Introduction to Is There No Help For The Widow's
Son?, by Mervin B. Hogan, Secretary, Research Lodge of
Utah, F. & A. M.
Someone has said that a historical convention like this--all
of these papers that we have heard--are like a pair of steer
horns, with a point here and a point there and a lot of bull
in between; and in my case, a lot of "Bull Durham."
One thing we won't have to put up with though
is the wind blowing--just hot air. And I know the disadvantage
that we are placed in, with the dimness of the room, the delightful
meal that we have partaken of, and all the applause that we have
had all night long--the papers, the busy day--but I hope you
will bear with me and we will see what happens.
One historian, who has spent at least 25 years
exploring the topic of Mormonism and Masonry, finally concluded
that any person who ventured into this area of study was something
of a "foolhardy nitwit." So mote it be! Still, I am
convinced that in the study of Masonry lies a pivotal key to
future understanding Joseph Smith and the Church. Therefore,
regardless of the possible incriminations and stigma that might
ensue, I should like, in this paper, to interpose some unorthodox
findings and fancies upon the more traditional and canonical
propaganda of the faith.
In the subject of Mormonism and Masonry, there
is still much that is "new under the sun." To begin
with, Masonry in the Church had its origin prior to the time
Joseph Smith became a Mason. Nauvoo was not its genesis. It commenced
in Joseph's home when his older brother became a mason. Hyrum
received the first 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 and angels and was
being entrusted with the sacred gold plates.
Masonic influence on Joseph was further highlighted
when the heated anti-Masonic crusades flared up in western New
York. His milieu was ripe with things Masonic. Pro-Mason and
anti-Mason, the influence was unavoidable from both sources.
Capt. William Morgan was so contemporary with
Joseph Smith, both as to time and geography, that it would be
difficult to deny the probability of their acquaintance. In fact,
Dr. Rob Morris, an American Masonic biographer of William Morgan,
wrote that Morgan "had been a half way convert of Joe Smith,
the Mormon, and had learned from him to see visions and dreams."
Whether or not it was true that Joseph Smith personally knew
Morgan during his lifetime, everyone in that area, including
Joseph, had heard about Morgan's disappearance and supposed martyrdom,
causing most people to take sides on the Masonic issue. Joseph
was no exception. He was one of the committee of 10 men who signed
their signatures to an impassioned plea which was printed in
the rabidly anti-Masonic newspaper, the Seneca Farmer and
The committee begged anyone with an ounce of Christian
humanitarian concern to come forward and offer assistance to
Morgan's unfortunate wife. The many parallels found between early
Mormonism and the Masonry of that day are substantial: conferences,
councils, priesthood, temples, anointing with oil, the issuance
of licenses, certificates for identifying legitimate fellow workers,
elders, high priests, and even the Book of the Law.
By the end of 1832, Joseph Smith had welcomed
new brethren, along with their influences, into the Church. Men
such as W. W. Phelps, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Newel
K. Whitney, each of whom had been deeply involved in Masonry,
from one side or the other, before their entrance into the Church.
In a sermon the Prophet delivered in 1835, unmistakable
Masonic vocabulary was used, and I quote from the Prophet: "I
exposed their abominations in the language of the Scriptures
and I pray God that it may be like a nail in a sum place, driven
by the Master of Assemblies." In that same year and in subsequent
years, the Prophet was involved in things Egyptian, the new revelations
of suns and moons, governing planets and fixed stars, and, though
unique at that time to Mormonism, was commonplace in Masonry.
The Kirtland Temple also reflected an influence
of Masonry. Though not exactly like the Masonic pattern of laying
and dedicating cornerstones of their temples, the Order of the
Holy Priesthood employed by the Prophet in laying the cornerstone
of the Kirtland Temple, and about which he explained in greater
detail in Nauvoo, with a set ceremony at each corner, with pomp
and procession, including definite rank of authority, was significantly
similar. That the inner courts of the temple were fashioned in
such a way that officers could preside on platforms at either
end, east or west, was also similar to Masonic Lodges and Temples.
But, more importantly, professional architects have only recently
called attention to the classical and Gothic elements combined
in the architecture of the Kirtland Temple as containing direct
and unmistakable Masonic influences.
In 1838, the Avard extension of Joseph Smith's
Danitism in Missouri brought this disconsolation upon the Prophet:
the use of secret penal oaths, accompanied with signs, hand clasps,
and tokens involved therein, also reflected Masonic life practices.
