reverence, ❷penitence, ❸sympathy, ❹fatigue and ❺faith, that the unhappy consequences of the three former, as well as the hope derived to mankind from the two latter, can never be blotted from recollection.
AoF explained that the spiritual teaching that framed the Adam’s Masonry initiation were meant to “convey a lasting remembrance” of Adam and his posterity’s “degenerate state, as well as the glorious promise of redemption.” It further explained that the biblical narrative that framed Adamic Masonry was “the transgression and expulsion from Paradise” as encapsulated in five events from Adam’s life: ❶Adam and Eve’s transgression of divine law by partaking of the fruit of Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, ❷ the shame that Adam and Eve felt upon realizing they were naked which caused them to hide from God’s presence, ❸ God’s sentence proclaimed upon Adam and Eve for their transgression, ❹ a prayer proclaimed by Adam, and ❺ a promise of salvation through the atonement of the Son of God. These five events were further linked to specific Masonic tokens which will be discussed later. AoF also gave a further description of Adam’s Masonic education of his progeny.

AoF explained that the spiritual teaching that framed the Adam’s Masonry initiation were meant to “convey a lasting remembrance” of Adam and his posterity’s “degenerate state, as well as the glorious promise of redemption.” It further explained that the biblical narrative that framed Adamic Masonry was “the transgression and expulsion from Paradise” as encapsulated in five events from Adam’s life: ❶Adam and Eve’s transgression of divine law by partaking of the fruit of Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, ❷ the shame that Adam and Eve felt upon realizing they were naked which caused them to hide from God’s presence, ❸ God’s sentence proclaimed upon Adam and Eve for their transgression, ❹ a prayer proclaimed by Adam, and ❺ a promise of salvation through the atonement of the Son of God. These five events were further linked to specific Masonic tokens which will be discussed later. AoF also gave a further description of Adam’s Masonic education of his progeny.
Oliver, AOF, 51-52 wrote:Seth, the son of Adam, was educated by his father in the strictest principles of piety and devotion; and when he arrived at years of maturity was admitted to a participation in the mysteries of Masonry, to which study he applied himself with the most diligent assiduity. The progress he made in the science is fully demonstrated by the purity of his life. Associating with himself the most virtuous men of his age, they formed lodges, and discussed the great principles of Masonry with FREEDOM, FERVENCY, and ZEAL. These Masons, in a few centuries, made such progress in the science, that they received the from their contemporaries the appellation of SONS OF LIGHT, or SONS OF GOD. Their system of Masonry was purely theological: its illustrations explained the nature and attributes of God, the creation of the world, and the unhappy fall of man. It pointed out the difference between moral good and evil, and compared the happiness of Paradise with the pain, disease, and misery of this wretched world; that the mind might be incited to avoid a much greater punishment, and aspire to the enjoyment of a much higher degree of happiness in a future state.
AoF further described how Adam with the “most virtuous men of his age” worked to “form lodges” where they “discussed the principles of Masonry.” When Adam’s sons “arrived at years of maturity” they were “admitted to a participation in the mysteries of Masonry.” The Adamic “system of Masonry was purely theological” and “pointed out the difference between moral good and evil” which had come upon Adam and posterity due to the “unhappy fall of man.” To illustrate these theological principles, Adamic Masonry “compared the happiness of Paradise with the pain, disease, and misery” of their “wretched world.” Adamic Masonry not only expounded about morality in this life, but but also pontificated on the afterlife as it “incited to avoid a much much greater punishment” than the “misery of this world” and instead the Masonic brethren must “aspire to the enjoyment of a much higher degree of happiness in a future state.” According AoF, the Adam rituals did not only conveyed the teachings the Book of Mormon would describe as the Plan of Salvation, but the Masonic rituals discussed “nature and attributes of God” and elucidated the drama of the “creation of the world”.

