Jeffrey M. Bradshaw concludes that ritual gestures and language patterns are among the most important shared elements between Freemasonry and the temple.

Jeffrey M. Bradshaw

Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, Freemasonry and the Origins of Latter-day Saint Temple Ordinances (Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2022), pp. 295–296

Interpreter Foundation
Jeffrey M. Bradshaw
General Public

Comparisons to Ritual Gestures and Language Patterns (Chapter 8)

Similarities in some ritual gestures and language patterns are among the most important elements of Freemasonry that may have served as a catalyst for the Prophet to receive revelation about similar elements in temple ordinances:1696

• The overlap in the gestures of Freemasonry and the temple ordinances for some of the tokens and signs is significant and it appears that shared gestures were likely to have been adopted and adapted from Freemasonry. Differing from the practical utility of the gestures in Masonry that addressed the everyday needs of early craftsmen, the use of these symbols in the temple goes beyond recognition and authentication to symbolize in step-by-step fashion the readiness of worshipers to take upon themselves in progressive fashion each one of a series of increasingly exalted identities as they advance toward godhood. This practice is closer to ancient religious conceptions than to Freemasonry. The meanings of the words and gestures used in the temple ordinances also differ from Freemasonry and in that they relate directly to the life and mission of Jesus Christ (8A).

• The similarity of a particular dialogue pattern used in Masonic rites and (formerly) in the temple ordinances is likewise significant. Though general dialogue patterns of a similar sort can be found elsewhere in ancient sources, it appears that this specific pattern of interaction among officiants in the endowment was adopted and adapted for temple use. In addition, certain generic phrases within the repeated patterns of catechistic questions and answers that teach the meanings of signs, tokens, key words, and penalties in the Nauvoo temple endowment are so similar to those employed in Masonic rites that borrowing and adaptation also must have occurred in these instances (8B).

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