Category Archives: Illuminati Elites

Closet royalist Paul McCartney

mccartney queen

Sir Paul McCartney was made Member of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth in 1997 for helping to revolutionize pop music. (AP Photos/PA, File)

He writes that “no rioting nor killing will take place because present day royalty rules with affection rather than force”.

Royal Watch News | Sep 28, 2009

Sir Paul McCartney wrote an essay in support of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth aged 10.

The Beatles star wrote the document to commemorate the queen’s 1953 coronation, and impressed Liverpool’s Lord Mayor so much Paul was awarded a book token.

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The Beatles were made MBE's in 1965

The Beatles were made MBE's in 1965

In the essay, Paul pays tribute to “our lovely young Queen”.
He wrote the 300-word piece while studying at Joseph Williams Junior School in Belle Vale, Liverpool.

It is believed to be earliest piece of his work in existence, and was given to the local library.

Kevin Roache, who found the work in library archives and is writing about the McCartney family, said: “I’m not surprised that it was pro-royalist, bearing in mind attitudes of the time and because his father, James, was a royalist.”

In the essay, Paul compares Queen Elizabeth’s coronation with that of William the Conqueror, who became king in 1066.

Paul McCartney is knighted individually by Queen Elizabeth in 1997

Paul McCartney is knighted individually by Queen Elizabeth in 1997

He writes that “no rioting nor killing will take place because present day royalty rules with affection rather than force”.

Calling the event a “marvellous spectacle”, Paul, now 66, explains London children were awarded free seats to watch.

He discusses a special cup with Queen Elizabeth I and II on it, adding: “After all this bother, many people will agree with me that it was well worth it.”
He also spells “souvenirs” incorrectly, with his teacher also pointing out he should not have started two of his sentences with “but”.

Malta’s hidden history

Mdina Dungeons blasphemy Eddie Gerald (c) Rough Guides

Knights of Malta’s punishment for blasphemy in the Mdina Dungeons. Photo: Eddie Gerald (c) Rough Guides

One moves from a giant cave in Vittoriosa where the Knights of the Order of St John kept their slaves, to the shelters where the Maltese took refuge during World War II, then, linking the two ages, the tunnels beneath the Grandmaster’s Palace where Churchill and Roosevelt met before Yalta.

Malta Independent | Sep 23, 2009

thumb_543_HB2-Mlt360-undground-sml-frThe first volume of Underground Malta 360°, the seventh issue in the monthly Miranda 360° collection of magazines, will be published with The Times tomorrow.

Underground conjures up images of the concealed, the unusual. It is natural and prehistoric such as at Ghar Dalam. Yet, it’s also man-made and modern as in the Has-Saptan oil storage tunnels.

Underground is protected from the elements as in the case of the stunning 12th century frescoes at St Agatha’s Catacombs in Rabat where there is an abundance of crypts and an extraordinary Byzantine chapel.

Extensive underground worlds were created by the military. One moves from a giant cave in Vittoriosa where the Knights of the Order of St John kept their slaves, to the shelters where the Maltese took refuge during World War II, then, linking the two ages, the tunnels beneath the Grandmaster’s Palace where Churchill and Roosevelt met before Yalta.

Underground can be useful space too such as the underground flour mill in Xlendi. Underground is, ultimately, wonder and discovery.

This is what Underground Malta 360° portrays – Malta’s hidden history. It is the first volume in a series of two that reveals the islands that never cease to surprise.

The Miranda 360° Collection is printed by Progress Press, a member of the Allied Group. As customary, tomorrow’s issue will be printed on FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper. FSC is an international, non-profit organisation that promotes the responsible management of the world’s forests and helps ensure that they will not be destroyed for future generations.

_________

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The Mdina Dungeons
The Mdina Dungeons are located beneath the Magisterial Vilhena Palace just inside the main entrance gate to Mdina, at the first turning on the right. Here in these series of secret underground passageways, chambers and cells a number of events, and the often mysterious circumstances surrounding them, have been recreated to portray events from the dark side of Maltese history. From Roman times to the Arabs, the Knights and even Napoleon, you will find episodes and characters from the ancient past portrayed in startling realism, revealing stories sometimes too dramatic to be believed. Whilst you wander at your own pace, you will discover at every turn Drama, Mystery and even Horror from dark forgotten days in an atmosphere of an authentic Medieval Dungeon.

