Updated: Aug 26, 2020
If you have ever seen the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you may have noticed symbols carved into the granite. Many reflect the Masonic roots of the temple ceremonies and beliefs of the early members of the church. A few examples of these symbols are the sun, moon and stars, the beehive, the phrase “Holiness to the Lord” and the “All seeing eye of God”.
It was in the Nauvoo Temple that these rites were introduced, just weeks after Joseph Smith became a Master Mason. Back then, they contained verbatim phrases and gestures that Joseph had just learned about.
When I first learned of their connection to Masonry, I wasn’t sure what to think of it.
My 3rd great-grandfather was a master stone mason on the temple during its construction. I wonder if he thought much about the images on the building.
As I have studied symbolism as a way to teach and improve recall, I can now better appreciate its powerful place in religious instruction. A mason’s square or the compass point to exactness.
In the past, the church did not openly acknowledge the similarities and the adaptation by the church of Masonic symbols, tokens, rites and penalties for use in their endowments. I am glad to live in a time where there is now more openness to learn about our rich Mormon history. Below is a video on Joseph Smith and Masonry produced by the LDS Church.