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Masonry essay on the church website

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https://www.lds.org/study/history/topics/masonry?lang=eng

Is this new?

From the last paragraph:

Quote

There are different ways of understanding the relationship between Masonry and the temple. Some Latter-day Saints point to similarities between the format and symbols of both the endowment and Masonic rituals and those of many ancient religious ceremonies as evidence that the endowment was a restoration of an ancient ordinance.27 Others note that the ideas and institutions in the culture that surrounded Joseph Smith frequently contributed to the process by which he obtained revelation.28 In any event, the endowment did not simply imitate the rituals of Freemasonry. Rather, Joseph’s encounter with Masonry evidently served as a catalyst for revelation. The Lord restored the temple ordinances through Joseph Smith to teach profound truths about the plan of salvation and introduce covenants that would allow God’s children to enter His presence.

Seems like a reasonable conclusion.

 

Edited by Gray
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58 minutes ago, Gray said:

https://www.lds.org/study/history/topics/masonry?lang=eng

Is this new?

From the last paragraph:

Seems like a reasonable conclusion.

 

I was asked to make covenants without knowing what the covenants were but told before the session started that I could leave if I felt like I couldn't make those covenants. So how was I to know if it wasn't something I'd like to do? Terrible way to go about something, even in a contract you sign you go in knowing the details, something wrong with this picture. I wonder if the church will change the temple so much that one day they'll give members the information before they have to make those unseen covenants.

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Has anyone ever seen someone going through for first time thoughtfully stand up and say, sorry, this particular promise is just too much or unreasonable for me to sign on for.?

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1 hour ago, Gray said:

https://www.lds.org/study/history/topics/masonry?lang=eng

Is this new?

From the last paragraph:

Seems like a reasonable conclusion.

 

What’s the difference between saying that the surrounding culture influenced Joseph or that Masonry served as s catalyst for revelation?  

Sounds the same to me.  Did Joseph copy everything 100% from Masonry?  No, but are some elements of the rituals clearly dependent on it, yes.  Didn’t some early Mormons even refer to the endowment as celestial Masonry?  

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1 hour ago, Gray said:

https://www.lds.org/study/history/topics/masonry?lang=eng

Is this new?

From the last paragraph:

Seems like a reasonable conclusion.

 

I don't know how reasonable it is to conclude revelation when no revelation is recorded, and it seems far more reasonable to think Joseph adapted to his own sensibilities rather than unknown revelation.  Particularly since revelation is a bit of an ambiguous term in the Church these days--afterall even policy and time leniencies are considered revelation.  

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What's largely missing from the essay but only briefly noted or implied in lines such as this:

Quote

He told Pratt that Joseph believed Masonry was “taken from priesthood but has become degenerated.”

and this:

Quote

Joseph’s encounter with Masonry evidently served as a catalyst for revelation. The Lord restored the temple ordinances through Joseph Smith...

is that Joseph's colleagues, and most likely Joseph himself, believed Masonry to have come from ancient temple rituals and that the endowment was a restoration of parts that had been lost. They didn't see Masonry as simply some social club that had neat things that could be incorporated into the endowment, but rather that the Masonry was the rituals of ancient religion that Joseph completed.

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1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

I don't know how reasonable it is to conclude revelation when no revelation is recorded, and it seems far more reasonable to think Joseph adapted to his own sensibilities rather than unknown revelation.  Particularly since revelation is a bit of an ambiguous term in the Church these days--afterall even policy and time leniencies are considered revelation.   

For me the terms revelation and prophet are more sociological anyway, so it doesn't bother me. But I would be surprised if Joseph didn't seek revelation in the more traditional sense as well.

Edited by Gray
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1 hour ago, the narrator said:

What's largely missing from the essay but only briefly noted or implied in lines such as this:

and this:

is that Joseph's colleagues, and most likely Joseph himself, believed Masonry to have come from ancient temple rituals and that the endowment was a restoration of parts that had been lost. They didn't see Masonry as simply some social club that had neat things that could be incorporated into the endowment, but rather that the Masonry was the rituals of ancient religion that Joseph completed.

Yes, that idea that Masonry came from the ancient temple rites was promulgated by the Masons themselves. Actually they took it all the way back to the Garden of Eden - and so does Joseph.

Edited by Gray

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1 hour ago, Tacenda said:

I was asked to make covenants without knowing what the covenants were but told before the session started that I could leave if I felt like I couldn't make those covenants. So how was I to know if it wasn't something I'd like to do? Terrible way to go about something, even in a contract you sign you go in knowing the details, something wrong with this picture. I wonder if the church will change the temple so much that one day they'll give members the information before they have to make those unseen covenants.

Yes, that aspect of it could certainly do with some revisions. It's not fair to spring that on people like that.

