While in Liberty Jail, Joseph had a lot of time to meditate upon his latest year’s experiences. The Church had been forced from Ohio, some of his closest friends had turned on him, and now his followers were being expelled from the state of Missouri. After spending four months in prison, he reflects on many of these topics in a letter dictated to the rest of the church. Full of emotion, struggle, and comfort, this letter has become famous among LDS circles, and parts of it were extracted to form three revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants. However, while going over it again recently, a portion which was not canonized caught my attention
And again I would further sejest the impropriety of the organization of bands or companies by covenant or oaths by penalties or secrecies but let the time past of our experiance and suferings by the wickedness of Doctor Avard suffise and let our covenant be that of the everlasting covenant as is contained in the Holy writ. and the things that God hath revealed unto us. Pure friendship always becomes weakened the verry moment you undertake to make it stronger by penal oaths and secrecy. Your humble servant or servants intend from hence forth to disapprobate every thing that is not in accordance with the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and is not of a bold and frank and an upright nature…
This letter seems to denounce any form of secret societies, probably in specific reference to the Danites, and appears to echo the anti-secret combinations theme of the Book of Mormon. However it also seems to contradict Joseph’s later involvement Masonry and, more significantly, the temple. Was there a point between 1839 and 1842 where Joseph transitioned from his this stance of being “bold and frank” with everything to where he introduced sacred rituals to only a small group of insiders? There is obviously some progression of Joseph’s views from the simple, open nature of the Kirtland Temple to the secret, complex ordinances of Nauvoo.
Or, am I taking this quote out of context, and does it not have anything to do with the secret nature of masonry, the temple, and even perhaps polygamy?
 The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2002), 444.