2. Joseph Smith joined the Masons in Nauvoo in March 1842.
Why would the Prophet join the Masons? In his essay “Freemasonry and the LDS Temple Endowment,” as found in the new book A Reason for Faith, Stephen C. Harper writes, “Joseph likely pondered the fraternal ceremony as he contemplated how he could prepare his followers for what awaited them in the new temple, how he might best teach them what he had learned over time from angels, from translating ancient records by the power of God, and from what he called ‘time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts.’”
He continues, “Joseph knew that preparing hearts and minds to receive all that God had in store couldn’t be done easily. But he was not one to conclude that it couldn’t be done at all. So, as angels had done with him, and he had done with his followers before, he started with what he had and used what the Saints found familiar to lead them to further light and knowledge.”