JCB records AJ dispensation for Joseph's initiation in earliest version of Nauvoo Masonic Lodge minutes.

Mar 15, 1842
Meeting Minutes / Notes
Abraham Jonas
Scribed Verbatim

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, accessed February 23, 2022

John C. Bennett
John C. Bennett, Abraham Jonas, Sidney Rigdon, Joseph Smith, Jr.
Nauvoo Freemasons

"City of Nauvoo, 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 said 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 of acting contrary to the provisions of their By-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

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. (Original?) Dispensation Notice regarding Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, March 15, 1842, Letters pertaining to Freemasonry in Nauvoo , MS 751, Church History Library, 5–7,, 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., accessed February 23, 2022

for textually near-identical versions of this dispensation.

Citations in Mormonr Qnas
Copyright © B. H. Roberts Foundation
The B. H. Roberts Foundation is not owned by, operated by, or affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.