Before being imprisoned in Missouri, Joseph and his family lived
in the Harris home at Far West. A masonic aura certainly abided
there. The woman the house was Lucinda Pendleton (Morgan) Harris,
who was at that time the wife of George Washington Harris, one
of the leading elders of the Church. He had been a practicing
Mason in Batavia, New York, as well as a Worshipful Master Mason
in Virginia. In addition to this, Harris was also personally
acquainted with William Morgan; the Morgans having lived in an
apartment above his (Harris') silversmith shop in Canandaigue
(should be Batavia. M. B. H.), New York. Lucinda Harris was formerly
the wife and later the widow of William Morgan. It seems highly
significant to note that this same woman, whom Joseph (Smith)
had befriended years before, became a plural wife of the Prophet
After escaping from Liberty jail, the Prophet
was reunited with his family at Quincy, Illinois. Emma and the
children had been living in the home of Judge John Cleveland,
another Mason (I believe this is an error. There is no documentation
of such membership in Nauvoo nor Quincy. He also never converted
to Mormonism. M. B. H.), who with his wife, Sarah M.(erietta)
Pinsey Cleveland, allowed the Smiths to live with them until
they left for Commerce (Nauvoo). What later motivated Joseph
and Emma to write the Clevelands, inviting them to build their
home in Commerce in close proximity to the Smith home, across
the street and next door to George Washington and Lucinda Morgan
Harris? The question becomes pertinent upon supplying the additional
facts that Harris later became an active leading charter member
Mason in the Church, while Sarah M. Cleveland became another
of Joseph's plural wives.
By 1840, John Cook Bennett, a former active leader
in Masonry (in Ohio, where he was expelled.
M. B. H.), had arrived in Commerce and rapidly exerted his persuasive
leadership in all facets of the Church, including Mormon Masonry.
I do not believe he was its sole instigator, nor do I believe
him guilty of all which the Mormon print then, or now have accused
him. However, at the instigation of John C. Bennett, George W.
Harris, John Parker, Lucius Scovil, as well as other Mormon Masons
residing at Nauvoo, and certainly with the approval of the hierarchy
of the Church, the institution of Masonry commenced.
Joseph and Sidney (Rigdon) were inducted into
formal Masonry at Sight, on the same day upon which the Illinois
Grand Master Mason--and politically ambitious--Abraham Jonas
officially installed the Nauvoo Lodge. It was on March 15, 1842.
On the next day, both Sidney and Joseph advanced to the Master
Mason Degree. In only a few years, five Mormon Lodge were established,
several others in planning, a Masonic Temple constructed, and
the total membership of Mormon fraternal brethren was over 1,366.
I have attempted thus far to demonstrate that
Masonic influence 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 initially, just a little over one month after he became
a Mason, 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 am so similar, in fact, that one writer
was led to refer to the Endowment as Celestial Masonry.
It is also obvious that the Nauvoo Temple architecture
was in part, at least Masonically influenced. Indeed, it appears
that there was an intentional attempt to utilize Masonic symbols
and motifs. The sun stones, and the moon and star stones, were
examples. An additional example was the angel used on the weather
vane on the top of the Temple. I would like to just show a slide
or two here, if that could be turned on.
William Weeks (made a Mason in Nauvoo Lodge. M.
B. H.), the architect of the Nauvoo Temple, has many drawings
in the Historians Office of the Church. This is one of the preliminary
drawings--first drawings--first draft drawings of the Nauvoo
Temple. You will notice that it has the beautiful picture in
the whole front of the Temple of the All-Seeing Eye, and he was
going to have a beautiful angel stand on the top of the Temple.
Later, another design by William Weeks again:--modified the All-Seeing
Eye, trimmed down the angel on the top of the Temple, and then
again, in another plan, he has the small angel on the top--not
a huge lady as was before--and this one comes pretty close to
the way the Nauvoo Temple looked like.
Now, in the Visitors' Canter at the Nauvoo Restoration,
you see a mock-up of the Temple and on the very top there is,
on the weather vane, this little angel. Well, that little angel
was photographed in the next picture. There is the angel: the
beautiful horn, the Book of Mormon in the other hand. And, then,
if you will notice, what looks as if there are crosses on the
staff or the spear which is the weather vane. Do you see those
crosses there? We blew that up--it is not a very clear picture--to
let you know that it is a beautiful compass and square, in the
typical Masonic fashion.
Now, I wondered where in the world did they get,
on the mock-up of the Temple in the Visitors' Center, the compass
and square--the Masonic symbols; in fact, the most probably universal
masonic symbols that are known in Masonry. Where did they get
that? Until, in the Historian's Office in Salt Lake City, we
found the drawing of William Weeks, who very clearly employed
the Masonic symbols on that angel. (I have been informed that
the particular illustration referred to, in the Visitors' Center,
had been removed when the Center opened the next morning. M.
In the journals of Thomas Bullock, Mosiah Hancock,
and in many of the portraits that were painted of the Temple,
this angel does exist, with a beautiful description of the angel--even
to the Book, the horn, the temple clothes and robes that it is
clothed with. And, there is no question that it was intentionally
to be a Masonic symbol on the top of the Nauvoo Temple. (That
can be turned off now).
Another development in the Nauvoo Church, which
has not been so obviously considered as Masonically inspired
was the establishment of the Female Relief Society. This organization
was the Prophet's intentional attempt to expand Masonry to include
the women of the Church. That the Relief Society was organized
in the Masonic Lodge room, and only one day after Masonry was
given to the men, was not happenstance. As evidence of this claim,
Brother Oliver Olney (not known to be a Mason--an apostate Mormon.
