Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Olive Leaf - Doctrine and Covenants 88

The restoration, through the Prophet Joseph Smith is an interesting study. Joseph grew up in a protestant family and community, and certainly assimilated some of those understandings of religion, some for good, and some that needed correcting. The progression and order of the truths that are revealed are worthy of note.

The first thing that is established is the basic nature of God at the First Vision. Then through the translation of the Book of Mormon and the Bible the Prophet confronted a number of issues, and truths were revealed. Many of these revelations are found in the Doctrine and Covenants.

Certain truths, when revealed had associated ordinances that were simultaneously revealed, authorized, and administered.

In the First Vision the nature of God is revealed. In the 76th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants the Plan of Salvation (Plan of Happiness) is revealed (restored the knowledge) with the three degrees of glory and the promise that God will “reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom…” someday in the future.[D&C 76:7]

Then in the 88th section of the Doctrine and Covenants Joseph was given the promise of the Celestial Kingdom:

“This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom;” [D&C 88:4]

It appears to me that the “promise” of the celestial kingdom is associated with ordinances, and these things are the point of the temple. We don’t ascend to exaltation outside of or independently from the temple.

The LDS Guide to the Scriptures define the “Holy Spirit of Promise” as:

“The Holy Ghost is the Holy Spirit of Promise (Acts 2: 33). He confirms as acceptable to God the righteous acts, ordinances, and covenants of men. The Holy Spirit of Promise witnesses to the Father that the saving ordinances have been performed properly and that the covenants associated with them have been kept.”

“They who are sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise receive all that the Father has, D&C 76: 51-60 (Eph. 1: 13-14). All covenants and performances must be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise to have force after this life, D&C 132: 7, 18-19, 26.” [REF.]

I believe it is probable that what we have in the Doctrine and Covenants, the 88th section is an outline of teachings Joseph received as he received his endowments. That when understood represent the finest and deepest section of canon we have.

Further, that Doctrine and Covenants 88 is akin to Moses’ vision of eternity, to Abraham’s vision of Eternity, to Jacob’s vision of the Ladder, or to Ezekiel’s vision for the temple.

And further still, that it should be used as a supplemental handbook to the temple experience. Most of us are not going to see the heavens open in this life, but we can attend the temple and receive the ordinances of ascension, and apply the teaching of an almost contemporary description of a Merkabah experience, the 88th section of the Doctrine and Covenants.

We can know the mysteries of God.


Anonymous said...

Masonry and the Endowment now and then.
Masonry was ablaze in Joseph's Family his Brother was Named "HIRAM" The signs and Tokens the Blue lodge and The Masonic Temple, The three Levels E.A F.C M.M. and the signs and tokens of the Third Degrees or Three Degrees of Masonic Glory.

So did Joseph Receive his Endowment from Masonry First? Was It By revelation? Was The Endowment
"Translated" from The Mummies Tomb as described in the POGP?
The Endowment then was More "like" the Masonic Endowment than the Endowment is "like" the Endowment of the LDS today.

David Littlefield said...


Hiram was a common name, even among non-Masons in those days.

What proof do you have that Joseph's family was "ablaze" with Masonry? What links can you show that Joseph had anything to do with Masonry prior to the Nauvoo period?

Where in the POGP does it describe the Endowment being translated from the "Mummies Tomb?"

While I can cite a multitude of difference from day one of the modern LDS endowment that have remained the same, that have not existed in Masonry for at least hundreds of years, I here provide one; the LDS temple is centered on Christ. He is the center of the endowment, the temple, and temple worship. This difference was and is a stark contrast "now and then."

But by all means, don't let the facts get in the way of your anti-Mormon rants.


Anonymous said...

Hi David - Great post. You might enjoy reading Joseph Smith's poetic rendition of D&C76 at Inspirational Poetry. See stanza #43.

To Anonymous above, please see What is an Endowment?.

David Littlefield said...

Hi Greg!

Thank you!

I never knew that those poems even existed. Very insightful.



Anonymous said...

HIRAM IS the "christ" of Masonry
Joseph's Brother Hiram was a Mason
Mount - Ca Moriah
Borther Reed Durham says

Masonry and Mormon Temple Ceremonies. The pervasive influence of Freemasonry in Mormon Temples is expressed well by LDS historian Dr. Reed Durham. Dr. Durham, who has served as president of the Mormon History Association, provides a number of interesting parallels between the two. He gives these as evidence for Masonry's clear influence on Mormonism.
I am convinced that in the study of Masonry lies a pivotal key to further understanding Joseph Smith and the Church. . . . Masonry in the Church had its origin prior to the time Joseph Smith became a Mason .... It commenced in Joseph's home when his older brother became a Mason. Hyrum received the first three degrees of Masonry in Mount Moriah Lodge No. 112 of Palmyra, New York, at about the same time that Joseph was being initiated into the presence of God . . The many parallels found between early Mormonism and the Masonry of that day are substantial...

