The modern LDS church teaches that within temples we can receive ordinances beyond baptism that are necessary for our salvation. These ordinances are so sacred that they aren’t even mentioned in the scriptures, yet we are told that they have been revealed to prophets in every dispensation since Adam. This week we explore these claims and test them against what the scriptures teach. Could millions of people truly be suffering under delusion?
2 Thessalonians 2:10-11
2 Nephi 26:23
2 Nephi 9:41
D&C 124:28, 39, 40
3 Nephi 12:33-37
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
Thanks for another great podcast guys, I agree with almost everything you said. However, as I wrote in my comment last week, I still believe that the temple endowment was either directly given to Joseph by God, or God allowed Joseph to receive false revelation from Satan in order to turn us over to Satan through the curse of a lesser law just as Israel anciently was cursed with the Law of Moses. Moreover, I still believe that God in his mercy allowed some truths to be incorporated into the endowment such as revealing the fact that we have been placed into Satan’s power, and that in order to return to God’s presence we need the fullness of the priesthood. I admit that most of the endowment is pure delusion based on Masonry, which in turn draws on ancient mystery religions, whose ultimate origins appear to be ancient Egyptian religion, and then ultimately the secret combinations instituted by Satan. However, I still believe that God did intervene at least a little to put a few elements of truth into the endowment in order to alert the elect to their awful state. For example, the only scriptures that have anything to do with the temple endowment are actually not really scriptures per se, but the facsimiles in the book of Abraham and especially facsimile 2, which interestingly enough was published the day that Joseph became a Mason (March 15, 1842). Although the whole Book of Abraham is relevant to the endowment, because it teaches about the patriarchal priesthood, which is what I argue is the priesthood which the church possesses and uses in the temple. Furthermore, the first chapter of Abraham teaches that the Pharaohs claim to have the priesthood when in fact they do not, and thus they sought to mimic the priesthood. If you look at the three facsimiles they seem to show the progression incorporated in the endowment. The first facsimile shows the offering of sacrifice upon the alter and God intervening to save Abraham. In the temple this is the equivalent of Adam offering sacrifice on the alter and then receiving divine messengers. In the second facsimile we see the information Abraham learned about the heavens aka creation, and most importantly information pertaining to the priesthood and other information that is to be revealed in the temple. If you look carefully at some of the figures in facsimile 2 especially figure 7 you will notice that the figure is actually making some of the signs of the priesthood as taught in the temple. Even the hands of the seated figure make the sign of the square and floating above the arm is the compass. The third facsimile as stated in the description shows Abraham already sitting on Pharaoh’s throne which I would say represents him gaining godhood as the Pharaoh’s considered themselves gods. Thus, the endowment/masonry is simply a corruption of the true priesthood as handed down to Adam and the other patriarchs. In fact I believe that the Book of Abraham is actually the key in understanding that we have been deceived and have received a great delusion by accepting the temple endowment as the highest order of priesthood. Many people believe that Joseph is a false prophet and that the book of Abraham proves that he is because we can now read hieroglyphics and what the papyrus actually says is not even close to what is contained in the book of Abraham. However, I believe that this was intentionally done by the Lord for two reasons. Firstly, to test our faith as Abraham’s faith was tested. That is, will we still believe in Joseph as a true prophet even though this revelation appears to be a fraud. And secondly Joseph says that we will learn the secrets contained in the facsimiles in the temple, which again is I believe a warning to those who are paying attention. Facsimile 2 is a hypocephalus in fact it actually has its own Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Smith_Hypocephalus. Therefore, since these papyri are nothing more than pagan egyptian religion, and we are being told that this is what we will be learning in the temple, shouldn’t we be asking ourselves why this is the secret of the temple? The grand secret is that we are taught pagan religion masquerading as true religion/priesthood, and the book of Abraham actually proves this to us. The endowment will not save us, just as the blood of bulls and goats could not save those who lived the law of Moses. Thus, it is arrogance to believe that we can save ourselves through secret knowledge, which is exactly what the Egyptians believed. I actually haven’t had time to write another blog post on the arrogance of the endowment which you touched on in the podcast today, so maybe sometime this month I’ll write it finally. Only Christ can save us we cannot save ourselves as the endowment claims. Anyways thanks again for the enlightening podcast.
Another great podcast, thanks!
I had an institute class where the teacher used Isaiah 6:3-4; 2 Nephi 16:3-4 as biblical references to portions of the endowment specifically at the veil room.
Talk about STRETCHING to come up with a Temple reference! He obviously mad an impression on your mind. I W-R-E-S-T my case.
Hey guys. Nice work as usual. I haven’t seen these handshake pictures you discussed. Can you post some of them here?
To clarify. I mean the ones with Church leaders and other leaders of the world.
Paul, I can’t really see any Masonic handshake there….
Is this one better?
Yeah thanks. I remember I had actually seen this one before. If you have any others , I’d love to see them too. Thanks
I can’t find the post I did years ago where I showed all of these pics but if you go to google images and type in lds leaders masonic handshake you will see many of them including President McKay and President Kennedy.
Here is a collection of interesting photographs: http://ironrodpodcast.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Handshakes.pdf
Wow, yes MD. Very interesting.
Wow! Very interesting! Thanks very much for sharing.
I would very much appreciate input from others regarding scriptures in Ezekiel and Jeremiah that I have recently found very thought provoking when tied together regarding the temple endowment. Hopefully I can capture my thoughts well.
Scriptures (the entire chapters and context as well)
• Ezekiel 13: 17-23
• Jeremiah 5: 26-27
The first half of this chapter addresses the ‘foolish prophets’ who speak ‘lying divination[s]’, attributing to God things that are not of God. (Speaking peace, untampered morter, etc)
17-23 jumped out to me as possibly speaking about temple work and even the temple clothing
• Thus saith the Lord God; Woe to the women that sew pillows to all armholes, and make kerchiefs upon the head of every stature to hunt souls! Will ye hunt the souls of my people, and will ye save the souls alive that come unto you? Wherefore thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against your pillows, wherewith ye there hunt the souls to make them fly, and I will tear them from your arms, and will let the souls go, even the souls that ye hunt to make them fly. Your kerchiefs also will I tear, and deliver my people out of your hand, and they shall be no more in your hand to be hunted; and ye shall know that I am the Lord. (Ezk 13: 18, 20-21)
o Digging into the Hebrew words is very interesting as well
o The Hebrew root of the phrase ‘make them fly’ (as birds) led me to connect Jer 5: 26-27 to these verses
o I have more connections and thoughts regarding this but will defer those and let the scriptures speak for themselves and others to read without my bias
This chapter speaks of Israel’s guilt of replacing the Lord God of hosts with other gods and what will befall them because of it.
26-27 directly connects to Ezk 13 via the birds reference
• For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit (Jer 5: 26-27)
I fully admit that I need to study this much more to verify if this does, indeed, hold up to scriptural scrutiny. That being said: I welcome others to agree, disagree, and provide more insight!
I think that’s an incredibly interesting find. I’ve looked up a number of commentaries on Ezekiel 13 and most of them focus on the ancient fulfillment of this prophecy. Some assume the women spoken of are fortune tellers and are reclining on the pillows, showing their ease and comfort rather then the urgency and dire situation about to befall ancient Israel.
Interestingly, some translations change the pillows and armholes to magic charms on sleeves. This would look to be more in line with your interpretation.
I think the dual nature of prophecies and their multiple fulfillments would point to the wording here being chosen to apply to both ancient and modern-day Israel. There’s definitely an angle here worth studying as it relates to our modern day practices.
Could the phrase “sew pillows to all armholes” be a reference to our modesty standard being defined by the existence of sleeves? That seems to be the outward sign of whether or not someone is wearing temple garments…whether they keep their shoulders covered, including the addition of sleeves to sleeveless tops, or wearing an additional shirt to cover them.
I am a new subscriber. I’ve listened to over half a dozen of these podcasts the past two days and have been greatly enlightened. I’ve listened and explored spiritual and gospel concepts that I never pondered previously. I am thrilled to have these podcasts to assist (actually launch after listening to your podcasts on the scriptures) with my scripture study and search. I thank you for listing the scripture references in the description. I saw this request in a review and I’m glad to see you read the reviews and respond appropriately. This addition is a great contribution.
I’ve listened closely but have not been able to gather enough information to know where to find each of your perspective blogs. Would you please announce these in a future podcast or post in the description section? I would love to follow each of your blogs individually. One topic I’m looking forward to hearing is TITHING. If not already planning, please add this topic to your list for future podcasts. I’m now aware that I’d fallen victim to “confirmation bias” that you discuss in a previous podcast. If I ever questioned any concept taught in the church meetings, especially from the apostles and prophets, I looked for lightening to strike me dead. 🙂 I quietly questioned, but NEVER openly voiced my concerns because of the “traditions of men” within the church. Just in the past four months after being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, I’ve allowed myself the freedom to question and study concepts that have caused me much grief in my past. I have never enjoyed studying and learning church doctrines this
I’ve have suffered much abuse from the male leaders over my 42 years membership. (I was baptized when I was 23 years old.) I don’t believe all of the abuse was malicious, but I do believe much of it was a result of pride and power that men believe they have because they “hold the priesthood”. Finally two years ago, I had a powerful spiritual experience after a bishop shook his hand in my face and threatened me with my church membership for not accepting a calling when I was totally overwhelmed as a caregiver for my dying husband. As I sat in my car heartbroken again after this experience, I heard a voice say to me, “You are getting rid of toxic relationships in your life. Are you ready to let go of this one?” As I jerked my head up from the steering wheel and looked up, I asked, “The Church?” I immediately knew the answer to my question. I was filled with peace. I immediately stopped crying and drove home to share the experience with my husband. I have since been diagnosed with “PTSD from the priesthood” (described in the words of my Elders Quorum President). I now understand that because of the “teachings” in the church, that I had always stuffed the feelings from abuse and never spoke about it because of the belief in the church that if you speak ill of the priesthood that you’re on the road to apostasy. I had great fear of being perceived as an apostate. When my husband asked if I would return to active church activity, I told him that I would return when God tells me it’s time. Every time I ponder returning, I find myself in a serious panic attack. Regardless, I am studying and learning more in a week than I learned attending church regularly for a year. This week this knowledge has come from The Iron Rod podcasts. For this I thank you.
I look forward to following these podcasts and using your individual podcasts for my scripture study. I thank you very much for your willingness to share the knowledge you gain from your scripture studies.
We may not respond to every comment, but we do read every comment. The “About Us” page on the podcast website has links to our blogs (though I must admit that Searcher and I have not been publishing much lately as we work on finishing our book projects). You can access that page here: http://ironrodpodcast.com/about-us/
Thank you for sharing your story. Sadly, many have suffered as you have. Alma 33:2 is true.
We are humbled, and happy, that our podcasts are helping you search the scriptures. Testimonials like that make it all worth it! Best wishes for you as you deal with your health issues and your priesthood PTSD.
Here is a recent post I did on tithing, I should spend more time on it as it is the subject that woke me up. But tithing and offerings are backwards in the LDS church, and most churches if you ask me.
I am sorry to hear about the abuse your received, I’ve had bishops try to use unrighteous domain on me before, but I didn’t fall for it, and in fact after they found out more of what was going on, they told me I was right now to follow their directions. They get very puffed up, and are not doing what the scriptures actually tell them to do, to be a common judge as stated in the D&C. Here is an article I focus mostly on some aspects that bishops should and should not be doing if you want to take a look. Also I have a contact page if you want to talk more.
When a bishop says that we need their help to know if and when God has forgiven us, he is questioning our relationship with God, he is saying we are not capable of hearing God’s voice even after He has forgiven us. Something we should remember is that Cain talked with God after he slew Able. Which is questioning our relationship with God even when we are clean, possibily to the point of being worse than Cain’s. This is one of the things that once we understand this idiom it is saying not to do.
I no longer believe that JS or God had anything to do with the LDS Temple ceremonies. But I believe the gate that is being talked about in 2 Nephi 9:41 is baptism as defined in 2 Nephi 31:17.
