My apologies to Masonic Society members for the tardiness of the Autumn Journal, and especially to everyone who has sent an email or called who believes I am purposely ignoring them. The way the schedule goes, I sleep for five hours, get up, type, pass out for two hours, wake up, type some more, and pass out. That's just the way it goes at the end of a project around here. Alice shovels up the Diet Dr. Pepper cans around my desk when I can't see over them anymore.
Recently on several Masonic forums I have seen the question asked, "Is Dan Brown a Freemason?"
In a September 15th, 2009 Associated Press article, Freemasons await Dan Brown novel 'The Lost Symbol' by Hillel Italie, it was stated:
Brown is not a Mason, but said that working on the novel helped him imagine a time when religious prejudice would disappear and added that he found the Masonic philosophy a "beautiful blueprint for human spirituality."
He was tempted to join, but, "If you join the Masons you take a vow of secrecy. I could not have written this book if I were a Mason," he says.
"They've let me know the door is always open."
Some have suggested that Brown be made a "Mason at sight," which is a rare, and in most jurisdictions illegal, way for a grand master to take a man and make him a Freemason without the required waiting periods, investigations, or even voting on his membership. It has happened, but not often.
Dan Brown is a shy man who has more fame than he knows what to do with. He does not like attention, and actually lives a very private and almost reclusive life.
Unless I see an announcement from the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire that Brown has been made a Freemason "at sight" (not "on sight" or "on site"), I will continue to believe that, if he has any interest at all, it is far more likely that he will quietly petition a lodge in or near Essex, New Hampshire and go through the degrees the way he is supposed to. And if he eventually does join, I suspect, given his personal habits, he would ask any lodge he petitions, and the grand lodge, to not make him into a public poster child. Just a hunch.
In any case, I believe the effect on the fraternity in the long run because of the publicity (note, I do not say quality) of the book will be enormous, over a long period of time. If 50 million people read his book over the next five or six years, and just 1% are good men who become motivated to join the fraternity, that's a half million new Masons who might never have given us a second glance. He pulled off more than any grand lodge could ever dream of doing. All Brown has done is given us the opportunity to not disappoint these men when they come knocking. What they find when we let them in is totally up to us.
In the meantime, perhaps we should see if he decides that we are worth joining and live up to his expectations before we go commissioning a painting of his apotheosis.