George Oliver’s descriptions of this portion of the Adamic Masonic ritual alluded to the first Masonic degree of Entered Apprentice. Oliver notes that these principles were taught when the candidate “arrived at the years of maturity” and was “admitted to a participation in the mysteries of Masonry” which pointed to the first Masonic degree as the candidate was admitted to the lodge through their initiation. This passage also discussed how the “great principles of Masonry” were discussed with “FREEDOM, FERVENCY, and ZEAL.” The capitalized words FREEDOM, FERVENCY, and ZEAL alluded to the Masonic lecture of the Entered Apprentice which taught the newly initiated Entered Apprentice Mason about symbolic meaning of Chalk, Charcoal, and Clay. Taught in form of a catechism with questions and answers, the candidate was asked, “Who do you serve?” to which the candidate responded “My Master.” The candidate was then asked, “What did you serve him with?” to which the Entered Apprentice responded, “Freedom, Fervency, and Zeal.” The candidate was then asked to explain how chalk, charcoal, and clay are represented the attributes of Freedom, Fervency, and Zeal.

Readers of AoF would thus have surmised that Adamic Masonic ritual included a form of the Entered Apprentice degree. This degree was purely theological and taught the candidate about the attributes of God, the creation, the fall, and the redemption through the Son of God. In addition, during this Masonic initiation, Adam would have bestowed on the initiate certain signs and tokens which were similar to those found in the Entered Apprentice degree of their day. However, close readers of AoF would have also assumed that Adam’s Masonic ritual system included more than just one degree.
NOT only are the several Masonic lectures replete with moral and religious instruction, but their very order and successions are sources improvement, and afford great consolation and encouragement to the good man, when viewed in the proper light. The first degree in Masonry, naturally suggests that the state of moral darkness, which begloomed our world. On the apostacy of our common parent, not a gleam of light was left to irradiate and cheer his disponding mind. To his surprise and amazement, he found himself in total obscurity, as to those future and interesting scenes, on which he was entering. Soon, however, to his inexpressible joy, the first kind promise was made. This promise, though but a single ray, afforded much consolation. Although the true light now began to shine, yet how faint were its beams compared with the bright and meridian splendor, afterwards to illuminate the mortal world.

Adam, therefore, was, in a comparative sense, still in darkness, as to those great displays and wonderful manifestations of divine love and complacency, which were in due time made. Such is the very nature of the first degree, that every observing candidate is led to view his moral blindness, he is to consider emblematical of a state of improvement and trial. (ASoSM, 75-76)
This idea of Adam having been initiated as Entered Apprentice in the Garden of Eden would have resonated with American Freemasons who often interpreted the Entered Apprentice degree as symbolic of Adam experiences. In his book, A System of Speculative Masonry, the New York Freemason Salem Town wrote about the proper interpretation of the several degrees of Freemasonry in 1818. Of the Entered Apprentice degree Salem Town would write, “The first degree in Masonry naturally suggests that the state of moral darkness, which begloomed our world. On the apostacy of our common parent, not a gleam of light was left to irradiate and cheer his disponding mind.” Here Salem Town is symbolically interpreting the blindfolded candidate at representing Adam at the altar of the Masonic temple. Like Adam, the candidate is not only in darkness due to his blindfold, but he, like Adam, is in “moral darkness” due to Adam’s transgression. In a dramatic way, the candidate is brought to light as his blindfold is removed. Town continues his interpretation of candidate representing Adam by saying, “Adam, therefore, was in a comparative sense, still in darkness, as to those great displays and wonderful manifestations of divine love and complacency, which in due time made.

Adam’s initiation into a primordial version of the Entered Apprentice; however, was not the end of Adam Masonic journey. AoF alluded to Adam having received a version of the Royal Arch degree when it paralleled the five events attending Adam’s transgression and expulsion from Paradise. The text stated that the five events of Adam’s (1) transgression, (2) shame, (3) sentence, (4) prayer, and (5) promise were “distinguished amongst Masons by such significant tokens” as (1) reverence, (2) penitence, (3) sympathy, (4) fatigue, and (5) faith. These “TOKENS were unnecessary when man was in a state of perfection” but “after the Fall they were practiced by Adam.” The Tokens referenced by George Oliver are references to five signs taught to candidate as he was exalted to the Royal Arch Mason degree as practiced by British freemasons. These Royal Arch tokens were known as the (1) Reverential Sign also known as the Sign of Salute, (2) Penitential Sign also known as the Supplicatory Sign or Sign of Sorrows, (3) the Penal Sign, (4) the Monitorial Sign also known as the Sign of Admonition, and (5) the Fiducial Sign also known as the Sign of Faith or Hope.