Nephi had Zoram take an oath in 1 Nephi 4:33,35,37.
Temple Penalties are Still Present Implicitly https://youtu.be/LBEEJCB9-y8
2 Nephi 28:5 And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men;
Here is some quotes from https://seekingyhwh.com/2019/06/09/the-holy-spirit-and-the-holy-ghost-are-the-same/
At some point God gave me Exodus 20:26, I don’t remember if He gave the verse to me before or after I removed my name, either way I remembered that God gave it to me and I didn’t do anything with it at the time.
Exodus 20:26 Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.
This verse has many implications that arise from it including Book of Mormon Geography. What I want to bring out right now is how the Kohen, priests, who worked at the temple did not were garments, if they had there would have been no concern about nakedness being exposed if steps were allowed to be used to go up to the alter.
Heck the Book of Mormon teaches against baptisms for the dead (see 2 Nephi (LDS 9:26) (RLDS 6:54-55), Mosiah (LDS 3:11) (RLDS 1:107), Mosiah (LDS 15:24) (RLDS 8:58-59), Moroni (LDS 8:22-23) (RLDS 8:25-27). Not to mention that the Book of Mormon teaches us we can not repent after we die (see 2 Nephi (LDS 2:21) (RLDS 1:107-110), Mosiah (LDS 2:33) (RLDS 1:74-75), Mosiah (LDS 15:26-27) (RLDS 8:61-65), Alma (LDS 34:32-35) (RLDS 16:228-234), Alma (LDS 42:13) (RLDS 19:94-95), Alma (LDS 42:28) (RLDS 19:111)).
Moroni (LDS 8:22-23) (RLDS 8:25-27)
22 For behold that all little children are ALIVE IN CHRIST, AND ALSO all they that are WITHOUT THE LAW. For the power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such BAPTISM AVAILETH NOTHING— 23 But it is MOCKERY before God, DENYING the MERCIES of CHRIST, and the POWER of his HOLY SPIRIT, and putting trust in DEAD WORKS.
Mosiah (LDS 2:33) (RLDS 1:74-75) For behold, there is a wo pronounced upon him who listeth to obey that spirit; for if he listeth to obey him, and remaineth and DIETH IN HIS SINS, THE SAME DRINKETH DAMNATION TO HIS OWN SOUL; for he receiveth for his wages an EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT, having transgressed the law of God contrary to his own knowledge.
Yes, yes, I know we can find ceremonies like those in LDS temples being done historically around the world. But that does not mean any of them were from God. Mystery Babylon has spread around the world. The ceremonies being performed in LDS / Brighamite temples are of the occult, which is of Mystery Babylon, and not of God. We can see how the works of darkness spread all over.
Helaman (LDS 6:28) (RLDS 2:154) … And it was that same being who led on the people who came from that tower into this land; who spread the works of darkness and abominations over all the face of the land, until he dragged the people down to an entire destruction, and to an everlasting hell.
When an idea is drilled into your head over and over again, it can linger inside of you without you even knowing it, while affecting what you do and think. I have believed that Brigham Young was a tyrant and horn dog for a very long time, some things I bring out in King Brigham will show that. But for whatever reason the dichotomy between that and what the LDS / Brighamite church taught me about Joseph Smith trusting Brigham Young with LDS Temple ceremonies had not yet surfaced, probably becasue of the fond memories I had of my temple experiences. (Please keep in mind I love symbolism, I find it very meaningful, and I saw lots of it in the temple, and next to none at church.) If you ask me Joseph Smith was in the process of gathering evidence against Brigham Young to excommunicate him for his sins and crimes, which is why Brigham Young helped plan Joseph Smith’s murder, which is talked about in The Exoneration of Emma, Joseph & Hyrum: Part One along with “The Carthage Conspiracy” and Joseph Smith Was Murdered By Freemasons. (Knowing this I find verse Helaman (LDS 6:19) (RLDS 2:128) very telling, especially considering what is being described before and after it, not to mention Helaman (LDS 6:21) (RLDS 2:145).) When that was rooted out of me many other things started to make sense.