M. B. H.), wrote in a doggerel verse style in 1842, that Joseph
Smith, and I quote. "said there were certain degrees of
the fair sex of the land. They soon met in union, a lodge to
form, but changed the name they might be distinguished from the
lodge of the men." He later described the sisters' Masonic
auxiliary and the degrees in their liturgy.
John C. Bennett substantiated the same, as likewise
did Ebenezer Robinson, and evidence from a different bias came
from Sister Eliza R. Snow, present at the organization as its
first secretary, who strongly emphasized that the Society was
Priesthood. Another charter member, Sister Mary Elizabeth Rollins
Lightner, added that the Relief Society was an order of the Priesthood.
And, finally, included in the actual vocabulary of Joseph Smith's
counsel and instructions to the sisters were such words as: ancient
orders, examinations, degrees, candidates, secrets, lodges, rules,
signs, tokens. order of the priesthood, and keys; all indicating
that the Society's organization possessed Masonic overtones.
It was true that in orthodox Masonry, such as
that practiced in Illinois, the inclusion of women was definitely
prohibited and certainly unheard of. The Joseph Smith Masonry
was daily becoming less orthodox and tended to follow more in
the direction of some unorthodox Masonry which had been imported
to America from France. In this type of Masonry, two different
women's groups operated. The first women's group was known as
the Female Lodges of the Illuminees. They were subdivided into
two classes, each forming a separate society and having different
ceremonies. The first was composed of virtuous women; the second
of the wild, the giddy, and the voluptuous. In both cases the
purpose of their existence was to serve the men who were their
counterparts--the virtuous women for the virtuous men, and so
forth. This type of female Masonry had no relationship to the
Mormon female Masonry, unless, of course, one believed John C.
Bennet's diatribe relative to the three degrees of womankind
in Masonry, in Mormonism.
The second type of unorthodox female masonry was
known as "Adoptive" Masonry. In this order the highest
woman was called the "Elect Lady;" a striking parallel
to Emma Smith's title in the Mormon highest order for women.
The ceremonies for women in this order were quite similar to
those later found within the endowment ceremony of the Mormons.
I was going to read the ceremony, but I thought I'd better not.
Continuing with my facts and fancies--that most
of the things which were developed in the Church at Nauvoo were
inextricably interwoven with Masonry--in addition to the endowment,
the temple, and the Relief Society, I have already mentioned,
I suspect also that the development of prayer circles and even
polygamy are no exceptions. But more importantly, I suggest that
enough evidence presently exists to declare that the entire institution
of the political kingdom of God, including the Council of Fifty,
the living constitution, the proposed flag of the kingdom, and
the anointing and coronation of the king, had its genesis in
connection with Masonic thought and ceremonies. It could not
be coincidence that all of these concepts had their counterparts
within Masonry in the day of the Prophet Joseph Smith. There
was an Elect Council, an Elu, and a Council of Fifty; a Supreme
Council and a Grand Council. The crown was a common Masonic symbol,
as well as a portion of the regalia actually worn by officers
who represented the king in the higher degrees. Anointing was
commonly performed and any practicing Mason would have been familiar
with the word "constitutions."
As to the flag, although every symbol on it has
not yet been identified the majority of them can be shown to
be Masonic symbols. In fact, it seems surprising in light of
these known existing parallels, that most historical treatments
on any aspect of the Political Kingdom of God had rarely, if
ever, mentioned any relationship with Masonry.
Perhaps the single most definite evidence that
Masonry directly affected the thought of Joseph Smith, and that
the kingdom of God doctrine was Masonically inspired, can be
seen in the recently brought to light holograph letter of Joseph
Smith to Mr. John Hull of Lempster, New Hampshire (See Appendix
A; added by me. M B. H.) Mr. Hull was a distant cousin of the
Prophet's and was a Congregational minister. He was deeply involved
in the development of the town government of Lempster, New Hampshire,
and more pertinent, he was a practicing Mason for over 40 years
in Mount Vernon Lodge No. 15 (then at Washington; now at Newport.
M. B. H.), in New Hampshire. During that time, he held every
office in Masonry up to and including the Worshipful Master of
the Lodge. If the letter proves not to have actually been written
by Joseph Smith, then his amanuensis wrote the letter and signed
Joseph's signature in such a way as to make it appear as authentically
like Joseph Smith's own handwriting as possible. I personally
discount any fraudulent intent because of the reliable historicity
relating to Joseph Hull, and also because the content of the
letter fits with the known ideology of the Restoration Movement
and, further, the ideas expressed were completely consistent
with the Kingdom of God development at this time. The little
note at the commencement of the letter indicates somewhat the
depth of ideas presented therein: "pleas not let any See
my letters who you think Cannot Digest the ideas for it would
do them an injury."
The entire two-page letter clearly demonstrates
that Mormonism and Masonry were related and that Joseph used
Masonry and apparently had no qualms in doing so. It is also
clear in the letter that the Kingdom of God was thought to be
the true Masonry which, when ultimately established with a king
and a president, would abolish all earthly confusion and evil
and usher in the Millennium. The whole earth was compared symbolically
to a Grand Masonic Lodge, the counterpart of which was the Grand
Lodge in the eternal regions of Glory; an idea quite legitimate
in Masonic thought.
