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D. Rolling Kearney

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“Masons profess to be united in an indissoluble chain of sincere affection, called the five points of fellowship; by which, when strictly adhered to, they are bound heart and hand so firmly, that even death itself cannot sever the solemn compact, because in another and more glorified state those relations are perceived and acknowledged, which have characterized the union here on earth. These five points refer to certain virtues requisite to be practised in this world in order to the enjoyment of happiness in a future state, and mark distinctly the difference between virtue and vice…”

“The Mormon brethren in Nauvoo, aware of the fraternal spirit of this organization, would be deeply interested in it as a means of making friends with prominent people and thus avoiding bitter persecution such as they had experienced in New York, Ohio, and Missouri.

“It had seemed to Joseph Smith that every man’s hand was against him. He was a man of peace and desired the friendship and good will of everyone. He knew that many of the prominent officials of the state were Masons and that if the spirit of fraternity were extended to the Mormons, they would thereby escape the prison dungeons and other forms of persecution they had recently experienced in Missouri.

“Furthermore, many of the Mormon brethren had been admitted to Masonry before they joined the Church… Among the prominent Mormons who had been Masons for years were the following, though the list does not include them all: Hyrum Smith, Newel K Whitney, Heber C. Kimball, John C. Bennett, George Miller, Lucius N. Scovil, Elijah Fordham, John Smith, Austin Cowles, Noah Rogers, and James Adams.

“These men prevailed upon Joseph Smith to seek a dispensation for the benefit of the other brethren at Nauvoo. Their leader had become a powerful figure in the political and religious life of the time. If he and his brethren could attend Masonic conventions and freely mingle with the prominent jurists and lawmakers of the state, they would surely be spared the persecution they had witnessed elsewhere, they thought. They considered the Masonic fraternity a necessary means to this desired end.”

Also, it is important to note that in an 1890 LDS publication, author Ebenezer Robinson specifically pointed out John C. Bennett as the principle generating force for the Church leaders to become actively involved with Masonry:

“Heretofore, the church had strenuously opposed secret societies, such as Free-Masons, Knights of Pithias, and all that class of secret societies, not considering the ‘Order of Enoch’ or ‘Danites’ of that class; but after Dr. Bennett came into the church a great change of sentiment seemed to take place,… a Masonic Lodge was organized with Hyrum Smith, one of the First Presidents of the church as master.” 3

For a time, Bennett was one of the most powerful and influential figures

Footnotes

3

The Return, Vol. 2, No. 6, June, 1890, typed copy, page 126