Helaman (LDS 6:19) (RLDS 2:128) And it was they [those with secret signs and words] who did murder the chief judge Cezoram [Joseph and Hyrum Smith], and his son [successor, Samuel Smith], while in the judgment-seat; and behold, they were not found.
If Helaman (LDS 6:22-27) (RLDS 2:146-152) does not sound like what happens in LDS Temples along with what members in politics and the law do to protecting the LDS / Brighamite church, and how and why many courts of love [of power] are conducted I don’t know what does. (see McKenna Denson a force for good for examples and Bishops are JUDGEs of Israel for explanation)
Helaman (LDS 6:22-27) (RLDS 2:146-152)
22 And it came to pass that they did have their SIGNS, yea, their SECRET SIGNS, and their SECRET WORDS; and this that they might DISTINGUISH a brother who had ENTERED into the COVENANT, that whatsoever wickedness his brother should do he SHOULD NOT BE INJURED BY HIS BROTHER [upholding their kingdom], nor by those who did belong to his band, who had taken this COVENANT. 23 And thus they might murder, and plunder, and steal, and commit WHOREDOMS and all manner of wickedness, CONTRARY to the LAWS of their COUNTRY and also the LAWS of their GOD. 24 And whosoever of those who BELONGED to their band should REVEAL unto the WORLD of their WICKEDNESS and their ABOMINATIONS, should be TRIED, not according to the laws of their country, BUT ACCORDING TO THE LAWS OF THEIR WICKEDNESS, which had been given by Gadianton and Kishkumen. 25 Now behold, it is these SECRET OATHS and COVENANTS which Alma commanded his son should not go forth unto the world, lest they should be a means of bringing down the people unto DESTRUCTION. 26 Now behold, those SECRET OATHS and COVENANTS did not come forth unto Gadianton from the records which were delivered unto Helaman; but behold, they were put into the heart of Gadianton by that same being who did entice our first parents to partake of the forbidden fruit— 27 Yea, that same being who did plot with Cain, that if he would murder his brother Abel it should not be known unto the world. And he did plot with Cain and his followers from that time forth.
Not to mention that the temple ceremonies that the sons of Aaron performed in the tabernacle, which later was done in the temple, were sacred but not secret as they written in the first five books of the Bible which are also known as the Torah.
Here is a search program I wrote if you want to use it.
I believe this shows much evidence that the LDS / Brighamite church is in apostasy
Adam-God theory is so against the scriptures including the BoM. I actually wonder how much BY read them if any.
Alma 18:36 Now when Ammon had said these words, he began at the CREATION OF THE WORLD, and also the CREATION OF ADAM, and told him all the things concerning the fall of man, and rehearsed and laid before him the records and the holy scriptures of the people, which had been spoken by the prophets, even down to the time that their father, Lehi, left Jerusalem.
Mormon 9:12 Behold, he [God] created Adam, and by Adam came the fall of man. And because of the fall of man came Jesus Christ, even the Father and the Son; and because of Jesus Christ came the redemption of man.
Moroni 10:3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the CREATION OF ADAM even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
Today I was blown away— I think my jaw dropped during the whole thing—yet for the first time in 35 years I felt free thinking I was the only member that didn’t feel comfortable about the endowment esp the penalties. I remember being shocked that this was the church but both grandpas were playing the parts. One was God and one Satan. Ironically my parents divorced. Almost comedic. Ok it was pretty funny. I’ve always known about Freemasons and for the first time I get it.—though at the end I wanted to throw up at the money I have given blindly.
A few thoughts…
1st: one should not dismiss the Temple ritual out of hand. It is easy to do, but it is actually one of the few tethers that have kept me from giving up on Joseph Smith completely. The BoM and D&C are other reasons. I love the framework that you have constructed that keeps the prophetic mission of Joseph Smith intact while still allowing him to be fallen in the end. I will present some information below that may be of interest in reviewing what there is of merit in the Temple ritual.