The letter will not be completely clear unless
one knows that a typical Masonic Lodge is most often a rectangularly
shaped room with the altar in the center. At the front, generally
at the east end of the room, is the platform upon which the Worshipful
Master Sits and presides. At the west end the Senior Warden is
positioned, and on the south side is located the Junior Warden.
As excerpts of Joseph Smith's letter are read, please observe
how the Prophet superimposed American Zionism upon his new brand
of perfect, world-wide Masonry, and I quote: "The time has
been when the WM (the Worshipful Master) was in Asia, at the
east; the SW (Senior Warden) in Europe, at the west; and the
JW (Junior Warden) in Africa, at the south. Well, now, how will
it be after the new arrangements? I must still look to Asia to
find the WM. Well, what next? Why, there is a spot in North America
exactly due west from where king Solomon's Temple stood."
Just a point here; if we were to draw a line exactly west from
Mt. Moriah in Jerusalem, and go due west to Nauvoo, Illinois,
we would only be 10 longitudinal degrees off. So the Prophet
writes, "Exactly due west from where king Solomon's Temple
stood, there is a spot in North America. It will be the choice
of our SW but he alone can't govern the Lodge amidst all this
bustle. Well, how shall we get out of this scrape? Why, we must
wait with patience until South America has made the choice of
the JW, (that would be at the south, the Junior Warden). When
the above described lodge is duly formed and begins to work,
we may expect to have peace on earth and good will to men and,
no doubt, 'the lion will lie down with the lamb and the suckling
child will play with the asp and will not be stung!'" And
the postscript at the bottom of the letter, "This is my
present survey of Masonry in this world."
There are two concepts I need at this point to
reiterate. Firstly, I said that Joseph Smith had no qualms about
using Masonry. This letter, I think, is evidence of that. One
historian has described this use of Masonry as the "grabbing
on" principle employed by Joseph Smith. This was explained
to me that whatever was in his surroundings, being preached,
professed, or practiced, he sometimes borrowed it and incorporated
it into his ideological theology and system.
The second concept I wish to reiterate is that
the Masonry as practiced in the Church under the Prophet's direction
was daily becoming increasingly unorthodox as contrasted with
Illinois traditional Masonry. Therefore, it appears that the
Prophet first embraced Masonry and, then in the process, he modified,
expanded, amplified, or glorified it. His alterations being done
by the authority of constant revelation received by him, or by
sheer whims and the intelligence of an egocentric genius, or
at the insistence of strong personalities who surrounded him,
giving advice and counsel; depending on how one views Joseph
Smith. In any case, these two concepts--that of "grabbing
on," and then expansion--seem to be further substantiated
by the following statements relative to Masonry in the Church
which were expressed by some of the Prophet's closest contemporaries.
Heber C. Kimball wrote to Parley Parker Pratt, who was in England
at the time, only three months after Joseph Smith had embraced
Masonry, in the following words: "We have received some
precious things through the Prophet on the Priesthood which would
cause your soul to rejoice. I cannot give them to you on paper,
for they are not to be written. So you must come and get them
for yourself. We have organized a Lodge here of Masons since
we have obtained a charter. That was in March. Since that there
have near 200 been made Masons. Brother Joseph and Sidney were
the first that were received into the Lodge. All of the Twelve
have become members except Orson P. He hangs back. He will wake
up soon. There is a similarity of Priesthood in Masonry. Brother
Joseph says Masonry was taken from the Priesthood, but has become
degenerated. But many things are perfect. I think it will result
in good. The Lord is with us and we are prospered."
Heber C. Kimball later wrote, "We have the
true Masonry. The Masonry of today 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."
Joseph Fielding, a convert and a missionary from
England, wrote in his diary, "Many have joined the Masonic
Institution. This seems to have been a stepping stone for preparation
for something else, the true origin of Masonry. This I have also
seen and rejoice in it. There has been great light poured out
upon the Saints of late, and a great spirit of hearing. I have
evidence enough that Joseph is not fallen. I have seen him after
giving, as he said before, the origin of Masonry, the Kingdom
of God on the earth, and am myself a member of it."
And, finally, Jesse C. Little reported, "The
Angel of the Lord brought to Mr. Joseph Smith the lost key words
of several degrees, which caused him, when he appeared among
the brotherhood of Illinois, to work right ahead of the highest
and to show them their ignorance of the greatest truth and benefits
What, then, motivated Joseph Smith to "grab
on" to Masonry and then transcend it? The question is crucial,
and my answer may be satisfactory only to myself. I do not believe
his motivation was for ego-building or for any political, social,
or economic prestige and power. I also believe it is inaccurate
to say the reason Joseph adopted Masonry into the Church was
to create a non-Mormon brotherhood which could supply a socially
needed influence and physical protection. Though all of these
reasons may have merit, I believe he accepted Masonry because
he genuinely felt he recognized true Ancient Mysteries contained
therein. And, that in light of two fundamental concepts, already
established within the theological framework of Mormonism--the
Restoration of the Gospel and the Dispensation of the Fullness
of Times--Joseph was under the strong compulsion to embrace Masonry.
