While Freemasonry as a rule avoids religious discussion, the history of Joseph Smith and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has definite masonic points of interest.
The first five presidents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and Lorenzo Snow were all made freemasons in Nauvoo Lodge.
Joseph Smith's father, Joseph Smith, Sr. was raised on May 7, 1818 in Ontario Lodge No. 23, Canandaigua, New York. His brother, Hyrum Smith, was a member of Mount Moriah Lodge No. 112, Palmyra, Ontario County, NY. And Brigham Young's first counselor, Heber C. Kimball (June 14, 1801/06/14-1868/06/22), is reported to have received the first three degrees of Freemasonry at Milnor as early as 1823.
On April 6, 1840, the present Grand Lodge of Illinois was formed by the Mormon patriarch, judge and general, James Adams. Grand Master Abraham Jonas issued a dispensation and instituted the lodge at Nauvoo on March 15, 1842.
Joseph Smith (1805/12/23-1844/06/27) was made a freemason "at sight" by Grand Master Abraham Jonas, then initiated on March 15, 1842, and passed and raised on March 16, 1842.
Brigham Young (1801/06/01-1877/08/29) petitioned for membership on December 30, 1841. On March 17 1842the day following Joseph Smith's raising Nauvoo Lodge accepted his petition for membership. He was initiated April 7, 1842, passed April 8, 1842 and raised April 9, 1842. Young was known to have worn a masonic stick pin on his shirt at various times for the rest of his life there are at least two photographs to this effect. [Paul C. Graham, The Masonic Moroni masonicmoroni.com/]
Although Denslows 10,000 Famous Freemasons. [Volume 4 p. 357] has Young as a member of Milnor Lodge No. 303, in Victor, Ontario County, N.Y., the lodge rolls do not support this.
On April 10, 1845, Brigham Young advised that the work of the freemasons in Nauvoo be suspended, and on March 6, 1847 he denounced the practice of Freemasonry.
On August 11, 1842 Grand Master Jonas suspended the dispensation for the Nauvoo lodge. By 1844 Nauvoo had three clandestine lodges and Iowa had two, the five collectively being identified as the "Mormon Lodges." Nauvoo Lodge comprised a total membership of 1,550. A conservative estimate of the membership of the five lodges may have exceed 2,000. At the Grand Lodge Annual Communication of 1844, all Mormon lodges were declared clandestine and all their membership suspended.
"Brigham Young Journal" (1801-1877) Journal No. 2 July, 1837- Mar. 1845 1 April 1845.
"Evolution of the Mormon Temple Ceremony: 1842-1990," Jerald and Sandra Tanner. Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1990
"Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society," Spring 1971, p. 81.
"The Mormon Hierarchy Origins of Power," D. Michael Quinn. Signature Books, Salt Lake, 1994, p. 114
"Mormon in the Fiery Furnace[:] Or, Loftes Tryk Goes to Cambridge," William J. Hamblin, Daniel C. Peterson, and George L. Mitton. (review of John L. Brooke, "The Refiners Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644-1844." Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), "Review of Books on the Book of Mormon" 6 (1994), 2:54.
"Mormonism and Masonry," S. H. Goodwin. Salt Lake City, 7th printing, 1938; "Additional Studies in Mormonism and Masonry" Salt Lake City 1932.
"The Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon Temple Worship." David John Buerger. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1994, 40).
"On The Potters Wheel: The Diaries of Heber C. Kimball," Stanley B. Kimball. S.L.C. Signature Books: 1987.
"Similarity of Priesthood in Masonry: The Relationship between Freemasonry and Mormonism," Michael W. Homer. "Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought" 27 (Fall 1994): 67-75.
Excerpted from users.1st.net/fischer/MASHST08.HTM and
www.geocities.com/masonicmoroni/ (accessed 2005/08/22). Portrait of Joseph Smith by Adrian Lamb, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution/Art Resources, NY.