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1 hour ago, the narrator said:

What's largely missing from the essay but only briefly noted or implied in lines such as this:

and this:

is that Joseph's colleagues, and most likely Joseph himself, believed Masonry to have come from ancient temple rituals and that the endowment was a restoration of parts that had been lost. They didn't see Masonry as simply some social club that had neat things that could be incorporated into the endowment, but rather that the Masonry was the rituals of ancient religion that Joseph completed.

It is possible they didn't want members who are prone to look for mysteries to assume if Joseph believed such, it must be true and therefore start investing in Masonry themselves.  So they kept that aspect mentioned briefly only.

Edited by Calm

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3 hours ago, Gray said:

https://www.lds.org/study/history/topics/masonry?lang=eng

Is this new?

From the last paragraph:

Seems like a reasonable conclusion.

It doesn't seem new to me, as I've heard these explanations from "some" and "others" from the time I joined the Church in 1975, with the "catalyst" explanation coming a little later than the others. I was taught that we make covenants and learn the plan of salvation in the temple through symbolism and ceremony. Certainly the essays are new.

I take the restoration of the ordinances to be the restoration of the priesthood authority to reveal and administer divine truth. I understand we often take the "ordinance" to be a physical performance but it also entails the laws, covenants and teachings connected to the rite.

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2 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

What’s the difference between saying that the surrounding culture influenced Joseph or that Masonry served as s catalyst for revelation?  

Sounds the same to me.  Did Joseph copy everything 100% from Masonry?  No, but are some elements of the rituals clearly dependent on it, yes.  Didn’t some early Mormons even refer to the endowment as celestial Masonry?  

I see litle difference. The “Rather…” statement is juxtaposed to the “In any event…” statement, not the “Others note…” statement.

Some subtleties include: A catalyst precipitates an event and a culture is where the catalyzing and events occur. A culture might act as a catalyst, but it must be introduced into a non-acculturated setting or context to precipitate a change from the recipient. Typically, a culture contributes directly to an immersed person’s thinking, and in this case, some can point to Joseph appropriating Masonry in an inspired way.

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3 hours ago, Gray said:

https://www.lds.org/study/history/topics/masonry?lang=eng

Is this new?

From the last paragraph:

Seems like a reasonable conclusion.

 

If I were to copy the proportion of masonry-rooted practices in LDS temple practices in a published article, it would be called plagiarism, not a ‘catalyst’ for creativity or my own work.

That may not be good or bad, God’s will or not. But - let’s call it what it is. The signs and tokens for half the covenants in the endowment are directly copied from Masonry.

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There are some similarities between Masonic ceremonies and the endowment, but there are also stark differences in their content and intent.

Vague.

How about this? In the original endowment, the signs, tokens and penalties (which have been removed) were essentially identical.

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29 minutes ago, CV75 said:

I see litle difference. The “Rather…” statement is juxtaposed to the “In any event…” statement, not the “Others note…” statement.

 

Some subtleties include: A catalyst precipitates an event and a culture is where the catalyzing and events occur. A culture might act as a catalyst, but it must be introduced into a non-acculturated setting or context to precipitate a change from the recipient. Typically, a culture contributes directly to an immersed person’s thinking, and in this case, some can point to Joseph appropriating Masonry in an inspired way.

 

What’s the difference between appropriation and plagiarism?  If the original endowment language were an essay submitted in a class I was teaching, school policy would require me to treat it as plagiarism and the author would be in jeopardy of expulsion.  

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19 minutes ago, SouthernMo said:

If I were to copy the proportion of masonry-rooted practices in LDS temple practices in a published article, it would be called plagiarism, not a ‘catalyst’ for creativity or my own work.

That may not be good or bad, God’s will or not. But - let’s call it what it is. The signs and tokens for half the covenants in the endowment are directly copied from Masonry.

I hadn’t read your comment when I wrote my last message, but clearly my subconscious plagiarized your point.  😆

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Just now, hope_for_things said:

I hadn’t read your comment when I wrote my last message, but clearly my subconscious plagiarized your point.  😆

You didn’t plagiarize!  My words were a catalyst for inspiration. 😉

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29 minutes ago, SouthernMo said:

The signs and tokens for half the covenants in the endowment are directly copied from Masonry.

This is not true. 

I cannot comment further. 

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17 minutes ago, Thinking said:

Vague.

How about this? In the original endowment, the signs, tokens and penalties (which have been removed) were essentially identical.

This isn't really accurate. 

I'd say some of the signs/penalties are similar, and a couple of the tokens are nearly identical. 

I can't/won't comment further. 

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37 minutes ago, SouthernMo said:

You didn’t plagiarize!  My words were a catalyst for inspiration. 😉

Modern day revelation continues to roll forth!  