Royal Arch Signs
❶Reverential Sign- Sign of Salute
❷Penitenial Sign- Supplicatory Sign | Sign of Sorrow
❸Penal Sign
❹Monitorial Sign- Sign of Admonition
❺Fiducial Sign - Sign of Faith or Hope

Thus the idea that Adam had become a Freemason and that elements of Adam's initiation ritual had come down to the present in both the Entered Apprentice degree and Royal Arch ritual was part of the lore of Freemasonry in Joseph Smith's day. Thus the evidence suggests that, contrary LatterDayTemplar suggestion's, that this idea is closely related to to Masonic ritual in Masonic thought during the first half of the 19th century. In my next post I will continue to show how Adam is discussed in the Royal Arch ritual.
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Re: The Church and Freemasonry

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❶Reverential Sign- Sign of Salute
RITUAL- The Reverential Sign or Sign of Sorrow, which is given by laying the right hand on the forehead for support, and left at the heart in a bowing humble attitude. It represents the attitude in which our first parents met Jehovah in the garden of Eden after their transgression. (MoF, 18)
CATECHISM- Q. Explain the Five Grand Original Signs.
A. Scarcely had our first parents transgressed, conscious of their crime, and filled with shame and horror, they endeavored to hide themselves from the presence of that Being, in whom before had been their chief delight; but hearing the summons of his awful voice, and unable to bear the splendour of his appearance, in a humble bending posture, they approached with awe and palpitation of heart, their right hand at the forehead for support, their left at the heart, as a shield against the radiant glory; and hence arose the reverential sign, or sign of salute. (MoF, 28)
DICTIONARY- We are taught by the reverential sign to bend with submission and resignation the chastening hand of the Almighty, and at the same time to engraft his law in our hearts. This expressive form, in which the Father of the human race first presented himself before the face of the Most High, to receive the denunciation and terrible judgement, was adopted by Grand Master Moses, who, when the Lord appeared to him in the burning bush of Mount Horeb, covered his face from the brightness of the divine presence. (DoSM, 233)
According to Richard Carlile’s expose of the British Royal Arch degree, the Reverential Sign was “given by laying the right hand on the forehead for support, and the left at the heart in a bowing humble attitude.” This sign represented “the attitude in which our first parents met Jehovah in the garden of Eden after their transgression.”

After the ritual of exaltation the candidate was taught in a question and answer catechism during which the brother was asked to, “Explain the Five Grand Original Signs.” The candidate was to answer this question by explaining that the Reverential Sign was a reference to the moments just after Adam transgressed the divine to not partake of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The candidate explained, “Scarcely had our first parents transgressed, conscious of their crime, and filled with shame and horror, they endeavored to hide themselves from the presence of that Being, in whom before had been their chief delight; but hearing the summons of his awful voice, and unable to bear the splendour of his appearance, in humble being posture, they approach with awe and palpitation of heart, their right hand at the forehead for support, their left at the heart, as a shield against the radiant glory.”

George Oliver linked the Reverential Sign to Adam and Eve’s transgression of divine law by partaking of the fruit of Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, because this was the posture which, according to the Royal Arch ritual, both Adam and Eve approached God immediately following their transgression of divine edict. Having transgressed divine law the couples approached the divine with palpitating hearts and their hands covering their eyes lest they be destroyed by God’s divine glory. According, to George Oliver, this sign was passed from Adam to his posterity and through the flood to the God’s prophets including Moses, for this sign was given by “Grand Master Moses, who, when the Lord appeared to him in the burning bush of Mount Horeb, covered his face from the brightness of the divine presence.”

❷Penitenial Sign- Supplicatory Sign | Sign of Sorrow
RITUAL- The Penitential, or Supplicatory Sign, which is given with the hand raised in the attitude of prayer, and the knees slightly bent, in allusion to the expulsion of our first parents from the garden of Eden. (MoF, 18)
CATECHISM- Q. Explain the Five Grand Original Signs.
A. It was now they heard pronounced the dreadful sentence, that the ground, for their sakes accursed, should no longer pour forth in such abundance; but themselves be driven from that happy region, to some less friendly climate, there to cultivate the hungry soil, and to earn their daily food by sweat and labour. Now banished from the presence of their God, and impelled by the wants and calls of nature to constant toil and care, they become more fully sensible of their crime, and with true contrition of heart, they, with clasped hand, implored forgiveness; and hence arose the penitential or supplicatory sign of sorrow. (MoF, 28)
DICTIONARY- The reverential sign may be considered the parent of the penitential or supplicating sign, since it justly denotes that frame of heart and mind without which our prayers and oblation of praises will not obtain acceptance at the throne of grace, before which how should a frail and erring creature of the dust present himself unless with bended knees and uplifted hands, betokening at once his humility and dependence? In this posture did Adam first kneel before God and bless the author of his being; and there too did he bend with contrite awe before the face of his offended Judge, to avert his wrath, and implore mercy, and transmitted this sacred form to his posterity forever. (DoSM, 203)
According to Carlile’s expose, the Penitential Sign was “given with the hand raised in the attitude of prayer, and the knees slightly bent” This sign alluded to “the expulsion of our first parents from the garden of Eden.”