Malta – Mdina dungeons: The Knights’ period
During the period of the Knights times were hard and so were the laws of the land. What today seems trifling, was then severely dealt with and some of the following offences were established by law. Blasphemy was severely punished, and those found guilty of the first offence had their tongues pierced with a needle. Slaves who refused work had their ears cut off. Criminals were liable to be punished by having their hands chopped off.

Grandmaster’s Palace
The Knights of Malta bought the house commissioned Gerolamo Cassar to design the palace. In the 18th-century traveller, Patrick Brydone, noted that ‘the Grand Master (who studies conveniency more than magnificence) is more comfortably and commodiously, lodged than any prince in Europe, the King of Sardenia perhaps only excepted’

Legal action could lift the lid on Northern Ireland’s Freemasons

belfasttelegraph.co.uk | Sep 21, 2009

33rd_Jewel_logo_grandlodge of IrelandThe internal workings of one of the most secretive institutions in Ireland, the Masonic Order, may be publicly exposed after a writ was issued in the High Court in Belfast against a provincial grand master and the general secretary in Dublin.

News of the unprecedented legal action comes as The Lost Symbol, the new novel by Dan Brown about the pursuit of “ancient mysteries” hidden in Washington DC by the Freemasons, hit the shelves and sold millions in its first week of publication.

The legal proceedings by father and son Stewart and Brian Hood has rocked the arcane world of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Ireland.

Neither party would discuss the issues behind the High Court action but sources within the Masonic say it relates to serious disagreements and disciplinary actions within the Antrim provincial lodge that arose more than two years ago.

A writ naming Barry Lyons, the grand secretary of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in Ireland, whose headquarters is in Molesworth Street in Dublin, is expected to be served in the coming days.

Mr Lyons is named in the writ lodged in the High Court in Belfast on September 10, which afforded the order 21 days to have an appearance entered on behalf of the Grand Lodge. In February 2007, the Antrim provincial lodge was rocked after secretly taped recordings of meetings held in its Rosemary Street Hall in Belfast were sent in the post to members of the lodge. The PSNI was asked to investigate the incident but detectives told the Masons that they were unable to establish that a criminal offence had been committed.

Since then there have been attempts to resolve the issues that have caused friction within the Antrim Masons, which is thought to have around 7,000 members.

Within the Masons, the official line has been that the dispute was resolved through Grand Lodge-directed mediation, but the High Court writ issued 10 days ago by the Hoods against John Dunlop, the provincial grand master of Antrim and the general secretary of the Masons in Ireland, has stunned the membership.

Businessman Brian Hood declined to discuss any details of the action, but did say: “I can confirm that my father and I have laid the writ. We are happy to be Freemasons but are appalled at the conduct of the management of the provincial lodge of Antrim.

“It is our intention to have a court hearing. If we cannot get a fair hearing and justice within the Masonic Order, then we have to seek justice elsewhere and take steps to have injustice addressed.”

In a quarterly communication in June 2007, posted on its website, the Grand Lodge of Ireland included a minute referring to the dispute in Antrim.

“The assistant grand master reported on the findings of the sub-committee chaired by himself, set up to consider complaints between Brethren in Antrim and Senior Provincial Grand Lodge Officers in Antrim,” it said.

In June of last year, the Grand Lodge website assured members that the dispute in the Antrim Lodge had been resolved.

When asked last week whether the Antrim provincial grand master and the general secretary would defend the writ, a member of staff at the Masons Rosemary Street office in Belfast would only say: “We are not making any comment at the moment.”

Catholic Freemason Lauds Dan Brown’s Lost Symbol

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American Freemason Lauds Dan Brown’s Lost Symbol; Launches Website as Proof to Brown’s Claim

PRWeb | Sep 21, 2009

American Freemason and New York psychologist Dr. Patrick Swift launches website InterfaithReligiousTolerance.net as proof to one of Dan Brown’s claims regarding Freemasonry in the Lost Symbol. Swift is editor of the website, a member of George Washington Lodge #285 in New York City, and a practicing Catholic who previously studied to become a Jesuit priest.

New York, NY (PRWEB) September 21, 2009 — American Freemason and New York psychologist Dr. Patrick Swift launches website InterfaithReligiousTolerance.net as proof to one of Dan Brown’s claims regarding Freemasonry in the Lost Symbol. Swift is editor of the website, a member of George Washington Lodge #285 in New York City, and a practicing Catholic who previously studied to become a Jesuit priest.