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5 hours ago, Gray said:

There are different ways of understanding the relationship between Masonry and the temple. Some Latter-day Saints point to similarities between the format and symbols of both the endowment and Masonic rituals and those of many ancient religious ceremonies as evidence that the endowment was a restoration of an ancient ordinance.27 Others note that the ideas and institutions in the culture that surrounded Joseph Smith frequently contributed to the process by which he obtained revelation.28 In any event, the endowment did not simply imitate the rituals of Freemasonry. Rather, Joseph’s encounter with Masonry evidently served as a catalyst for revelation. The Lord restored the temple ordinances through Joseph Smith to teach profound truths about the plan of salvation and introduce covenants that would allow God’s children to enter His presence.

The last line of that says it all. The means by which those truths are taught and made binding to us are secondary to what the main purpose is; to teach those truths. So either by revelation or borrowing the source of the mechanics of the ordinance don't really matter so much. 

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4 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

Has anyone ever seen someone going through for first time thoughtfully stand up and say, sorry, this particular promise is just too much or unreasonable for me to sign on for.?

I wouldn't  know...but I have women friends that said if they coulda...they woulda...

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1 hour ago, hope_for_things said:

What’s the difference between appropriation and plagiarism?  If the original endowment language were an essay submitted in a class I was teaching, school policy would require me to treat it as plagiarism and the author would be in jeopardy of expulsion.  

Plagiarism is an issue in scholarship where copying is tightly regulated and must be explicitly documented. There's nothing like that in the ancient world nor even in most of the modern world until the rise of formal scholarship and copyright in the 19th century. Certainly the Masons didn't document the sources they used to produce their initial rites nor the additional rights one finds in the York rites or more esoteric forms of Masonry. One can unpack some of them based upon well known texts like the Corpus Hermeticum or various Cabalistic texts. But by and large it's all speculative.

It seems odd to complain about Joseph Smith plagiarizing texts/rites that were themselves largely "plagiarized" from more ancient and Renaissance texts.

2 hours ago, Gray said:

Yes, that idea that Masonry came from the ancient temple rites was promulgated by the Masons themselves. Actually they took it all the way back to the Garden of Eden - and so does Joseph.

Depends upon the group and/or rite. Typically they were either tied to Solomon's temple or an Egyptian counterpart of Abraham, Thoth, who was part of the hermetic tradition. Of course the hermetic tradition which arose in late antiquity itself from copying in large part from various Roman mystery religions and rites that purportedly came from Egypt alongside of gnostic and platonic traditions and standard pagan religion of the era. So the legendary origins of Masonry are largely nonsense, but they most definitely do go back to antiquity.

1 hour ago, SouthernMo said:

That may not be good or bad, God’s will or not. But - let’s call it what it is. The signs and tokens for half the covenants in the endowment are directly copied from Masonry.

They're definitely very similar. But so what? First off it's not like there's a lot of variations for simple signs and handshakes. (Seriously when you look at the later additional rites in Masonry such as in the York Rite it becomes rather funny looking at all the attempts for new signs) Throw in that the signs are supposed to have a simple symbolic meaning and it rather limits things quite a bit.

It's kind of like saying using base 10 is horrible. It's not like there are a whole lot of natural ways of counting based upon ones hands. So there are some inherent limits here.

Further if you look at the main Masonic handshakes, you'll quickly see that while some are the same and some are similar there are also differences. Like others I'm not willing to say more than that.

But this is again pretty ancient. Quoting the 4th century Father St. Epiphanius regarding one of the gnostic groups. "On the arrival of any stranger belonging to the same belief, they have a sign given by the man to the woman, and vice versa. In holding out the hand under pretense of saluting each other, they feel and tickle it in a peculiar manner underneath the palm, and so discover that the new-comer belongs to the same sect." It's worth reading the whole linked to article on "Modes of Recognition" from the An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and Its Kindred Sciences from 1916. A lot of this reflects later speculation in the second half of the 19th century into the myths of Masonry by people like Albert Mackey or Albert Pike. As such it's tending to just find similarities in the texts then known in scholarship. However a lot of the parallels were there and most of the texts would have been available in the late 16th century when Masonry was forming not to mention the 18th century when more speculative masonry was expanding and adding rites.

Lots of various gnostic or apocalyptic texts talk about the same thing. So 1 Enoch has Michael "seizing [Enoch] by my right hand and lifting me up, led me out into all the secrets of mercy; and he showed me all the secrets of righteousness." The Testament of Isaac has "they took me by the hand and led me to the curtain before the throne of the father."

It's not like this is unique to the ancient near east either. You find the same sorts of things across cultures. And again, as I noted, there aren't exactly a lot of ways to have secret handshakes.

 

Edited by clarkgoble
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16 minutes ago, Jeanne said:

I wouldn't  know...but I have women friends that said if they coulda...they woulda...

Were they detained and forced to make the covenant in someway?

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1 hour ago, DispensatorMysteriorum said:

This isn't really accurate. 

I'd say some of the signs/penalties are similar, and a couple of the tokens are nearly identical. 

I can't/won't comment further. 

I think you should know that a synonym of similar is identical.

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