American publisher Penguin will be republishing a number of Manly P. Hall books under its Tarcher imprint. Gearing up for the incoming onslaught of Dan Brown and "the Lost Symbol", Penguin has decided to dedicate one of the episodes of its video series, "Tarcher Talks" to the topic of Freemasonry. Joe Fotinos, vice-president of Penguin, asks questions of Mitch Horowitz, author of "Occult America" and non-Freemason, about a wide range of topics about the Fraternity from the usual, "who is a Freemason" to Freemasonry's connection with the Mormon Church. There is even a surprising connection between the Shrine and Sufism.
I really like the candid nature of these videos. There really is no glossing over of the victories and challenges facing the Craft. There are some mistakes made in the videos, including Ronald Reagan being named a Freemason. (He was not a Freemason but he was made an honorary member of the Scottish Rite.) However, I really thought that Mr. Horowitz had some good points about what Masonic Lodges must do with the candidates now that many will seek out our more esoteric side. We can't just continue on as a civic organization while ignoring our deeper past. Much of what is focused on in the episode comes from the books by Manly P. Hall.
For those not in the know, Hall was the prominent esoteric Freemason of the 20th century. Unlike most writers of the time, he sought a deeper meaning within the symbols of Masonry. He was a prolific writer and speaker on the Craft, giving thousands of lectures and authoring over 150 books. He was awarded the 33rd degree in 1973. He was also the founder of the Philosophical Research Society in Los Angeles.
In the end, I really enjoyed hearing an outsiders perspective on the Fraternity. Sometimes we become far to insular to truly understand how people view us. You can find the republished Manly P. Hall manuscripts on Amazon.com: The Secret Destiny of America and The Lost Keys of Freemasonry. I have also posted parts of the episode below: