Abraham Jonas writes letter providing dispensation for Joseph's initiation into Freemasonry.

Mar 15, 1842
Abraham Jonas

Dispensation Notice regarding Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, March 15, 1842, Letters pertaining to Freemasonry in Nauvoo , MS 751, Church History Library, 5–7,

Church History Library
Shadrach Roundy, Abraham Jonas, Elizabeth Roundy, Sidney Rigdon, Joseph Smith, Jr., Andrew Jenson
Nauvoo Freemasons

City of Nauvo—March 15. 5842

Know all ye brethren to whom come these Presents—That I, Abraham Jonas—Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the State of Illinois— in virtue of the power and authority in me vested as Grand Master aforesaid do hereby—by these letters of Dispensation, authorize the Brethren of Nauvoo Lodge, under dispensation, to receive the petitions of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon—and act on the same instanter—and should the ballot be unanimous in favor of said Smith ^and Rigdon at a full meeting of said Nauvoo Lodge—then in that case—the said Lodge is authorized to confer the three several degrees of Ancient York Masonry on the said Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon—as speedily as the nature of the case will admit—Provided, however, that nothing herein contained shall be deemed as authority by the said Nauvoo Lodge for violating any of the ancient Land marks of the order, or by acting contrary to the provisions of their Bye Laws—except in the cases herein authorized—Given under my hand—as Grand Master, the day and date above named—

A. Jonas, G.M. P.L. Ill.

BHR Staff Commentary

Document appears to be an original of the letter, but it is not certain whether the handwriting is that of Abraham Jonas.

John C. Bennett charged that that differences between the original version of the Nauvoo Masonic Lodge record (Minute Book 1) and the Clayton copy (Minute Book 2) would demonstrate that Joseph Smith and others received their Masonic degrees prior to the lodge's installation, a violation of Masonic procedure. But Minute Book 1, for which Bennett himself was scribe, does not sustain Bennett's claim that Joseph Smith or anyone else was initiated prior to March 15. See

1. Dispensation Notice regarding Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, March 15, 1842, Nauvoo Masonic Lodge minutes (Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minute Book 1), John C. Bennett Copy, MS 9115, Church History Library, 16. https://catalog.churchofjesuschrist.org/assets/67a0bf8a-a1d2-4099-a3f7-e8f51b644b2d/0/15, accessed February 23, 2022

2. Dispensation Notice regarding Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, March 15, 1842, Freemasons minutebook, 1841 October-1846 February (Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minute Book 2), William Clayton Copy, MS 3436, Church History Library, 34. https://catalog.churchofjesuschrist.org/assets?id=dafc2c46-c417-41d2-a25f-fceb98ca2f09&crate=0&index=33, accessed February 23, 2022

for textually near-identical versions of this dispensation.

Citations in Mormonr Qnas
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