The catechism further explained that after the transgression that Adam and Eve were brought before God; and they were “fully sensible of their crime, and with true contrition of heart, they, with clasped hand, implored forgiveness”.

George Oliver linked the Penitential Sign to Adam and Eve’s shame before the Lord after the transgression. In transgressing the laws of God, Adam recognized he was “a frail and erring creature of the dust” and with “bended knees and uplifted hand” betokened “his humility and dependence” he begged “his offended Judge, to avert his wrath.” George Oliver further told his reader that this posture of prayer with uplifted hands was transmitted “to his posterity forever” for this posture “justly denotes that frame of heart and mind without which our prayers and oblation of praises will not obtain acceptance at the throne of grace.” Thus Adam and Eve performed on bended knee with arms uplifted participated in a true order of prayer through which they could implore God’s blessings.

❸Penal Sign
RITUAL- The Penal Sign, which is given by circling the forehead with the thumb and forefinger of the right hand alluding to the penalty of the obligation; and also in the allusion to the Sojourner’s guarding his eyes from the intensity of the sun’s rays, when the perpendicular reflection shone so brilliantly on the gold plate, which was found on the pedestal at the withdrawing of the third key-stone of the secret arch, and which contained the Grand Omnific word: and further, and allusion to the fall of man. (MoF, 17-18)
CATECHISM- Q. Explain the Five Grand Original Signs.
A. The first parents of mankind, formed by the Grand Architect of the Universe, in the utmost perfection, both of body and mind, seated in a paradise of pleasure, bounteously supplied with means for the gratification of every appetite, and at full liberty of enjoyment, to the end of time itself, with only one prohibition by way on contract, whereon should depend their immortality, soon became disobedient, and thereby obnoxious to sin, misery, and death. To preserve us from which, and as a mememto to guard us from the like error, we adopted the penal sign. (MoF, 27-28)
DICTIONARY-
The penal sign marks our obligation, and reminds us also of the fall of Adam and the dreadful penalty entailed thereby on his sinful posterity, being no less than death. It intimates on sinful posterity, being no less than death. It intimates that the stiffneck of the obedient shall be cur off from the land of the living by the judgement of God, even as the head is severed from the body by sword of human justice. (DoSM, 202-203)
According to Carlile’s expose, the Penal Sign was “given circling the forehead with the thumb and forefinger of right hand.” In the process of being exalted to the Royal Arch degree, A Mason had to take an obligation that they would “not reveal the secrets” of the Royal Arch degree “under the penalty of having the crown of my skull stuck off” if they revealed the secrets of the degree. The circling of the forehead with the thumb signified their having sworn by their head to keep the Royal Arch secrets. In addition, the ritual suggested that the Penal Sign alluded to the “the fall of man.”

The catechism further explained that in penalty for after the transgression that Adam and Eve were brought before God; and they were “fully sensible of their crime, and with true contrition of heart, they, with clasped hand, implored forgiveness”. (MoF, 11-12, 17-18, 27-28)

According to Genesis, God had told Adam and Eve concerning the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that, “Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” (GEN3:3). George Oliver related this penalty to the penalty of the of Royal Degree noting that it “reminds us also of the fall of Adam and the dreadful penalty entailed thereby on his sinful posterity, being no less that death.”

