A couple of weeks ago when I was discussing the Mormon connection to Masonry one rebuttal made the argument that the Nauvoo Temple was constructed for the purpose of the endowment before Joseph Smith became a Mason. Therefore, the argument followed, that the revised endowment was planned prior to Joseph Smith becoming a Mason. At the time the author of the post did not support his claim with any actual evidence only speculation, so I was left at finding the evidence to either verify or disprove his argument.
Here is some facts that contradict the above argument. Although
the Nauvoo Temple construction began prior to Joseph Smith's
initiation into Masonry, the endowment rooms were
not planned until much later. How do I know? I found the floor
plans of the Nauvoo Temple. You can find a discussion of the
Nauvoo Temple here:
The floor plan is shown here:
The walls were not designed for the temple rooms. Notice that the upper attic was used for the revised endowment. The endowment rooms were actually made from one large room (88 feet X 22 feet), therefore the floorplan was not specifically constructed to include the endowment design. The walls of the endowment rooms were temporary, made from canvas hangings from the ceiling. These same rooms were used for other functions too.
The evidence shows that the revised endowment floor plan was initiated without much forethought in the structure of the Nauvoo temple. This adds to the large amount of other facts that indicate that Joseph Smith borrowed from his Masonic initiation rites.
Review of the facts:
* Kirtland Years: Endowment developed during this time period did not include the Masonic similarities. To see the Kirtland endowment described visit:
* March 1842: Joseph Smith is initiated into Masonry in his upper business office (History of the Church, vol. 4, pg. 550-551).
(After Joseph Smith joins Masonry the Masonic lodge grows at a very fast rate in Nauvoo.)
* May 1842: Joseph Smith is instructs the other LDS Church leaders on the endowment in his upper business office. By this time the business office has become the Masonic lodge room. (History of the Church, vol. 5, pgs. 1-2)
* May 1842: Joseph Smith recieves his "revised" endowment on the same day he instructs the other LDS Church leaders. Joseph Smith's business office (Masonic lodge) is used for both sealings and for endowments.
(The revised endowment contains the Masonic similarities, to see some of these similarities visit: http://www.mindspring.com/~engineer_my_dna/mormon/masendow.htm)
* After six months of Joseph Smith's initiation into Masonry, 286 candidates followed. This was an incredible number of initiates considering that the total membership for the entire state of Illinois was 227 at the time.
* After April 5, 1844: The Masonic temple was built and dedicated in Nauvoo, Mormons used the Masonic Temple for its ordinances. Wilford Woodruff admits that some of the temple ordinances were performed in the Masonic Temple in Nauvoo (Temple Lot Case, page. 299)
*1844: All five Masonic lodges are suspended and declared clandestine (Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons, Illinois, from its Organization in 1840 to 1850 Inclusive, Freeport, Illinois, 1892)
*June 27, 1844 - Joseph Smith is murdered in Carthage. As he is about to be shot and killed, he calls out the Masonic signal of distress, "Is there no help for the widow's son?"
* Brigham Young prepares upper attic for the revised endowment adding canvas partitions to the large room.
The Mormon endowment continues to have many of the Masonic similarities to this day. However, many were removed in the 1990 revision of the LDS Temple endowment.