George Washington wearing a Masonic apron while laying the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol Building

I recently watched an interesting documentary, Secrets of the Freemasons.  Many of the early U.S. revolutionaries were freemasons; many masons helped plan the Boston Tea Party, although the Tea Party had non-masonic members as well.  (Paul Revere, Ben Franklin, John Hancock, in addition to George Washington were masons.)  Masons were influential in the founding of our country, helping write the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution; however, masons were a minority.  For example, Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, was NOT  a mason.  There is even a painting showing George Washington III wearing a Masonic apron while setting the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol Building.

It was interesting to see how many U.S. Presidents and other famous people have been freemasons over the years.  Some of these include:

Masonic Prayer Circle
Masonic Prayer Circle
  • Harry Truman
  • Bob Dole
  • J Edgar Hoover
  • Charles Lindburgh
  • General John Pershing
  • Both Franklin and Teddy Roosevelt
  • Paul Revere
  • George Washington
  • Ben Franklin
  • John Hancock
  • Benedict Arnold
Differences:  not dressed in white, aprons are not green, they have spears/swords.  What's with the lamp in the foreground?  Also, notice there are no women allowed.
Differences: not dressed in white, aprons are not green, they have spears/swords. What’s with the lamp in the foreground? Also, notice there are no women allowed.

I’ve always wanted to know more about freemasonry.  National Geographic was given permission to videotape a masonic ceremony where a new leader was installed.  It was interesting to watch the ceremony and see some of the similarities, but also stark contrasts to the LDS endowment ceremonies.  Some differences are easily notable, such as the clothing, swords, gloves, and it is an all-male environment.  The aprons are highly varied, unlike LDS aprons which are green.

There was also a prayer circle (no women allowed, unlike the men), and a prayer at the altar.  While there are differences, the similarities for those who have been through LDS temple ceremonies are pretty obvious.  The carpenter’s square and the compass will also be familiar to LDS temple patrons, but the swords and other symbols will be different.

Man praying at altar with 3 books of scripture.  Notice the different aprons of people in the background.
Man praying at altar with 3 books of scripture. Notice the different aprons of people in the background.  It is also striking that men have hands over their hearts, rather than folded arms while praying.

The altar in LDS Temple ceremonies contains LDS scriptures, while Masons allow the Jewish Tanakh (Old Testament), Chistian Bible, and the Koran on the altar, as a nod to three Abrahamic religions.  A requirement of freemasons is to be believers in God, or a Supreme Bring.  One need not necessarily be a member of the Abrahamic religions, per se.

Some people associate masons with the New World Order, thinking they are responsible for many revolutions in the world.  They don’t like the secrecy of the Masons (and some don’t like the secrecy of LDS Temples.)  I found the following quote from Brent Morris sounded quite similar to an LDS explanation regarding this secrecy.  As the credits roll,

I took a promise that I would not discuss it, that I would not tell anyone what the secrets are.  Now I don’t care if you know what the secrets are, I mean good heavens.  If you’re an intelligent person, you can find them in less than an hour’s worth of work, but I’m not going to tell you, because as a matter of honor I told you I wouldn’t.

MasonSquareCompassI really thought it was quite an interesting video.  It was interesting to me to see that there were more similarities than I had imagined, and the differences were also quite interesting.  What are your thoughts?