No one, except a duly initiated Mason, is supposed to know what happens when the doors to the Lodge Hall close and the rites and rituals begin. Legend has it that if a Mason reveals the secrets, he (it’s still a men-only organization) is supposed to be cut in half and buried in sand at low tide.
At least that’s what’s been said about the Masons, along with many much more scurrilous things. Until recently, the fraternal order that traces its roots to medieval stone-cutters had a policy of never responding to criticism. But that’s begun to change.
As membership in American Masonic lodges continues to shrink, the Masons are reaching out to tell their story of “making good men better,” of charitable works, of good fellowship.
Mark Tabbert, Curator of Masonic and Fraternal Collections, Museum of Our National Heritage, Lexington, MA;
David Gray Hackett, associate professor of religion, University of Florida, Gainesville;
Dan Brown, author of “Angels & Demons,” a novel about the Masons, the Vatican and ancient secret societies.