In The Lost Symbol (http://www.thelostsymbol.com/), Dan Brown presents his main character Robert Langdon teaching that, “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 the Masons do not impose a specific definition or name on a higher power.” Swift supports that statement as accurate, but says Brown takes artistic license as well. “He is absolutely correct to write that religious tolerance is one of the foundational principles of Freemasonry,” says Swift. “It’s what drew me to the Fraternity in the first place, and continues to inspire me today. I must say though that I’m no official voice for Freemasonry.”

“I have enormous respect for the Masons,” Brown told The Associated Press during a recent interview (Yahoo! News) (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090915/ap_en_ot/us_books_brown_masons). “In the most fundamental terms, with different cultures killing each other over whose version of God is correct, here is a worldwide organization that essentially says, `We don’t care what you call God, or what you think about God, only that you believe in a God and let’s all stand together as brothers and look in the same direction.”

A healthcare provider to 9/11 victims and author of One Mountain, Many Paths, Swift promotes religious tolerance with his website and offers it as proof that at least one of Brown’s basic claims about Freemasonry is accurate. According to the website, the mission of InterfaithReligiousTolerance.net is to promote communication and constructive dialogue between people of faith – regardless of any difference in spiritual orientation, faith, creed, or religious denomination (details) (http://www.interfaithreligioustolerance.net/About.html).

“I feel compelled to speak out in support of religious tolerance because intolerance and bigotry threaten to tear our country and our world apart,” says Swift.  “Religious tolerance is a basic American value within our government and our Constitution. Founding Fathers like George Washington, Ben Franklin, Paul Revere, and John Hancock understood the importance of this as Freemasons.”

Holding a firm belief that our likenesses vastly outnumber our differences, Swift compiled his award-winning book One Mountain, Many Paths (Double Eagle Press) in the wake of 9/11. Swift’s book contains uplifting quotes from the sacred texts of all the great religious traditions, organized into chapters such as “Love One Another” and “Love Your Enemy.” Swift is giving away free copies of his book online at InterfaithReligiousTolerance.net (http://www.interfaithreligioustolerance.net/).

A clinical psychologist at a major medical center in Manhattan with faculty appointments in neurology and rehabilitation medicine, Swift has cared for thousands of people from different faiths and offers diversity training to healthcare providers (details at PatrickSwift.com (http://www.patrickswift.com/). “One of my favorite stories involves a time when I worked with a Muslim physician from Pakistan to care for a Hindu patient from India, with me as a Catholic neuropsychologist from Texas. Religion doesn’t have to be a dividing force between us. It can actually bring us closer together.”

Click here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=af6WKMh-t7o) to watch Dr. Swift speak at a performing arts center in Ohio. See him on the O’Reilly Factor here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qw1djiEEARA).

About Double Eagle Press LLC:

Established in 2006, Double Eagle Press’ mission is to produce hardcover, trade paperback, and e-book editions that make a positive difference in the world. Their consumers are people who care about the world in which they live and strive for peace and tranquility in their own lives. National and international book distribution is available through Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and The Bookmasters Group. Double Eagle Press publishes Interfaith Religious Tolerance.net and is solely responsible for its content.

Contact:

Dr. Patrick Swift

Double Eagle Press LLC

(862) 205-1924

###

Contact Information
Patrick Swift
InterfaithReligiousTolerance.net
http://www.interfaithreligioustolerance.net/
(862) 205-1924

The Kiwi attempt to crack Da Vinci Code

Michael Baigent

Michael Baigent is one of the world’s leading published experts on Freemasonry. Photo / AP

Baigent, a Freemason and editor of UK’s Freemasonry Today, is one of the world’s leading published experts on the esoteric subject. His 1989 history, The Temple and the Lodge, may not have been a bestseller but it broke new ground in exploring links between the Masons, the establishment of Washington DC, and the American War of Independence.

It claimed that commanders on both side were Masons, and they agreed that the English would “throw” certain battles because it was in no one’s interests to destroy the economic base of the American colonies in their entirety.

NZ Herald | Sep 20, 2009

By Jonathan Milne

Michael Baigent might feel a little as if he were in the middle of thriller, ever looking over his shoulder at the small, blond baby-faced man following behind him.

Worse, that thriller is written by the baby-faced man – and that man, Dan Brown, has made Baigent’s story his own.

Not in the sense of copyright breach, you understand. Brown was cleared of that in 2006 by one of England’s highest courts.

No, in the sense that Brown’s own take on Baigent’s book about Jesus of Nazareth’s bloodline turned into The Da Vinci Code – the biggest success story in adult publishing since – well, since the Bible. It has sold 81 million copies worldwide, and was made into a movie starring Tom Hanks.