The Prophet believed that his mission was to restore all truth,
and then to unify and weld it all together into one. This truth
was referred to as "the mysteries," and these Mysteries
were inseparably connected with the Priesthood.
The Prophet further sermonized that these Mysteries
were to be discerned, unlocked, unraveled, and appropriately
unfolded unto the Church, line upon line, by the one who holds
the keys of the Holy Priesthood. Therefore, if Masonry in reality
contained any of the true ancient Mysteries, it would have been
necessary for Joseph to accept it. The philosophic and more reflective
Masonic scholars have always believed that the symbols embodied
in Masonry were indeed the ancient Mysteries coming from remote
antiquity. The Mysteries were said to be traced back through
the Hermetic Philosophers, through Plutarch, the Cabala, the
Pythagoreans, the Magi of Media, to Babylon, to Chaldea, and
Egypt. And, as these Mysteries came down into the modern institution
of Masonry--the 12th and 13th centuries, A. D.--they had experienced
so many progressive alterations, that there remained only an
imperfect image of their original brilliancy. My assumption is
that Joseph Smith believed he was restoring Masonry's original
pristine brilliancy, and that he was recreating the Mysteries
of the ancient Priesthood.
Now, I should like to initiate all of you into
what is perhaps the strangest, the most mysterious, occult-like,
esoteric, and yet Masonically oriented practice ever adopted
by Joseph Smith. This may also be another fine example of our
earlier explained principle of "grabbing on." All available
evidence suggests that Joseph Smith the Prophet possessed a magical
Masonic medallion, or talisman, which he worked during his lifetime
and which was evidently on his person when he was martyred. His
talisman is in the shape of a silver dollar and is probably made
of silver or tin. It is exactly one and nine-sixteenths inches
in diameter, and weighs slightly less than one-half ounce. After
months of research, the talisman, presently existing in Utah,
(in the Wilford Wood Collection, D. C. M.) was originally purchased
from the Emma Smith Bidamon family, fully notarized by that family
to be authentic and to have belonged to Joseph Smith, can now
be identified as a Jupiter talisman. It carries the sign and
image of Jupiter and should more appropriately be referred to
as the Table of Jupiter. And in some very real and quite mysterious
sense, this particular Table of Jupiter was the most appropriate
talisman for Joseph Smith to possess. Indeed, it seemed meant
for him, because on all levels of interpretation: planetary,
mythological, numerological, astrological, mystical cabalism,
and talismatic magic, the Prophet was, in every case appropriately
The characters on the talisman are primarily in
Hebrew, but there is one inscription in Latin. Every letter in
the Hebrew alphabet has a numerical equivalent and those numerical
equivalents make up a magic square. By adding the numbers in
this Jupiter Table in any direction (each row, column, or diagonal.
M. B. H.), the total will be the same. In this case, on the Jupiter
Table, 34.... The total of the numbers will be 136, which number
you will see on the talisman. The symbol for Jupiter (closely
resembling the usual script, or hand-written, numeral 4. M. B.
H.) is also found on both sides of the talisman, which by the
way, is the same symbol for metal tin.
(E. A. Wallis Budge, in his Amulets and Superstitions,
p. 394, speaking of the "Magical Square of Tin," states:
"Whether these sixteen figures are added up vertically,
horizontally or diagonally the total is 34, or in Hebrew letters
D (dalet) equals 4 and L (lamed) equals 30. These letters form
a part of the Hebrew word for tin.
The total of the four columns (or rows) of figures is 136, which
15 the number of the Spirit and of the Demon of the planet. When
cut upon coral this square protected the wearer from sorcery."
M. B. H.)
Each letter of the Hebrew alphabet has a specific
and, in some cases, a mystical and esoteric meaning. The total
of those meanings, as well as the connection and importance of
Jupiter, is extremely and mysteriously significant in relationship
with Joseph Smith. Maybe we could show that right now. Can we
have the first one?
There is the one side of the talisman belonging
to the Prophet Joseph Smith. You can see the Hebrew characters
and you can see the square. There will be 16 Hebrew letters,
and each of those letters represents a number. And, I'll show
another slide in a minute showing you the numbers and each of
those numbers (columns rows or diagonals. M. B. H.) total up
to 34, in any way you would add them. Now you see on the margins,
at the bottom is the Jupiter sign, and then on the side over
to the right is a Hebrew word which means "Abbah,"
which means Father. At the top you will see another Hebrew word
which means "El Ob"--which means God the Father, or
Father is God--and over on the side in the margin you will see
the name in Hebrew meaning "Josiphiel," which means
Jehovah is spokesman for God, of Jehovah is the mouth; on this
side. Now, let's show the other side of the talisman and you
will see the Latin phrase, "Cantermo odeus potentisimus"
(not at all correctly written). It's lousy Latin, but probably
means, perhaps, "Confirm, O God, who is all powerful; or,
Almighty God confirm me, or uphold me, or support me." It
is not accurately grammatical, but that is the term on the medallion
or talisman. The cross at the top represents the spirit of Jupiter,
and you will see the path of Jupiter in the orbit of the heavens,
and then again the Jupiter sign.
