Was Joseph Smith a Free Mason?
The evidence of Joseph Smith's close connection to occultism and Freemasonry, and how this influenced the origin and development of the LDS Church is not well known outside of scholarly circles. This article summarizes the evidence for Joseph's personal involvement in both Freemasonry and occultism, and their influence on the Mormon religion.
"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."
— Dr. Reed Durham, LDS Historian
Mormonism's Link to Occultism
Both Joseph Smith and his father were involved in the occult practice known as "money digging." This involved special rituals and ceremonies which were performed for the purpose of obtaining buried treasure thought to be guarded by evil spirits. Accounts of money digging during the late 1700s and early 1800s are documented in Alan Taylor's article "Treasure Seeking in the American Northeast, 1780-1830", published in American Quarterly, 38 [Spring 1986], pp. 6-34. This article specifically mentions Joseph Smith, Sr., and Jr., on pages 10-12, giving examples of their money digging activities. LDS seminary teacher Grant Palmer also documents the Smith family's occult beliefs and practices, as well as those of their close associates, in his book An Insider's View of Mormon Origins, (SLC, Signature Books, 2002, pp. 175-195).
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