The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown’s latest novel, will be released on September 15, less than two weeks away. Taking a clue from the response to Brown’s last novel, The Da Vinci Code, which raised all kinds of controversy with it suggestion that Jesus and Mary Magdelene were married, some Freemasons are preparing for the possibility of negative press and the certainty of added scrutiny. As S. J. Velasquez at Religious News Service pointed out, some Freemason authors are preempting Brown by publishing books in advance to counter some of the sorts of inaccuracies they anticipate. Freemason Mark Koltko-Rivera created a blog for that very purpose, taking his clues for the book’s content from Twitter messages sent out by Brown’s publisher.
Masons aren’t the only ones anxious about Brown’s forthcoming novel. In 2006, after Brown reportedly visited the Latter-day Saint Temple Square in Salt Lake City, rumors began to spread that Brown was also going to include Mormonism in his novel. Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of the faith, was himself a Mason, as were several other early Church leaders, and Masonic symbolism adorns the Temple in Salt Lake—symbolism Brown was reportedly very curious about.
Both Brown and his publisher, Doubleday, have remained virtually silent about the book’s content, offering little more than a cryptic website counting down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds to the release of their (hopeful) next bestseller. Meanwhile both Mormons and Masons squirm a bit uncomfortably in anticipation of the explaining they may have ahead of them.
By Izak Cornelius , University of Stellenbosch
(Vol. 3, March 2008)
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