I have attempted thus far to demonstrate that Masonic influences upon Joseph in the early Church history, preceding his formal membership in Masonry, were significant. However, these same Masonic influences exerted a more dominant character as reflected in the further expansion of the Church subsequent to the Prophet's Masonic membership. In fact, I believe that there are few significant developments in the Church, that occurred after March 15 1842, which did not have some Masonic interdependence. Let me comment on a few of these developments. There is absolutely no question in my mind that the Mormon ceremony which came to be known as the Endowment, introduced by Joseph Smith to Mormon Masons, had an immediate inspiration from Masonry. This is not to suggest that no other source of inspiration could have been involved, but the similarities between the two ceremonies are so apparent and overwhelming that some dependent relationship cannot be denied. They are so similar, in fact, that one writer was led to refer to the Endowment as Celestial Masonry.

Anonymous said...

Norman Vincent Peale 33rd Degree Mason and friend of Spencer W Kimball Made "peace between the Mormons and Masons. Prior to that Time you were not allow by the Grand Lodge of Utah to be a Mormon and a Mason. Masons, Mormon, and Kimballs re-united ??

Many of the Saints were Masons, such as Joseph's brother Hyrum, Heber C. Kimball, Elijah Fordham, Newel K. Whitney, James Adams, and John C. Bennett .... With the acquiescence of the Prophet, members of the Church already Masons petitioned the Grand Master of Illinois for permission to set up a lodge in Nauvoo .... it was March 15, 1842, before authority was given to set up a lodge in Nauvoo and to induct new members. Joseph Smith became a member (Evidences and Reconciliations, 1 volume, pp. 357-358).

oseph Smith admitted to being a Mason in his History of the Church, volume 4, page 551. Under the date of March 15, 1842 it reads: "In the evening I received the first degree in Free Masonry in the Nauvoo Lodge, assembled in my general business office." The record for the next day reads, "I was with the Masonic Lodge and rose to the sublime degree" (page 552).

How did Joseph's Masonic membership affect the development of the Mormon Church? The most significant area appears to be in the development of the Mormon temple ceremonies. As noted above, Joseph became a Mason on March 15, 1842 and "rose to the sublime degree" the following day. Less than two months later, on May 4, 1842, Joseph introduced the temple endowment ceremony (History of the Church, Vol. 5, pp. 1-2).

Masonry is The Devils Child ---You can finish the thought and Story.................

Anonymous said...

How can any clear thinking person try to Rationalize or Justify Joseph Smith Submitting Himself to being Cable Towed by a Flaxen Cord? Is this the Real Mormon Misticism?

Joseph Last word was a Masonic Cry for help
"Oh Lord My God There is No Hope ................
("Is There No Help for the Widow's Son?" by Dr. Reed C. Durham, Jr., as printed in "Joseph Smith and Masonry: No Help for the Widow's Son", Martin Pub. Co., Nauvoo, Ill., 1980, p. 17.)

ancient orders, examinations, degrees, candidates, secrets, lodges, rules, signs, tokens, order of the priesthood, and keys

early 19th-century America, Freemasonry was at once popular and wildly unpopular. At the time of the First Vision, there were as many as 20,000 Freemasons in NY state alone, probably including Joseph Smith, Sr. (Hyrum would also undergo initiation into the Craft before the Smiths left NY). Yet by the time of the founding of the first Lodge in Nauvoo two decades later, there were only a few thousand Masons in the entire United States. Several factors contributed to the intervening rise in anti-Masonry and decline in participation — the publication of several exposés of Masonry (or their translation into English), the association of Masonry with British cultural elites, the rise of Jeffersonian populism — but the most significant proximate cause was a single event: the disappearance and suspected murder of William Morgan.

I Hope that is Proof enough that Masonry was ABLAZE

Anonymous said...

One good link and A QUESTION Did William Morgans wife and widow become "sealed" to Joseph Smith or Marry any other Mason? /captmorgansfreemasonrycontents.htm

David Littlefield said...


