Monica Hesse and David Montgomery at the Washington Post have written an article entitled, "New Dan Brown Novel Set To Take Over Washington" about "The Lost Symbol." The authors have entered a new term into my lexicon, "Washington is about to be Dan Browned." The publishing world is about to hit with a tsunami of books, reprints, complementary, supplementary, and secondary media to feed the appetites of a hungry, book-buying public. The protections being used on this book to ensure that no mystery is revealed rivals that of a military base including Amazon.com keeping their stock under 24-hour guard and in protected area where access requires two different people with two different keys. Even the TODAY Show is in on this Dan Brown obsession with Matt Lauer revealing clues to what the book is about. (I’ll be updating this article with the new videos each day so that we know what is being reported, so stay tuned)
The media is grabbing onto this story and frankly, no one knows what will happen after next Tuesday. Now, I do differ in opinion with Brother Tabbert, quoted in the article as saying “We might have to spend the next 25 years responding to Dan Brown's fiction. That's what I dread." Most of the story in "the Da Vinci Code" and "Angels and Demons" was fictitious, just as hyperdrives and warp speed are fictitious in "Star Wars" and "Star Trek", respectively. (Wow that was nerdy.) However, it is no less entertaining to wonder, or to question what is true and what is not, and I’m okay with that. I’ve studied the history of Freemasonry in my four years of history and what I’ve learned is that we do not write our own history but we can write our own destiny.
There are really two approaches to dealing with any action, proactive or reactive. I’m of the proactive point of view. We can’t stop the media juggernaut, but we can get in front of it. Every brother should think of ways to discuss the Fraternity and trying to put our best foot forward. We aren’t all about pancakes and fish, but we are a Fraternity of an unknown past, of wild theories and observations, of symbolic, mystic, and philosophic wonders, in total, we are one of the most interesting organizations on Earth. People have written volumes and encyclopedias about the minutiae of our Gentle Craft. Research has been done on our connection to the Revolutionary War, Templar Knights, peasant revolts and the Ancient Mysteries of Egypt. We are a fascinating group to read up on as our story is that mysterious.
I think the most advantageous point that we will find with this book in everyday Lodge life is that there will be an abrupt return to the educational opportunities to which this book will lead that has been lacking in many Lodges. Some brothers may take this book as fact while others will attempt to debunk every assertion and that is a very good thing. I’m hoping to see an open dialogue among brothers about truth, which is one of our espoused values, in all things Masonic and allowing more than just business about lights to run the meetings. This book will not be absolute truth but it can serve as the string between the cans to get brothers to talk.
I think that in my own Lodge, the fact that our Friendship Night falls on the same day as this book's release is truly auspicious. I’m not concerned with gaining many more members but good quality men and perhaps this book will spark their interest even when they never had any inkling that we existed before its publication. For good tips on what Lodges should do, check out WB Chris Hodapp’s article entitled, “The Dan Brown Effect Part II, What Next.”