Mormons claim to be the only true church representing Christianity. “Though most people reject that claim as extravagant, they are left with the impression that Mormonism is simply an extreme form of Christian fundamentalism…. On the contrary, Mormonism is a modified form of paganism which is so carefully camouflaged with a façade of Christian terminology that it even deceives most Mormons.”1)Ed Decker & Dave Hunt, The God Makers, Harvest House, 1984, p. 20 Leading Mormons have also acknowledged this fact of paganism is their faith. Milton R. Hunter, who spent 17 years teaching seminary for the Mormon faith, 30 years as a member on the churches First Council of the Seventy, authored 23 books on topics of Mormonism and history, and was a cofounder of the New World Archaeological Foundation (NWAF), an archaeological organization from BYU bent on finding evidence to prove the claims of The Book of Mormon admitted their pagan roots.

The Mystery Religions, pagan rival of Christianity, taught emphatically the doctrine that “men may become Gods.”
Hermes declared: “we must not shrink from saying that a man on earth is a mortal god, and that God in heaven is an immortal man.”
This thought very closely resembles the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith and of President Lorenzo Snow.2)Milton R. Hunter, The Gospel Through the Ages, Desert Books, 1958, p. 110; as cited by Ed Decker & Dave Hunt, The God Makers, Harvest House, 1984, p. 27

Ed Decker and Dave Hunt questioned this particular quotation.

So Mormonism openly aligns itself with what its own leaders identify as “pagan rivals of Christianity.” It even boasts that its gospel of men becoming gods is an ancient pagan belief. How then can Mormons claim to be the only true Christians upon earth?3)Ed Decker & Dave Hunt, The God Makers, Harvest House, 1984, p. 27

Also of interest is the Mormon Scholars mention of Hermes. “…Hermes Trismegistus, after whom Hermetic Philosophy, a version of Western esoteric spirituality, is named.”4)David V. Barrett, The New Believers: A Survey of Sects, Cults and Alternative Religions, Cassell & Co., 2001, p. 275 The “Hermetic Philosophy” is the occult science behind the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn which Aleister Crowley was a member of. This also explains his book entitled The Book of Thoth. “As soon as the Greeks became acquainted with Egypt, they identified the Egyptian god Thoth, the inventor of the hieroglyphs, with Hermes, the most learned of their own deities.”5)The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The Revised and Updated Translation of Sacred Gnostic Texts, Marvin Meyer (ed), HarperCollins Publishers, 2007, p. 795

The early church view of Hermes was presented by Athenagoras in the second century. “But as Alexander and Hermes surnamed Trismegistus, who shares with them in the attribute of eternity, and innumerable others, not to name them individually, [declare the same], no room is left even for doubt that they, being kings, were esteemed gods.”6)Athenagoras, A Plea For the Christians, chap. XXIIX; The Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson; 1885-1887, Hendrickson, 1994, Vol. 2, p. 144 In the context of this quote, interestingly, attributes an antitype of the antichrist in that it is a deified god-man king and occult priests of the mystery religions. Clement of Alexandria explained Hermes writings were necessities for initiates of the Egyptian Mystery religions. “…of certain of the tenets which pertain to each sect being culled from other Barbarians, chiefly from the Egyptians— both other tenets, and that especially of the transmigration of the soul. For the Egyptians pursue a philosophy of their own….For they say that he must learn two of the books of Hermes…with a horologe in his hand, and a palm, the symbols of astrology. He must have the astrological books of Hermes, which are four in number, always in his mouth. Of these, one is about the order of the fixed stars that are visible, and another about the conjunctions and luminous appearances of the sun and moon; and the rest respecting their risings…. There are then forty-two books of Hermes indispensably necessary…”7)Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata, Or Miscellanies, Book VI, chap. IV; The Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson; 1885-1887, Hendrickson, 1994, Vol. 2, p. 488 Both of these early church fathers understood, “Hermetic religion has much in common with Gnostic spirituality.”8)The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The Revised and Updated Translation of Sacred Gnostic Texts, Marvin Meyer (ed), HarperCollins Publishers, 2007, p. 795 The apostle Paul spoke of the magicians Jannes and Jambres, who would have been initiates of the Hermetic mystery religion in Egypt, comparing them to the end times apostasy (2 Timothy 3:8).
Naturally, Gnosticisms thrived in Egypt where it was nourished with Hermetic doctrines. It was in Nag Hammadi Egypt where a library of Gnostic manuscripts were unearthed in 1945 revealing to the world what was contained in secret societies for centuries. “Occultism provides a common background for Hermetic and Gnostic writings in the Nag Hammadi library.”9)The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The Revised and Updated Translation of Sacred Gnostic Texts, Marvin Meyer (ed), HarperCollins Publishers, 2007, p. 798 This is the very similarity found in Mormonism which origin predated the discovery of The Nag Hammadi Scriptures. Phillip Schaff compared the Mormons to the Gnostic group known as Manicheans,10)Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Hendrickson Publishers Market, 1858, fourth printing 2011, vol. 2, (footnotes) p. 503, 507 and noted “The Marcionites,” who Tertullian called antichrists, “practiced sometimes vicarious baptism for the dead”11)Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Hendrickson Publishers Market, 1858, fourth printing 2011, vol. 2, p. 487 just as do the Mormons.
“Beginning with only six members in 1830, Mormonism has increased in membership to almost five million worldwide, and is gaining thousands of converts every year.”12)Robert A. Morey, how to answer a Mormon, Bethany House Publishers, 1983, p. 11 And similar to the Gnostic secrets societies, Mormonism is clouded in mystery. “There is much speculation among non-Mormons as to what they do in their Temples. Joseph Smith, and most of the early Mormons, were Freemasons, and much of the ritual within the Temple is said to be similar to Masonic rites and symbolism.”13)David V. Barrett, The New Believers: A Survey of Sects, Cults and Alternative Religions, Cassell & Co., 2001, p. 159