I wasn't able to find what this was, for--as I
said--two months; and finally, in a magic book printed in England
in 1801, published in America in 1804, and I traced it to Manchester,
and to New York. It was a magic book by Francis Barrett and,
lo and behold, how thrilled I was when I saw in his list of magic
seals the very talisman which Joseph Smith had in his possession
at the time of his martyrdom.
You will see now the numbers, rather than the
Hebrew letters, in the magic square, and you will also see the
three Hebrew names of deities, or intelligences, that belong
to this particular talisman. You will see the square again and
also the seal of Jupiter; the same back side (reverse) of the
very one that Joseph Smith had, with exactly the same break in
the orbit of Jupiter planet, and then again the Hebrew letters
and, finally, the Spirit of Jupiter. (Turn that off now)
Jupiter, according to the Hebrews, is the morning
star rising in the east, and is called in that language Sadoc
(or Zadoc), which means righteous one. Now the star in the east
is one of the very definite Masonic emblems, and is used regularly
in most Masonic ceremonies to symbolize the ever approaching
dawn of perfection and restored Masonic light. To the Egyptians,
Jupiter was known as Ammon, but to the Greeks he was Zeus; the
ancient Sky Father of the Gods. According to the Greeks, Jupiter
was seen as not only the great protecting deity of the race,
but also the one, and--perhaps--the only one whose worship embodies
a distant moral conception. He is specifically concerned with
oaths, treaties, and leagues, and it was in the presence of his
priest that the most ancient and sacred form of marriage took
place; that is , marriage for time and eternity. In numerology,
Jupiter's concern with the fortunes of life , the planet is regarded
as the kindly, benevolent planet, and the adjective "jovial"
indeed comes from, is derived from, the word "Jove,"
for Jupiter. And I quote: "The gifts that Jupiter brings
are those of reason, understanding of humanity, plus the ability
to see things in a broad outline. It is regarded as the planet
that brings expansion in many different forms. It weaves into
the lives of some persons skeins of generous impulse, ranging
from generosity with material things to sympathy in spiritual
matters. He also controls expansion in all forms; most of the
philanthropists of the world are strongly Jupiter--oriented and
in the professions, those held under its influence are legislators,
bankers, lawyers, etc."
In astrology, Jupiter is always associated with
high positions, getting one's own way, and all forms of status.
And I quote: "Typically, a person born under Jupiter will
have the dignity of a natural ruler. He knows what is due him
and expects to receive respect accordingly. He will probably
have an impressive manner and, in consequence, is likely to be
elected to official positions in clubs and other organizations.
In physical appearance, the highly developed Jupiterian is strong,
personable, and often handsome. Jupiterians are often tall, or
rugged of physique. In every case, the Jupiterian influence produces
a cheerful, winning personality, capable of great development."
Astrology also declares that every year is governed by one of
the planets. And, therefore, the planet directs the affairs of
men for good or ill during that year. Joseph Smith's planet was
Jupiter; and two significant years governed by Jupiter were 1805
The day of the week governed by Jupiter was Thursday.
And I don't know--perhaps just coincidence--the fast meetings
in the Church were on Thursdays for 60 years, as well as all
the regular Mormon Masonic meetings on the first and third Thursdays,
(Nauvoo Lodge, that is. M. B. H.), as well as the day of the
Prophet Joseph Smith's martyrdom, on Thursday, and so many other
special events in Church history.
So closely is magic bound up with the stars and
astrology that the term astrologer and magician were in ancient
times almost synonymous. The purpose of the Table of Jupiter
in talismanic magic was to be able to call upon the celestial
intelligences, assigned to the particular talisman, to assist
one in all endeavors. The names of the deities which we gave
you, who could be invoked by the Table were always written on
the talisman or represented by various numbers. Three such names
were written on Joseph Smith's talisman: Abbah, Father; El Ob,
Father is God or God the Father; and Josiphiel, Jehovah speaks
for God, the intelligence of Jupiter.
When properly invoked, with Jupiter being very
powerful and ruling in the heavens, these intelligences--by the
power of ancient magic--guaranteed to the possessor of this talisman
the gain of riches, and favors, and power, and love, and peace;
and to confirm honors, and dignities, and councils. Talismatic
magic further declared that any one who worked skillfully with
this Jupiter Table would obtain the power of stimulating anyone
to offer his love to the possessor of the talisman, whether from
a friend, brother, relative, or even any female. Whether or not
Joseph Smith was first introduced to this kind of magic through
Masonry is not known at present.
