Church president Lorenzo Snow and his counselor Joseph F. Smith strongly counsels members not to become members of secret organizations.

Lorenzo Snow

James R. Clark, ed. Messages of the First Presidency. (Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1965-1975), 3:340–341

Lorenzo Snow, Angus M. Cannon, Joseph F. Smith, James R. Clark
Angus M. Cannon

Salt Lake City, Utah, August 29th, 1901

Prest. Angus M. Cannon and Counselors,


The following question has recently been asked us by one of our Stake Presidencies:

How strict shall we be with young men who wish to go to the temple who have united themselves with secret orders?

That our views might be known and acted upon by Presidents of Stakes generally, we send you herewith a copy of the same, as follows:

"The counsel of the First Presidency in all such cases has been against our brethren joining secret organizations, and where any of them have already done so their counsel to them is to withdraw themselves from such organizations as soon as circumstances permit and wisdom dictate.

"It is true that many of our people have been led to join some of these societies on the ground that their aims and objects are purely charitable and social in their character, and besides, inducements are held out of procuring life insurance at greatly reduced rates. But however worthy their aims and objects may be, this fact remains: They are outside the pale of the church and kingdom of God, and brethren in allying themselves with them divide their allegiance with organizations that are man-made, and which have not been devised of the Lord for the building up of Zion; and in doing this they render themselves liable to have their feelings alienated, in whole or in part, from the church which requires their all. We may say on this point, that it is the testimony of brethren who have joined organizations of this character and severed their connections with them, that their tendency is to draw away from the church; and it may be said and expected, without question, if the lines were sharply drawn between Mormon and non-Mormon, that all such organizations would he found in the ranks of our enemies, on the principle set forth in the saying of our Savior, "Those who are not for us are against us."

We understand that plausible excuses are given for joining these organization which amount to certain financial advantages which it is expected our brethren will obtain either for themselves during their lifetime or for their families, at their death. Like excuses might reasonably be given by brethren who have run after the things of the world in the hope of accumulating wealth and who, by doing so, have as a general thing made shipwreck of their faith. While we cannot consent to aught calculated to bring division and consequent weakness to the church, at the same time we have no desire whatever to deal harshly with brethren who have been led to become members of lodges or secret societies; but to all such who have faith enough to receive our advice, we would say, shape your affairs so you can withdraw from them, and never be found again associating yourselves with any organization which has not been instituted of the Lord for the building up of His Zion in the earth, and to all brethren who manifest a desire to receive this advice we would give temple recommends, also permit them to join prayer circles if found otherwise worthy.

In addition to the above we feel to direct your attention to the importance of the young men under your jurisdiction receiving proper instruction on this subject before they join secret societies; and we would suggest, instead of making this a subject for public discourse, that it be talked of at priesthood and quorum meetings.



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