On March 15, 1842 Joseph Smith ignored his own prohibition against secret societies and participated in the installation of a Masonic lodge in Nauvoo. Within twenty-four hours Smith had risen to the sublime “degree”; and within six months, 286 Mormons had been inducted into the Nauvoo lodge, more members than all the other Illinois lodges had put together.14)R. Laurence Moore, “The Occult Connection? Mormonism, Christian Science, and Spiritualism,” in Howard Kerr and Charles L. Crow, ed., The Occult In America: New Historical Perspectives, The University of Illinois Press, 1983, p. 141

Gary Kah further revealed Smith’s initiation into Masonry as something remarkable. “However, on 15 March 1842 Smith received his first degree in Freemasonry, and he was raised to the level of Sublime Master of the Royal Secret on the very next day, something virtually unheard of…. Brigham Young, the other significant early Mormon leader, was also a Mason and contributed to the rise of the occult hierarchy.”15)Gary Kah, En Route To Global Occupation, Huntington House Publishers, 1991, p. 111 William R. Denslow recorded in his 10,000 Famous Freemasons, “Thus it was that Smith officiated as grand chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Illinois before he was a Mason.”16)William R. Denslow, 10,000 Famous Freemasons, Macoy Publishing & Masonic Supply Co., Inc., 1957, Vol. IV, Q – Z; accessible at http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/10,000_famous_freemasons/Volume_4_Q_to_Z.htm From that point on the Mormon Masonic growth was impressive. “In only a few years, five Mormon Lodges were established, several others in planning, a Masonic Temple constructed and the total membership of Mormon fraternal brethren was over 1366.”17)C. Reed Durham Jr., No Help For the Widow’s Son, Martin Publishing Co., 1980, p. 23; as cited by Dale A. Byers, I Left the Lodge, Regular Baptist Press, 1988, p. 54
Ed Decker and Dave Hunt warned of this dangerous deception. “In the name of true Christianity, Joseph Smith restored the pagan mysteries in Masonic form. It was necessary for Satan to establish his rival religion under the guise of Christianity, thereby convincing millions that his lie is really the truth.”Ed Decker & Dave Hunt, The God Makers, Harvest House, 1984, p. 138)) Contrary to what is commonly believed, C. Reed Durham Jr. acknowledged the deeper roots of Masonry’s influence on Joseph Smith.

To begin with, Masonry in the [Mormon] church had its origin prior to the time Joseph Smith became a Mason. Nauvoo was not its genesis. It commenced in Joseph’s home when his older brother, Hyrum, received the first degrees of Masonry in Mount Moriah Lodge No. 112 of Palmyra, New York, at about the same time that Joseph was being initiated into the presence of God and angels and was being entrusted with the sacred gold plates.
By the end of 1832, Joseph has welcomed new brethren, along with their influences into the church. Men such as W. W. Phelps, Brigham Young, Herber C. Kimball, and Newel K. Whitney, each of whom had been deeply involved in Masonry.18)C. Reed Durham Jr., No Help For the Widow’s Son, Martin Publishing Co., 1980, p. 22-23; as cited by Dale A. Byers, I Left the Lodge, Regular Baptist Press, 1988, p. 53

Historian Laurence Moore declared, “While often treated as a curious footnote in Mormon history, Smith’s attraction to Masonry deserves close attention.”19)R. Laurence Moore, “The Occult Connection? Mormonism, Christian Science, and Spiritualism,” in Howard Kerr and Charles L. Crow, ed., The Occult In America: New Historical Perspectives, The University of Illinois Press, 1983, p. 142 One reason the fact of the Smith family’s was attracted to Masonry deserves such close attention is that “New York state was the center of anti-Masonry after September 1826, when some Masons kidnapped and murdered William Morgan for revealing Freemasonry’s secret rites. He had prepared his book for publication in Canandaigua, only nine miles from Joseph Smith’s home in Manchester.”20)D. Michael Quinn, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View (revised and enlarged), Signature Books, 1998, p. 202 Harmon Taylor mentioned “The good news was that following that incident [Capt. Morgan’s murder], forty-five thousand of the fifty thousand Masons in this country left their lodges.”21)Rev. Harmon Taylor, “Mixing Oil with Water,” The Dark Side of Freemasonry, edited by Ed Decker, Huntington House Publishers, 1994, p. 105 But Joseph Smith’s brother Hyrum, apparently had “his 1827 initiation into Freemasonry…” While the nation turned away from the murderous Masonic lodges, the Smith family turned to them. Nor could the Mormon prophet claim an excuse of ignorance of this murder or who the murderers were as “One of his multiple wives was the widow of William Morgan…”22)Kelly Knauer (ed.) Time: Secret Societies, Time Inc. Home Entertainment, 2010, p. 20

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If you liked this article, you may also be interested in Crept In Unawares: Mysticism by Heath Henning is available for purchase here.

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