Where he obtained his personal talisman is also
not known. But the tradition, which came out of the Emma Smith
Bidamon family, attributed the talisman as being Joseph's Masonic
jewel. The relationship with Masonry is possible because "Masonry
did contain elements of magic, including this magic Table of
Jupiter." At the commencement of my paper, I expressed a
desire to be able to present some unorthodox findings and fancies
relative to Mormonism and Masonry, to provoke some thought, and
present something new. If I have not succeeded in doing that
by now, please indulge me one last further attempt.
There is a famous legend in which the grand orator
elaborates in lecture form in the ceremonies of the 13th, 14th
and 21st degrees of Masonry which has some very ancient roots,
bearing remarkable similarity to Mormonism. The roots of the
legend extend back into ancient Hebrew traditions, but were developed
most nearly as they are now found in Masonry--out of ancient
cabalistic lore and mythology. The refinement of the legend and
their incorporation into modern Masonry began in France about
1740 to 1760, but the legend was in American Masonic print by
1802; and by Joseph Smith's time many publications had made the
legend popularly well disseminated.
Now let me just comment that the basic, introductory
aspect of the legend is: that up in the pre-existence, there
was a special Secret Doctrine that was given by Deity, and it
was given down to the Earth first to Adam. Adam then was to carefully
guard this Secret Doctrine because it contained all the Mysteries.
It contained the knowledge of God, and the name it contained
was the sacred name of God. Adam then bestowed it (the Secret
Doctrine. M. B. H.) upon his son Seth who guarded it very carefully--only
among the inner circle of believers--and then it was handed down
until it came to Enoch. And, Enoch is the central figure in the
legend. It is with Enoch that the remarkable resemblances with
Joseph Smith and Mormon history become disconcertingly clear.
The major details of the legend are outlined as follows:
1. Enoch, seventh in the line of patriarchs from Adam, was
25 years old when he received his call and vision.
2. He was taken up in vision onto a hill called Moriah.
3. In vision he saw a cavern in a hill, a sacred vault in
the bowels of the earth. The cavity was symbolized as being a
container for sacred treasures, like an holy ark, and it had
a lid on it.
4. In vision, Enoch perceived a shiny gold plate containing
unknown engravings and symbols.
5. He recognized the letter "M" upon the gold plate,
which designated the name of the hill.
6. He further saw the Sacred name of God, which had been lost
to all mankind, and he was commissioned by Deity to preserve
7. He foresaw that a flood would come to destroy all mankind.
Therefore, he felt it was his duty to preserve the Sacred Mystery.
8. He placed two pillars inside the hill:
a. One of marble upon which, written in Egyptian hieroglyphics,
were found the historical events connected with the tower of
b. One of brass, which contained the history of creation and
the Secret Mysteries. These records were placed in the hill along
with the treasure of the gold plate.
9. This brass pillar had a metal ball on its top, within which
were contained maps, and directions of the world and of the universe,
and which also acted as a sort of oracle.
10. Enoch then placed a stone lid, or slab, over the cavity
into the hill.
11. Enoch predicted that on the other side of the deluge an
Israelitish descendant would discover anew the Sacred buried
12. As predicted after the flood, a great king, named Solomon,
came to power and desired to build a Sacred house for the in-dwelling
of the divine presence.
13. Solomon and his builders, the Masons, while building and
excavating for the temple at Mt. Moriah, discovered the cavern
and the sacred treasure.
14. After three attempts to obtain the treasure, they were
finally successful. Those Masons were very rejoiceful upon receiving
these preserved Mysteries.
15. But, three wicked men intervened and committed a horrible
crime. They attempted to force one of the Masons, one of the
faithful Masons who had discovered the treasure, Hiram Abif:
or Hiram, the widow's son, to reveal the hiding (place) and the
contents of the hidden treasure.
16. He would not reveal his knowledge and therefore they killed
17. While being slain, Hiram, with uplifted hands, cried out,
"Oh Lord, My God, is there no help for the widow's son?"
This has since become a general Masonic distress call.
18. Then three loyal Masons, seeking revenge, pursued the
three evil ones.
19. One of the three faithful Masons overtook one of the archvillains.
He was asleep with his sword, or knife, nearby.
20. The "Mason slew the villain with his own knife by
cutting off his head.
21. In Masonic ceremonies, the words "strike off his
head" were employed.
22. Also in Masonic ceremonies. In revolutionary France, the
re-acting of the killing of this villain, the tyrant's name was
King Phillippe le Bel. (Philip IV or the Fair who destroyed the
Knights Templar. M. B. H.)
23. The loyal Mason was rewarded by King Solomon.
24. The recovered treasures then became part of the temple
treasury. It consisted of the brass records, the gold plate,
the metal ball, the breast plate and the urim and thummim.
Such is the Masonic legend of the Secret Doctrine,
or the sacred treasure in the sacred hill, or the treasure of
the widow's son.
The parallels of Joseph Smith and the history
of Mormonism are so unmistakable, that to explain them only as
coincidence would be ridiculous. Joseph Smith was named Enoch,
even by God. He was 25 when he brought forth his Sacred record.
