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BONNIE - What is the church's position on joining the Masons?
JOEL - There has never been an official statement by the Church specifically discouraging its members from joining the Masonic Fraternity. However, if you were to ask any one of the General Authority's advice about joining the Masons, they would probably advise against it. Church leaders caution that membership in fraternal organizations such as this should be avoided, because they may take time and energy available beyond your daily vocation and your hours of rest, that could be spent in furthering the interests of the church and priesthood and family duties.
Don LeFevre, a past spokesman for the church has said the church "...strongly advises its members not to affiliate with organizations that are secret, oath-bound, or would cause them to lose interest in church activities."[Salt Lake Tribune Section D1, Monday Feb. 17, 1992]
Here's an interesting quote from president Harold B. Lee:
"Now, just one more thought with reference to giving priesthood to men who belong to secret and fraternal orders. I was in a mission where there was an able man whose services were needed, but someone had the understanding that he could not be given the priesthood and used because he was a Mason. It was thought that there were some letters of instruction from the First Presidency, or President Joseph Fielding Smith, that gave them license to withhold priesthood or any activities from this man. When I asked them to show me the letters they referred to, we found that what they said in substance was: If there is such a man (and quite frequently you will find some of these leading men who turn up
as members of some lodge—Mason, Eagle, Elks Club, etc.) the thing that you should always say is, "I am not concerned about what you have been. I am concerned about what you are going to be from now on."
If he understands and is truly converted, he will agree that his first allegiance will be to his priesthood and to the Church, and that he will cease his fraternal activities. Some of them argue that they should maintain their membership because of the insurance values of belonging. Whether they do that or not is their own business, but if they tell us that they are prepared to give their first allegiance to the Church, then we can give them the priesthood and full activity as merited by their worthiness.
President Heber J. Grant used to tell us about one such man who had been an active member in a Masonic Lodge, and when President Grant told this man he was being called to be the president of a stake, the man demurred, saying, "I am a 32nd Degree Mason." President Grant said the same thing to him: "I am not concerned with what you have been. It is what you are going to be from now on."
You cannot serve two masters, and so we say to you, use these men, and probably by their being used, you will gradually wean them from what you don't like to something that is better." (Harold B. Lee, "Stand Ye in Holy Places", Chapter 27, 1974)
You can interpret that as you will, but it sounds like, although you may not lose your church membership over it, being both a Mason and an active member of the church might be a hard thing to do.