This month, Random House in New Zealand ordered a print-run of 100,000 copies of Brown’s new novel, The Lost Symbol.

And the book chains are setting aside almost their entire Christmas contingency budgets to buy in more copies, should it – as they expect – go lunar.

The irony for Nelson-born Baigent, who unsuccessfully sued Brown for breach of intellectual property over the Code, is that the subject matter of the new book is Freemasonry.

And Baigent, a Freemason and editor of UK’s Freemasonry Today, is one of the world’s leading published experts on the esoteric subject. His 1989 history, The Temple and the Lodge, may not have been a bestseller but it broke new ground in exploring links between the Masons, the establishment of Washington DC, and the American War of Independence.

It claimed that commanders on both side were Masons, and they agreed that the English would “throw” certain battles because it was in no one’s interests to destroy the economic base of the American colonies in their entirety.

The Herald on Sunday was the only New Zealand paper to cover the Code trial at London’s Royal Courts of Justice, and it was to this paper that Auckland-educated Baigent spoke.

The £2.3 million ($6.3m) legal fees cost Baigent and his wife Jane all the royalties from his 2006 bestseller, The Jesus Papers – and their elegant five-storey terraced house in the cathedral town of Bath.

“The lawyers took it,” Baigent says this weekend. “They took everything. But that’s the way it goes: you win or you lose.”

Now they have a small place in the Home Counties.

Dan Brown, he says, knew The Temple and the Lodge well.

Indeed, this week’s book about Freemasonry was to have been published in 2006 as The Solomon Key – but for unspecified delays. Baigent says an early draft script based on the book went to Columbia Pictures three years ago, “exploring similar themes” to his book.

The reasons for the delay are unknown. But the published version this week steers well clear of the specific historical claims made by Baigent about the War of Independence.

Book reviewer Nicky Pellegrino writes today (Detours magazine) that Brown’s new book is “laced with every talisman, myth and symbol Brown could muster and dotted with his signature indigestible lumps of historical research”.

Baigent is to review the book for The Daily Beast in the US. Yesterday, he laughed off the book’s portrayal of a powerful and secretive Masonic Lodge. “I’ve never heard of wine being drunk from a human skull,” he says. “And if Freemasonry had been that powerful, I would never have lost the case.”

Dan Brown may have pulled off PR coup for a “kinder, gentler” Freemasonry

lost_symbol

Masons: the reluctant text symbols

heraldscotland.com | Sep 20, 2009

by Ed McCracken

The Freemasons held their fraternal breath as midnight approached last Monday.

After centuries of dwelling in history’s shadows – being blamed for everything from assassinating JFK and establishing a New World Order to the Jack the Ripper murders and controlling the police force – the organisation waited anxiously for Dan Brown’s new book, The Lost Symbol, to appear in bookstores at the stroke of 12, dragging the secret society into the glare of a 21st-century media feeding frenzy.

Brown’s most famous literary offering, The Da Vinci Code, threw harsh light on another secretive society – the Catholic Church’s Opus Dei – causing serious PR problems for the organisation in real life. Would Brown’s creation, symbologist Robert Langdon’s latest adventure, follow suit, portraying the Masons as history’s conspiratorial bogeymen?

But a most unexpected thing happened: despite his trademark tortured prose, inexplicable use of italics, starchy exposition and plot twists borrowed from a Latin American soap opera, Brown may have pulled off something of a PR coup for the Masons.

Now instead of preparing a defence of what they call “their gentle Craft”, they could well be stockpiling application forms as readers see the society in a kinder, gentler light, because in The Lost Symbol, the Masons are – wait for it – the good guys.

By contrast, The Da Vinci Code portrayed Opus Dei as shadowy religious fanatics charged with lethally suppressing the secret of Jesus and Mary Magdalene’s relationship. Despite being fiction, it had a very real effect on the organisation.

“The book turned a private existence for our members into a more public one,” said Andrew Soane, Opus Dei spokesman. “The Da Vinci Code meant that members had the occasion to speak about their membership and had to explain themselves to a lot of people.”

The week The Da Vinci Code was released in 2006, enquiries increased tenfold. Membership numbers have remained steady, despite the negative depiction in a book that sold 80 million copies. With The Lost Symbol expected to do similar business, “the Masons should be prepared for increased interest”, warned Soane.