2nd: One must remember that Brigham Young was a fully formed Master Mason before becoming a Mormon. He was from the York Rite Blue Lodge and much of his formation in organization was completely Masonic. His resistance to those of African descent having the priesthood was a reflection of Masonic prohibitions on allowing those of African descent into their lodges at that time. The practice of being buried in ones ritual clothing is also a Masonic tradition we inherited directly from them and has nothing to do with Joseph Smith era practice. Joseph was not buried in temple regalia or even in garments, as they were only meant to be used at the weekly meetings of the Council of the Elect. Only one of those with the Prophet in Carthage did not heed his counsel to not wear the garment there, and he was the only one not shot, starting the tradition of them being a form of supernatural protection. The combination of Garment + Proper Handshake provided the two-part authentication needed to enter the weekly meeting of the Council of the Elect. This meant people in the know about JS polygamy and who were sworn to uphold him and it. The one place he could relax and just be himself without fear of reprisals. But this does not mean that everything in the Temple Endowment is dross.
3rd: In the various works of Knight & Lomas (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hiram_Key), these two British Masons try to present a possible framework that could connect the modern practice of Freemasonry back to the Temple of Herod. Due to the guarded nature of most of the works of the Masons from as far back as they can be traced, it is rather hard to certify their conclusions with existing publicly available records. What I got from it that is of possible interest here (and recognizing the amount of speculation involved) follows:
a) There is a temple practice in the Temple of Herod, the details of which are absent from any of the writings we have received from ancient Israel, including the Bible.
b) There is a notation on the copper scroll found with the Dead Sea Scrolls that notes that certain records of a particularly sensitive nature (hear “sacred” in the way Temple Mormons mean the term) are buried under the Temple as there can be no safer place for them to be kept.
c) There are traditions that have been mentioned by a few different sources of Temple Priests adapting their outward life to various local monotheist religions after the fall of the Temple and passing down particular aspects of the work done there from father to son.
d) The Knights Templar started life as an impoverished group of nine closely related Frenchmen who claimed to be in Jerusalem during that brief moment that it was part of a European Kingdom in order to protect pilgrims to the holy sites there. There is no evidence they actually ever did this. The took up residence on the temple mount in what is known as the Stables of Solomon, and there has since been found tunneling into the area under the temple that contains early Knight Templar artifacts. Knight & Lomas posit the possibility that these closely related Frenchman were from one of these Temple Priest families and were seeking (you knew it had to be) further light and knowledge, or maybe just treasure, in a place they knew of. What is known is that after 9 years of basically not appearing to do anything, they burst out of the humble abode on the temple mount with enough riches to buy a boon from the pope to start their own monastic order and to only be answerable to the pope. No Bishop or Cardinal could say or do anything to them. They also came out with a very complex set of rituals that seem to have come from nowhere. Knight & Lomas suspect the ritual was a combination of writings found with treasure under the temple and information passed down from family lines. Like I said, there is a fair amount of conjecture into these origins, but it does provide a possible frame from which their practice connects back to antiquity.
e) With the fall of the of the Knights Templar in the early 14th century came the rise of Scottish Freemasonry and the two appear to be linked. Some of the craft was reworked to be fitting for actual masons. This seems to correspond with the building of the Rosslyn Chapel on land belonging to the Scottish Sinclair family (from the French Saint Claire family that is related to those original Templars). There is a great deal of symbolism in this Chapel that is not Christian in nature, but Templar and Masonic. It appears to be the nexus of the craft being passed from one group to the other.
f) When James VI of Scotland became James I of England, the Scottish Rite came to England. With the Jacobite Exile of James II (James VII of Scotland) to France, England fell under the rule of William III. He was Dutch, and not much aware of Masonry, but as all things Scottish were now suspect, a secret rite from Scotland could not stand. It is at this time that the York Rite and Blue Lodge was formed in England and history rewritten to make Freemasonry originally English and late. It would be okay for the Scottish to get it from the English, but not the other way around. Most of the craft of the Scottish Rite was truncated, with the York Rite consisting of only three degrees, instead of the traditional 32 degrees of the Scottish Rite. Meanwhile, those who followed the disposed King into exile in France continued the original rite.
