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Sunday, August 29, 2004

LDS Temples and the Masons

The following is a copy of a previous letter that I sent to an old friend, who encouraged me to join the Masons.
He was excited to have joined the Masonic Lodge, but also mistakenly confused the Masonic rituals with the Restored Gospel.
Although the topic did not seem germane to this forum, persistent promptings persuaded me otherwise.

My letter to him was as follows:

The Masons, a fine organization, are doing wonderful work in their fraternal, social, and community endeavors.
Lawrence David Steinbach. my maternal Grandfather and a Scottish Rite Mason Lodge Master, also encouraged me to join the Masonic Order, as have others over the years.
Joseph Smith, the first Prophet of this dispensation and the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), was a Mason, but it is an urban myth among some Masons that the LDS Church Temple rites were borrowed from the Masons.
While it is true that there is a superficial similarity on some minor points, the rites are different, most especially in purpose.
From the original Temple of Solomon at Jerusalem went forth ideas and traditions found in many aspects all over the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim worlds.
Latter-day Saints admire the good works done by other faiths and organizations.
Nevertheless, Joseph Smith did not reinvent the Temple by putting together all the remaining fragments of truth - Jewish, Eastern Orthodox, Masonic, Gnostic, Hindu, Egyptian, etc. together again.
He restored God's Temple in these latter days, as directed and revealed by Jesus Christ, our Saviour.
LDS Temples are not a human contrivance, but rather are a direct result of latter-day revelation from God, to restore His spiritual covenants and gifts in this, His last dispensation.
Because of this heartfelt belief and knowledge, I choose to direct my time and energy to the spiritual promises and gifts found only in LDS Temples.
The benefits are much more lasting (eternal) than that which can be gleaned from any other organization on the face of this Earth.
They are the result of latter-day revelation from God through His latter-day Prophets and Apostles here on Earth within the LDS Church.
Even so, the Masons do good works, filling a tremendous need and setting a wonderful example of service, and I commend you for your affiliation within that benevolent organization.

Note: The understandings outlined in the above letter to my friend did not originate with me. Others, such as Matthew B. Brown ("The Gate of Heaven"), John A. Widtsoe, and Hugh W. Nibley ("What is a Temple") were my sources of information. Thanks also goes to Dan McKinley, Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) at Brigham Young University.

For a free video about the eternal promises and blessings found only in LDS Temples, call 1-888-537-6777 abd ask for the video, "Together


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