Acres of newsprint has been taken up with the critics’ opinion of The Lost Symbol, but what about everyday readers? Nick Johnson, of The Millennial Freemason blog, sent us this review recently.
Freemasonry will never be looked at the same again. Dan Brown and his new book, “The Lost Symbol” has seen to that. For many years, Masonry was viewed as a civic organization, an organization dedicated to improving society, just like the Lions, Elks, or any other animal-related club. Yet, Freemasonry has always had a deeper meaning that comes from its antiquity. As a young Mason still learning the Craft, this novel represents a different and more important work than its pulpiness may, at first glance, allow.
Certain concepts really stand out in my decision to become a Freemason: tolerance, reverence, enlightenment. As a young man, I’ve grown up in a world very different than even parents’. Race and religion are not defining qualities in making friends or doing business. Dan Brown seems quite enthralled with the concepts expressed within the Lodge, specifically equality, the idea that men of many different religious beliefs, races, and national origins could come together to honor the notion of Deity without killing one another over superfluous definitions.
“The Lost Symbol” is quite fair in its portrayal of Masons as seekers of truth, holding secrets that are passed on from one to the next in an unbroken chain. However, this book has made some very large promises that local Lodges are going to need to keep. New brothers will be entering lodges looking for truth and enlightenment. After the Second World War, the great rush of joiners in the 1950’s sought fraternity, the brothers of this new millennium will seek fraternity in uncertain times, where people murder innocents over major disagreements on faith. They will enter Masonic temples to put themselves in a separate, sacred space to seek illumination away from the cacophony of the outside world.
Dan Brown presents an interesting conundrum, how does a centuries-old institution remain interesting? His answer to the question is rather clear, there are certain elemental truths in the world, and it is groups like the Masons that bear them onto the next generation. Although Jefferson states that all these truths are self-evident, it requires the discerning mind to separate universal truth from opinions and belief; Masonry asks brothers to look about their own world and continue to perfect themselves and to walk uprightly based on those universal laws.
I really enjoyed “the Lost Symbol.” Masonry will have to change as more younger men continue to join Freemasonry. These young men will expect Chambers of Reflection, discussions about the Scottish Rite, and the relation between Freemasonry and the Ancient Mysteries. This book is pulp but it is good, clean, all-American pulp, and I, for one, had a fun time reading it.
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