g) The Freemasonry of New England that had caused a stir shortly before the time of Joseph Smith was York Rite. By this time, the Scottish Rite had been made largely equal to it and only a few symbolic degrees remained beyond the Blue Lodge. A lot was lost! This is the Masonry that Brigham Young belonged to and knew the best.
h) There was a resurgence of interest in Freemasonry starting in the South and which came from the French form. It was more complete. It is this masonry that Joseph learned in the upper chamber of the Red Brick Store. It is divergent from and distinct from the Freemasonry of Brigham Young, but no exact record survives to tell us how.
i) Albert Pike regulated the lodges of Freemasonry in 1844 and converted all lodges in the South to York Rite Blue Lodge Masonry. Similar changes took place in France in the following years. Whatever was unique and different about original Freemasonry that was absent from the York Rite was now lost to history with the passing older practitioners who remembered it. I find it interesting that this thread was kept thin and finally cut completely only after Joseph Smith encountered it.
j) There were ulterior motives among the Freemasons of Nauvoo who wanted Joseph Smith to become a master mason. In the Oath of Chastity that is part of that craft, one promises not to have sex with the wives and daughters of fellow freemasons. You can see why they would want him bound by such an oath! The Nauvoo Lodge lost their charter for some time for having taken him through the first three degrees (The Blue Lodge) all in one day. It normally requires about three years for a person to complete this work. But they REALLY wanted to get Joseph to the Oath of Chastity! NOW!
k) the Blue Lodge states that the last word (name) has been lost. When they raise Hiram Abiff from the dead they use as a substitute whatever he says first on being raised. It is three syllables, the meaning of which is given in older rituals to mean “Marrow in the bone”, and in modern exposés it is said to mean “Here there be Masons.” I suspect this lost word may well be a major difference between the original Masonry that Joseph Smith received and the York Rite that now exists everywhere.
So, where does this leave us?
Joseph’s use of certain aspects of the endowment was manipulative and pertained to promoting his use of polygamy. He would not allow any women to be endowed until Emma was, and she could not be endowed until she accepted his polygamy. Even when she did outward performance of accepting it, we all know she never really did. But withholding Temple Endowment from all the other wives of endowed men until Emma got onboard was a way of pressuring her to accept. The hand clasps and names likely had more to do with making sure that only properly initiated men could enter the ancient temple than anything to do with what happens hereafter. Joseph used these along with the ownership of a garment to make it so whoever stood as sentinel at the door could easily tell who belonged in the meetings of the council of the elect and who did not. He misappropriated the covenants (oaths) of Freemasonry to force acceptance by covenant of his polygamy on those who were endowed.
All these aspect of the Temple Endowment, regardless if they can be traced to ancient temple practice or not, really do not have pertinence today. Unless you can show me the time and place that we will need to pass Sentinels in this life to enter into a holy place (other than the Celestial Room of our local temple), we have no use of any of the grips except perhaps the last, as it is used in marriage. Handclaspings being an ancient druidic form of marriage that likely is similar, except that it would have taken place out of doors under the stars and in full view of all.
Many of the other aspects of the process are clearly Brigham Young using his knowledge of the Blue Lodge to put it in order as he saw fit. This would include the five points of fellowship and penalties, which have rightly been removed. They never should have been part of our practice!
What remains? What makes this a worthy enterprise?
The first degree of Masonry starts with a review of the creation, as does the Temple Endowment. This is worth doing. It is basic but useful to remember that God made it all. The exact process suggested in the Endowment, and the ordering of the steps is possibly Joseph, possibly Brigham, so, unreliable. This part of the session is actually akin to a hypnotic induction, and the use of voices heard with no one seen and repetition helps lower one into a more meditative state from which to experience the rest of the experience. Of course, as is true with most of the changes to film, the non-live experience loses a lot of what makes the endowment tick. And now all live session have ceased in the church, there is a lot of stuff that is not imparted by the film that just plain won’t be there for future generations to understand. The more slick you make it, the less useful it is.
