I previously mentioned that I had been bothered by a Dialogue article on Masonry and Mormonism (http://content.lib.utah.edu/cdm4/docume ... 7325&REC=5
). I also read a bunch of stuff about this connection between Masonry and Mormonism on http://www.mormonthink.com/templeweb.htm
. The issue has been bothering me a lot, so I thought that John Dehlin might have some insight on his podcasts, so I listed to his interview with Greg Kearney.
Greg Kearney's point seems to ultimately be that much of the presentation of the Endowment was taken from Masonry, but that the actual Endowment was revealed by God. I, however, am having a hard time separating the Endowment from the presentation of the endowment. Can anyone help me to separate these two? What exactly is it that we get in the temple that is the endowment that did not come from Masonry?
Brigham Young described the endowment as:
Brigham Young wrote:
Your endowment is to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give them the keywords, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the holy priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell.
It seems that the Adam/Eve presentation cannot be the Endowment because that is already found in our scriptures so it isn't unique to the temple. "The keywords, the signs and tokens" spoken of by BY can't be the endowment because many of them come from Masonry. Perhaps the other covenants, but how does the presentation of the endowment expand or explain these covenants (particularly "the keywords, the signs and tokens" of Masonry)?
I love the temple and was an ordinance worker for several years, but I clearly did not come out of the temple properly endowed, even after such extensive temple service, because I cannot figure out what the endowment really is. It seems that everything is focused on "the keywords, the signs and tokens", but they can't be the endowment (despite what BY said) because they come from Masonry. Additionally, it seems to negate the need for an atonement of Christ if we just need knowledge of these things to get back to heaven.
I have lots of thoughts on this topic. I am not a Freemason, but I used to be a member of the Scottish Rite Research Society (SRRS), and I have a few friends that are (or, were) LDS and Freemason, Rosicrucian, etc. They are my mystic buddies. One of these is Nick Literski, if any of you know him. He is the author of Method Infinite: Freemasonry and the Mormon Restoration
, forthcoming from Greg Kofford Books.
So I'd like to make a few comments and then drop in a conversation I've been having with someone online that might be of interest to you. At the least it'll provide many discussion points, I'm sure. I'm cutting the personal or identifying portions.
In a nutshell, your comments on what can or cannot be the endowment is a bit odd, to my way of thinking. Perhaps it would be helpful to consider the view that no ordination or 'ritual' (baptism, marriage, endowment, Melchizedek Priesthood) is in itself the actually reality of the thing. It is only the outer or exoteric form. The real or inner or esoteric fulfillment is entirely different, and comes not at the beck and call of some church administrator or legalistic functionary, but rather from God Himself, when He decides the time is right. We often refer to this process as the confirmation of the Holy Spirit of Promise, in the Church.
Anyway, here's part of a private message I was involved in.
Do you believe in Eternal families?
I believe we will recognize each other as families and be with the people we love
Ok. If we choose to be with someone we love who can't accept Christ, then we may have to choose one or the other. Have you read CS Lewis' book "The Great Divorce"? It is wonderful!
Do you believe our social/familial structure is modeled after life in the Heavens? (Occultists refer to this as "As above, so Below" -- See http://www.sacred-texts.com/alc/emerald.htm
not sure but sounds rational
Rational is only half of the complete equation, just as Adam or Eve alone are only half. The temple deals with this very nicely.
Do you believe we live in mortality only once, or multiple times?
the gospel teaches once and once is enough for me.
Mormonism has believed both ways in the past, with 'we live but once' winning out in the end. This makes a difference in terms of how literal we take the vicarious nature of the temple work. It astounded me that in the last month or two a General Authority actually has stated (I think in the ensign?) that we may get more out of regular attendance in the temple, than the dead do.
I *thought* that was heresy, and nevertheless have been convinced it is true for a long time.
What do you think the Endowment actually endows upon the Saints?
blessings to become gods.
Ok. But I think it is important to look to the endowment being useful to us in this life, perhaps more now than it is in the next life.
Are you familiar with European royalty enthronement or coronation rituals?
a little bit from what I have seen in the movies; like when someone is knighted or made a king or queen.
The similarities are amazing and plentiful.
Are you familiar with Freemasonry rituals and the search for the name that was lost?
I saw a history channel special on the freemasonary; we have a masonic bible that my husbands dad left him when he died. He was a 33 degree mason and I know the lds temple ceremony is almost word for word as the lds one. Lds temple ceremony is supposed to be restored from masonary of king solomons temple.
Well, somewhat but not really on the word-for-word thing(overall) IMO, and not so much for the King Solomon temple thing either. The Freemasons follow the story of Hiram Abiff, not Adam & Eve, and that's why they don't have women in their rituals. In Joseph's day all Freemasons did generally [believe] their rituals came from Solomon's temple, but now most of them recognize that this is not accurate. That elements of the endowment/Freemasonry do come from antiquity is undeniable; but the evidence linking things together is quite spotty and in some cases, simply not there.