❹Monitorial Sign- Sign of Admonition
RITUAL- The Monitorial Sign, or Sign of Suffering is given by placing the right hand on the heart, and supporting an inclination of head with the left, in allusion to the pain that arose from toil in having to till the land. (MoF, 18)
CATECHISM- Q. Explain the Five Grand Original Signs.
A. Now fervent prayer, the grand restorer of true peace of mind, and only balm to heal a wounded conscience, first raised a gleam of hope, and encouraged them to pursue their daily task with greater cheerfulness: but seized with weariness and pain, the sure effects of constant toil and labour, they were forced to lay their right hands to the region of the heart, and their left as a support to the side of their heads; and thus arose the monitorial sign, or sign of admonition. (MoF, 28)
DICTIONARY- The monitorial sign reminds us of the weakness of human nature, unable of itself to resist the power of Darkness, unless aided by that Light, which is from above, and we thus acknowledge our own frailty, and that we can do no good acceptable service but through Him from whom all good and just counsel doth proceed, and under whose divine and special favour we can never be found unprofitable servants in His sight. (DoSM, 178)
Carlile’s explained that the Monitorial Sign, also known as the Sign of Suffering, was “given by placing the right hand on the heart, and supporting an inclination of the head with the left”. This sign alluded to the “pain that Arose from toil in having to till the land.”

The catechism described how, in response to a “fervent prayer” by Adam and Eve, “the grand restorer of true peace of mind, and only balm to heal a wounded conscience, first raised a gleam of hope, and encouraged them to pursue their daily task with greater cheerfulness” However, Adam and Eve were “seized with weariness and pain, the sure effects of constant toil and labour, they were forced to lay their right hand to the region of the heart, and their left as a support to the side of their heads.” (MoF, 18,28)

AoF alludes to the prayer mentioned in the catechism when is said, “Now fervent prayer” as well as the fatigue caused by Adam and Eve’s fatigue fatigue experienced by Adam and Eve due to their constant toil and labour which was demonstrated by the positioning of the body when making the Monitorial Sign.

❺Fiducial Sign - Sign of Faith or Hope
RITUAL- The Fiducial Sign, or Sign of Faith and Hope, which is given by raising the hands above the head, in allusion to the prospect of redemption from the fall. (MoF, 18)
CATECHISM- Q. Explain the Five Grand Original Signs.
A. Now their minds being more calm, their toil seemed less severe, and cheered by bright-eyed hope, with uplifted hands and hearts, they clearly saw redemption drawing on; and hence arose the last sign, called the fiducial sign, or sign of faith and hope. (MoF, 28)
DICTIONARY-
The fiducial sign shows us if we prostrate ourselves with our face to the earth, we thus throw ourselves on the mercy of our Creator and Judge, looking forward with humble confidence to his holy promises, by which also we hope to pass through the Ark of our redemption into the mansion of eternal bliss and glory to the presence of Him who is the great I Am, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, the First and the Last. (DoSM, 106)
The fifth sign discussed in Carlile’s expose of the Royal Arch degree was the the Fiducial Sign or Sign of Faith and Hope which it explained was “given by raising the hands above the head”; and according to the ritual this sign alluded to the “prospect of redemption from the fall.”

The catechism described how Adam and Eve, having previously communed with God, “their minds being more calm, their toil seemed less severe, and cheered by bright-eyed hope, with uplifted hands and hearts, they clearly saw redemption” through the sacrifice of the Son of God. (MoF, 18,28)

George Oliver alludes to the promise from God which created a “bright eyed hope” through which they “saw redemption” as a promise for Savior from their sins. Thus he would explain that as Adam and Eve were “expelled from Paradise, into a world cursed for their sake, our first parents must have sunk under the effects of this change, if the PROMISE had not lent them support under the extremity of misery. The calamities were great, but FAITH and HOPE, supplied them with fortitude to endure the penalty of their disobedience.”

The Sign of Faith and Hope was not just for salvation in this life, but also Faith in specific a Promise for the state after death as discussed in the Royal Arch Ritual. “When death, the grand leveller of all human greatness, hath drawn his sable curtain round us, and, when the last arrow of our mortal enemy hath dispatched, and the bow of this mighty conqueror broken by the iron arm of time, when the angel of the Lord declares that time shall be no more, and when, by this victory, God hath subdued all things to himself, then shall we receive the reward of virtue, by acquiring the possession of an immortal inheritance in those heavenly mansions veiled from mortal eye, where every secret of masonry will be opened, never to be closed[.] Then shall the great Jehovah, the Grand Master of the whole universe, bid us enter into his celestial lodge, where peace, order, and harmony shall eternally reign.” (MoF, 18,28)

Thus Masonic Royal Arch ritual as practiced under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of England specifically mentions Adam. In addition, the catechism that exalted brothers must memorize interprets the signs and tokens of the degree in light of the Fall and Redemption of Adam and all mankind.