The garden sequences are among the most important in the entire session. This scene is referenced everywhere in scripture. What we get in the temple is in some ways clearer. And whether or not the underlaying story is literal or figurative, there is a lot to gain from contemplation of it. Through simple means (men closing and opening their eyes and standing and sitting with Adam for example) we are put in the place of being actors in the drama. WE are Adam and Eve. WE are facing the same choices they faced. WE can embrace the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and with it death, or WE can choose the Tree of Life. There is a lot more to this, but being brought back to this primal choice in every session is actually really useful.
There are other things in here that are not typical of Masonry and of interest to us. Generally, anything that is too close to Masonry is likely Brigham’s expression and not Joseph’s.
And then there are the covenants. It is the power of these types of covenants that made the Knights Templar the richest order on earth. It is the power of these types of covenants that have made Freemasons influential for centuries. It is the power of these types of covenants that have resulted in many Mormons becoming incredibly wealthy. But here is where we may be doing it wrong. This is a catechism. Take away the names, signs, tokens, oaths and penalties, and you are left with a set of discussions and covenants that all should experience and agree to BEFORE they are baptized as a witness to the convents they have made. Just my thoughts on it. This is ritual that helps teach, but it is not superior in any way to the fundamental needed steps for salvation as expressed in the Book of Mormon. If it is from ancient sources at all, it is preparatory law of Moses stuff, not higher stuff. The only exception being the washing and anointings and the Handclasping. These are not bad. But the latter should not be hidden and should include all close family members.
As currently practiced, it is used as a form of magic, and the prayer circle actually resembles forms of ritual magic. Magic underwear. Magic Names and words. Magic, magic, magic.
The way I practiced it before no longer having a recommend, it is also a great way to meditate and disconnect from everyday pressures and concerns. This is perhaps its best quality.
And there may be some long term benefits to God’s plan that we have become so gung ho for genealogy. Only time can tell.
But all said, while we should cast off all of the Brother Brigham influences on the process that we can, there is a real point to the process that is potentially very beneficial in our degraded state and which is preparatory to building Zion. In particular usefulness is the review of creation and the Garden story. In that regard, I recommend you read Max Skousen’s series “Looking Beyond the Mark: A Blessing Hitherto Unknown” if you can get your hands on it. There are PDF’s of the first three available online for those clever enough to find them.
Would love any feedback you have on any of this longwinded diatribe.
Maybe this comment is out of context, since I just read your comment and haven’t gone back to the original discussion.
I found it interesting that you mentioned in particular the choice between knowledge of good and evil/death vs. the tree of life. The temptation was the offer to become like God. This topic seems to be coming up a lot recently in other places, and the knowledge that leads to death has been presented as coming from the mystery schools that derive their power from Satan. How is it then that initiation into temple rituals, following the pattern of initiation into a mystery school would be a good thing? Why do people go to the temple, where they promise not to reveal what they have been taught? Because they want greater knowledge and access to glory that the uninitiated are denied. In the process, they put themselves in Satan’s power, and are under penalty of death instead of the life given freely through Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon warns us to “touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing.” (Mor. 10:30)
Has anyone wondered if we have traditions of our fathers that keep us from knowing God? If by chance these include a history of polygamy and temple rituals, we can begin to see the difficulty and consequences of turning away from them. Do you accept the temple ordinances because of the sealing of families? Is the focus on genealogy in line with what God wants us to do, or a distraction? Does it help you be a better Christian or does it take you out of the broader community where you could use your time and talents more in the pattern of how Jesus spent his time? These are questions I have asked myself as I seek for truth and see the effects of the tree I have eaten from.
Good thoughts and excellent questions.
Perhaps I wasn’t clear that the “secret” parts served other purposes and are not useful to us now or in the hereafter.
The promise of becoming like God is the worm on the hook, but it is not the hook itself. Living from the tree of knowledge is embracing a life full of judgment and certainty. Being right all the time, or worrying about maybe being wrong is the life stealer. It makes impossible sitting in a place of love and service. Zion is impossible to achieve from the tree of knowledge!
Every family has that one aunt or uncle who excels at genealogy. It is enough. There is no reason that this cannot be done without neglecting the more important services. But you are not wrong that it, like anything, can be a distraction. But until I can honestly say I spend more time doing it then playing video games or watching TV, I can’t really call it the problem.