In advance of the novel’s release, senior Masons in the US voiced concern that “we might have to spend the next 25 years responding to Dan Brown’s fiction”. A website was set up in advance to combat untruths. The tension was palpable.

Author Brad Meltzer, whose Book Of Fate, another Washington-based Masonic thriller, topped the New York Times best-seller list in 2006, explained why they were nervous.

“For better or worse, people read these novels and take truth from them,” he said. “We don’t get educated by newspapers any more. We get educated by comedians, pop culture and fiction. And we are talking about the biggest book of the year. The Masons are stars of it. Their symbol is on the front cover. Six million people are going to read it. Only a fool wouldn’t be nervous.”

Masonic apron hanging in the museum room of the Grand Lodge of Scotland

Masonic apron hanging in the museum room of the Grand Lodge of Scotland

On Wednesday afternoon, however, the only thing jangling within the marble halls of the Grand Lodge of Scotland was the sound of a teaspoon against porcelain. The receptionist was making a cup of tea for the Grand Secretary, David Begg.

Brown’s Masonic revelation had been published the day before. Hardback copies were flying out the door of nearby Waterstone’s. But sitting in his large office within the lodge on Edinburgh’s George Street, the centre of the Scottish craft, Begg was a man at ease.

“We haven’t geared up for this at all,” he said. “It doesn’t surprise me that Dan Brown wanted to write about the Masons. I’ll be interested to read it to make sure it isn’t too inaccurate.”

Begg’s calm may have to do with Brown’s benign view of his organisation. The plot, such as it is, involves Langdon attempting to rescue his kidnapped friend and senior Mason, Peter Solomon. His quest involves cracking Masonic codes set into the architecture of Washington DC, all the while evading the attentions of the CIA and a tattooed, castrated madman who believes the Masons hold the secret to becoming a god, the titular lost symbol. While in The Da Vinci Code Langdon raced to uncover Opus Dei’s secret, in The Lost Symbol he fights to protect the Masons. With a print run of six million, it has already become the biggest-selling adult hardback of all time.

Near the beginning Langdon says: “The entire Masonic philosophy is built on honesty and integrity. Masons are among the most trustworthy men you could ever hope to meet.” By the end of the novel, after being shot at, almost drowned and chased from monument to monument, his view is the same. They are “one of the most unfairly maligned and misunderstood organisations in the world”.

Brown’s view is not too far removed from his hero’s. “I have enormous respect for the Masons,” he said in a interview. “In the most fundamental terms, with different cultures killing each other over whose version of God is correct, here is a worldwide organisation that essentially says, ‘We don’t care what you call God, or what you think about God, only that you believe in a god and let’s all stand together as brothers and look in the same direction’.”

Begg is unsurprised by Brown’s generous treatment. “It wouldn’t surprise me that it is positive,” he said. “I’ve found a lot of misguided comments about freemasonry. I don’t find that overseas when I go there. I’d have to say it is more in Scotland and the UK that there is an inbuilt prejudice. But that is receding.”

The Freemasons possess a murky, misty history. Some trace their roots back to the builders of Solomon’s Temple, others claim Adam as the first Mason. But their modern origins are linked to the medieval stonemasons’ guilds who constructed cathedrals across Scotland and England.

The first recorded Freemasons as we know them, a brotherhood for all men not exclusively stonemasons, met at a lodge at Kilwinning in Ayrshire in 1599. The Grand Lodge of Scotland was formed in 1736 to unite the hundreds of lodges around the country. The first grand mason was William St Clair, whose family built the mysterious Roslyn Chapel. His portrait hangs in the grand lodge’s boardroom. The order’s creed of brotherly love, relief and truth still exists today, as well as some other medieval hang-ups: women are still barred from joining.

The Masons might not be subject to the negativity that plagued Opus Dei after its time in the Dan Brown spotlight, but The Lost Symbol still panders to another stereotype that dogs the organisation. Langdon’s ultimate discovery is that the Masons guard ancient secrets that can allow man to achieve god-like powers.

“The craft of Freemasonry has given me a deep respect for that which transcends human understanding,” says a senior Mason at one point. This could attract a new breed of excitable members, bewitched by the order’s alleged mysticism.

“It is a way of life, a philosophy. An approach to your fellow man and how to treat them,” said Begg. “But if they join in the anticipation that some cosmic secret will be revealed to them, they will be sorely disappointed.”

The codes and symbols that propel the novel appear to have a lot more substance than the book’s Masonic mysticism. Pyramids, double-headed phoenixes, all-seeing eyes, compasses and set squares lead Langdon deeper into his adventure.

