We are thrilled to announce the long-awaited publication of Joseph’s Temples: The Dynamic Relationship between Freemasonry and Mormonism by Michael W. Homer, published by the University of Utah Press. We will have the author at our store to speak about and sign his book on Wednesday, June 25. He will be here from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., speaking at 6:00, and will answer questions and sign books before and after that time. To RSVP on Facebook click here.
The Fall 1994 issue of Dialogue included a massive article on the relationship between Mormonism and Masonry written by Michael Homer. After several inadequate attempts to explore this interaction (not to mention more since the article was published), this was a very welcome contribution and immediately became the standard on the topic. After additional research over the course of many years, Homer has now expanded his earlier work into a book-length analysis.
The apparent parallels between Mormon ritual and doctrine and those of Freemasonry have long been recognized. That Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and other early church leaders were Masons, at least for a time, is common knowledge. Yet while early historians of the LDS Church openly acknowledged this connection, the question of influence was later dismissed and almost became taboo among faithful church members. Just as Mormons have tried to downplay any ties to Freemasonry, Masons have sought to distance themselves from Mormonism. In Joseph’s Temples, Michael Homer reveals how deeply the currents of Freemasonry and Mormonism entwined in the early nineteenth century. He goes on to lay out the declining course of relations between the two movements, until a détente in recent years.
Homer posits that Freemasonry was a pervasive foundational element in Mormonism and that its rituals and origin legends influenced not just the ceremonies of the LDS temples but also such important matters as the organization of the Mormon priesthood, the foundation of the women’s Relief Society, the introduction and concealment of polygamy, and the church’s position on African Americans’ full membership. Freemasonry was also an important facet of Mormons’ relations with broader American society.
The two movements intertwined within a historical context of early American intellectual, social, and religious ferment, which influenced each of them and in varying times and situations placed them either in the current or against the flow of mainstream American culture and politics. Joseph’s Temples provides a comprehensive examination of a dynamic relationship and makes a significant contribution to the history of Mormonism, Freemasonry, and their places in American history.
“The significance of Michael Homer’s work cannot be overstated. He has accomplished what no other author has done on this topic. Mormon studies has been waiting for a work like this.”
—Michael G. Reed, author of Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo
“The definitive treatment by the acknowledged authority in this field—long awaited and needed since the 1820s. Homer skips the nonsense but not the details in this masterful perspective on the many meanings of Masonry in the Mormon world.”
—Rick Grunder, editor of Mormon Parallels: A Bibliographic Source
“With this book, for many years in the making, we finally have the definitive treatment of this important and controversial issue.”
—Massimo Introvigne, Pontifical Salesian University, Torino, Italy, Managing Director of the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR)
Michael W. Homer practices law in Salt Lake City. He is an award-winning author and has published numerous articles in the fields of law and Mormonism. He is the editor of On the Way to Somewhere Else: European Sojourners in the Mormon West, 1834–1930 (University of Utah Press, 2010).
Joseph’s Temples: The Dynamic Relationship between Freemasonry and Mormonism. University of Utah Press, 2014. 448pp. Hardback. $34.95
We hope you will be able to make it to this fascinating event but, if not, we can mail a signed copy or hold one here at the store for pick-up.
Shipping: Media mail (w/ tracking): $4.50 for the first book (inquire for rates on additional books). Priority, FedEx, UPS options available—inquire for details. Utah residents: add 7.05% sales tax.
Here’s a link to videos of previous author events at our store: http://www.benchmarkbooks.com/events/