I will restate my original first point:

“What proof do you have that Joseph's family was ‘ablaze’ with Masonry? What links can you show that Joseph had anything to do with Masonry prior to the Nauvoo period?”

Your honest answer should have been, “none.”

It appears that Hyrum joined masonry as early as 1827, but that is hardly link to the endowment. There are no allegations that Hyrum revealed the secrets of Masonry to Joseph.

Exactly what was given when is bit unclear. We have hard dates for some things, but not for others.

D&C 76 was given in Feb. 1832, the plan of salvation with the promise of the mysteries would be revealed in the future.

D&C 88 was given in Dec. 1832, which I argue is likely an outline of what Joseph Smith learned in his personal endowment.

While we have indications of an “endowment” in 1831 (early Kirtland era), this is clearly not the full endowment, the fuller meaning that we commonly speak of. Proof is that the revelation of the three degrees in section 76 was not give until Feb. 1932. (see these notes) But even D&C 76 is a foundational teaching, a little prep work, for when the endowment would be given. These early references to an “endowment” were in the spirit of blessings give by God to his children, such as the manifestation of the Holy Ghost, or the receipt of the priesthood, not what has lately been codified as the endowment.

Clearly initiatory work had begun as early as 1836 (Kirtland era).

On April 3, 1836, the keys (the authority to preside over the administration of certain ordinaces) necessary for full temple work were restored as stated in D&C 110.

The first record that we have of the endowment being given is in May of 1842, two years before the death of Joseph Smith (Nauvoo Era).

One of the first people to receive the endowment at the hands of Joseph was Heber C. Kimball a mason, who said:

"We have the true Masonry [endowment]. The Masonry of today [common masonry] is received from the apostasy which took place in the days of Solomon and David. They have now and then a thing that is correct, but we have the real thing"


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Morgans Mormons Masons

Illinois Grand Lodge initiated investigations about whether to remove authorization of the predominately Mormon lodges. The Mormons refused to be restrained, and the Grand Lodge withdrew all authority from the Mormon lodges—an act which may explain why, when two Master Masons, Joseph and Hyrum Smith, were killed in Carthage, Illinois,

Joseph’s plural marriage to Lucinda Morgan, widow of anti-Masonic martyr William Morgan, may have helped bring this restoration full circle.

Masonic Lodges were established in Salt Lake City. In time, not only did the Utah lodges prohibit Mormons, but Mormons prohibited Masons from holding priesthood leadership positions in the Latter-day Saint Church.

In 1984, President Spencer W. Kimball removed the prohibition against Latter-day Saints becoming Freemasons. Later that year, the Grand Lodge of Utah removed its own ban on Mormon membership

Anonymous said...

Last Point and more.

Can a Good Mormon make an independent Judgement?

Logic flows If Masonry is Evil and of the Devil, Done in Secret, is dark in its Nature. How Could Joseph Smith Become a Master Mason, Run Mormon Lodges and "do" Masonry and Mormon Temple Masonry at the same time," yea all is Holy and Good"

According to E. Cecil McGavin, "Grand Master J.M. Orr of Utah" made this statement in 1878:

"We say to the priests of the Latter-day Church, you cannot enter our lodge rooms—you surrender all to an unholy priesthood. You have heretofore sacrificed the sacred obligations of our beloved Order, and we believe you would do the same again. Stand aside; we want none of you. Such a wound as you gave Masonry in Nauvoo is not easily healed, and no Latter-day Saint is, or can become a member of our Order in this jurisdiction."(Mormonism and Masonry, page 7)

the Book of Mormon condemns all secret societies, bands and oaths. In fact, it plainly states that "the Lord worketh NOT in secret combinations, . . ." (Ether 8:19)

We have passed a resolution that men who are identified with these secret organizations shall NOT be preferred as bishops, or sought for as counselors; the same when it comes to selecting M.I.A. officers. The men who have done this have disqualified themselves and are NOT FIT to hold these offices." (Provo Enquiror, November 12, 1900, as quoted in Mormonism and Masonry, by S.H. Goodwin, page 76)

Briefly summarized, the connection between Mormonism and Masonry is as follows:

Both Mormonism and Masonry have secret ceremonies that are performed in secret temples.
The 'Masonic emblems' are displayed on the walls of the Mormon Temple.
The Mormon Temple ritual is similar in many respects to that used by the Masons.
JOSEPH SMITH and many of the most prominent members of the Mormon Church were also members of the Masonic Lodge.
Temple ceremonies were actually performed in the Masonic Hall.

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