The same imagery is dotted throughout the Grand Lodge of Scotland. A pyramid clock sits atop the mantelpiece in Begg’s office, near Robert Burns’s masonic apron. In the Lodge’s museum a painting hangs on the wall: a crescent moon and a sun with an eye in the centre float above a young Mason. A set square and compass hang from the chandelier in the main staircase.

“Symbols are still hugely important,” said AJ Morgan, a Masonic historian. “The order is immediately recognisable because of its universal logo of a set square and compass. Symbolism plays a large part in the lodge.”

But Begg said: “There are lots of signs and symbols involved, and they have allegorical meanings. I wouldn’t say they are hiding any secrets as such. They are symbolic within some of our ceremonies, but not in hiding any great secrets of the universe.”

At one point in the novel Langdon discusses the circumpunct, a circle within a circle, one of the oldest signs in the world. “It has many meanings,” he writes. “One of the most esoteric being the rose.”

He links the flower to the Rosicrucians, a Masonic degree within the Scottish Rite which “contributed to Masonic mystical philosophy … had an enigmatic history that greatly influenced science”. In the Grand Lodge, roses emboss the staircase and wallpaper of the Grand Mason’s office.

Other aspects of Freemasonry that the book plays upon, such as the use of knives in ceremonies and chambers of reflection (rooms containing various symbols), are not dismissed.

“It is all symbolic,” said Begg. “The chambers of reflection would be part of a side order. It’s not something we would have in the Grand Lodge.”

The novel turns to Scotland at various junctures. Peter Solomon is head of the Scottish Rite in America, whose headquarters, the House of the Temple, has symbolism that “rivalled that of Scotland’s Rosslyn Chapel”.

George Washington, the first US president, and several drafters of the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution were Masons.

Above the door of the Grand Lodge’s library, a painting hangs: Washington dressed in Masonic regalia laying the foundation stone for the US Capitol Building with a Masonic trowel.

Begg and his fellow Scottish Masons are very proud of their links around the world. Scottish lodges are in 43 countries including Zimbabwe, Lebanon and China.

The dark-wood-panelled museum in George Street houses artefacts from the international lodges. Daily tours are given to the public as part of Begg’s wish to “throw back the veil of secrecy”.

“Throughout history people have thought the order and its ceremonies were secretive,” he said. “But they are more private than secret.”

Now, prodded by Brown, the Masons may start to finally emerge from the shadows, symbols in hand.

Freemasons happy with Dan Brown’s latest book

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Only mild concern with Dan Brown’s latest

Canwest News | Sep 16, 2009

By CHRIS LACKNER

Author Dan Brown may have made an enemy of the Vatican with his 2003 release of The Da Vinci Code, but his new book, The Lost Symbol, is being welcomed by Canadian Freemasons with only mild concern.

And unlike the furor unleashed from the Catholic Church with The Da Vinci Code’s assertions that Mary Magdalene bore a son to Jesus, some international Freemason leaders have openly endorsed Brown’s new book.

The only concern expressed by the Grand Lodge of Canada is that Brown’s latest tome may fuel the misconception that Freemasons act within a concealed alliance.

“There is still a lingering misapprehension that Freemasonry is a ‘secret’ society, a notion fuelled by writers of popular fiction (Dan Brown) and screenplays (National Treasure),” Grand Master Raymond S. J. Daniels said in a statement posted online.

Brown’s novel, released yesterday, again features the fictional, mystery-solving Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, with the story taking place over a 12-hour period in Washington.

The history of Freemasonry, a fraternal organization, dates back to around the 16th century. While membership has dwindled since the 1960s, there are approximately

4 to 5 million members worldwide. Six Canadian prime ministers have been Freemasons, including John Diefenbaker and Sir John A. Macdonald.

Masons first appeared in Britain in the early 1400s as members of craft guilds. Their “secrets” included how to square a corner and how to build a cathedral. Claims of a connection to the Crusades and the Knights Templar, as suggested in The Da Vinci Code and the National Treasure movies, are fictitious, historians say. In the 1600s, non-stoneworking gentlemen began to join, and Masonry became fashionable.

Some Freemasons say the novel may help the organization.

But while the fictional storylines about conspiracy and the Catholic Church in The Da Vinci Code caused an uproar among some Catholics and drew censure from the Vatican, a senior representative of the Freemasons in Australia called The Lost Symbol the work of a “terrific novelist.”