In constructing the Mormon Temple ritual Joseph Smith was borrowing not only the teaching method but also the narrative of Adam's being initiated a Freemason with signs and tokens that directly referred to the narrative of Adam's life.
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Re: The Church and Freemasonry

Post by latterdaytemplar »

George MillerPM wrote:
Tue Jun 07, 2022 10:11 pm
Thanks for your thoughtful and kind response. Conversation about Mormon-Masonic topics can often become heated and it is nice to discuss things civily and with someone with knowledge on the subject.
It's my pleasure. I agree that such topics can become quite heated. I think that you and I, however, are doing a pretty good job of letting Brotherly Love prevail here.
George MillerPM wrote:
Tue Jun 07, 2022 10:11 pm
While you are "not aware" of ritual mentioning Adam, Masonic ritual (while not American) did in fact discuss Adam and the fall. One way of viewing the narrative presented in Mormon temple ritual is that it tells how Adam was ritually initiated into the mysteries and presented with signs and tokens.
I must admit that, at first, I did not understand the relevance of your reference to non-American Masonic ritual here. "Surely, there is no evidence that Masons in Nauvoo would have been familiar with such ritual," I thought. But then you brought up George Oliver's writings and tied it all in quite nicely. In doing brief research on Oliver, I see that he was a prolific writer and would have been heard of in the Masonic world at that time (perhaps comparable to Arturo de Hoyos, S Brent Morris, and Chris Hodapp today). You have me now thinking quite strongly that I should invest in some of Oliver's Masonic works to better understand prevailing Masonic thought contemporary to Joseph Smith's day.
George MillerPM wrote:
Tue Jun 07, 2022 10:11 pm
This would argue that the Mormon temple ritual does not just follow Masonic ritual in teaching method, but, in fact the narrative of temple ritual recapitulates Masonic legends.
It may also mean that Joseph Smith based the allegory (teaching method) of the temple endowment ceremony on the claims made by Oliver; after all, the subject matter (by which term I refer to 1) the doctrine taught concerning our divine origin/potential and 2) the covenants made to keep God's commandments) still wholly differs. In fact, the Church had received such commandments from God years before Joseph Smith even became a Mason.

Regardless, it seems that Oliver may have been a particular influence, I would imagine, on many of the early leaders/members of the Church believing that the Church's temple endowment ceremony was a restored/true/original version of corrupted/apostate Masonry (as well as on Masons in general believing that the Craft had a direct connection to ancient times). That stated, the endowment ceremony used to explain that the depiction of Adam and Eve was "simply figurative" (removed in 1990); although it's somewhat in the air as to what exactly this meant, I understand (but could be wrong) that this referred to the entire narrative that depicted them.
George MillerPM wrote:
Tue Jun 07, 2022 10:50 pm
In my next post I will continue to show how Adam is discussed in the Royal Arch ritual.
(For those who may be reading along here, the Royal Arch is a body appendant to [but not a part of] Craft Masonry, to which Joseph belonged.)

Although I do enjoy the Royal Arch ritual and look forward to what you have to present on the matter, it should be noted that there was not a Royal Arch chapter in Nauvoo. There were, at least, a few Masons in Nauvoo who had been in the Royal Arch prior to arriving in Illinois (e.g., Hyrum Smith); but I am not aware of any record of Joseph Smith having become a Royal Arch Mason, especially in the somewhat small timeframe between the time that he was raised and the time that the temple endowment was first conferred; I am also not aware of any record of Brigham Young (who later standardized the Church's temple endowment ceremony) joining the Royal Arch. Although, exposés were available in their time, so there is the possibility (albeit unproven) that either of them had, used, or relied upon such an exposé in the creation/standardization of the temple endowment ceremony.
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—Captain Moroni (Alma 44:10)

Whatever conflicts that you come across in life, they can be beaten. Adopt Captain Moroni's attitude: be of the disposition to end the conflict, and then act on that disposition.
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Re: The Church and Freemasonry

Post by latterdaytemplar »

I'd like to note here that I was still working on my previous response when you made your post concerning the Royal Arch, good Brother. I therefore did not see it until after I submitted my own, so I will be examining it now (although I might not respond until tomorrow, what with the honey-do-list that I have). :)

I can see right off the bat, however, that you referenced Oliver again as well as some exposés in regard to the Royal Arch, so that addresses the last paragraph of my previous reply.