His sacred record was buried in the hill by a main who had the
initial "M". There were gold plates containing the
mysteries of God. They were also in Egyptian hieroglyphics or
some Egyptian form. There were brass plates, which also contained
an account of the creation of the world. There was another record
which contained an account of the tower of Babel. The cavity
in the hill, and the hill and the cavity Joseph both saw in vision,
was covered with a stone lid. The other treasures in the stone
box were the breastplate, the urim and thummim, as well as the
round metal ball which served as a director and was called the
Joseph Smith also claimed to be an Israelite,
and he too made several fruitless attempts at getting the treasure
when he first saw it. Joseph Smith had three witnesses to the
Book of Mormon and the record itself bears witness that an archvillain
named Laban, or Laban [La Ban?], was thwarting the availability
and accessibility of the sacred records, had his head cut off
by his own sword. This prophet also built temples for the in-dwelling
of God's spirit. Now these parallels, dramatic as they seem,
still do not represent the strongest part of the story. All of
these aspects of the legend seem transformed into the history
of Joseph Smith, so much so that even it appears to be a kind
of symbolic acting out of Masonic lore.
But there is a point in this drama where the action
goes beyond metaphor and the symbol merges into a tragic reality.
This has to do, of course, with the death of Hiram Abif in the
legend and the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. In June Joseph Smith
gave himself up to be imprisoned and on June 27, 1844, a mob
stormed the little Carthage jail. Hyrum was killed instantly
and John Taylor seriously wounded. Joseph Smith, Master Mason
and widow's son, went to the window and with upraised hands,
commenced giving the Masonic distress call to fraternal Masons
who were present in the mob: "Oh, Lord, My God." He
was unable to complete his plea and fell out of the window to
How does a Mormon historian interpret Joseph Smith
and the Masonic Enoch legend? The parallels demand an answer.
Was Joseph Smith the fruition of Enoch's prophecy? Was this an
extreme "grabbing on" by the Prophet? Or did mysterious
and divine, even magical, forces attach themselves to him? Can
anyone deny that Masonic influence on Joseph Smith and the Church,
either before or after his personal Masonic membership? The evidence
I have attempted to indicate that with regard
to Mormonism and Masonry, there remains an abundance of that
which is "new under the sun." I do not believe that
the Nauvoo story can adequately be told without an inquiry into
There are many questions which still demand the
answers. I earnestly hope I have raised some questions. Perhaps
I have answered a few. But if we, as Mormon historians, respond
to these questions and myriads like them relative to Masonry
in an ostrich-like fashion, with our heads buried in the traditional
sand, then I submit: there never will be "any help for the
The Joseph Smith Masonic Letter to Joseph Hull
(page of notes--part of the letter)
Crotch, ho-we-he 1-we two eyes
all part for we See but in part with our two
that our eyes Sprang from his 1
that our 2 spirits Did the Same
which is Commonly called God & Saton
I pronounced eye one only
Pleas do not let any See my letters who you think Cannot Digest
the ideas for it would do them an injury
(page 1 of letter, with unknown number of lines missing from
at the same time making the new choice, while doing this their
has a great number of roughings have appeared over poured the
Tyler broken into the Lodge and made all this Confusion amongst
the Nations of the Earth. The time has been when the WM was in
Asia SW in Europe & the JW in Africa, & no Doute the
tylers Sword was kept in Some part of India or Chinen. wel, how
now will it be. After the new Arangements. why as I See with
my intellectual eyes I must Still look to Asia to find the WM,
that part of the Globe being the first inhabited and where light
& knowledge first Sprang Derived the name of the East. wel,
what next. why their is a Spot in North America, exactly Due
west from where King Solomons Temple Stood & west make choice
of our SW onse in every four years. but he alone cant Govern
the lodge Amidst all this Bussil. well, how shall we git out
of the Scrape. why we must wait with patience until South America
has made Choice of the JW which appears to have come very nigh
a Dissicon well whom will the tyler be Why it is possible that
New Holland is Prepairing to receive the tylers Sword
(Page 2 of letter, with unknown number of lines missing from
- that king and pres. I.......... Slavery be Done a way that
a Republican form of Government take the place of Monarchy that
the people have their free right of Sufferage & that Religious
worship be put out of the reach of Sivil Law: & then See
wheather Christianity will rise or fall, mankind are Guided through
this life by two Spirits our light & Darkness two opposites
& that appear in ten-thousands Shapes. every Good Springs
from Some vein or Branch of the Spirit of light. So every Bad
Springs from Some vein or Branch of the Spirit of Darkness and
are these two Spirits Crotched near the Butt or is their two
first Causes!! the Good Spirit allways guides the Creature to
Hapiness & the bad Spirit never fails to Guide the Creature
to Misery. when the above Described Lodge is duly formed &
Begins to work we may ex have peace on Earth & Good will
to men & no dought the Lion will lye down with the lamb &
the Sucking Child will play with the Asp & not be Stung.
I must throw down my pen for I can neither write nor Spell I
am So weak
- Joseph Smith
- Joseph Hull
*It must be next to the Grand Lodge in the Eternal Regions
of Glory. NB--this is my present Surnet of Masonry in this world