Masonry in Popular Fiction — and in Reality
From the Masonic Information Center of the Masonic Service Association (September 2006)
Freemasonry makes an appealing topic for fiction writers
Freemasonry is a highly respected, centuries-old fraternity dating from — at least — the time of the stoneworker’s guilds of medieval Europe, making it an attractive topic for legitimate research and for wild speculation.
Recently, the Masonic fraternity has been woven into the plotline of a number of fictional movies and books that put Freemasonry back into the realm of popular culture. The privacy associated with the fraternity has been exploited as secretive, and popular culture has been given inventions of fantasy such as the following myths about Masonic identity: Freemasonry as a Guardian of the Holy Grail; keepers of an enormous fortune; a sinister force, who together with the Jews, are involved in a plot to take over the world; a threat to religious freedom; or a group of men who somehow must have something to hide.
Although entertaining concepts, these false interpretations fail to present the authentic purposes of the Masonic order, purposes that are found in its system of values based upon the following cornerstones:
- the dignity of man and the liberty of the individual;
- the right of all persons to worship as they choose;
- the formation of democratic governments and the importance of public education.
Freemasonry encourages personal study and social betterment
Freemasonry as we know it today, is very much a product o the Age of Enlightenment, which has, over the centuries, developed into a fraternity emphasizing personal study, self-improvement, and social betterment. Worldwide, there are 35 million members of the fraternity of Freemasonry, who continue to help men and women face the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century by building bridges of brotherhood, performing good works in our communities and upholding the ideals for a better tomorrow.