__
EDIT: Last sentence added.
"… Behold, we will end the conflict."
—Captain Moroni (Alma 44:10)

Whatever conflicts that you come across in life, they can be beaten. Adopt Captain Moroni's attitude: be of the disposition to end the conflict, and then act on that disposition.
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Re: The Church and Freemasonry

Post by George MillerPM »

latterdaytemplar wrote:
Wed Jun 08, 2022 12:10 am
I must admit that, at first, I did not understand the relevance of your reference to non-American Masonic ritual here. "Surely, there is no evidence that Masons in Nauvoo would have been familiar with such ritual," I thought. But then you brought up George Oliver's writings and tied it all in quite nicely. In doing brief research on Oliver, I see that he was a prolific writer and would have been heard of in the Masonic world at that time (perhaps comparable to Arturo de Hoyos, S Brent Morris, and Chris Hodapp today). You have me now thinking quite strongly that I should invest in some of Oliver's Masonic works to better understand prevailing Masonic thought contemporary to Joseph Smith's day.
Dear Brother- Your analogy to George Oliver being the Arturo de Hoyos of the early 1800s in a very astute comparison. He was consider the preeminent scholar on Freemasonry in his day; although he is virtually unknown today amongst Masonic scholars. Reading his works gives a good outlook on the views of Freemasonry in the early 19th century. I have included some links to his works below of the volumes published during Joseph Smith's lifetime.

GEORGE OLIVER'S PUBLICATIONS
1823 The Antiquities of Freemasonry
1825 The Star in the East
1826 Signs and Symbols
1829 History of Initiation
1840 The Theocratic Philosophy of Freemasonry
1841 The History of Freemasonry
Last edited by George MillerPM on Tue Jun 28, 2022 3:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Church and Freemasonry

Post by Fence Sitter »

Great thread!

Nice to see George Miller again, I hope you are doing well.

I m curious. Would the Mormon custom of calling each other "Brother so and so" have any roots in 19th century Masonry?

Thanks
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Re: The Church and Freemasonry

Post by latterdaytemplar »

Fence Sitter wrote:
Wed Jun 08, 2022 4:16 pm
I m curious. Would the Mormon custom of calling each other "Brother so and so" have any roots in 19th century Masonry?
It looks like they were calling each other "Brother" almost a decade prior to Masonry becoming a large part of the lives of the Church's membership; here we see the title being used in a meeting 1834.

So, I doubt that there was any direct connection to the Masonic use of the term "Brother"; that stated, this does not mean that there was not some indirect connection (i.e., the custom passing from Masons to Protestants, and then from Protestants to Latter-day Saints). But, aside from the above-linked minutes, it's speculation on my part; perhaps there were Masons among the early converts who decided to implement the custom (Joseph's brother Hyrum, for example).
"… Behold, we will end the conflict."
—Captain Moroni (Alma 44:10)

Whatever conflicts that you come across in life, they can be beaten. Adopt Captain Moroni's attitude: be of the disposition to end the conflict, and then act on that disposition.
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Re: The Church and Freemasonry

Post by latterdaytemplar »

George MillerPM wrote:
Wed Jun 08, 2022 3:50 pm
Reading his works gives a good outlook on the views of Freemasonry in the early 19th century. I have included some links to his works below of the volumes published during Joseph Smith's lifetime.

GEORGE OLIVER'S PUBLICATIONS
1823 The Antiquities of Freemasonry
1825 The Star in the East
1826 Signs and Symbols
1829 History of Initiation
1840 The Theocratic Philosophy of Freemasonry
1841 The History of Freemasonry
Thank you for providing these to me. I was looking for physical copies and was thinking that I'd have to save up quite a bit of money (still might, just for the pleasure of reading from a book instead of a screen; but I'm glad to have access to these digital copies in the meantime).

Unfortunately, it will probably be another day until I can respond to your latest large post; work has picked up and, shortly afterward, I'll be directing a degree practice.
"… Behold, we will end the conflict."
—Captain Moroni (Alma 44:10)

Whatever conflicts that you come across in life, they can be beaten. Adopt Captain Moroni's attitude: be of the disposition to end the conflict, and then act on that disposition.
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