The relationship between Mormonism and Freemasonry began early in the life Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, as his older brother Hyrum and possibly his father were Freemasons while the family lived near Palmyra, New York. Nevertheless, in the late 1820s, the western New York region was swept with anti-Masonic fervor, and the Book of Mormon, a foundational sacred text published by Smith in 1830, describes plots of murder and theft by conspirators acting under an ancient, secret oath.
By the 1840s, however, Smith and several prominent Latter Day Saint had become Freemasons and founded a lodge in Nauvoo, Illinois, in March 1842. Soon after joining Freemasonry, Smith introduced a temple endowment ceremony including a number of symbolic elements that were essentially the same as their analogues within Freemasonry. Smith remained a Freemason until his death; however, later leaders in the movement…
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