oblige themselves to – oaths that supersede all other oaths that the man has taken or will take in his life – bind him not only to the will of the Masonic hierarchy above him, but also to unquestioningly support and come to the aid of any other Mason, whether his endeavors are considered right or wrong, legal or illegal, by any other entity, government or organization outside of Freemasonry.
Joseph Smith and Several of the
Early Leaders Became Freemasons
This fact undoubtedly is sure to arise once the topics of the foundational era of the LDS Church and Masonry cross paths. Therefore, I will address it here by quoting relevant portions of two different works: President Anthony W. Ivins’ 1934 book Relationship Between Mormonism and Freemasonry (President Ivins was First Counselor of the First Presidency under Heber J. Grant when he wrote this book, and passed away before seeing it published) and E. Cecil McGavin’s 1947 book Mormonism and Masonry. A PDF scan of each of these two books are provided in the supporting material for further study and perusal 2.
Segments from E. Cecil McGavin’s book Mormonism and Masonry are as follow (emphasis added). As to the motive of Joseph and the early Mormon brethren to join Masonry:
“There are few churches in which the spirit of brotherhood abounds as it does in Freemasonry. In their lodges they talk about fraternity and brotherly love as much as it is preached in most of the churches of the land. In daily life they carry such teachings into practice. Many books have been written extolling the fraternity for its benevolence. As we read the following quotations we shall see at least one reason why Joseph Smith sought membership for himself and brethren in this fraternity. Dr. George Oliver has written:
“Masonry works daily without noise, regarding all Brethren with love and honour; not asking one which system he follows, nor another the colour of his decoration, or how many degrees he has, but judging only from his works; not minding what his business may be, or what sect he belongs to, but if he be a faithful workman whose example may be followed. Thus will Freemasonry increase, the different systems and forms will vanish, and the true Fraternity form a chain of Truth and Light…”
“Dr. Oliver has [also] written of this “indissoluble chain of affection," the very thing for which the Mormons were searching in the communities where they found so much opposition and persecution: