Dan Browns "The Lost Symbols" and Freemasonry

Like one of millions of people around the globe, I enjoy a good fictional book to read. I was particularly drawn to Dan Brown's latest book "The Lost Symbol" as I am a Mason. I wanted to better understand the types of questions that I might expect to receive from the ill-informed and uninitiated.

Firstly, I must say that Dan didn't go off on the expected Masonic bashing that I thought he would. He makes some true statements about Freemasonry, but then again he places these alongside fictional statements. The fact and fiction are close enough that to the uneducated or ill-informed that the line between fact and fiction is very blurred and nigh on impossible to differentiate.

The Lost Symbol
The Lost Symbol

Truths:

On page 30-31 he states, "One of the prerequisites for becoming a Mason is that you must believe in a higher power. The difference between Masonic spirituality and organized religion is that Masons do not impose a specific definition or name on a higher power. Rather than specific theological identities like God, Allah, Buddah, or Jesus, the Masons more general terms like Supreme Being or Great Architect of the Universe. This enables Masons of different faiths to gather together."

He also speaks about some of the Occult that is rather interesting. Where I personally never would have chosen this line of thought (particularly since I too regularly practice this ritual), but it is true. "...on the pagan day of the sun god Ra, I kneel at the foot of an ancient instrument of torture and consume ritualistic symbols of flesh and blood. -- ...on Sunday, kneel beneath the crucifix and take Holy Communion."

Falsehoods & Fiction:

The fiction in the story starts from the very beginning. Before the story even begins, the author includes a page entitled: "Fact". It lays claim that his retelling of Masonic tradition is true, in particular in regards to Masonic ritual. What he doesn't mention, anywhere within the book, as where the lines of fact and fiction merge or butt up against one another.

I am disappointed that Dan Brown thought it fit to falsely imply the consumption of blood from skulls as part of Masonic initiation; such a statement only serves to fuel conspiracy theory and increase intolerance and hatred within society.

Sorry Dan, but hiding behind the veils of freedom of speech, and artistic license does not excuse you from your actions or words.

More Truths:

If on the other hand, you are a reader that is seriously interested in The facts, just the facts, then may I suggest you have a look at a new book entitled It’s No Secret – Real Men Wear Aprons. A book that reveals the history, organisation, philosophy, famous members, symbolism, surprising diversity and future directions of Freemasonry...

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Comments 6 comments

Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

I was impressed with Brown's powerful analogy in his comparison of occult rituals and I'm glad you've quoted it in your hub. Many are quick to judge when their own beliefs are challenged. This applies to all religious discrimination.

I will also check out .."Real Men Wear Aprons"; my husband does!

Also, my Dad was a Mason but he always backed down when we asked him to explain what his "secret membership" was all about. (I do still have the beautiful gold Masonic ring he always wore). Are you limited in what you can share regarding the "blurring of truths"?


mercedes260e 7 years ago

As a freemason of 25 years standing, I'm often asked to explain what it's all about. People asking are generally divided into two camps. Those who have had contact with Freemasons in their family or circle of friends, and who have a favourable impression, and those who appear hostile because of something they have read.

I have to gauge my answer depending on who is asking. There are many folks who believe that the masons are behind a global conspiracy, and every job opportunity favours members of the Brotherhood before them. They also know that there's an elaborate system in place to cancel parking or speeding tickets just by giving the officer a nod or a wink.

I've been told that masons signal each-other in order to avoid any kind of penalty, including prison terms and even tolls on motorways and bridges. They of course have been reliably told this by a nameless friend of a friend. No matter how much I explain that it isn't the case, and that “the freemasons” is simply a social club for men (and women) where charity giving is done quietly, they simply don't believe it.

In England freemasonry is a little more "underground", but this was not always the case. Around the time of the Great War, parades and public showings were commonplace. We do have rules forbidding boasting about membership, and the wearing of bling items such as masonic rings. These rules are designed so that freemasons cannot solicit fraternal advantage in business life. This approach has been mistaken for secrecy. You are much more likely to see the membership badges of Round Tale, Lions Club, Rotary, or even Public School ties displayed in public. We are not allowed to advertise our membership for gain.

However masons are free to tell anyone about their interest. Most members would love the opportunity to sing the praises of something they are very proud of. We can also explain just about everything there is about ceremonies, apart from traditional forms of recognition. These are only used to prove strangers visiting meetings away from their home lodge and almost nowhere else. However, all of the handshakes and secret words are widely known. (Just put the term into Google to see)

The fact is that you can buy all of the regalia and all of the rituals from shops online or in person. No one is going to test your membership if you have cash to spend. If you are in London or any other Capital you can visit the Grand Lodge HQ and have a good look around. There is a wonderful library and museum at Freemasons Hall in Great Queen Street, London. It's open to everyone. Just over the road are suppliers of Masonic regalia, where you can browse or buy to your heart’s content.

The quarterly freemasons magazine in England is available free in full online too, as are all of the back issues. You can also call the National or Provincial Grand Lodges to ask questions or get printed information.

Here are seven things you probably didn’t know about Freemasonry

• George Washington was a member

• You have to ask a mason start the process of joining. You are not invited

• You must believe in God

• There are Lodges for men, women, and men and women, under various Constitutions.

• No animals of any kind are used in Initiation or other ceremonies

• Any kind of criminal record excludes membership

• The son of a mason is called a Lewis

I found an informative website a few weeks ago called www.masonic-secrets.com It delves into interesting detail about both male and female freemasons, and gives an account of what happens behind closed doors. Yes, I did say female freemasons, there are thousands of them around the world. I know that most people have heard that freemasonry is just for men.

The real secrets are not at all what you would think, and you can find out as much as you wish just by asking or looking.


YankeeRoo profile image

YankeeRoo 6 years ago from Sydney AUSTRALIA

I bought a copy of the book you recommended "It’s No Secret – Real Men Wear Aprons". Though more so about Freemasonry in Australia, I find a lot of parallelisms across national borders. I particularly like the pages where the Islamic wife has spoken out - opposed at first and in favour and supportive of later. Most interesting.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 6 years ago from The English Midlands

I'll have to get this :)


lilly_dens profile image

lilly_dens 6 years ago

I've read The Lost Symbol and I have to admit that I'm quite smitten by the book because it talks about Freemasonry which is a mystery to me and in which many people talk about and attach conspiracies to go with it. Dan Brown do have a way in merging facts with fiction and it's hard to know which one is true or not.


Edward 5 years ago

Dan Brown writes fiction, if you want to learn about Freemasonry go to you library and do some proper research. there are many excellent books on the subject

Yes I do wear an Apron made from Lambskin, not leather as some believe, and no we do not drink blood from skulls, and the only babies we eat is roast lamb.

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