Are you familiar with any Christian ritualistic worship, such as the Roman Catholic or Orthodox Mass?
Some of it like rosary prayers and what I have seen on tv. I get bored easy and am not the most patient person in the word so ritual things are hard for me to enjoy. ... I bought a book called "Gospel Symbolism" by Joseph Fielding McConkie which is good in explaining the purpose of symbolism. I taught gospel doctrine for 4 years and read all of Skousens first through 4th thousand years sieres and found them wonderful in helping me teach the old Testament.
I haven't read it, sounds interesting. And Cleon is a cousin of mine. I grit my teeth on some of his stuff, but he was a brilliant and faithful man, no doubt. Yes, patience is important, but I'm kinda adult-ADD myself so I know how it is. I'm getting old enough that age is slowing me down to about normal. Finally. My brain still flits about, though...
Perhaps understanding the purposes of temples rituals better may help me, but the commitments and penalities actually scared me.
The more I study the temples and the doctrines of salvation, the more it begins to look Universal. But that doesn't lend itself well to the obligatory sense of immediacy that the Gospel seems to require, so it is not directly spoken of.
I love the scripture D&C 19:
5 Wherefore, I revoke not the judgments which I shall pass, but woes shall go forth, weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, yea, to those who are found on my left hand.
6 Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment.
7 Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory
8 Wherefore, I will explain unto you this mystery, for it is meet unto you to know even as mine apostles.
9 I speak unto you that are chosen in this thing, even as one, that you may enter into my rest.
10 For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore—
11 Eternal punishment is God’s punishment.
12 Endless punishment is God’s punishment.
In verse 7 He pretty well lets the cat out of the bag. "that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men". Many scriptures fall into this category, for the purpose of bringing about the redemption and salvation of the faithful. They are more a pointer or signpost on the path, and not so much eternal verity itself.
That's the [effect] of immediacy.
As for the penalties, there is a direct and profound connection to D&c 19:7 --
The following passage might be of interest to those traveling the
Masonic path, and also possibly of interest to those who have
experienced the LDS Temple Endowment prior to 1990. --->
"In the past, the candidate was required to agree to his obligation
under the constraint of a severe penalty. The penalties in the Craft
appear, at first glance, to be quite horrific and quite out of place
in an otherwise benign organization; and in Lodges chartered under
the English Constitution they are no longer required of the candidate
for that reason.
His attention is still drawn to them, however, and
that is a measure of their importance. A little quiet reflection on
the penalties will reveal that they were never intended to be imposed
as a punishment. They are, rather, a serious warning to the
candidate, and they are carefully devised, singularly appropriate,
and absolutely necessary. The need for the penalties derives from
the fact that as one learns more and more about one's self, one
develops greater capabilities, assumes greater responsibilities, and
incurs greater risk. The Working Tools of each degree make reference
to the capabilities, which are also called `inestimable privileges'.
The obligations outline the responsibilities. The penalties define
the risks. The key to understanding the penalties correctly is to
remember two things. First, that the Craft is a type of psychology
and the penalties, while set in physical terms, in fact, describe
psychological phenomena. Second, that the penalties are not
something which might be done to the individual by the Craft, should
he violate his obligation. Rather, they are the inevitable result of
the normal operation of psychological processes initiated by a
certain type of behavior - that sort of behavior which is prohibited
by the obligation. In this context, the penalties serve as good and
The nature of each penalty is representative of the
particular psychological difficulty which departure from the
obligation is likely to cause. In the case of the Entered
Apprentice, indiscriminate discussion of his newly found interior
life will result in his severing his internal connection with his
source as well as being stuck in a sterile environment - a salty
place between the `earthy' physical world and the `watery'
psychological world - in which no growth is possible."
- W. Kirk Macnulty
"The Way of the Craftsman" pg. 59
Frater Macnulty is exactly correct. The penalties were NEVER intended to be a threat of any kind -- rather, it is compelling that we should be willing to make such a promise. We covenant & promise that we are *willing*. Only willing.
Keep in mind that we are humans. Our psychology is undeniable and using it to obtain joy and happiness is not (or, should not be) a problem.
The Holy Ghost not only teaches us truth, but also helps us realize our beliefs that are NOT true, and discard them. That can be awfully difficult, yet with His help it is done. It takes an advanced faith to be able to do it.
I sometimes shudder to think how many LDS people will damn themselves in heaven, holding to what they think is all the truth they need, and not accepting, as Elder Oaks (?) said in General Conference a few years ago, the futher light (or, "scripture") God offers them.
Hope some of this is helpful. I don't claim to be 100% correct in my views. As far as I know, though, they are correct. And I don't blame anyone for discarding whatever doesn't serve.
Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
-- The Stoic Epictetus